Monday, March 31, 2008

Unhealthy pressure

Shalkis and I had a discussion that touched on some of this before. But I've noticed something happening in my own guild that made me want to talk about it further.

If you have a situation that through positive or negative reinforcement you are pushed to play more or longer than you should, is it Blizzard's fault for putting those types of situations in the game? In the case of raiding, is it the guilds' fault for not fostering a healthier environment? Is it the player's fault for not restricting themselves?

I hope I correctly paraphrase Shalkis when I say he thinks its up to the player to decide how much time he or she will play. And I agree. No one puts a Wolfslayer Sniper Rifle to anyone's head and says play more!

When you notice people obviously aren't spending time with their own families, or the reason why they play so much is that they dropped out of school or are unemployed, shouldn't the opposite be reinforced? Or do you just assume everyone is an adult and can handle their lives as they see fit?

I guess I answered my own question. :/

How many dailies do you do a day?

I managed to do all the new ones for SSO in the beginning, but quickly realized I don't want to log off and find that I spent all my time doing dailies.

Some people in my guild have 4 characters and are doing all the SSO dailies on ALL of them. Another guy is trying to do all 25 (SSO et al) each day. I didn't even think there were that many!

I think I'll stick to the ones( I think about 4 or 5) on the Isle. Because the time racks up when you start traveling to HFP, Netherstorm and Nagrand.

Friday, March 28, 2008

SSO and Dailies

Do you feel as if you are working toward recapturing the Isle of Quel'Danas? Or randomly running around doing quests? Good thing the Shattered Sun Offensive (SSO) pays me gold to aid them or I wouldn't bother.

Okay, actually I would. Each new quest is after something new to do - but is Ogri'la, Sha'tari and SSO what Blizzard considers new content?

A series of quests we haven't done before is new content. But being expected to do them over and over again for months isn't. After you do MrT (MgT? MT? MsT?) on normal and heroic all that remains is to do it over and over again. If you are a high-scale raider Sunwell Plateau will keep you happy for a while.

It's a free patch not a paid for expansion, so I can't really complain can I?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Removal of Attunements

What will the removal of Karazhan, Hyjal and BT do to WoW? Only time will tell, but over in the Everquest universe here is a description of what keeping attunements (flagging in EQ) does to a community.

Have fun.

Sometimes we need reminding.

MgT too easy? too hard?

Word from the official WoW forums is Magisters' Terrace (or MgT as we'll call it - thanks Ratshag) is too easy....or too hard...depending on who you ask.

We outgeared the place on normal so I can't really give an accurate assessment. (I hate when someone says "It's easy, L2P!" and you inspect them and they are wearing gear from BT.)

But my observation is it will be tough on normal for the people it was intended for (they said it is supposed to be on the level of Shadow Labyrinth and Shattered Halls).

Edit: The justification for the difficulty is the epic drop at the end.

Magisters' Terrace

I took part in some of the Sunwell Offensive activities and did a run through MT. (Do we call it MT? How many people really use MT to describe Mana Tombs? No one goes there right?)

Al'ar's mini-me dropped off the maimed Kael'thas. I didn't win it - but since the vanity pet bags weren't introduced in this patch as rumored - it was a blessing in disguise.

I don't know how big of a request this really is but: Blizzard should introduce patches of this type every 4 months (not necessarily with a 25-man instance included - maybe make those every 6 months).

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Patch 2.4 today

That was quicker than I expected! Coincidentally, I shortened my to-do list drastically the other day. I have nothing left to do that just *has* to be done before this patch, but my plan was to close the chapter on some things. I won't have time to do that now.

However, if the flurry of activity causes me to push some items to the back burner so be it. History has proved its best to take part in certain events during the height of their popularity (have you tried to get a group for Zuluhed the Whacked or the quests to open up Ogri'la or Skettis lately?)

Monday, March 24, 2008

Time is the currency of WoW

I came across another phrase that caught my eye, this time in a post made by Ciderhelm (TankSpot's administrator).

It was in the context of hardcore raiding.

Surprisingly, the same things being said in this post about people no longer being able to raid (hardcore) apply to people who were never able to raid (casual).

The hardcore vs. casual thing has been done to death. So its interesting when you see they have common ground.

His solution was to make encounters with timers. If you aren't good enough to finish it in time that's your attempt for the week. But as someone mentioned it has to be on the person to limit themselves to the amount of time they spend in the game. As soon as timer-limited encounters are introduced would people play less? No they would spend the rest of the time farming to the hilt for extra resist, pvp gear, badge gear, the most beneficial consumables possible. In other words they would shift their time elsewhere but it still would be unreasonably spent in the game. Because raiders want to separate themselves somehow with their accomplishments and they are willing to spend that currency to do so.

Fury of the Sunwell

Upon logging on we are now being greeted with a splash page advertising Patch 2.4

Unlike the Patch 2.3 - the Zul'Aman patch (I expected it to be my saving grace from 25-man raiding), I'm not particularly hyped about Patch 2.4 which doesn't even include a 10-man option.

Purely personal reasons. I was expecting to spend a lot of time in ZA but it turned out to be a bust. I then moved on to an alt and although I'm back in ZA on my main, as it stands it looks like I'm not going to defeat Zul'jin before Sunwell is released. And to be honest I don't look forward to playing on my main for the new content. Yet my gear on my alt is probably not ready for to take a part in it.

So I split time trying to finish off the last boss of ZA (I've decided this is the last content I really want to see - meaning I've given up on setting goals requiring any kind of raiding) while also trying to gear up my character I enjoy playing more as the fury of the Sunwell looms overhead...

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Principle of Progression

I was browsing World of Matticus and he mentioned a phrase "principle of progression".

What I think he means is you should do Step A before moving on to Step B or trying to skip A and B and go directly to C.

I mentioned briefly in a another post about how removal of attunements allows you to skip what actually isn't a bad idea - gearing up your character and gaining some experience.

When 23 of your people are ready to move to the next step, but your 24th and 25th person are blocked due to attunement its a bad idea. But when 3 to 4 of your people out of a 10 man team either aren't willing to wait or haven't bothered to spend time getting gear by other means (pvp, badges, heroics, or simply normal level 70 instances) an attunement process is preferable. Especially if you can't get them to understand why minimum raid requirements exist.

I call it the "run me through deadmines" syndrome. Someone on an alt in quest greens thinks its okay to have another group run them through a place like Karazhan. If the group agrees? Sure no problem, but I can bet you epic mount gold the people who have actually spent the time to gear themselves up aren't so eager to spend more time in the same exact place to get an alt some easy gear. Guilds sell spots for this exact purpose!!!! Because they want a return on the investment of their time.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Cenarion Labs: Time vs Talent

Cenarion Labs: Time vs Talent

With my interest in all things druid, I came across this post as another casual player has hit the wall with what they can accomplish in the game.

Fortunately for me, as a brand new 70, I have lots of things I can do in short amounts of time that will improve my character.

As this poster pointed out "There are two separate sets of people who play this game- those who are able to make the time commitment and those who are not."

I can actually make the time commitment, but I am no longer keen on doing so. Spring is around the corner, I've been playing WoW for a few years now. And I've reached another phase in my gaming.

You wouldn't think so based on this past weekend. I spent about 5 hours straight doing an instance Sunday. And while the time passed quickly - as I was playing on a new character - I came away realizing I don't want to do that again. Old habits die hard. I can easily get caught up in raiding and have to make a conscious effort not to do so.

This new phase of WoW involves me sticking to things that don't require a schedule or anything that will last more than 3 hours. That will leave me faced with the things on his list. When I get to that point it's either leveling yet another alt or taking a break. I can easily see myself in that druid's paws some day.

Full on Night Elf!!!

Does anything scream night elf as much as a druid does?

Apparently not as much as I thought, as I looked up the classes from WoW's ancestor, Warcraft. From what I can tell by quickly browsing, those classes would actually be:
  • Demon Hunters
  • Keepers (half night elf, half stag)
  • Priestesses (at least I got that one right! except those Priestesses were more like hunters?)
  • Wardens (think Maiev)

Anyway, I'm playing a druid now and have added a list of links to druid blogs of interest. Focusing on feral. I feel like I've healed enough for one night elf life time (yeah it feels that long), I refuse to go restoration on this character.

I've joined a new guild

My main remains in my old one. But I joined a new guild on my alt.

This time was much different than before. No more selling myself on what type of gear I had, going on trial runs, needing to have someone vouch for me, clearing things with my old guild before joining the new one. All things I realize make sense for a raiding guild, but not for a casual one.

Nope, this one just involved a chance encounter with one of the officers and then shortly later getting an invite.

Their one rule? "Be polite and respectful of others".

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Keeping up vs. going at your own pace

I think I know why I should have left my current guild when I quit raiding.

My guild's priority shifted to raiding 2 years back. That's how I came to join them. I wanted to raid and they were starting to raid on their own.

Things were good at the time. They raided at the right pace for me and I got to see lots of encounters that many raiders take for granted.

Then the raiding picked up, more days, longer hours and I could no longer keep up.

But since our guild wasn't originally a raid guild, a few people remained that didn't raid and I also was welcome to stay and fill in now and then.

It sounded like the perfect match still. I could in some way be involved with what was going on. I would get to see a few bosses that I hadn't spent any time during the learning phases on. And I could sometimes still group in 5 and 10 mans with some efficient and effective players.

But along the way the guild changed a bit and I did too. The guild's 25-man group started grouping more with themselves in the 5 and 10 mans (no surprise there) and I started caring less about getting one more badge or one more timed kill. My goals and the guild's goals had diverged even further.

And perhaps I've done a disservice to my guild and myself.

With someone like me around, they could pull me in when someone was absent, instead of focusing on getting a new raider geared up that could be rotated in and play on a more consistent basis.

And I albeit unknowingly still tried to keep to a raider's goals without raiding! I can't imagine our raid guild is any different than any other, so during raids, guild chat is peppered with epics being linked as they drop. I would note what I needed to get close to those things in badges. There is also talk now and then about different resist gear, and epic gems needing to be crafted - all things that if you don't raid you shouldn't give a flying fig about. But in the back of my mind I was making lists that I needed to get those things as well.

The reason why I've had so much fun on my alt is in part to the fact I'm not in the guild, I don't see the chat. I don't see what I'm missing and I don't have any urgent need to quest faster, group more, farm a lot.

So I'm thinking I should have dropped my main out of the guild as soon as I "retired" from raiding. Just the way I first joined a raid guild to be with like-minded individuals, why would I remain there now that we no longer were? What has and is keeping me there at the moment are memories and my self-defined loyalty. But I don't want to try to keep up with something that is out of my reach. I want to go at my own pace and I think finding a guild where people embrace that would improve my game time.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Raiding requirements

One of the slightly negative things about the removal of keying and attunement is that players can now join a group for something without the gear that you normally acquire by jumping through the keying and attunement hoops.

And while you can get decent gear through other means than raiding, doesn't mean everyone does so. In the end raiding (with a group that knows the instance) is still the easiest way to get geared up.

I do wish people would be considerate when joining something unreasonably undergeared - like no one will notice. It makes things harder on everyone else.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Will they find a balance?

If I sound like I've been doing a little bit of "hardcore" bashing, I apologize.

I guess now that I don't raid, I'm on the other side of things. Some of the things I used to do are starting to seem more and more.....insane. But I still remember the feeling you get when a boss dies that you've been working on for weeks if not months. And while I was never truly hardcore or have any idea what it would be like to be in a top raiding guild, I empathize.

I read where a top 10 raiding guild decided WoW is becoming (has become) too casual. It was in reference to badges (and arenas too I guess) allowing everyone, so inclined, access to tier equivalent loot without stepping foot into tier instances.

But another thing that was surprising is they are saying the Sunwell instance (the part they attempted) didn't give them the challenge they desire. In fact even Illidan didn't seem to impress them.

Pair this up with the person in the pug I was with this evening telling me they never expected their guild to see Karazhan but this past week they entered together for the first time. (I didn't have a chance to ask how long they've been a guild.)

That's a huge gap in participation. Badges for the new Karazhan guild will be like gold doubloons. Badges for the Illidan guild will be like skittles. How would you find a balance for that?

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

"Catering to casuals"

The only people who say this and really believe its true are people who have no idea what it is like to be casual.

The price of 150 badges for one thing, one single item, puts it right in the place it needs to be. Someone who isn't casual simply wouldn't understand how long it would take to get that one item, forsaking everything else you could possibly buy with badges.

It's similar to pvp rewards. Anyone who was truly casual would see the possibility of acquiring some nice gear, but also recognize the huge task they have ahead of them.

And you'll notice I didn't say insurmountable task. Apparently, this is what "hardcore" players want some things in the game to be....for others.

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

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