September 27, 2010

Mixed bag of goodies, er, I mean updates

Posted in Musings, News at 1:58 pm by Aduial of WrA

I think there’s some sort of hidden law that says as soon as Ith and I get into a nice rhythm on a pair of toons one of us has to get bored and want to play a totally different pair. Lately I’ve been really enjoying playing my fire mage (who’s 53 now, and I finally updated the Where to find me page to reflect his new levels as well as others’), while he’s been leveling a second druid who keeps flip-flopping between specs. As of last night he’s now Resto (which I totally saw coming and he didn’t believe me), and we were rocking out dungeons and got a few levels… but in one of them there was a shaman. An enhance shaman. And so it begins!

We’ve had a pair of draenei over on Farstriders sitting unplayed at around 66 for a while now due to several reasons, his was a shaman and mine a paladin, so when he saw this shaman he ended up wanting to play his. As things stood however neither of us particularly wanted to go back to the realm itself, so we planned to transfer them off in a couple days when we could afford it and play them then, but it turned out that wasn’t soon enough for him. Now we’ve ended up with plans to just reroll on Wyrmrest after we each delete a toon (and get him enough badges to have heirlooms, which thankfully won’t take too long with Coren badges), though I’ll be juggling bank guilds around since currently the one I’d be deleting is the bank toon I rarely use anymore who’s also the only toon left in that guild which I want to keep.

I’ve also decided, though, that my reroll will be a warlock, one of the classes I haven’t personally leveled to 80 yet, but fell in love with when I was leveling Ith’s for him back in the day. I really don’t know how well it’ll go… I have a level, eh, 6 I think, warlock on my second account who I never really got into, though I don’t know if that’s because she was an orc or because of being a lowbie warlock or just because I was leveling her alone, so I’ll be finding out. The plan so far is to kill Coren later today then run the one heroic or so he’ll need for badges for the last heirloom, then figure out a new situation with the banks, delete toons and be playing before the day’s over.

As far as my goal to find a way to enjoy Brewfest this year goes, so far I seem to have been successful. I’ve been doing Coren daily on Mani and Adu, and doing the other dailies on Adu and Ruvi both. I really want Brewmaster on Adu, and started to get it on Mani but it really just didn’t… fit with her, so I’ve just been going for the frosties. Unfortunately, the mount hasn’t dropped for Adu… but it dropped the very first time on Mani. To say it was frustrating would be an understatement. I’ve also been doing as much of the Brewmaster stuff on Ruvi as I can, considering he isn’t the right level to do a lot of it. I wasn’t even sure why, really, since I knew he wouldn’t get it until next year, but then I looked at the Brewfest outfits on him, and… I found I really wanted Ruvi in a dress. A rather odd urge, I suppose, but something I really did want. And so I got it. And it was awesome. (Screenshot coming at a later date since I didn’t think to get one before!)

Speaking of Ruvi, I’ve been asked no less than twice now, basically, how to fire mage from two other fire mages. I’ve never really been asked any questions like this before… possibly because Ith usually ended up getting them… and maybe it’s not terribly out of place when someone’s usually top DPS by a mile, not uncommonly almost twice as much DPS as the next highest, but it’s surprised me both times. I’ve never really thought of myself as a good player, and in most cases I’m really not, but for some reason everything just seems to… to click, on Ruvi, I guess. I’m loving him so much and seem to be good enough at him, I’m actually seriously contemplating him being my main in Cata if things aren’t too off (I haven’t looked at anything regarding Mages in Cataclysm… or regarding any class I think I might play, really; I’m one of those weird folks who would rather be surprised and try to figure out what all’s changed on my own than be told, I suppose). Anyway, after the first time I started thinking about maybe just writing a post about it in more detail, and have had that in my mind since, and last night (when I was asked the second time) I figured I must be doing something right enough that maybe it’s really not such a bad idea, if for nothing else to maybe be able to point to the post in favor of typing it all out every time (well, assuming I”m asked again, at least)… So I’ll be working on writing that up soon and hopefully have it posted by the end of the day or perhaps tomorrow.

Oh, and since I almost completely forgot to mention this… I’ll likely be updating the little Armory feeds to the right soon, since there will be new toons to list on US. I think I’m at four at the moment though with one I’ve been playing not on there (my priest, actually) so with her and the new warlock, unless I can figure out someone to remove I may end up with two US armory feeds, since it’s capped at five characters per feed (Gah, am I really playing more than five toons? No wonder so many of my RSS feeds and not-terribly-important emails have been getting backed up…). I also may be temporarily removing the EU feed; that account is currently out of time (again) since the money I’d set aside to pay for it went to vet bills when Sindragosa (no, not the dragon, my youngest cat who Ith helped name) got sick and needed antibiotics, and I’m unfortunately not quite sure when I’ll be able to start it back up.

September 3, 2010

From Gamer to Art Enthusiast

Posted in Musings, The Player Behind the Toon at 1:59 pm by Aduial of WrA

I have a bit of a confession to make, though some astute readers may have already guessed it.  I am, honestly, really not much of a gamer. It’s a realization that’s only came in fairly recent years which, looking back at my childhood, both makes sense and baffles me to no end.

When I was really young, quite a few of my mother’s friends had game systems for their children, and did their best to get a lot of the new and hot games for their kids, and so I was lucky enough to play these. Especially when a lot of these friends my mother ended up going back to college with; she’d go over to study and the kids (including me) would just play games for however many hours we were there. On some of the ones that were for one player only, several of the kids were nice enough to let me play while I was there, since they could play at other times, and it usually didn’t take long for me to top their best scores. Back then I did sort of consider myself a gamer.

However, by the age of ten, these trips over to my mother’s friends’ houses had long since stopped, and the only video game I had access to was an old Mario game that ran on the old computer we had at the time, and even then I wasn’t allowed much time to play it. At that age I never realized how fast the gaming world moved, so while I didn’t have access to games as readily anymore, I still considered myself a gamer.

I got my first little gaming system of my own, as much as it was one, for Christmas one year a bit after that, though I can’t remember the date of it to save my life. It was a purple, somewhat transparent Gameboy Color, and I was given an old Atari game to play on it (though it was obviously remade for the Gameboy). A couple months after that I bought a Pokemon Gold game from one of the used game shops in town, and that’s what I played most, though I only ever ended up with maybe half a dozen games for it (A solitaire suite, Monopoly, Pinball, and 101 Dalmatians being the only other ones I ever remember having for it). I also ended up hiding the fact that I had these sort of things at all about this point, at least around most other people, because at that time where I live “girls just didn’t play games,” it “wasn’t right.”

Later on I ended up getting a Gameboy Advance and a Nintendo DS, only a few months after the former came out and actually during the hype on the latter, though I had less games for the GBA and even less (only 2) for the DS. I still mostly hid the fact I was a GBA owner/player, and only a couple people knew of the second game I had for the DS since it was an RPG, though many more knew I had Nintendogs since that was apparently ‘okay’ for a girl to play. Despite all that my view of myself as a gamer was never really shaken, though I suppose it probably should’ve been.

The closest I’ve gotten to owning any system like the Playstation or Xbox or such myself was maybe about 5 years back, when my mother’s live-in boyfriend let his sons bring theirs over, and I’d occasionally get to play on it. I found I actually had a fondness for the Halo game they had, though of course when they left the picture, so did their games. And so I went back to just my DS and the newer computer we had acquired, and the internet games I played on it (mostly things like Collapse, Zuma, and Bejeweled). At that point I was fairly oblivious to most computer games existing beyond the ones on the internet; I’d only vaguely heard of things like World of Warcraft and other MMOs, and even if they’d caught my eye my mother had already pre-banned most things fantasy (as she had Dungeons and Dragons when it first appealed to me) because she was Christian and believed they “opened doors” as she said.

About three years ago I met Esgal through a forum RP we were both participating in, based on a web novel. Our characters developed a fondness for each other, and because of that he and I ended up talking more, at first about our characters and the RP, but before long we ended up getting to know each other aside from all that, and hit it off. When the RP died, we ended up looking for other things we could do together, and ended up looking at computer games. At that time I was running on a computer that had excruciatingly little RAM, so pretty much all the games we looked at, I wouldn’t be able to play. For a while the idea ended up getting basically put on hold, though he was fond of the idea, and kept trying to push me towards World of Warcraft. I remembered my mother expressing distaste for it whenever commercials for it or such came up, so I was hesitant; beyond that, it honestly didn’t much appeal to me. He’d link me to the website and try to get me to read and get into it, but all the details just ended up confusing me more, which of course put me off further.

He ended up coming into a bit of a windfall after a few months and decided to get me a computer, so we found a very good bargain, and he bought it for me. Once it arrived we started looking into games again, though I was still rather against World of Warcraft. I can’t even remember what all we looked at, but we ended up settling on Dream of Mirror Online, which was a F2P game (since I was also of the mindset that games should be free, or at least one-time costs, not one-time costs plus a large monthly fee). It ended up not working so well on his computer and I ended up playing alone much more often than not, so after a while we were looking again. I can’t even remember how long it was before he made the comment, but he was talking about WoW again and commented about how well it looked, even for how old it was… Said something about how every blade of grass was painstakingly put in, about climbing the highest mountain just for the view.

And so, he sold me. I agreed to play. I still wasn’t fond of the idea of paying a monthly fee, however, much less considering how little money I had at the time, so he said he’d pay, and he did for almost a year. I loved the game, and there’s still a lot of times I’ll just randomly stop to look at the beauty that is Azeroth, remembering the comment that got me into it to begin with, and within a few months we already knew I’d be wanting the upcoming expansion (which was Wrath of the Lich King), too, which seemed to just tickle him pink. He ended up pre-ordering the Collector’s Edition for me as a birthday present, since it was released on my birthday, rather than just the regular edition; mostly for the pet, since pets were one of the aspects I enjoyed most about the game. December of that year, though, both of our time had run out, I was broke, and he was moving so he was broke, too, and we stopped playing. We also had a rather large fallout and didn’t talk to each other for months.

After about a month I managed to save and scrape up enough to pay for a gametime card, put it on the account, logged in, and… Found out my guild no longer existed. I’d received an email a few days before saying someone in the guild requested to be made guild leader, since I’d been absent, so that they could recruit and further the guild in my place, though it didn’t say who, and there wasn’t anything I could do about it since at that time I didn’t have enough. But when I logged in, the guild was gone, and no one knew what had happened–Esgal didn’t even know, still had no time on his account, and the two other people who were closest to officer without being one didn’t know. Neither did the two other members, though since one hadn’t played in longer than I had that didn’t surprise me. To this day we don’t know what happened, best we can tell someone we’d recruited saw it as an opportunity and took it, along with the several thousands of gold worth of items I’d collected and put into the guild bank to help us, or to be sold when the guild needed cash. This made me ill, and I logged off and didn’t come back. After something like that, even the thought of playing again brought back queasiness, and I didn’t expect I’d ever return to WoW.

But then just shy of a couple months later my sister of sorts decided to roll up a death knight with a mutual friend on a new server to spend the rest of her game time, and I went ‘what the heck’ and rolled up one, too, since I had about 2 days left on the time I’d bought before. And so, we played, and I fell in love with the new server and WoW all over again, so detached from the other realm and what had happened on it. I ended up buying more game time, rolling an actual character, and starting out on my own. After a while Esgal and I started talking again, only to find out that somehow he’d managed to roll a toon on that very same realm, and so we played again.

Eventually I started noticing a lot more talk about other games. I’m not sure if it was a bit of a new thing, or if I’d just had my head buried in the sand before, or what… But questions of “what other games do you play?” or “have you ever played X?” were growing common. And for the first time, it hit me–whatever kind of gamer I may have been growing up, I wasn’t that anymore. I’d played a grand total of two MMOs, and one of them wasn’t even well known. The others didn’t (and still, for the most part, don’t) interest me. In all that time I’d been without many games, the gaming world had moved on. While I was still playing Mario, others were playing things like Everquest.

Several months back, I’d gone in and set my account up to be eligible for beta invitations, though I’d selected only Warcraft games. Somehow, I ended up with an invitation to Starcraft II. I’d only vaguely heard of Starcraft, and only knew (at least, that I knew of) one person who liked/played it. I asked him what it was about, what it was like, etc, and his answers didn’t really appeal to me, so I decided not to play. He’d begged me to give him the key, and I explained it wasn’t actually a key but was tied to my battle.net account and that I couldn’t, and so the invitation sat unused. Of course, after it was pretty much out of beta I found out Esgal and Silveran both were into it (and really looking forward to playing it when it released) and when it was mentioned I was griped at for not just giving one of them the info so they could download/play, but at that point there was little I could do even if I would’ve.

But after the SCII hype, and my complete and total lack of interest in it, Esgal’s made several comments, at least to Silv, in a presumably joking manner, about “how are we friends with her again?” This is, of course, an even more noticeable slap of realization of how I’m really, really not a gamer anymore. In fact, after all this time there’s only really one other game that’s caught my attention, being Final Fantasy XIV. Even then, I haven’t looked terribly much into the gameplay. I know there’s an open beta, since Silv and Esgal have talked to me about it, but I don’t plan to bother getting in. I’ll get the game when it comes out, but not for the gameplay… If I enjoy the gameplay, that’ll be an awesome bonus, but that’s not why it appeals to me. Why does it appeal to me? Much the same reason WoW did. The art.

I’m not trying or even intending to start up one of those arguments about games as art, or anything, but it’s definitely something to think about, I think. I love a lot of things about WoW, and it can be truly engaging, but the reason I started playing, one of the huge reasons I still play, is because of how absolutely beautiful it can be. When I don’t care about the art, or about talking to people, more often than not I don’t bother signing in; I’ve got a Funpass on Gamehouse so I just load up one of the games from there to pass the time. The RPG I had on my DS, while I enjoyed the gameplay, had gorgeous art, which is a large reason why I got it. I’m sure there’ll be more good things about FFXIV than the art, but all of those will be supplemental for me.

Are any of you like that? Do you ever pick up a game just because of the art, the way it looks? How important is a game’s looks to you, or does that not even matter? Would you ever play a game that has gorgeous art, but average or below average gameplay? Do you think anyone who plays games just for the art is wrong, and that they should play for other reasons instead, or is it fairly normal? How detailed does the game’s appearance have to be for you to call it art?

August 23, 2010

“If you want to make an easy job seem mighty hard, just keep putting off doing it.”

Posted in Musings, Tales from PUGland, The Player Behind the Toon at 8:33 pm by Aduial of WrA

Gah, okay, one day I really will learn to stop making drafts and just post. Eventually. This is the culmination of around two days’ kicking my own rear into gear, so hopefully this will be the last time I go off the radar for a while (at least unexpectedly).

Since my last post I have been playing solely on US servers again, and my baby warrior and her priesty partner are now in their forties, which is good… except that we’re in Maraudon’s Pristine Waters range so the dungeon finder tool keeps dropping us in there, and for whatever reason it just seems like the levels wouldn’t come anymore. So after a bit of a, err, masochistic trial on my part we decided to give those two a break to let them get some rested XP stacked up while we play new toons. Well, sort of new.

I’ve had a low level mage for a while now, and despite normally wanting to fill either a tanking or healing role I actually, so far… enjoy him. He’d originally been part of a group of four: Esgal had rerolled a paladin, Ithraen rerolled rogue, as did Kyrem, and I’d rerolled the mage, and we’d planned to get through the starting areas on our own then level the four together. Well… that didn’t work, and I was pretty much the only one to continue leveling (I also seemed to be the faster leveler of the group, for whatever reason). He was level fourteen when I shelfed him, originally to let the others catch up, though they all stayed around level 10 at most.

So a few nights ago, after some complications, I ended up wanting to play by myself and just sort of… let off steam, I guess. I actually don’t really enjoy my eighties anymore, so I didn’t consider them options, so I looked down my character list. I’d completely forgotten about the little cowgirl I’d rolled on another realm for this purpose… and ended up choosing Uruvion, my mage. His professions are herbalism and inscription, and is actually the only toon I have on WrA (at least on this account) that has those, so I was leveling them a bit, ended up going out to a spot in Eversong and farming Bloodthistle for a couple hours while killing any of the mobs I aggro’d. Before long I ended up hitting level 15, and decided, what the heck, I want to dungeon on this guy.

So I went to Silvermoon, made sure my bags were empty of any excess, got myself all buffed up, made sure I had enough food and water conjured, sat beside the trainer, and dropped myself into LFD.

And there I sat. For over two hours. Needing only a tank.

This of course came as a bit of a shock to me. I’d heard DPS queues were bad, sure… but I was used to chaining instances on a tank/healer combo, and actually any of my pairs with Ithraen usually have a tank, or at least a healer, so I can’t remember the last time (if ever) that I had to wait this long. Well, except that one time on my alli-pally where we waited just shy of three hours for a DPS, but I’d been lucky to get a talkative group and we had fun nonetheless.

I also couldn’t help but remember all the times on Cele that we’d get an instant queue, only for it to time out because one of the DPS didn’t respond. It had aggravated me a touch so I didn’t want to do that on Ruvi, much less did I want to have to sit through a long queue again because I missed it popping… So I didn’t even dare get too far from my computer.

During this time, as I think most people would end up, my perspective changed. A lot. And it continued changing throughout the night.

A little after two hours (rebuffing every thirty minutes on the dot, too), it finally popped, and in I went. Trying my best to be a good little mage, I offered food or water, which no one wanted, and off we went. And I’m casting, and then the mob’s dead. And I notice the tank is… a 21 paladin. Which, I guess, makes sense, since paladins don’t even get consecrate until level 20, so I didn’t think much of it all things considered. At least we had a tank. I also didn’t get much practice on how to play a mage.

End of the run, everyone drops, I plunk back in, and a half hour wait was so much more tolerable. Second group, different paladin ‘tank,’ this one level 15 (so didn’t even have a taunt), and a level 16 retadin who ended up tanking more often than not. Well, aside from the massive groups I’d end up tanking because I can’t stand to see healers be hit, and I seemed to be the only one capable of holding aggro on more than one mob. Even when I was just wanding.

I ended up getting that same ‘tank’ the rest of the night, for several runs, even when we didn’t queue together (though hey, at that point I was thinking any tank was better than none, so we did end up queuing as a group quite often). That night I also watched the morals I had as a tank slowly disappear. Towards the end we had a steady group, aside from revolving door healers.

There was the paladin tank who couldn’t, but darned if he didn’t try (and I do respect his trying). There was the shaman who was average, though didn’t seem to speak English as a first language, but took the time to get quests to share with us. Then there was the warrior, who would charge in before the tank, heck, often times before we were done with the last group, never bothered to thunderclap so he just ended up usually making things harder (but the poor tank did his best regardless to take aggro back, bless him), who needed on just about anything that dropped. Unfortunately even the tank ended up needing seemingly randomly after a while.

Had I been on my tank, I wouldn’t have stood for that, of course. As I said, as a tank I have morals. Ninjas are bad. DPS should wait for the tank to pull. People who purposefully pull just to be a dick gets to tank what they pull, usually without heals. But on my mage? Hey, we had a tank! Things are dieing, I’m getting experience, and I’m not needing any of the things dropping, so why worry? I ended up not caring. At first when I pulled aggro on accident, I’d apologize. By the end of the night when there was an AOE pull, I’d start it off just to make sure I had aggro and the healer didn’t. If I pulled from the tank, oh well.

The next time I played Cele, the morals were back… for the most part. I did find I was a lot more lenient than I usually was. I found myself not caring when others pulled for me, for example, unless it ended up almost wiping us (or actually wiping us), but then I’d just say something about it in a joking manner. I didn’t actually tell the DPS not to. The spine I’d worked long and hard to develop as a tank was suddenly very, very flexible, and I was more stressed than normal.

I wish I’d thought to ask then how the runs were going for the DPS. I couldn’t tell if there was any more or less stress on Veive, well, aside from a couple total asshats we ended up getting. I’d been tolerant to them, too–after all, who knows how long they’d been stuck in the queue? That kind of queue could make a lot of people feel like being jerks. The last run we did before temporarily shelving those two, though, we ended up with a particularly bad one who made me wonder if perhaps having a, er, flexible spine is a bad thing.

We were in Mara, purple crystals, which was on the low side for Veive and I, so it wasn’t terribly difficult. Things were going well for a while, perhaps about half the dungeon. The warlock was Rain of Fire’ing, and Veive made an off-hand comment, “Man.. Raid of Fire looks so lame now…” The warlock shoots something back that seemed to be joking, Veive jokes back, the warlock goes off. He apparently had not been joking. He’s saying Veive was dissing the class, he’s immature for doing so, that he’s… well, many expletives I shan’t repeat here. Now, knowing Veive, it hadn’t been meant as anything like that, and I say so. I also mention that I doubt he’s dissing a class that he has played all the way to 80 and loved. I’m thinking he either meant compared to some Shadow spells (since he’d recently dual-specced Shadow), or perhaps just because the novelty wore off from the first time he Rain of Fired.

But no, the warlock would have none of it, and kept berating Veive. And Veive, being who he is, delighted in such and kept, well, poking the warlock. Veive, well, he likes to poke idiots, to paraphrase him, it’s almost like picking at scabs for him, I suppose, and normally I would’ve let him without paying much attention, but this warlock reminded me a bit too much of someone I used to know, so it was getting to me, and a couple pulls later I halt the group and manage to talk them both into stopping. And so we continue, without further incident, until the last boss. We down him, and then… as if the warlock had typed it already in preparation… came one last, long paragraph of cursing Veive, berating him, generally being a prick, and he dropped. Veive apologizes that the other DPS (who had been mostly silent) had to put up with that, and they actually sort of cheered that the warlock was gone, and tell Veive he wasn’t a problem at all, just that the warlock was.

Silent runs aren’t uncommon, and I know I’m not the first to comment on that. Veive and I are used to being the only ones talking in party, with the others either ignoring us or just choosing not to talk themselves. Would those two DPS have stayed silent if not for the warlock? I don’t know, but I didn’t think much of their silence at the time until the end, when they, well, weren’t silent anymore. Before my experience with Ruvi, I probably would’ve kicked the warlock when things started getting out of hand instead of just trying to get them to chill out so we could finish the run. And it seemed the other DPS would’ve rather I had… So perhaps, for all the griping about tanks doing this or that… Perhaps, just perhaps, it is necessary for a better environment afterall.

As for dipping my toes into the solo-DPS gig, I’m done with that for a while. Uruvion will no longer be one of my solo toons; I’ll be leveling him while Cele gets some rested XP, and Ithraen’s rolled a little cow druid who’ll be my pocket tank while Veive gets some rested XP. Well, he’ll be my pocket tank after he gets himself to 20, at least, since he doesn’t want to tank before then (and I went ahead and got Ruvi to 20 to be even with him when we start).

Now, to just stop procrastinating where my EU account is concerned and stop worrying about how long I’ve been offline and just get my butt back on…

Edit: Of course, in my dallying, I’ve ended up running out of time on my EU account. /facepalm.

July 19, 2010

Why, euro-blizz, why do you hate me so

Posted in Guild things, Musings, Tattered Legends, The Player Behind the Toon at 5:02 pm by Aduial of WrA

As a bit of a, er, preamble I suppose, I’ve been tempted about having two WoW accounts for a good couple of years now; and I don’t just mean two US ones, since I do have that already though one’s frozen since I didn’t play it much at the time, but a US one and an EU one. I’ve had many friends over on the EU servers, one of which especially who tried to get me to play over there so that I could play with him, but at the time we didn’t figure my computer/internet could handle the latency (since I am located in the US), so instead he ended up getting a US client and US copies of the game. I’ve been tempted several times since, especially because of the SAN over there since several of my favorite bloggers are in the EU, and because I finally had a bit of downtime today (yay insomnia?) and have a computer/internet connection that should be capable of it… I somehow ended up over on the EU site, creating an account, and downloading the trial.

I’d planned to see just what kind of latency I’d be looking at exactly before making any further plans, much less, you know, spending money on something I might not even be able to use. Well, apparently the trial version streams the data needed live, or something, so there’s a lot more, ah, stress on it than on a full client? I’m not entirely sure since those messages sort of, well, confused me a bit… but I ended up getting DC’d a few times and having general problems with logging in, but I finally managed that, then finally managed to make a character before it DC’d me, named her and whatnot, finally got into the game…

Level 1 went… fairly smoothly, actually. I’d made a warrior, pretty much a mini-Kas, fitting since she was my second character and the name of my first was taken (/cry). The lag was surprisingly minimal, I had good FPS, and my latency was actually lower than on WrA. Not sure how that happened, but eh, I wasn’t complaining. Was actually starting to think I might just use the EU account as a way to sort of wind down  instead of Bejeweled or Chuzzle or Solitaire like I currently do, and that I might actually play it enough to make it worth paying for.

And… Ding, level 2!

Wait, disconnected? Bah.

I put in my information again and hit login, and… What? I’m banned? What the hell for?!

I couldn’t think of a single thing that could ban me that I could find, though maybe I’m just blind or so out of it that I just missed it, but I don’t know. I was on the EU client it gave me, my information was accurate, I didn’t even have any addons or the like, I’d not said a single word or done anything that would get me banned, unless just… playing from the US is a bannable offense, all of a sudden? Though I can’t imagine it would be since I know of many others that do it, did a few searches and couldn’t find anything aside from forum posts that were just ‘how to’s,’ and apparently some people had even called Billing Support to be able to pay but had no other problems, much less a ban for it.

I supposedly have an email in my inbox stating why I was banned. I did not, and I do not. I went to the link I was supposed to and to the form from there that I was directed to if I didn’t get such an email, but, of course!, it required a CD key to inquire properly. Now, why would I have a CD key when not an hour earlier I’d just created the account to try it?

I ended up selecting “other” and described the situation in the space provided, and, fingers-crossed, that will do the trick. Maybe it was just an accident or something and everything will be cleared up soon, maybe I did scan over something crucial, I don’t know but I’m hoping to find out soon (assuming the next email doesn’t get lost somewhere, too, at least…).

As for Tattered Legends, no I haven’t quit there, or anything. Though I’ll admit I’ve been slacking a bit due to real life issues not giving me much time at all to even login or touch the computer most days until yesterday. However I’m back on, spent a good chunk of time on there last night, likely will again tonight and (hopefully) start getting things going again. Though there’s still the problem of the missing raid leader/main tank, unfortunately, even though he seems to be home again, just… out of touch, or something. Heck if I know, hardly anyone’s heard from him in days, and we may end up needing to get a replacement at this rate, but for now we’re working on getting the group geared and one of my officers is pushing for us to progress starting through Naxx instead of Uld as planned, and he’ll be leading that, so we’ll cross that hurdle when we come to it seeing as we have a couple tanks capable of tanking Naxx at least.

I just hope we’re not still in Naxx come Cataclysm, since trying to “progress” through Naxx is one of the things that seemed to do us in last go around, but at this point it’s either give in or lose my last raid leader and one of our main raid healers/our only priest… And I’m not sure which would be the worst way to kill TL.

Edit: Still no email from Euro-Blizz (what, was I expecting them to be quick about it? silly me), so I found something to do in the mean time. Sort of. I hadn’t been aware that I can have both EU and US accounts on the same, well, account. At least, the same battle.net account. So I read through everything all over again more thoroughly this time before adding a EU trial to my current account, should be in the clear… And after fighting with the installer for around 30 minutes, got that going, I’ve now technically got both (full!) clients installed, though the first of the patches for EU is at, uh.. *looks* 11%. …That could take a while. Starting to think this could be a perfect time to get around to reading one of my new…ish… books I picked up but haven’t had a chance to read yet.

July 4, 2010

A partial week in the life

Posted in Guild things, Musings, Tattered Legends, The Player Behind the Toon at 7:49 am by Aduial of WrA

So this week was supposed to be the big come-back week for TL and all, but things have… Deeefinitely not gone as planned. For many reasons. Here’s a glimpse of why:

Sunday – Find out Ithraen, who is our raid leader, will be taking a sudden trip to New York in about 3 days. For a week. May or may not have internet access, though it seemed likely that he would.

Monday – Our raid assist is hacked. Almost everything is now missing from Tattered Legend’s guild bank, though thankfully our secondary bank was spared. Unfortunately all our feasts, flasks, etc are now gone. Put on hold the heroics spamming we were doing to help gear people up to do damage control.

Tuesday – Our raid assist gets his account back though things are still missing, and he doesn’t have enough gear to go. We start an ‘action plan’ that would have him geared enough to raid with us by raid time, only for Ithraen to bail for personal reasons, which left us with little option for gearing him in time. Queue about two hours of personal freaking out because for that time his hunter was the only person with the key to Malygos (who was the weekly). Not long before raid time I find out our main healer also has a key–yay, the raid is saved. Except then everyone’s late. Aaand we can’t down the boss. Queue discussions, and canceling of this week’s Ulduar runs in favor of heroic runs instead.

Wednesday – I end up spending a good chunk of the day offline, but make a point before getting on to start making “to do” lists again so that I can (hopefully) be more organized. Things start getting checked off exceedingly slowly (for example, I had planned a post for like.. Thursday at most). Get on and… heroics don’t happen.

Thursday & Friday – Again, spend most of these two days offline dealing with things in real life. By the time I got home Friday I also took time out of my schedule to start clearing out some of my heavily backlogged emails (up to about 2,000 unread since I have a bad habit of reading just the most important ones and leaving the rest to deal with “later”… and of course, later never comes). I’d subscribed myself some time in the past, little more than a year ago, actually, to several WoW email lists, mainly pertaining to different ways to get gold. Most of these have stopped giving tips and started “Oh, you need this guide, or that one, hey there’s a sale on this one!” and I usually just ignore them, but… I ended up clicking the link on one that gave away a free sort of ‘mini-guide’, which I ended up downloading, and… it actually gave good tips, including one that I’d discovered for myself about a month into Wrath and had never seen posted anywhere, as well as a tip pertaining only to RP servers, which I also never see. And since this one was on “sale” (I never believe they’re really on sale or going to hack the prices up since I’ve seen these falsely so many other times, but it was still a good..ish… price), I went ahead and bit the bullet, and got it. Of course, the money-back guarantee if I don’t so much as like the font helps. Start redownloading a couple recommended addons that I’d fallen out of using but used to have, as well as a new one that I’d only skimmed over before and had missed the utility in it, and trying to configure them and start scanning as well as read more of the guide. This ends up taking up most of my night.

Saturday – I had many things scheduled in reality as well as there was supposed to be Naxx at 4pm server, and ended up getting an.. extremely.. late start. I’d had alarms set to alert me when I needed to be on to start getting ready for Naxx (starting at 1 hour and 15 minutes before the start time) and they all failed me. Miserably so. Again. And so I didn’t get on until 2 hours after Naxx was supposed to start, to find out… Our raid leader who is now in New York but had promised to be able to make Naxx at least if at all possible had not even shown up, and hadn’t bothered to sign in for 3 days. So, of course, Naxx never happened. We’d also planned to sort of ‘test’ everyone in Naxx to see if we were up to Uld or maybe take another stab at Maly on Sunday, however that… doesn’t look like it’s happening, given that we didn’t do Naxx.

So now it’s Sunday and it doesn’t look good for getting a raid in tonight or… possibly even much going next week, at this rate, beyond possibly heroics which I am hoping for at the least. Thankfully, we’re working with an extremely patient group who are seemingly just happy for the learning environment and the chance, so it doesn’t look like I’ll be getting the flak there like I’d expected, though that doesn’t stop me from beating myself up over failing them, or my guild. And regardless of whether anyone else views it as a failure, not being able to pull everything together seemingly perfectly (and, oh, I do know that will never happen, but I know it can look that way to people who don’t know what goes into it and such), not being able to at least get us raiding somehow, or get something organized going without falling through the floor… I view that as a failure on my part.

Maybe I’m just impatient and wanting things to go perfectly from the get-go, or something. I know we have a lot of potential here despite being completely displeased with how things are going and at what rate (though I was one of the first during Maly to point out we were making significant progress with each attempt, and to an extent that was good enough for me), and maybe I should just relax and not rush things. I don’t know. Maybe I just worry and stress too much, as a very good friend of mine who I’ve been sort of venting to and bouncing ideas off of is quick to say, and that very much may be true… and I very likely should start listening to him more rather than being bullheaded and stubborn and trying to do everything myself and make it perfect. I know I’ve got a lot of friends here who would do anything they could for the guild and I just write it off sometimes and try to do it myself, and I stress when I can’t be on like I want to, or think I need to, to do X or restock Y or talk to Z about N, even though real life should take priority and does over it. Or maybe this is all normal and I just need to ride it out.

Anyone else gone through any of this, or anything similar? Any thoughts, suggestions, comments… criticism, help? I know I’m not the best at this job, but I want to do right by my guild, and I know I don’t give the most details here, but… I think I could definitely use a bit of structuring to fit this role.

May 8, 2010

Getting back into the swing of things isn’t as easy as it seems

Posted in Musings, Uncategorized at 5:55 pm by Aduial of WrA

I ended up taking an unexpected break from WoW lately, bit more than a week, due to a death in my immediate family, and found myself online on my paladin last night (I’d been on my hunter off and on doing some of the children’s week stuff as a distraction but since that guild’s taking a pre-Cataclysm break there wasn’t much interaction). My plan originally was to check on my auctions, repost whatever was expired if anything, then knock out some Children’s Week stuff on her, but… Well. Surprise, surprise, there was a whopping 30 people online, a few of which made a point to sort of welcome me back in guild chat when they saw me log on (even though most of them were busy in ICC).

So I’m talking a bit and within a couple minutes, one of the guildies asked if there was a tank that wanted to do heroics and maybe a DPS, since that was all was needed in their group, and the person asking was also healing, and I’d ran with him before and he was decent enough… And I figured I could use the practice to get back into the swing of things, and what better way to practice than with guildies who’d understand? So like a fish who spotted an appetizing, wriggling worm, I took the bait.

The fifth DPS we grabbed had planned to tank had I not been willing, since that was his preferred and usual role, and I briefly considered letting him until I realized… Doh, my other spec is Holy. How is something so rare so… not-rare? And so the warrior stayed as DPS and I as tank, and we queued up, and it plunked us into Utgarde Pinnacle. Last time I’d been there on Mani, it’d been a breeze… Last time the guildy who was healing had healed me, it was a breeze. So I guess maybe I expected things to be a breeze again because of that but… Oh, wow did I need practice.

First pull goes okay, though I didn’t bother grabbing the abomination… Second pull, starts okay, then.. Out of nowhere, there’s the abomination off to the side of that group, and I feck up my first taunt, and it’s wailing away on the warrior, and I’m scrambling to remember which button is my other taunt, and… Well, finally I grab the abomination, but had lost aggro on another mob, which was wailing on the healer, and I feck up Hand of Reckoning again and my other taunt’s still on CD, so I run at it, end up with my back to the other three mobs which just wouldn’t die…

Thankfully our healer was good and we survived, because I sucked. And unfortunately, a lot of the pulls were that bad… or worse. I either knew what I was supposed to do but couldn’t hit the buttons well enough or I just plain blanked and my fingers failed. I hadn’t had so much trouble since I was in there on my warrior in less gear, who was shy of the def cap at the time, too. Healer kept everyone alive except for the warrior who died to Skadi’s whirlwind because he was somehow hamstringed and couldn’t get out of the way, at least, but… I don’t think I’d ever felt so horrible as a tank.

As soon as the last boss was out cold on the floor in a pool of his own, someone had mentioned the warrior was wanting to tank… I’m not sure if they were just trying to make sure he got a chance to do what he wanted to do as well, or if I really sucked that badly to them, or not, but if it was the latter, I can’t say I blamed them. I bowed out pretty quickly and kind of sat in Silvermoon replaying the fights over in my head… I knew exactly where I screwed up, when, what I should have done better… Even when at the time I’d known, I just couldn’t do it. By the time they were asking in guild for either a healer or DPS, I’d decided it best if I just got off Mani and switched over to my DK.

Things were easier on her, though I didn’t dungeon, just quested a bit, even single-handedly took back the towers in Zangarmarsh, but things still didn’t feel quite… right. Maybe my failure on Mani was still weighing a bit too heavily on my mind, maybe I was just trying too soon, I dunno. So many possibilities, but I got about 10% of a level on her and just opted to log off WoW in favor of reading a few things that’ve been lingering around in my browser for a while.

Can’t say if I’ll be any better tonight but I intend to try, though I’m wary of pushing myself too much for the sake of my ‘responsibilities’… Magey-friend finally got an ICC10 raid of his own to lead and is wanting me to be one of the core members, and I know that’s weighing heavily on my mind, as well as my paladin’s utter lack of gear for something like that. He’s ambitious as always which has always been good, but that means if I let myself I’ll burn myself out again to try to help, and I’m still trying my best to prevent doing that again. However I’m starting to wonder if my steps back to prevent that are instead keeping me from enjoying WoW much at all anymore…

I have to wonder, how much responsibility in a game is actually… healthy? Too many responsibilities that keep you on the game too much can easily lead to burn out or having no life away from the game, at least from my experience, but I’ve been getting rid of them in my attempts to step back, which seems to have removed a lot of the things keeping me in the game anymore. I assume some sort of balance could work best, but.. What is that balance, and is it different for everyone? Where is that fine line between not enough responsibilities to care, and so many there’s no offline time?

March 26, 2010

It’s a bright new day (and guild)

Posted in Musings at 2:57 pm by Aduial of WrA

Now that my morning has been made by not only my favorite blogger ever commenting on one of my posts (and being my first commenter) but by linking to here in one of his own, I figure it’s a good time to post a wee bit of a follow-up to my post in question.

When Tattered Legends started falling apart, two of my officers, tree-friend and magey-friend, took their mains to one of the newer “upcoming” raiding guilds that showed promise. Not long after, one of magey-friend’s friends, and one that we’d pulled into our raids at times, had started trying to form a solid, 10-man raid group out of some of the servers’ best small-guild and/or PUG raiders (or at least so it seemed from the information that was relayed to me). Magey-friend mentioned she would love to have me and the guy, thing is we were burnt on our mains, and at least for me, burnt in raiding altogether.

Well, not that long ago, some, ah, interpersonal drama happened in the ‘upcoming’ raid guild and my former officers left, only to join the guild of magey-friend’s friend who was setting up the raid group, who apparently opened guild doors and I either didn’t know it or hadn’t paid attention (I’m not sure they were ever really closed, actually…). Now, perhaps conveniently, while the guy and I had spent a bit of time away on another realm, we’d ended up coming back because he missed playing his warlock. The four of us have our own channel in game due to all of us having had alts, which weren’t promoted to a status capable of using Officer chat… and to this day we’ve kept using it to talk to each other. Well, magey-friend joined the guild first and was talking to tree-friend about it while the guy and I were on, and well. It appealed to us, so we ended up joining, afterall.

So far it’s been wonderful, and seems to be mostly if not wholly comprised of Person Bs, though the guy and I joined on toons that aren’t 80 yet so haven’t had a chance to raid with the guild as a whole. However, I have to say, my first impression: homygawd that’s a lot of people. Tattered Legends at its peak had around 100 toons, on ~56 accounts. This guild has over 240 members, over 100 accounts, apparently all of which are active (accounts, not necessarily each toon).

One of the first things magey-friend really said about the guild’s quality, social-wise, so far has proven true: It’s a lot like what we all wanted Tattered Legends to be. Even with that many people, just hanging around in guild chat has been a wonderful experience. Which is good since WoW has sort of become some chatting network for me throughout a lot of the day, since I’m one of those weird stay-at-home people (not to be confused with the people living in their basements without a job), and tend to load it up fairly early in the morning and keep it mostly in the background as I go about my day. There’s no huge pressure to level up aside from personal and the occasional friend wanting a friend to catch up to them, and overall everyone’s very laid back. There seems to be at least one raid of some sort every night, with the official guild raids happening once a week, lead by a friend of mine who ended up leading some of Tattered Legend’s raids who they somehow managed to snag (which is epically awesome). In fact most of the people we ended up relying on to fill our PUGed spots from our friends lists that are still playing are here, which is really nice. Magey-friend reports they’re able to one-shot everything up to Rotface (I think that was it? I’ve honestly never been to ICC myself so I dunno..), which gives up of actually making the realm not-so-last on raid progression.

So far it all seems like a pretty sweet deal. Perhaps not-surprisingly, the guy and I are actually getting excited about our toons getting to 80 and able to raid (both of us are 77 as of this post, so hopefully not too much longer!). I’m thoroughly enjoying the lack of stress of being in charge while still getting the other benefits, though that does make me stop and think about how I relate to a guild as a whole. One of the things I always tried to do as a guild leader was make the guild out to be something I would enjoy and be proud of being a part of, even if it wasn’t mine. I’m not sure if this translates very well and very poorly into being a guild member yet… One person has left since I’ve been there and although I didn’t know them, automatically I went through the whole process of trying to figure out who exactly just left, and wondering why. Feeling somehow responsible for the guild not being to their liking. I’ve also already donated just shy of 1k into the guild bank… Doesn’t really hurt my wallet, thankfully, but I know it’s because of the underlying sense of responsibility to the survival of the guild, whether it matters in the grand scheme of things or not. Maybe that sense of responsibility will make me into a great guildy, and maybe feeling too responsible will be my downfall. Who knows, I guess only time will tell…

March 23, 2010

Chronicles of a Guild (and a half)

Posted in Musings at 7:40 pm by Aduial of WrA

So Tamarind over at Righteous Orbs posted something earlier that got me thinking (yes, yes, I know most of my posts are “So&So posted something and it got me thinking,” but it usually takes something like that for me to turn my thoughts into a coherent blog post, it seems, even when I do have the time.) Now it’s not really that on topic with his post, but his post is what spurred my thoughts to form into something resembling a post, so here we go.

Not that long ago, I had a guild. Well technically I’ve had several, but only two were made to be something beyond a personal bank in guild form, and only one of them really got anywhere. Even before I first joined WoW, my friend who was determined to get me into it and I decided we were going to make a raiding guild together. Funny thing is, neither of us actually wanted to lead, so it ended up with plans of he was going to be the mastermind behind the curtain and I was going to be the face that impressed everybody. If only things were so simple. We spent a good couple days picking out a name we agreed to be suitable (AdNocendumPotentesSumus, since there wasn’t room for spaces, which was latin for “We have the power to harm”), and a few after that working out rules for just about everything we could think of, to prevent any problems. In its heyday, ANPS (as we ended up shortening it to save our sanity in typing it every time) had 4 active members. We had a warrior tank, my friend was the druid healer, and we picked up a couple friends along the way and managed to recruit them–a warrior tank, and a warrior DPS. We levelled in this group, 4-manning everything, from Scarlet Monastery on through Outlands, where we managed to pick up another warrior DPS, who had started inviting some of his affiliations into the guild, and the core group never did really get to know them. About a month later, my tree friend and I ended up running out of time, and due to his moving and a couple emergencies on my end, we didn’t have the money to renew our game time. I got the money first, I think, about a month and a half after that; the problem was, I’d already gotten a mail from Blizzard, saying someone requested to be made guild leader “to promote and grow the guild” since I’d been inactive. Within a day, everything we’d work so hard for was gone. I played 2 days out of that two month’s time, and said never again, and I left WoW.

Fast forward about a month and a half, my unofficially-adopted sister is creating a DK on a new realm with a mutual friend of ours. I could’ve swore it’d been long enough I’d run out of time, but checked and surprisingly had either 3 or 4 days left, so joined them since it was only going to be for about a week anyway. We all chatted over Skype while rolling out our new death knights, had a blast that night, and my sister and I ended up rolling new toons after our friend could no longer play with us, and made the new realm our home. Despite what happened with ANPS I soon found myself longing for the comfort of chatting with friends in a guild, and pulled up a random guild name generator, saw one that caught my attention, saw how my sister liked it, and made a charter. I spent a couple hours that night standing outside Orgrimmar as the lowly troll tank I was, paying for signatures–though most people were more than willing to do it for free, and I even got handouts from one of the signees who sort of took me under his wing.

And so, Tattered Legends was born. And for a while, things were good. Even when I found out my tree friend had started playing again and somehow found himself on our server by coincidence and he joined, things were going smoothly. We still had some members who’d signed the charter, rather than them all leaving, and many were fairly dedicated to the guild. We leveled up peacefully for a couple months before issues arose. I’d made a friend who was stuck with Classic and I ended up running raids with him, then through Burning Crusade after I got that for him, and even though Tattered Legends had always been a ‘casual levelling, one-day-to-be raiding guild,’ some of the officers were having issues with it. To this day I’m not sure if I just wasn’t leveling fast enough, as one indicated but then stated different, or if it was because I seemed too into raiding with my friend to ‘level up,’ or what; but we ended up losing two officers soon after that, which left me confused. We had four officers at the time, one of the founders, my tree-turned-shaman friend, and two people we came across in our leveling journeys, all of which had earned the status in one way or another. Only one came to me directly about any issues, but it turned out the other two (who left) as well as other members had started to go to my tree-friend if they had any concerns, who failed to come to me until after it all hit the fan.

We learned from this, and we moved on, and eventually we (almost) all made it to 80, and starting planning things out and implementing things for the “official” turning into a more ‘proper’ raiding guild. One of the problems that faced us from the beginning through the end, however, was a lack of numbers, every time; we initially started raiding with about half a dozen actual guildies at any one time, the rest PUGed, and we’d get down a couple bosses and we’d end up calling it, and the question came over vent or /raid: What time/day is good for everyone here to continue?

Of course, between ten people, there is rarely if ever a good time for everyone to meet on the spur like that. We kept on that way for a bit before figuring out: this just isn’t going to work. And the officers of the guild, which would now be my tree-friend who was main heals, the guy who was main tank (me being off-tank), and our best and most loyal magey-DPS, sat down and figured out three days a week that worked for us, since we were the only people who showed up consistently. We stuck that in the guild info and on the website, let everyone know… and things got better, for a while. Just a little. We still didn’t have the numbers to get past Naxxramus, and the ToC stuff was the “big thing.” So we started recruiting.

We opened recruitment on basically “asketh for an invite and thou shalt receiveth.” We needed numbers, and we figured anyone was better than no one until they proved otherwise. The best members we got out of that ended up getting an interview anyway, because they had questions more than we did. However soon things were changing, noticeably, on the social end, for the worse. As most know, it only takes a couple people to disrupt the normal flow of guild chat and turn it in the direction they wish it to be in, and it especially gets bad in small guilds.. Tattered Legends was always a fairly small guild, even at the peak. While some people were just silly and only seemed to bother a couple people who weren’t exactly social anyway, there were some that bothered everyone, but we didn’t have rules about this, so all the officers sat down again and figured things out. Unfortunately, partially thanks to this, one of our “pinch-hitters,” the person who could heal like 2 healers or DPS like 4, the one who dragged me happily from classic raid to classic raid, ended up leaving, which was more of a devastating blow than it should have. Following this the rest of our DPS that all but carried the PUG DPS soon left for one reason or another… And we were back in Naxx again, training a new recruit or two every week, and losing twice as many members to the larger guilds. We ended up doing Naxx two to three times a week for a good couple months trying to train new recruits, becoming a training ground for larger raiding guilds, before we were too burnt to continue any further and put the raids on hold, in theory until we could get the numbers needed consistently.

Unfortunately, this day never came. We tried just about everything we could think of, everything we could do, and just couldn’t cut it. Even when it was proposed to us that it was Naxx that was the problem, if we started Ulduar or such our numbers would improve, and we did, that didn’t change anything. All we ended up with was a friends list full of good PUG members (and a few friends) who for one reason or another couldn’t become regulars.. And some who did, but couldn’t carry our tag. Soon Tattered Legend’s raiding days were over, and because we had no real cause at that point, the guild slowly started emptying.

Relating to Tam’s blog post, we went from People A to People B back to People A then back again, essentially. ANPS was People B too, in its heart; my tree-friend set the precedent that we only invited people we liked after we liked them, not before, no open recruiting like Tattered Legends did (even though the last warrior didn’t really follow by that).

So I have to wonder–Can a People B really last? Tattered Legends was a lot of fun at times, but when it stopped being so much fun for one person, it started becoming a chore for everyone. Hopefully they can, personally I’d love to see it even if I’m not the most fit for raiding these days.

Even still, I don’t count Tattered Legends so much as a failure as I did ANPS; we lasted almost a year, made a reasonably good run of it, and there only seems to be room for 6 raiding guilds across the whole small little server anyway, 3 each side, beyond that the small ones dissolve soon after. Tattered Legends was one of the longest running of the smaller guilds, even when most of the others dissolved into the bigger ones we outlasted them and kept trying, even if we didn’t succeed. I’m not sure I’ll be leading another guild again any time soon, but I don’t count TL among my failures anymore, even though I did fail to do my job in several points along the line.

March 5, 2010

On difficulty and change

Posted in Musings tagged , , , , at 8:39 pm by Aduial of WrA

Ruthvenn over at Wowhead made a post in their blog recently discussing the difficulty and supposed lack thereof in WoW which, as many do, got me to thinking, first as something I wanted to post in a comment there, which I may still do, but then it occurred to me it could make a half-decent blog post and posting on it here first could help me get my thoughts in order on it.

Inarguably it’s easier now than ever to get gear in WoW, and to run instances and even raid, though there are still hardmodes and achievements for the people who seek challenges, as well as many other challenges non-raid related. Is it a good thing? Yes, Blizzard still has 11 million (or wasn’t it 11.5 million recently?) subscribers, which to some would say means they’re doing it right. But then there’s the players, and there are some out there, who may or may not even care about the game itself; they pay and play out of habit, or a sense of responsibility to their friends/guild, or just to stay in touch with the same, or keep paying for their account thinking they’ll find time and never do and they end up with accounts paid for for months without touching them, for example. We can’t really say how many of those 11 million subscribers pay to play anymore, and how many play for other reasons if at all.

Now, I personally got into WoW a few months before WotLK came out, and never had a chance to raid then. The first time I went on a raid was actually on my second main, my warrior, when she was around 60; the person I played with most at the time was capped in Vanilla to do things at level, and the server we were on often did old-world raids (often capping out at 40 people, no less!). I felt absolutely horrible at the time–we were attempting BWL, and I was one of the few who weren’t attuned, and I’d never been there before, and we tried getting me attuned, killed the mob 4 times before they said “screw it” and had me try anyway. Somehow I was attuned but didn’t realize it, and we went in. We ended up doing UBRS since some had to, and I floundered about a second too long and got locked out of one of the events, at which point the 4 people immediately ahead of me turned and laughed in my toon’s face and mocked me for not making it in. The first room alone in BWL was confusing as heck, I didn’t know what I was supposed to be doing so I just kind of followed my friend. The other raids we did at level went a lot better, and I did enjoy them; but I ended up doing almost every Vanilla raid at level, anyway.

The guy has played WoW since beta, as well as a couple other friends I had in game, and one of my close friends, the one who got me into WoW to begin with, has either been playing since Vanilla or TBC, I can’t remember which. So I’ve heard stories upon stories of how things were back then, and I experienced it to some extent (close to as best as can be done, these days) with the raiding with the huge groups at level on my tank. Were things harder overall back then? Of course. But were they better?

The stories of those times are epic, but they’re just that. Stories. There’s something to be said for having been around for X, being able to tell game-generation-Y what it was like doing it in their day. In a way it’s like our grandparents; “Back in my day, we had to walk to school fifty miles in the snow, uphill both ways!” Things have come a long way in real life, too, and things have gotten easier; most would probably say things have gotten better, but even those that wouldn’t, would they go back to having to do everything their grandparents did? Would our grandparents go back to the way they had to live over the way they can live now?

If these things happen in real life, why wouldn’t they happen in our games? You can go and get a whole tier set in a couple days at most rather than spend months farming and wiping for it, but you can also pick up the phone and have a meal delivered to your door in less than an hour instead of having to plant, grow, harvest, cook everything yourself. If you were one of the people who did either, great! You did things most people these days could never dream of actually doing whether they think they could or not, and you have the stories to prove it. But that doesn’t mean everyone’s worse off for the way the world (of warcraft) has changed, and it doesn’t mean it’d be better to go back to that, no matter how amazing the stories are, and no matter how much we long for the good sides of it.

Four > Five

Posted in Musings, Tales from PUGland tagged , , , at 8:52 am by Aduial of WrA

Logically, it should be easier to do something with 5 people than with 4, right? Gevlon made a post recently touching on people having a negative worth in groups. Now, I never thought I’d end up linking to one of his posts, and I don’t always agree with him but some of his insights into the economy are worthwhile if not amusing reads for me, but this one got me thinking beyond that.. Possibly because part of me wants to agree with him.

I’m not sure it’s so much a negative worth as being.. detrimental, to the group, for one reason or another, though I’m not sure if there’s a difference in that or if I’m just playing semantics. I’m fairly confident almost anyone who’s done enough PUGs, either before or since the LFD tool (that I still want to call new even though it’s not anymore), can testify that there just are those people that runs go better 4-manning without them than 5-manning with.

When I started reading his post, I couldn’t help but recall one of my more semi-recent runs. A couple weeks back I ended up rolling a new paladin on a different realm because my guy had rolled there with some of his friends and he wanted me to join him; I agreed before realizing I had 30 levels to catch up to him, and he was still leveling at his same pace of 3-5 levels a day. This led to me using the LFD tool almost religiously for run after run in an attempt to gain quick levels (and it is a bit quicker than questing for the most part, since I ended up being a tank.. again). So I’m in Uldaman, with a decent enough hunter who’d stuck with me from the previous random, a druid healer, another hunter, and a retribution paladin. Now, this is before I have Spiritual Attunement or really any of the mana-getting talents for tanks, so I’ve been going OOM, so I do have to stop and drink. An OOM paladin tank is not a tank, since we kind of can’t. The new hunter, Hunter B, pulls while both the healer and I are drinking… I ask him to stop pulling, and he does for a few pulls. He needs on the shaft when it drops, and when we get to the box with the medallion, Hunter A takes it thinking Hunter B could still get it for the shaft, only to discover, no, there’s only one.. We try to get them to trade, the medallion isn’t tradeable, only the staff is, and Hunter A keeps trying to get Hunter B to trade the staff… 20 minutes later, we can finally move on. The ret pally is urging us to hurry because he has to go or something, so we pull, few pulls later I stop to drink… Hunter B starts pulling again. At this point, I initiate a vote kick, which fails, and the paladin asks who did that. I just kind of roll my eyes and sigh (afterall, if a vote kick is deserved, does it matter who initiates it?), ask Hunter B to stop pulling again, and carry on.. For about 5 minutes, where I sit gazing over the edge of my drink in abject horror as this cat rushes one of the bosses, only for Hunter B to start shooting arrows over my shoulders a moment later. I lurch into combat and we beat the boss, thankfully, but that was the last straw. I’ve been sending my poor little tank into pack after pack of mobs for about four or five hours now, and I didn’t need this kind of stress that could easily be avoided. I tell the party, very plainly, that I am about to initiate another vote kick; if the hunter doesn’t go, I’m dropping. This time it passes, and I queue us up for another 5th, and the healer asks if we really need one.. We decide we don’t, and start to 4-man it. Second pull in, the paladin remarks, it really is easier without Hunter B. And he was right.

We finished that run with four people in less time than it’d took us to do less with five, even through a 10-minute break for the ret pally. We didn’t do anything noticeably different ourselves. In fact, the only noticeable difference was there was no hunter deciding to pull mobs to the drinking party members. Yet there was a noticeable difference in how much more smoothly the run went, how much quicker we somehow killed the mobs without someone trying to hinder us. Now, that hunter was obviously detrimental to our progress, comparing with and without him. But was he of negative worth?

Semantics aside, I do see a difference between “detrimental to the group” and “of negative worth,” though perhaps it is only in this context and in response to Gevlon’s post. Either way, the group would do better 4-manning without the person than 5-manning with, though for me, I suppose, “detrimental” is temporary. For that one run, they are a hindrance, for whatever reason. Perhaps they are too stoned or drunk to play right, perhaps they got randomed into an instance that takes several times longer than they have to play and they’re in too much of a hurry, perhaps there’s a language barrier that can be overcome in the future or under different circumstances but is a hindrance for that run. People “of negative worth” isn’t temporary in my mind; they wouldn’t get better under other circumstances. They would be just as harmful to the group if they were sober and clean as they would if they weren’t, no amount of language barriers or lack thereof would improve their skills, no amount of time; people who are of “negative worth” in the game bring no benefit in any context except more dollars in Blizzard’s pocket.

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