Friday, February 29, 2008

When to call it quits?

No, not the game silly!

After how many wipes do you say this group/raid just isn't going to cut it?

I don't have a magic number, just a feeling. I don't have unlimited time (who does?) and wiping over and over isn't always productive.

My old raid leader seemed to function on zero sleep. His motto seemed to be keep wiping until the thing is dead or 'fan;gwrwgfmcwkc;wowieon' appeared in raid chat due to people's heads falling asleep on their keyboards. (Did I mention I don't miss that part of raiding?)

Back when I first started WoW (had to be on the weekends!) I remember spending over 3-4 hours in a lowbie instances. I'm not talking Molten Core, I'm talking places like Maraudon and Sunken Temple. Not only were the places prone to lots of wipes, the corpse were runs brutal and the instances themselves were huge!

People seemed used to spending hours upon hours upon hours doing single instances. I'm so glad TBC made them shorter.

I've been pugging them all so far, with one or two friends joining me every now and then. But I have only bailed on one. I chalked it up to my inexperience. After wiping on the same trash for about the fourth time, I felt I wasn't up to the task of tanking. And I definitely wasn't up to doing it over and over. I apologized to the group and they removed me.

Later I did the same instance with a higher level of players, great cc and we finished it in a decent amount of time. No muss no fuss.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Avoiding time sinks

I continue to enjoy my latest and greatest alt.

I'm having the fun you'd expect to have in a game. Something I hadn't even realized had been missing. I haven't pinpointed the difference for sure, but I think it's because I'm grouping again.

I had quit 25-man raiding and to my surprise, the 10-mans wanted to gear up the 25-man raiders, so by leaving one group I lost access to the other as well. I fell back on playing alts, but alts that soloed so well I soloed/duo'ed most of the time.

Now I'm playing a hybrid class, but I didn't want to heal (did enough of that on my priest). So this time around I'm tanking - "the" pve grouping role. I'm not great at it. But I've only not completed one instance I've tried so far (went back with a different group and cleared it). My alt is not in my guild so I pug everything and so far things haven't really been that bad. Not 70 yet, things may change at end game with heroics, etc. I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.

In the spirit of this new found enjoyment, I've decided to try and make a concentrated effort at avoiding the time sinks in the game.

1) Play a needed class. I haven't spent much time grouping as dps, but healers and tanks seem to spend less time in LFG.

2) Focus on one role. As a hybrid I could spend lots of time gearing up for all the roles I could fill. But I ended up playing double time on my priest gearing her up for shadow AND holy. I'm not going to do that again.

3) Do not raid. I'm not going to raid with this character if I can help it. Maybe one day I'll do Karazhan. But I really don't want to get into a scheduled situation where I can't log off when I want to.

4) Do not pick up a crafting profession. I've hit 375 with my gathering professions. If I want to farm I can, but I don't have to try and spend hours getting mats for one skill up, or to purchase a recipe, or to get a recipe drop. I spent hours in an attempt to farm all BoE recipes, I think I only had one left to get.

5) Get loot through crafting, reputation and pvp. Instead of running an instance ad naseum for a lucky drop, find alternatives through other avenues. I'll never have the best of the best without raiding or arenas anyway.

6) PvP marginally. I've spent countless hours on battlegrounds not necessarily enjoying myself trying to earn honor. AFKing screws things up, but I can definitely understand why people do it. When during a bg I find I'm thinking AFKers have the right idea - log off immediately.

7) Grind reputations that only give rewards I can't easily get anywhere else. Do I really need exalted with Sporregar? The bat *is* cute, but helm and shoulder enchants are better.

8) Give up on fun frivolities - this is a hard one, but probably will give me the most bang for the giving-up buck. Spending hours farming ogres for a Talbuk no longer makes sense if I'm trying to spend more time in RL.

Did I miss any other time sinks?

Perhaps its not really a time sink if you have fun doing it. Yet it is so easy to get lost in this game and wonder where all your time went. It sounds like I'm cutting a lot out of the game, but I'll still spend numerous hours playing even without all of this.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Puggin' it!

I've been pugging instances again as I level up yet another alt. This is an unguilded alt, free from the pressures of "come heal this instance for us please" (more on that later).

Believe it or not, the worst part of pugging is BEFORE we even enter the instance. Waiting for the group to form, waiting for everyone to arrive. You spend a good 15-45 minutes right there.

Of course, I could join a guild and have less pug stress. But so far I'm enjoying pugging again. I've come across a surprising amount of ret paladins, and unsurprising amount of draenei shaman.

My expectations of pugs are so low, that I come out feeling great about them. Part of it has to do with the feeling they really nerfed these instances from a year ago. Part of it has to do with running normal instances is easier than heroics. And part of it has to do with me being in a new role other than healing. But besides all that, players seem to work together for the most part. I imagine just about everyone is on an alt, and know these instances very well. And if they are like me, they are so happy to find a group, they want it to succeed.

The good and bad thing about guild runs is, you know each other so well things move very fast and efficient. But you also have less unexpected things happen - in one word - boring. You also come to take for granted that someone will heal your instance or tank your instance and quickly lose sight that you're burning them out. Pugs are more appreciative and anonymous, you won't be swooped down on like a vulture's lunch when you sign on the game.

I'm trying to stay happily oblivious to the impending doom that is end game. Right now, by spending an hour and 1/2 I have a chance at a nice drop. I enjoy my time spent online, and I haven't made a promise to a pug that I'll be on the same time tomorrow and after that and after that to run another instance with them.

Life in Azeroth and good.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

2.4 PTR

3 bosses in the new Sunwell instance have already been killed on the PTR. With only 6 bosses total, those remaining 3 bosses must be extremely hard. Or the top guilds are going to have another 6-8 months with nothing to do.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Have I won the game?

It just dawned on me that I've pretty much done the things I really wanted to do in this game. It is my own virtual finish line that I've set. I can't think of anything else I feel I need to do if something came up and suddenly I had to quit.

Sure there are instances left to visit, crafting profession caps left to be reached, reputations left to hit exalted on, and all those mounts I can save up for! But none of those things will I look back on wistfully and say "I never did X while I played, I wish I had".

Feels good. And kinda frees me from the game. (No I'm not quitting.)

Oh no!

Okay there is one thing. I many times wished I had played a horde character to max just to see what pvp is like on the "smarter", "more mature" side.


8 months of no new content?

I came across a forum post about guilds who killed Illidan 8 months ago. Essentially they are beyond bored and have warned Blizzard that they will not wait another 8 months for new content.

Lucky for Blizard no other MMORPGs are close to release. You sometimes see mention of WAR, but I haven't heard anyone mention anything about the Pirates or Tabula Rasa MMORPGs come to think of it and both of those are out already I think. At least LotRO got a little bit of publicity before dropping off the radar - too bad they didn't have their higher level content fleshed out ahead of time.

We've had a few guilds clear everything before the beginning of this year. You don't really hear them say they are done farming yet.

The guild I'm in is still in Black Temple/Mt. Hyjal and they have a ways to go before they clear both from what I've heard. And this is with the more dedicated players in our guild. They are kept busy with that and Zul'Aman and don't seem a bit disgruntled.

And we have several guilds still in Serpentshrine Cavern/Tempest Keep mostly stuck at the end boss humps. They are kept busy actively recruiting. Although you see some players trying to jump ship because they recognize this will be the bottleneck until either those bosses are nerfed or attunements are lifted.

Why is there such a divide in groups who can clear all new content within a matter of months, groups who may clear most of it in the time span of a year or so, and guilds who will never get very deep into 25-man instances without extensive nerfs and removal of attunements?

And Blizzard has to try to keep them all happy. If you release content faster, the slower guilds feel like they can never keep up - and lose their better players to better guilds. If you release content slower, your more progressed guilds get bored and irritated and people stop playing the game altogether.

Why did they release SSC/TK at the same time they release BT/Hyjal? Maybe they should have spaced them out a bit more, made the bosses harder. Slow guilds wouldn't have noticed (because they always get nerfed eventually) and faster guilds would have been kept busy longer.

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"I don't *need* to play. I can quit anytime I want!"

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