I hate Douchewing

He has spent an entire expansion frying me like only goblins should be fried (I wonder if they taste like frog legs… I have never had froglegs btw.)

Well in reality, I have summoned more people to their death than I should be comfortable with. Only in our game do we get excited about someone getting an achievement that involved walking into a wall of fire to get a “Charred and Crispy” achievement.

Killing Ragnaros with new acquaintances in a new server felt really weird. I was used to only killing stuff with guildies. Sure in WoTLK I did a lot of Naxx, Ulduar and ToC with pugs… but after getting Kingslayers I thought it would always be a guild affair to down a new boss.

So I said to myself, lets make sure we kill Douchewing together… however Mr Frotobaggins had other plans. Elune bless him… he can pug like no other.

I knew he had been close to killing Douchewing before, with 3% wipes that seemed to be hunting him and the pug group that seemed to clean up the place after we were done with our attempts on the ship.

I was about to log off last night, and I recognized the person spamming in tradechat as possibly one of the people Froto was in Dragon Soul with. They needed a Disc Priest… I asked Froto, how are the attempts going… and he said, we need a disc priest. I cursed a little under my breath and told the pug RL that I will be right back on my priest.

3 attempts later and we had the shinny new “Destroyers End” title.

I should be happy right, I killed Douchewing before the OMG NERF! and sure, I am in some level. I know that what Froto and I did will help our future raids quite a bit. We now know what it takes to down that humongous dragon.

We could have never done that in our last server. This server has a lot of great pug raids… it seems like the quality of people is about our speed. No it is not a “everyone is awesome realm” more of a “everyone seems to be a decent person.”

There was excitement in vent after the kill. It was a first kill for everyone in the group. Besides my guild mate, it looked like it was a combination of groups of 2 from some guilds I recognized and some I had never heard of before.

The Douchewing fight is not too bad (madness that is) it just required lots of DPS and very frantic healing during some of the fight.

I was assigned the very daunting task of healing the tank as the last elementium bolt tried to just decimate us. The last burn phase with the adds is just as frantic and we ended up with only 3 people alive when he finally gave us the shinnies… none for me or froto because his /roll skills sucked.

The fight is actually very similar to the LFR, but just a lot more damage.

Most groups in the LFR go Left – Left – Right/Right/Right, but I guess the normal version goes Left/Left – Right – Right/Right. Other than that it seemed to be the same, just requiring tons more numbers… I think everyone was 40K plus on DPS… and I contributed about 10K worth of smite healing.

Without coordinating the healing cooldowns I think it went pretty well. The group seemed somewhat DPS centric with lots of big numbers just killing things quickly rather than tank or healing centric. It made me realize how different each group is. Our tanks do ridiculous damage… that should help this fight a bit when we get to it as a guild… who knows, that might even be tonight.

Why Does My DPS suck? – Add Ons

I have a love/hate relationship with addons. Some are extremely helpful, some clutter the screen, some make life convenient until a patch breaks them. I think the important thing to remember about addons is that they are not required for you to play WoW.

This topic can turn into a monster, but lets look at it from the starting DPS point of view.

The first thing you need to do is to know why your DPS sucks. While a friend linking you (or that Pug that topped the charts) the meter for the last fight will give you some idea, it will not give you the real picture. Enter recount.

Recount is an addon that can provide a lot of information. Before the tooltips on the character sheet were updated to display a little more information about what the numbers meant, recount was the place I would look to see if I was missing with my abilities.

So step one is to download an addon that tells you where you stand DPS wise.

I think the following numbers will stay true until the end of Cata. These are the numbers you should be hitting to be on par with that content.

7K-9K – Dungeons – Greens and blues
10-12K – Herioc – Entry level – All blues
13-15K – Troll Heroics – T11 – Mostly Purples
16-18K – Firelands – HoT Heroics – T12 – iLvL 360+
19-22K – LFR – 1st half of Normal DS – iLvL 372+
23-28K – Normal DS – iLvL 380+
30-35K – Heroic DS – iLvL 390+

I am sure some people will think that those numbers are in the low side. I have seen people hit ridiculous numbers on greens and blues, and vice-versa, seen purpled out people not do more than 12K. I think the above are realistic numbers to look at.

Keep in mind that those are not dummy – static numbers, but sustained DPS. What that means is the DPS that you can sustain during a fight including moving and repositioning. A mage can hit 30K in the beginning of a fight blowing all his cooldowns, that does not mean that they are a 30K mage. A good way to look at meters is to look at Damage Done and see where your DPS stacks compared to other classes. So look at the numbers and compare them with the chart above but not as a high water mark, more of as an average.

If your numbers don’t seem to hit the above or even be close to it, there are also addons that can help you out.

One of the biggest problems with DPSers that are starting out is that they don’t know about uptime of dots and debuffs. Most classes have a debuff they need to keep up, some have several. Finding an addon that will display it for you will give you a constant reminder while in combat of keeping that debuff up. For a warrior for example, their shouts and rend are very necessary for the DPS to stay up. Druids with their Fairy Fire, DKs Diseases, etc. I use Power Auras for displaying what I need to keep up, and the cool think about it is that you can import auras from people that already built them. There are other addons like Tell Me When that might be a little easier to set up for a beginner. The WoW UI will display them for you, and it is now a little more configurable as well.

Keeping track of your Dots and Debuffs (as well as buffs) will affect your DPS greatly. Just keeping battle shout up is about 2K DPS for a warrior.

When starting out with addons a little way to cheat is to download an addon pack. The downside to going this route is that there might be too much going on, or it might be too different than the regular WoW UI. You also have to keep in mind that your computer has to be able to handle the added workload that more addons will put on it. I say to start out with just keep it simple and work with a couple of addons at a time.

All of this is not required to play the game, but if you want to raid and don’t use the tools you will certainly be at a disadvantage. While Blizzard has gone a lot further down the path of making things more configurable, addons are still a part of the raiding game.

Road to Raiding

The conversation lately in the WoW blog world has revolved around the “casuals” now being handed the keys to the kingdom with the new Raid Finder (or LFR – Looking for Raid, which seems to be what everyone calls it.) It made it hurt a lot more for some people when it was announced that “nerfs” were already coming to Dragon Soul. While I could go off on a tangent, I am not going to argue about something that has happened to most raid (eventually get nerfed) and no matter what blizzard does, they never seem to win.

The “elite” player looks down upon people that don’t have the time commitment or dedication that they do. I thought it was that simple, just a time and skill vs reward thing. However I was very wrong. In an group that include over 10 million players there are bounds to be a variety of people.

There is another player in WoW that also wants to raid but it is often overlooked by everyone. The guy that does not know where to start.

Many of us learn to play the game and quickly learn that resources like tankspot and elitist jerks are invaluable. We might have read forums before and understand not only the format but how to find information inside of it. What about someone that does not know how to navigate the internet like we do? Do they not deserve to take the steps towards getting to the end game raiding?

When I started playing, while there were resources there were not as many as we have now. There was no Mr Robot and WoWHeroes did not really paint all the picture, neither did MaxDPS. Sure you can read what the right rotation is, or priority list is. Words in a page or even a video do not answer questions. Many questions we take for granted.

Our group of friends and guild have helped many people bridge that gap. Sometimes people take it for granted that it does take someone at least pointing you in the right direction to start the process. I just encountered a person that has been playing WoW for years, has probably put many more hours than most people and has yet to do any endgame content. It has nothing to do with his ability, and all to do with not being at least pointed in the right direction. So I decided to put something together to bridge that gap a little.

I looked at a post I had written previously (Am I ready to raid?) but while I found the information there relevant, it was missing a lot. I know some would simplify the answer by also telling the player new to raiding, purple yourself out through heroics! but it is really not going to help them.

I started a series of post about DPS which is what a lot of new players start out as with. Healing and tanking are a lot more difficult and responsibility at an end game level. So concentrating on DPS I think is a better path.

So if you are new to raiding and want to get to that LFR that everyone seems to tell you is for the noobs, you need to start with your rep!

Before someone tells you, LoL just run heroics and purple yourself out there is a lot of great stuff to be had from rep rewards. One of the things many people don’t realize is that rep rewards are not just gear to complete your sets, but more importantly your head and shoulder enchants are something you will need even when your gear level is way past 359.

If you are a player that likes to quest, you most likely are already half way there to exalted. If you finished Deepholm you probably have Therazane unlocked. That means shoulder enchants!

Plate DPS get their head enchant from Twillight Higlands, Casters from Hyjal and Leather from Uldum. So step one towards raiding is that you have all the reps you need for your basic enchants there. They are not too expensive and will take you one step closer towards your goal.

Why Does my DPS suck? – Computer

I am starting a new mini series of post geared towards helping people that are searching for the reason that they are told that they suck. Hopefully some of the people that don’t suck still read this and are maybe a little more patient with the people that are not topping the charts.

One of the things that made WoW ultra-popular was that even if you had an older computer you could still play. The graphics engine was very forgiving and let you turn the settings way down without taxing older hardware.

I know a lot of people complain about the shitty graphics that WoW has, old models, etc. The reality is that it being behind on the graphics allowed for a lot of people to play the game. You did not need a gaming machine to run WoW… that is until Cata came out.

One of the many things that hurt our guild quite a bit when Cata hit was that a lot of people were playing on older computers. I have been a gamer for a long time, so even though my computer was not the latest, I had the ram and video card that WoW could run fine if I played with the settings turned down a bit.

If you have never seen WoW run on a high end machine, you probably are playing a different game than most. The spell effects and water effects are not on par with other games that have amazing graphics, but they are not all that horrible either. That said, it will also affect your DPS or your healing if your machine is a little older. Not to mention that you probably stand in a lot more fires.

While the easy answer is, go get a better computer if you want to play end game. There are ways to fix the issue.

The first one is to make sure you maximize your memory both physical and virtual. Do a search for your operating system and how to increase your virtual memory. The more the computer can keep in memory, the better WoW will run for you.

Second is to make sure your computer is up to date or at least optimized when it comes to drivers for your graphics card. You can search for your graphics card model and world of warcraft and get informed on what the best set of drivers is. You will be surprised at how specific sometimes things get. You might find a post about your card that says, hey WoW works best with this set of drivers. (sometimes it is not the latest drivers available.)

Third is to make sure you are using the correct Direct X. While WoW supports that latest and greatest your computer might work better with the older version.

Fourth is to play with your graphic setting inside of WoW. There are a couple ways to approach this. If you want the best graphics possible with your set up, you can turn everything up and start turning things down gradually. Make sure you read the tooltips of each one of the settings. The one I recommend is to turn everything down and then slowly turn things up.

Fifth and last is do you run a lot of addons? Some addons can really bring WoW to a crawl, specially in raids. I stopped using Recount and switched to Skada for tracking numbers… but I used to advocate turning all addons off during raids. I think if your computer is older, there is really no reason for you to run a damage meter during a raid. You can have someone else whisper you the numbers if you are really that curious.

The first step towards better DPS is to play in the best version of WoW you can. You might be trying to ride a bike with flat tires… no wonder you cannot get up the hill.

Rewarding Bad Play

If you don’t already read Grumpy, do so! its like having a conversation with someone. He posted about something I have been suspecting myself. That the LFR loot system seems to somehow give loot to the player trying the least (or not knowing how to play their class). While this is speculation bordering on conspiracy theory, I have seen it more than once.

When I first started to get into LFR with my toons, I was on the low side of the totem pole. I had no heroic gear on any of my toons and only my priest had a four piece from Firelands. Those first couple of weeks I got a lot of drops because most of the time my numbers were bellow those epic filled people.

Now every time I go into the LFR even with guildies we top the charts. I assume that most people running regular or heroic DS don’t run LFR anymore (or as much.) We seem to not get look anymore, even though we are missing either 1/2 pieces or basically just valor capping.

I am all for accessibility in a game, but I am not ok with rewarding people that don’t even try.

Now that is extremely subjective. To me someone that does not try is someone that is doing less than 10K DPS… but to someone else that might be someone that is not fully gemmed and enchanted.

I guess this is giving me a new perspective on what it means for others to reward bad play.

As much as I want to seem like a fair person, I fall to the trap that makes me look at my accomplishments and say… why isn’t everyone else here?

I know the resources are there, noxxic alone has simplified having to look at various blogs for the cookie cutters specs. One place has all the answers. But some people don’t even know how to search the internet.

We all know google exists, but knowing what to put on that search box is very important. Knowing how to ask a question gets you half way to solving the problem.

A string of (“Why does my DPS suck”) will not send you to the right spec for your class. Someone with a little more experience than me might know to look for (“Arms warrior 4.3 stance dancing.”) I know some people just went… WHAT?

Exactly. Some people know, some people have just never been told.

While I do think that blizzard does need to punish people not trying at all (they should be able to determine just someone auto attacking and going AFK), there should be a system in place where people that are getting into the LFR can go and ask questions of other players. Almost like in game mentors.

I know guilds provide that, but what if we could have a different color of text under our name if we are willing to give tips and guidance to someone.

Sure, the problem of rewarding bad play is still there and should be corrected. I think that what is important is to help the people that need the help and weed out those that just want to cheat the system.

Nerd Badges – [Shared Topic]

This week’s shared topic from BlogAzeroth is as follows:

How do you express your geekery? Do you own obvious paraphernalia like a Horde-symbol bumper sticker, in-joke tshirts like the dps/ups pun, or less obviously related items like a gift from a guildie? Rather than physical indicators, do you mix nerd lingo into your everyday speech or talk/post about geekdom in non-nerd spaces? How do you advertise your nerd tendencies? Does it help you to attract new nerd friends?

I will try to not make this a wall of text… but this topic brings out sooo much to talk about.

The first is the obvious horde bias! come on people, alliance play the game and even BLOG! :p I think it is maybe time to create an Alliance blogger ring or something.

I used to have a dragon figurine in my desk at work, but my current office is not really that conducive of displaying my geekery and not too many people visit it. At home that is a different story.

We do need to rewind things a bit though. I have been a proud geek before Bill Gates made it cool with his bags of money. I would tell anyone about my love for anime or video games. My first actual convert, or maybe someone I made come out of the closet about her geekdom is my wife. Since meeting me she has watched anime, read manga and even gone further than me creating an actual facebook page for her in game character. I think it might be time to create some toons in an RP server.

We have attended Blizzcon and even sported custom made T-shirts with our guild logo.

Currently at home we have various models from the game displayed, from the Panderan to the Deathwing little thingie we got at blizzcon. I would put an alliance lion on my car if I found a good one (mental note to get one.)

I use a lot of geek speech that sometimes leaves people dumbfounded in the corporate setting I work at, but it has helped me identify other geeks. If someone gets it, then I know they are more than likely geeks themselves.

One of my latest post on my “other” blog is super geeky. I am think I am pretty open about it. I have always identified myself as a tattoed geek. Most people think that because you are a geek you have to be wimpy somehow… but I love to ride motorcycles and love sports as well.

Now that you mention attracting nerd friends, I do think I need to get a group of people to play some BSG Board game, I miss playing that.

The wife and I are also planning to have a pretty nerd out room for our computers once we move to a bigger place.

Who’s your main?

Vuuk wrote an excellent post talking about “mains“, when I started to reply to post I realized that it actually merited a post.

I currently don’t have a main, while I raid with my priest with our raid team, I have also tanked a lot with my warrior this expansion. I also use my bear and DK quite a bit and try to valor cap them now that is so simple with LFR and LFD.

First Born: Logtar – nElf Warrior

Besides him learning that crocodiles are fierce killers on my way to Ironforge, Logtar’s leveling was not very memorable. He was power leveled in BC so that he could become a potential tank and eventually raid. While he did do Karazan before WotLK came out, he did more dungeons than actual raids. I did spend a lot of time in the isle of q with him.

I guess he could be considered my main, but I enjoy playing all of the alts that I have taken to max level. I have been told both that I am a great tank and also the backhanded compliment of, you are a great healer, bring your priest!

Second Child: Hollogos – Dwarf Priest

I have never RPed, but I created this character with one of my grandparents in mind. He was my mentor in a lot of ways and while an avatar in a game is no replacement, it is a reminder of how much I cared for my grandpa!

The priest was the personal challenge. I heard that priest were horrible to level because they got hit really hard and did not put out much damage. I don’t know if it was because people tried to level anything other than the supreme priest spec! DISCIPLINE! ROAR.

I had a great time leveling this toon and apparently it is one of the ones I play best. He was a dungeon and raid healer all through WotLK and eventually did the whole shadow thing for ICC when we needed an extra DPS for Sourfang. He was actually my first toon to Kill the LK with his bubble spamming abilities.

T11 our lack of tanks made him take a backseat, while he still raided on alt runs we were in a low pop server where pugs were pretty non existent. So the warrior got all the first kills in BoT, BWD and TofW. Fast forward to T12 when we moved and he was actually the first toon that made it over with a secured raiding spot. He once again became exceeded the first child by killing Raggy first.

He is happy sitting on his 4 set bonus (which I am not all so sure is as cool as the FL one) and working on the lootship.

Gatoso the wonderbear!

If I was to start all over in WoW, a druid would probably be my first toon. They can do it all, mele, range, heal and tanking! Truly the overachievers of the WoW world.

Gatoso also had a lightning fast leveling pace. He was leveled when my wife started playing. As his name suggest (Gato-Cat/Oso-Bear) he was supposed to be a DPS/Tank. He did tank towards the end of Wrath, but was quickly relegated to an on hold status for most of T11. Enter the new server and the lack of healers there and bam! he actually raided T12 almost every week. He has been the networking toon with other guild because he can heal or tank for them. Most people eat one of the “o”s when pronouncing the name and call him Gaatzo. I am a pretty decent tank with him but still working on becoming a better healer for sure.

Left Behind Lock – Talgro – gnome

When my wife started playing I leveled Talgro so I would not be completely dumb when talking to her about the class. He is a max enchanter and engineer and made me some money with both of those professions. I think he has built about 6/7 bikes.

He was mostly a fun alt. I thought that he would be easily recognizable as one of my toons because I stone one of the practices from our guildie Curan to use the same letter for alts (Talgro<- Logtar) but it is amazing how many people just don't recognize it at first. I did raid with him and even kill the LK before Cata, but he was mostly a last choice because it was rare that we did not need heals or tanks in a run.

He is my only max level character left on the last server and I have not logged in there for a while now.

With my wife being our resident lock, there is really no reason for another one. The other thing is that if I want to be a damage dealer, a shadow priest is fun to play with. I do miss his money making capabilities... but not sure he will get played any time soon.

The DK that did not get deleted – Talgor

I have played with a lot of people, but one of the people we miss the most was our awesome blood DK that killed the LK with us for the first time. Phaetal was not just an awesome blook tank, he is also a great person. We actually still keep in contact even though he gave up on the game the week we killed the LK!

I had played a DK since the expansion came out, but he was the default (delete character to make room.) When some of my guildies decided to see how the horde side was in our server, my almost capped DK was deleted and Mooerte (the tanking cow was born)… I think he made it to 60, helped guildies through some zone and was deleted. Fast forward to the LK kill and us loosing a DK tank and I rolled one in his likeness! I think that is what made it hard for me to ever delete him.

So I leveled the DK but did not tank much at all during Wrath. DK rotation takes a bit to get used to because its more patience and coordination than OMG IF SMASH the KEYS HARDER I WILL CRIT MOAR (ROAR)… yea that is my warrior DPS mode. Eventually got into a nice wave of spreading diseases and the like and realized that he is just beast even as tank.

DKs are probably the strongest tanks right now in T13, and he has done lots of LFR… not sure if I am going to push him to a higher spot because I have 3 toons already somewhat committed to other raids, but he is fun to do LFR with and out DPS people as blood.

The ones that never made it

I am on my second hunter (born only to harass Froto… then I realized that playing a hunter in BGs is just unfair, lol) and first mage right now as alts go. Not sure if either of them will make level cap. I also have a forgotten 50+ level rogue that was going to complete a guild achievement but some people are just too hard to beat when it comes to leveling. Not sure if I will level cap any more toons, I love having flexibility when the need is there. I have not deleted many toons other than DKs and I currently have no horde toons I play. I am thinking of leveling another DK on the horde side in a server some RL friends play so I could raid with friends that have horde toons using the new tools coming up.

So that is pretty much my alt history, not really a clear main, just whatever is needed to rescue the princess.

Why I love the LFR

The Raid Finder (what most people are calling Looking for Raid, and then shortening it to LFR) is a new feature introduced in WoW that throttles the difficulty of the raid (first out being the Dragon Soul where you kill DEATHWING! – yesterday I LoLed when someone called him DoucheWing.) and automatically groups 25 people to complete the content. It is divided in 2 parts, so you get 4 bosses at a time. There are still game mechanics, but for the most part they don’t penalize you if about 5 people are under-performing. I would say it is like doing Naxx 25 with 20 people on Ulduar or ToC gear.

If your group has about 10 competent players, the whole experience is a breeze and easily completed from top to bottom in less than 90 minutes.

The Dragon Soul gear is itemized above the current dungeons but bellow the normal version of the raid. Firelands normal was 378 and so are the new dungeons, LFR is 384.

As an added bonus for raiders to do the instance besides valor capping if you are not yet clearing dragon soul (500 valor points from running which is half of your weekly cap) is that the raid also drops gear tokens that mix and match with the normal and heroic versions of the gear, so it is very manageable to actually achieve your 4 set bonus. Something that was previously challenging for casual raiders or infuriating for guilds that had a lot of people on the same token.

First lets talk about the bad.

Because it is a place where you can complete your set (or quickly valor cap.) raiders of all experience and dbag level come to play. You easily get into BG type of discussions about “FAIL vs e-PEEN” and “Carebear vs Troll.” Reason being that even though there is a “Go Go Go!” mentality, there also is a little bit of down time (unless someone ninja pulls… actually more Leroy pulls… which reminds me that I should find an addon that spams who the heck pulled.) when in between bosses you lose and add players. I’ve had a couple of awesome runs (probably because they were filled with guildies) but in most cases you lose between 3-5 after every boss. There is a great discussion going on in Manalicious about how this is eroding the community aspect of the game.

I however find the LFR a complete success.

I think the community creation part is up to you with your guild and other guilds you have a relationship with. I don’t remember BC or even Wrath as fondly as some others do. Sure it was nice to be known as a good tank or healer to group with people, but at least in my server there was tons of raider poaching between guilds… or casual guilds used as farms for the more serious raiders. The whole server community thing for me did not exist. Now the new more populated where we reside does feel a little more like a community (still now, in the days of LFG and LFR) and we have been able to mingle and have fun running things with other guilds.

The LFR to me fills a huge gap for the people that want to experience the thrill of killing the dragon, but don’t really care to itemize themselves and work towards being part of a raid team. While you would think that would erode a guild like ours that has mostly casual players, it does quite the opposite. It gives the opportunity for people to gear more alts quickly. It also satisfies the needs of our members that want to still raid, but not on a schedule. They can be part of a community, fill gaps when needed and not feel any presure. That in the past was a pipe dream. Every time you lost a raider it was a setback. Now, there is no excuse for people not to be geared and valor capped when you can do it in one night a week.

I also don’t think that raiders see how much the truly benefit from it. They will still be able to do their normal and heroic modes, and if that unlucky shamman does not get his should drop week after week, or you have a token heavy group full of priest/pallies/warlocks, they can just go to the LFR and complete sets. I know in the past, whenever there was a gear check fight in an instance that required gearing it meant weeks and weeks of pain. Now with just 3 weeks of raiding we made it past the first gear check (Ultraxion). We have about 60% with 2 piece sets and even a couple of 4 sets. Heck we might even be able to not just kill Deathwing on normal but actually do some heroic modes while they are still relevant.

The LFR is doing a lot for a guild like ours. I know a lot of people in the raiding community maybe see us as not being deserving of the loot we are getting because of how easy the LFR is. Sure, our 4 sets might be 3 LFR pieces at first, but it will allow us to play the game at the speed we want without having to hit the reset button every time one of our raiders gets a different work schedule or wants to take an extended break.

If you want to enjoy your LFR experience, que with your friends, set up an LFR night, reach out to your server community and create groups for it. Don’t fall pray of the negative view of the world and enjoy the game for how awesome it is right now. You are in control of the communities you build and play with. So if you decide to just que on your own and end up in the ultimate dbag group, just do your best… besides, its always over before too long.

The LFR and the New Dungeons means Blizzard was wrong

There is a lot to be said about the vocal minority, but blizzard was wrong to listen to the people that wanted to make the game “hard” again.

A lot of people miss the point that the complexity of the game in vanilla was not because the end game encounters were harder, but the game was not as refined as it is now. It was exponentially less accessible.

I was WoW for the first time while I was living in Michigan. The person showing me the game was one of the developers I worked with and I cannot even remember what class he was playing. All I remember from that first look at the game was the obscene amount of buttons available to you and that you were penalized by having to walk back to your body. I was torn between trying UO or WoW back then, but FPSs were more my addiction back then, that and gunbound.

I did not actually play WoW until BC and the little endgame I got to see was limited. It wasn’t until Wrath that I really started to be able to raid and experience the end game and by this point we had the LFD, the Token gear system and just overall a smoother user experience. I did experience dungeons where CC had to be used before, and even some of the fights where you had to use multiple people performing various tasks that created a lot more complexity to encounters. Ulduar was no pushover by any means, but encounters in that expansion, even ToC which I did not enjoy all that much were engaging and difficult but rewarding.

As I have noted before Cataclysm separated the casual from the raiders big time. With the lack of content and heroics being challenging again you really damaged the casual groups that had mixed skills in their ranks. The troll heroics did not do us any favors because most people that has seen the places before were not engaged by them story wise, and most casual players would cause death after death because the trash was extremely unforgiving. I believe most players in WoW sit in the dungeon world for quite some time hoping that they can raid but not having the time to invest on it. When those dungeons are not a source of fun for the people that already have the gear, good luck with trying to get people to go with you to those places.

The LFR and the new dungeons are completely opposite to what the rest of Cataclysm was. It is not that they are overly simple, because they are really not. The ramp up though is not as high as it was the rest of the expansion and you can still have fun inside of them. They are quick, they are fun, and they allow you to once again play with your friends.

Most of the hardcore raiders I knew stopped playing the game with Cataclysm. Once those players have moved on, who is the audience? The casuals. It makes no sense for a company like Blizzard to create content that only 1% of the population gets to see. Sure, that might have been the case before, but when that number turns into 5-10% during Wrath, there is no point to dial complexity back up and saying… you know what you guys don’t deserve to see this because you don’t have the skills. Enter Firelands nerf, enter LFR, enter new shorter dungeons.

Three difficulty levels is a great model. I will probably still be a normal/raid achievement raider. Knowing I can have fun with my friends is more important to me, and the LFR and new dungeons clearly show that Blizzard gets it. Make things too difficult and lose players.

4.3 So Far!

I hated Firelands. We will have to still go in there until Triz completes her legendary quest as well as Jackie’s mage that has it right behind her. It will be probably done on a off night but I could not wait to get out of that world of orange and brow. I am not a fan of the color to begin with and with all the fights being driven by one or two dumb mechanics it felt good to go in there a clear the place minus Rags in less than 2 hours. So 3 new dungeons and a new raid could not come fast enough.

The dungeons are short, VERY short. With a competent group they can be done in less than 30 minutes. I think we cleared one in about 20 or less. Eventually I think that Ilidan and Thrall will get very very annoying and seem slow, but at least for now they seem to keep up. I still seem doomed to have the same shield from the first month of Cata that Mike crafted for me… I hope the gear gods smile upon me and let me upgrade my shield.

Only half of the new raid is open in the LFR. The raid is extremely easy for raiders, who are the only people that could probably access it the first week due to the iLvL requirement of 372. I did the raid with one of my tanks and both of my healers and actually managed a couple of nice drops for the healers. The bosses seem to have their mechanics tuned very low and after 1 wipe it seems anyone that had not seen the fight before was able to pick it up and execute. I do think that having most of the raid be in pretty good gear probably helps, but 372 is pretty high… I am sure people with PvP gear will sneak in but overall it should not be an issue for any group to clear at least the first 4 bosses.

I did not spend any time in the darkmoon fair since I was focused on capping my 4 raid capable toons of valor points. Capping is now a breeze. The new dungeons give you 150 (either new or old heroics) and the raid gives you 250. It took no time to get all of them capped.

I have not had this much fun playing WoW in a while. If I want to raid, I can get into one in minutes. The only annoying thing is dealing with bad pugs, but surprisingly that is not the case in the raid. I guess we will see how it pans out as the weeks go on and more people get into the LFR.