FireNERFlands

While the whole WoW community was all up and arms about the Fireland nerfs, I was too busy having fun with the actual game.

I cannot help but enjoy all the chatter going on on the web about the Firelands now being a joke and the cries from hardcore raiders about how now their achievement has been taken away, blah blah blah.

Really guys, really? No matter what blizzard does it seem that someone will complain, but with all the attention being paid to raids I cannot imagine why so many are so upset.

If you are truly that good and that hardcore you should have been 6/7HM. Even if you were just semi hardcore 4/7 should also have been yours pretty easily. Anyone that completed T11 on heroic should have been working on hardmodes day one (well, I guess week two after pwning Rag)… if you weren’t, then you got exactly what you asked for after Wrath, OMG let me be LEET and better than everyone again! Newsflash! you truly are not, so many d-bags out there are still not 7/7 HM and they still think they are top raiders.

Trust me when I tell you that casual raiders like me (someone that is ok with no doing HM at all) doesn’t care about your shinnies.

I have killed Rag with two toons now, as a healer and as a tank. My big regret is that I did it once with just some people I knew, and another with a total pug. I have been able to put with some of the best raiders in our server and it has been a fun experience. I just enjoy killing things with my guild so much more. We are going to be working on that though. Being able to pug gives me the opportunity to learn fights and mechanics, and then come up with my own strategy with less wipes with my friends.

One interesting thing about Firelands is that most of the encounters are exactly what I expected them to be. Frustrating for no good reason. I have not done heroics yet, but even the normal encounters are so dependent on random crap that it really separates people. Its not just the bads from the good either, it is also separating people by computer performance. A lot of things have a huge lag component. Shannox, you stand on fire and you die… but you have only seconds to get out.

Even thought they are complex, one encounter that I liked a lot was Domo. The encounter is extremely easy for people that have raided for a while, but still challenging. It scales great too, if you have awesome healers you can let something happen more times… if you are great at movement, the same. The encounter is probably one of the best bosses I have seen designed. It is also easy to explain and execute. That is probably my favorite encounter in Firelands.

Rag is probably my least favorite. Not because I died there quite a bit while people learn the fight, but because it is just too much going on. It is not interesting or fun, it is basically a lot of… omg someone messed up, we all died, walk back. There are a lot of defile like situations where one messup will kill everyone.

I have a solid strategy now for that encounter that is a combination of several things that I have seen other people do. The frustrating part is that there is still an element of luck to the encounter. One simple timing thing can be the difference between a wipe and a kill.

One of the things that I don’t understand about strategies for that fight is how people assign DPS.

You have 8 sons to deal with in 10 man and there is always a split depending on where the hammer lands.

S – S – S – S – S – S – (H) – S – S (right split)
S – S – S – S – (H) – S – S – S – S (middle split)
S – S – (H) – S – S – S – S – S – S – (left split)

Most people end up assigning a number to each person and having them kill that sun regardless of split. It always leads to trouble. All the sun run to the hammer and if they hit the hammer they blow up causing a wipe most of the time, if two sons hit it, game over.

The way I will deal with it when I am actually leading a kill will be that 4 people are assigned a side of the hammer. The rest of the DPS will then be cleaners.

The split should also take into consideration DPS numbers and stuns.

S – S – S – S – 1D – T – (H) – T – 2D (right split)
S – S – 1D – T – (H) – T – 2D – S – S (middle split)
1D – T – (H) – T – 2D – S – S – S – S – (left split)

Tanks and top DPS are what matter the most.

When you are learning the fight, this is probably the hardest thing to get consistently. If you work on that first, the rest of the fight can be directed by the RL, however telling everyone what to kill can be a daunting task and what makes Rag hard to pug.

On the second hammer phase you have the added mobs to deal with. As a tank you have to just pick it up, deal with your son, then kill the add. That also takes a little be to get used to if the tank is new.

This is the first time that I actually wanted to write an addon that just slots people for you and spams it so they know where to go.

I still dislike Firelands quite a bit. I hope there is never another raid like this one again. I hope that Dragon Soul is more ICC or Ulduar than ToC. However, I am comfortable enough with it to take groups through it now. It will be nice to get some legendary weapons out of there.

Winged Guardian Cub

Winged Guardian Cub

How can a guy this cute cause so much controversy?

Let me tell you a little story. I went to a private catholic high school. Even though we were only middle class my parents put a high value on education so they sent me to a school they thought would provide me with better opportunities in the future. There were plenty of people in that school who had parents that were very, very well off. There once was a concert of some popular band coming to the city, and some of my classmates decided to go… not only did they get the best sits that money could afford, they also made a big sign with the word “Poor” to show to the rest of the crowd. It even made the paper. It was probably just a stupid teenager move, but it illustrates something that happens in WoW quite a bit.

“I have something you don’t have.”

From raiders displaying their hard to obtain mounts, to people riding their celestial pony. Many people like to show off what they can get. It used to be that the game was “pure” and you could only get certain things through grinding or skill, but the celestial pony, at least to the masses, told everyone… I can afford to buy this.

Sure, there are plenty of people that buy it just because they like it, are “completionists”, or think is ubber-cute, but there will be a segment that gets stuff like this to tell others, “I have the money to spend that you don’t.” I think that is what rubs most people the wrong way, that they either can’t afford or chose not to spend real money beyond their monthly fees for the game.

The real issue with this cute guy is that he comes packed with tons of issues.

The most important in my opinion is value. It used to be that if you bought a pet at the store you got it on all your characters. Say you have 10 toons you play, at 10 dollars you are paying about 1 dollar per toon to have that pet. Now if you want that cute little guy on all of your 10 toons… you have to dish out 100 USD!

You say ridiculous… I say really? Yeap, there are people with multiple mains that love pets and might end up dishing out money to get it on all their toons. I think the value for the customer there is at that point diminished greatly.

The second side-effect is that since this item is now trade-able you now have an indirect way of converting real money into WoW money. This is not new, the WoW admins pointed out already that you could do that with the loot cards. Easier and more available to players it is though. It will depend greatly on your servers economy, but in essence now you CAN buy gold in a legal way if you want to.

Blizzard is being really smart about a lot of things, and this one might rub a lot of people the wrong way, but you cannot blame them for trying. Will this curve gold selling? I have no idea, I don’t know what that market looks like at all anymore. I have always been against buying gold. Is this annoying to the people that don’t want to or can afford the extra money? It depends on how much you care.

I never bought the celestial steed, I did not like how it looked. I still might some day buy the winged guardian… it will be for the convenience of having a ready mount that flies when I am leveling an alt. The game is so easy right now that I doubt it will really give anyone a big advantage to be able to sell those cubs and make gold. I don’t think it will translate into progression for anyone unless the market for them is super high. What I will be doing is waiting to see what happens with the prices for it. I know I won’t be shelling out 1000k for a pet, the cuteness factor will probably make my wife pay 10 bucks. I don’t think it will break the game… will it open the gates for other things, more than likely. Blizzard has to make money to keep the lights on, and overall I think they do a good job at not making the game all about micro transactions.

In all reality, all they are doing is keeping us talking about WoW for another week before Blizzcon. That they are obviously masters at.

*Update*

WoW insider has now posted the official response, which back ups what I mentioned about the card game already doing this. I also like the fact that Matthew Rossi bring up the point that with the cub you don’t have to hope you get a card, you actually know you are getting the cub.

The Bar

The day you turn 21 you are finally able to enter that fantastic place called a bar. Before you know it you become a regular at that local dive. You start to like the people, you make friends with other regulars and before you know it you spend a lot of time at the place. One day you have the bright idea of telling the bartender that you could serve drinks, he takes you up on it and before you know it you are not just the bartender, you are pretty much running the whole thing.

You tell your friends about the bar, and the place start to look packed even on weeknights.

Eventually it seems like the owner is just not that nice, the food is not all that good and it seem like baseball is the only game that is ever on the TV. Now that you mention it, the TV is not even a big screen. So with some of the locals, one of whom has financial backing to put to his words you decide to open up your own bar.

Even though you had been previously practically running a bar, it is not all that easy. You start to let your friends also become bartenders. Most of the crowd you had before comes to the new bar and it becomes a happening place. With the money you start to upgrade the bar, there is not just baseball on the TVs, there is also football, both professional and college. Even once in a while there is basketball. No matter what the season is or what the sport is, everyone seems to be engaged and having fun.

Everyone seems to enjoy the food, everyone seems to be having fun. Times are good and the bar prospers. More amenities, more TVs, more people.

As the place begins to become bigger and bigger your employees ask about security, maybe bouncers that will not allow just everyone in and kick people out. You say nonsense, this is a bar full of friends, there will never be issues. There is the occasional drunken disturbance, but nothing that cannot be easily resolved.

Eventually this new sport starts to become popular. Even though boxing was shown once in a while and people were ok with it, this new sport called MMA is a little more brutal. Some people want to watch it, others don’t even want to look at it. It seems like every night that there is a big MMA event, the bar starts to split into those that have the stomach for it and those that don’t.

Eventually the bar starts to segment itself more and more. It seems like nobody can agree on what music to play in the jukebox, or what sport to watch on TV. The food that everyone was willing to pay for before, now seems tired and overpriced. People are coming for one or two drinks and the place is just not what it used to be.

It seems that more often than not people are in their little cliques and don’t want to associate with each other anymore. The bartenders can see glares from across the room. The complains start to get more and more often. The specials simply don’t attract people anymore.

The owner, financial backers and some of the employees decide that it is better to close the bar and go on their separate ways. What was one the place to be, its simple a place you go out of habit. The big screen TVs are there, but nobody seems to be watching them.

I guess all good things come to an end.

The Nerf Bat

I didn’t have to look up “I got nerfed Brah,” I understood the concept immediately because Nerf stuff has always intrigued me. I never thought that the toys and games we played were all that dangerous and that scars were just part of growing up, but Neft took it to a whole new level. So I knew it meant that you probably did not hit as hard as he did before. The term is used in the WoW community to describe any game mechanic change that might be looked at as making the game easier (or players weaker) and buff is the opposite.

With Cata Blizzard screwed the pooch. They released a lot of content that was consumed rapidly by the seasoned players (not just raiders) and screwed with gameplay a whole lot. In an effort to make things more accessible (something I wanted myself) they wrecked havoc with balancing. They thought that gear would fix everything but I think failed to calculate the rate that alts would raise, I mean its just 5 levels no matter how steep they are. The dungeon finder and guild perks made it so that leveling was quick and the bulk of the time was spent on dungeons or raids… and believe it or not, that is not everyone’s cup of tea.

Making people happy is an impossible job. As a GM making 40-50 people happy was impossible… imagine trying to keep 11+ million subscribers being probably a little more challenging.

Firelands sucked for me from the time it was released. The place has a horrible color scheme (yea lets make a place full of fire, where you will die if you stand on the fire, and the mobs have fire based abilities) Oh, but the bosses should be HUGE and make tanking them horrible while trying to stay out of the fire. I am sure plenty of people fell through that spider web wondering what the heck happened… its simply hard to see everything that is going on there… even on a good computer with a decent sized monitor. It really had made it hard for people that don’t have the latest and greatest machine to enjoy the raiding part of the game.

However, the gear curve (probably for the first time) made raiders who had conquered tier 11 heroics leapfrog directly to heroic content. I think most hardcore raiding guilds cleared firelands normal modes in a week and then started progression. I find it amusing that people asked for things to be more challenging only to hit a wall when blizzard did. Many raiders, the serious but still wannabe hardcore kind (several hours a week) started to wipe on content… all the Wrath of the LK “heroes” that still cannot down Ragnaros on heroic started to say, heroics are not worth it.

I experienced that myself when Ruby Sanctum came out. The hassle of explaining the fight and possibility for mayhem made it that I killed it once with a toon and that was it, I did not want to go there again. Heck I don’t even what to go there now. All the mechanics I hate are there… and they suck. People also forget why they hated ToC so much, and it is mostly that people just could not complete it on heroic because Anub, even now tiers later can still wipe a 25 man. Some people love mechanics, but its hard to find 10 or 25 people that are in love with learning mechanics and executing at 100% every single time. They make things not puggable.

I am excited that they are nerfing Firelands. I will get to see all the bosses, I might even be able to do some heroics and gear up for the final tier of this expansion. I am glad I did not leave the game altogether because I am getting excited about killing Deathwing.

Priesting it up

You would think that someone with 3 tanks loves tanking right? nope, I love healing.

Moving to a brand new server meant that did not have to be the “token” tank anymore. The guild I joined did need a tank, and I thought that was going to be my focus again but it ended up being that they needed a healer. I was still undergeared for T11, but one week in a server that is alive and I have full tier sets already (even a token waiting for when I get more VPs.)

I had neglected Hollogos since Cata came out. I leveled his professions, got all the recipes but since we did not really need raid healers and were always short tanks he sat once again behind my DK and Bear. Now there was a need for him and I have been raid healing as Holy.

I have yet to go back to discipline and from what I read it is the spec to be now for priests because of crit. I do have a disc spec and I am not ready to try it on a raid yet, but I am going to start playing with it on 5 mans this week. Who knows maybe I will use it on T11 clears next week.

Playing in a server with actual people is a totally different experience. I wish I would have made this move a long time ago. I also should have been healing this whole time, it is something I truly enjoy.

BoondockSaints Forever

As much as I don’t want this to be a MEGA POST WALL OF TEXT, I want this to be one of the last days the BoondockSaints name actually gets used, at least in this blog. Its not because I want to kill it, or bitter about the experience there in anyway. I just think that the important thing was not the name, but the idea I wanted to sell. Time will be the judge of it being a success or a failure for others. I know for me, even though it ended, it was a great success and a good run the 3 years it lasted.

At the beginning of Cata I made a post called Loyalty and Respect, not sure how many people read it back then, but the quotes are still very relevant to this post.

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

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

Before we begin, if you are looking for dirty laundry to be aired here, don’t waste your time. Seriously get a life and go live it. I am not going to call anyone out by name, and I doubt you will be able to tie anything posted here to specifics.

If guilds were to come with mission statements, ours would have been simple. “To have a group of friends that play together, get to see end game content but above all treat guildies and the WoW community as a whole with respect.”

It is easy to point the finger solely at me being burned out as a GM or RL as the only cause for the closing of the guild. The reality is a lot more complex than that. Me getting burned out with those roles was the product of something that we tried to stamp out from day one. Drama.

If I am in a situation where nobody is taking control, I step up, its in my nature. From life and death situations, like when I had to hide my little sister in a closet from some gunmen, to the ending up running a guild because others did not like the place they were at. I will do what has to be done.

I put my WoW personal wants aside, I wanted to become a more serious raider (that never really happened) and decided to play with friends with the goal of simply seeing content.

Bea was part of the Saints from day one even though she did not play. You all have to thank her, because before I even gave into the idea of leading a guild, I sat down and asked her if it was ok. I knew that doing it will require a lot more time from me. She was never too bad with the wife aggro, but now, leading a guild would change things quite a bit. She was cool with it, and I started to build what we have now with less than 12 people.

BDS
(I think, pictured here was not Feylin but Shrev)

We quickly became very successful. Despite the fact that others always wanted to compare us with “raiding” guilds and saw the success in the game in just one of the things we could do a group, we did not set out to have that be the focus. All we wanted to do was help people out, and we did that in many ways.

<BoondockSaints> Guild
We had guild meetings, I sang off key to various members, we made fun of each other, we had inside jokes…

“Bring her closer to the door, I think I am still getting exp!”
“Anything more than a mouthful.”
“Moonya’s Safe Zone.”
“You just raid locked 24 people”
“Did we just clear trash on 25 with 10 people?” (Naxx – OS – ICC – BoT)
“_______ needs Might!”
“Sorry, my cat just unplugged my router”
“Don’t worry, its _______ there is no way he will win the roll.”

Boondock Saints LK Kill
We ended Wrath in a big way. Not only were we able to Kill the LK, but we probably had more Kingslayers before the end of Wrath than most guild in the Alliance side in our server. Just a bunch of casuals got it done.
First Alliance Guild to Level 25!
Cata promised to be tailor made for our guild. And in the beginning it was. Being the first alliance guild to 25 and getting guild achievement points, which I believe we were always number 1 on was fun. We could all do our little part to make things happen.

That is where the happy story ends, and the sad one begins.

Why even bother going into it?

It is simple, I blog because it might be useful for someone else in the future. Maybe, just maybe a future guild master can use it to prevent what happened to us from happening to them.

When you take on responsibility in any situation, complaints will come your way. Your skills to lead are constantly questioned, but seldom do you get solutions or alternatives. “You are doing it wrong, but I don’t know or would want to do it right” was very, very common.

We had always had the issue of cliques. My big mistake was to not take swift action, but I never wanted to seem power hungry. Our officers did not have a lot of responsibilities, and that was the result of drama from the beginning that was dealt with. We tried to make people address all the officers with issues by opening officer chat for everyone to post, but only officers to see. It was hardly ever used.

I tried to correct issues by taking on the problems myself under the delusion of being able to help people with the root causes. That never helped. The issues would stay dormant until they would once again rear their ugly heads.

Cata has been content low. Until we got the molten front, unless you were a raider or could do heroic dungeons… you were still dealing with the same content over and over. You grinded rep quickly and were done. Tabards made it that you only had to quest in that area until you got the tabbard, then go grind the dungeons some more.

People started to get separated by those that could do the tougher content and those that chose not to (not always because they could not, some simply chose not to.) That started to create separation.

My other big mistake, specially with raiding, was that I tried to make people be something they were not. You can take a slow group with a medium group and find a happy middle. You can do the same with a fast group and medium. I am a mediocre player at best, but I can hang with some of the better players. However, more advanced players will not want to kill the same thing over and over… and slow players are easily discouraged by deaths.

When you spend all you week in game feeling like you are grinding, things start to get stale fast. This expansion felt a lot like grinding for many… so bored people means more drama. Couple that with our server being just horrible when it came to population and the perfect storm started brewing 2-3 months back.

The Z dungeons were released at the end of April and people started to divide. From the “I can’t do Z dungeons crowd” to the “I don’t want to die 50 times” the guild started to fragment. Those dungeons really hurt the guild. To some (including me), the rehashed content seemed very gimmick driven… as I have experienced all over. Instead of running things together, we all started doing what we could do, and also most started to do whatever they wanted to do.

There is nothing wrong with playing your own game, you do pay for your own account. It did start to kill the essence of the guild. Instead of taking people for the 300th time to Halls of Reflection to get that drop, people would get on grind groups to finish whatever it is that they were doing. If you were not lucky enough for that, you would then wait on que… silent guild chat… gratz addons being the only chatter we all saw.

The raiding woes were only part of the problem and not really the center of the disintegration of our quilt. The seams were our relationships, the help we used to lend, the fun we used to have. I was also guilty of not wanting to get in vent… our daily chats became less often… we would talk to each other when one of us was being ganked. Ask anyone that took a break and came back recently and they will tell you that just our guild chat was night and day from days past.

Then little by little the anger from people started to creep up, it was not just from raiding either. People would ask for a hello and we were all too busy running something, person would take it personal and “rage disconnect.” Person would ask to group up, but everyone was already busy or qued. We did not wait for each other anymore. The new goody bag made it so tanks were rewarded to que by themselves. The sense of community being lost all over wow had finally made it into our guild as well.

In the mean time drama started to grow even larger. The trolls in our server were also getting bored and starting more drama than usual. The whole server being a ghost town started to affect the economy of even the Saints. We had been shielded from it by having everything available to us. Even the usual farmers that would keep us supplied just flat out quit farming. It was bad when bots would outnumber players in a zone like uldum (5 bots to 1 or 2 players,) but you know you are in trouble when not even bots are farming in your server anymore.

I decided to pull the plug before the infighting began. Before the finger pointed tainted what we had all built. Before you could end up angry at anyone else and lose a group of friends. This was the better way. You can see the lines that were already forming in the guild as soon as you see where everyone ends up. Think about that for a second and you will see that even though we all had the same tag, in many ways most people had already moved on.

Are there true bystanders in our guild free of fault in all of this?

I could tell you dozens of little stories on how I failed to be a better leader. How with a swift kick I could have avoided X amount of drama. But I was not about that, the guild was not about that. The guild was to be a place where you felt included as long as you wanted to be and did not trow tantrums. All that does not matter now.

Before I could finish this post Theydrin actually posted something that is very true… the server, the toons, the tag under your name matters NOT. What matters is the friends that you made. Quit thinking of what the guild was, enjoy the game for what it is, and cheerish the relationships that you made. Move forward. All I ask of you now as your former guild leader is keep the Saints spirit alive. Treat others with respect, it really matters in the game and also in life.

After about 3 weeks of stomach pains over this decision becoming final and trying to see if there was other options I feel a sense of closure. I know that many mistake my decision to not discuss some details out in the open, or with even the whole guild as not being transparent. Trust me when I tell you that it is tempting to just let everyone know exactly who leaving the guild hurt me the most, or how someone’s words affected my decision or didn’t but it really accomplishes nothing. I want to leave all of that stuff behind and I ask that you do the same. What is done is done.

All I want to remember now is the good times, and how a group of very diverse and different people were able to play an online game together for 3 years! Here is to all the good times, all the laughs, all the jokes, all the friends we have all made. The tag might be gone, but all the relationships, which is what is really important, should still be there for all you. Thanks to every single one of you! Thanks to all the Saints past and present.

THE END

PvP Meeting

Sethria’s Roost

I started to play WoW in a PvP server from the very beginning. I have been to other servers, but never leveled anything past level 10. It has been always alliance, always AzShara <- yea I spell it like that… or used to anyway.

The molten front dailies have brought alliance and horde back to clashing. In an underpopulated server, its all about the luck of the draw when you get there to work on your dailies. If you are the side with the numbers, wohoo, lets get this done. If you are not… then welcome to a miserable time.

In PvP servers people don’t get it when you are not interested in PvP. I have PvP gear, I can hold my own in must battles. When you are questing though, it is almost never a fair battle, a mob has you half health and a stealth or range comes over and burns you down quickly. I don’t care how good you are at the game, when you get ganked, it will some times turn into an annoyance.

I personally deal with it by either leaving the area if I am outnumbered or giving the player 2 – 3 battles to establish a “winner.” If I am outmatched, then I simply leave the area. Many of the people I play don’t get that concept, they continue to go back and the ganker has just too much fun killing them over and over. I don’t get it myself, I can let go of a current objective and go do something else… but some people are not like that and want to accomplish that goal before they move on to something else.

My wife is one of those people. Even though she has not the only one that has nerdraged hardcore about being ganked, she is the one that I get to hear get progressively frustrated. Sometimes I drop what I a doing and come to her “rescue” hoping to outnumber the ganker, sometimes she just logs into another character. It happens often now that the molten front is the place where a shinny new mount resides.

Sethria’s Roost is a mess of annoying design. Not only is the resurrection spot very far away from the place, if you are unlucky enough to fall off the clift, there is the chance that you cannot get to your body and WILL have to take the durability loss and rez sickness.

I personally have died in Sethria’s Roost more times since the molten front came out than all other places combined since Cata came out(Excluding Raids and Dungeons). Doing the TB dailies I would die maybe once a week when someone felt like PvPing. It was fun for me most of the time and I did not mind having to complete those dailies. The Roost is not the same place though, you are joined by NPCs that “help” you… but they have the side effect that they will attack the opposing faction if they get too close.

Even when I carefully wait my turn to engage mobs in the area, sure enough some else runs and hits the horde character and it turns into a mini battle. The chances of being outnumbered in that area in AzShara are pretty good, so you end up with a long walk back. Sure you can take revenge, but I don’t wish that walk on another player, even if they tried to gank me.

One night a boomkin was there, I can’t remember if I attacked first or if he just hit one of my “helpers” with an AoE. Bottom line was that even after I backed off, there was going to be a battle and he knew how to use his abilities well. I ended up helplessly flying through the air to my impending death. My character got stuck, I got to learn that it is not a good cliff to die.

It was not the gold it took to repair, I did not even waste too much time, I knew getting to my body was going to be a pain so I too the rez sickness and move on. It was just the fact that being in a PvP server meant that even if I did not want to engage in battle with another player I did not have a choice.

My wife reminds me all the time that she did not have a choice on the matter either since I was playing in a PvP server. I also did not have a choice because when I rolled my first toon I had no clue what it really meant to be in a PvP server. The frustration of not having the power to just say, hey I don’t feel like being killed while completing this quest had finally clicked.

This is probably one of the top 3 reasons why AzShara is not going to be our home server anymore. And as a friend wisely put it, if they were ever to make the server PvE and the population issues were fixed… we might some day come back “home.” If you are new to WoW, make sure that you take this into consideration before you chose between PvP and PvE servers.

I hate you Blizzard

Just as I was starting to reach the conclusion that there is just not enough content to keep me interested and engaged since the firelands are kind of underwhelming in my opinion, Blizzard drops a couple of huge bombs this week that totally get me super interested back in the game.

The first one is that the feature that I have been using very moderately because I did not want to get sucked into it and then have to pay for it (the cross realm party system) just got “released” and it is still free. What is even more interesting is that they are not shying away from the idea that raids could be in the future.

The other feature that is going to be released is the ability to wear cosmetic armor rather than what you currently have on… this is really cool, this could really help me clean up my bank, this could change the way we look at the game.

Since my tanks are already pretty geared I have not been bothered with bringing up my next one… but now with the hotfix that threat is now 500% of damage… well… it makes tanking that much more appealing. I can concentrate on movement and cooldowns now.

And last but not least… it seems that 4.3 is going to bring the raid where I can kill deathwing… as uninterested as I have been about it… this might make me just stay playing until I can complete that and kill that pesky dragon for turning me into a ball of fire while I was leveling an alt in the highlands… dam you blizzard, dam you

Why WoW is losing players

I have debated whether or not I should post this for quite some time. Its a very touchy subject because I don’t want to send the wrong message to my guild. So I start by saying that the opinions here while coming from your guild leader, its from the point of view of a player.

I love playing WoW. I think it is one of the most complete games, but what makes it even more compelling beyond the great development effort that goes into creating fresh content it is the community. However, the community is losing members faster than I have ever seen, and not just in my very low populated server but all over.

I real a lot of blogs, not just about WoW but other subjects. When it comes to WoW most of the people that I loved to read are gone or have switched to other games. Once you start losing people that support the community beyond the game, you start losing players as well. I am not a doomsayer and when Rift came out I was very much a defender of WoW and blizzard. However, the more time passes, the more I think they are failing to provide a service for most people.

The reality of what is going on right now is that trying to please everyone with this expansion they ended up screwing everyone over.

Firelands is a big failure in my opinion, as well as the molten front. Not even when I was going back to grind some rep for an alt did it feel like I was simply grinding. The firelands raid has done nothing but highlight that the raiding in this tier is at best annoying and at worst a waste of time. Some of it feels so out of touch with what makes raiding fun that I wonder if any of the developers are actually playing through the game. Raiding always felt like leading an orchestra… now it has turned into an exercise of paying attention to an endless amount of things that can kill you, but can be easily trivialized by either knowing the fight well or gear trivializing it. It brings down the replay value of that aspect of the game a lot.

If I did not play with a group of friends that I enjoy quite a bit and make me laugh every time we get together I don’t think I will be playing this game anymore. I feel like I have seen the content I wanted to see, and even killing Deathwing does not feel like something I would enjoy if I am going to have to dodge fireworks that I cannot even clearly see.

Most casual players that don’t raid have already stopped playing. They did everything that there was to do, and the ones that continue to play are doing so via alts. It is not like back in the day that everyone had tons of stuff to do on their main… now almost everything feels like an endless grind and when you do get the rewards they are not that exciting anymore.

Blizzard had the opportunity to do so much, but instead of making some things excellent and well polished; so much of the game feels incomplete. Guilds hit 25, and even those weekly challenges are not something that we are having to coordinate to do as a guild, they just happen on their own. PvP is so all over the place and unbalanced that fight are either done in seconds or take 30 mins + or until someone simply gives up. So I see more and more people kind of think the game is not fun to play and I really have nothing to point out as a fun thing to do… I used to be full of, have you tried this? this quest like is lots of fun, this class has some new cool mechanics… this is where you find x or y and it will make things awesome.

Maybe I am completely crazy, but I think that if raiding was a lot more like the mega man series, where you would find things along the way that would really help you with other bosses it might change the game a bit. Right now there is no reason to get more gear because the gap between normals and heroics is too big, and for non hardcore raiders the grind of learning a fight and then having to deal with the annoyance that it was the normal now double in damage and with more “pretty lights” just feels like an insane endeavor.

I really hope that the next patch comes out soon, because even though I have only raided 4 bosses in firelands, I am sick of the color palate already.

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 :)