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(BTW, Ulduar is the porridge)

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

nerfI’m not going to read another post from my Google Reader that has any combination of the words “Ulduar” and “nerf” in the title.  And I certainly won’t dare to venture onto any sort of forums at a time like this.

Have you ever heard the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears? For some, the porridge is too hot, for some, too cold.  And then for others it’s juuuust right.

So you’ve managed to clear through 9 bosses already. /cheer! Good on ya! I’m happy for you and your raid.  But I don’t need to hear that obviously Ulduar is too easy because you’ve accomplished this.

Still haven’t been able to get Razorscale or Ignis down? That sucks, I hope you can pinpoint the issues and get through it.  But I don’t need to hear how obviously Ulduar is too hard.

Blizzard is continually balancing these fights. It’s only been out for just 2 weeks, and maybe they didn’t do as much testing as they should have.  Maybe having only the best guilds being the ones who really test boss fights isn’t the best idea, because when things seem just right for them, it won’t be the same for <Goldie ‘locks> when they venture in with raiders who have only experienced WotLK raids in their history.

I’ve had my own issues with Ulduar, and I’ve blogged about them.  But I’m not blaming anything on Blizzard or Ulduar – our guild is out of practise and we’ve never had to coordinate with this particular group combination before.  So much of our raid has changed since our BC raiding days, it’s taking a lot of time to learn the playstyles, strengths, weaknesses and limits of our fellow raiders.

Other guilds are still playing with the same people they’ve played with since vanilla raiding days, and some guilds just have a great group synergy.  These are all factors that influence how enjoyable and successful your raiding experience will be, a much bigger influence than reducing the damage some lightning bolt does could ever be.

So I ask of you, please stop calling out nerf, whether you are for or against it.  Be proud of your group for the strides you’ve made with the content as it is available to us, or work hard to improve yourself so that you can make those strides that you have yet to make.

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Conclusion of the Account Ordeal

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

I think I’ve got everything sorted out.

I’ve paid to transfer Brajana to my new account.  Didn’t realize I’d be losing my guild affiliations even though I wasn’t transferring servers… it was a bit interesting when I had to ask another officer in Unemployed for a ginvite.

[W To] Barlo: Hey Barlo, could I get a ginvite?
[W From] Barlo: Sure, for who?
[W To] Barlo: me.
[W From] Barlo: huh?

Unfortunately, although I have 3 other characters I consider favourites, I felt I could only afford to bring over one more.  I already spent $100 on the game, I can’t afford another $100 on transfers.

I chose Alouette.  Sure, a mage is easier to relevel than a Priest, but I feel a much bigger connection to Alouette than Ferguson, to be honest.  I’ve been playing her more recently, and I also cheated on Ferguson.  He used to be my brother’s character, so I only actually leveled him from 52 – 71, rather than all the way from the beginning.

So I spent last night preparing my account, “making it as comfortable as possible” before the inevitable end.

I took many dramatic screenshots of me typing “DELETE” into the box overlaid on my naked level 71 priest… but I forgot them at home.  So just picture it in your mind.

D-E-L-E-T-E.

Enter.

In fact, Hydraxis is now completely empty on my old account… it’s a strange sight to see!  I created a new bank alt and decked him out with 16 slot Netherweave Bags (because everything else is too expensive).  I sent him my stockpile of Outlands herbs and even passed him the lucky monocle that my old bank alt was donning.

The boyfriend and I are releveling Ferguson with a druid and using the RAF bonus.  Now, Ferguson is a level 8 priest.  Identical in all ways, except level and professions.

But what about Ghugh?  My unexpectedly beloved Dwarf?  Well, like I said, I can’t afford to transfer all of my characters… but being the great guy he is, Gadgets has offered to pay for me to transfer him across, because he knows how much I love him.  Only problem is, since I just transferred him to Dark Iron I will have to pay an extra month of subscriptions before I can transfer again.  More money!  But since I am technically getting a free month on the new account, it’s not so bad.

So I’ve spent an extra $160 to get my account in my own name.

Was it worth it?

I think so.  I didn’t necessarily have to do the transferring, since both accounts took on the same properties when I merged them… but it feels better to me anyway, to have them all on an account I created.

It could have been vacuous, maybe I never needed to do any of it in the first place.  Maybe I’d never get in trouble for playing on an account that wasn’t technically mine.  But now I don’t have to worry any more, I don’t have to feel guilty!  And that itself is worth it.

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An Extreme Decision

Sunday, March 29th, 2009

I made a big decision this weekend.

I’ve decided to reroll my entire account.

This is no vacuous choice… I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t have a reason.  Long story short, the account I play on isn’t in my name or e-mail address.  I don’t even know what the e-mail and name are.  This account used to belong to someone else who bought it used online.  When I started playing on it I didn’t think too much about the implications of playing on an account that wasn’t mine, but the longer I’ve played, the more of a concern it’s become.  It always makes me uncomfortable knowing that every time I log in, I’m violating the TOS.  I can’t make any changes to my account that requires e-mail confirmation, I can’t contact support for any reason… heaven forbid I was ever hacked, there would be no chance of me getting any piece of the account back.

And now with the impending Battle Net account merge, it’s essential for this to change.

So I figured this is as good a time as any to start anew!  The game’s a bit slow right now while we wait for 3.1 and Ulduar to go live.  So it gives me time to reroll my main and get her ready to raid in place of my ‘old’ main.

So I’m using the Recruit-a-Friend with Gadgets to reroll ALL of my characters.

It’s quite a daunting task certainly, and it’s very scary to think about deleting the character I’ve been playing as my main for the last 3 years… losing all the achievements and items and statistics I’ve acquired over time.

But what I need to keep reminding myself of – it doesn’t matter if I’ve still got the shiny achievements and the flashy mounts.  I will remember the experiences and no amount of rerolling will take that away.  You might inspect the new me and think I’ve just started playing – but I know better.

But what I am going to do is try to do some sort tribute to the old Brajana through the blog.  A recap of achievements that mean special things to me, my favourite non-combat pets and stories that I won’t be able to show off any more.

I’ll also write about how I’m doing my leveling.  I’ve gone from 1 to 34 this weekend already, hoping to hit 60 before the end of the week so I can spend the weekend in Outlands.

Wish me luck!

I’m gonna need it.

PS – Blizzard needs to reduce the cost of the World of Warcraft Battle Chest or something.  I spent over $100 on the game + expansions, and that’s quite a lot to ask someone who is new to the game to pay!

UPDATE: After getting a comment here from Nordhbane and doing some extra research (which I should have done before) I think I’ve discovered that when you merge accounts, you don’t get a confirmation e-mail address to the WoW account holder e-mail address.  This means I can merge both accounts and then from there I can transfer my characters to my new account!  It kinda sucks that I spend all the money already… but I still want an account I can access with my own e-mail address.

If anyone can confirm this for me (before I attempt it) that’d be super.

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Achievements: The New Progression

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

The officers of Unemployed had a little meeting last night, and discussed things along the lines of raid morale and attitude and such.  One part of the discussion got me really thinking.

It’s taken me a while to come to terms with the fact that with Wrath of the Lich King, the goals of a raider must change.  My goal can no longer be to work my way week by week through a dungeon, hoping to someday take down the big bad guy at the end.  I’ve taken down all the big bad guys that are available to me, and I’ve had them down a number of times already.

But that doesn’t mean I’ve “beaten the game”.  Yes, there are fewer boss encounters and raid dungeons to see than there were in Burning Crusade or Vanilla.

But achievements are the new encounters.

And this is something that many raiders need to be convinced of, including me.  I may not like it, but it’s the way it is.

Now, people who are playing this game to challenge themselves, rather than because they are fans of the lore and design, would probably have a much easier time coming to grips with this concept.

However, from a lore perspective, it was a lot more compelling to be working towards some big head honcho and killing his lackeys along the way.  To work towards that moment when you finally, after weeks of work, take that evil man/dragon/demon down and teach him a lesson!

There’s no lore-based reason to take Sartharion down with his drakes up.  Whether we walk in there and take the drakes down first, or leave them up, we’re still walking out of there with a dragon and 3 drakes lying on the floor.  And I feel this is one reason why people are having a hard time trying to see what is left for them to see and do in raiding.

I understood their goal with this expansion was to allow everyone to see all of the content rather than restricting it to the top few percentages who had the right combination of skill, time and coordination.  I always thought that they tried to do this with their 10- and 25-man versions of all raids, and I felt it wasn’t working properly because most of the 10- and 25-man fights are identical, you just have more/less people to worry about.

But I was wrong.  The way they’ve allowed everyone to see the content, yet still give something for hardcore players to work towards is through “hard modes”, achievements.

Achievements are usually thought of optional fun little things that you can do as a bit of a challenge to yourself, or as some way to get yourself a shiny new mount.  And some of them are exactly that!  There are many players who just aren’t interested in optional fun little things or new mounts, they want to raid, see new content and to play the game for what they’ve always enjoyed.

But what they fail to see is that encounters like Sartharion with drakes up are not just optional fun ways of changing a fight – they are completely new encounters in themselves.

From a Raid/Guild leader perspective, it’s MUCH more difficult to motivate people to want to kill a boss they’ve already killed just to do it with more difficulty, with some sort of handicap.  This is a froward challenge that all leaders must be prepared to work through, and it’s something we’re dealing with right now.

When a progression guild is recruiting, they say up front if they’ve done 3D, or 2D or 1D.  They don’t just say they’ve killed Sarth (unless, well, they’ve only killed Sarth).

This is because it’s not about just getting a new mount, it’s about the challenge.  It’s about the skill.  The different in difficulty from killing Sartharion to killing Sartharion with all three drakes grows exponentially, and those who are able to get 3D down have what it takes.

And it seems with Ulduar, this will continue as the norm.  You might blow through all of the new raid within the first couple of weeks of the patch release, but you’ll then need to spend months working on getting the “hard mode” achievements.

Like I’ve said, I don’t like it.  But I’ve come to understand that it’s the way things are going to be now.

That might change when Icecrown Citadel comes along and the majority of raiding guild have Arthas down in the first few weeks, and just spend the rest of the game trying to see if they can all do it with their hands tied behind their backs…

But for now, I can accept it.

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A Shot at Survival

Thursday, February 5th, 2009

So Tuesday night I decided to try out Survival in a raid.  I spent a couple hours before hand figuring out where I wanted to put my points, and then developing my own priority shot rotation.  Well, it’s probably not just mine, but I didn’t just copy one from somewhere.  I tested out all the shots and put together what seemed to do the best DPS, then practiced until I felt like I had control of it.

The results? SV does better damage than BM.  But we all have already learned that, so that’s not news.  I was doing between 600 – 800 dps more on the target dummy with my new spec and rotation.

What did surprise me, was the fact that all of our hunters STILL ended up on the bottom half of the DPS charts in Naxx.  I found out there was a stealth nerf of Explosive Shot, which is probably why I was seeing less of a jump in the charts than I was expecting.

It was fun to try something new.  Survival is more complicated, I had 4 shots to use rather than 3, and I had to coordinate them better.  But I don’t think it was enough to get me to switch permanently from BM.  I was still compelled to Revive my pet every time he died, even though it was a stupidly long cast time and he wasn’t doing that much damage anyway.  I really found myself missing Bestial Wrath and Heart of the Phoenix.

I know that it would be better for the raid as a whole to replace me with another Shadow Priest, Mage or Warlock, and part of me feels like there’s no point for me to continue raiding until 3.1, but I’m afraid I’d lose my raid spot if I didn’t continue.

Speaking of which, I’m looking forward to hearing what they’ve got on the plate for 3.1 for Hunters!  However, if they do nothing to us but adjust all the other classes down to be more on par, I’d be just as happy as I would if they buffed us.  Because it would make the encounters a little more challenging if the raid as a whole just did less DPS.  But they’d probably screw that up anyway!  :)