Musings – Petoholics Anonymous http://wow.wolfdragon.net Because you can never have too many pets Sat, 16 Nov 2013 15:57:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Storylines and Quests http://wow.wolfdragon.net/2012/02/1331/ Wed, 15 Feb 2012 14:12:57 +0000 http://wow.wolfdragon.net/?p=1331 This was inspired by a little conversation Niqora and I had regarding the role of storyline in WoW, especially with regard to questing in the world at large, and the role of the players in those quests. There seems to have been a decided change in design as expansions come out, and both tendencies I have seen have their own drawbacks and advantages.

 

From what I have experienced in quests while doing Loremaster, back before Cataclysm changed the world, the original model for WoW seemed remarkably like Skyrim or other Elder Scrolls games as far as story was concerned: a great deal of random quests and encounters that made the game somewhat of a sandbox (albeit defined by level), with longer chains every now and then that would tell a specific story. The history and fate of Trol’kalar in Arathi, for example, or the tale of the Redpath family in Darrowshire both required long, world-trekking effort and multiple stages. (Obligatory shoutout to the excellent song by Cranius here) By and large, it was up to you to seek out these quests and pursue them, and frequently you would know nothing of a quest if you did not find the giver out in the wilds, be it in the wilderness or in a dungeon niche. Generally, the shorter quests were sensible and not earth-shattering; you provided aid to those who needed it according to your stature as a heroic but not world-shattering agent. Even in the longer quests, you rarely received a large amount of recognition for your actions—you were a player in the great scheme of things, but you were aiding and aided by a great number of more important beings. These effects mesh well with the very large raids of the day; in a 40-man raid, there is much less of a ‘strike force’ feeling and more of a feeling that you are a part of something greater, an army to battle the terrible forces that oppose you. However, this same feeling can make it feel like you don’t matter, particularly before the widespread use of phasing. While TES games let you change the world in little (but visible) ways, in classic WoW, the bandits still exist, the monster in the hills respawns to terrorize the people again, and the man you helped from danger will be back again in a few minutes to be rescued again. Above all, however, there are rewards, little and big, for exploring beyond where you are led, and this is something I have always enjoyed.

 

Comparatively, modern WoW (starting in Wrath and definitely hitting a high note in Cataclysm) has much more focus on telling a story in the outdoor zones, and focuses much more attention on individual agency and influence as it relates to the player. Many zones are far cries from what they once were; one has only to compare Silverpine Forest’s tightly-controlled war narrative to the meandering quests of alchemy and security that were once its staple to see how differently questing has been approached. Entire zones have little to no optional quests now—if you skip past them through dungeons or grinding, you will find almost nothing new until you work through the story as presented you. This allows the player, with heavy use of phasing, to effect visible change to the world. Take Hyjal, for instance, where through the quests you battle back the elementals and slowly recover ground, which is healed through the aid of your actions. Troubles with grouping aside, this can be a great feeling—you’re involved now, and the world responds to your efforts in a way you don’t get in the older quests. However, from a role-playing standpoint, things get problematic. As such an integral part of such grand events, you cannot fade into the background, and everyone has been the hero of Hyjal, or the savior or the Tol’vir emperor, or any of the other great acts. There is a canon you create through questing that isn’t easy to shuffle aside, and I’ve found myself and those I RP with simply ignore the vast majority of the questlines. This is in stark contrast to some of the more epic questlines of vanilla; the Darrowshire quest in particular has been a unifying experience for a few of our characters because of the way it was handled, as a large group quest at the end. Raiding, too, focuses more on the players, as the rise of 25 and then 10-man groups has made everything a little more personal. To be sure, I enjoy 10-man groups more than the larger one; this is not a judgment of value but merely of flavor. There are also more smaller humanoid bosses; though I’ve never seen the original Naxxramas, the bosses from Molton Core and Ahn’Qiraj are typically on a much larger scale than those in more contemporary instances.

Another central facet of modern quest design is the consolidation of questgivers. Very, very rarely is there anything in a zone that you will simply stumble across—breadcrumb quests and regular quests both bracket virtually every quest now, making it much faster to level and quest because both the givers and objectives are always bundled neatly nearby. This is an efficiency vs. verisimilitude argument, and one I am torn on. Some of the questing in vanilla was simply tedious, with way too much walking and general distance involved, but as I mentioned before, I like finding interesting things in the wilds when I’m wandering, and the consolidated design currently used makes it impossible to find something you haven’t been essentially led to by the hand.

 

It is difficult to say which one I prefer, personally. The new techniques have definitely been more effective at weaving a cohesive storyline that the general populace gets to experience, and it is nice to get both recognition and results from your work, but it also rings false occasionally, without the opportunity to give character by careful quest selection. Little things, like not finishing the quest in Hillsbrad where you poison a dog, are often key to bringing some depth to a character, and when there are no options with what quests to take, the chance to build on your character is gone. I honestly am not sure what I would do, given the chance…perhaps keep most of the flowing quest chains that are common now, but scatter more optional quests around the wilds, so those like myself who love the little thrill of exploration can have their cake and eat it too.

 

 

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Sulfuras, Hand of Ragnaros http://wow.wolfdragon.net/2012/02/sulfuras-hand-of-ragnaros/ http://wow.wolfdragon.net/2012/02/sulfuras-hand-of-ragnaros/#comments Tue, 07 Feb 2012 21:12:04 +0000 http://wow.wolfdragon.net/?p=1316 I don’t believe I mentioned this before but 2 years ago, Kazi decided that he wanted to try to get Sulfuras, the legendary mace from Molten Core.

He very quickly and dutifully collected all the materials for the Sulfuron Hammer through multiple MC runs and helped his blacksmithing friend to get the recipe for him. Within a couple months, the hammer was created and all he needed to complete it was the Eye of Sulfuras. An item that has a 4% chance to drop off of Ragnaros.

Months went by and the want to run MC dwindled with each week for his guildmates (including myself), and there were times when poor Kazi had to run the whole place by himself at level 80 as this was back in Wrath. The Eye would not drop.

More months went by and Kazi had done so many MC runs that he had become exalted with the Hydraxian Waterlords. The Eye would not drop.

Even more months passed. Kazi was feeling like he would never see that Eye. The launch of Cata and its huge stats increase made running the raid much faster and easier, and so I was more inclined to help him and encourage him to continue. Almost every week, we ran through Molten Core, sometimes just the two of us and other times with friends. The Eye would not drop.

This past Sunday, we were joined by Ivi, a druid that’s part of our regular raid group. She came because she still wanted some mog gear from there.

We went through the motions of killing all the bosses and then making our way to Ragnaros. The big fiery dude dies and Kazi loots automatically like he’s been doing for the last 2 years.

This time…the Eye does drop.

There’s an explosion of congratulations between Kazi and I talking over Skype, and then in raid and guild chat.

Well said, Ivi, well said.

Kazi loots the Eye and then actually asks if he should make the mace now. He is answered by a chorus of “HELL YES!” on all sides. He quickly pops his Jeeves and grabs the hammer that had been sitting in his bank for over a year.

He then goes and gets himself a congratulatory beer. 😀

So after two years of trying week after week, Kazi finally got his shiny mace and our guild its first legendary. Lord knows he deserved it after such dedication. His character wears it well too.

"IT TOOK 2 YEARS BUT NOW IT'S MINE!"

Time to smash the heck out of some squirrels

Taken in the Cleft of Shadow next to Lil Rag so you can see how much it glows

*raises a glass* Here’s to you, hon. Your long and arduous quest is now complete and the rare treasure is all yours. 🙂

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Hello 2012! http://wow.wolfdragon.net/2012/01/hello-2012/ http://wow.wolfdragon.net/2012/01/hello-2012/#comments Fri, 20 Jan 2012 21:50:59 +0000 http://wow.wolfdragon.net/?p=1302 So here we are in a brand new year. If you believe the whole Aztec thing, this is going to be the year that the whole world comes to an end, apparently just a couple days before my 27th birthday. At least I’ll die young and leave a (semi)beautiful corpse.

Holiday Sundries

So I had an overall quite nice holiday, having spent it most of it with Kazi and his family. I’ll say one thing though, I don’t know how you people in warmer climates put up with a non-white Christmas. It was downright depressing to look out on Christmas Day and not see a single patch of snow on the ground. It was just…so wrong.

Of course now that I’m back in Canada, it’s bloody freezing outside but hey, there’s lots of the fluffy white stuff and what better excuse to stay indoors to do things? 🙂

Good thing that I now have so many things to do inside. There’s a bunch of books that I’ll need to wade through, including the entire Hunger Games set. I also received a Kindle, which had only been put on my wishlist as a last minute “oh this might be neat” thought, but it’s turned out to be completely awesome. I went on a bit of a spending spree and have bought about 10 books for it so far, and I have plans for much more. I made the mistake of finally taking a look at Goodreads and I now have over 2 dozen books lined up to get. I’ll be poor but I’ll be one happy reader. 😀

And then the games, oh my the games. I got Dragon Age 2, Mass Effect 2, Fable 3, AND Skyrim. Considering I haven’t even finished Dragon Age: Origins and Fable 2, and I haven’t bought the first Mass Effect…my butt is going to start taking root in my computer chair.

Skyrim is almost evil for me because I MUST EXPLORE EVERYTHING! I was level 9 by the time I even got to Whiterun because I was continually distracted by shiny objects along the way and would end up wandering in a completely random direction. It did however lead to me uncovering the first word of a Shout for calling animals to my aid, one that no one else I know had found yet. When I told him, Kazi commented, “You know, it has to be fate that the first shout you ever found was THAT one.” I simply grinned and nodded knowingly.

WoW, I’ve been busy (I made a funny)

On the WoW front, raiding’s been going along nice and smooth. We managed to finish the first tier of Cata raids before they released the Dragon Soul, so we actually got to head into the Firelands once or twice while it was still “current” content. We’re still in the Firelands but I’m cool with it because we’re making progress. Everyone’s decided that Baleroc is kinda cool, Beth’tilac is pain and agony, and Lord Rhyolith is the bane of our [insert long stream of profanity here] existence. We’re working on Alysrazor right now to avoid Lord RNGolith for the meantime. Seriously, I don’t think I’ve seen these people put so much hatred towards a boss.

I’ve managed to solve most of the issues I’ve been having as raid lead. People who are signing up pretty much show up on time now. I’ve also been able to make sure that everyone signs up by posting the next raid on the calendar at the end of each current raid. They all just sign up immediately and we go on our merry ways. Breaks are also becoming a lot better now thanks to a suggestion from the guild leader. I give them a 15 minute break every 1 hour and a half or so, which gives them time for a bio and/or snack.

Strats are still a difficult point for us. I’m the sort of person who learns something by doing it, so without actually having tried these bosses before…I just sort of read strats off WoWPedia. Which at times has lead to a lot of confusion due to the verboseness of them. If anyone knows where to find some excellent point-form “never been there before” raid guides, I would love to see that link.

Let it not be said that we don’t have a fun time in there however. Everytime we face Beth’tilac, we have to convince one of our DKs to go in there yes one more time, because he’s terrified of spiders. All the raid members throw everything from gentle coaxings to joking threats at the poor guy.

And then there was our first attempt at Alysrazor where we had just finished clearing the trash. I hadn’t even begun my explanation before the event started, because our rogue simple COULD NOT resist clicking the shiny feather lying on the ground. I yelled out “Oh shit!” over Mumble and began throwing out orders as fast I could. It was of course complete bloody chaos and everyone was like “I don’t know what’s going on!” and I was like “I don’t know either!”. We eventually ended up wiping but everyone was laughing by then so it was all good. So now forever after, that shiny feather will be hung over the rogue’s head. At least until she does something else silly. 😉

Oh yeah, and a big announcement

So I suppose this is kind of important and all…everyone knows Kazi, yes? The long-distance boyfriend who very occasionally posts on here, sometimes plays a shaman and sometimes a DK, my partner in alt leveling, gaming, tabletopping, and crime in general?

Well, he proposed to me when I went up to visited him. I said yes. So we’re engaged and all that.

And when I tell people he proposed and they ask, “Did you say yes?”, I try to keep a straight face as I say, “No, I just thought I’d take the ring anyways because might as well put it to good use, right?”

I’m evil like that.

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I am a ninja and a “theif” http://wow.wolfdragon.net/2011/11/i-am-a-ninja-and-a-theif/ http://wow.wolfdragon.net/2011/11/i-am-a-ninja-and-a-theif/#comments Sun, 27 Nov 2011 18:33:50 +0000 http://wow.wolfdragon.net/?p=1293 At least according to one death knight that I met last night. Here’s the setting: I finally got up my courage to try tanking on my undead DK Iyocene and it turns out that I’m not too bad at it. At least I haven’t gotten anyone killed so far and I can mostly hold aggro. So I’m running through BC dungeons with my friend on his mage and somewhere along the way we picked up a hunter that liked spamming the queues with us. We get into Sethekk Halls with another DK and some random dps and healer. The run goes fairly smoothly as usual, with the only death being the healer when said DK pulls 3 groups when I’m not ready at all.

Talon King Ikiss, the end boss, hits the dirt pretty fast and coughs up a shiny plate belt.

Deathforge Girdle

I’m still wearing this belt.

The Plaguebringer's Girdle

Since this has a nice chunk of stamina and those gem sockets, I naturally assume that it would be perfect for both my dps and tanking sets. The other DK and I both roll need on it and I win it. Little did I know that this was where the fun would start. I’ve provided a screenshot of the conversation (with handy annotations!) for your viewing pleasure.

DEY BE STEALIN OUR COOKEHS

I almost feel sorry for the guy. He was either truly convinced that the belt was solely for a DPS, or he was just a very poor loser. I wonder if he realizes that he’ll be replacing all his gear with Wrath greens in a couple levels…

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In Raiding News… http://wow.wolfdragon.net/2011/11/in-raiding-news/ http://wow.wolfdragon.net/2011/11/in-raiding-news/#comments Tue, 01 Nov 2011 19:53:33 +0000 http://wow.wolfdragon.net/?p=1288 So it occurred to me that after my post about a non-guild raid group, I should give everyone an update. Since blogs are suppose to be updated on a regular basis… *cough*

Anyways, let me start at the beginning. I began by scraping most of the requirements that I had listed previously and wrote up a simple macro to spam in General chat.

Want to raid but don’t want to leave your non-raiding guild? Tired of PUGs and want to raid at the same time every week? I’m putting together a regular raid group for people who want to have crazy fun while killing big bad bosses. PST for more info

I was actually surprised by the turn out that I got. After using it irregularly for only two weekday evenings and a Saturday, I got 7 people who were interested in the idea as well as the weekend raiding times. So I set up the first raid for that Sunday and between them and my guild, I had 16 confirmed players.

We ended up clearly all but Chimaeron and Nef in BWD on the first time. I had to sheepishly admit over Mumble that I hadn’t read the strats for half of the bosses because I didn’t want to go in with high expectations in case we failed, so I had assumed we wouldn’t get this far this fast.

Chimaeron proved to be a thorn in our side as it took us 3 raid nights to get him down. But every night everyone agreed that they wanted me to carry over the raid lockout so we could make our attempts again and again. It was a relief for everyone to finally see him die.

It was still early in the night and everyone was in high spirits so we continued onto Nef. This also took us several tries for several reasons: switching which tank goes on which boss (hey, maybe a pally would be better for Ony since she has a shadow debuff!), switching out players because my healer fell asleep mid-pull (WTF?), a tank learning that you need to constantly be moving when kiting the adds on phase 3 (oops, my bad), etc. Because of the player switches, I ended up bring Saraku to tank, which I was perfectly happy with because Niqora had already gotten the achievement anyways.

Each time we were making progress though, until he finally keeled over and gave up his dragon-flavored loot. Which was a good thing too because Kazi (who had been healing me) had died and I was out of cooldowns. I <3 Kazi’s shammy heals. Plus I think he died because I dragged us through Nef’s flame breath but THAT’S BESIDES THE POINT.

We have killed the dragon! ...Again. Was Blackwing Lair merely a setback?

We have killed the dragon! ...Again. Was Blackwing Lair merely a setback?

So now that BWD is done and over with, we’ll be continuing to BoT this weekend and see how far we get. I suppose it’s back to reading strats for me.

Things that I’ve learned from this:

  • MS/OS/Greed rolls are the way to go. If only the items that dropped were useful for anyone. (Cloth drops when we have a single mage who’s geared to the teeth. Why, RNG?)
  • Generally I’m pretty open with varied strategies but sometimes I need to set my foot down. On Chimaeron, I was originally going to go with a Break tank and an offtank that takes the Double Attacks. The tanks didn’t like this idea because of all the taunting and wanted to try taking 4 breaks/switching or taking 1 break/switching. That didn’t work out so well because the tanks kept dying. >.< Eventually I insisted on my strat and it worked out. Not to say I R RAID LEADER, I IS ALWAYS RITE because lord knows 9 heads can be better than 1.
  • I can’t multitask. Or at least not very well. Trying to call out when to taunt on Chimaeron, calling out when to collapse for System Failure, and dpsing at the same time does not work. I have to let others take responsibility sometimes.
  • Everyone will be whispering me when it comes to raid invites. EVERYONE.
  • I’m expected to know everything about every encounter, including trash. What, do I look like some sort of leader to you people? >.> Unfortunately with my poor memory, it’s impossible for me to retain all the information I just read and we will be essentially winging it the first time. Once I know how to “do by doing”, life gets a lot easier.
  • I’ve never been nitpicky over talents and gear, and I will generally bring anyone who wants to fill a slot. However, I have found some limits. A death knight tanking in all PvP gear? Sorry, no. A warrior tank alt in blue gear because “this character could actually use the upgrades”? Also no. Maybe it seems callous and I shouldn’t be picky but what I’m worried about here is the fun AND success of the raid as a whole. Wiping over and over again because of bad gear is not going to get us anywhere.
  • You can find some freaking awesome people this way. There’s a healer who insisted at the beginning that she wasn’t geared enough and should probably be replaced, but she has been fantastic at her job and a pleasure to play with. She has also signed up and shown up on time for every raid so far. I want to keep her forever.
  • Our mage refuses to die, even when I order him to just wipe it. Except when he’s kiting adds, then he dies all the time! (Still love you, Keys.)

Things that I still need to work on:

  • I may need to get better at scheduling regular breaks and making sure people know that there shouldn’t be AFKs in between. Or I at least need to get people to TELL me when they’re going AFK. Seriously, is it too hard to type “brb bio” or “brb baby”?
  • WHY U NO TELL ME THAT UR SO TIRED, UR FALLING ASLEEP MID COMBAT?
  • Getting some folks to sign and be on time is still a bit of a trial. :-/ Unfortunately (or fortunately), I haven’t had any people warming the bench to take their places. At least it hasn’t lead to any drama yet.
  • It can be really hard at times to keep everyone’s spirits up. What can I do short of breaking out into a comical song about how we should keep trying again and again?
  • I’ve had both non-guild and guild members who have signed up multiple times and not showed altogether. I should probably just not invite the non-guild people again but what about the guildies?
  • I’ve got to learn a better way of absorbing strats. So far Tankspot videos have not been cutting it.

As a side note, I’ll be participating in NaNoWriMo for the first time ever so I think it’s safe to say that I won’t be posting here much, if at all, in the month of November. Nice to know for once that I’ll be busy ahead of time, eh?

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Shadow Priests do have Vampiric Touch… http://wow.wolfdragon.net/2011/10/shadow-priests-do-have-vampiric-touch/ Fri, 07 Oct 2011 13:35:51 +0000 http://wow.wolfdragon.net/?p=1271 Via Reasoning with Vampires

Does this mean that the Twilight books can be summed up as “QQ moar, Bella”?

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Idea: Forming a raid group outside a guild http://wow.wolfdragon.net/2011/09/idea-forming-a-raid-group-outside-a-guild/ http://wow.wolfdragon.net/2011/09/idea-forming-a-raid-group-outside-a-guild/#comments Fri, 30 Sep 2011 19:12:42 +0000 http://wow.wolfdragon.net/?p=1269 First of all, I know that this is in no way an original idea. I’m sure it’s been done a million times before. But with the current circumstances the game and myself are in now, it seems like a good idea.

So here’s the deal

I’ve read blog after blog saying how difficult recruiting for a raiding guild has been this expansion. I’m certain that it’s partially due to the fact that players are more reluctant to leave an established guild, what with perks and reputation and achievements. It makes me wonder how many of them are like me, wanting to raid but unwilling to make the move to a new place with new people and all that rep to grind again. I love my guild and I like my place in it, but there’s still content I want to see, and somehow seeing it with a pug is worse than not seeing it at all. Funny how I can easily throw myself into random dungeons but stay away from pug raids like the plague. >.>

Bloodriver has attempted to get into raiding but something always happens to mess it up, even to the point where it was partially the cause of my long break. So we’re not going to try anymore, and that’s fine. We’re going back to our RP roots, which I fully support. But I know that within the guild, there are still folks who would like to raid, Kazi and myself included. That got me wondering how many people were in the same situation in other guilds, especially on an RP server like ours.

So I’ve decided to make a change

It’s always been easier to me to help the person in charge of something rather than take charge myself permanently. Our guild leader can tell you just how many times he left the guild in my hands during his breaks, and then as soon as he returned, I would immediately be shoving it back towards him, yelling “TAKE IT BACK!” But a guild officer, that I will happily be. This idea however is going to be my baby. I’m going to cast my shyness aside and declare myself the leader for it. I won’t be waiting on someone else to give me directions, all the decisions and responsibility will be mine. And it’s kinda scarey. O.o

It’ll be just like the title says

A raid group that has no guild association. One issue we’ve had before is guild members feeling they have some sort of entitlement for a spot simply for being in the guild. It won’t work that way this time.

I imagine the hardest part is going to be selecting the members. The requirements that I have in my head are rather…nebulous. One of the nice things about forming a guild raid is that you already know what kind of personalities you’re going to get. We all make the same crazy jokes and fooling around so we know that no one’s going to be offended by those in the raid. With strangers, you’re never sure if something is going to rub them the wrong way.

Here’s a quick brain dump of some of the possible requirements

  • Sense of adult humor (doesn’t get scared away by boob jokes)
  • Is more interested in seeing the content/story and having fun
  • Isn’t going to be a loot whore
  • Signs up for the raids and then actually shows
  • Shows up on time
  • Comes with necessary consumables (maybe on this one, I’m not a stickler for it)
  • Is good at playing their respective roles (how it’s done doesn’t matter to me at all, we’re just not going to carry people. This is also one of the more ambiguous requirements)
  • Understands we will wipe. A lot.
  • Has Mumble installed (at least to listen, although talking is always encouraged too. I’m too lazy to type strats :P)
  • Knows the fights ahead of time (maybe?)
  • Is willing to dedicate several hours a week to raiding on a certain day(s) at a certain time. I don’t want people who are going to show up once and then leave. That’s what pugs are for >.>

“Being a team player” basically sums it up. But everyone has a different view of what that is. For some, it’s just “Not punching the other guy in the face”. But I want more than that. I want a raid TEAM, the kind of group that works well together, both tactically and personality-wise. But I also don’t want to scare people away from having too many requirements. So that list above will need some refining.

Loots and stuff

I want to start on the first Cata raids (BWD/BoT/TFW) so I’m hoping that will limit the amount of loot whores and elitest that show up. My biggest worry right now is that all the people who want to be carried through the content will come out of the wood works. >.<

I haven’t definitively decided on the loot rules yet but it’s between Suicide Kings and a simple need/greed roll. I’m going to make sure that either myself or someone I really trust (Kazi’s my default trust-y person) will be loot master of course.

I’m hoping that enough people will like raiding Saturday and Sunday afternoons (or maybe Friday evenings instead of Sundays), because raiding after work for me isn’t all that great.

If I’m really really lucky, we’ll get a full 10-man with a few subs to rotate in/full spots of players that couldn’t make it. If I don’t get enough interest, then oh well, I gave it a shot. If everyone and their mother wants to join, I’ll probably be overwhelmed and have to scramble for some sort of solution fast. But, I’ll have to see the response first.

Feedback, I would love some

This is my first time really trying to organize something outside of my guild so I would love it if the blogging community could give me some feedback or tips on this idea. Every blogger is so intelligent, wise, experienced, and not to mention drop-dead gorgeous after all. 😉 /endflattery

What loot system would you recommend? How should I try to advertise this idea (word-of-mouth/ realm forums/in-game global channels/contacting respected guilds/etc.)? How should I weed out the undesirables? What requirements should I keep or should I have none at all? Am I out of my flipping mind for wanting to do this? Any and all suggestions/tips are graciously welcomed.

Afterthought: The Have Group, Will Travel ability doesn’t work across servers for raids right? Because it would be completely awesome if it did. Blogger raids!

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Different priorities http://wow.wolfdragon.net/2011/05/different-priorities/ Wed, 18 May 2011 21:31:55 +0000 http://wow.wolfdragon.net/?p=1257 I’m technically still on hiatus since my WoW subscription is still cancelled. But there are some things I really need to get off my chest because the fact is I’m losing sleep over them.

I don’t want to get into the nitty-gritty of what caused me to leave WoW in the first place. As tempting as it would be to drag certain names through the mud right now, I know I’m just thinking that because I’ve transitioned from the hurt stage to the pissed off stage, and I’d regret my actions later. What I will say is that tensions had been high and still on the rise in my guild, and when I get frustrated, I frantically try to fix things. There were some miscommunications that occurred which lead to me receiving one nasty message, the kind that I would never expect to hear from a friend. I was completely shattered by it and spent a few days after trying not to burst into tears randomly, and resisting the urge to crawl under a rock and die. My trust was broken then and I still don’t know if it can be repaired.

It was all a big giant mess and still is, to the point where the shockwaves seem to have shaken up the guild despite me rather silently disappearing. I don’t know where my friendships and futures lie with a lot of people and while some of them are optimistic, I’m afraid I can’t be. At least not for another good while.

But personal issues aside, this s$#@storm made me realize one thing that I believe was a major underlying stressor. To understand this, let me give you a brief overview of my playstyles over the years. When I first started WoW, I would only play hunters, rolled them sporadically on several servers, and essentially did everything solo. Then I was drawn to roleplaying and eventually join my guild, which was medium-heavy RP guild at the time. We’ve been always prone to rolling alt upon alt and chatted a lot so we began to tack on words such as “casual” and “social” to describe us. In Wrath is where we made our first ventures into raiding, at first in conjunction with another guild. I was reluctant to go to these at first because I didn’t particularly like the other guild and found them kinda boring. Soon we had enough members to break away from them and form our own raids. Suddenly…raids were fun. There were bumps in the road of course but we raided for most of that expansion, leading to one of my proudest moments where we killed the Lich King together. I didn’t care that we did it with the full buff; I didn’t even care what he dropped. Just the joy of doing it with my friends, while it was still current content, was the part I liked the most. Somewhere along the way going into Cata, we had picked up a number of people who didn’t roleplay so we stopped calling ourselves an RP guild. But we weren’t a hardcore raiding guild either, because we didn’t particularly care about hardmodes or achievements. So we began calling ourselves simply a casual guild.

Anyways, the word “casual” unfortunately has different meanings to different people within my guild, which I think is why this whole mess happened. I happened to come across a very old post by Matticus that really struck me as what I’ve been trying to say all along. Here’s the excerpt in particular:

From my various experiences and chats with other guilds, casual to THEM means:

Not reading up on strategy before hand
Not listening to the raid leader
Not paying attention or having any kind of situational awareness

And they wonder why they have such a hard time in SSC and TK.

This is what casual means to me

Not spending more than 6 hours a night raiding
Not spending more than 3 days raiding
Not being stupid while having fun

1 definition describes a guild that is struggling night after night in T5 instances and wonders what they have problems. The other is having a blast exploring Mount Hyjal and Black Temple.

If you add to the first definition “not bothering to sign up/show up for raids” and “long-time members feeling a sense of entitlement without putting in the effort”, then that essentially summarizes the majority of our members. They’re certainly not all like that by a long shot, but the ones who do enjoy raiding and are good at it keep telling me, “We’re a casual guild, not a raiding guild.”

Their definition of “casual” is a guild that doesn’t necessarily raid. My definition in more in line with Matticus’s, being a guild that doesn’t raid hardcore. Since we were able to before ourselves in Wrath, I’ve been of the opinion that there’s no reason why a guild like ours shouldn’t be able to raid.

I’ll admit it, one of the main things I want out of WoW right now is raiding, to see that content while it’s still current. And I think one of the reasons I fought so fervently for it was because it’s one of the few things I can do in game these days, and the only thing we do as a guild anymore. We have too many non-RPers in the guild to have large RP events. Cata heroics are a horrific boring grind that can leave you locked in them for hours on end. I have 4 level 85s and I have no urge to try and gear them all thanks to said heroics. All 10 slots on my server are taken up by alts and there’s only so much new content you can see before level 60. Raids were the one thing I could do with my guild that were new and shiny and challenging. Only now, even those aren’t being done, because we’re “casual”.

I know I should have realized this before as it’s been said to me many times in the past that we were a “casual” guild. I guess I was so attached to my online family that I didn’t really want to see that our priorities had taken different directions. But now as certain bonds have been shattered and others tested, I wonder if any return to WoW for me will require a new beginning.

I want to be in a guild where roleplay happens frequently and raids are scheduled every weekend. I don’t care about how many boss kills they’ve had or hardmodes, I just want to see Deathwing dead at my feet before the next expansion rolls around. I want to be able to shoot the breeze with guild members, play my alts to death in the downtimes, and maybe, hopefully form some of the same bonds I did within Bloodriver. I want an online  family who has the same goals as me…the only problem is, I don’t know if I can find that again in Bloodriver or on any other server.

Only time will tell I suppose.

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Responsibilty and fun http://wow.wolfdragon.net/2011/04/responsibilty-and-fun/ http://wow.wolfdragon.net/2011/04/responsibilty-and-fun/#comments Mon, 18 Apr 2011 10:17:12 +0000 http://wow.wolfdragon.net/?p=1192 Well, it’s been a long time since I wrote anything and I’m in a mulling sort of mood right now, so get comfy…Uncle Kazi’s going to be dropping a nice wall o’ text on all you fine people.

A little bit of news to put things in context: Bloodriver has just made our first kills of Magmaw and the Omnotron Defense System this weekend after a loooooooong hiatus from raiding. The last time we raided seriously (excepting Baradin Hold and things of that nature) was just after the pre-Cata patch, and since then it’s been heroics or nothing. With a new raid leader and a motivated team, it’s been an excellent experience (wiping for ~9 hours last week notwithstanding), but it did get me thinking of the changing sense of responsibility that a player must accept as they progress through the game.

When I first logged in to WoW, I was level one, alone in the world, with absolutely no obligation to anyone or anything. It was marvelous, for a long time, as I flitted from alt to alt, learning broadly of all the options before settling in with my shaman to finally reach towards endgame. As someone who soloed near-exclusively, it didn’t matter when I played, how long I had, or if I had disruptions—I was only accountable to myself. This lack of obligation to others makes for a fine game so long as you are personally excited about the game and what you are doing in it. Even the grindy parts of WoW didn’t seem bad, because I was heading for a goal and fresh new territory. However, during long stretches between the few friends I had in-game logging on, I did slowly become tired of what there was to do. Once the luster faded, the lack of ties started cutting both ways, and I felt I maybe shouldn’t be dropping my 15/month for something like this.

When I had more friends in-game and learned the joy of the 5-man dungeon, things changed quite a bit. It was new again, and my enthusiasm grew, but now there were obligations to deal with: you had to know at least a little of what you were doing or face the fact you were wasting everyone’s time, for example, and you could no longer lapse guiltless AFK. Additionally, things were more structured: if you didn’t have a healer AND a tank AND some DPS, and you no longer set your own pace. The social aspect was much heightened, cutting again both ways—you could do things directly WITH your friends, but on the other side of the coin, you could be leaving people out of a tight-knit group, and if someone was both a good friend and totally inept there were difficult choices to make about grouping.  In the five-mans, especially at heroic-level, the first layers of complexity start folding around you: game mechanics, social networking and teamwork. It’s easy enough to get in, and the benefits are legion compared to solo work in both social and in-game rewards. However, from what I’ve seen from BC to Cata, the degree of perceived responsibility also depends hugely on the length and difficultly of the dungeons: the longer and more difficult heroics of Cata and BC meant that a heroic team was a weekend or all-night affair, in many cases, while the end of Wrath saw easy, casual heroics that were an easy way to spend time with friends  and strangers alike.In both, however, there was little pressure to do more—you were always replaceable, and if you wanted to (for example <.<) wander off with your sweetheart to explore the sights of Outlands and talk, you weren’t letting anyone down.

Raiding is where I, at least, found things getting complicated. The requirements of skill and time alike are vastly magnified in order to get anywhere, and you need to negotiate at least ten people. For our little guild, this absolutely required scheduled times. Pressure for performance and reliability vastly increased with the jump to raids; you’re wasting a whole bunch of people’s time if you’re suddenly late, and finding replacements for critical roles that could negotiate the mechanics satisfactorily became very difficult. Tensions were higher as well—a single person’s mistake could frequently ruin the excellent work of all the rest, and people who were less prepared became more and more frustrating for those who did. Most of us took a lot of time researching stats and talents and rotations, and gathering money or materials to be buffed up and ready to go by raid time, only to wait up to an hour for others to arrive, filter in, and obtain the things they had all the week before to acquire. The increased sense of responsibility certainly caused more tension, and a number of nights spent in considerable frustration about lost time and wasted effort. However, on balance, it’s an incredibly intense experience to be part of the group that works week after week to drop that boss for the very first time in your guild, and all the focus and enthusiasm of the raid as a whole helps keep individual spirits high. Yet the longer I raid, the harder it is for me to enjoy the old solo fun I used to have…a once-dedicated quest junkie, I’ve barely scratched at the new zones and quests. Part of this may be available playtime, but I know another part is that once you have felt the joy of sharing experiences so tightly with another, or a group, it’s very difficult to find entertainment in the more lonely parts of WoW, or indeed any game with a similar structure. Raiding is without a doubt more fun to me than those activities, but it’s paid for with a substantial loss of freedom.

Recently, I’ve been a little dubious about raiding…I want to do it, Faeldray certainly wants to raid, and we are both fairly respected and valuable members of our raiding team…but some days, I do miss being able to just wander the world and do what I or we want without worrying about who might be offended by exclusion, or if one of the dozens of things outside my control makes all our effort vain, turn our fun into frustration that ends with curt farewalls after Mumble silence. It’s wonderful to raid with our guildies, without a doubt…but it is nice, sometimes, to be able to do exactly what you please on a weekend’s night, and which of those ideals seems best has never been clear to me.

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There is no “Faeldray” in “Community” http://wow.wolfdragon.net/2011/03/there-is-no-faeldray-in-community/ http://wow.wolfdragon.net/2011/03/there-is-no-faeldray-in-community/#comments Wed, 23 Mar 2011 19:59:38 +0000 http://wow.wolfdragon.net/?p=1164 I know that I missed my last Machinima Monday. In my defense, I got an awful cold right after the wedding, spent the week working in the comfort of my home. This past Monday had been my first day back in the workplace, where I actually had to wake up early and couldn’t hang out in my pajamas all day, and I still had a lingering sinus headache and cough. I was not in the mood to write anything that day. However, I hope to resume the regular feature next Monday.

I want to tell all of you about the great time I had at the wedding, my latest activities in WoW, and a whole lot of other things on my mind. But before I do any of that, there’s something I need to get off my chest. There’s an issue that has been pestering me for months. It’s been jabbing insistently at the back of my brain for a long time, despite my various attempts to beat it into submission. I kept telling myself that it was inappropriate to bring to the table, that I was just being my weird self and whiny. Poor Kazi has had to listen to my rants about it, just as he’s always willing to listen to my rants about anything. And I was going to keep on ranting until BBB reminded me of something I should really try doing more often: Being myself.

Well.

My issue is with the WoW blogging community. Or I really should say “community” with the finger quotations and all. Because lord knows that I do not feel much a part of any community there.

Perhaps I should put it a different way. Due to the fact that I have a blog about WoW, I am indeed a member of the WoW blogging community. Just like how I was one of about 300 people in the community of my small town. Some people knew me and I knew them. We lived in close proximity to one another so we had at least one thing in common.

However, I did not feel like I was a part of my home town. In the same way, I do not get the warm and fuzzy feeling of being a part of the WoW blogging community.

Back in February, Larísa wrote a post suggesting that the blogosphere may be a better place to make friends in WoW. I remember reading it with a confused expression, trying to understand how this could be possible. I quite enjoy Larísa’s blog but this post did not strike true to me at all.

I will admit to not being the most social person in the world. In fact, I will readily agree that I am rather shy and anti-social. Large crowds and new people make me slightly nervous and uncomfortable, so it should be unsurprising that I have few friends, but they are close ones. I’m picky with my friends and frankly, I like it that way.

This “community” that WoW bloggers keep referencing in glowing terms reminds me of high school. There were 36 kids in my graduating class and I had known some of them since kindergarten. We were a community as far as we all lived within an hour’s bus ride of the same school and we were all born in the year 1985. It’s true that we weren’t at each other’s throats every day. But this did not make us all best friends.

Just like high school, WoW bloggers appear to me as a series of cliques, formed around certain topics or alliances. In the almost 4 years I’ve been blogging about WoW, I’ve seen “elite” clubs formed and disband, vicious jabs and sneers being thrown around like candy, new people flailing against the current of the more established and popular, some becoming popular simply by befriending someone popular, and others leaving in tears and anguish, never to return again. High school can be a vicious place. Apparently so can the blogosphere.

In high school, I was one of those who stood outside most of the drama and cliques and simply watched this real-life soap opera unfold around me. I wasn’t popular but neither was I despised. I have come to realize that this is also my position within the WoW blogging “community”. I’m never someone who’s named when popular or long-timed bloggers are praised, but hey, at least I’m never caught in the crossfire of all the mud slinging.

Maybe my efforts haven’t been enough. I tried to get into Blog Azeroth but quickly lost interest. I try to comment whenever I feel it’s warranted and I’m not simply mimicking someone else’s response. I do have a Twitter account but let’s face it, it’s not a conversation like some claim. It’s a bunch of people saying random things that happen to them/pop into their heads, taking no heed to the random things that other people are talking about. I’ve imagined that Twitter is like a room full of people all talking at once and the majority of the statements or questions get lost in the general chaos. More often than not, my own words disappear into the Nether. Which mirrors the feelings I get at times in regards to my blog posts.

I’ve been aware of Alas‘s guild Eff the Ineffable since she first mentioned it on her blog. It certainly sounds like a good idea and more than once I’ve toyed with the idea of joining it. I might finally be able to start raiding and what better way is there to become a part of the “community” than to join a guild that boasts so many bloggers?! I was getting ready to roll an alt to test the waters when I stopped myself and confronted reality.

Was I really considering transferring to another server that had absolutely no roleplaying, where I would have to change Niqora into an Alliance race, and join a group of people that I barely knew? I could see myself now, quietly hanging around guild or voice chat, feeling miserable for not just being friendless but for coming there on some disillusions of the “community”.

In my guild Bloodriver, I can identify just about every member. Our characters are intertwined with RP stories and we as players are bound by many memories. I’ve laughed with them, cried with them, done stupid crazy things with them. I’ve even met some of them in person and did more crazy stupid things that made me laugh and cry. I’ve been furious when my members have been betrayed, I grieved for days when a prominent member passed away, and I was elated when I was able to attend my guild leader’s wedding. These people are my community, my family, for better or for worse. Sorry blogosphere, you’ve got nothing on these people.

I’m certain that Eff the Ineffable is a great guild. Just as I am certain that not all bloggers belong to their own created factions that war with each other and look down their noses at “lesser” bloggers. There are bloggers who are kind and friendly, who always make you feel welcome and a part of something bigger than you are. Maybe one day I’ll even get to know some of them better and be able to call them my friends.

So to the bloggers who tout the virtues of the WoW blogging “community” and how close everyone is, I’d like to humbly disagree with you. Everything is not all peachy and not all of us feel a part of the “community”. Friends can indeed be found within the game, as I found almost all of mine there. I won’t ask you to change but I will ask that you realize that you’re like that person who remembers their high school life through a rosy haze. And I’m getting tired of you walking up to me and talking to me as if I was your BFF back then. Simply being in the same class makes us nothing more than acquaintances.

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