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 yourself...you'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 WoW.com the picture was faked. Now conspiracy theorists can say "But how can you be sure?" and "WoW.com 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.

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

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