Archive for April, 2010

Raiders vs. Raids: One response

Posted in Blogging on April 29, 2010 by zarigar

I had another post almost ready to go for today but then Del over at The Den of Delerius had an interesting post that brought up a lot of questions and challenged for blog responses. (But it’s not a meme!) His alternate title for that post was “Do you help the raid or does the raid help you? Do you help the guild or does the guild help you?”.

Of course these are not mutually exclusive but the 2 questions have a lot of common answers, so I’ll try to form a somewhat coherent response to both. I hope I am understanding what Del is asking; if not, I’m sure he’ll tell me. And, just to make things a bit more confusing, I’m going to answer his questions in reverse order of how he asked them:

Why do you play?

Honestly, the answer here should always be “for fun”. If there is no aspect of the game that is fun to you, then it makes no sense for you to play. Whether you love leveling, hustling the auction house, end game raiding, PVP–whatever–there has to be some enjoyment you get out of playing the game. Whatever it is that draws you back to the game, the common factor should be that it is fun to you.

I work with computers all day. No way would I spend my free time being on the computer some more if I wasn’t having fun. If you’re not having fun, Cata will fix it!

Remember fun–it’s going to be a recurring theme here.

Why do you guild?

This question is a little more tricky; there is no true or correct answer here. Everyone’s response to this question will probably be a bit different. It would be nice if everyone said they were in a guild for fun, but it’s not as easy as that.

Shadow Rising is primarily a raiding guild. Yes, there are socials who are there for fun and the occasional raid, but most of the people are there for the raiding opportunities. A good chunk of SR itself is made up of the guild formerly known as House Vol. HV was originally a guild of people who knew each other in various ways outside of the game and formed together in game as one unit.

Many people in HV wanted to raid, but the numbers weren’t there for consistent raiding. Some people wanted to be more hardcore raiders than others. The idea of merging HV with SR was put out in the open with people having the option to share their thoughts and opinions before it happened. In the end, some people chose not to merge with SR. Some chose to switch over but not as a raider.

/end history lesson

Raiding wasn’t an obsession of mine, but it was fun and I enjoyed what little of it I had done at that point. But the biggest thing that convinced me to merge was that my friends were also joining SR. In the time since, I’ve seen that SR isn’t just about raiding, it’s about the people there.

I don’t have a lot of experiences with other guilds, so I don’t know what’s considered normal for them. My draenei priest on another server is technically in a guild, but aside from Zambra’s cheesy alts, there isn’t a lot of activity going on over there. It was lonely there without other people to interact with, even if just to fill up guild chat with stupid dirty jokes.

I would not trade drunken evenings or hourlong drive-thru’s or “nudity belongs in the bathroom only” chats because they are what make up SR. A night where no raids are scheduled can often be as much fun as the nights that are.

Why do you raid?

So that brings up to what I think is the main point of Del’s original post. Why do you raid? What does raiding bring to you? And what do you bring to it?

Why raid? Because you’re in a raiding guild? No, no. Because it’s fun! FUN!

Yes, it’s fun to get loot, but if your sole purpose in raiding is the hope that you are going to get loot, then you are going to be disappointed a lot. Titles and achievements and hard modes are fun, but again, are maybe not specific reasons that you raid.

All of them together? Yes. And the people involved? Yes. The entire raid experience would be so much different if I didn’t like the people in my guild.

It’s the whole experience of the raid that is fun.

Is it fun when I die? Or do something stupid? No. Do I take the lessons of fail and apply them to the next raid? I try to. Failing isn’t fun at the time, but it hopefully teaches me something to apply to the next time, thereby increasing my future fun.

As to how and why other people raid, it’s an individual choice. For me, people should play what they are comfortable with and which gives them the most fun. Here is where I am going to deviate from Del’s thoughts a bit. Del does not ever specifically say this, but it is kind of a pet peeve of mine so I am throwing it in:

Healers and tanks are not any more important to a raid than DPS.

You obviously need tanks. Your raid is dead in the water without healers. But DPS is not this generic term for all the leftover spots in a raid. You need good DPS just as much as you need tanks & healers to make a raid successful.

The dime a dozen mentality re: DPS is not one I’m fond of. Tanks and healers are specialized roles, yes, and you can argue that excellent players in those classes can carry some terrible DPS. DPS can also have specialized roles within encounters, and one can’t always use Recount as a measure of who is good and who is bad. The somewhat elitist superiority of that thinking takes away from the team aspect of a raid group.

Is there more flexibility with choosing DPS? Absolutely. There are so many more options as a raid leader to mix and match all the available DPS into the best possible raid composition. For most high level raids–as in, not VoA–it’s not necessarily a good idea to just grab whatever “warm bodies” are available to fill out spots.

So, in reading all of Del’s examples in people who bring differing levels of commitment to a raid/guild, it’s hard to form an easy answer that will accommodate all of the scenarios. There are so many potential factors that could influence whether one is being “selfish” or not:

  • Mr. T is obviously a rock star. Having all those geared and ready alts means he will have an assured place in virtually any raid. Plus having knowledge of all the roles means he has expertise in all the functions and can contribute more of a “bird’s eye view” to the raid encounters.
  • Why would anyone consider Ms. L to be selfish if she was DPSing and not healing? I don’t see how DPSing is considered contributing “less” to a raid; unless her DPS was vastly inferior to her healing capabilities.
  • Mr. Z with only a DPS toon is also not selfish based on what we know of him. I’m not sure how having a healer/tank alt on standby helps necessarily make him a better raider. In this scenario, I suppose the assumption is that hopefully there is some kind of back-up if the regular tanks & heals are not available? Do all of the other DPS’ers in Mr. Z’s raid have a healer/tank alt? Again, the importance of DPS seems to be getting minimized here, in the assumption that having a pure DPS character is somehow hampering the raid/guild.
  • Mr. S has various 80’s spread out amongst other guilds and are apparently hidden. This is the most fleshed-out example and the one where I can most see people having an issue with. Obviously, he is not under obligation to have all his raiding toons in one guild or even have them all be publicly known, but I can see people from one guild being upset that he has a secret tank somewhere that he doesn’t occasionally utilize for the guild. But, again, that will depend on circumstance. Maybe the guild where he DPS’s has tanks coming out the ears and he will actually get more raiding time as DPS. Maybe the guild he tanks with only does 10-mans, which is easier on his not-so-great computer.

I guess what I’m trying to say with these scenarios is that it’s not always cut-and-dry why some people do what they do. If people are playing the characters they want to play and are having fun with them, that is all I care about. I hope that people who take on the specialized roles like healing and tanking do so because it is fun to them and they enjoy that playing style.

No, it’s not always perfect. Sometimes someone might need to heal if they don’t really want to. It just depends if the trade-off is worth it to them. They sacrifice a little fun of playing their preferred character for the fun of the raiding experience. (And of course, if they outright refuse to heal and the raid falls apart, then you have another issue there.)

If someone wants to exclusively DPS, they should be able to. They just need to be aware that it could potentially limit their spot on a raid team if there is more interest than spots available. Ret pally #6 might end up on the bench while the raid leader looks for the desired holy pally.

LOL, the second half of this seems like justification of the existence of DPS–nobody puts DPS in a corner!–but really what I want to say was that I think people should keep the game (and all of the elements within) fun. I don’t really know if I answered any of Del’s questions, but thanks again for the interesting topic!

For crits and giggles

Posted in Alt with tags , , on April 27, 2010 by zarigar

So I got bored and rolled a mage for fun. I don’t remember if this is my 17th or 18th attempt at playing a mage, but I kind of hope this one survives past level 20. I have all of this BoA caster gear lying around from when Lorethos was leveling up, so might as well put it all to good use.

Don’t worry, alliance haters, yes she is horde. Unfortunately, this is not Cata where every race can be a mage, so my race options were limited. I already have a troll shaman and an undead priest so, almost by default, she is belf. I mean, there is nothing stopping me from making another troll or forsaken but I like to have some kind of variety in my toons.

One of the things that kept getting my mages deleted previously was the fact that they are so reliant on mana. It seems like I kept having to stop and drink. Thanks to the crazy bump up in health/mana regen, it’s not something I have to worry about at the moment. I have the ability to conjure food and water, but it’s not something I need. I don’t even conjure consumable yet because I don’t want it taking up bag space.

I suppose this is both good and bad. Bad, of course, because when the awesome regen powers wear off I will be back to drinking every few fights. The good is that by the time that happens, I will probably have invested enough time in the character that I won’t want to kill her off so easily.

Another factor increasing her chances for survival is that she picked up JC as a profession. I don’t have JC on any other toon and having one at my disposal certainly wouldn’t suck.

Beyond that, there aren’t really any plans for the toon except as having another character option to play when I get bored farming instances on my higher level characters. Though I said the same thing about Lorethos and now he’s emblem farming and getting dragged through the occasional raid.

So we’ll see how it goes.

The call of the koala

Posted in Random with tags , on April 26, 2010 by zarigar

So I got to meet Lyssiana/Tat(t)ia/Koala Bear (whom I will now–in the interest of laziness–refer to as KB) and Tel for the first time this weekend. There were other SR members who put in an appearance but those were the 2 I had not yet met in person.

Sunday morning my adventure starts with me driving into Sacramento. I am not one of those people who enjoys driving. Obviously I tolerate it because it gets me places I need to go. But when I am driving long distances to places I don’t know very well I hate it. I am always afraid I am going to get lost and somehow end up in Cracktown USA where my ratty Dodge Neon will look like something worth stealing and I will end up dead and my body thrown into the dumpster behind the Del Taco.

The sad thing is the driving instructions aren’t terribly complicated. I just get myself so worked up about getting lost that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. It’s a sad feeling to be getting onto an exit and realize that it’s the wrong one. I ended up downtown, where we would be heading later, but I was able to get back onto the freeway and eventually to Arioch/Zam’s house.

I have to add here that Casa de AriZam is amusing in how it appears to discourage any kind of long-term visitors. There is a room for Arioch and a room for Zambra and if you are not either of them then GTFO. The lack of living room seating gives off a “don’t bother getting comfortable” vibe that is refreshing in its honesty.

Then KB burst in and proceeded to hug then punch me. Huzzah! In RL she is just how she is in game. Full of energy and fun and with the fantastic mouth of a sailor. I feel bad for the candy store employee in Old Sac who was trying to give out coupons:

KB: What’s this?

Candy store employee: Come in and try some candy.

KB: I can’t eat candy.

CSE: We have sugar-free–

KB: (cutting him off) No, thank you, that stuff tastes like shit.

But she says it with a smile on her face, so it doesn’t come off as excessively Tourrettes-y.

It was a nice day, good to see people I hadn’t seen in a while and nice to meet new people. I’m sure one of the other blogs will be chock full of fun and details, so I’ll leave them to it.

Sadly, I did manage to even screw up going home. Thankfully I was able to turn myself around before I headed all the way out to El Dorado Hills >.< (Tel, you are lucky I didn’t offer to drive you home because who knows where the hell we would have ended up.)

Tomorrow we will resume WoW-related posts. Just wanted to thank everyone for a fun day.

Quickie post

Posted in Random with tags on April 22, 2010 by zarigar

Happy earth day. Happy birthday, soth!

Stuck in the office today. Will probably be here all day, so am not sure if I will get back to town in time for tonight’s raid. I did change my status to tentative just in case.

If you need another person, I hear we now have a priest whose heals are LEG-EN-DARY!~

Sadly, the office seems to be banning every blog except mine and slice’s. And slice hasn’t updated his today. So I will be bored and productive.

Productive sucks.

I hate 25’s

Posted in ICC on April 21, 2010 by zarigar

There I said it.

The title is a little prosaic but I’m not in the mood for anything more clever.

When I first started raiding many moons ago, I preferred the 25 raids to the 10 mans. The loot was better quality, the fights were usually much more fun and, with so many more people, any fail moves on my part didn’t necessarily doom the raid.

Yes, I admit I did like the fact that one could “hide” much more easily in a 25 man. This was especially helpful in fights that I was still trying to learn. A supporting role for me was fine because with it comes less pressure.

I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve lived through the safety dance in Naxx. “But it’s so easy,” everyone else says. Mechanically, it *is* easy. And I’ve heard so many strategies and tips when it comes to surviving. But I’ve never really gotten the timing and am usually the corpse on the ground that the surviving dancers used as a reference point. But when I die as a random dps, the damage done  to the raid as a whole is less than if I had been a healer in a 10 man, for example.

Don’t need the spotlight. Other people were more than welcome to have the specialty roles. Need someone to kite zombies around? Hell, get Pengu to do it.

With 10’s there is much more accountability for the individual, and it is much easier for a raid leader to see at a glance how the raid is working together as a whole. Anyone not keeping up is much more noticeable.

Reading this, someone might make the assumption “So…he like to get carried?” No, of course not. I don’t want to be carried. With the Soths and the Aris and the Zugs and the Tirs I know that there will be people better than me. My goals are simple and, hopefully, realistic: don’t be at the bottom, be above the tanks and do not be the reason a raid wipes.

ICC changed my thoughts on “hiding” in the large raids.

I was asked to leave the first ICC 25 I ever attempted. It was a merging of our guild with another raiding guild with maybe a few pugs thrown in. This was just after ICC came out, when people were still struggling with Marrowgar. I think I had seen Marrow a few times but had gone no further than that and hadn’t even watched any videos for other fights.

I did not know what I was doing. My dps was utter crap (I wouldn’t have been surprised if healers were beating me). There were warnings from my GM-at-the-time to “pick it up”. (Because I was deliberately holding myself back?) After repeated wipes on Lady D, I got a whisper asking if I wouldn’t mind stepping out.

Did that suck? Oh yes. To be singled out as that guy not pulling his weight is not a good feeling. But frankly, it was also a bit of a relief. I *didn’t* know what I was doing, so I *was* asking the rest of that raid to carry me. I don’t remember if they eventually got her down, but I do know that they continued to struggle even after replacing me.

But it did drive the point home that raiding is more than being a face in the crowd or a warm body.

::cue the 80’s montage of me watching boss videos and researching fights and taking notes::

The more I learned about ICC, the more I learned I didn’t know (or something like that). And with it came the realization that everyone needs to be on the same page to be successful. This isn’t Heigan where I can just die because I don’t know how to dance, but it’s ok because he can still be downed with the remaining people.

You want me at range for Festergut? Fine. I know to keep myself away from other people. I will make adjustments if people get in my way. I will move in when need be and GTFO when told to GTFO.

You want me in a cannon for lootship? Fine. I will kill mortar bitches, then switch to riflemen when my cannon gets frozen.

These are easy roles, but they are roles I would have tried to avoid before simply because they involved “pressure”. I didn’t want it, but now it’s unavoidable. Some boss mechanics will choose you for “pressure roles” whether you want them or not. I hate when Rotface gives me the slime, but I still run away when I have it and try to find the safest path to the other slime.

So, back to the point of all this….why do I hate 25s?

1) My computer sucks. For most of the fights I can manage pretty well. The biggest killer for me is Marrowgar. Something about the ice graphic just kills my computer and I can barely move. I get the same issue in UP when Skadi’s drake coats the ground with frost. If I am in the path of coldflame it’s like a slideshow trying to watch me move out of the way.

I have the settings and graphics turned down as low as I can, but that fight is just horrible for me. An unintentionally funny side effect of turning everything down is I don’t see when Rotface does his slime spray, it just looks like he’s dry heaving on us.

2) The biggest thing, though, is asking that all 25 people be on the same page. People need to stand where they are told to stand. People need to move when they are told to move. People need to listen. People need to do their jobs.

Sometimes it’s not easy. Lose focus for a second and we’ve wiped. Stand in the bad shit and you stress the healers, which in turn affects the rest of the raid.

If someone is in my zone I will move. But if the only places I can go are someone else’s zone or so backed-up I can’t even reach the boss anymore, then we have problems. In a 25 man you have to pack more people in the same sized room as a 10 man. I get that it will be more challenging and I can’t even image the stress and frustration the raid leaders feel.

But not doing your job puts stress on the rest of the raid, as well. I still struggle a lot, I don’t need any help making me fail and look bad. I can handle that on my own, thanks. 🙂 I’m not going to call people out and I don’t want them to feel bad. Sometimes you can try your best and just not have it be good enough. And that’s a frustration all of its own.

Angry healer

Posted in heroic with tags , , , , on April 20, 2010 by zarigar

No, this isn’t a post about Tattia. 😛

Most of my WoW time-outside of raids–is spent on Lorethos, noob shadow priest. Zarigar is let out of the cage when it’s raid time, though he got to heal a CoS last night. (Aack!) Before I log out for the night, I usually switch over to my draenei priest and heal at least one heroic.

I actually rather enjoy healing with her; it just can be so frustrating sometimes.

As a relatively new 80, I don’t have the best gear. With that, I don’t have the best stats. My mana pool isn’t very large. I’ve had to be creative in my healing.

Shadowfiend comes out regularly to help me regain mana. (Though we won’t talk about the time I accidentally set him to aggressive and he pulled a group of mobs.) I usually try to drink when there’s a lull between pulls.

And I’ve had to pick and choose sometimes who gets heals.

By that I don’t mean “omg we’re all going to die…all heals to tank…fuck the rest of you!” It’s more like, if you’re being excessively stupid, I just can’t waste my mana pumping heals into you. Every one takes damage, that’s what I’m there for, to keep people alive. And even the best intentioned people sometimes have a lapse in focus and stand in the bad a second longer than they should. That’s fine; I can deal with that.

But, for example, as a priest I have no way to dispel poison. Poison heavy instances like OK make me cry because a lot of the time the only thing I can do is heal through it. If I get a ret pally who cleanses everyone or a dps shaman who drops cleansing totems they are my hero for life. On the flip side, if a ret pally can’t be bothered to cleanse at least himself when he’s poisoned, then that just tells me he doesn’t really want to live.

Maybe when my gear is better and I have more mana I won’t have to make these choices and be so angry. Or maybe not. Anger is the root of all healing…grrrr..

So last night for my random I get Halls of Stone. The tank decided to do a “short run”, which is fine. I still need badges, but it was late and I was ready for sleep. It can be pretty heal intensive will the mobs that random charge people and the mobs that charm and the los pulls and the bosses where people have to be spread out.

Oh yeah and that pesky little Brann encounter. Waves of mobs attack while lazors shoot out of the way and fire rains down on people who somehow don’t seem to notice it.

Good times.

Ok, it is a little exciting to throw off those heals and keep everyone alive. Yay, we won! Woot, some loot that’s going to become a shard. Hey, where’s everyone going? Eh, all right, I’ll talk to Brann then catch up to you.

Hold on, I’m running. Oh you’ve entered combat with a group of mobs. Ok, well hope you’re all still alive when I get there. Ahhhhhhhhh. You pulled a second group. Bitches! Heal heal heal.

Woo…lucky I caught up to you in time. Everyone’s alive. All right. Just let me get some mana and we can start the last boss.

What are you doing? I told you I needed mana.

No, don’t start it, assholes. I have 8% mana.

So, if you are sitting there drinking and the rest of the group starts the last boss, you can get locked out of the room.

This happened to me once before in AN. I said I needed mana before the last boss and they ran in anyway. The funny thing is you can see the party through the webbing that locks you out, they are just considered not in line of sight from you and you can’t directly heal them. I figured out if I throw group heals on myself (circle of healing, prayer of healing) they will pick up some splash heals.

This time, though, that wasn’t an option. I don’t think they even realized they ran in without me. They probably figured it out when they started dying.

By some miracle of Baby Jesus final boss gets taken down with only the pally tank left standing. Door popped open and–oh look–I can roll on all that loot you guys won. One frozen orb and abyss crystal later, I dropped group and was back in Dal.

No, I didn’t rez them. That was probably a dick move. Whatever.

Don’t make your healer angry.

Ding: Part 2

Posted in Achievement with tags , , , , , , on April 15, 2010 by zarigar

I think I should keep a laptop by my bedside. I fell asleep last night with a post halfway written in my head. It was awesome and funny and revolutionary. It would be linked all over the blogosphere. Non-WoW players would read it and be inspired to play.

But then I woke up and forgot it.

So instead you get this.

Days after my holy priest hit 80, my shadow priest finally caught up to her. He might have hit 80 the same day that the others in the alt group did, except he ended up with Halls of Stone as a random and that freaked out the tank, who immediately dropped group. I stayed around for a while, but it was already pretty late so I ended up dropping and saving the big ding for another day.

The next day I queued for a random and got UP. The tank actually dinged 80 a few pulls in; several mobs later, I was also 80. I took a screenshot of it, but now I can’t find it and am too lazy to put more than a moment’s effort into finding it. I know it was on some trash mob, which is a little anti-climactic for the big moment. (“Because of your death, puny vrykul, I am now ultimate!”)

80! You’re a big boy now. You can get frosts and spend those triumph badges that used to yell at you in red text: REQUIRES LEVEL 80.

After that normal UP run, I decided to try my hand at heroic. I still had to go learn my 80 spells, fix up my talents and build, get that last glyph and go through my 80 gear and equip it…but as dps I figured I had time to do all that before I got called.

“Your random instance is ready”

Fuck.

I could accept it and go in half ready or step out and get myself put together first. Being the selfish bastard that I am, I decided to just do it and see how it went. I was already on my way to train, so I was able to buy my spells quickly before the timer ran out. (A good thing about hurriedly buying all those spells is I didn’t have time to cry over how expensive it was to train.)

Gundrak…..yay?

I barely was zoned in when the tank jumped into the first room and pulled every snake mob in it. If I had been on my healer, I would be rocking in the corner sobbing. But, as dps, with all the mobs pulled together plus my AOE mind sear, all I saw was a wall of yellow numbers. Quiver. Now I see why people have to play this game sitting on a towel.

I did die once to a poison blast to the face. My low health pool worked against me and I was dead before I had time to even throw a heal on myself. After that run, I made sure I was properly ready to go before attempting another heroic.

I mentioned in my last post that I see Lorethos as shadow and death and that’s what I am focusing on for him. He does have a dual spec, but I can’t recall the last time I trained it for him or even spend any points for that build. Any healing gear I can pick up for him–I will–and will store them for sometime in the future; but for now this boy is about killing and killing and killing some more.