The Current State of WoW


Some days I feel like not playing WoW anymore. There are tons of things to do in the back yard, a lot of more reading I want to do, learning another language… the list goes on and on. Then I actually jump into the game and use it for what I have always used it for, catch up with a friend about their week. Since I started playing WoW the social aspect is what has kept me logging in again and again.

I got really close to quitting WoW last week. Weather is getting nice, I just got back from a quick bike ride and I thought, man I really don’t want to log into the game at all. Then I realized something, I was not enjoying the social aspect of the game anymore. The game to me has always been about doing things with my friends, be it raiding, PvP or just the grinding of questing was all done with friends and had a blast. I was raiding with a group I was getting to know and liked, but the format (25 man somewhat progression oriented) and the pace (3 days a week) was simply not for me. I started to dislike the game and it made me take a step back and look at why I was playing the game.

Cataclysm really killed the game for me in many ways. MoP revived it in some ways, but the daily grind killed it for many of my friends. We were left with a small group of people that still wanted to play but simply not the numbers to do so. For a while we struggled trying to do the raid thing until people just not showing up became an issue. We thought a larger group will be the solution but it really was not.

Blizzard is getting better and better about tuning, not just raid bosses but the game overall. It does not take a whole expansion to fix the big issues but rather a patch.

The beginning of MoP gave us a wonderful new place to discover until the moment we started to play our alts and realized that we had a lot of content to redo with them… the problem was that it was the same content we already did with our main. Cataclysm had done a huge disservice to all of us getting us used to instant catch up for alts, instead we were met with the reality that if you wanted an alt with a max profession you would have to not only get that toon to 90, but you also had to do the whole reputation grind. If you wanted to get that toon ready for raiding… good luck, drops are not easy to come by and the valor gear is double gated (valor points + rep to buy them). It really punished the people that got used to having a stable of max level characters to raid with… I think it hit harder the medium level guilds like ours that relied on alts to do more than just one raid group a week. While you can argue that LFR is for those people, the fact is that LFR unless you have 25 people you know is an exercise in patience… I dread joining LFR… LFR is worse than pugging.

So that burned a lot of people out.

Then this last patch came out and things got a little more stable again. There is no instant catchup like there used to be, but you can very easily jump from regular to heroics to LRF now. The drop rates are way more forgiving and the last 2 rep grinds are almost enjoyable (unless you want to do them on an alt.) This is a great time to come back to the game. In one week of Shield Wall dailies and new Thunder Isle with some luck you can be ready to join a raid team. The story part is also pretty amazing, and if you want to take your time and just do one part at a time it is actually quite a great piece of story telling.

I know this post is all over the place but since I have not blogged in so long I just wanted to put some of it down just to get it out.

I guess what I am trying to say is that overall I am enjoying WoW and mostly because of the social aspect. I still love playing with my friends in a relaxed environment. I am not interested in heroic raiding anymore, just normal raiding seems to be a good difficulty. Getting Firelord or two healing Spine before MoP came out were not the experiences I thought they would be… mostly because I was not doing it with my friends. The most fun I have with this game is downing a new boss with a group of my friends. I have to keep that in mind and continue to have fun with the game, I have never cared about geared and I already proved it to myself that I can play at a more hardcore level… it is just simply not for me. I have a lot more fun making fun of Froto or Kati for standing on something or blinking off the ship 🙂

Will Challenge Modes Kill Raiding?

One of the features that I have been looking forward to is challenge modes. When it comes to content and lockouts, the game has made it so my friend Froto once he is locked to the instances for the week he has nothing to do. If I did not have alts I would be on the same boat.

I pride myself on being a decent tank and a slightly better healer. We have exceptional players in the guild right now, but we are a couple of people short of a solid 10 man raiding wrecking crew. That said we do have an amazing challenge mode team. We have always dominated dungeons and have been doing speed runs just to compare with each other. Now there is bling involved which will make it even cooler.

There has been a lot of crying from 25 man guilds that not giving them a higher status when it comes to rewards killed them. I did see that in the old server when a belt dropping 3 weeks in a row lead to gear drama and a 25 man groups demise.

I seem to be in the minority with GrumpyElf. I don’t care about gear. I do however like mounts and titles. Gear to me is an annoyance that has created nothing but drama. People seem obsessed with collecting it and when they do, they feel like they are done and don’t want to collect it for others. I think if we all kept our awesome gear for a whole expansion with new content, the game would be more enjoyable.

Gear has become a meaningless grind and I think the fun will be in challenge modes.

I mean, you can get legendaries that the next expansion makes useless. That just does not seem fair after all the work you put into them.

I don’t hope it kills raiding altogether, or raiding guild themselves. I do think that it will be people like me that like the challenge with a group.

The fun in raiding has dwindled for many. Even thought the game has grown to a healthy size, the raiding population at the hardcore level seems to be shrinking. The biggest reason is that not many people have the amount of time or stomach it takes to wipe to a boss 400 times. I however enjoy trying to figure out the best pull for every trash group in a dungeon. I think having hardcore guilds figure out the most effective way to do something takes the fun out of it. Gear makes it so instead of having fun with encounters we want to maximize kills so people get more gear.

I think challenge modes will be happy mediums.

I am still trying to figure out what the right speed will be for our guild. Do we want to be ready to clear regular dungeons and start on heroics ASAP and make that the progression level? or do we want to kill a boss per week and make the content last?

People will have a week to check things out, hopefully I can recruit a couple more people for permanent spots and we will have a raiding meeting to iron things out. I am very excited about pandas and pet battles… but I can’t wait to see what challenge modes will do and how they will change the game.

Getting Stuck Again

Cata was a horrible expansion. I could spend the whole post just letting you know how much I hated it for various reasons… but it would be a short sighted. Cata was a growing pain that the game had to go through to put in new systems that will take it to the next level. It is amazing that Blizzard can do as much as they do with such a small group of people. Today the pre-expansion pack is hitting and I could not be more excited about it.

I have been playing on the horde side on a server that is like nothing I have ever experienced before. It is small but its nice. People are polite, it almost feels like one big guild. Very impressed with Baelgun. The only problem is that I am still not used to being horde and I love my alliance toons. I also have a guild to run in Whisperwind… and we are recruiting all people!

Things got really quite after our rogue completed his Fangs of the Father. I need to get better at predicting what milestones are coming to make sure another carrot is waiting. We went from a barely able to clear current content group of people to a heroic capable bunch. Not quite able to complete it yet, but close, very close.

I had a lot of decisions to make this time around. From a close guild to us wanting us to merge and form a 25 man progression guild, to just hanging back and becoming an LFR only type of player. Lets not forget to mention PvP which I still plan to do quite a bit of. I decided that our identity as a guild is something that people love and want to continue to be a part of. I am still getting used to the whole Benevolent Dictator type of GM I have become.

I am thinking of switching gears again and concentrating on mounts this expansion. Meaning completing the raiding metas for the current tier as our goal. Maybe even going one goal is a new boss, the next is the meta for another we have on farm. I really enjoy keeping people motivated and things going.

I am also going to have to make some hard decisions about performance when it comes to raiding. I keep on having to fill roles that I don’t want to play because nobody else does. I really need to make sure that this expansion I get people to stick to a toon as a priority, including myself. We need to push, we should have alt raids, but our mains need to be our mains and it needs to be an agreed upon endeavor.

The biggest pitfalls to our raiding last time around was gearing too many alts. We did so because we wanted the flexibility to bring alts in to replace people… in the end it ended up being that once someone stopped playing or rage quit a raid we were left with not just one hole but two big ones.

So as we start this new expansion and look forward to see who will be the ultimate monk, we will concentrate on raiding and achievements. I think it will be fun. I also think that going back and getting the past titles and achievements will have its place. I like being able to have our non raiders taste the cool-aid. This time around though, I am not going to make anyone drink it and they will have to bring their own glass!

End of an Expansion

At the end of BC I was super excited. Achievements were all the rage and I was super excited when my talent tree was redone because I could do a respec for free. My raiding was minimal and most dungeons were done. I was a member in a guild and not a GM. The whole frozen theme was exciting because I had played WCIII.

By the end of wrath I had become a GM. The end of the expansion marked for us the end of ICC… but we still loved going there, getting more people their kingslayer, still going in there for trinkets. We raided pretty much until the week before Cata hit.

Now we are in a new server, done with normal modes and even a heroic. Everyone seems tired of raiding and most of us continue to play to make sure people get their legendaries.

I am not sure if it is the fact that we are better now and conquering the normal mode feels like a completion to some (we had a tank quit the day he got kingslayer back in the day…) or simply that this expansion just took the air out of playing the actual game for most people.

I have always hated questing and by association leveling. I level mostly via PvP and dungeons. I don’t have a desire to take a toon from 0-90… even though I do want a Panda Monk. Am I finally WoW unstuck?

I still enjoy raiding and would love to go back and complete heroic modes in Firelands, but most people want to either play an alt and do the latest and greatest thing. Only those still completing quests in there are really interested, and it seems that everyone runs for the hills when we bring my ever hated raid up.

We have a healthy level of membership right now, but it keeps us at about 15 people logged during prime time but not the same people. I think we are actually hovering around 30 people that play with us… but it makes it hard to plan for MoP. Do we stay 10, do we prepare for 25 just in case that becomes more fun?

I thought I hated 25s after ICC, but 10 has just as many issues. Less people does not mean more issues, it just means that they are amplified. Someone does not show up in a key role, your raid crumbles. 25 seems more forgiving in that sense.

I am almost ready to rate Cata, and for all the good it brought, it also made the bad shine even brighter. I am not done with WoW just yet, but I do think that Pandaland will make or break the game.

I am almost more excited about Diablo than MoP… but that could change as MoP gets closer.

P.U.G. Code of Conduct

After doing a quick search on the topic and not finding anything I decided to put one together… mostly because it has become more and more irritating to do pugs lately.

A PUG (Pick Up Group) in WoW is a term commonly used to refer to a stranger that just joined you via the LFD (Looking for Dungeon) tool. As such we assume that the Pugs are people that we will most likely not interact with again (unless they are from our server… which I see once in a while but not very often.)

The following are a set of rules that if followed could lead to a more enjoyable experience to all involved.

Don’t Que for stuff you are not ready for
Seriously, don’t do it. If you are going to under-perform with strangers they will have a right to call you out. There is nothing more irritating that someone bypassing the gear requirements with PvP gear and under-performing. Stay in regular dungeons a little longer, practice with your guildies. Overall don’t expect people to carry you through content. Most people would be patient until they have to pay for repairs.

Before you Que up
While you might be fishing or questing while you wait, please be mindful of other players time. If you need to go to the bahtroom, get a drink, check on your children, etc, etc, do it before joining a que. While I do understand that DPS que’s can be horribly long, don’t wait until you get the que to pop up to go do what you have been neglecting. Some people abuse the fact that they cannot be kicked from the group for a period of time to let the group kill all the trash up to the first boss while they are AFK.

The 5 Second Rule
Never judge a book by its cover. The first 5 seconds of a pug are crucial. Say hello, let the group know if you are switching specs and gear if you are (some people que up as 2 different roles). I have seen the trend more and more lately when people just check for health and mana pools or gear and instantly leave the group.

BRB – Bio – AFK – Phone
If you are going to be away from the game for more than 60 seconds, the ones listed above are not appropriate. I have had everything under the sun happen in pugs… even a couple that kept on stringin the group along while the other one would go AFK and put the toon on follow. Who knows, maybe it was someone multiboxing and pretending to be 2 people. Bottom line is that if you are going to be away for an extended period of time, just leave the group. Don’t wait to see if people kick you.

Don’t be a Ninja
I don’t believe on having to always greed anymore. All I think is fair is that if you are going to need on everything that drops in the run, be up front about it so others can too. While you might get that item by being a Ninja (a late roller that waits for greeds and then hits need), it will most likely get you kicked out of the group. Be up front, write a macro and people will appreciate your honestly.

Unwanted Advise
You might play all classes at top of the world raider level, but unless asked, don’t give advise on how to play someone else’s toon. You can whisper someone once, but if they don’t want the advise, don’t press it. If you really want to help, keep your comments to yourself. A Pug is not the place to give someone a class on how to do X or Y. It has to be something that everyone else agrees on, or you will have an unhappy group.

So… what about you guys, what other rules should I add?

From Grumpy

Speak up
It is better to ask about a fight that you have never done before the fight then to say you didn’t know after you caused a wipe. Myself, and many like me, would gladly explain everything you need to know but don’t take kindly to our time being wasted. It is not a waste of time to explain the fight but it is a waste of time to wipe because you did not tell people you have never done it before.
Beware: There are some jerks that will kick you because you do not know a fight but be sure of the fact that they are, excuse the language, low life scum. You are better off not playing with someone like that anyway.

Be Decent
Take some time to at least have a basic knowledge of your class. Someone doing 8K that looks like they are trying is better then someone doing 8K that doesn’t look like they are even trying. Good players can tell the difference. You do not need to be a great player, but at least try your best.

Be Nice
Say hello at the start, say thanks for the run at the end. If you feel so inclined you might even add a have a nice day as well before you leave. As small as those things are it is a proven fact that good vibes (as well as bad ones) are contagious. If you are nice to other people even in passing they will be more likely to be nice to others themselves and the community needs more people like that.

Killing Noob Edubication

“If anything can go wrong, it will.”
-Murphy <- Got to love that dude ... but really it was not him, it was This dude…

So one of my busiest week in recent history is the week that my shared topic gets featured in BlogAzeroth. Go Figure.

So Navimie gently cattle-prodded me into posting something… and since I am late to the party I get to talk about it from a different point of view.

Martha, as always is keeping a too tally of what is going on. So a quick read on her post will catch you up about what is being said. If you have not visited that blog don’t just go to one post, get lost! it has many different topics and one you will sure enjoy exploring.

Before we get into the meat of the post, I don’t miss the days of having to ask people to join you via trade chat if you were missing someone. Most of the knowledge I gathered about the game was done via research because a lot of people would oversimplify things. I became a tank because it was supposed to be easy and a two button rotation. I guess some people really think that about tanking… but it was not that simple. I was also blessed with a group of healers that were not just patient while I was learning but also willing to travel to a meeting stone. Getting DPS at that point was a lot easier and more often that not I got used to having everything we need from group creation in a guild. Those days I never really pugged.

Even though the guild I was in those days fancied themselves raiders, they were pretty much Kara raiders during most of BC. Visiting other places had to be done with pugs. Most guilds had set tanks so I spent more time in dungeons than in raids in the BC days. Those days were never about pushing progression and when I did get to see or participate on anything requiring it… well it left a very bad taste in my mouth.

During wrath I had a way better experience in pugs. Naxx, Ulduar and ToC allowed me to pug as one toon and bring the knowledge back to our guild. So as long as I stayed a little ahead with pugs, it was easy to then get our guild through it. That is kind of how I started leading raids I guess.

So the community really helped at that point because it was almost like my LFR. Going with people that were ahead of me, but where I was still able to help them advance.

I also like to think that we came of age as a group of casual raiders during ICC. Entering Cata we had a better understanding of raiding and now our alt runs is where people that were a little behind us get a chance to see things. That progression worked well from a community stand point and for our guild.

So for me raid leading knowledge was really gathered from being part of raids. LFR totally does away with that because there is really no raid leading in LFR… trust me, I have tried and before I even type (we are short 3 healers, someone always pulls.)

It scares me to think that LFR will kill the creation of new raid leaders. It is a job at times thankless but a very exciting and rewarding one when it goes well. I know plenty of people don’t want that job, but maybe LFR will totally let someone bypass something that they might truly enjoy.

Lets hope that LFR is not the end of most people’s raid experience and it actually brings more people into trying and savoring new end game content.

I called Garrosh!

Yeap, I cannot remember where but I know I mentioned that I wanted to kill him. Apparently Blizzard listened and he will be a baddie that I get to kill… Can we say Legendary?

Having killed Deahtwing and working on Legendaries has made raiding less of a focus and given room to alts for my guildies and PvP for me. I still suck a PvP but I have been fun with my tank build and being a flag carrier. 2s and 3s are still about 50/50 depending on the composition.

In the coming weeks we are going to continue to farm DS regular to complete our Legendaries and probably introduce a lot more fun runs like we have been having going through previous tiers. There are still more achievements that we need to get.

Dig the Female panderian and all the scenery I have seen leaked. I am very excited about everything I am hearing so far. It looks like tons of fun are coming and probably sooner rather than later. Diablo 3 its not just soon anymore but May 15!

This will be a great gaming year!

And then there were Six!

I was tagged by Martha to play in the Sixth Challenge started by Gnomeaggedon of Armaggedon’s Coming!

So the challenge rules say:

1.Go into your image folder
2.Open the sixth sub-folder and choose the sixth image.
3.Publish the image! (and a few words wouldn’t hurt, though I dare say I couldn’t stop a blogger from adding a few words of their own).
4.Challenge six new bloggers.
5.Link to them.

But I am not one to play by the rules… so lets see what I can come up with. I really don’t have subfolder for my WoW pictures, they just all stay there in the same place. I might have to start doing some sorting because it is getting pretty huge.

Here is the Sixth picture!

Reloaded Guild Meeting

That was from our last guild meeting. It is inside of a little bar you just have to find 🙂

As soon as the meeting ended we started a bar fight and found out that you CAN puke while you are turned into a bunny. Fun times!

Now six people to challenge…

MD Gibbons
and Grumpy

Why Does My DPS Suck? – Cool Downs

The “Why Does My DPS suck?” is a post series written for the person starting to raid. While a raider might learn a thing or two, it is written more for the WoW Rookie than for the WoW Pro.

Why Does My DPS Suck?

Add Ons

If you have ever listened on a raid, you might have heard the Raid Leader say, “pop your cooldowns!” sounds like fun doesn’t. If you want to get into raiding one of the first things you should do is ask if you can listen in on a raid. You will start to get a sense of what is said during the fight. You might be lost at first, but if you que up the videos of the bosses the raid team is attempting you might get a good visual of what they are facing.

Cooldown management is something a lot of new DPS have trouble with. Healers learn quickly that you have to use mana regen abilities to keep their mana pool going, but some DPS don’t know how much DPS they are leaving on the table by not using their cooldowns correctly.

Cooldowns are abilities that give you a boost but have a reset timer. Think of them as the “nitro” boost you see on some racing games. They come in a lot of different shapes and sizes, but they accomplish the same thing, they give you more DPS.

Your trinkets might have something called a “proc” which means you don’t have to worry about them, but if they are an “on use” trinket, that means that you have to click it to get the boost. The simplest way to start experimenting with this cooldown is just to drag the trinket to your bar and use it on click. Another way is probably to macro it to an ability that you already use. The best way is to know exactly when to use it and be smart about it.

Like your trinkets, most classes have abilities that allows them to do a lot more DPS for a short time. You might have heard the term “burst damage” being used. Some classes have lots of it, meaning they pack a punch when they use all their cooldowns. At one point some classes used to be able to line up several and the fabled “one shot macros” were all the rage on PvP. That does not happen all that much anymore, but you can still pack a lot of DPS in a short period of time.

The fight against Deathwing calls for it a lot. This is where saving your cooldowns for that moment it is needed is critical.

If you have played with a Demo Warlock you have probably noticed that they go on demon form. That is one of their DPS cooldowns. You might have also seen a mage get turned into a human icicle, that is a defensive cooldown. You might be thinking that you don’t care about defensive cooldowns, but they are just as important… a dead DPS does ZERO DPS.

As important as finding out what your cooldowns are, it is when to use them. Every boss is different, and also every raid team lines them up a little different.

There are also cooldowns that affect the whole raid like Heroism/Lust. You have to learn when to use your cooldowns and how they are affected by other cooldowns. If your cooldown gives you more strenght, then it is prime for using during the Heroism/Lust phase; however if you cooldown gives you haste, it might not help that much since Heroism/Lust is already giving you that stat and probably will simply be a wasted cooldown.

So your homework is to investigate what your cooldowns are and make sure that they are available in your arsenal. Play around with them and see how they affect your numbers. Are they things you want to use every time they are up? or are they ones that can be saved for burn down phases? Its all part of the fun of the game.

Happy Hunting.

Profanity and PvP

I learned a lot of my spoken English from Beavis and Butthead. It was an easy show to understand for someone that did not know English. Not a lot of words, very repetitive. So bun-hole is not something new to my vocabulary.

Our vent (voice chat communication program) is pretty tame. There are a couple of people that will swear here and there for the “shock” value of a swear word here and there. I personally don’t like it because there are kids around the vent sometimes that could directly or indirectly hear the language. I am more comfortable with innuendos and humor than straight F-bombs non-stop.

PvP is full of profanities. While some people think that LFR is trolls R US, it really does not hold a candle to a WSG where you are already 2 caps behind. That does not even account for the people that are not typing their discontent. The people in vent that got killed by the same rogue, yet again will eventually deal with their anger somehow.

I completely understand the need to vent some frustration when something is really going south. I just don’t see the need to share a stream of profanity with others.

I know for our raid nights, plenty of people have strong words after a bad wipe. It is normal practice not to ever push the button. With PvP it seems that the opposite happens and the expletives drown the person calling out things. Running a BG is harder and more chaotic than a raid, but somehow people feel that they have to announcer that the f*%$^$%^ rogue killed me again.

One of my biggest pet peeves as a RL is when someone announces they died. I can see you died, the healers can see you died and the DPS will eventually see if you are a DPS yourself. It seems, at least right now that we are not used to doing BGs because the chatter is all over the place.

It might be a growing pain of getting into a new thing, but my fear is that PvP and profanity go hand in hand. I am not ok with that though.

I think a lot of our members right now see PvP as a “fun” activity, but we have a new person that wants to get us to the next level of PvP and I want them to be able to do that. Some of it will come with credibility and when we are geared and actually doing it, but I think some of it is tone as well.

So the question goes out to those people that PvP. Is profanity just a normal thing in PvP? do rated BG voice chats are just like FPS voice channels?