Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Alts: A Look Back

Almost 6 months to the day ago I posted about how achievements mean the end of alts to me. This turned out to be pretty much true.

I have leveled a death knight some, but it was a new class, started at 55, with a brand new area created just for the class and decent gear obtained by just doing the quests. It was more fun than the usual leveling a character through the same ol' content. And now that I've reached Borean Tundra I haven't played it much at all either.

I haven't leveled a single other character past 70 and don't really have a desire too. Each time I log on I have something I want to do on my main character. And most importantly I don't have this desire to play my alts for a change of pace like I normally have in the past.

I keep expecting to get to a point where I'm pretty much at a stopping point with achievements, but with the release Ulduar, Noblegarden and Argent Tournament I find myself still wanting to stay on my main for a while.

I'd really like to get at least one alt to 80 so that when the next expansion is released I won't have to level it all the way from 70 to 90. But I can't even think what character I want to have at 80. I imagine one with helpful professions like enchanting, or maybe one with an extra gathering profession. Of course leveling the one with epic riding skill already purchased makes the most sense.

Keeping up with the Khaz'goroths

Matticus made a "Well duh!" post many of us should read.

He explained the frustrations some guilds are experiencing as they compare their progress with others. If it isn't obvious to you why your guild hasn't cleared most of hardmode Ulduar like Ensidia read his post. Even if it is obvious it bears discussion.

As I look forward to getting inside and learning boss fights, I wonder why people are so eager to get on the PTR to learn it there and just repeat it later on live. The only thing I can figure is most of the instance means nothing to them the final boss, Algalon is the goal. All the other bosses on hardmode are a form of attunement. The real fun for them is being first to the final kill.

For someone like me, the entire instance is fun. I like thinking I have something to look forward to for a while. Not just a week or two. But just like I have a limit to what I find fun, I guess they do too. I don't enjoy wiping for a month on one boss just like I'm sure they don't like wiping for a week on one boss.

Anyway, I think you should determine your guild's level of skill and set a goal of yourselves. Constantly comparing yourself to another guild who raids more, is quite possibly more skilled (whether you want to admit it or not) has more chance to set you up for disappointment than motivation.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Elitist Jerks

Elitist Jerks is a "site dedicated to intelligent discussion of the popular MMORPG World of Warcraft". Or should I say was.

It is heavily moderated and requests that its participants use complete sentences. The latter alone helped it not turn in another of the myrid cess pools that make up the Internet.

However, and I think this happened around the time attunements were first lifted, it has been infiltrated by the masses. Players like me, who used to only lurk, now post. And its a bad thing.

It's hard to find useful information. You are often directed to search the forum and read the thread. Threads that go on for 30 pages.

I think the simple problem is they have too many people. They have a benefactors forum where you pay for access to restricted areas. Maybe that's the plan all along, let the general free area become a bog of muck,so that you're willing to pay to get out of it. :D

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Documenting history

As guild member after guild member quits, I feel like I'm watching another guild.

I've heard other guilds on our server fall apart. Larger guilds. Many move on to make better guilds. Some move off the server. Some quit.

I'm actually still having some fun playing the game. There are parts that don't involve being part of a guild, like the Noblegarden event. However, it is a huge downer to see "X has left the guild" usually followed by several more as they remove their alts.

I don't have any idea what lies in store for this guild. I've been a part of it less than any other guild I've ever been in. My loyalties don't lie with it. I'm not going to look back on it as the greatest time I've ever had in WoW, because this era hasn't consisted of any milestones for me. So far I've leveled a character some more levels, I've helped clear an instance (albeit easy) from start to finish, and I've got some achievement points. None of this was new, except the points put a value on things I was already doing. But I didn't join the guild to reach some kind of higher height. I joined because my friend was playing and that hasn't changed so I'm staying for now.

I wouldn't mind a new view. This guild is small and has gotten smaller. I do like the idea of larger guilds where someone is always on doing something. What I don't want is to feel like I'm playing a single-player game.

Friday, April 24, 2009

And just like that another blow...

No, not to a raid boss. But to our guild.

Just read on our forums we're losing another raider. While grumblings usually precede /gquits, this guy was a guild cheerleader. A true Mr. Positivity. I had no inkling he was even thinking about leaving. It's a surprise, I'm floored, but yet then again not much of a surprise considering he was also an officer.

Leading a guild, being an administrator for a guild is work. Extra work that many times doesn't even involve getting to play. You don't get paid, you often get grief.

I've turned down a few "opportunities" to be a guild officer, class lead because I don't want added responsibilities in my game.

Call me lazy, but I just want to log on, have some fun and log off. I imagine many people who have left WoW haven't wanted to necessarily quit the game but quit their gamejob. Quitting for good is just a cleaner way of doing it.

Still progressin'

Despite losing players our guild marches on. I've had fun in our recent forays into Ulduar. And what we've accomplished so far I really couldn't ask for more.

We've managed to defeat a boss or two each time we've been there. The feeling of progressing is what matters most to me. I don't need to progress fast, but I do need to progress to be satisfied.

It would help if we could manage to recruit more players, but recruiting is tough right now with everyone clamoring for players. Too bad the US job market couldn't mimic raiding needs.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Biggest threat to guilds

New releases. Whether it be something as big as expansions or something small as patches.

Something about the milestone, mile marker, what have you, of a release that makes players examine where they are and where they want to be.

Our guild lost some players and I have a sinking feeling risks being disbanded like this blogger's guild Saga.

Instead of being excited about the new instances, I find myself enveloped in a state of unrest.

Monday, April 20, 2009

gj Dual specs

I never have much gold, but I wanted to make sure I had at least enough to get dual specs when patch 3.1 came out.

There were complaints that 1,000g was too much, but it is one of the best purchases you can make outside of mounts you buy to speed up traveling.

I was so excited I bought my second spec that very day. I didn't even get around to messing with it until later. There's not much to it. Instead of one talent spec you can have two and you can switch between them without any sort of spec swap cooldown. It retains the glyphs associated with each spec and beyond the first purchase of glyphs it doesn't cost anything to swap between them.

What I really like is that the spec stores your action bar settings.

Nice job Blizzard!!!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

*scratches head*

I like/dislike new releases. I like having new things to do, I dislike feeling I have too much to do!

I've had the chance to see a little of the inside of Ulduar and I've taken part in some of the Argent Tournament dailies. Dailies. Yeah. At least they added a quest line as part of it and I've done some of it as well.

Some things are happening in the guild I'm not happy about. I hope I have it in me to make a change if I end up really unhappy and not let it drag out.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

"Whatever the guild wants"

I have never in my history of raiding witnessed someone say this and remain true to it.

You would think raid recruiters would see through this. Actually it should raise a red flag. When you realize the term arose, pardon the pun, as a sign of defiance more than simply being a problem area.

Someone who applies stating their willingness to do whatever the guild wants, you'd think they'd be snapped up in an instant. The problem is, in my experience, these free agents have never stuck with what the guild wanted and in the end usually /gquit disgruntled. What's worse is when they place or at very least widen a crack in the guild's cohesiveness. Misery loves company and someone who publicly vents at the guild in their exit interview usually prompts some other "Yeah I never liked this or that either!" responses from otherwise happy players.

What looks like a godsend, is either someone wishy-washy about what they want to do, a people-pleaser who will not get their neediness reciprocated, a manipulator who plans to switch to what they really want to do the first chance they get.

I'm not saying there aren't those out there really willing to do whatever the guild wants for any long period of time. I've just never seen it.


Raiders can be described by three things:

1) Skill
2) Commitment
3) Attitude

If you have skill and commitment, guilds trying to get ahead overlook your lack of ability to mesh with them. But people are talking behind their back about you and if you ever said you were going to quit probably wouldn't try to get you to stop. There might even be party after you leave. You're most likely dps.

If you have commitment and attitude but no skill, you're the player who gets pulled in when no one can be found. You may eventually get a permanent raid slot that you'll never give up, officers appreciate your loyalty, but would swap you out if they could. Chances are you are a healer.

If you have skill and attitude, you're the player who raids are happy to see when you show up, but quickly grow to resent your lack of dependability. You have a sense of entitlement. You're probably a tank.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The first part of Wrath Expansion: A Look Back

From a raiding standpoint, by the most competitive guilds, Naxxramas/Malygos/Sartharion were way too easy. The achievements gave them a bit of a challenge (see Immortal) but most had still won the game by January.

For the rest of us raiders, like myself, achievements stretched out the raiding experience right up to Patch 3.1 released today. Like many scrambling to get done, I got one of the elusive drakes just this week, but the other will forever be out of my reach.

Achievements gave me a new reason to keep raiding, but it wasn't necessarily a good thing. Just like fake goals I've set up in the past. For instance accumulating offspec gear, piling up badges or deciding to reach max exalted with the instance's reputation. I found myself raiding but not for the raid experience. I personally raided a month or so longer than I should have. But achievements prodded me to keep showing up. I was one of a few in my guild pushing to do the achievements so I only have myself to blame.

Trying to obtain more achievement points also caused me to fall back into the habit of playing more than I should, but the shorter raid schedule and limiting my alt(s) time actually caused me to play less than I have in the past.

Most of my gripes stem from how I play the game, not the game itself. The two complaints I have Blizzard has actually committed to not repeating.

1) "Yeah, but can you do *this*?" If 25-man is supposed to be the more difficult raid, make it so. Don't have a 10-mannable dragon be the apex. Or tell us in advance that's the case. Blizzard has admitted that making the 10-man Sartharion + 3 Drakes harder than the 25 was a mistake.

2) "Limited time only" I understand the developers wanting to keep accomplishments special by not allowing raiders to get some achievements after a certain time, but once again can we get more advanced notice? A Blue made a small post advising anyone wanting the new proto-drakes that they will have a restricted time to get them.

Interestingly enough, my plans for 3.1 will make my gripes moot even if Blizzard hadn't corrected things for future raids:

1) I'm sticking to doing only one raid type, either 10 or 25. Probably 25. 25-man raids allow for more flexibility. A 10-man group will inevitably be unable to raid if 2 people don't show up. A 25-man doesn't have that problem. If I'm one of the two absentees (not that I ever have bad attendance), I'd feel worse about it in the 10-man group.

2) I'm not going to break my neck trying to get achievements any more. At least not the ones that require you to depend on others. Yes, this is an MMO, and playing with others is the whole point. However unless everyone is working toward the same goal you are in for a World...of Warcraft disappointment. Growing jealous of the players who didn't seem to care made me question why I was going above and beyond what was fun to get them for myself.

So there's my look back.

I have gripes about 3.1 as a resto druid, but since I haven't played on the PTR they could very well be unfounded. And why start a patch with a bunch of gripes when I just ended one with so few.

See you in Ulduar!

Monday, April 13, 2009


When your goal is X and the guild's goal is Y: Secession.

When your and the guild's goal is X, but they do Y: Depression.

When everyone's goal is the same: Progression.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Deciding on a main

I imagine many of our first mains happened to be whatever class we had fun leveling the most. If you were in beta perhaps you had a better idea which class you wanted to play. I remember hearing Warrior was the overall easiest to play for a beginner so that was my first choice and subsequently first main.

Playing a warrior unwillingly corralled me into being a leader and as a follower by nature this didn't sit well for me or the groups I tanked for. My next choice was priest, the premier healer at the time if anyone remembers those days. I stuck with it for quite a bit. It became my main and for a while I couldn't fathom playing anything else, other than piddling around on alts. Raid healing lead to burnout and in came my druid which I dpsed and even tanked some before coming back around to healing.

Now usually players who have several alts all around the same level have this decision to make. And with each expansion some of us have taken the opportunity to swap main, most importantly to get a spot in the new raids released.

With the introduction of achievements you can become pigeon-holed into a main. I know I don't even want to consider getting an achievement on any alts. I can't imagine retiring my druid to start playing a new character and start trying to get the same achievements on it.

I remember reading a couple's blog where the tank had the legendary thunderfury. They both got tired of playing and needed the cash, so they sold both of their characters on ebay. It seemed surprising at the time. (Maybe only an addict would think so!) I would think a thunderfury would carry with it some emotional attachment and achievements are the same way.

The majority of players can agree there is very little focus on the RPG in an MMORPG. But achievements help to flesh out our characters. Like the Deed Log in Lord of the Rings Online and the Tome of Knowledge in Warhammer Online, your achievements tell a story of what you've done and in many cases what you've found are most interested in.

An interest in alts, unless you have a load of free time, is the only thing achievements won't capture.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Feeling left out in your own guild

In a game with 11 million (is it even more than that now?) players you will be hard pressed to find yourself in a situation where at least someone else in the WoWverse hasn't experienced something somewhat similar. The rarity comes from finding someone who has actually blogged about it.

So it is with PTD (Part Time Druid) I find that something back at the beginning of March.

I didn’t see anything in guild chat about a Naxx run starting, and I was frankly a bit shocked...I tried to schedule something for this exact time...I was completely ignored. From what I could tell, it was a run set up through PM, with someone picking and choosing who to invite.

The fact they chose alts over PTD lead a gquit.

Now, unlike some of my guild has done or mentioned doing, I don't want to quit. But watching groups get formed after several pleas to be a part of things is disheartening. Recently someone returned after taking a break, a few of our guild bent over backwards to help them do all of the things I had asked about. I do get a feeling of being left out of my own guild.

But since these things are more or less side projects it doesn't bother me so much. If I start getting left out of the 25-man raids, then I'll have cause to really wonder why I'm in the guild at all.

M & S

You have to do a minor hunt to find out what M&S stands for on the Greedy Goblin's blog. I'll save you the trouble, M&S stands for Morons and Slackers.

Another coincidence. Not too long I mentioned our guild was going to lose members for reasons similar to what this blogger mentioned. You can read it in full here, but I've copy-n-pasted the part I want to focus on here:

The...reason for gquit is "guild does not progress fast enough", meaning "M&S is pulling me back". This case I suggest you to fight for your progress. You will mostly lose and have to leave. However I suggest that if the M&S make you leave, give them hell before you do! The reasons:

* I assume the guild is not an M&S ghetto (the fact that you are still there suggest that). I guess Tobold's guild is good example: can clear Naxx, can't clear Maly. There must be some good players, several average guys pulling their own weight and some M&S. You are not the only one who want progress here! However they are social, meaning "won't speak up if it can cause confrontation". But if you speak up, they will join. So if you start openly speak about X or Y underperforming in the raid, several will support you. (Always target certain M&S, blurry comments offend those who are not targeted and ignored by the targets.) Result: most probably several gquits on the M&S part or you being kicked.
* People overvalue their groupmembers and the group. There are masses of scientific research proving it. So if you quit quietly, you'll be the "bad one" while the group will be the "victim of treachery". They will most probably think that you were a loot whore or a lazy prick who did not want to work for the group. No one can claim that if you are kicked after attacking an M&S named X or forced to leave by everyone supporting him (he does 700DPS because he is just ilvl200, needs more gear). Everyone will know that you wanted progress and blamed not the whole group just one-two bad eggs.
* The grass is not always greener on the other side. The other guild you join may be just as bad as the old one. Or worse. You will have thoughts that "after all they were not all that bad". And you crawl back, keep on boosting M&S and lose all right to speak up. After all you knew exactly what kind of guild it was and came back. If you burn every bridges leading back to such guilds you will have to move forward and finally will reach a proper place.
* Even if you lose, you made an example that speaking up against the M&S is possible. Most social people believe that criticizing others is simply evil and the whole world will hate them. They will see that you are not hated by the whole world, just by the M&S themselves and by their close buddies. Maybe they will not follow you instantly. But when they see you as Twilight Vanquisher while they are still wiping at Thaddeus, they will remember that it all started when you told: "I won't suffer these M&S anymore!"

PS: Don't bother to go to the officers. They are there, they could see the obvious with their own eyes if they wanted to. The pure existence of M&S in the guild is an unquestionable sign of their failure. They are either M&S themselves or socials who rather boost M&S than risk confrontation.They will most probably claim that the M&S is just ungeared.

Now what GG said is a bit harsh, but the PS is what I'm faced with currently. I realized our guild leadership is okay with status quo and no matter how much they say they care about progression and beating the best of the content, their actions prove it is not a priority.

Our guild has very few or zero raid members who are undergeared now. Kel'Thuzad continue to stash some of the best items in the game currently under his billowing robe, so we have that crumb of cheese propelling us through the Naxx maze. But we could also burrow right now and not emerge until Ulduar is released and perform almost exactly as we would with a few more axes and maces.

So instead of attempting speed runs our guild goes through the motions and some of us die inside.

On a good note, I'm coming to terms with my guilds lack of determination. I've decided to become an S, but how much of an M does that make me?

Monday, April 6, 2009

5 months in

I mentioned wrath has been out almost 6 months. WoW must make you lose track of time, it hasn't even been 5 months yet.

Balancing Bloggers?

By coincidence, in the past month or so I've come across 3 blogs that were shutting down or cutting back due to RL. One was a druid blog that I had started frequenting due to playing my druid more "seriously" in Wrath, one was Big Red Kitty, which I didn't read much but enjoyed and another was just a random blog that I found via another random blog I found via another random blog I found...

It made me wonder is it impossible to balance RL, gaming and heavy blogging about gaming?

It is easy to have a blog like mine, where it mostly consists of me ranting about what's bugging me - mostly about people and less about the game (I'll need to dwell on that later!) But it is more time consuming to have a blog helpful to other gamers like Resto4Life or Big Red Kitty.

It is easier to just have a RL, but without gaming its no fun. And of course you wouldn't have a gaming blog without a game.

I have less of a RL, more game and a blog with no content. Easy Peasy!

But having a full RL, gaming and a blog with depth seems highly improbable.

No, nyet, non, nein.

I went with my gut and declined another request over the weekend.

Maybe eventually I won't feel bad about saying no. Especially since I'm not the only able-bodied person in our guild, there is plenty of opportunity for others to jump in when someone asks for help.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Saying no theme

As a part of my Saying No campaign for April I'd like to share a friend's experience.

One of my friends is a tank. The expansion is going into its sixth month and people continue to level alts with ease. But when they hit 80 they ask him to take his Ulduar-ready tank through instances with them. He's gotten to the point he says No. Some might think this is selfish, but isn't it selfish to ask someone to continue to play their original character while you cycle through getting various alts epics?

I'm one of those players who hates saying No. So I have alts that stay unguilded that I can hide on and play in peace. Maybe some day I'll be like my friend. Able to stay in guild and just say "No. No I don't want to run your new alt that just dinged 5 minutes ago through Halls of Lightning".

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Day one

Well lucky for me April starts today, because if it started yesterday I would have already failed at my exercise in saying no.

Yesterday evening I sat down at my computer. It was a scheduled raid night and I didn't feel like raiding. We can choose to skip raids. Of course you always have the choice to skip as many as you want but it affects whether you get slotted or permanently replaced. But I think you can miss one or two raids a month before anyone blinks an eye. Now I haven't missed a raid in all of the months I've been raiding again. So if I logged on and asked to sit one out I think they would have obliged. Instead I realized I didn't want to miss a chance at another Immortal attempt. We managed to clear one wing before someone died. At that point I wanted to find an excuse to log.

I didn't bail on the raid, but once again I did something for the (chance at a) achievement and not because I was having fun doing it.

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

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