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.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Fun to an extent

I hit 80 on my prot warrior and have slowed down playing it. I haven't tanked all of the heroics yet (I've been dreading the ICC ones), but once I do I'll probably park my prot warrior just like I've parked my prot pally.

Since I don't want to raid on them, there's little else for them to do except farm for Emblem of Frost gear. Which at 2 badges per day, given the way that I play, and an item costing upwards of 95 emblems... *carry the two* *ponder* No. I have no desire to do that.

I'll spend a little time getting what I can with Emblems of Triumph, maybe replace my last green/blues, then let my two tanks relax until Cataclysm.

I have had a blast leveling tanks. The instant queues. Being proactive instead of reactive as I'm used to doing on a healer. The defense loot that no one usually rolls against you on. :)

As a tank, I also have to know what is going on in an instance. As a healer, I've been known to auto-follow the group.

And then there's the feeling I'm getting tougher. One complaint I've had as a healer is the small window where you feel your gear makes you better. Especially when others around you get better your heals even mean less. DPS definitely knows how it feels each time they get an upgrade they can see their DPS tick up more. As as a tank I get to enjoy the feeling somewhat as well. Every hp extra I get means something. More threat means I can pull more, and the extra hp means I won't get destroyed by doing so.

So inevitably my fun wanes. Because at some point my gear is good enough I can pull as much as I need to pull without any feeling of risk. It's the point I work toward but its bittersweet when I reach it.

Normal mode ICC 10 and 25

I had written off seeing any Icecrown Citadel raid zones. However recently I've gotten the chance to do some of ICC 10 and 25.

I haven't really got a chance to marvel at anything, because with it being my first times there I wanted to focus on not standing in fire...or in this case ice.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Death knight tanking

I cleared my first instance tanking on my death knight last evening. I don't feel like I really have a handle on it.

My health went up and down more often than on my paladin or warrior ever has. If that's how its supposed to be its going to take a lot of getting used to.

I'm a few levels higher than the instance I tanked so I thought my health wouldn't be an issue. I was more worried about keeping aggro on everything, and that definitely is something I'll need more practice with.

While I understand its way to soon to judge fairly, tanking on my death knight is my least favorite so far.

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

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