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The State of Raiding in Wrath

Friday, January 9th, 2009

Simply put, I don’t like it.

Less simply, I don’t like having 10- and 25-man versions of all raids.

I don’t like how quickly progression is happening for everyone.

I think Blizzard’s new end-game is fail.

Now, let me rant justify.

Blizzard wanted everyone to be able to see all the content. Casual player? No problem! You can still get to see all the raids. Only have 10 people in your guild? That’s ok!  Don’t have a guild and need to PUG al the time?  Don’t worry, you’re covered!

See, I like to raid about 3 hours on 3 nights a week – it is a perfect balance for me, giving me enough days to still spend time outside the game, and enough time on raid nights to get my housework and running around done.

I also like to have a team to work on content with.  A group of players that I get to hone my skills with, share experiences with, reach goals with.

And I like to feel like with enough hard work, concentration and practice, we can progress together as a whole.  That feeling of spending the last 2 raid nights working on a particular boss and finally getting them down on the third day.  Screenshot!  Woo!

Alright, it sounds pretty good at face value.  But what has this translated to? Quick and easy raids which require little to no team effort, and division in guild between the ‘elite’ 10-man group and the ‘rest’ who make up the 25-man.  I know there are some fights that require extra attention or focus or gear level, but they are a very small minority.  

Now, I don’t feel like I’m part of a team. Even if I spent the whole week on top of the damage meters, even if I’m an Officer of my guild, I feel like I’m an outsider, jsut another DPS added to the 10-man core so they can get better loot.  And I don’t feel anything when I’ve killed a new boss.  Most people have already killed it anyway.  It feels no different to me from running a heroic 5-man dungeon.  Kill, loot, move on.

Why do I feel like this?

Because I raid 3 hours a week, 3 nights a week, I took my time getting to 80, and I went away during the holidays. In my couple of weeks away, most raiders in my guild cleared Naxxramas without me, and some even without each other. People have PUG’d 10- and 25-man raids, some have been to nearly all raids and content that’s to be seen.

Here are some examples of when I’ve been frustrated with all this.

This week was our first week in 25-man Naxx. Only my second time in Naxx at all, and for about half the fights, it was my first time seeing them.

Yet the raid leaders assumed that everyone knew what was going on. Or otherwise, assumed that DPS doesn’t really need to know anything about the strategy, they just shoot things. “It’s just like 10-man. Go!”  All that really matters are the healers and tanks.  Yes, I’ve read up on the fights a bit… but there are so many fights, and usually 2 versions of each to remember, as well as which particular strategy we’re planning to use.  Since no one says which fights we will be doing before we start, I can’t really take the time to refresh my memory.

Secondly, Tues-Wed-Thurs are our “progression” nights. Yet Friday night, the raid leader is getting a group together for 10-man Malygos, which we have never cleared. Sorry, but is that not the definition of progression?

When I asked about it, I was told that it didn’t really count because it’s a 10-man and only the best geared were allowed to go.

Great, now we’ve got cliques and are discriminating. That’s exactly what I want. We will have this group of 10 elite people in the guild who will continue to progress, and then when we start a new fight in 25-mans, we won’t “reallly” be progressing as a team.

And if I ever want to see any 10-man content, I’ll have to raid on off-nights, which I don’t want to do.

So where does this leave me? It leaves me feeling like I’m being left behind because I will only raid on raid nights. Feeling like I’m a less important player. Feeling like I’m only going to the boss fights for the loot.

And consequently, I’m now getting more concerned about loot and how it is distributed. I’ve never been had an issue with it before, because loot was always just icing on the accomplishment cake. But now that my cake has been taken away, that icing needs to be really tasty for me to see a point to continue on.

I also feel, if it is necessary to discriminate and only bring the best geared to some raids, I’m gonna need a whole lot of icing for people to see me as an equal.

Now, some of this conflict may have to do with how my guild is handling the changes.  But it’s mostly due to the fact that these changes are happening at all – I can’t see anyone handling it much better.  It’s not like my guild has changed, just the game.

Does anyone else feel this way?  Or has anyone found an effective solution to this?

I realize, since this is only the first week (for me, at least) of 25-man raiding, and many are just getting back from holidays, things may change for the better.  But we will just have to see.

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I am NOT prepared!

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

Okay, I know, wrong expansion… but whatevs.

I don’t want to be one of the people who cries about all the downtime we’ve been having lately, and how it ruins my life not being able to play.

I also don’t want to be one of those people who pats Blizzard on the back for being the saviours of the world and tells everyone to wait patiently.

But to be honest, I am probably leaning more on the QQ-side.

I understand that it takes a lot of work to prepare for the expansion, and they’re trying to make the expansion burst go as smoothly as possible, but both last Thursday, this Tuesday and it seems today as well have been periods of major downtime.  We’ve lost a couple of days worth of play time as they’ve been trying to quickly get things ready for the 13th.

IF the expansion is released, and everyone is able to play all weekend long without a hitch… I will maybe hop on the “let’s forgive Blizzard” bandwagon.  But I doubt it’s going to happen.  There will still be major server problems when the expansion hits, in spite of all this extra downtime.  The result?  We’ll have lost play time both before AND after release.

Losing these last couple days of game time has been a bit of a big deal to me, since I’ve been hoping to use them to finish off the last things I need to do before the expansion, and maybe get a last few quests done on my Mage before she’s temporarily abandoned for the 70-80 ride on both Brajana and Ferguson.

While I understand maintenance is necessary, unexpected downtime is not cool at all.  It is not the end of the world when I can’t play WoW, but when I’ve got a tight schedule and I’ve planned specific times I’d like to play, or when I’m hoping to get on and talk to a few guildies, it’s really a major inconvenience and disappointment.

I would also appreciate more updates and ETAs.  If there’s no update, I tend to wait around twiddling my thumbs hoping it’s just going to last a little longer.  Even if the ETAs are not entirely accurate, letting us know whether we should expect to wait 30 minutes extra, or in the case of yesterday, 12 hours extra, it would be a really nice gesture.

Enough QQ.

Here’s a list of things I’d like to finish off before tomorrow:

  • Clean up Brajana’s bags and bank, make her ready for questin’!
  • Try to finish a couple more cooking achievements that I won’t want to go back and do once I start leveling
  • Get Gorilla from level 68 to 70 (and maybe think of a name for him!)
  • Clear out my Blog drafts of posts I half wrote but didn’t finish and won’t be relevant post-Wrath.

This will likely be my last post before the expansion.  I’m sure I’ll have plenty to write about when I first get out there, since unlike a lot of people I’ve actually got no idea where I’m going or what is going on, thanks to my lack of Beta experience and ingoring of all things Beta related!  It’ll be a whole new game for me.

*bounces like a Night Elf with excitement*

Err… please pretend you didn’t just see that.

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WoW as an eSport

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

Okay, this will be a bit of a rant – and I know many people out there are going to disagree with me wholeheartedly… but what is the point of having a blog if you can’t be biased?  :)

Let me just start of by saying – I like do to PvP.  I spent enough time in Alterac Valley to rep up to Exalted for my Wolf, and then did it AGAIN to get the Alterac Valley tokens when the untimely change came in the way the mount was purchased!  I will do Arathi Basin with or without a pre-made any day of the week!

Heck, I even leveled on a PvP realm!

And then Arenas came into the picture.  Okay, neat, they are like mini-battlegrounds, or group-sized duels, that could be fun, says I!  I can see the appeal.  And I wasn’t the only one that saw the appeal, the arenas quickly became very popular.

In fact, they grew and grew to be more popular than battlegrounds had ever been.  People focussing purely on Arenas, tournaments being held, paying money for good teams to gain you points… it was becoming quite a big part of the game, bigger than I ever thought it would be.

Again, what others do with their game time is their business.  I don’t care if people are spending all their time in these arenas – although I’ve tried my hand at it and couldn’t really see the appeal in these < 5 minute matches, with no variety of scenery… Feels like ersatz Halo, really.  I come to WoW for the epic battles, for seeing new places and working together with a group of people.  Arenas would never be the focus of my game – just like PvE would never be the focus of others.

Now let me get to the meat of the post – my whole point.  My problem is that arenas seem to have become a focus for Blizzard.  They appear to be paying more attention to the arena PvP crowd than the PvE crowd, which in the end, I believe to be the core of the game.  They’ve begun balancing classes for PvP purposes, changing abilities to change how they affect arenas, and seem to not even care how this affects PvE.  All I ever hear about is arenas nowadays.  And I am sick of it!

I listen to a number of WoW podcasts on my bike into/from work, and they seem to be flooded with content about arenas.  One in particular I have noticed is the WoW Insider Show.  The majority of the time, its arenas, arenas, arenas! Do they ever talk about how the Al’ar fight works, or about group composition for raids?  Nope!  It’s all “what do you think of this new change for arenas?”  or “What do you think of the RMP arena team make-up?” Honestly, I don’t care about the arena tournament, I have only a passing interest in Season 4 gear.  There is more to this game than that.

The WoW universe seems to have become two completely different games smashed into one – the Arenas game, and the PvE game.  To me, it feels awkward at best to have these two games clashing with each other.  And unforunately to me, it appears the Arena game is winning out.  Afterall, when was the last time someone offered a prizes of $200,000 for downing a raid boss?