When Casual Raiding Turns Hardcore

Raiding is fun.  The social aspect of it is probably what Blizzard has struck gold with this game.  Even a very impersonal guild where only stats matter has social interaction.  There is a lot of trust, a lot of commitment, a lot of cammaradery, sometimes even friendships.

I play with mostly adults and we have seen plenty of kids come, level up and walk out the door the second we say no to going to Naxx the first week they hit 80.  It has nothing to do with elitism and all to do with slow progression.  We just recently became proficient enouth in the Spider wing to say we can now farm it.  We still have yet to even truly set foot in other wings.  Sure we have players that have cleared the whole thing with other guilds and pugs, but as a group we are barely getting there.

Then the label casual rears its ugly head.  Most of us play to escape from reality for a couple hours a night… and well a raid takes more like 3.  I was playing almost every single night for over 3 hours every night for a month.  I have since slowed down a bit, but now all the casual raiders are calling foul on their main tank because last week I jumped in, did a couple of raids with a sister guild and burned my saves for the week.  I had a couple of reasons for doing it.  I kept my Naxx save (which is what I thought we were going to do) intact, and well I figured that this weekend we were going to be lacking players because of the holiday weekend.  One of our top DPS was taking a break, our multifaceted druid was also chilling for the weekend and my main healer probably had family over.  Most of us are adult with IRL responsabilities that always take presedence to raiding.

So what happens now?  How can we turn this around?  How can we call ourselves casual?

There are 3 things that we need to concentrate on, Naxx, OS and VoA.  A Naxx full clear is probably out of the question at the moment, but that is at least 2 nights to clear a couple of wings.  OS and VoA can probably be done on the same night with the same group if we are organized and there are not 200 angry horde waiting in Wintergrasp.  So that is 3 nights a week that we need to devote to raiding.  I have Wednesdays and Thursdays both devoted to other activities and I would have to start late.  So that leaves Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

I have tried scheduling things in the past, but we are always short something… again we are a casual guild.  I can feel the frustration mounting when we have 9 guildies ready to go and we cannot fill that last spot with someone from the guild.  When it comes time to make a commitment it just does not happen.  Sure we can grow the guild, but then what happens is that we do fill up the raid but then people feel left out.

Last night we were able to run 25 man VoA by pugging it.  Emalon did not go down, but a bunch of people got to at least see the fight which is step one towards being able to do it.  That run did give me an idea of what to do if one of our raid night is not full… turn it into a 25 and go kill dragons.  Our casual raiders want to progress, but without full commitment to raid nights we cannot make it very far.   So I ask you guys, how do you deal with a guild being casual, yet not so casual?

WoW Account Got Hacked, What do I do?

If you have already checked to make sure your realm is up, yes I did this noob thing once. The first thing to do is to contact Blizzard. If you have already tried to retrieve your password and that route did not work (which most likely won’t because the hacker will burn the retrieve password try so they can have time to do what they do) get to Blizzard support and report your account as hacked.

Once you have your password back and your account has been reactivated, open up an in game ticket to get the items and money that you have lost back.

Beside that, it is a waiting game and a pain that nobody wants to go through.  What you need to do actually is to prepare so it does not happen ever again.

It begins with a strong password. If you know what that is, you are a minority, if you don’t read this guide I wrote. The stronger your password is, the better chance you have to keep it intact… however, something that most people forget is to have a different password for different accounts. I am not talking about just WoW accounts, I am talking about e-mail, bank, forums, etc.

Once someone has one of your passwords, the first thing they are going to try after they have cleaned your bank out is to see if they can get into other accounts. Some of these people work on networks of hackers and a password can be a powerful thing for them specially as you sleep after an all night raid.

The second step towards having a hack free life is to have software and hardware protecting you. You need an antivirus at the very minimum, but a firewall, spyware and process watcher don’t hurt either.

I like Spybot, AdAware, AVG and a hardware firewall.  I have several computers and devices that need internet connection so I had to buy a router anyway.  If you buy one, make sure that it comes with a firewall it is worth the extra money in my opinion.  Also your best tool is knowledge, learn about what a keylogger is and what it can do.

So once you have determined that your account has been hacked, get to the bottom of how they got into it.  See if there are keyloggers or other Trojans in your computer and eliminate them before you get back into the game full swing.  See if you can backtrack where the problem started, Did I download a new program lately?  What new websites did I visit? Did I follow a link that seemed to take me nowhere?

Do not buy gold online, as tempting as it might be.  Do not follow spam messages in game either.  Find trusted places to get information from like Alterac Volley which has excellent, easy to follow money making guides.  Visit big sites for information (Tankspot, Elitist Jerks, WoWInsider, MMO Champion) and search their forums rather than searching the internet as a whole where a hacker can be just one click away.

Always be aware of URLs.  The internet addresses can be masked to show no extensions of what you are actually going to execute or have redirects, but you need to make sure you are not about to download an executable program.  If you receive an e-mail from someone you know, but it is in any way out of character, do not click on anything or launch videos or programs from it.  Even if it is the funniest thing in the world, have your friend tell you what is about or tell you where it is on youtube.

Protect yourself and your guild, because as the people that have experienced this issue, the hackers will take as much as they can before they are detected.  It is a sad reality of the internet that there are people out there trying to get something for nothing.

Raiding Issues

Being part of a casual guild comes with its price.  Progression tends to lean more towards the speed of your more casual players which leads to your serious or semi serious raiders to go elsewhere.

Since I started playing WoW I have seen the migration happen once and it really ticked me off because of the way it was handled.  I judged maturity by associating it with playing competence, but I have since found that they have nothing to do with each other.  Heck, a 9 year old in one of the other guild I’ve run to can out DPS most of the people in the server.

Lately raiding has been frustrating.  I was rushed to hit cap and gear up as a tank before the migration of all of our serious raiders to another guild.  So I was left with entry to Naxx gear and nobody else to go there with.  I have obtained a couple of pieces since via pugging, but nothing that has really made that much of a difference.  I can run any heroic with my eyes closed except for Azol Nerub and Oculus which I will some day do, but have not enjoyed when I go in there.

Our guild is doing great though, we took down OS 10 man last week in only our second entry there as a guild.  We all did great and one shotted everything until we got to the last dragon where we had to adjust twice before everyone got into the groove.  We can probably do it again pretty easily now, and use it as a weekly thing to gear up along with the Wintergrasp Piñata.  However, we are not ready for Naxx.  Some of it is gear, some of it just experience raiding, most of it is scheduling.

Having lots to do outside of WoW makes it hard to schedule and participate on raids.  I never set out to be the main tank in a guild, but I now have the job and I am trying very hard to find a balance.  However, I would feel bad if I just waited for people to catch up in both experience and gear and then step in to actually finish Naxx.  Also, raiding every other week is not the best thing to bring skill levels up.  Also commitment level is low amongst other people and while some have no problem commiting to 3 hours one night, others can only commit 1 hour a night for 3 days.

What my fear is that the people that are geared right now will want to move faster through contend and end up using their “saves” on other people’s runs.  It’s already happening and it hurts our chances.  I guess these are just the realities of being part of a casual guild… however, our guild has some of the best people and that is why I continue playing.  I hope everyone can be patient and we can find a middle ground between raiding and having fun.

Another Friday WoW Meme – Numero Tres

Here is another edition of the Friday WoW Meme! This one with Money on My Mind!

1) Word Association

Orphan ::

Roll ::

Need ::

Greed ::

2) Where is your favorite place to grind to make money?

3) Is there any kind of grinding that you actually enjoy and not find tedious?

4) What is your current favorite daily?

5) Which old daily from BC do you miss the most?

Remember play and tag two people not in your blogroll!

Did I find the new Isle?

I just peeked inside the Argent Tournament and I was amazed.  It looks like I have finally found a place where I can do dailies and get some griding done while I have some fun.

Ever since the WotLK came out and the Isle Quests were nerfed money wise, I have been looking for a place to do dailies.  The ones in icecrown were ok, but I felt the rest required too much traveling and not enough killing things.  I don’t know yet how lucrative the Argent stuff will be, but it seems promising.  I might have just found the new Isle for me.

Taking my orphan around

Nygtmare wanted to go to Utgard Pinnacle (UP)  really bad, and while I need to put that heroic on farm, we have not had a good balanced group to do it yet.  So when he mentioned going there I cringed, but then he said he just wanted regular for his orphan achievement.  He ended up getting another group, but almost every time I logged in during this weekend I would get tells not to go to Naxx or Vault but to go to UP.

I had a great time with our guild in Naxx this weekend, we did not move forward much but I think we are all understanding roles a lot better.  I now remember that most of them had never even been to Kara before joining our guild after WotLK came out, so it makes me feel good that everyone has actually progressed to this point.

Then early on Saturday I let someone convince me to pug a run of Heroic Violet Hold.  I don’t have any need to run dungeons anymore.  I have all the gear from emblems that I could get, all of my factions are at exalted and maxed out and I can get more shards from running WG.  The only reason I run them is for other guildies that might need those things mentioned above or to test people that might be good for the guild.  I however do it only if one of our healers is with me.  My experience with pug healers is 25% good and 75% horrible.  The part that stings is that the good ones are sometimes even more painful because they complain about everything that goes wrong since they are just so “awesome” and its funny when I go down on a fight and they have 75% mana.  I digress.

Finally one of the dudes that I have grouped with in the past from the guild “the soul society” caught me in a moment when I had just emptied my bags from farming and had about an hour to kill, and since my main healer is having a good time in Vegas and the other healers were not online I decided to go in a pug.  They wanted to do UP for the orphan achievement.  The pug had one of the “awesome” healers and while we did not have any wipes we rushed throught that place making leroy jenkins look timid.  It was funny when I tried to give everyone a mana break and the “awesome” healer replies I never need mana breaks, excuse me Mr Tree of infinate Mana, the DPS mage kind of needs to drink up but whatever just keep me up.

So I picked up the hooved one and took her around the land while they completed the group and summoned.  My first annoyance with the darn orphan is that while the general area where you are supposed to take them is pretty general, but for them to get the completed part is pretty particular.  Once a couple of guildies pointed me in the right direction I got the orphan all traveled.  Got most of the achievements I could easily get and actually did it pretty quickly.  I am thinking about picking up another one today since I did visit a couple of places I had not see in exodar with the drenai one.  I felt a little guilty hearting and leaving the little one behind to get an achievement, so I am not sure if I can eat all the treats to get the other achievement, but it might be fun to complete all of this very easy to get achievement points.  So have you obtain your orphan yet?