How Nerfing the Game is Making it Better

I honestly never expected my wife to truly become addicted to WoW. I always knew she would enjoy it because of the types of games she plays and the themes she likes on her reading and movies. I did not expect her to get addicted beyond the level that I play, but I am glad she is having a blast. The interesting part is that she is a better player than most that I have seen, and she will be raid ready probably as soon as she hits 80. Funny thing is that from watching me raid, I think she is looking forward to her first raid, and as soon as she hits 70 I think to Kara we will head.

I have raid many of the people that were downing bosses on 40 man raids talk about how getting a piece of gear now feels like entitlement. That has always bothered me about the game when I started playing it. So many people I encountered had terms that would put down people if they did not know their little “secret” terms about raiding and being inside of a dungeon. The thing is that getting to do a dungeon was difficult and most high level players would only help you with the places that were either quick or they would know very well so they could maximize their playing time. Someone run you through Mara? forget it.

Getting into a dungeon in previous iterations of the game required that you had at least one experienced player. Someone needed to know where the stone was and direct at least one other person to get here. If you had no FPs close to it you would be waiting there for a long period of time. Most of the time you were stuck doing the same dungeons that most people knew how to get to, Deadmines, Scarlet Monastery come to mind. So you really did not get to see a lot of the content when it came to dungeons, you were pretty much stuck leveling through doing quests and killing pigs over and over. That is how people used to level.

People would hit cap and want to go into a raid, and that is where the problem started. Most people had done dungeons with a very experienced player, and at times levels above them. This created the illusion that dungeons were a simple thing and you did not have to pay attention… then BAM, you go into a raid and the difficulty level goes through the roof. You die, or make a mistake and people don’t invite you to raids anymore, or you simply get discouraged… your raiding career is over before it even started. That used to happen a lot in the old days of WoW. Most of the people I met playing the game had never been in a raid and were just terrified of the whole idea.

I wonder how many of the wannabe top raiders realize about what it really takes to get a world first. You have to prepare for content way in advance of it being released and the PRT is where they probably spend a lot of time… I wonder what the actual % of the top guilds is on PRT vs live Realms is. I don’t get how someone that is simply following a strategy from a place like tankspot can feel entitled to look down at any other player… when they just basically did what a 5 year old does when they buy a guide to a game they cannot figure out by themselves.

Trust me, the jerks that still talk down to people for their simple mistakes are still there in every realm. I just will not ever get that mentality because if you wanted robots (or an IA) to run a raid with you, simply play a solo game. The human factor is what makes the game fun for me, the mistakes that the group compensates for and make everyone laugh after is what makes thing enjoyable. The kill after several wipes is what makes things feel like an accomplishment.

Now the dungeon tool lets people make mistakes with other toons around their level. They start learning about aggro, DPS, DOT, healing, situational awareness and yes move out of the fire very early on. My wife is a better player at 60 thank I was even after months of playing as a 70. Part of it is that she has a great guild behind her with people that have advice and lend a hand when she needs it, but it has mostly been that she has had to learn through just pugging with people and learning to DPS.

Titles, legendary weapons, world firsts are all fine and dandy for those that want to pursue it. Sure it would be nice to get a realm first with our guild some day. Being able to play with friends and now family and still see some awesome content is making the game better for me. I enjoy this game quite a bit, and the changes that are coming are making me even more excited. So keep on nerfing blizzard, I welcome the opportunity to have fun.

Raiding and Motorcycle Riding

From WiKiPedia

A raid is a type of mission in a video game, where the objective is to use a very large number of people, relative to a normal team size set by the game, to defeat a boss.

I have spent the last three months plaing WoW (World of Warcraft) and I have to say that it is the most complete game that I have ever played. It has all the elements of the best RPG’s that the Finally Fantasy Series introduced to game, the progression mechanics that make everyone want to keep going and the social and team aspect of your best war shooter. A lot of negative things can be said about the game, about how it could suck your free time dry, but the pay off to me is well worth the time and money I spend into it… it makes my stress go away.

That said, the thing I dislike about the game the most is some of the people that play it. Here is where the motorcycle riding part comes along.

I love motorcycles, but what was coolest of all was getting a group of 20+ people to ride together even if it was just to grab a cup of coffee a town or two away. Riding in a large group is one of the most exciting things because it takes tons of trust for you to ride right next to someone. You need a leader both in the front and the back of the pack. You also need great communication to transmit messages such as “gravel up ahead” by just using non verbal signals.

Bad groups in motorcycle riding cause accidents and potential serious injuries, even death. The same goes for doing a raid in a game. However, in a game you can reset the game and just come back tomorrow, in motorcycle riding might have to remember one night for the rest of your life as the moment when one of your friends lost his ability to walk.

I try to approach everything in life with respect. To me when someone is in a group and does not respect the rules (or does not even know what they are) shows lack of respect. While it is the responsibility of the group to tech such rules, it is also necesary for the person to have the willingness to learn and listen.

I am a level 60 now in the game, and soon I will be moving toward the maximum level which is 70 right now. Now we I have started to participate in groups where roles have to be followed. This week I experienced the two complete opposite experiences in the same raid. I could not help but compare it to my best and worse riding experiences.

The worse ride of my life was not even one where I got into an accident. During that doomed ride we actually had 3 riders go down out of a group of about 12. There was no mayor injuries except for one bike that kind of ended up beyond repair. My day ended when I separated from the group because one of the riders that went down was too shaken up to continue so I chose to just follow him home to make sure he was ok.

Lots went wrong that day and I might some day list everything that happened, but it was doomed because of bad leadership. The last point of this post will tell you why.

The horrible raid this week was not due to bad leadership, it was actually people not listening to the leadership. However the result was the same as that doomed ride. There was no fun, there was a lot of disappointment. An activity that is supposed to make you feel better should not become frustrating.

The best raid I have had so far (besides the ones that Wook uses one of his awesome characters to dominate the game.) was a place where you need 5 people of around my level to go in. We only had 4 and I was the lowest level, everyone else was around mid 60s. It is a hard thing to do (which I found out with a bad group) this instance without a healer. The computer monsters hit pretty hard and with a bad group you end up dead a lot. However, with this group of other 3 people and no healer we were able to clear the whole place and never had a total wipe.

The best ride of my life was a charity ride with CLSB. Riding with them is one of the things I miss the most. That day we had 40+ riders and had to go quite a ways. However we had no issues. Even stopped traffic in some places without a police escort to keep the whole group together. It was a nice thing to have that many people ride together such a long distance and keep a nice pace the whole time.

What I have learned from motorcycle riding groups is that pace is the most important thing. Your leader has to set a pace and the group most follow. Great leaders will always set a pace that the most inexperienced rider can follow safely. In the game it is the same thing, a pace needs to be set and it is the responsibility of the players to follow.

The moment you start going to fast and not checking to make sure others around you are doing with the pace, the experience stops being fun and it starts getting dangerous.