Rage of the Firelands Week 2 – To be on time is to be late…

One thing about 10 man raiding, you really have to depend on your team to show. Especially tanks and healers. In 25 man raiding, you generally have a larger bench which equals more options if RL interferes.

Last night we found ourselves waiting on a OT who had signed up on the calendar for last night’s planned Firelands run. After grabbing a DK Tank friend of one of our new members, we plowed ahead through the 45 mins of trash and a repeat Shannox kill. Sadly, this only left us enough time for 3 attempts on Beth’tilac and no new kill in week 2.

Raiding etiquette 101 – Sign up, show up, or please communicate. Nine other people are sacrificing their time to be their. Show them some courtesy.

Hopefully, Tuesday’s run will start on time and we’ll get some work done in the new Tier12 content. 🙂

Happy Raiding!

Rage of the Firelands Week 1: Trash and Shannox

My first adventure in the new tier of raiding was the Saturday after release. After a two month raid break at the end of Tier 11, the six of us still interested in raiding from our original team were starting to feel the raiding bug again.

The trash in Firelands is actually pretty fun. Thank goodness because there is a lot of it. On our first night with a couple PUGs from trade (we actually recruited an old raidmate that night searching for a home), we saw the strength trinket, caster staff, and a crossbow. Loot is great, but it was fun to be running with the guys again.

On Sunday, we ventured in on our first main raid. We brought along a Pally to replace our friend who gained a new work schedule during our break. After a good trash clear and 4 attempts, we managed to down Shannox. (Yay new dagger!) Beth’tilac didn’t drop in our first two attempts, but we were at the end of our allotted 3 hours.

Not too shabby a return for a half new team. I’m looking forward to week two starting tonight!

 

Happy Raiding!

Intermission

Word on the street with a lot of raiding guilds this month seems to be that things are on a downturn. Think U.S. housing market 2009.

I know our current 10 man team is having trouble with the desire to push on to 4.2. We took a vote and decided that taking a complete break until the Firelands would probably spell disaster as far as a solid team is concerned. So we’ve opted to chug a long. We dropped our raid night down to one night a week, cut out our alt run, and elected to not worry about clearing heroic modes.

These decisions may not seem like a big deal, but coming from a group of former top 50 hardcore raiders going casual isn’t always easy. The main group has been raiding together in one form or another since Molten Core. The rest of us were added to the gang during Sunwell progression.

Is it us or the game? We probably do fit the “aging gamer” model. We’ve all been playing since the first year of launch. We’ve moved from being carefree college gamers to mid-20’s to 30’s professionals. I’m not sure that WoW in it’s “glory days” would hold our attention in the same way it did in 2004.  Also, we’re unwilling to run the 10 + 30% bench that would be required. We have 10 people. It’s all or nothing baby.

A few things that for me would make the game a bit more playable:

1. Shorter heroics – I don’t care if the hardcores think I’m bad. I don’t want to spend 2-3 hours in a pug heroic instance. It’s not fun, it’s tedious. Plus, I’m unwilling to make the time.

2. Tol Barad – If this zone was anything remotely like Wintergrasp, I’d probably log on for a game a day.

3. 10 man Heroic Difficulty – We can clear 12/12 normal tier 11 in 1.5 to 2 hours. With half drunk people. On all but Halfus, we were running into solid walls on our heroic attempts. About a month ago, we checked to see how many guilds had cleared Heroic 10 man worldwide it was around 30 mostly Asian. In the US, that achievement dropped to 3. Uh yeah. We can read the writing on that wall.

In the interim, I’ve played through some Star Trek Online, reduced my 5K completion time by about 3 mins, and enjoyed some spring bonfire cookouts. Win. Win. For me anyway. Whether or not Blizzard will continue receiving subscription dollars from me when SWTOR comes out, remains unknown.

Internet Anonymity – Conduct in a Virtual World

On Thursday, the GM of my guild kicked over 400 members. Unfortunately, I was at work and didn’t see the actual drama unfold which involved some abuse of GMOTD (guild message of the day) as well as a general guild “catfight” over lack of monetary distribution and failure to provide access to game content on the guild level.

The result was the mass kick of around 400 people from a guild that hit 25 only 3 weeks ago. The drama may have ended there after a few days of server wide trade chat complaining and possibly a call out on the server forums (does anyone even use the new style?). However, our leader’s rage was not assuaged by the kicking. He wrote out his feelings in a diatribe posted on the main page of our site. It didn’t take long for the letter to be linked both on the general WoW forums as well as MMO Champion. It was one of those shots heard round the internet, or at least heard around the WoW community. “The incident” has now made its way to my twitter feed, and been linked by several blog sites.

I have experienced a myriad of emotions over the issue. On one hand, I’m on the last leg of my journey through Azeroth. It takes more and more effort to pull away from RL (real life) things that are currently holding my attention and log on for my scheduled 10 man or arena matches with my WoW buddies. On the other, I’ve truly enjoyed my time with these guys. Of the 10 of us, I’ve played with 8 off and on in hardcore 25’s since Sunwell in late-BC, and I’m married to the other one. Sure, it can be challenging raiding with a bunch of dudes. They can be assholes sometimes, and they enjoy “ribbing” each other. We all enjoy the occasional beer or 20 on a raid night sometimes to the detriment of the content being worked on. A regular bunch of WoW “joes” rambling through 10 man content.

Anyway, the whole thing really did grow out of a joke. At first, we didn’t give them guild chat access, but that felt cruel so we turned it on. Created a bank tab, created some forums, answered silly questions, prevented people from typing in all caps in chat. As time wore on, we, the original raid team, finished 12/12 raid content to the point that we could do it in one 3 hour session instead of 2 nights. The gold was rolling in from our sales of BoE epics from Tier 11 content (NOT from the guild perk). There was an increase in gold begging, run begging, silly question asking. We booted repeat or extreme offenders and kept chugging along. We started running an alt run on the other night, and started pulling in a few of our well liked guild members.

I’d like to state now for the record that we NEVER, EVER, EVER took herbs, gold or any kind of mats from any of these people to support our raiding activities. This misconception in the whole thing makes me laugh and irritated. Anyone who would think this has never been on a raid team. Of the 10 of us, we have 8 people with 6 alts with epic flying earned long before Cataclysm ever launched. We didn’t need to steal money from these people. Learn to AH.

Alt runs weren’t enough for them. We promoted officers from their ranks as he stated. Gave them forums. Posted our strats in strat threads. Hosted rated battleground nights (that 3 people out of 400 showed up for). The push to 25 came, and with much begging, pleading and cajoling the 8 of us willing to run heroics to push our level managed to split up and get some of the running with us. For the most part, indifference.

After 25, our GM had pretty much had enough as had most of the founding members. Guild chat was a mess, the natives were hitting 85 and were restless, but were too lazy to do anything without hand holding. I used to be extremely patient with newer players, with jerky players, with anyone, but after seeing the garbage that this game community is capable of producing, I say YOU WANT THEM TAKE THEM.

The day after we hit 25, we kicked all inactives of a week or more, we did an analysis of who we thought made good guild members and who were unsalvageable, and we compared that to who we believed actually contributed to our vast viral community. We created two ranks. For PC (politically correct, even though you probably think most of us incapable of that by now) purposes, we’ll call the ranks “Staying” and “Going.” Those of the “Going” rank were informed that they were at the mercy of the leadership’s rage and might want to consider a new homestead.

This all came to a head this past Thursday night, there was an abuse of GMOTD privileges, a general “You don’t do anything for us” outcry from the masses, and an answering “fine get out” kick from our GM.

Was the language of the dismissal letter inappropriate? Yes. Should we have never let things get this out of control? Yes. Did I disagree with turning on guild chat and perpetuating this from the beginning? Yes.

I feel like I should feel more sorry and don’t, and to be perfectly honest that doesn’t make me want to quit this guild. It makes me even more tired of what this game and its community have become.

I will not miss being called a jerk for not passing out epic flying money, being called mean for refusing to teach someone how to play or telling them to stop “grats”ing every, little thing. I am just as happy to get my quiet, mellow environment back. I just didn’t go all beserker rage and get linked by a person who was in the guild for one week after we hit 25.

Five years ago, I’d have been mortified to be associated with the whole thing. Now the disgust goes both ways. The message for the masses? Be careful, and don’t join guilds from /2.

Oh and for the people on our server saying they don’t want to run with us? We don’t PUG crap ,so we don’t care if you don’t want to run with us. GLHF.

Peace and good luck building communities out of the social waste area.

I do read back through this and think….where did this cynical, dbag come from….the difference in my own outlook is astounding.

Story of a guild

Read this article about a guild that attended Blizzcon together in the LA Times:

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/la-et-warcraft9-2009sep09,0,1886997.story?page=1

Interesting. My guild really doesn’t do the real life thing together. To me, it’s just a fun time thing. My vacations are still go away with the family, etc. I think this really shows that the communities and internet friendships that are built are what keeps a game going regardless of content or gear….

Raid journeys

Ah the changing of seasons, the shift in raid teams…with the fall raiding season starting up we had a bit of the changing of the guard. With a new raid instance on the table and our work to finish the last 3 achievements for our 25 man Ulduar meta, this brings challenges to overcome.

We finished up Freya hardmode (Knock, Knock, Knock on Wood) at the beginning of September, and we finished Trial of the Crusader on the night Anub’arak became available. Our current progression work finds us splitting time between learning the Northrend Beasts encounter of Trial of the Grand Crusader, and working on our Ulduar meta. This is where the new availability to extend raid ID’s really helps our guild.

We have a 9 hour a week schedule, our time is precious and we try to make very good use of it. I’m very proud of what my guild accomplishes in their short schedule. Raids are fun, fast, efficient, and relatively drama-free.

On the menu:

1. Firefighter – Mimiron’s Hard Mode

2. I Love the Smell of Saronite in the Morning – General Vezax’s Hard Mode

3. One Light in the Darkness – Yogg Saron with one Keeper’s Buffs

4. Clearing Heroic 25 Trial of the Grand Crusader

Tirion just talks so much….we need a FF button. 🙂

Hints at Icecrown Citadel

In the midst of a post on “tanking niches,” Blizzard developer Ghostcrawler threw out a hint about what could possibly await us in the final raid instance of the Wrath expansion:

“players have visions of the DK who parks outside of Icecrown until boss 4, 17 and 31 (yes, IC is that big)”

Full post can be viewed here:

http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=19110293530&sid=1&pageNo=7#127

Thirty-one? Good Grief. Sarcasm or serious? I guess we’ll find out. It’s possible more information on Icecrown Citadel as well as the future expansion will come out at next week’s Blizzcon in Anaheim, CA.

My guild immediately launched into speculation on what the 31 bosses could possibly be. Our raid leader wins the guessing game with the following submission:

“Arthas cannot be launched, please try again later.”

Enjoy your adventures!

I’m working on a Wrath banner, not using paint…I swear!

Raiding Rants and Raves

Raiding can be one of the most fun aspects of an MMORPG like WoW. However, it can also be one of the most frustrating. You have to depend on other people to enjoy the game, and just like in real life they aren’t always prepared, dependable, or showing signs of brain wave activity. There are awesome, hilarious, fun moments as well. If this is not your first trip to the RR blog, you know I love the lists…incoming Raiding with Respect *zoooomm*

RogueRaider’s Tips to Raiding with Respect

Yes, WoW is JUST a game. One thing you have to remember when you decide to commit to a guild’s raid schedule is that you are affecting the fun of the game for 9, 24, or however many people….

1-If you sign up, show up.

You’d think this would be common courtesy. Sure real life emergencies happen, but I doubt they happen once a week. If they do, some life changes are definitely in order.

2-Don’t ninja log.

In other words, don’t just randomly fake a disco to get out of raid. If you need/want to bail, be upfront about it and LEAVE the instance so you aren’t taking up raid replacement space.

3-Keep loud exclamations on vent to a minimum.

I wear my headphones most of the time for a raid. I don’t need you to quicken the deafening process. It’ll be fast enough.

4-If you’re reaching burnout, take a break.

Trust me. Your guildmates would rather see you take a step back for a couple days, weeks, months then continue to raid, gear up, and randomly go psycho one day.

5-It’s a game. Enjoy it.

Most burnout, flip out, psycho drama happens when everyone forgets we’re playing a game. We’re all PAYING to play a game. Enjoy it or change things it’s all about choices.

I’m not going to put one about show up prepared, knowing what to do, all that jazz. That’s a given to even get or keep a raid spot now days. Common courtesy shouldn’t be dead, and just because someone is far away behind an avatar isn’t an excuse to be an asshat.

Enjoy the Reset! Happy Raiding!

Now showing…..number six

 

M’uru, the guild killer. M’uru, the disconnector. M’uru, the account canceller. The boss of TBC raiding that even with a nerf requires perfectly executed raiding precision from every single raid member.

 

I saw you fall this week.

 

The vent went about like this:

3% – 2% – 1% – 1% – Healthstones, Healthstones! – Burn him! Burn it! Down! Down! OMG!

 

Kil’jaeden, you are next. It looks like I get to finish this story before the expansion hits after all. My first view of the Sunwell, and Kil’jaeden’s emergence was Monday. From the ramp leading down to the way KJ appears, good job Blizzard on a fight that feels like an epic battle for the fate of the world.

 

Favorite M’uru Learning Moments (also known as things that make you want to delete)  

  1. After a night of excellent progress on the phase one to two transition, the raid leader calls out that we should have him tonight if we don’t have any disco issues. He starts the countdown to pull, and at four the Main Tank goes offline.
  2. The guilt of causing a wipe due to an aggro pull death on the door adds.
  3. The fun of the “near side” (aka start) door and mage LoS issues.

 

Rogues and WoW Raiding – Destined to be Guildless?

On this morning’s WoW forum visit, I stealthed my way over to the General Discussion forums. The lament of the day is from a 70 Undead Rogue named, Gankurface. His chief concern is the availability of Rogue spots in WoW raiding guilds. You can view his post here: Rogues and Guild Recruitment.

 

Now, I could be an elitist jerk (their trademark, not mine), and point out the error of his ways (vendor gems are bad, mmmkay?), but I’ll refrain and hit on the real concerns of the Rogue raiding community and how Rogues find our place in raiding guilds.

 

Concerns, Challenges, and the Changes to the Raid Game

 

The first concern for the “I want to raid” Rogue is that the Rogue class in WoW offers no raidwide buff giving them no raid utility other than DPS. In TBC raiding, Rogues have had their spot as the top damage dealers challenged by Warlocks and Hunters depending on the encounter. There are several fights in end game raiding where an entire phase of a fight does not allow the Rogue to capitalize on the strength of being the strongest single target DPS class. This change can make for more interesting raiding, but lessens the raid usefulness of the class as a whole. Also, with the change from 40 man to 25 man raiding in the first expansion, the number of each class needed in a raid dropped dramatically. Most raiding guilds take a maximum of 2 rogues in any given raid which means there’s only bench warmer space for 1 to 2 rogues.

 

So how does a Rogue surmount these challenges? As one of the most played classes in the game, what can a Rogue do to grab that elusive, rare spot in a raiding guild? Here’s what I’ve learned during my stint as a raiding Rogue in TBC:

 

RR’s Quick Protips for Finding a Rogue Raiding Spot

-Know your class

Research, research, research. Being a raider is more than spamming your sinister strike key. You have to know the ins and outs of your class. Your best combat rotation, the game mechanics behind how your stats work, and what you should concentrate on for gear and consumables. Your best friend will be the Elitist Jerks forum (EJ).

 

Know it, love it. Become a legend. A rogue cannot afford to be mediocre. Being decent isn’t good enough, you have to be great. Make sure you are in PvE gear and fully gemmed and enchanted with PvE DPS gems and enchants before you even start applying to raiding guilds.

 

-Make friends

Is there a great rogue on your server? Study their gear on the armory. Ask well-phrased questions. Sure, they may turn out to be a jerk, or you may learn something. Go on PuG runs – 5 man dungeons, heroics, Karazhan, ZA, even Tier 4 & 5. There are lots of runs available as TBC raiding heads into the home stretch before Wrath of the Lich King is released. If you’ve studied the class and impress, you never know who might throw you a guild trial without apping.

 

Good luck out there Rogues. I know it can be a cold, cruel raiding world. With a little work however, you can become legendary. With or without Warglaives of Azzinoth.