Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Watch yer back!

This is my "Goodbye to World of Warcraft" post*.

Goodbye to the game, and to my blog, goodbye to wowhead (anyone remember thottbot?), WoW forums, guild websites, EJ, druid how-tos, tank how-tos, raid strats, gold-making ideas, tradeskill power leveling lists, leveling guides, wowprogress, wow insider and reading other blogs that are wow-specific. I'd like to specifically thank some of these because they made the game better for me, but I could go on and on. Thanks for reading and for those who commented. *This originally was supposed to be a one-line goodbye.

I've always liked the dwarf npc's "Watch yer back!" so its my choice for goodbye. However when I pair it up with my R.I.P. MS-paint masterpiece I realize it looks like the orc is about to ambush me. I'm not going to change it, it's funnier thinking of it that way.

Watch yer back!

The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time

"The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time".
~Marthe Troly-Curtin (emphasis mine)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

When were these comments made?

"Won't you people ever get tired of running around a world, finding some monster, and hitting it over and over and over again until it dies or it kills you?"

"it is NOT a viable fantasy game, since so few people are actually able to do what they REALLY went there to do: PLAY. Instead, it's hours (or in some cases DAYS) of time spent..."

"I left xxx not just because it was boring, but because of the rude jerks"

"I haven't completely quit the game, but am seriously thinking of doing so."

"I am tired of all the kiddishness that goes on. I am pretty much in the same boat ... I am just tired of the jerks, idiots and morons"

"yup its boring, i keep playing. whatever."

"I think it's a cool place to chat or to smack around mobs, so long as you have some form of fun"

"Just goes to show you that the more simple something is the more simpleminded drones will flock to it !"

"hearing the incesant DING from morons everywhere. we dont CARE ok. and for the folks that say grats… /SMACK you all suck too. go away! lol"

"the expansion after expanison added when lots of broken stuff never gets fixed… and all the nerfs that have been inflicted after they have been in implementation for 6+ months."

"ive been playin fer bout 9 months n all i have to say is that its the best online experience i have ever had!!"

"I spent 1 month playing xxx before i realized it sucked. I kept telling my self once i leveled up it would change, it would be more exciting, There would be a bigger goal then just leveling, but guess what there wasent. "

When were these comments made by various people? Just the other day?

Nope, I found these comments in a forum from 2001.

So obviously they weren't even made about World of Warcraft if you were thinking that.

Nope, these were complaints about Everquest.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Bad mouthing WoW

One thing I haven't wanted to do because I think WoW is a good game, is to bad mouth it.

I don't feel like I'm, as Tobold says, one of the "larger number of people played World of Warcraft for several thousands of hours, and burned out...unable to talk in terms of personal choice: For some strange and twisted reason they feel the need to claim that World of Warcraft is a bad game, "dumbed down for morons", etc., to justify that they don't play WoW any more. As they can't admit that they quit WoW for personal reasons"

No, while I don't think I actually left WoW on a great note, I didn't leave WoW because I think its a bad game.

However as I spend time away from it I am left with let's say, a bad taste in my mouth, about it. So much so I started a new blog and ended it almost as quickly as I started it. I wanted to keep this blog "pro wow" in a way. My other short blog was an attempt to put my negativity bias elsewhere.

If you asked me right now if I would recommend the game to someone new, well, I wouldn't. Or maybe I'd suggest they play through it to cap and quit and we all know how well that goes!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A month of no wow

Well here it is, a month of not playing World of Warcraft.

Each time I think about logging in (and this hasn't happened very often) I can't think of a good reason why I should so I haven't.

The reasons I do come up with are for furthering my character which I feel has become pointless. It was always pointless but I didn't mind it before.

Before, the repetitiveness of the entire endeavor was hidden somehow. Now it's uncovered like some hideous secret brought to light. And what is seen cannot be unseen.

This is the part I can't put my finger on. What changed?

And will being away from it for another month, change my mind again? At the moment I don't think so. Time will tell.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Winding down

I can't imagine there is much interest in reading a blog about quitting WoW. But that's what this is now. I've never wanted to be the blogger who just up and disappeared (unless they got kidnapped!) so I hope you don't mind as I continue blogging until finally my last twinkling star of interest in the game burns out.

I'm still surprised by how quick I disengaged this time around, when before it had usually been a struggle. Yes I realize still blogging about WoW and reading other WoW blogs isn't exactly "disengaging" but outside of vacations and the like, this just might be the longest I've gone without playing by choice.

Even as I try to check out my blogroll I find myself disinterested in what I find. This isn't because of the writing (I always enjoy reading my fellow bloggers!) but instead its almost like reading about a game you've never heard of but doesn't sound all that much fun. I don't care about the archaeology profession. And although a month or so ago I was worried about how hard healing would become in Cataclysm, I'm not going to purchase it, so it's no longer an issue I care about.

It's weird. I feel like the someone took a mind-eraser pen and flashed it in front of my eyes.

I recently found a blog about a death knight tank (who weilds the legendary shadowmourne) and I found his blog quite interesting (he's also pro at making gold). Enough so I added him to my blogroll and looked forward to his posts. At the time I found his blog I liked it so much I read through most of it. Now suddenly I can't bring myself to read the rest of his latest post because the words "experience" and "xp" and "spawn" and "loot" and "MMOs" come at me like a frightening, threatening tag cloud.

For some reason I thought I'd still enjoy reading WoW blogs and places like MMO Champion long after I quit playing but it doesn't look like that's going to be the case. :(

Monday, September 13, 2010

A game meant to be played forever nonstop

I was thinking about how in the short time I've been away I've missed out on some things that happened in game. While some things I really didn't care about, others I have to admit, gave me a pang.

With that I realize part of my fun comes from the accumulation of time spent. It's one of the reasons trying to jump into another aged MMO is difficult. If I join Everquest2 right now everyone around me has books with chapters full of experiences, libraries of books for some.

I have/had that in WoW. I've either shared experiences with people I've played with a long time or I am able to nod knowingly when I meet up with players I just met and they discuss old times.

As soon as you take a break from the game you're immediately out of the loop of gathering these experiences. This makes me feel like I should play all the time. Several times through the years I've found good "stopping points". Places where I felt I could say "now that I've done that I can take a break". I've also come back to the game to regret the breaks (missing out on feat of strength type deals). If your fun is a sum of your activities, your only option is to not take breaks!

All I can do is come to grips with no time would be perfect. This time is as good as any. Inevitably there is always a new carrot swinging around.

If I decide to come back again I'm faced with knowing I've missed out on some things I can't replace. It's a disappointing feeling and makes me not want to come back knowing I'll have these gaps. Ironically it works out better for me in the end.

P.S. I've taken the step of actually canceling. Funny thing is, the first time I tried, the site was down for maintenance. But it didn't give that specific message. Instead it said something like "Oops".

As if it were saying You don't really mean to cancel!!!". Undeterred, I was able to log on later and do the dirty deed.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Every time I think I'm out...

WoW pulls me back in.

Well not this time...not yet.

I haven't even "quit" yet. It's not official until until I actually cancel the game and stay away from it for longer than a few days.

But I have taken two steps towards the door. One, I notified my raid group to find a replacement for me and two, I'm not bothering to partake in the Gnomeregan event.

In the past I figured even if I wasn't actively playing I could at least log on and do the random world events that pop up. But all that does is keep you tethered to the game.

*sound of rope fraying*

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Perfect Maelstrom

I imagine my last post was cryptic. I wasn't trying to act like I have some big surprise coming, because I don't.

If it wasn't already evident I plan on taking another break from WoW if not quitting altogether.

It is a result of a perfect storm - the emptiness of our main raid guild (due to summertime), our struggling active portion hitting a brick wall (due to lack of skill), the completion of some items that were on my achievement plate for a while (and the anti-climax that came along with it), my foray into tanking reaching its expected end (I never planned to tank for raids) and the clincher, Real Life rearing its persistent head again.

If things were okay in RL or if I could see some light at the end of the raiding tunnel or if there were some achievements I could get with a reasonable amount of effort I wouldn't even contemplate quitting. But instead all things are present and have me wondering why I haven't already canceled.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

4 years ago

Almost exactly four years ago I started this blog to vent and chronicle my time in Azeroth and eventually beyond.

During that time - in no particular order - I've wanted to stop playing, tried to stop playing, stopped playing, wish I hadn't stopped and started playing again. I've had times I kept playing when my posts clearly show I wasn't enjoying it. And I've had times that proved why WoW was so addictive to me - good, simple, clean, fun.

Coming so close upon an blogiversary date (Sept 12 to be exact) this would be an apt time to call it quits. But given the fact that...

A) I haven't canceled my account
B) I've mentioned quitting before only to come back with a vengeance
C) Maybe its just pre-expansion blues

I'm not going anywhere yet (to wherever that place is long-time players go when they quit WoW). For one I've got a few things keeping me around. But their hold on me is tenuous.

Oh yeah, I guess the broadaxe fell.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Apathy boss

I'm wiping on the apathy boss.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

I don't want to leave in a huff

Looking back on my own experience I left my very first guild by changing servers pvp for carebear. I didn't leave in anger.

I left my first guild on a much more hospitable server so I could raid. Once again not in anger.

I left the one place I felt I'd stay because I quit raiding and friends were elsewhere (they had left in anger).

And then finally I did leave in anger (not boiling anger, more like simmering rage) due to guild leader drama.

None of those times were pleasant for me, I don't take kindly to guild hopping. But I am considering a move. I'm thinking about it now because I don't want things to get bad to where I leave in a huff. I also don't want to instigate something to "force me out".

Things are no where as bad as I make them sound. I just know when someone is unhappy with their current situation they look for reasons (often trivial) to make a change instead of owning up to it.

I remember when after joining us for two weeks a mage left and joined another guild because we weren't doing the progression we advertised. I on the other hand continued to stick it out, mostly because of my schedule, but also because I had hope things would be better. 2-3 months later we've killed one or two new encounters?

I hope I've learned something from the mage. I need to access what I really want and whether my current guild can provide it. I need to figure out if I can be content or if I need to chart an exit strategy.

Forcing me to rethink my level of contentment

I don't know how accurate this list is or what will remain for Cata's release, but here's an idea of what to expect:
Level Perk Effect
1 Fast Track (Rank 1) Experience gained from killing monsters and completing quests increased by 5%.
2 Mount Up Increases speed while mounted by 5%. Not active in Battlegrounds or Arenas.
3 Mr. Popularity (Rank 1) Reputation gained from killing monsters and completing quests increased by 5%.
4 Cash Flow (Rank 1) Each time you loot money from an enemy, an extra 5% money is generated and deposited directly into your guild bank.
5 Fast Track (Rank 2) Experience gained from killing monsters and completing quests increased by 10%.
6 Reinforce (Rank 1) Items take 5% less durability loss when you die.
7 Hasty Hearth Reduces the cooldown on your Hearthstone by 15 minutes.
8 Reinforce (Rank 2) Items take 10% less durability loss when you die.
9 Chug-A-Lug (Rank 1) The duration of buffs from all guild cauldrons and feasts is increased by 50%.
10 Mobile Banking Summons your guild bank.
11 Mr. Popularity (Rank 1) Reputation gained from killing monsters and completing quests increased by 10%.
12 Honorable Mention (Rank 1) Increases Honor points gained by 5%.
13 Working Overtime Increases the chance to gain a skill increase on tradeskills by 10%.
14 The Quick and the Dead Increases health and mana gained when resurrected by a guild member by 50% and increases movement speed while dead by 100%. Does not function in combat or while in a Battleground or Arena.
15 Cash Flow (Rank 2) Each time you loot money from an enemy, an extra 10% money is generated and deposited directly into your guild bank.
16 G-Mail In-game mail sent between guild members now arrives instantly.
17 Everyone's A Hero (Rank 1) Increases Heroism points gained by 5%.
18 Honorable Mention (Rank 2) Increases Honor points gained by 10%.
19 Happy Hour Increases the number of flasks gained from using a flask cauldron by 100%.
20 Have Group, Will Travel Summons all raid or party members to the caster's current location.
21 Chug-A-Lug (Rank 2) The duration of buffs from all guild cauldrons and feasts is increased by 100%.
22 Bountiful Bags Increases the quantity of materials gained from Mining, Skinning, Herbalism, and Disenchanting by 15%.
23 Bartering Reduces the price of items from all vendors by 5%.
24 (Spell #83954) (Rank 2) Increases Heroism points gained by 10%.
25 Mass Resurrection (Rank 1) Brings all dead party and raid members back to life with 35 health and 35 mana. Cannot be cast when in combat.

We are legendary isn't listed, but if you have all of the available legendarys (and enough rep with your guild and enough gold) you can purchase an really nice mount (aren't they all?)

Of course this, and recent events in my guild, have forced me to think about am I really happy with my guild and do I want to stay with them? I'm not ecstatic about where I am now but I'm sticking around out of my own apathy. Our guild leadership has been almost nil over the summer.

This made me wonder what is expected of guild leadership? I've never cared to find out before because whatever is expected is more than I could personally muster the strength to do (which is also why I usally cut guild leaders a lot of slack). I found a wealth of information in the Guild Relations forum. Skimming through it I see:
Distribution of information (lacking big time in our guild)
Sense of community (our guild is spread out over other guilds so not really)
Recruitment (I don't think anyone does this other than "my uncle wants to play with us can he?")
Website (we have a website but it is hardly used) and within the website - forum (not used to the extent other guild use them), calendars (a chipmunk could plan our calendar) guild news (blank), dkp database (haven't seen one in months).
Real world costs (now here is where I assume someone is paying for everything and I have to admit I haven't donated).
Time We have multiple people who "lead" our guild, RL friends, I get the feeling they don't have time lately but once again it's been summer, etc. so I understand why. But to be honest I don't know the real reasons.

Before I go any further let me revisit those items pre-summer, when things appeared to be going okay: Distribution of info still lacked, sense of community still lacked but not really guild's fault I guess, recruitment was still bad, website was worse than it is now, I assume someone paid for vent and website since it was always up and our guild leadership was more active.

So looking back, things weren't all that great back then either, but since summertime attrition hadn't bitten us we were oblivious to the lack of leadership.

I'm a casual player maybe that means as a result I'm at home with a casual guild with casual leadership. But just like a pug that has any hope to succeed, at least someone has to be on the ball.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Those orange items

Matticus asked what other raid guilds do with the vanity items that come along with killing the Lich King with a Shadowmourne wielder in the raid (or maybe it only drops once when the person completes it I dunno).

Here are the goodies:
* Reins of the Crimson Deathcharger - A brand new mount that looks like the Death Knight's class mount.
* Muradin's Favor - A 10-minute Frost Dwarf transformation.
* Jaina's Locket - A portal to Dalaran on a 1-hour cooldown, you finally have your own pocket mage!
* Tabard of the Lightbringer - A tabard with a very shiny on-use effect.
* Sylvanas' Music Box - A music box that plays Lament of the Highborne.

I enjoy thinking about what to do with this stuff because I have as much chance getting any of it as I do winning a million dollar lottery. There's no stress in our guild over who gets what because we can't kill LKlite let alone heroic LK.

Knowing one of our raid leaders, he'd keep it all for himself or give it to his girlfriend. Other guilds know what I'm talking about!

When you think about it, it's a downer to be at amateur raiding level where you never see legendaries. Instead you get teased with shards.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

It's like I wrote it myself

It no longer surprises me to find blog posts elsewhere with sentiments so close to my own. WoW has millions of players so there is always a chance to find someone in similar circumstances.

Due to a very weak showing for our latest scheduled raid, some of us in our guild are discussing our plans for the rest of Cataclysm. When thinking about this, Keeva of Tree Bark Jacket hits on several points that resonate with me. I was going to highlight specific parts but realized most of it would be highlighted! The biggest point I agreed with her on is this:

Basically, when attrition rears its ugly head during times like this (pre next expansion) I don't think its a good idea to burden your core raiders with keeping the boat afloat.

Many guilds and guild officers act like it is a badge of honor to suffer through the rough times, re-recruiting, pugging in people, waiting for 30 minutes to see if more will show up. I've been there more than once and it sucks to be the ones standing around like you've got nothing better to do. But you have this crazy sense of loyalty to 'be there' for your guild.

I think Keeva has the better option. Stop pushing it. Let your guild have a break! If there are a few who want to keep pressing on, let them be the ones to find another guild to do so.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Hot buttons on action bars

Some would say God has a way of doing things but in one day I came across a political reference in two very different blogs. One was WoW related - Big Bear Butt and the other was let's just say as far from gaming as you can think of. What would be the opposite of gaming....hmmm.

Anyway. BBB's was made in the past few days while the other was made a few years ago. The coincidence is that I came across them at the same time. I don't necessarily read BBB's all the time and I only recently came across this other blog.

Whether it was divine intervention or not, it got me to thinking why besides the fact they are hot button issues themselves they provoke responses.

My own take on it is that we forget the internet is impersonal no matter how much we pour into them. We might read blogs weekly, forums daily (or heck tweets minute by minute!) but without being a close friend of a person we don't really know them. We spend months (years) depending on them for advice, laughing at a sense of humor we feel we share, collaborating on mutual interests. And all of a sudden you find out they are horde and you're a staunch alliance!

Well, back in the beginning of WoW the last sentence would pack more punch. :)

What I'm getting at is we share something we are passionate about. (Passionate may be to strong of a word here but play along with me.) So finding out we disagree on something as polarizing as politics have become, comes as a surprise. How could we both love this yet I hate that or they hate that. It's our own fault for choosing to be so at odds with someone not of our own party.

If it gets to the point the blog doesn't speak to you anymore it makes total sense to unsubscribe to the feeder or what have you. But if it is just one post, why not continue to enjoy the blog, maybe with a more discerning eye. Otherwise you're just melting all the kindles because one ebook was bad. (Ugh technology you make my bad analogies worse.)

The weakest link

As I mentioned earlier I've lucked up on a decent core group of raiders for 10-man stuff.

When 10-mans were completely different from 25 it was fun to complete them because it was different content. When they became mini versions of 25 they were helpful in getting geared up. Then, at least for me, they became a way to finish off instances the 25-man groups I was a part of were unable to. I didn't get a drake because of Immortal? Oh well, at least Undying was well within reach.

And now Cataclysm puts 10 and 25 on the same lockout with the same gear. I've already co-opted the design shift that what I've done in 10 counts for 25. I used to respect the differences between the two. I was in the camp sure 10s are difficult for their own reasons but 25s are still harder overall. But at this point either we outgear the current instances or we have a 30% buff for the ones we don't. It's not like I'm really doing 25s for some sense of grand achievement. So if I get it done in 10 or 25 it's become all the same to me.

That said, while 10s are easier overall, 10s are also the place where you feel more responsibility for how you perform. Since our 10-man really got rolling I've been thinking about how successful we could really be as a 10-man only squad in Cataclsym - breaking away from the guild we're currently in. I'm a pessimist so its no surprise I lean toward us not being very successful. The reason I think so is we need the support of a bigger guild. Essentially more people to choose from.

On several occasions now it seems like one or two people, different in each case have held us back from completing a specific goal. They weren't asked to sit out, instead they were unable to show up that day and we had someone else come in and bam! success. Well recently I have no doubt I was the one holding us back (hoping to get a chance to redeem myself soon!) So I know what it's like on both sides.

Since we're not a guild of superstars we're always going to have our cases of durr moments depending on the fight. If we were just a band of 10-12 raiders I don't think we would have the luxury of pulling someone else in when our links break.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Leveling brick wall

I have time now to level another alt, but boy has it become a chore!

YMMV but here was my experience last evening:

When I leveled my paladin back around the beginning of the year, horde had instant pvp queues and we won more battles than we lost. I had a blast leveling my paladin.

Cue August 2010, PvP queues are no longer instant and omg do we suck! I'm at a loss as to why horde in this battlegroup is so bad. We own wintergrasp but that is due to our own realm's organization even to the point we get on vent sometimes. Elsewhere? Enter stage left cross realm fiascoes.

So I try out PvE. My horde character is pure dps so no insta-queue for him. Instead I wait 7-10 minutes for the queue to pop only for someone not to accept. Instead of our group remaining intact, it appears to split us up again (although supposedly we stay at the top of the queue). It forms another full group and pops for the second time. Someone else doesn't accept. We go through this 3 times before finally getting to zone in.

The run goes well, we have the random dungeon buff and I swear it seems like they've nerfed the instances in other ways (less mobs?). I'm appreciative of basically what amounts to a multiple mob grind in a group setting. I guess I'm not truly enjoying the character I'm playing. Or simply I have more fun being the one to lead the charge through dungeons instead of being in the herd.

Truth be told, I'm only pushing to level this specific character because he has enchanting and I want to be able to disenchant my own stuff horde side. While it's an acceptable reason to level its not a fun one.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Gold cappers bad for the game?

Sometimes I venture horde side and soon regret it a small bit. Why? Because when I go to the AH many of the items are sold by the same person at relatively ridiculous prices. Not only that the AH lacks other items altogether.

My only guess is the horde on this particular server are smaller in population. But part of it I feel may have to do with these few players monopolizing the market.

I hesitate to post this because its all on "feeling" with no proof. It also ventures into some territory I'd rather not inject into this blog.

I "feel" like a few players are buying everything off the market then slowly parcelling it out to the rest of us well. It's like getting more gold (and having nothing to do with all that gold) for the sole purpose of getting more gold. Does it really help the community for players to flip items on the AH? Are we even supposed to care about the community of a game?

I have a choice - to not buy things off the AH. To do without. But in the end it just makes me not want to spend time horde side. That doesn't seem right.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Making Healing Harder?

I just finished reading a blog post about Cataclysm healing.

It sounds like heals are healing for less and as a result mana is at a premium. The blogger suggests dps helping healers out by moving out of fire.

If only it was this easy.

I'm a pessimist. Here comes my doom predictions:

I think dps is going to be irritated. Just recently someone in my raid commented on the days of old where hunters and rogues were expected to bandage. Are we going to go back to those days? It's been a long time since I heard dps complain they didn't get healed and I haven't missed those complaints one bit.

I think raids are going to bring even more healers to compensate. Healers are still hard to find, our recent raid consisted of dps using their heal specs. This also means, unless pure dps have some insane kind of unique buffs, more hybrids being courted. More demand for healers usually results in healer burnout.

I think more of a burden of success will fall on healers. Whether or not dps can avoid damage, healers will be expected to make up for the slack.

So yeah, they are going to make healing harder, but I don't think this is what they meant by it.

Friday, August 13, 2010

It took a long time to get back

A while back, around November 2007, my 10-man raid leader disappeared. This was around the time of Zul'Aman's release. Prior to that I can't remember being so excited about raiding. I was looking up strats beforehand and we were doing well. So well in fact we had reached Zuljin (the last boss) right before our raid leader (and main tank) left.

There have been few times in WoW where I've been so disappointed. I had raided with this player for over a year if not more and poof he was gone. No one seemed to be willing to talk about it either. I know he came back eventually but that bridge was burnt.

Me? I eventually moved on, switching guilds now and again, but also making sure to explain my reasons why to those I was leaving behind. (It has never been about the players - but usually the schedule.)

The reason I bring this up is because recently I looked around and realized I was in another 10-man group that I was thoroughly enjoying and we're actually making decent progress.

The pessimist in me would usually say "and now I'm waiting for the broadaxe to fall". Instead I'm going to ride this wave for as long as I can.

It took a long time to get back to this kind of feeling, I'm not going to wish it away.

Friday, August 6, 2010

In a good place

I've completed some things I never even dreamed of (Kingslayer, small group tanking), things I usually didn't do (full instance clears during their expansion) and usually didn't have time to (cap multiple alts).

This is due to WoW become even more casual-friendly. Some call it welfare others call it "dumbing down". I call it getting to play the game.

Originally (if places like Molten Core and BWL gave titles) getting a title would be as foreign to me as if raiding was a completely different game like EQ. I would read about it but wouldn't know anything of it first hand. Instead this time around I got to clear places like ICC (on normal) participating instead of being a spectator.

While many have complained about the aoe fest of 5-man groups, it enabled me to tank (not on just one, or two, but three different tanks!) without spending time setting up cc (which I've never enjoyed). I may be one in a sea of millions who is sad to hear about a plan to bring back Magister's Terrace-level cc. I'm hoping the rumors are exaggerated.

And normally the time it took to level up and gear my main character left little time to level up alts. Let alone get them geared beyond one or two epics here and there. This time around I was able to level up several alts (even one from scratch) and actually had fun doing so because of RDF and battlegrounds. Being able to put them all in epics was never expected but doing so was an welcomed surprise. Being able to beef up my characters without joining raiding guilds and having to block out places on my schedule made me feel the game was growing with me, instead of me growing away from it.

Yes, I've completed several things in Wrath and I still have other things I can do. While I'm looking forward to another expansion, I'm in no hurry for Cataclysm to get here.

I'm in a good place.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Casual Raiding Evolution?

Back on Jul 14th Skunkworks, a two night per week raiding guild killed the Lich King on Heroic Mode. I mention this because it makes me wonder if more guilds, as its raiders lives change, will start cropping up that embrace a more casual raid experience. Only raiding a few nights a week, yet giving it your best when you do.

I remember blogging about how I felt I was pushing myself to enjoy a raiding environment which simply wasn't made for me. In the scheme of things it was always casual, usually only 4 nights a week when other serious guilds raided just about every night. I knew I would never be able to raid every night and was disheartened when I finally admitted 4 nights a week was too much as well.

Since then I've raided with two different, 2 night/week 25-man guilds. (I was pleasantly suprised to find out they existed.) We did alright but definitely nothing much to blog about when it came to success. We killed stuff but failed to clear Ulduar and to date, ICC. Overall you can say I'm content, but it stings that the results aren't there as we move from instance to instance. We move on not because we're done, but because we've done as much as we can do.

The reality is my current guild has a casual mindset along with a casual schedule.
Casual mindset you stroll along taking upgrades where you get them and are happy. Casual schedule you kill what you can and call it a day. Casual mindset + casual schedule = not setting a destination because you won't reach it anyway.

What I'd prefer is a middle-road mindset and casual schedule. I don't have to be the guild that killed HM-LK I mentioned above, but I would like to have at least killed LK on normal (25). At this point with a 30% buff we have no excuse for not doing so.

Hearing about guilds like Skunkworks proves what I'm asking for isn't far-fetched and in fact I'd like to believe more players will opt for this type of playstyle in the future.

Monday, July 26, 2010

How the other three-fifths live

Exhausting my string of tanks I've stepped over into a new area - dpsing! I'm playing a "pure" dps class, so I can't switch specs.

DPS and the Random Dungeon Finder have not been been as positive of an experience as tanking was. First of all, it's my own fault as I've never done much of any kind of dps in a group setting. So it's been a little shaky getting used to it. Second, doing it on a hunter comes with its own probability of hiccups. Turn Growl OFF!!! And third, so long instaqueue!

Why is it when the queue pops, there is always a dpser who doesn't click accept? I, just like I'm sure other tanks, have wondered this same thing. Well its because you don't have an instant queue. So instead of queuing up and hitting accept within seconds as most tanks are fortunate to do. As DPS, you queue up and wait. And wait. And wait. Annnnnd wait. And before long you step away from the computer for just a second and come back and see you missed the pop and have to get back in the queue. QueueQueue

I've had my share of tanks leaving at the beginning. Healers going afk. I was kicked out of a group that was mid-instance as soon as I joined. Tanks who nerdrage over mistakes. And for the time I carve out to run instances, I feel like a lot of it is wasted. I can run at least two or three instances in the time it takes for my dpser to run one.

Yet i'm still happy that I'm getting the chance to find groups. In the past I just soloed on my dps. So even with DPS at a disadvantage compared to tank/healers things are much better than they used to be pre-RDF.

Monday, July 19, 2010

A reminder for the remainder of Wrath

"If you don't have a plan for'll be a part of someone else's."

Ruby Sanctum - a bit of a let down?

I didn't think about it until now, but RS turned out to be a bit of a downer when you think of its potential to keep us engaged for a little while longer.

As far as I know, there are no 2n-slot bags, no Spyro mounts, no achievements (other than the kills themselves).

The loot ranges from i258 (normal 10) to i284 (heroic 25). So something for everyone except pugs. The trash will be pug-prohibitve. However at this point if you are in the average raid guild either the stuff you can tackle (normal modes) will give you sidegrades while the stuff that would be upgrades (heroic modes) you'll have to work for. Unfortunately, for guilds like mine "working for it" means wiping each week until we finally get it. And our guild doesn't have it in them to wipe for a week or three. Not now, not in the summertime when we don't even know where our officers are half the time. Not with Cataclysm looming.

If you are a hardcore progression raider, working for it means farming it on heroic mode until everyone has the 284 stuff they feel is necessary to start raiding in Cataclysm a week after its released.

But so many lost opportunities to keep the rest of us (who's pinnacle will be normal mode) showing up for a few more weeks:

Bags! Yes, I know four 22-slot bags are already available and even a 24 slot (who knew?!?!). Someone can always use more bag space.

And Barney mounts! Yes, I know there are purple mounts already in game, but another one wouldn't hurt, especially since getting a drake in a 25 man group is a slim affair.

And no achievements? So you kill Halion and you're done when it comes to doing achievements. No "Cutter Avoider" for no one dying from Twilight Cutter? No "Dee Curser" for allowing all marks to reach higher than 3 or 4?

Hmm. None of that would really make me look forward to Halion trash each week. I guess the developers were doing us a favor.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Alts in Progression Raiding

I recently decided to stop "serious" raiding because I noticed alts popping up in our raids. Coincidentally, Greedy Goblin posted about the No-Alt rule in his guild.

He explained why he thinks people play alts. I don't know if I completely agree with him on all points (alts used to grow epeen), but there is truth in it. If you are on an alt you are there to soak up gear, rep or emblems not help the raid progress. I've blogged before about why I think alts are a detriment to progression raiding. At the point our raid started allowing alts I knew our goal had changed from progression to something else.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I saw the sign

I'm not going to guild hop unless something drastic occurs in Cataclysm. However if raiding was important to me like it used to be, I would be jumping ship right now.

I'm guessing burnout, summertime, raid leader temperament and raid apathy has brought our progression long-skid.

Raid dungeons have usually taken the best guilds anywhere from 2-4 months to clear and most recently they are doing that even on hard-mode.

We have now reached the 7th month that ICC has been open. My guild has not cleared it on 25 and the recent events of the past month or so have shown our chances are slim.

1) Burnout. We had our first wave of roster disappear months ago. This coincided with our first 10-man LK kill. Which was right around March, 4 months in. I returned around that time and now, 4 more months in, it looks like its my turn.

2) Summertime. Vacations, weddings, relocations, concerts. Even the palest of basement dwellers find a reason to venture out into the sun.

3) Raid leader temperament. We usually have 3 raid "leaders", one who doesn't really lead much, one who if everyone else had his attendance attitude we'd never raid, and the third who usually leads but appears to be getting very annoyed with the other two's lack of input. And of course this is taken out on the raid. When things are good their dynamic works and we have a great time, lately not so much.

4) Raid apathy. We don't have enough willing to forego loot to lockout the raid for more tries on Arthas. Plain and simple. Our raid would rather farm bosses we already know how to kill.

Even with all that, in the past I've kept at it. I've been burned out but kept showing up. If my vacation wasn't spent out of town, I'd raid. If I had an annoying raid leader, I'd complain to friends, but continue to follow their lead. I even kept showing up to help my fellow raiders get loot. However recently I saw the sign I couldn't ignore. A few key raiders brought their alts.

I don't have a problem with it because they take loot that would normally get sharded. But while the other things I listed aid in slowing progression, alts actually hurl you to a halt. What it means, without them actually saying it, we've gotten as far as we're going to get progression wise.

I'm not going to farm another instance. I know from past experience it is one of my most hated activities. I'm heeding the sign.

Edit: Good lord I've said this before.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

World of Dragoncraft?

I have defeated, among others,
a black dragon - Onyxia
a blue dragon - Malygos
a red dragon - Vaelastrasz
a green dragon - Taerar
a nether dragon - Netherspite
a twilight dragon - Sartharion
an infinite dragon - Aeonus
and most recently another twilight dragon - Halion.

I don't recall defeating any bronze, chromatic or plagued. There are no chromatics that have reached adulthood and I don't believe there are any plagued dragons that I know of. I have a plagued proto-drake so you could say I tamed it instead of defeating it.

Speaking of Halion, our group was shocked to realize using cc would make the trash easier. I'm betting we weren't the only ones.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Good news everyone

"...we've decided at this time that real names will not be required for posting on official Blizzard forums."

Now we can get back to more important things like deciding whether to roll a worgen or a goblin in Cataclysm.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

RealID in GearScore Mod

Perhaps the picture was photoshopped.

But what I saw was someone's RealID listed in the tooltip.

Now whether this is possible or not it's this type of fear, even if unjustified, people have.

It does make you wonder if they've tested all aspects.

I know the final response is don't opt-in to RealID, don't use mods and addons.

Update - according to the picture was faked. Now conspiracy theorists can say "But how can you be sure?" and " isn't official!" But I'm not a conspiracy theorist. /wink

My question is will Blizzard be able to reinforce a feeling of security for its users while playing their game?

As someone said "Five years ago I shared my info because I thought it would be used for billing purposes only." And that would be a reasonable and rational expectation wouldn't it?

What choices will the WoW gaming community make now that they will regret in 5 years? months? days?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Real ID on WoW forums

How far do you have to slide before something is a slippery slope?

Apparently there are plans to change it so you have to opt-in to Real ID to post on the forums where you real name will be displayed along side your posts.

The community could surprise me with enough players feeling okay posting with their real identity to keep the forums thriving.

I won't be one of them.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I need to regain my sanity

There is a saying that the "definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results".

I do not like raiding during the week. I work, so getting off work to raid feels like leaving one job to head to another. And you have less free hours in a work day so after raiding you feel like your whole day disappeared when it's over.

I had no plan to raid until the weekend, yet I fell for the trap that was Ruby Sanctum. RS will be here next week and the next. I had no reason to be in a rush, yet there I was inside a new dungeon that didn't look exceptionally interesting fighting a boss that didn't look exceptionally new and from what I understand drops loot that isn't exceptionally any better than what I already have. The fight seems to be another stand-out-of-this, move-away-from-that. Not exceptionally ground breaking mechanics.

I ended the evening irritated and annoyed that I bothered.

So why did I bother? The only answer is I must be insane.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Positional good

There's an economic concept known as a positional good in which an object is only valued by the possessor because it's not possessed by others. The term was coined in 1976 by economist Fred Hirsch to replace the more colloquial, but less precise "neener-neener".
~Sheldon Cooper, The Big Bang Theory

Saturday, June 26, 2010

In The Summertime

In the summertime when the weather is high,
you can stretch right up and touch the sky,
when the weather's fine,
don't have worgen and no goblins on your mind.

Have a drink, have a drive,
go out and see what you can find.


I'm going to keep posting, just a little less.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Lord Ahune doesn't need a tank

I was in a group where someone said this. I find it funny, because if a mob is on you you're "tanking" it. Just because you may be ill-equipped for it doesn't mean for a brief moment you're weren't performing the role.

I think quite often people forget how hard things hit because they aren't usually the ones getting hit.

I secretly like when someone pulls something off one of my tanks and summarily see their health drop. The player usually watches their aggro the rest of the run.

A salute to addons

Every once in a while I see a thread about healing addons. Someone asking if others use them. Someone asking which one is better. Someone asking the developers to get rid of them.

Every single time someone responds they don't use healing addons and the default ui is just fine. Someone else responds they always use them. Someone else responds that addons are a crutch. And someone else says you can't perform as well without them. Every single time.

I love addons. I use them. I feel like they make me a better player in some cases. I admit I don't really believe players who only use the default ui perform as well as those who use it. For instance does the default ui keep track of HoTs and incoming heals from other players? However I'm sure they perform okay and for the majority of us that's good enough.

But my real reason for this post is I decided to accumulate a bunch of blossoms (fire festival currency) for one of the (current world event) Midsummer Fire Festival rewards. I didn't want to bother with figuring out all the places I should go. Several areas you visit give you blossoms either for "honoring" your faction's bonfire or "desecrating" the opposite faction's. I did it last year and kinda enjoyed it then, however I wasn't looking forward to doing it again this time. But I wanted that darn reward! For the past few days I tried to mount up and do a few and ended up logging off because I just couldn't get into it.

Enter "TourGuide - Alliance Midsummer Fire Festival Guide" addon! I consider it my Triple A triptik to visiting all the places I need to. Now what was going to be a chore will be a nice checklist to work off of.

I was irritated. I thought to myself if I'm irritated by this I know someone else out of 12 million (probably more by now) is too and has written a mod for it. Well maybe they weren't irritated but just wanted to be helpful. Either way I was right.

Thanks addon author Rahnlin! You made my day!

/salute to you and others

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

RealID - oh there you are!

I've given one person my RealID and I already feel I've given out too much.

I trust my friend. RealID is perfect for us - I play on different realms and different factions. He refuses to even try horde and says he doesn't have time to roll on a different server. We'll be able to keep in touch easier this way.

However I still feel as if my ability to do something on my own without someone knowing about it is gone. It's not about needing to keep something secret. I'm not sure how to describe it. It's like some days I like to go to the park. Does that mean I'd like my friend to have me on gps following my every movement? There's nothing to hide but there's nothing that needs to be shared either.

Anyone else understand what I mean?

Saving us from ourselves

During this year's Midsummer Fire Festival you have a chance at getting a pet from the satchel you're given for completing the Lord Ahune event. You can only get a satchel once per day for your character. A pet collector friend of mine said they were happy about that because otherwise he would run the instance multiple times each evening. He said he was concerned he may not get it, but didn't seem overly so.

For Cataclysm the plan is to have one lockout for 10-man and 25-man raids. People are QQing about this saying they won't be able to raid as much. But apparently, through forums or some other method, the developers heard many complaints that players felt they had to raid both even when they didn't want to.

Limited attempts for raids led guilds to level multiple alts that would give them the tries they needed to stay competitive (and ultimately "win"). One high profiled guild said enough is enough I decided to quit raiding in the type of environment that required that. But apparently not enough followed suit and I don't think they are going to develop limited attempt raids in the future.

And almost forgotten by many, in PvP, you could play the game 24 hours a day at an attempt to reach High Warlord or Grand Marshal and Blizzard removed that honor grind because not enough players could control themselves to not do so.

"Remember to take all things in moderation (even World of Warcraft!)" is a tip that is sometimes displayed on the zone-in screen of the game.

I appreciate Blizzard's attempt to be responsible purveyors of their...craft. They may have to do so with us kicking and screaming but in the end let's hope we realize it was for the best.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Do the top guilds in the world do strict 10-man raiding?

I can't say why top guilds do what they do. For challenge? Glory?

I would suspect they like to be the first to do a thing.

I would suspect they like to perform at the highest level.

They couldn't do the strict 10-man raiding currently because they had to focus on 25-man. They couldn't be the first if they wasted time on side projects.

And are you performing at the highest level wearing subpar gear?

Would Paragon or Ensidia beat Phoenicis or From Chaos if they made it their goal to focus on 10-man strict raiding?

Plans for Cata

My plan for Cata is to not have much of a plan at all.

For Wrath I rushed to 80. I did so because in Burning Crusade I got...burned. I leveled at a good clip in BC, but I didn't take off from work to do so while some in my former guild did. They started raiding before many of us had even reached cap and I played catch up and didn't truly ever catch up for that whole expansion. I planned not to make that mistake again.

This time I don't have any lofty raiding goals. I have no reason to rush. Also if getting decent gear via heroics is possible in Cata, I'll have something to do that doesn't require raiding as soon as possible.

Playing the game in a relaxing manner? Like its a game instead of a sport?

This has me looking forward to Cataclysm.

10 or 25 or nothing?

With my recent decision to place limits on efforts I make in WoW it makes me think about Cataclysm and its changes to 10-man and 25-man raiding. Placing them on the same lockout and having them offer the same rewards (in varying quantities).

When I returned to raiding the last time 10-mans afforded the chance to get a few drops quickly and got me caught up to the minimal level. However it was 25-man that got me the most gear but only because my guild had been raiding for a while at that point and a large amount of gear got defaulted to me.

What do I prefer performance-wise? In 10-mans I feel I have more responsibility. My biggest personal triumphs have occurred in 10-mans. In 25s I do my part but obviously less falls on individual shoulders when 24 others are present.

On the other hand, sometimes I like showing up to raids not having to worry about being totally relied upon.

Success-wise? I still say accomplishing something in 25 is harder than 10. If I got something done in 10-man I would still want to get it done in 25 at some point because I feel 25 is the pinnacle.

But the developers are removing this. If I get something done in 10 I'll be done period. I won't be able to do it on 25 (at least not with some extra tangible reward tied to it) and vice versa.

I like taking extended breaks from raiding. 25s allow for this much easier than 10s.

And now with my new rule of not dedicating myself to any specific raiding goals, should I bother with raiding at all?

I just don't know at this point.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Some interesting things to read later

Adding this to take a look at later.

Hindsight is 10/25

I just have to link this again (How to Wipe on the LK) because it is so spot on and now, for me, it is so much easier to laugh about it.

I cannot remember a time where I was personally involved in a raid encounter where mistake after mistake were learned from and progress was made. This is exactly what makes a raid memorable and after you beat it you feel you've accomplished something.

The thing is this was only on 10 and only on normal...and with a huge buff. Easy stuff yes? Yet for our band of amateur raiders it was if we had performed like Paragon. From the very beginning where we tried to use someone who had never tanked before to a priest insisting they could do better if they were specced holy instead of disc we were faced with challenges "professional" guilds simply do not have to put up with.

We made adjustments in strategy all along the way and things got easier. We inched toward the end. Much to my chagrin, we ended up succeeding with the "necessary" classes. We had a warlock to cheat death, a paladin tank healer, a new priest (who stayed disc) and a shaman for heroism. Would we have done it without one of these? I'm not so sure. Actually, on the kill we pretty much had to take what we could get but it turned out to work in our favor.

In a way, like women forget the pain of labor once their baby is born, the encounter seems easy enough looking back on it. You move here for this and there for that. You do your best to do all the things you're there to do and you hope everyone else does the same. And you hope something screwy doesn't happen along the way.

However while I was in the thick of the learning curve several times I felt it was impossible. The biggest reason was because we simply could not get the same group to show up each time. So each time we had someone new and each time we went through the errors the rest of us had become all well too familiar with. A few times the "experienced" of us focused so much on new guys not messing up we took our own dives. It worked better when we trusted each other to do their jobs.

We lucked up on some players who either learned from their mistakes quickly or weren't put in the circumstances that would allow them a chance to fail. Better performers than us sell Kingslayer by telling the person to fall of the edge immediately and running it without them there to cause issues. We rolled the dice with some pugs at a chance of getting a dropper full more of dps or heals and instead I think they performed better than we did overall.

I doubt we'll giterdone on 25 normal. I'm okay with that. I'm willing to at least put some time in trying. But I have no delusions of doing this on heroic in any form. I'm a 3K Fun Run & Walk type of player not a world-class marathoner.

I'll end this by saying it was a time to remember, definitely up there in my top five. Thanks WoW.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The start of a new chapter

The time has come for me to start a new chapter in my book title World of Warcraft.

I'm not quitting or anything drastic like that. But it is time for me to become even more casual (at least raiding-wise) than I've ever been since I stepped foot in Molten Core. *shiver*

In order to accomplish the latest thing I did in WoW (Kingslayer) I had to specifically dedicate extra time on top of the extra time I was already dedicating to it. And along the way it ceased making sense to continue, yet I felt I had put so much time in I didn't want to stop.

I do not want to place myself in that type of situation ever again.

Friday, June 18, 2010

We need you so much we don't want you

The ratio of tanks and healers to dps is very lopsided. Tanks and healers are desired but its become resented (if my previous posts about pug attitudes is any indication).

I've seen these suggestions before:

1) Tank and healer NPC henchmen
2) And getting rid of tanks and healers altogether

The second one I find interesting because thenoisyrogue suggests players can alternatively be responsible for mitigating damage (no healers present) and "locking down" an enemy (no tanks present) while the rest dps.

Where I think this falls flat is this is what PvP is. PvP for all its arenas, battlegrounds and world crop-ups is quite often a one on one affair where the player is responsible for keeping themselves alive long enough to kill the other person.

Do you remember the complaints about the "PvP" portion of ToC and Magister's Terrace? I'm not sure what the specific complaints were but I imagine they had something to do with not being able to have stuff tanked while healers healed and dps dpsed.

As a healer you don't know how many times I've buffered someone's failure to be their own holy trinity. I've seen mages try to tank, rogues miss interrupts, hunters forget to feign death.

Very few people like the burden of personal performance causing success or failure placed on them. Controlling a cube didn't require tanks or heals (did it? I can't remember) but how many people failed at that.

Players do not want to do those very things that make healers a little less necessary. Even things like maximizing their dps instead of being happy at #9 could put many of us out of job.

And let's not forget since folks like to stand in fire I've been invited to things as soon as I log on.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I still don't get it

I cannot fathom why players feel like it's okay to be rude to one another.

I kinda get it when it comes to PvP, when tempers run high. Knifey Kniferson running off and doing his own thing and Bluddy Bludgeon not paying attention to the flag. (I feel like the next generation is all going to end up on high blood pressure medication at the tender age of 30 the way they seem to snap during battlegrounds.) But that doesn't make it okay.

I really don't understand what could make someone say the stuff they do in PvE. When we're all supposedly working together toward a common goal. There are some dps able to kill stuff so fast they don't need a tank. I can count on my fingers how many I've grouped with (one guy had Shadowmourne) that have that kind of dps. Even then they need a tank for most bosses.

So when you queue up with a tank, someone you need. Someone people have been paying gold to get. Why in the world...of warcraft would you treat them like camel dung?

I'm not going to take the abuse being given to me any longer. No, I'm not going to grow a thicker skin. No, I'm not going to laugh it off. I'm going to drop group. Yes, I feel bad for those in the group that haven't said a word. But I'm not going to continue to tank when apparently the person I'm tanking for thinks I'm a "retard" or their personal Alaskan husky in some Iditarod dungeon run with their "gogogo". An emblem is not worth being called "stupid" just because in this anonymous world its deemed okay.

Friday, June 11, 2010

And you tell two friends and you tell two friends

This is a blog post spawned from another blog post spawned from another blog post. Does it stop there? I didn't go any further to find out because I imagined it never ended as I'd jump from link to link to link.

Anyway. Reading about individual performance mattering over at pwnwear made me think about what I'm facing currently.

Basically talking about a type of raid/raider and what makes its difficult. For instance I'm focusing on Type C.

# Type A: challenging the strongest. Example is tank and healers, everyone else could screw up and it doesn’t matter so much (Patchwerk)
# Type B: challenging the average, where everyone needs to pull their weight, for example due to enrage timers or to stay alive (Heigan)
# Type C: challenging the weakest, where one person can wipe the raid, for example flame wreath in Kara, the Bomb on Geddon, or Thaddius or the Lich King himself

This is why I've always said 25-man raids are inherently harder than 10.

The odds that your average 25-man raid is going to consist of weak links is high.

The odds that your average 10-man raid is going to consist of weak links is lower. Because since the individual responsibility for better performance is higher, you usually pinpoint the weak links and start removing them as you move along.

25-mans manage to progress in spite of weak links. 10 mans don't fare as well and as a result end up stronger and more capable of moving forward.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

I'm going to tape a four leaf clover to my headset

First of all I'm glad I had something to make me laugh.

I'm going to try really hard to maintain a positive outlook for the Lich King fight.

Although this isn't Algalon and we're not fighting far away out in some celestial plane, I do feel as if the planets *must* be perfectly aligned in order to defeat this guy.

People have done it
. People have done it when it was more complex. People have done it when they were weaker than anyone else.

But I am not fathoming how I am going to get it done. I'm not going to think about it anymore until closer to our next attempts because it has taken up to much of my brain space.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Profession reflections

As I slowly level up leatherworking on an alt, I think about how fun (read profitable and useful) Jewelcrafting was.

JC didn't seem to be any more expensive to level up than anything else, I was able to craft trinkets to use the whole time while I was leveling and then you can make enough gold to carry you from day to day - not to mention make tons of gold if you actually put extra effort into it.

And if you read the Profession forums for a while you would think Engineering is the worst thing ever. Apparently you can't please folks, because I leveled up engineering and found it useful the entire way.I was able to make a helicopter mount (cool!) very easily and plan on saving up to make my very own choppa. I was able to craft some incredible 80 level goggles that you can wear at 72. And HELLO! an Auction House in Dalaran?!?!? Why didn't anyone tell me about that? I think engies were trying to keep it a secret so they could keep whining about how engineering needs improvement.

But leatherworking? Maybe I'm missing something but I'm not sure what helpful things you can make while leveling and Northrend had this thing, one material - borean leather (Tailoring is worse - one material - frostweave cloth) that you make everything with that makes crafting even more simplistic than it already is. And since I'm using bgs to level I don't come across much leather, so I purchase it off the warehouse, which leads me to believe the only people leatherworkers (well skinners) make money off of are other leatherworkers.

While JC makes money off of everyone, as does Inscription to an extent. And engineering is just plain useful. I feel like professions like LW and Blacksmithing need an upgrade.

When someone takes up a profession if its fun enough it doesn't have to be profitable (engineering) and if its profitable enough it doesn't have to be fun (enchanting). But why not make them all both?

Add the ability to make mounts from each. Players have come up with some great ideas, although I see they are as stuck as I am when it comes to what makes sense for a leatherworking mount -(Alchemy : Potion that creates glowy sparkly wings,Enchanting: Flying Broom,Leatherworking : Hot Air Balloon,Inscription : Hang-Glider or Paper Airplane (as suggested above),Blacksmithing : Ground Tank ). Maybe a saddle for a special horse?

And I think other professions should be easily recognizable just as engineers are in their goggles. The models are already available for alchemy because of Royal Apothecary Society and their ilk. Chefs have chef hats, once again I'm stuck on what leatherworkers could have...

But anyway! I think non-gathering professions, unlike races and classes, are a place where it's better when they are homogenized. I should have as much fun and profit leveling any profession I choose.

Monday, May 31, 2010

RDF or how I learned to be an a-hole

Random Dungeon Finder, my blessing has become my curse.

I've noticed a change in my pugging personality and it isn't a good one.

I thought of myself as patient and also the one willing to explain what's going on in an instance if someone was new to it. Are the Wrath instances faceroll now? Yes, however players bring their ICC-geared-hundreds-of-runs mentality to every instance they do regardless of who they may be running it with.

They are experienced and impatient so everyone else gets sucked into this rush-skip-don't-stop-to-breath vortex.

The answer to both sides of the coin is to run with friends. Like running fast? Run with friends. Like running slow? Run with friends. Want to skip bosses? Run with friends. Want to do the whole thing? Run with friends.

But that goes directly into contrast with the massively multiplayer aspect embraced by LFD. LFD putting random players together to do something many of us were missing out of before. A chance to quickly put together an instance to have fun in.

Now what I hear "Let's get this over with", "skip this boss so we can leave".

I think a big part of my problem is I've found playing a death knight to be less forgiving as a tank. This leads to me trying to go fast as I can on my warrior and paladin but when they ish hits the fan I don't have the fall backs I have on the other two.

I've grown irritated with not being able to go as fast as groups would like and yet going too fast for healers. I've grown irritated with groups wanting to do bosses and wanting to skip them in the same instance. I've grown irritated with players dropping Oculus and those that know how to do it not being patient enough to show others how.

This irritation manifests itself by me dropping groups for something as simple as someone looking at me funny.

I need to get back to how I was so I can wear my "the Patient" title without being a bold-faced liar.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Vicious Cycle

While looking up "vicious cycle" to help flesh out this post I found wikipedia's "Vicious Circle" entry and along with it "Virtuous Circle". I don't recall knowing of Virtuous circles, perhaps they were mention in some economics class I've long forgotten about. Vicious cycle is cliche, virtuous not so much.

I was thinking about vicious cycles in dungeon running.

Because on the forums tanks complain about dps and to a lesser extent healers and dps complains about tanks and to a lesser extent healers, and healers complain about tanks and dps seemingly equally.

DPS have long queues, so by the time they get a tank they want to tank to hurry. Not all tanks are equipped or comfortable with massive chain pulls so they feel pressured to rush. Tanks get inured to this and start biting off more than they can chew. Healers end up stressed because they aren't given the chance to get their mana up to a comfortable level and have to learn to keep up. Tanks and healers don't necessarily enjoy this so they stop queuing. DPS queues grow longer. The cycle continues.

DPS have long queues, but no one wants to give lesser-geared (with cheap crafted defense items you shouldn't be under-geared) tanks a chance. Tanks queue up as DPS to get tank gear adding to the DPS queue. The cycle continues.

What would be a virtuous cycle?

For me, I queue up with a group of random people and they laugh and joke and appear to have a good time. They act like they actually want to be there. They are better geared than me, way better in some cases, but they try to watch their aggro. The healer lets me know I can try bigger pulls and when someone inadvertently dies no one is blamed. The corpse laughs that he has made his "sacrifice". I want to keep running with these guys. And I do.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Dungeon queues

My DK tank reached 80 and I've started running a few heroics. I don't feel the same desire to do as many heroics as I did previously on my other tanks. Maybe its because for once I really do feel a bit squishier as a tank. Feeling that as a priest is okay, but feeling that way as a tank is weird. Instead I already want to level up other characters, try out dpsing a bit, but losing access to non-existent queue dungeon running is hard to bear.

I've said in the past a 20 minute wait isn't long. But I've grown extremely spoiled. I'm used to deciding I want to run an instance and immediately being able to do so. Not to mention just because you finally get in an instance doesn't mean it will actually get ran. I impatiently waited 20 minutes on my shadow priest only to have it fall apart before completing the very first pull. Then somehow with the group wiping and people dropping, our group was unable to re-queue correctly and when I left the group I was stuck with a 30 minute debuff (or was it 15?)either way I ended up logging off.

And yes, as a priest I'd have more luck as a healer but I'm not sure if I feel up to it.

In trade I see people putting together groups for chain running heroics and I also see tanks offering to run groups for a fee. Obviously I'm not the only one impatient. That's what the achievement title should have been.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Wasted effort

Does serendipity describe coming across a blog about death knight tanking only to find a comment about raiding that hits home to me?

Whatever its called, I like when it happens. Here's how Artie feels when a raid is cancelled:

*comments snipped about all the stuff Artie has to shuffle in order to raid in the first place*

"So consider that all of the above planning has taken place… and poof! Cancellation!

You know what? When that happens, I’m pissed. All that effort to be available is wasted. All of the real world stress is pointless. At that point, I’m done with the game."

No I don't have to juggle as many balls as Artie to raid, but the feelings I have when a raid is canceled are nearly the same. All the prep work is for naught.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Like being bonked with a whac-a-mole mallet it suddenly hit me. I don't want to raid.

Well, I do.


I remember back in BC doing arenas. My 2s and 3s partners all ended up fuming after our ten matches were over each week. I'm embarrassed to say how long we kept at it before finally giving up.

And here I find myself trying to figure out what to do with raiding when part of me wants to give it up as well.

Why is it difficult to just take a break from it?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Death Knight tanking revisited

I've started tanking on my death knight again and this time I'll probably carry it on through to 80.

At first I queued up as dps because I was still cautious about tanking on the DK due to previous attempts, one with my health going up and down like a roller coaster and another that got me a "WTF You're not holding aggro!1!!11!!" that left me slinking back to soloing and then parking my DK for a while.

Well queuing up as dps when I'm used to queuing as a tank or healer, well it simply sucks. I used to say 20 minutes isn't long, but I'm sorry, it is!

The first time I queued I tabbed out and came back to find I missed the queue.

The second time I logged out to character screen to turn on some mod and realized it takes you out of queue.

The third time I noticed in the time I had wasted with all of this I could have already done an instance on my other tank.

No, I'm spoiled, I like it when I decide to group I can group. And yes, I wish dps had that luxury.

So I bit the bullet and queued up to tank. It went very well. I had a few deaths due to not turning a boss away from the group. An eventual wipe due to not moving the mobs away from being feared into other mobs. But none of these things had anything to do with being a death knight tank. It could happen with any tank.

What clicked? I'm not sure. I definitely don't have a handle on exactly what I'm doing, but I'm finally getting experience with it. And hopefully things will keep improving.

Now one thing that really helps is I end up being higher level and possibly a bit better geared than dps while leveling up. It probably helps with my threat. When I hit 80 I won't have that luxury, but I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.

But for now I have a new tank to level and I'm actually looking forward to this new project.

Kindread Spirits Pt 2

I have a few things I purposely didn't do in WoW I've since regretted. I have a few other things I put off and have since regretted doing so. Should gaming leave you with regrets?

For instance I could have stuck with a retired character and had a few of the retro achievements that are nigh impossible for me to get on the characters I play now. But I had grown tired of that character and the new characters have been overall more fun for me. Isn't that what its all about?

Recently I've come to the realization my guild, without anyone really coming out and saying it officially, seems to have given up on clearing ICC.

Now where I stand is:
*I can try to find another guild to accomplish this goal/achievement

*I can keep showing up hoping it will just happen

*I can give up and become very lax with it

To be honest I want to do the third option. Down the road will I regret it?

This is where WoW may not change but I have to. I have to not care that I got Achievement X or Y. Or I'll end up with the biggest regret of all. Knowing none of this means anything all the while making it mean too much.

One time I got a perky pug on an alt. Not because I grouped up with 100 random players on purpose, but because I was enjoying tanking heroics and I queued up over and over again because I was having so much fun with it. And one day "Ding! Achievement unlocked!"

Kindread Spirits

I couldn't find a place to put a comment to Leafy's "Taking A Step Back From Hard Knocks" post on his blog, so I'm placing it here.

It's almost like I wrote the post myself. I started to pick out the things I've felt at one time or another and even as recently as last evening and I find I'm quoting pretty much the entire post:

"but the other thing on my mind this week has been WoW. And, more specifically, Achievements. And they've become a problem.

Somehow, somewhere along the way, Achievements have become a burden to me - especially the ones around the World Events. A set time limit to do a number of pretty complicated tasks? That's pressure, especially in a life where I only get a few free hours to play WoW every week.

Now, I'm not doing badly. I am all but two achievements away from Long, Strange Trip. One of them is to do with Children's Week. Yes, it's the 'orrible School of Hard Knocks. And it's actually stopped me logging in this week. I just didn't want to do it. I didn't want to feel obligated to do it. So I didn't. Children's Week ends tonight, and I don't care. I'm letting go of Achievements, and I'm letting go of WoW pressure. I really enjoy only two things in WoW: questing and doing dungeons or raids with my guild.

I have come, in the last few weeks, very close to quitting WoW for good. I found myself feeling bad that I didn't have time to do the things that I was working on, and then steadily realising that I didn't want to do them. I'd been sucked in by the time sink spiral that makes MMoRPGs so compelling, chasing Achievemnets and emblems from daily randoms and all the rest of the distractions built into the game, and it was twisting my life around in ways that I didn't find comfortable. Instead, I've chosen to work on my photograph, or to spend time with my wife, family and friends. It feels good. And, maybe, tomorrow I'll do some dailies and some quests on one of my lower level toons. That'll be fun.

"But WoW can't be a chore, because life has enough chores. It's a game, and games are fun. It's a pity I need to remind myself of that from time to time."

I finished up the achievements for Long, Strange, Trip a while back, thanks to WoW removing the monthly brew requirement. But I remember dreading certain achievements that required luck or competition against your own faction. The stress involved with knowing you had a very short period to get something done or you'd have to wait another year to try again. Now when each world event that comes around I'm actually relieved to look at my achievements list and know that I've done them. There are some achievements here and there that aren't part of the meta and I'm either doing them at my own pace or not bothering with them at all (I'm looking at you 'A Mask for all Occasions') Isn't it funny that I'm relieved to basically not play the game?

More on this later.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Seclusion mode on

I don't get excited about betas of games I'm already playing. In honor of full disclosure, I don't play betas to help the developers improve/test their game either. I play betas to get a free taste of what a new game is like. So the news of the alpha of Cataclysm being available doesn't feel me with giddiness.

I got in the beta of the Burning Crusade and I wish I hadn't participated. I know I will, after all, purchase expansions. Why see it in advance when I can savor the moment and see it for the first time once money has changed hands. It's not like they let you keep any progression you've made and carry it over to release.

I went to MMO champion and peeked at some of the Cata screenies and wish I hadn't done that as well. I don't need to be sold on Cataclysm, so I don't see what I could gain by immersing myself in all the Cataclysm news beforehand.

If there's one thing WoW does, is take their time releasing expansions. We get bored and start complaining about lack of content. Why burn out on the next one before its even begun?

Monday, May 3, 2010

Wiping Threshold

Our 25-man raid spent maybe several tries to no avail on an ICC boss one evening and the next time we raided someone mentioned not wanting to go through that again. If you wipe in a heroic its the end of the world.

I remember wiping in instances, one was probably Shadow Labyrinth, so many times our gear broke. But nowadays you better not slip up and wipe or the heroic group disbands or the raid doesn't show up the next night.

I have to admit I like wiping less myself and do sub 15 minute runs. But as far as raid instances are concerned I don't want to one-shot things I've never seen before.

Well let me explain that better. The other night our group wiped, made adjustments, wiped, made more adjustments, wiped, said we were close and going to give it another try, then nailed it. It felt great! Not the level of say a Lich King kill Finnish nerdgasm, but we cheered.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

EQ2 3 day pass

I wish I could remember what blog I read this on, but EQ2 is offering inactive accounts a chance to play for 3 days for the low, low price of five dollars.

I took the bait and I want to let others know if you've ever experienced the mother-of-all-downloads before getting to dive in to's gone!

Instead of downloading the entire game before letting you play now you only download what you need to get started. It seems areas are only downloaded as you visit them now. I'm so glad they changed it, one of Hardcore Casual's most popular posts can disappear now.

10=25 Why bother?

There are several reasons why players raid but I want to focus on a few:

1) Challenge
2) Loot

Except for the hardcore guilds, none of us can say with a straight face we raid for the challenge. You know why I know we (the majority of casual guilds) don't? Because if we did we wouldn't bail on unfinished existing instances and run to the new ones. Why not continue to work on Yogg or Alganon when Icehowl awaits? Is Icehowl more of a challenge than Yogg? No, but better, shinier loot awaits.

Loot. It's why we raid. I don't care what anyone says, everyone raids because of loot. Even guilds able to be realm first and worldwide first, complain when the loot isn't as great as what they expected. For a long time people on the forum qq'd about being able to do smaller raids because "We just want to see the content!!!!" How long was it after 10-mans were introduced did they same people start qq'ing "Why is our gear inferior??? Why can't we get legendaries???" Loot.

If loot is more important than challenge, I'm just guessing it is. If 10- and 25- man are supposed to be at the same level of challenge (doubtful) and you can take your best players out of a 25-man and form a 10-man squad while getting the same loot why would you bother with doing a 25?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

10=25 difficulty

I think the biggest question regarding this change is how exactly will WoW pull off making 10 man = 25 man difficulty?

I have been in situations where people dying have made things better. When Player D, with bad situational awareness, was better off face-planted on the floor instead of blowing up a bomb melee range. When 3 dps unable to stay out of frost patches died and the tank and healer finished off the boss because they healer no longer had to waste their mana healing stupid. Where having more room to spread out and not chain some horrific damage to 4 other people was beneficial.

In other words, I've always leaned towards 25-mans being more difficult than 10 simply because of logistics.

How will they counter this?


"...we're combining all raid sizes and difficulties into a single lockout. Unlike today, 10- and 25-player modes of a single raid will share the same lockout. You can defeat each raid boss once per week per character. In other words, if you wanted to do both a 10- and 25-person raid in a single week, you’d need to do so on two different characters."

See the whole post here.

Unlike a friend of mine, I don't despise running a 10-man and then running the same version on 25. He's happy about this change. I'm...skeptical about whether this will be a good thing or not.

When I decided to start raiding again my gear was behind my fellow raiders. I took the opportunity to run a few 10-mans in addition to 25 to get caught up. It worked out well. In the new system I can't do something like this. But the rush to get caught up was of my own doing so maybe the adjustment wouldn't be drastic.

In my experience, 10-mans are easier. In two guilds I've been in the 10-man groups cleared instances faster than 25. 10-mans consist of choice picks. That one dpser that who always lingers at the bottom of recount in your 25-man raids? You wouldn't pick him to go to your 10-man.

I foresee 25s being full of players who can't make the cut. Just like 40-mans decreasing to 25 separated the wheat from the chaff, the same will happen here.

In my current guild before this was even announced our 10-man raiders would mention now and then "We've already done it on 10." with a hint of smugness when it came to us doing things on 25.

Which one do I want to raid in? To be honest, 10-man gives you more of a feeling of accomplishment because more is riding on you when you don't have 4-5 others to back you up. By the same token, I'd feel worse about needing to take a break now and then in a smaller group.

Hybrids should feel pretty good about now. Hybrids shine in 10-mans. Ones that can do either of their many roles well are the ones you want in your 10 man. Paladins should be the happiest of all.

A thread over at MMO champion was about making a composition that covered all/most of the buffs and 7 of the 10 were hybrids (Balance and Feral druid, Ret and Prot Pally, Enh and Rest Shaman also Demon and Afflic Warlock , Combat rogue and Disc priest). Of course you're going to end up taking whatever you can get. But don't doubt when someone drops the guild is going to recruit with more specificity.

What this means is players are going to have to get better at what they do. I think players got better when we dropped from 40 to 25. You no longer could hide like when people went afk during raids for long periods of time and just put themselves on auto-follow.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

No more "main"s?

For the first time ever I feel as if I don't really have a main. Yes, I have a character I raid on and try to get extra achievements on, but doesn't really feel like my main anymore.

I have as much fun playing "alts" now as anything. It just so happens my raiding character is the one who had access to raiding and I wanted to see the insides of ICC, so that is what I'm playing now. But I never miss a chance to do a heroic on my latest tank.

You don't have to pour exorbitant amounts of timing gearing up anything anymore, so you don't have to choose one character and spend all your time on it. I'm raiding with so-called "alts" that have better gear than my so-called "main".

If achievements were account wide, I'd truly no longer have a main.

On the subject of mounts

"After a time, you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing, after all, as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true." - Spock

Every now and then I see someone on an Amani war bear I get a small pang of envy. Most likely I could have obtained it myself, but I felt it required too much of my time. And sometimes I take these personal stands and rail against something in WoW doing that to me. Raiding ZA around that period was one of those times.

I have some of the other rarer mounts but I swap them out for they fairly easy to get war tiger. Would I really ride the Amani war bear around all the time if I had it, or would it be just as trivial as all my other mounts at this point?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A good fit

Bender: "...what's Peter Parrot's first rule of captaining?"

Fry: "Always respect the chain o' command ... captain."

Recently I've come across three blogs about leading raids and guilds. Different perspectives but each making a point of the difficulty in leading people who want to go the opposite direction of whatever it is you're trying to do.

One thing I've learned about guilds is - unhappiness is hoping a guild will change to fit you. I raided for what felt to be a long time with a guild who's times didn't fit me. I raided too much and too long into the night. The guild I'm in now doesn't progress as fast as I wish it would, but I never risk raiding too much because they limit the days they raid and I never risk raiding to late because they have never once gone past raid time. For me, shorter raid schedule counts more than progression, so it works for me.

I've been mentioned to a friend the areas of improvement I see with our guild, but I don't complain to the guild leaders because so far this fit is one of the best I've had and I don't want to screw it up. Especially when I'm unwilling to take up the mantle to fill in the gaps. Why give guild leaders grief to make things perfect (in my mind) when things are 80% alright?

Why Tobold stays on my list

Tobold on WoW's Celestial Steed Sale:
"We started out with a game in which people played and were rewarded with virtual goods for playing. That over time evolved into a situation where we valued the virtual rewards more than the gameplay leading to it. People began to minmax, to "optimize the fun out of playing", trying to get to the reward in the fastest possible way, regardless of whether that way was fun to play or not. And the developers saw that, and said: "Well, if you want only the virtual reward and not the gameplay, we are quite willing to sell you that directly!". In short, the players are as much to blame for this than the developers or "greedy" managers."

I see this quite often as a tank in heroics. People want to get through the instance as fast as possible for their two Emblems of Frost. The immediate retort is "I've ran this instance hundreds of times, it is boring and I want it over with as quickly as possible".

What a sucky part of gameplay! Doing something you don't want to do, but you do it anyway for a "sparkly".

I can't remove myself from this as I was part of it myself in the form of raiding. I raided Molten Core long after it was fun to do so. I "needed" gear, my guild "needed" gear and my guild's alts "needed" gear. I've raided several places since then, but give MC a special mention because at its core, pun not intended, it was a big boring lava cave. Killing Ragnaros for the first time, ranks as one of my, if not number one, best memories of WoW. Killing it again and again and again and again? One of my worst.

Basically I told Blizzard, I'm okay with crappy gameplay as long as Tier 2 legs are a reward. I shouldn't have put up with it, but I did. I feel like I've learned from the experience. But is it too late?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Celestial Steed

For, as I understand the thing,
'E went to sell this steed —
Which is a name they give a 'orse
Of some outlandish breed —,
And soon 'e found a customer,
A proper sportin' gent,
Who planked 'is money down at once
Without no argument.

From "The Arab Steed" by Arthur Conan Doyle

$25 for a in-game mount that you can use across all of your characters provided they have appropriate riding skills.

I don't have to search for $25 in my budget. I don't have to forgo a month's worth of lattes or rationalize it as a special present to myself. However, even though I like the mount, I cannot bring myself to purchase it.

I'm not above spending money on WoW beyond my subscription fee, but I feel as if I need to draw the line somewhere. For now my line is drawn at the Blizzard Store.

On the other hand, I don't understand why some people are upset with Blizzard about this. If you don't like the fact they are selling things like this - don't purchase them! Vote (or don't) with your pockets.

Now I do feel it will affect new players. How would you like it if you just started the game and they give you your underwhelming (in comparison) mount and you see a fellow player with a glittery glowing gelding? You'd probably ask them how to get that mount. I know I would be disappointed to find I have to pay extra after just paying to purchase the game. Hm.

Anyway, I do care about slippery slopes. I don't want them to introduce something to the game that is annoying or tedious then "coincidentally" offering a paid alternative that makes things less annoying and tedious. For example, I think I'd be upset if we only had so many bag slots and they sold extra bags slots for real money. Or if you had to purchase access to new quests.

As it is now, I have 30 or more mounts I can spend time getting in game before running out of mounts to acquire. When I reach that point maybe then I'll think about purchasing a Celestial Steed.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Within my grasp

As mentioned before, I had written off getting the chance to see any of ICC. During the Burning Crusade expansion, my computer became dated and I found myself unable to raid an instance when it would play like a slide show. I resigned myself to the fact I wouldn't get to see BT. This time I did the same thing with ICC. I've gotten a new computer since then so performance wasn't an issue. But something unexpected came up right around the release of ICC and I pretty much gave up on ICC as well.

But with ICC being out 4 months (?) now, the raid-wide buff that gets greater as time goes on, and main raiders I guess burned out after playing 4 months, I've found myself getting a chance to see the majority of ICC very quickly (basically being carried in -25 but at least able to contribute in -10).

In my first run with a pug we made it up to Dreamwalker and in the second run with the guild's "B Team" we made it up to Sindragosa. In other words, only one boss away from the Lich King.

So now, instead of not getting to see an instance until another expansion is released and a group decided to go back and zerg it, I'm actually getting to experience it while having to put forth some effort.

The debuff is another smart idea on Blizzard part. I remember when some casual players just wanted to see instances not raid them. But I think those players are like me, they had written off being able to raid them, due to time, performance, what have you. So they begged Blizzard for a bone to just be able to see the instance even if loot wasn't part of it.

But I believe if these same people were given the option to fight through ICC as it was intended, albeit watered down with the buffs, they would do so. I know I've appreciated the chance and I can't wait to get to actually fight the Lich King now that he's actually within my grasp.

This is what normal-modes are for. I suggest any casual players who have shied away from raiding to give it a try.

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

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