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.

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

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