July 27, 2010

Days of Yore

Once upon a time, there was guild that did 25-man content in BC. They were an okay guild, but they'd been founded upon ideals of friendship and loyalty. There simply weren't enough raiders on the server who upheld those ideals, or if there were they were already loyal to other guilds. Recruitment brought in more and more people who saw a chance to raid in TK and SSC, but who didn't particularly care about the core values that had formed the guild in the first place. These newcomers, by and large, came and accepted their loot and then they moved on.

A few of these new raiders stuck around. Some of them learned from their new companions, and formed loyal bonds of their own. It wasn't enough to fill a 25-man raid when Wrath came out, but by and large the guild was content with that, and the guild leader said, "I don't care about loot. I care about content. We don't need the headache of larger raids."

The guild leader had a loyal cadre of friends that he filled his 10-man raids with, and this left a lot of the newer people to envy. Some of them left the guild in a blazing fit of guild drama. Others sought pugs and thought that this would be their lot in life. A few weeks after the first group was formed, however, a new raid group was formed from the leftovers and alts.

There were difficulties. People couldn't be sure they'd be able to show up. Some people were more serious about attendance than others. Some people just had different obligations pop up, and couldn't always make it. Wrath had just come out, and some people just couldn't find the time to level up to 80 as fast as the others.

The "leftovers" group started with a DK and a warrior tanking. There was a warlock in the raid who more often than not brought his shaman to heal because it was so hard to find healers. There was a paladin healing by his side, and his real life friend who played a rogue. There was a boomkin reroll who wanted to bring her DK to dps, but ended up respeccing to tree because there was always a shortage of healers and she REALLY wanted to raid and never have to sit out and feel like a sidelined reject again. Nobody likes to feel left out, after all. And there were more dps who came in and out, but the group had fun no matter who was doing what. There was a bit of drama and frustration because people couldn't always play the roles they wanted, but for the most part it was fun.

People came and went. Our tanks didn't want to have to always be the tanks, so new tanks were brought in at times. By the time Ulduar came out we'd pretty much settled on two paladin tanks. The warlock and the boomkin/dk became the shaman and the tree healers with a parade of other healers until a priest finally stuck around. The dk tank became a mage, the warrior tank became a hunter, and slowly the other dps positions filled with people who could show up regularly.

Finally the core had formed, and the group solidified until it surpassed the guild leader's group. And, having met that unspoken imaginary goal, and having beat the final boss in the game, their competitive spirits had nothing to unify them any longer. The many and various dps replacements had taken a toll on this group, and changed the personality of the group, and finally turned the group against each other. They did not know it, but that day a great darkness came.

The darkness is growing. It's feeding. And it's here.

Cataclysm can't come soon enough.

May 19, 2010

A Night to Celebrate

In the midst of a much needed week off from school, this finally happened.

I can't even begin to say how excited that made me. Tears came to my eyes at about 20%. So close, but two of our dps were down. 15% and another dps died. We had used both our battle rezzes earlier in phase three. It was so close. There was panic in the air, and over vent someone called out, "We just need to get that last three percent." What? We were at 13% already?


11% and I knew we were going to make it.

10% and the rest of us died in a single careless blast from Arthas.

It was epic.

This fight took all we had and then some. We 0nly raid two nights a week, as I've mentioned before. A total of eight hours a week, not counting afk's and people trickling on as much as half an hour late. We're a casual raiding guild, after all. Just 10-mans, and we don't min-max or anything. Okay, we do take it pretty seriously in that we don't want to let each other down, but one of our highest dps doesn't even flask on a regular basis (you know who you are).

For a few weeks now our MO has been to clear ICC on Tuesday and spend all Wednesday on Lich King. The first couple of weeks we hit our heads against the brick wall of phase one over and over. The disease is tricky to manage and took a while to master. Aggro is touchy in phase one, too. A couple of our wipes those first few weeks happened from over-eager dps grabbing aggro at the wrong time. Mostly though? The fault was in us healers who just couldn't keep up.

Our priest went from disc to holy, and that made a HUGE difference. We've seen a lot of guides that encourage disc priests to bubble everyone before infest, but that was time consuming and didn't work well since only two of our healers can cleanse the disease. We had a few bumps on the transition phase, and then phase two kicked our collective asses.

Phase two you have infest, defile, and a val'kyr carrying a random raid member off the edge.

Phase three you trade the val'kyr for being drawn inside Frostmourne...and lemme tell you, that was fun. My first time in there I wiped us because I was trying to remember what a strat video had said about going in there as a tree. Something about interrupting something-or-other. Forget that. Just heal. Trust me, unless you're undergeared that's safer. And if you're undergeared you probably would have died in the process anyway.

The fight is badass. There are a million and one things going on at once, and anything can go wrong. It's about the most fun I've had playing WoW since my first trip into Kara. I'm a little sad that it's behind us now...it makes me want to go back to Ulduar and defeat Algalon. Pretty sure we could, and I want one more shiny title to add to all the rest.

March 29, 2010

State of the Me

I'll get back to this. I swear.

Going to school. Have a job. Losing ground on the whole "being able to raid" thing, though. Work schedule conflicts. I'll be able to raid the next two weeks, but I'll have another dry spell a while after that unless the raiding schedule changes.

Sindragosa is kicking our ass in phase three, and I've only had one night of attempts on her ass. This makes me SAD! But I hope I'll see her at my feet (roots) this week. They deserve that much, and I want to help them get there. I never disconnect in the middle of a long night of attempts because I'm bored. I might get cranky. I might get pissy as all hell. But I don't EVER give up.

In real life.

In WoW.

Don't EVER give up.

February 3, 2010

Well it's fun for me!

Good news, everyone! The slime is flowing again!

It's pretty easy to tell from his voice that Professor Putricide is having loads of fun while trying to kill you and your team. He's not the only one enjoying his job, until we introduce them to the floor.

But we're the players, not the NPCs. What about us?

Imagine, if you will, walking into Marrowgar's room and finding a pile of bones and some loot. What if the Princes declared their undying love to every pretty female toon in the party and showered them with gifts (and sparkles) every week? I don't even want to think about walking up to the Frozen Throne and having Arthas ask if it's comfy and if you'd like to hold Frostmourne and try on his armor a while.

It might seem cool to those less experienced with games for a while.

My nine-year-old would love it.

But after the first week, after the first month, after a year of having everything handed to you...would you still be playing? Would it still be fun?

To have a reward be worth the effort, there must be a challenge. If you don't feel like you've earned it, it's just not rewarding. It's just as true in writing as it is in games. If the reader or the player don't feel that the end was challenge enough, there's no satisfaction in the happily ever after.

Next time you start wondering if it's worth all the flasks, fish feasts, and repair bills, try to remember what the alternative is.

Big smiles everyone! This is fun!

Good news, everyone! I think I perfected a plague that will destroy all life on Azeroth!

January 29, 2010

The hardest thing...

You know one thing that sucks about having so many alts? When the time comes to leave your guild, especially in a huff/to make a point, it's awkward trying to pull the rest of your characters out.

"I'm leaving!"

Log out, log back in on another character.

"And this one, too!"

Log out, log back in on another character.

"And this one."

Log out, log back in on another character.


After the first one, it's not dramatic anymore. It's awkward.

After the third one, it starts to get humorous for those not directly involved in the drama. Your message that you may have thought you were drilling home is now being mocked. Thoroughly mocked.

I've seen it too many times, and my solution was to make my dramatic exit on my main and just wait until the middle of the night to pull the rest.

Yes, I left my awesome guild full of awesome people over the actions of a few. The drama doesn't need to continue so I won't go into it here, but I will say I still feel totally justified. I also feel like I learned a great deal from the experience, and if I'm ever the leader of a large/raiding guild I'll make completely different decisions from those that were made by my previous guild leader.

In other news, I deleted my blood elf rogue and changed to a human. I'll be leveling her as soon as I'm done with my mage (who hit 74 last night). (What? I've been busy lately.)

Last night I had a dream that I was playing a rogue. We were in new content (not ICC, but you know how dreams are) and we were facing a giant of some sort. I was doing 215 dps by brushing his hair, and laughing about it with everyone there.

I mean, who doesn't want to brag about their poor dps while doing something completely silly? And by the time the giant went down, he had NICE hair.

December 24, 2009

Polite Alting

Sadly, I've let all the time I used to spend on this blog get bumped by going back to school. I'm sure people have stopped checking in here, so I'll probably have to build up my reader base again. To anyone who stuck around, thank you! I can't blame anyone who didn't, however. When I started playing, there was a rule in my first guild that was repeated often and I still stick to it. Real life comes first. It sucks sometimes, and it's not much fun, but it's something we've all got to keep in mind.

By the time I finish my assignments, I'm itching to play the game! Not write about it. However, I've missed my little corner of the internet. I don't want my blog to die. To that end, I'm working on inviting another author who knows more about altitis than I do. He's got two accounts full of characters, and more 80s than I can keep track of some days. I'll let him introduce himself when he starts on later.

Enough about me. How about something worth talking about?

If you have multiple characters at max level, you've probably heard some grumbles from others. I've been accused of having no life, or being selfish because I want more loot for more characters. I've had it pointed out that that's why I can't make gold in game, and other things.

It's true. I've got epic and cold weather flying on six characters, and I'm saving up for my seventh. I've got the Little Fawn's Salt Lick on my druid and I'm always looking for more pets. I'm close to maxed on all available professions, and some of them I didn't pat an eye at dropping ridiculous amounts of gold to level. I'm usually out of gold or saving toward a huge purchase.

I love spending that gold on alts, usually for convenience. The day I don't have a goal in game is the day I'll probably stop playing. It might leave me with less on my "main" than other people have on their one and only, but I'm okay with that. This is how I enjoy the game. However, as I said before, there are grumbles.

In order to keep the grumbles to a minimum, I've got some guidelines I like to stick to based on conventions in my guild.

  • Pick a main. This one was HARD after I retired my shaman. Sometimes you get to enjoy the game however you want to. Sometimes your main gets picked for you due to circumstances and raid composition. I fought against having my druid be my main for a very long time, because she was only healing so that we wouldn't have to bench our new group a year ago. Now I couldn't imagine seeing ICC without her going in first.
  • Mains get priority. Don't be selfish. If it's an upgrade for your alt, awesome. If it's an upgrade for someone's main, even if it's less of an upgrade, pass. If an ilevel 245 item drops and you're set to replace your last blue, but someone's main is replacing a 232, respect that person's main. Please.
  • Gems and enchants over extras. Yes, yes. You're 200g away from epic flying on your 27th character, and you can taste that speed boost! But, you won a new staff and bought your t9 legs and they're an upgrade even without gems, enchants, or a spellthread. Take care of your main's gear first, please. New mounts, pets, or increased speed only benefit you, while increasing your main's stats will benefit your friends.
  • Don't be obnoxious. It's fine to ask for people to run you through lowbie instances, or to carry you through heroics when you first hit 80. It's not okay to demand, or expect others to drop everything to help you out right this very second or else. Your alt may be your new favorite, but you'll be everyone's least favorite if you expect everyone to drop everything for your flavor of the month.
Those are the things I can think of off the top of my head. If you have any suggestions of ideas for polite alting, leave a comment!

September 14, 2009

Guild Activities

Into every guild some blah must fall. Blah seems to have hit my guild pretty hard lately, and a friend of mine started talking about guild activities. Years ago, when I first joined HE, someone had asked for suggestions for guild activities, and I remember I jumped at the idea to suggest a few, but it just never happened. I didn't think through all the ins and outs of my ideas, and they weren't viable, or they'd take too much effort to organize.

When I think of large guild activities for fun, I usually think of naked gnome races, or similar things. The one put together and filmed by the guild Sting years ago is one of the things that interested me in the game in the first place. A swarm of naked gnomes, all starting at level one, running from Ironforge to Stormwind. They died a lot, but it still looked like a lot of fun. And, about a year after that, I got to participate in something similar on Moon Guard. This time, though, we raided Hogger as a warmup, and then we took on Orgrimmar. Our goal? Give Thrall a hug.

I've never done so many corpse runs in my life.

It was fun, though! But, it's all been done, and not many people in HE want to create a level one character for that kind of abuse. I've run out of character slots for something like that, too. So, what else?

I've seen a lot of ideas thrown around over the years. Amazing Race across Azeroth. Scavenger hunts of all shapes and sizes. Retro raids. Gift exchanges. Duel championships. All sorts of things can be done.

I was going through old screenshots, though, and remembered an idea I had a LONG time ago. Screenshot hide and seek. Take a screencap of yourself somewhere strange and out of the way, and the first person to submit a shot of their character in the same place wins and gets to pick the next spot. I think that with a few simple rules, like no shots of places you have to exploit to get to, it could make for a fun sort of competition.

At this point I have no idea if anyone in my guild would go for something like that, but if it doesn't happen there I might start doing something like it here. We'll see. I just think it could be a lot of fun.