Blizzcon 2010

Before I even begin to talk about this great weekend I want to say that without the people that I got to meet, hang out and just share this wonderful experience this would have simply been a good time; instead this will be one of those memories that stays with you for the rest of your life. We were lucky enough to have 10+ members of our guild joining the festivities!

Crowd
Even though Blizzard does do an excellent job to get people what they need quickly, there are lines… tons of them. While there is a lot of stuff to do and see while there, you at one point or another will be stuck in line somewhere. The only way to avoid them is to know the schedule extremely well, but honestly I did not see any of the cool stuff (or where they gave free stuff) without a line after the opening cermonies were over. The problem with the lines behind the obvious waiting and waiting is that some or our fellow geeks have not found it important to break the stereotype and some of them still don’t know what deodorant is. It was not horrible but I am not a fan of smelling people. Who knows maybe there is a niche market there to make some quick soap/deodorant combo that can help some of this people out. Thankfully there were plenty of hand sanitizing locations all over the convention center that at least made me feel better about touching keyboards and just overall other surfaces.

Everyone that we did had to interact to in lines and just standing around was extremely friendly and it was very easy to strike up a conversation. We had a big group of people, but others would approach us and ask us questions about our guild or what classes we played. It was very cool to have people just be so friendly and willing to just have a good laugh with you.

The only other negative thing was that their announcements were not earthshattering. I was really looking forward to them announcing something big like what their next MMO is going to be about, but they kept everything very current and concentrated on the release of Cataclysm and SCII related announcements. While they did unveil that Diablo III is going to have a PvP component to it and it looked amazing, revealing what the last playable class “Demon Hunter” was going to be was about it.

Being able to play their upcoming games was probably the most organized and what you could do in less than an hour. Everthing else that was related to a line felt like a ride at an amusement park, minutes upon minutes of waiting for just a 45 second thrill.

Now lets talk about the awesome. 95% of the people that dressed up really put months worth of effort into it. It was amazing to see the dedication some people put into their costumes. I thought this was going to be just a handful of people that knew what they were doing and lots of bad rushed jobs, but no; there were some serious costume makers there doing actual leather work and complicated things that were just jaw dropping. I think 3 of them were actually provided by blizzard and they were simply amazing, but the fan made ones really showcased dedication and sometimes humor. I would say that surprisingly the costumes were my favorite part of the convention.
Diablo Witch Doctors
Jay Mohr has been the host of Blizzcon and appearently last year he was a little under the influence of alcohol which he made fun of saying that he was just simply nervous and not drunk. The first night was the costume/dance contest. You do get to see most of the costumes up close from just walking around and they love to have their picture taken, but if you want to really see them all you must attend this event where they all get to walk on stage. The problem is that some of the get ups are quite elaborate and get heavy and toward the end of the night you could see some of the people having a real hard time moving on them. Nobody from the costume contest actually tripped on stage which was amazing to me.

After that part of the show finished the dance contest started and it was a riot. Basically every in game race/sex combination has their own dance emote in World of Warcraft. You type /dance and they characters go to town. Well now the humans behind the strings get to show their ability to move themselves with some comical consequences. I could seriously not stop laughing during some of the dances and some of the performances were just genious. The whole night was without incident until a kid who was getting really into his dance (and getting some amazing hang time to his jumps) actually ruptured a ligament. I am happy to report that he is “all good” and was at the convention the next day.

The next thing on my favorite list was the PvP tournaments. To see some of those people battle it out in front of an audience is amazing. Their level of skill at the game is just unreal. I was glad to see one of the North American teams make it so high in the later, but Asia simply dominates when it comes to competitive gaming. I would say that it is one of the things you should not miss!

Beating a Dead Horse

Or rather horseman. Yes kids, the new holiday is upon us and like a lot of the game right not it is “OMG BROKEN GAME.” It seems to be related to mousing over the pumpkin, so until you are sure you don’t have the bug just don’t touch it. I know it has flames coming out of it but don’t be a moth. The good side effect is that like the other holiday bosses, this one is pretty easy and if you beat him while everyone else is DC it seems nobody goes without the goody pumpkin… which btw will sometimes give you nothing; but don’t fear, your justice points are still there.

In the spirit of beating a dead horse lets talk about the current state of the game.

Software can be a complicated thing to write and release, and currently we have a mixture of what Cata will be and what WotLK was. It is unfair to judge the game in its current state and almost silly. The full patch is going to be 4.0.3 but nerd ragers willl complain and start fires all over Azeroth because 4.0.1 is so broken. If you exercise patience in a couple of months you will see what the game is really supposed to be. On some of the comparisons of Live vs Beta you can see that if you have a decent machine the Beta really is giving you better performance. So welcome the preview of your talents, relearn your character if it changed considerably and just log onto another toon if yours is being too buggy. Better yet, go read about the bug you are experiencing and see if there is a simple fix. (/reload is your friend)

ICC is on its last days as the new shinny months old toy now. The 25 and 10s we ran this week felt like a cakewalk (probably how it has felt to most serious raiders for a long time.) Damage is up for some classes, but tanking overall feels a little nerfed (unless you are a Paladin). So after adjusting a little bit for the changes most raids can clear 10/12 with easy and work on the last two fights. I seriously suggest any raid that has trouble with Sindragosa to go the single tank route and just burn her to the ground. LK, well, that is still a fight you have to learn and practice… really no shortcut to killing valks and stepping out of defile.

If you are having lots of issue with lag and low FPS make sure you turn down your graphic settings to the lowest setting as well as get rid of (or update) all of your addons. At the very minimun turn them off and try the game without them at first. They have done a lot to update the UI and there are now some raid frames that are actually workable.

Even with all the bugs I think this is a wonderful preview to Cataclysm. I look forward to see what they have in store for us there. Also! see you at Blizzcon!

Loyalty & Respect

“The greater the loyalty of a group toward the group, the greater is the motivation among the members to achieve the goals of the group, and the greater the probability that the group will achieve its goals.”
Rensis Likert

“When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everybody will respect you.”
Lao Tzu

While the patch is being downloaded and people are going on about the builds they are going to use for the remainder of Wrath I am in the mood to look back. As a guild we have accomplished quite a bit. We managed to raid 25 month content with various degree of success. We managed to kill Arthras before 4.0.1 in our small little server. We also managed to stay together and I blame lots of loyalty and a bit of respect.

One of the side effects of having a guild that is able to actually do current content is that other people think you are trying to compete with them. Furthermore you get people that want to come into your group and make it about competing with others. We managed to not buy into it, and I made my ignore list that much longer. I was amazed when people were interested in discussing with me the policies of our guild even though they were never in it (nor plan to be in it.)

Overall the drama has been very little over the last couple of months and besides the people that left to hardcore raid (and in reality most of them were never truly Saints to begin with) we have kept our membership pretty intact. Even some of the people that tried horde for a bit came back. Our only problem now is that we have too many people that want to raid and get stuff out of 25 while there is a difference between it and 10 mans. Ah, but today a big percentable of that goes away with the flexible raid lockout and the capability of farming for gear not by going to get frost emblems but simply doing heroics! Badge farmers rejoice!

The reality of the sucess of our guild is that as a group we sacrificed many personal aspirations for the good of the group. Sure some people might have felt left behind here and there, but overall anyone that put in the time and the effort got to raid current content and kill bosses. Now new content promises to give us a lot more to do and having everyone be on the same level to start getting new lootz will make for interesting adventures to come.

Our guild is positioned right where we want it. We are big enough to not be ganked and camped, and we still know each other by first name. We will be leveling professions and helping each other wonder the world of warcraft after the Cataclysm. It feels good to have such a great group of people together with a high sense of respect and loyalty for each other. While some might argue that its just a game, we have created a very strong community :) with even our own BoondockSaints baby on the way. (Gratz Evan and Daniel).

We have a couple of months of doing lots of finishing up titles and getting used to our new talents and rotation, but most of all becoming a even better team of players that are always willing to help each other achieve goals. From finishing a tough quest, to killing bosses, the Saints are here to enjoy this game to the fullest!

Loving 10 Mans

My hat is off to anyone that can run a 25 man group week after week. I know that casual or hardcore it is very challenging to keep everyone motivated, interested and more importantly showing up. That is why the change in Cata where 10 mans are going to have equal reward when it comes to look than 25 is going to make things easy.

We are pretty much done with this expansion and most people show up to our 25s to collect loot. After the easy stuff is done they all have to work, sleep, etc. Even if the night before and the night after they still sit in Dalaran doing nothing it seems that our 25 night makes everyone allergic after we clear 6 bosses.

I get it though, running a 25 is like taking a picture of 25 hungry monkeys. Unless you are all super focused it can take up to 3 hours to clear even “easy” content. Nothing wrong with that, but when it comes time to do the harder bosses nobody wants to continue or extend the raid lockout. 80% of the people are ok with just farming gear, but 20% are not. Those people are the ones that have seen that fight in the 100s of times. 10 mans will make all of these issues in a casual guild go away. We can still have some progression minded people running 10 mans week after week and getting further, as well as having the casual enjoy the content that has already become farmable.

Trying to fill up a raid with 10 raiders, 10 casual and 5 pugs can lead you to clear 6 bosses easy, but it could also leave you with some pissed off people saved to 2 bosses on 25… and OMG losing on emblems is a “huge” deal.

I also see the frustration of some of the people that have been doing ICC since it came out but have not been able to complete their set because we have only attempted the end wing bosses and not downed them. It takes practice and we are not doing it every single week, its more like every other week on 25.

However, our 10 man are doing awesome. We should have group 3 and 4 of kingslayers soon. We have about 4 10 mans running now with some hardmodes sprinkled in between. Its just a lot easier to get 10 people on the same page than it does 25. Also most people seem supper interested on getting Kingslayer quick since the achievement seems to be rumored to be going away… while I doubt that, it does seem that for the goals of our guild which is to primarily see all content we are doing better than expected!