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I Need Cataclysm

Man I need Cataclysm. I do. I caught myself double checking my account status just the other night. Apparently my six-month subscription terminates at the end of May. I found myself considering letting it expire.

So Cataclysm apparently is going to be released this year. Well, not to be pessimistic, but I’ll believe it when I see it. But I sure hope it does. I need it.

Why?

‘Cuz Cataclysm is gonna save the world by destroying the world!

Yeah OK, again I’ll believe it when I see it, but I do need some change.

I’m burned out. Recent guild drama drained me emotionally. It isn’t anyone’s fault, it’s just part of the job we do. I signed up for it when I agreed to be an officer. I knew this would happen at times. But unfortunately it is not helping the burnout I’m feeling with raiding.

For me right now, raiding is about signing up, showing up, and downing bosses or pounding my head against a brick wall. I don’t read strats. I don’t read up on the latest glyphs, specs, enchants, gear, etc. I haven’t done a gear plan since Naxx.

In Burning Crusade I was all about reading boss strats, gear strategies, stat priorities, talents, etc. That was fun! I remember looking at Atlasloot and WoWHead on a daily basis trying to figure out the best way to plan my gear progression. I analyzed my gear constantly on websites. It was fun!

Why can’t I plan gear now? Well, I can but there isn’t any point to do so.

First, you can farm heroics for gear in the matter of a couple of days. In BC it took me weeks to farm one piece. Three hour heroics for three badges didn’t allow for quick gearing.

Second, because of limited time buying a piece of gear was a real investment. Sort of like how Frost Emblems are now to a certain extent. You were nearly guaranteed to get the drop you wanted the day after you spent your badges. And when you just spent 2-3 weeks farming the badges you really had to think about your choices.

But there was the fun! At least for me. Maybe not for everyone.

You can argue whatever position you want about gear progression in Wrath. Emblems are great! Emblems suck! Most of you know my position. It doesn’t mean that I disagree with those on the other side, it just means this is how the current gear system has affected my game.

Working my ass off to get one piece of badge gear was a feat! And no one can argue that I didn’t earn it! I remember that people were upset with badge gear when it came out. Supposedly it was just as good as T5 or better, although based on my own experiences I really didn’t think most of it was and still had to farm Kara for stuff.

The point is I had to research my gear. Plan the best course. Was it better to buy that badge gear or wait for the boss to drop loot? So researching and planning was an important part of the process. But even more importantly it was half the fun!

Gear in my opinion is messed up in more ways than I can count. It occurred to me that although I can reconcile my issue with quick gearing, what I can’t reconcile is my lack of interest.

Wednesday night I was bored out of my mind. I had no mana issues whatsoever and for you GearScore fanatics, I think my GS is around 5200. I don’t even have the best gear available to me.

So why bother? Why bother to do all that research in gear, talents, glyphs, gems, etc. to eek out a couple more points in spellpower, mp5, intellect, etc. when I’m just gonna faceroll my way through the content anyway?

Oh sure, there’s the argument that on the progression fights it’s important to get every last bit out of everyone and it is. Problem is our progression is never really an issue about gear, talents, gems, enchants, buffs, etc. It’s always about skill, paying attention, and fighting the lag boss. So again, why bother?

I miss the need to research boss fights. I miss the need to research specs. I miss the need to research gear. Maybe you don’t feel the same and think the way things are in end-game right now are great! Everyone’s seeing the content! And I agree that it’s great. I just disagree with how it’s been handled.

For light’s sake this is Casual Hardcore! Casual in play, but a hardcore attitude towards raiding and the endgame. I lost the drive that pushed me towards the hardcore. The game got too easy. And that’s why I need Cataclysm.  If for no other reason to have a solid breaking point where I can say I’m done with the endgame and just play to hang out.

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The Most Important Role Of All

OK, so Gordon ignited a spark under our collective blogging butts which turned into a raging wildfire over the past week with his guest post. The first time I read it something bothered me, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. And to be honest, I thought of it as just another post expounding on the idea that tanks and healers have the most difficult roles and sort of let it slide.

Then the proverbial manure hit the fan! Blogger after blogger had their own say on the topic although the topic has about run its course. Some responses were quite harsh and some were mild, but I think the general feeling is that Gordon is in the wrong.

I know Gordon was only trying to start an interesting conversation, but after reading SlikRX’s post (which I completely agree with btw) it finally dawned on me why Gordon’s comments bothered me.

Tanks and healers are the most important classes for any group. Tanks set the pace of the group, the flow of experience and man the vanguard as they lead the team into battle. Healers mend the broken bones of their companions and keep the tanks a live – without the healers there could be no tanks and there could be no group. These are the two most important classes that exist in any MMORPG. But the DPS? They’re just meat in the room.

This is Gordon’s opening statement. This set the tone of the post. This is why I have a problem with it.

Tanks and healers are the most important classes for any group.

This statement bothers me. To top it off it’s the very first sentence. But before I go on as to why it bothers me let’s look at why Gordon believes it so.

Tanks set the pace of the group…as they lead the team into battle.

I think we can agree this is a pretty important thing to have. But it isn’t tanks that should set the pace,it’s the Raid Leader. Ironically, it just so happens that a good majority of raid leaders are tanks. I firmly believe that tanks and healers are raid leaders and guild leaders because the personalities of those attracted to tanking and healing are more often than not the personalities of leaders. I’ve not personally run into a raiding guild led by a pure dps player that didn’t fail within two months. I have to believe they exist, but I haven’t personally run into one.

Healers mend the broken bones of their companions and keep the tanks a live – without the healers there could be no tanks and there could be no group.

A very true statement. Healers have an extremely important role and I think we can all agree with that. Because of the way the game is set up, there really wouldn’t be a group without the healers.

But the DPS? They’re just meat in the room.

Manure incoming! DUCK!!!

This is the statement that I think really got everyone’s goat and for good reason. He just said that dps doesn’t matter. If this statement were really true, then I want to see an ICC10 raid with 4 tanks and 6 healers. Now I’ll bet there is perhaps a group out there that could figure it out, but I’ll bet 95% of us couldn’t make that work.

Perhaps he meant that DPS are a dime-a-dozen, which is a pretty prevalent sentiment. But the bottom line is he obviously believes that they are less important.

Tanks And Healers Are The Most Important

BULLCOOKIES!!!

We spend a lot of time with our online avatars. We invest a lot of energy, emotion, and pride into them. It becomes very easy to look down on the other guy. It’s human nature to point the finger. It’s human nature to want to feel important. And this is where the whole game falls apart for me.

Why do so many people believe that they’re any more important to the game than any other? What happened to teamwork? Are we all star athletes such that WE individually are the team and the others don’t matter?

It’s a concept that I have a harder and harder time understanding as I get older.

EVERY single player in your group is important. EVERY single player in your guild is important. EVERY single role has worth.

As a healer, I guarantee you that if the DPS doesn’t avoid fire/aggro/baddies, then they will eventually die as I make choices to save others and/or run out of mana. As a healer, I guarantee that if DPS dies and/or overall dps is lower, then I will not be able to heal through the enrage. As a healer, solid DPS players are just as important to me as solid tanks and healers.

NO ONE is more important. It’s the team that counts.

Rejuvenation

…with my Druid nonetheless! 😉

Had a lot of fun this weekend farming heroics using the new LFG tool. I’m actually pleasantly surprised. As someone famous for refusing to pug I was somewhat skeptical of the new tool. Let’s face it, it’s just another means for horrible people to find themselves in groups where they can bitch and moan about how others don’t know how to play.

So Friday night I entered the queue for the first time and it went quite well. On the other hand it was Violet Hold, but it still went really, really fast! After leaving group I logged off to watch Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince with my family and went to bed. But after the movie I started thinking about it a lot. My druid has been neglected pretty much since hitting 80. She had a few blues and greens to replace and only a few crafted or purchased epics.

So when I woke up Saturday morning I spent a few hours farming heroics. With the exception of the Pit, they went quite well. Although I have to give kudos to my group that put up with a slightly undergeared healer. We did it, but it took an hour or so. I continued the farming on Sunday for a few hours and roughly 12 hours play time I had gone from a 1700 gear score on WoWHeroes to a 2300 gear score. In fact at one point I was even outgearing my paladin…

My paladin! My main! Now granted my “main” has been my shaman for some time now, but to go from 1700 to my paladin’s gear in less than a day?! That’s freaking awesome*!

But why is it awesome? Is it because gear is fun to get? No. Is it because everyone’s so much more geared so the old heroics are that much easier?  No. And why would someone who avoids pugs like the plague suddenly find fun in this new LFG tool?

Because it’s FREAKING FAST!!!

I finally realized my number one complaint about pugs. Time. You spend 30 minutes to an hour getting a group together or trying to find a group. When you finally do at the first sign of trouble half the group bails and you’re at step one all over again. Never mind the jerks who are quick to blame others. I just wasted a good hour with nothing to show for it. If it were only fun that would be something!

Give me a way to get into a group fast and half the problem of pugging goes away. It’s also nice that if you get screwed with a bad group that random heroics can still get you back in.

So I’ve been rejuvenated. I look forward to gearing up my druid and going back to finish out gearing my priest which hasn’t seen the light of day in months! Heroics have a purpose once again.

*This is no way is an endorsement of what I consider to be the gear problems that continue to plague the game.

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.

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? 🙂

War-mart: Spend Money, Live Better

I wasn’t going to comment on this because everybody and their dead ancestors already have (Merlot has a great one btw), but unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few days you are well aware that Blizzard now has two new pets for offer for the small sum of $10 each.

As we’ve seen it’s caused quite a stir as predictions of doom and gloom abound. Blizzard has gone the way of the microtransaction. Soon we’ll all be able to buy gear with real money instead of having to farm away in-game. No more grinding Naxx, Ulduar, and ToC for those shiny purples! No more farming heroics to buy emblem gear! Just whip out your credit card and deck out your new level 80 for raiding Icecrown in 5 minutes!

Bullshit.

The game, like any other, revolves around progression. You create a character, you log in, and you begin progressing.

Oooh! I’m level 2! I got a new ability! What’s it do?

Awesome! I’m level 40, I can start wearing plate!

Only 5 more pets and I get my achievement!

I know that spirit beast is here somewhere. If he’d just spawn…

<pant, pant>…Only 5 more laps around Dalaran…<pant>…I will fit into those jeans again, I swear it!!!

Whatever you’re after, whatever you’re doing, you are attempting to progress in something. Otherwise what’s the point of playing?

So my prediction is that yes, we will see Blizzard introduce more microtransaction items into the game; pets, mounts, and other vanity items will be all up for grabs. Just like race changes, faction changes, and server transfers these little transactions will have absolutely no effect on gameplay. We will NOT see items for sale that have an impact on PvE or PvP gameplay.

Have you ever played a game and used an invincibility cheat or an unlimited ammo cheat with an extremely powerful weapon? What happens? Oh sure, it’s a ton of fun initially being able to beat all those hard areas that you couldn’t before, but do that for a few minutes, a few hours, or possibly even a few days and the game becomes boring. There’s no challenge. So what’s the point?

If I’m wrong, then this game will become so pointless that this paladin will sadly hang up his mace.

Heroic…Regular…Heroic…Regular…

she-loves-me-she-loves-me-not

Just ran across this post over at MMO Champion. For those of you that can’t access it at work, etc. Here’s the part that’s interesting.

    Icecrown Raid Difficulty Functionality

    Quote from: Bornakk (Source)
    In the upcoming patch we are adding a new feature to the Icecrown raid instance that allows the raid leader to change the instance’s difficulty setting on a boss per boss basis. The way the raid leader chooses to switch is the same as now, by right-clicking on the character portrait. The difficulty settings can be changed from inside Icecrown Citadel, with some restrictions. For example, you cannot change the difficulty in combat or during certain events specified by our design team. To enable the ability to change the raid difficulty to heroic, you must first defeat the Lich King on normal mode, as doing so unlocks the heroic version of this raid instance. There is no heroic version of trash; meaning changing the difficulty will only affect boss difficulty.

    We chose this particular functionality because we didn’t want to use the Trial of the Crusader method, and have four versions on a raid of this size. We felt the Ulduar method of having to know a certain trick to do on the boss was difficult to communicate and tied too heavily to achievements. We might eventually convert Trial of the Crusader over to this new system but Ulduar and Naxxramas will likely never change.

Not that it’s really all that important, but I think I’m confusing myself a little. With the release of Arenafest, we saw the introduction of heroic raids. If you recall, before 3.2 we had always assumed that the 25-man versions of raids were the heroic raids. Trashlessfest changed all that for us. We were given 10- and 25- man regular raids and heroic versions to boot. It appeared that this was going to be the new system going forward. Some believed it was Blizzard’s way of copping out on new content. Instead of giving actual new content, just release something and give it three other versions to tide us over.

Personally, I’m not a huge fan of Snoozefest, but that’s because it doesn’t feel like an instance to me and in general it’s easier than Ulduar which is more of a personal dislike of the progression rather than anything really important. My brain tells me that content should get harder as you move on. It didn’t, at least not in the way I thought it would. Remember, I still haven’t experienced heroic ToC, or ToGC, or whatever the hell you kids are calling it these days. I bet I’d have a shitload of fun in there! 🙂

But I still have fun in regular 10- and 25-man ToCs because it’s still challenging. Well, maybe not 10s so much, but we still haven’t cleared 25s and still wipe on every boss at times. I like that. Some don’t. They feel we should already have it down pat and get pissed off when we wipe. Me? I’m playing a game I really enjoy with people I really enjoy. I don’t need anything more.

Anyway let’s abandon Mr. Sidetracked here and get back to the topic at hand. Bear with me as I try to piece this together while clearing cobwebs out of my brain.

“In the upcoming patch we are adding a new feature to the Icecrown raid instance that allows the raid leader to change the instance’s difficulty setting on a boss per boss basis.”

  • So we will still have 10- and 25-man heroic versions of each of the bosses.
  • Since they can be changed on the fly, we will not have a regular and heroic version of each instance. This means there’s only 2 versions of the instance instead of 4 like Lootfest.
  • Ultimately this appears to be similar to the hard-mode mechanics of Ulduar except it’s automatically selected instead of sometimes having to do something special.

So how do I feel about this? Actually it’s kind of neat. How many bosses does Icecrown have? Wasn’t there 31 announced? But I think some of those included the 5-man instances as well, but still it’s gotta be a lot. Can you imagine trying to run both versions in the same week? LOL!

I also find it interesting that Bornakk states “we didn’t want to use the Trial of the Crusader method, and have four versions on a raid of this size” and further that they “might eventually convert Trial of the Crusader over to this new system”.

I’m not a big fan of the multiple versions, but I don’t know that I can say it was broken. But does this mean that Blizzard is saying that their switch to the 4 raid versions didn’t work or was just impractical? And what does this mean for future small raids like ToC and Ony?