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Winding Down

I can feel it. I’m dreading it. But last week was just a sign that WoW is winding down for me. And it makes me sad.

In the last two years, during the holidays I found extra time for WoW. My kids often watch holiday cartoons or run around playing with their toys as the weather often sucks too much to go outside (it rained all week btw :(). My wife is often in “craft mode” frantically working on lists for Christmas presents which often include scrapbook pages to send to her parents, quilting, crocheting, etc. So even though I spent a lot of time with family and even seeing extended family, I still end up with a lot of “free” time. Just like this last week.

Monday and Wednesday I showed up for raids. Even participated in a ToC10 raid on Wednesday just so they wouldn’t have to pug. I quickly did some of the holiday questing on Tuesday and logged in for literally 2 minutes on Saturday to shoot a Troll Rogue. I couldn’t bring myself to log in to level alts or power-level cooking on them which I had planned on doing.

Work was letting us go early on Wednesday for the holiday. I left even a few minutes earlier than that when my wife called asking me to rush over to someone’s house to pick up a bunk bed. We’ve been talking about getting one for my boys for a while now. It’s a metal frame and nothing fancy, but it was free! 🙂 We then ran to a mattress store to pick up a full-size mattress for the lower bunk.

What’s special about a bunk bed? Well, remember creating forts when you were a kid? Yeah, apparently that’s still fun as hell! Dad (a.k.a. me) decided that once it was up it would be a great idea to scrounge up all the large unused blankets and make a fort! Which the boys had a great time with and we did that for an hour or so.

Aside from all the house cleaning my oldest boy and I did, I just spent time goofing off with the kids and relaxing. Finally caught up on all those Flash Forward episodes stored on my DVR. I must say that the show didn’t really appeal to me much, even with recycled Lost actors, but my wife insisted and I must say that once it gets going you sort of get sucked into it.

And as a side note, I’m really disappointed that after V just barely started, we now have to wait out the holiday TV season until it comes back. No wait! I’m just pissed! Because not only do we have to wait out the standard holiday season that usually comprises December through half of January, we also have to wait until March until we get new episodes!!!

Anyway, most of my “free” time was spent playing Assassin’s Creed 2 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. I think I’m almost done with AC2. I’ve unlocked all The Truth videos and I must say…cool. Now I know why they put the announcement on the start screen that this game was made by people of various religions and beliefs. I find it ironic that I believe more people would be offended by this video than by the fact that you’re playing a guy that goes around killing people. But then again if they can handle The DaVinci Code they should be able to handle this.

Call of Duty is just awesome! At least the multiplayer is. I still haven’t gotten close to finishing the single-player game. I’m just working on getting to 70 so I can start Prestige mode! I think I’m into it almost 40 hours of play time and I’m only level 52 or so… Gotta love this time sink!

I did spend a couple of hours playing Warcraft 3. I got through the first few Scourge campaign levels. That game is still enjoyable after all these years.

Anyway, back to the point. Last week I spent a lot of time doing things other than WoW and it was great! Unfortunately, I can see the draw of WoW begin to ebb and the draw of other things begin to brighten. I’m not quite there yet, but it’s making me wonder if I can even last until Cataclysm?

Warcraft Archive: Lord Of The Clans

So I bought this book after the last one. The first reason being that the cost was similar to buying 2 novels and basically getting 2 for free. More importantly it contained the book I wanted to read next: Lord of the Clans.

This is a very easy read and moves quickly. I could go on about how we first encounter Thrall as a babe, how he comes into Blackmoore’s hands, grows up, and wreaks havoc, but that’s the whole book and would definitely give too much away. There aren’t a lot of surprises here, so don’t expect any. The majority of what’s found in this book is general knowledge you’ve experienced in game just with more detail.

The one thing I’d like to point out is how well the book brings you into the Orc’s world. If the average Horde player can relate to these guys, then is it any wonder that they spank us in PvP? Say what you will about Blizzard loving Horde over Alliance, but it’s hard to fault them if it’s true when damn if I don’t want to roll an Orc right now!

A Better Class Of Player

Remember I mentioned that I read blogs during my breaks at work? And remember how I mentioned that a good majority of those blogs are blocked and only readable through my feed reader? Well, one of my favorites is BBB and he had an amazing post the other day that I read and wholeheartedly agreed with, but obviously can’t comment on.

The funny thing is I didn’t think much about it afterwards because we all know I’ve bitched and moaned about how Blizzard has messed up gear progression, etc. But then something happened…

ToC25

Last night we were once again able to go to ToC25 with almost a full guild run. I think we were ultimately 4 people short, but we did fill it. A rose by any other name would still smell…like a cowpie after the manure spreader passed it over. But ToC was still fun! Having fun and being frustrated don’t always cancel each other out.

We had very few problems with Northrend Beasts. Check and done! Squishy tank, please find avoidance.

Jarraxxus was a joke! Oh wait, I’m sorry. I meant our raid was a joke!

Near the end of the Jarraxxus fight our raid nearly lost it. People started dying left and right. I want to say half the raid died in the last 30-60 seconds of that fight. Why? Apparently our dps can’t pull their heads out of their Netherstorm regions long enough to remember to deal with adds!

Then comes Faction Champions. If ever there was a more lopsided fight in WoW, I have yet to experience it! Especially since 25s are easier than 10s. Last night we get a really crappy mix! I was expecting a total wipefest and the end of the run right then. But in true BoO fashion we excel when we expect to fail and fail where we should succeed!* Not one person died…

We burn strat our way through the Val’kyr with little problem except for our dps that are more attracted to orbs than flies to manure!

Then comes Anub! Our own personal guild chastity belt! And damned if he’s going to let us enjoy the end! This fight should be a joke! I mean seriously?! I know it can be a somewhat intense fight, but what’s the problem?!

The Problem

I’m biased and won’t blame the healers. We have excellent healers. The only problem our healers have with any of the fights is dying to stupid. Two of our healers died last night to Anub’s spikes because they were always told to stand on the ice. Now I don’t want to embarrass anyone by saying their names, but their initials are L.y.r.a.n.d.r.e. (a.k.a. A.m.b.e.r.) and E.r.d.k.r.i.e.g. (a.k.a. K.y.r.i.l.e.a.n.)

Problem is these two were told to stand on the ice when Anub submerges and apparently in 10s you take damage, just not as much, so they’ve never noticed it as they heal right through it. Last night it was better explained that they needed to kite Anub and stand on the opposite side of the ice. See? Died to stupid!

Our tanks are decent. According to our former main tanks, they are still a little slow on this fight.

Our main problem appears to be dps. We had a wide range of dps in our raid. We had those that excel. We had those that think they excel. We had those that suck. And we had those that suck and don’t think they do.

Those that excel are like Huntres. Yes, the same Hunt we give a lot of crap to, but he knows his toon and he consistently tops the meters WHILE doing his assigned jobs. Yes, this guy can shoot down ice, switch to adds, occasionally avoid fires (although that can be sporadic at times), and even has the healer channel named after him: LETHUNTDIE.

Those that think they excel are like a particular guild member we had last night who kept his dps quite high by never switching to adds. It is you my friend that appears to excel because Recount says you did, but in fact you did not because you do not know how to do your job and switch to adds appropriately!!! This was made extremely evident during Faction Champions when his dps dropped to 3k. 🙂

Those that suck are…well those that suck. Some know it, others don’t. One example was the warlock that after the Val’kyr fight and before Anub was DEAD LAST on the overall damage meters (excluding healers). And when I mean dead last, I mean “Afk a sec! gonna let my cat play while I’m away!”

"Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up."

We had a ret pally in the raid and not one of those “OMG how the hell is he pushing those kinds of numbers!” players. He dc’d after Faction Champions and never made it back. He missed the entire Val’kyr fight. He was second to last on overall damage at that point…

*sputter*, *curse*, *stare blankly at screen*, *wipe screen with sleeve*, *wonder why Recount’s not working?*, …

Seriously?! You can’t overall outdamage a guy that missed an ENTIRE boss fight?! WTF?!

See? Having fun and being frustrated can happen all at the same time. 🙂

A Better Class Of Player

I hope you read BBB’s post about Kara attunements. I remember doing all that. It was a pain, but it was soooo EPIC!!! By the time you got it done you really felt like you accomplished something. But even that aside, the attunement prepared you for what you were about to experience!

The Kara attunement was great! Not only did it make you feel like a part of the story, but it prepared you for what was to come. I remember wiping for weeks on helping Medivh at the Portal. It was such a bitch! But it was nowhere near as hard as Attumen was the first time!

I miss attunements. Sure I don’t want to have to go through a lengthy attunement on each of my classes. I’m not a masochist! And like BBB suggested, making attunements BoA may be a solution, although I would suggest that be something they introduce after a raid’s been out for a while. If you have multiple toons, make you work for it at first. Later on make it easier, but either way make us work for it! And for any naysayers out there that think it might be difficult for Blizzard, how come Blizzard can send you an in-game mail with a pet for something you acquired during an event and send all of your newly created alts the same pet? Just saying.

I know I complain a lot about gear progression, but it’s not really about the gear. It’s about progression. I like gear, but I don’t care about gear. I want gear to be a requirement to advance, but I don’t want it to be the only requirement.

My point is, gear progression aside, attunements forced a player down a path of learning. And although you can’t always avoid the one guy that will get carried and will still ultimately suck, it sure helps.

I like progression for my own fun, but I also like progression so my fun isn’t adversely affected by others either. I may not be a hard ass when it comes to beating others up about their performance because God knows I’m not perfect! But seriously?! An ENTIRE BOSS FIGHT?!

[2.Trade] [Kyrilean]: WTB a better class of player..

*Amber, I vote that this be our guild motto.

Assassin’s Creed 2

I started off playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 for the early part of this weekend. It’s a fantastic game! I haven’t played much of the single-player game, but the multiplayer matches are amazing! Unfortunately when I play on XBoxLive I experience a Jekyll-Hyde transformation. Unlike WoW where I don’t often lose my cool, although it’s been known to happen, in CoD games I find myself losing my cool more often than not. I’m not competitive in WoW, but ultra-competitive in CoD!

So it took a little time before I finally sat down to play Assassin’s Creed 2 and that might have been a mistake…

It’s been 2 years since Assassin’s Creed came out and nearly that since I played the game. The storyline was captivating, clever, and well done. The gameplay and graphics were phenomenal! Unfortunately…this has all been topped in AC2!!!

Yeah, I played AC2 a lot this weekend! And I thought the storyline was riveting before?! I actually dreamt about it after the first night of playing, wondering what the hell’s gonna happen next? I can’t wait to get home and keep playing! Problem is that I’ve forgotten details of the first game and now I feel like I need to play that again! 🙂

If you ever played a game called Thief and enjoyed it, you’re gonna love this game! Although it’s not quite all about sneaking around, there is a lot of stealth actions in the game and some missions require it. Another comparison might be the new Prince of Persia* games, although I have to admit having not played more than a demo of those.

So if there’s a game you’re trying to find out there to keep you entertained, I can’t recommend this game highly enough! Although if you haven’t played the first one, go get that one first or you’re going to be confused. And I have to say I’m glad they referenced Altair in this one! 🙂

In the meantime, I leave you with Assassin’s Creed: Lineage. A movie made setting up the events of Assassin’s Creed 2.

*Yes, new! The one I played was the 2D-scroller made in 1989!!!

The Guild That Raids Together, Blogs Together…

…seriously, we should just /gkick everyone in our guild that doesn’t blog and start recruiting the rest of you out there that do. We could just start a new guild on a server somewhere. 😀

Go give another guildie a little love if you would. Eviscerate’s a damn fine rogue.

Whoa! No way!

Yes, we have a non-healer blogger other than Rivs in our guild.

What I Really Think Is Wrong In WoW

Oh great! Another rant!

Wait! It’s probably not what you think…I hope.

OK, it’s no secret that I haven’t been the happiest in-game lately. I keep searching for reasons and find a few here and there, but none of it seems to add up enough to explain how bad it’s gotten. But once again I think I’ve figured out what is wrong in WoW.

Raiding / PvE Endgame Content

Experience – The main motivation for me to raid is the experience which consists of the challenge and the comraderie*. I view gear as a means to an end. It’s needed and desired, but not a motivation. I just wish everyone thought that way too.

Challenge – If it’s not challenging, at least at the beginning, then why do it? The thought of gearing up in Icecrown and then going back to do Ulduar is something that still rankles. I’ll still do it for the experience, but a lot of the challenge is going to be gone. Getting gear in Icecrown to go back and do hard modes that I couldn’t do otherwise is acceptable. It’s too bad that a majority of people are like water and take the path of least resistance.

Comraderie – I had a great group of people I used to raid with. I have a great group of people I raid with now. But like any group of random people thrown together, there’s always those few that are fingernails on the chalkboard.

Wait until the Lich King gets a load of us!

Gear  – Ultimately I don’t care about gear. I just want to get whatever little I need to perform and be a benefit to the guild as a whole. I’m a firm believer in gearing up others ultimately benefits me more than gearing myself up individually. The major flaw in this logic is another person’s right to up and leave after getting what they want.

Battlegrounds / Arena / PvP

I’m not much of a PvP player. I’m not great at it. At times I can hold my own, but generally I suck at it. Although recent leveling experiences are making me wonder**.

Battlegrounds – Battlegrounds can be fun. AV is anyway. But the deal killer is the assholes yelling at each other about how fail others are. Seriously? How is that helping anything?

Arenas – Arenas are interesting, but ultimately not enough to really entice me to stay. Even the people I know give up quickly when things don’t go their way or are quick to blame me and the others even if they aren’t vocal about it.

PvP, in general – PvP can be fun, especially when you win! 🙂 I’m a competitive person, but I also have nothing to prove. I know there will always be someone faster, smarter, and better than me. I also know that I will always be faster, smarter, and better than some. I’m fine with that. Unfortunately most PvPers I’ve encountered are not. They hate losing and much like the average raider, they give up as soon as it gets too difficult always looking for the path of least resistance.

Leveling

Leveling still offers some fun for me. I’m currently working on the other 5 classes I haven’t leveled to cap and I’m somewhat intrigued by doing the same thing with Horde alts someday. I like quests. I like reading quest text, at least the first time. But I do notice that I don’t run instances while leveling. I don’t like having to rely on others to perform when I can do it so much easier on my own. I also don’t like having to feel like I’m the anchor weighing someone else down when they can do it so much easier on their own or with someone else. So ultimately I like leveling because it’s something I can solo.

So What’s Wrong With WoW?

Nothing. Not a dagburned thing!

The game has changed. Some things have been great, others not so much. But ultimately nothing is wrong with the game. If you look at my comments above, you’ll find somewhat hidden the problem I have with WoW, but it isn’t WoW itself.

  • “I just wish everyone thought that way too.”
  • “It’s too bad that a majority of people are like water and take the path of least resistance.”
  • “…there’s always those few that are fingernails on the chalkboard.”
  • “…another person’s right to up and leave after getting what they want.”
  • “…the deal killer is the assholes yelling at each other…”
  • “Even the people I know give up quickly when things don’t go their way…”
  • “…they give up as soon as it gets too difficult always looking for the path of least resistance.”
  • “So ultimately I like leveling because it’s something I can solo.”

The problem isn’t with WoW. It’s in WoW. It’s the people***.

*Believe me the irony of this statement is not lost on me. Call me selectively anti-social. 🙂
**While leveling my mage, a Horde shaman approached me from a distance, watched me as I was drinking, and after a few moments began to charge in on his mount. I sheeped him and ran off not wanting to fight. He pursued and I barely killed him. The icing on the cake? I was 2 levels lower and at half mana. 🙂 And while in Stranglethorn on my Rogue, a mage rode past me, quickly turned around, and proceeded to attack. I stealthed and unfortunately was discovered, due to a misjudgement on my part, but I still won. The icing on that cake? The fact that I actually was able to defend myself successfully.
***I’m gonna get burned at the stake for this, aren’t I? 🙂

Subscription Fees

So I’m scanning my feed reader for blogs, which reminds me I need to update my blog list to match, and I come across a post over at Massively about subscription fees. Many of you might not follow them since they talk about most every other game out there except WoW. They let their sister site WoW.com do that.

Although I do more scanning of their site than actual reading, I like to keep up on what’s out there because as much as I hate to admit it, I’m starting to feel that WoW is on it’s last legs for me. Well at least raiding-wise, but more on that tomorrow because I think I finally figured out what really bothers me about the game lately and you might be surprised.

Anyway, back to subscription fees. Just glancing at the article instantly had me wondering at what point would I stop paying? I found the answer somewhat amusing.

Right now I believe I’m set up for the 6-month subscription, whatever that turns out to be. In my mind, it’s still $14.99/month regardless of discounts. But then I thought would I pay $19.99/month? I think I’d be really hesitant to do so which is funny when you think about it. It’s only $5 more and on a per day basis, that’s still pretty small. Yet the thought occurred to me that if they were to increase the subscription fee by say $1 every 6 months, I’d probably still be paying it without bailing.

Like a frog placed in a pot of water slowly brought to boil.