Dragon Soul Getting Nerfed

Last night I read the news that Dragon Soul is getting nerfed! and I went Yey!

I’m in a small friend guild. We don’t always end up with the best raid composition. We don’t always have the same healer from one night to the next. Sometimes our tanks get stuck at work. We raid with 2 awesome hunters, in 10 man.

We are all competent players and individually could join a progression guild and do well. But we like playing together, because we know each other. We know the jokes, we push each other, we die, get frustrated one night to one shot the same boss the next night. We are currently 5/8 with some solid attempts at the ship… we just always seem to run out of time. We are casual raiders, we know it, we don’t pretend to be anything else. Individually I think some have already cleared DS with pugs. I have cleared up to Madness on an alt.

/rant

I read Kurn and listen to her podcast. I enjoy the banter and enjoy reading from the perspective of her and many other progression raiders I listen to. I am however quite disappointing, because what I have seen kill many WoW communities is what I am reading on her post.

My toons grew up in a PvP server that had population issues ever since I started playing. I never experienced the life of a larger server other than making a toon to talk to a friend there before real id, or to pass the time if our server was down for whatever reason.

When I first started to raid lead and lead a guild I started to bump into “progression raiders.” I quickly saw that they enjoyed trolling others establishing superiority via their achievements in game. That really does not mean much to an adult. Then the groups in this small server introduced me to the systematic dismantling of other groups. A raiding guild would move in, or progress and they would do what they could to poach players, not to help them but to slow the other guild down. I saw what a competitive environment can do, and how it hurt the overall community. I am hoping that this was an outlier of the community, and not the norm with progression raids.

I looked up to people like Kurn, progression raiders that seemed to just want to play the game at a higher level. Willing to share tips and help the overall community. I admire their dedication to their guild and the game. I even went as far as to be ok the calls of foul play when T12 was nerfed. I felt I was part of her community, the WoW community… I guess I was fooling myself.

Cataclysm arrived and with the T11 content nerfs, my faith in Blizzard was shaken. When the Firelands nerfs arrived, I was furious and my trust in Blizzard eroded. And now, with the announcement of Dragon Soul nerfs, despite the fact that Looking for Raid exists *for* those people who will not make the efforts needed to raid seriously, I have to admit that my faith in Blizzard is shattered. My trust in the developers of World of Warcraft is gone. I am obviously not the type of player they want playing their game. And that’s what’s so very shocking to me. I am a good player. I am a community asset. I am a guild leader, a raid leader, a healing lead. I write a blog dedicated to the game that has had hundreds of thousands of visitors and pageviews since December 31st, 2009 (and more before then, but I don’t have any data before 12/31/09). I co-host and produce a podcast dedicated to the game.

Read the whole post, it is a great way to get perspective. A perspective I don’t agree with because it uses word like incompetence, laziness, and “this game is no longer for me“.

Before I continue with my thoughts on the subject, lets be clear about something. Blizzard is a company that makes a game. They are there to MAKE MONEY because it is what businesses do in a capitalist system. They are above and beyond one of the places that is the most sensitive to their customers and keep millions of them happy.

This is not the first time I see these kind of diatribe about the game. The moment a person starts to feel above others, to me it is the moment that they show they feel insecure. I don’t know Kurn personally and that statement is not directed at her personally. It is directed to all of the progression raiders that have yet to kill Madness on Heroic, that never Killed Ragnaros Heroic per nerf.

There is no reason to take a crap on top of the community because the allotted time to accomplish what others do in hours, days, weeks, you ran out of time to do. If you can be that awesome, then why aren’t you done already.

I’m tired of the people in the community acting like if the game is not for the top raider, the game is garbage.

WOW is in the BEST state a game can be. There is so much to do it is unreal!

Stop acting like the game has to be tailored to just YOU or it is garbage and you won’t play anymore.

If you are truly a part of the community and want to report and serve that community, think of the WHOLE community and not just your very small percentage of hardcore raiders that need 4 months to clear an instance on heroic instead of 1 or 2. The nerfs affect you only because now you cannot compare yourself with those that did it before you… the reality is that you could not do that to begin with.

I am not a top 100 player, probably not even top 1000 either. But every night I log on and kill a boss with friends I have FUN! if the game is not fun for you, by all means, quite playing.

There are so many people in the community doing creative things to have fun with the game, that it pains me to read that the people that do what I like to do in raiding, don’t even consider me a part of the community.

If you hate pandas, do it! If you want to quit playing the game, see ya! But stop acting like the game is not for you, simply because the game is not JUST for you.

LFR Tanking Guide

Before you even que up for the LFR as a tank, be aware the the tables have turned and your queue will not be instant, no sir! be ready for a little bit of a queue time. So without much more to say, let’s have a real quick LFR tanking guide. This is quick, and oversimplified!

Morchok
1 Debuff – Taunt at 2 Stacks!
You can survive more, but 2 seem to clear nicely and not cause you much issues.

Taunt in the middle of the road. You might have to reposition. Make sure you are always stacking with the other tank.

Rotate through your cooldowns while you are tanking and be ready for getting hit a little harder towards the end.

Yor’sajh
1 Debuff – Taunt at 3/4 Stacks!
Oozeappoloza! Purple – Yellow – Red (Green does not do splash damage on LFR)

Make sure you help kill the Oozes, there always seems to be a DPS (see hunters) that refuse to switch. If one of the oozes that comes out is the black one, be ready to AoE taunt adds and be free with your AoE abilities.

Zon’ozz
If you are the OT you could be the one bouncing the ball back and forth. If you have aggro, face the boss towards the raid initially and once the ball is formed face him away. No other movement needed besides stacking up.

Hagara the Stormbinder
Probably the first fight that actually requires some tanking.

Focused assault hurts! you could just pop a cooldown, but learning the timing and running away will make it so you take no damage.

Try to tank off center and be ready to tank the add during the electric phase.

Do not tunnel vision during ice phase DPSing a crystal, move early and stay alive.

Ultraxion
Tank and Spank… well kinda!

This is a fun fight for tanks, we get to use our cooldowns a lot more. Make sure you time them correctly and this fight will be no problem.

Warmaster Blackhorn
2 Debuffs – Lots of movement
You start having to tank two types of adds. While it is important to swap, it is more important to not let one of them run wild. Get everything controlled and the talk to your off-tank if you need to swap.

Help soak all incoming damage to the ship. Rotate through your cooldowns.

The boss will have to be move away from void zones and avoid his shockwave.

Spine of Douchewing
This is the fight where you will become a STAR! make friends across all realms and have post written about you!

Mark and kill 1 (uno) tentacle. Grab the add and get it to 30%. Let the OT kill 9 bloods. Pick up the 10 bloods, nuke the add. Rinse and repeat!

Here is where this fight causes issues to everyone though. The very first add comes out when there are not enough bloods… people see adds, people blow up add without sufficient stacks, process has to start all over. If you time things right with your OT, the first part will seem to take forever, but it will help the new people understand what is going on.

Towards the end of the fight the issue might be too many bloods beating on healers, so if you are the free tank, go pick the up with an aoe taunt, and potentially keep them from the main add until it is at 30%

Mark and DSP the tendon and WIN!

Madness of Douchewing
Debuffs that can KILL YOU! BEWARE!

Not a bad tanking fight. Move to the back to start tanking the tentacle, specially on the last platform because it spawns almost as people are arriving to the platform (if they left blue for last like most people do).

Tank swap on debuff (survivable with cooldowns, but not recommended)

When you actually get to DPS deathwing, don’t forget about the green button specially when you are going to take a big damage spike.

Kill all the tentacles and WIN!

4.3 and what I am playing

My first character was Logtar born during the burning crusaded. He is the protection warrior that later started to PvP and DPS as arms, but he seems to always be a tank. During wrath I finished leveling my priest, druid and a warlock. I raided with all of them to some extent but by the beginning of Cataclysm I seem to go back to Logtar and he is the one that raided the most for tier 11. While the priest was geared and capable of doing tier 11, he was relegated to alt runs.

We moved servers while firelands was on their way and our new home realm seemed to be lacking healers more than tanks. The priest and the druid saw a lot more use and they both got to see a lot of the orange instance. Logtar was not raiding with any of the guild we were a part of during that period but found a weekend raiding group that got him to kill Ragnaros. I also ended up also bringing over the DK for his blacksmithing capabilities. So right now I have 4 toons that are doing dragon soul using the LFR and the priest doing the normal modes with our raiding team.

Priest healing is not as fun as it was during the Firelands. While discipline did see a nice buff in 4.3 and it seems easy to play, I still don’t find it as cool as I did towards the end of wrath when I was a bubble spammer. I am still not sold on the new healing model at all. I have 2 healed a couple of 10 mans, but still feel more comfortable in the 3 healing environment of current 10 mans.

The bear is really a beast right now and feeling very competent both in number output and survivability. Being able to hit trash packs harder than some DPS is fun, and even on single target I can pull ahead of other tanks. However, the druid seems to be more needed for healing than for tanking and I am getting more proficient at it, at times finding even a little more fun than priest healing.

The DK is just ridiculous. He is the last geared of all my toons but the ones that seems to hit the hardest. He ends up tanking LFR and dungeons but does not seem to find many current raids to do. I wish we had a full time blood DK (I miss you Phaetel!) again, their 4 piece during this tier is all kind of ridiculous.

Last but not least is the warrior. The arms DPS is just amazing right now, but he is not seeing much more than LFR right now. He finally had a decent shield and he seems to be the one I want to transmog. I think he will be PvPing more this patch than actually raiding. He has not had the luck in LFR than will give him his 4 set, and having a full time protection warrior on the raiding team makes it that he is almost exclusive for alt runs.

That is the summary of 4.3 probably the perfect time to get back into the game if Cataclysm was not your cup of tea. It feels almost like Wrath did towards the end. The dungeons are easy to do, the gear is dropping like candy from the heavens above. So come and join the fun. We are actually going to recruit a bit to see if we can get a rated BG team going and our raid team should be killing Deathwing on normal in the coming month!

4.1 and the Goodie Bag

I have been meaning to post more about my reactions to Cata, but most of my spare time has been spent actually playing the game. Overall I am very happy with the way this expansion came out and its first mayor patch is only a glympse at the things to come.

The phasing technology used in the past has been a great success story for the development team, and besides some annoying nodes that you cannot mine but see in the map or gankers that hide behind a phased quest, it allows for the story in many areas to unfold before your eyes rather than be told through text.

Heroics are not challenging anymore… well at least not the original ones. The new ZA and ZG are not impossible, but I do feel bad for people that have to pug it. When the expansion first came out the bad group to good group ration was about 1 to 10. I have only qued for the new instances a couple of times and I still have not finished one with a pug. A full guild group can complete it with no problem even though it still takes more time than it probably will.

Most people are complaining from the Ruby Sanctum effect with the new content. It goes something like this… when RS came out it dropped mid level gear, a little better than people that did not raid have… but the encounter seemed to almost require raid gear to complete. The groups we have taken through ZA and ZG most overgeared it. I still think it will be a good place to level alts to catch them up to gear level to fill up spots or alt runs.

ZA and ZG are making one of the issues that Blizzard is “trying” to fix more appearent… people don’t want to tank. I have 3 of those right now, all either in raid gear or ready to start raiding. I know several of the tanks in our guild that raid don’t enjoy it. They do it for the quick que and that is about it. Tanking is really not that much fun when you don’t have people cooperating. I tank for guildies, but dread tanking for pugs. So Blizzard released this new goodie bag that pushes tanks and healers to que alone to fill the gaps left by people not wanting to tank or heal.

I know this subject has been discussed at lenght, but this week I have actually been able to que up for the bag and give it a world… and the result was that I really don’t care for the bag all that much. The mounts it promises I already have. I really don’t need the gold or flasks. The irritation level that is reached when pugs start being less than nice is ridiculous and something I just don’t find worth my time.

I might change my mind a couple of weeks from now when most people have done ZA and ZG and most of the run does not consist of explaining each trash pull to people. I don’t have the patience to once again explain to people that CC will make life easier because most of the time they are starting to pull stuff for me if there is any hesitation. I don’t get how a DPS that waits 30 minutes for a que is not willing to wait for 2 minutes of marking and explaining CCs and would rather wipe so that he can “go, go, go!”

So for now I am not that intersted in the goodie bag and running the content with guildies has been tons of fun. This week’s raiding was kind of put in the back burner since a couple of encounters are just bugged, we killed everything we could this week and will continue to progress. Only 4 bosses to go on this tier of content :)

L2Play Heroics!

Since my last rant about healing I went the Holy way and it is possible to heal heroics a lot better than with Disc, at least at the moment… Sad day for me, but I guess I will have to wait until the next patch to try Disc again. My tank is geared past heroics now; but even with him I dread tanking heroics.

The game has always been about the purples. Everyone wants to get their shinnies, be it to show off in the trade district or just to get the achievements related to them, everyone wants to be “Epic.” Most of us in the guild want to get geared so we can start raiding and that means we have to do heroics.

Heroics are taking a lot of time. Back in the Vanilla or BC days when I started playing, a lot of the time was travel time to get to a heroic, but even with instant que from a tank a heroic can go as long as 3 hours if you have to explain the fights. Its also not as cool to be a tank as you think, sure we get insta que’s but the moment we get in with 4 other people, that means there are plenty more in que waiting for one. I have heard of que’s for DPS of over an hour.

L2Play (Learn to Play) is often tossed around when people find something challenging that someone else can do easily in the game. It is really getting on my nerves at the moment that most people seem to want to fall into groups of “awesome” players and people that need to L2Play. Heroics are doing that though. Some encounters are pretty challenging and don’t only have a learning curve but unforgiving mechanics… (what good is a 150K health pool if some mechanics still one shot people?)

I don’t consider myself awesome at the game, I feel I am competent at tanking but certain mechanics still get me. My perfect nemesis is right now in Stonecore. The third boss, huge rock dude is just nasty. He basically can 1 shot everyone including tanks. He has a frontal attack that I can strafe out of with no problem, however that is when things get complicated. he also has a stomp ability that everyone need to run out of, including the tank… and well, timing the strafe, run out, don’t let it face the DPS and healers can sometimes get out of control. I am sure with more practice I will do fine on that fight, but it seems like a pretty unforgiving mechanic that with one misstep can take out everyone.

Don’t get me wrong, the rest of the game is amazing. Questing and dailies don’t seem to have an end to them. The fun I used to have in the Isle of Q grinding is back in several places where I don’t mind doing dailies. The JC daily minus the freaking Lila quest (jeweldigger she is) does not feel like a grind and is making me look forward to getting all patterns. I am having tons of fun farming rep and it has even made me want to go back and get all the alliance side preps to Exalted. Running dungeons on heroic is just not that much fun. Healing them is not either, its challenging but not fun at all.

I think that Blizzard did a heck of a job with this expansion, and I am sure many people are happy to be able to tell other L2Play. I personally don’t find it all that satisfying to do heroics when I know a lot of the people I want to play with cannot do them just yet. Regulars are still fun and now that my tank is geared I might be able to enjoy both healing and tanking on alts a lot more. Raiding is starting to pick up momentum and that will be a lot of fun. For now, heroics are still not a fun part of the game and the only true grind besides archeology.

The Dark Side of WoW

Cataclysm is an amazing expansion, I have not had this much fun with the game EVER! All around the questing is just very well built. The dungeons are beautiful, the new mechanics are challenging, plenty is broke with the classes, but time will fix all of that. We even managed to down the new boss in Tol Barad in our first visit. Things are going well… well so it seems. The best thing about WoW is that is an MMO and people make the game enjoyable. Having an awesome group of people to play with makes it a wonderful experience… but the moment you step out, the moment the game changes and it turns into a very, very frustrating experience.

Blizzard decided that healing was too easy and decided to go back to making it challenging again. They are sticking by their decision of making things more challenging and while I respect that, well it has also made for some horrible interactions with people. I hear stories every day from guildies having horrible times in heroics. Even though my healer is past the gear level for heroics I stay away. I run heroics with my tank only with guildies and gave up trying to have people CC in pugs.

Sometimes you get into a group and everyone does what they are supposed to, but the norm right now is that one person will not do what they are supposed to and ruin the experience for the rest. Most people got used to the pace of chain pulling heroics during the last part of Wrath and expect that same speed out of a heroic dungeon. I think people don’t realize that heroic is not a 15 minute burn through bosses run, but a couple of hour commitment to team work and execution.

As a guild we have completed most heroic dungeons. Some people have already done them all and are even working on the achievements. I personally have stepped back and been working on reps and professions. I think that we will run a lot more heroics in the coming weeks and probably stay away from pugs as much as possible.

The anonymity of being behind a keyboard miles away makes people say some nasty stuff. Try to not take it personal and stick to your friends when running things for the time being. Its a nasty world out there at the moment and until people start to slow down in heroics, I think more and more people will find them to be a source of frustration rather than the source of sun they should be.

A Week in Cataclysm

After a week in the post Cataclysm Word of Warcraft I have to start by being a blizzard fanboy. I did not mind that ICC was the only new content for a year as much as other people did. It became the training grounds for many players that had never raided before, including my wife. All that time spent in there made them a lot more prepared to take on this new content that is a lot more challenging but far more rewarding. The finished product feels a lot more polished than Wrath felt when it came out. I cannot stop saying, WoW. I never cared much for a game being beautiful because always find gameplay more important… but I just cannot stop flying and swimming through some of these areas and saying, this is just amazing. One freaking paragraph in, and I am already going to start using all the positive adjectives in the English language.

Before I go into more of the love fest, lets talk about some of the bumps on the roads have been.

While the added complexity of the dungeons is truly fun and challenging, there are some mobs and some pulls that are too complex for non heroic content. I keep on thinking on the people that don’t raid but still like to go into dungeons, they almost have no chance against some of these mechanics. As casuals that raid, we are used to not only moved out of the fire, but read the buffs that the mobs have to paint the roadmap of how we are going to kill them. Hey, that thing has a mana bar and its casting healing spells or silencing our healer… kill it. A lot of people will not get why they keep on ending up dead and become frustrated easily.

Even though 90% of the quest content has been revamped to be really easy to complete, there are still some quests that are very frustrating. We play in a PvP server and the other faction does not play nice, and in some cases mob tagging becomes very, very annoying.

Tagging is the practice by some players of hitting an NPC right before you actually engage it so they get the kill. This can be done to an elite that you need to complete a quest, if the target’s health bar is gray it means you will not get credit for it.

I have personally have not been frustrated by world PvP. Even walking through a group of about 30 opposite faction members we were left alone. It seems that for the most part people are trying to level. I have heard from other guildies that some areas become simply infuriating with the ganking, but my response is simple… the moment the game is becoming frustrating, just log into another toon or switch areas. Most gankers are also cowards, so every time we show up to rescue a guildie they seem to leave, even if they were camping. I would say in most instances it has not been worth our trip, but it has been very satisfying to just drive people away from anyone wearing our tag.

Tanking has been pretty difficult specially in heroics. While there is really no more one shots due to gear, most of my deaths have come the way of oom healer (out of mana). This is a little frustrating when it happens because DPS are still thinking ICC or Wrath (burn the whole group) and ignore CC attempts or marked targets which depleats the healers mana. Most healers are also not used to letting DPS drop to conserve mana. Once these shifts (not sure it really will) I think that DPS will get the idea that they cannot tank, even if they do have enourmous health pools now.

And that is it, that is pretty much all I can complaint about… and I am starting to realize that this is becoming lenghty and rambly! So I might have to leave some of the rest for another post!

ICC 10 Sindragosa – 25 Blood Council DOWN

Yesterday was a very productive progression day. We started with 25 man ICC and after one shotting Cpn Crunch we moved onto work on Blood Council. We had Festergut and Rottface already down path but knew putricide would still be tough even with the 15% buff. We are still gearing a lot of people for 25. However we wanted to start trying 25 Blood Council since we had the group composition to do it. We tried it the first time and it was a rough fight. We had many people that had not even seen the fight on 10 man yet. The second try we did a lot better. We were prepared to just get some attempts in so we could get more people used to the fight. We did not expect to get as good as we did so quickly… all of a sudden it started to see very possible to actually get it done and after a clean attempt we got all of the prices down! BAM.

I had to heal the warlock tank for this fight. Its not an easy thing to do because there are so many AOEs going on in the room and he has to constantly move to pick up orbs, but with the help from other amazing heals we were able to get it done!

Blood Council Kill

Then we took a little break and did Ony25 for some alts and new people and got some awesome loot out there. I ended up tanking it and getting the 25man version of the resistance helmet. On the progression raid I always go in as a healer, but since none of our other progression tanks were on and I had just semicompleted a nice frost resistance set we decided to work on Sindragosa. Little did we know that we were going to get her under 1 mil on the first attempt. We had to adjust a couple of things in our strategy since we decided to single tank the fight. After everyone got to know the fight better (the fight is all about position and knowing when to run like crazy) we beat the crap out of the dragon and got to take couple of just (lets see how the fight is) with Arthras.

Sindragosa Kill

So in a night that we thought we were just going to get some new people to see the fights we actually progressed in content! I am still pretty excited to have both tanked and healed the fights. Its kind of cool to say that I actually single tanked Sindragosa! and we are only the second guild in the alliance side to have hit her over the head.

Wicked Pug Diaries

I have hated pugging quite a bit during my WoW life. I think I have even done quite a bit before the new pub system to remind our guild that pugging is bad for your sanity. Then blizzard throws a curve ball and makes the game yet again funner to play by making the idea of pugging cool again.

Two things used to make pugging painful beyond belief. Getting people to the dungeon. Someone would tell you, I am on my way to the stone… only to find out later that they either did not know where the stone was or had not paid for a fast mount yet. That would set the tone for the run and a pug would take hours on top of some more hours. Now the new system lets you to deal only with issues during the run and those can be a lot easier to deal with and you are only subjected to them for 15 mins. So why not talk about some of them here, specially the ones that amuse me.

We have a third or maybe fourth wave of 80s leveling up. I think most people in our guild now have 2 raiding 80s and have a couple more on the way or already there. Some of us have stayed away from the DPS since we have plenty there, but we have several people trying to catch up with Kabara and Theydrin on their ridiculous DK DPS specs.

As a guild we always try to help out people through their last push of levels and when I have a chance I tank even regular dungeons to have people que up faster. So two guildies and I set out to dominate DTK… my favorite instance.

We que up and the first statement out of the pugs that join is like MAAAAAN! THERE GOES MY EXPERIENCE… THERE ARE 80s here, the other one was a mage and started down the same path. My reply was simply, “no worries this will be quick, and remember the door is just a click away we can 3 man this if needed.” The non mage pug quickly corrects himself and comes back with, I just want my emblems so its cool with me.

The run was a lot of fun, and since I was tanking and did not need much healing the pulls were big and we moved quickly. The pace was set and we were almost done with the whole run and just cleared a big pull right after the big Dino. There is single pat with mobs all around, but he can be pulled by himself. My plan was to pull him first then kite him to another group and grab agro. The mage had been having fun with his blizzard and was not pulling agro so it was all good.

As I run forward and I am ready to press my charge button I see a fireball flying over my shoulder. I try to recall if the mage has been pulling or not but I had not been paying too much attention since I run DTK almost in autopilot. I stopped and did not press my charge button but instead turned my toon around to face the offending mage.

The mage has cojones, I will give him that. He gets ready to down this elite and did everything to get ready except flex to show me he could handle it. So the mob is running past me and I am static and just waiting to see what he is going to do. I am half waiting for him to either cast something to slow him or freeze him in place when the mob starts to go into a whirlwind.

See, casters are squishy, but a whirldwinding mob in WoW can mow down even plate weares… so a 70s toon in a dungeon wearing green cloth will meet the spirit rez faster than you can say “lightning bolt.”

As soon as the mob start spinning the mage stops casting and starts backing away… then the magic word comes! I’m Sorry, I’m Sorry! I promptly trow my weapon and the mob and charge him. Sometimes the best thing to do is to let someone stick the fork into the socket… you might just have the power to take the electricity off and just let themselves give a little shock.

Reaching the Latest Content

Blizzard has made it simple for the casual player to obtain not just gear but access to content. While I do believe that most high level raids still require above average knowledge of the game and the fight mechanics; in the next couple of months I think everyone that has the goal of at least killing the Lich King should be able to do so. That was not true in previous iterations of the game.

Last week was the first time that I healed the new boss in VoA in 10, but also tanked it on both 10 and 25. I had not been able to do that with Ony when she got her upgrade to 80. I did go in the first week and tried for a couple before she actually went down. It was not until this week that I actually got the Mord Dots Achievement. It felt good to be able to see and conquer new content the week it was released. ICC has been a little slower to progress, but the guild is making progress and we have 3 players going to a 25 every week and they are advancing, and one of our healers in another 25 that is even further. It is only a matter of time until our 10 gets going and we can have the accomplishment down for our guild.

When I started playing in BC one of that things that really bothered me about the game once I started to understand it was that you truly don’t get to see all the game unless you raid. There are tons of content and story lines in the game that you can explore through quests, but he culmination of most of them comes in the form of a dungeon encounter. That cool special mount you want? yeap, you have to go to a dungeon or a raid.

I have heard over and over how even in BC the game was watered down from the days of 40 man raids and I don’t disagree. I don’t find that fair that a game would not give you access to the cool things that were built unless you have above average skill. I think Blizzard is doing a great job of making the game accessible and easy to pick up and level. I even sound like an old timer when I tell my wife that it was not that simple to get a mount and your time walking around in the past was not counted in days but months.

It still does not take away from the game for me in any level. There are plenty of achievements and hard modes that are badges of honor. That and having a guild that has grown at a very slow pace but with players that want to hang out and do stuff together. We have an easier time putting a 10 man on the spot now than a couple of months ago and have completed things that at first seem unsurmountable for a casual guild. Sure, some of it is the access to easier gear and being able to level a lot quicker now, but it still does not take away from having a bunch of people always willing to help one another achieve their individual goals.

I am super excited that I have been able to run dungeons with real life friends, and I know that is only thanks to being part of a great casual guild. I look forward to taking down ICC, and it might not be a world or server first, but at least I will be with a bunch of people that has made every night we play a source of endless jokes and entertainment.