Posts Tagged ‘hardcore’


Two months later…

November 1, 2012

Well, this is sad to admit, but today I dropped my Secret World subscription. Mitigating the damage to my bank account, heh. Although their servers have been affected by the big storm, that isn’t the reason. Mainly, it was running out of interesting things to do. After finishing the second quest area in Egypt and most of the third, Transylvania, I can see the end coming and it’s standing around in limbo, searching for groups to run harder content. After burning out on WoW raiding, I’m not sure that I’m ready to get back into that grind again. If I do, I think I’d rather go back to WoW. That at least I understand.

Anyway, neat game, I definitely liked what I saw. But the content to keep going doesn’t seem to be there, aside from being pushed into group or pvp play, so I’ll go back to SWTOR or find something else to do. I suppose it was worth the price for a couple months’ worth of fun.


A taste for raiding

March 3, 2011

This week in WoW has been a strange one. Although I have not been raiding with the horde guild more than once a week lately, this week it’s been twice (maybe a third time on Friday, I’m sure they will ask). And although my death knight’s gear suffers from a lack of raids and daily heroics, and is not the epitome of awesome, and DKs got nerfed in the last patch, somehow he still manages to put out the DPS. The guild officers continue to seek me out for it.

Even I was a little shocked at some of it. What is with the Icy Reprisal buff on the Ascendant Council? Cripes. Maybe everyone will DPS like that if they could just stay alive. I have to hand it to the DK, he is good at not being dead DPS.

It’s nice to see that the guild has sorted out whatever healing problems they had early on and is progressing decently — for a casual guild that has trouble fielding a single 10-man, much less with a dedicated group, anyway. Granted, I affect that dedicated group by, well, allowing my own sense of ‘hardcore’ to atrophy.

And yet I couldn’t help being a little pleased to participate in their first kill of Maloriak, and see how the guild’s ranking has improved. Being 6/12 in 10s is nothing special, really. The Greedy Goblin’s guild is up to 9/12 with no attendance requirements, but they seem to have more participating raiders, more inventive tactics, greater skill.

I was amused to read today about them tackling the two-mob pack in front of Magmaw with one tank and succeeding. That pair of mobs is designed for two tanks, of course, and punishing for a raid that only has one. But, no attendance requirement, and they mean it! More interesting were the comments on the ‘farm raid’. I guess that by going more often on Tuesdays, it’s what I end up doing. And in a social guild, they have no tools to handle or punish failure, as the goblins and the hardcore guilds do. I have even less incentive for progression raiding than I used to.

I guess I was just that bored yesterday, to go in for a second day.

As for tonight, it’s wolfie day and we may get the worgen duo up to level 58. This week or next. Outland beckons! With its comical mismatched armor and silly quests.

It's not me!


The expectation game

January 11, 2011

It’s interesting to see how the new guild levels and perks have changed how the individual relates to a guild. Pug raids seem to be a thing of the past, now; what calls I do see are for a pug or two to fill out a guild group. At the same time, I seem adrift in the role of disinterested observer, unsure if I want to commit to raiding again — although I have gone on a couple of raids, it’s primarily been through ninja invites and dishonest tactics by the officer crew.

There exists a certain pressure amongst these casual guilds, it seems, to keep up with the Joneses. A sort of embarrassment at not being able to say ‘we’ve downed boss X, Y and Z’ instead of the reality (none, so far). Some fear, perhaps, that some of the more hardcore types will /gquit if the guild doesn’t produce some boss kills and purples for them. This is the expectation game.

The relative handful of hardcore types in the guild produce most of this pressure. The rest comes from the sense of entitlement many others seem to feel. They’ve hit 85, they’ve done some heroics; the raid bosses should surrender their goodies like the proverbial prom night score. My sweetie refers to this as the Wrath mentality — expecting to be able to play the game like it played in WotLK. Heroics as facerollers. These opening raids like Naxxramas. And Naxx was easy. Wasn’t it?

Of course not. Naxx became easy; it didn’t start that way. Though I was not there for the opening raids (I was leveling/gearing a DK, and then my priest), by the time I had raid-ready toons the sense of where to begin was still shaking out. Heroics weren’t that easy; some of them stayed hard till pretty late in the game, or until Oculus got nerfed, heh. And then there were the new ones, like Halls of Reflection. The newest raids, like Ruby Sanctum. Very hard and somewhat unrewarding.

As part of that Wrath mentality, she wonders if the Blizzard devs were showing us the future with those dungeons and that raid. Perhaps she’s right.

So now, we’re five weeks in, and the guildies who are raiding (not me, mostly) know a little about a lot. I’ve been suckered into attending a few times, and what I see is painful. Hours of wiping. Strategies that will supposedly work, and then they don’t. Watching the officers tweak things and generally flail about. It’s hard to learn much of anything from an encounter that only lasts about a minute, even thirty seconds before it starts to fall apart.

At the same time, she questions whether it’s going to be any fun to submit to the next couple years of raiding, if this is all there is — a quick trip to 85, some dungeon warmup exercises, and then dive into raid instances. For years. The prereqs seem so much shorter. Admittedly, I lack the additional delay I had in Wrath of having to level the DK to 70 first, whereas the non-DK ‘mains’ started at 70 rather than my 55. But that only added about a week for me.

I’ve done the tank thing, the raid leader thing, and the officer thing before. I know what they could be doing better, what I’d do if it were me. It’s not me in charge, nor do I particularly want it to be. And since I’m not in charge, I don’t speak up much. We only set aside a few days where we could raid…and we needn’t do it. If we don’t make some kind of decision I expect the guildies will stop asking after awhile, and move on without us. There’s enough game to play without raiding that we could be at it for a long while, and when that gets old, well. Maybe it’ll be time to set it aside.

So we’re on the cusp of that decision: commit to more raiding, and all that it entails, prep work and study and arguing with folks, the ‘second job’ problem nobody likes, in return for the challenge and reward of raiding; or just screw it, don’t play that game of expectation. Should be an interesting week.


On skill and gear

December 27, 2010

Skill > gear is the usual construction of the argument I see. With the horde guild’s renewed interest in raiding some few weeks since Cataclysm arrived, naturally there must be some explanation for the miserable failures last week. And no one likes to think of themselves as unskilled at this game. Makes one feel a bit moronic. Deflates the ego. So I can say with some certainty that I am not skilled at the new raid encounters.

Skill at one’s class in general doesn’t necessarily translate into skill at a particular encounter. Especially when said encounter is part of a brand new dungeon one’s never seen, or even read about, or watched some video for it. This is where we found ourselves last week; and this is where I expect the guild will find itself for some time. So, I took the plunge and declined the scheduled raid times for this week.

The game is hardly lacking for things to do. And I see little value in racking up repair bills in the name of ‘learning the fight.’ I can build my characters more productively spending those three hours running random dungeons instead. Freaking Archaeology would be time better spent.

Some time ago, in the Lich King era, I read about the Greedy Goblin’s Undergeared project with interest. This was when blue gear meant not using the myriad ways to acquire easy epics in the WotLK era; epics mean…a little more now than they used to, but we’ll see how long that lasts. But in blue gear, they took on and beat a bunch of Icecrown Citadel bosses, the ‘new’ heroics like Halls of Reflection; they raided Naxxramas, Ulduar, just about every raid encounter in WotLK that I could tell.

In Naxx, his theory was that Naxx 10 rewarded item level 200 epics, and thus was for people who wanted/needed that…meaning they were wearing blue gear.

The Undergeared project was the stuff of comedy for quite awhile. In the era of ‘welfare epics’ raining from the sky, heroic dungeon speed runs, and ICC pity buffs, it was profoundly amusing to me to participate in raids that could not down bosses while the Undergeared folks in their blue gear could get it done.

But they had skill. Lacking the crutch of epics out the wazoo, their raid composition had to be flawless. They had to make no mistakes. They had to devise new and innovative ways to use their relatively nerfed toons to optimum effect. Skill > gear …when you have the skill. And right now, we clearly lack gear! So where does that leave us?

Blackwing Descent appears to drop item level 359 epics, meaning it’s theoretically designed to challenge raiders who want that. Data from Wowhead seems to suggest that raiders will graduate from ilvl 346 heroic blues to ilvl 359 epics, with ilvl 372 versions available from the heroic or ‘hard mode’ raids.

I’m not counting the PvP rewards; I don’t think we’re expected to do that as raid prep. I should count the ilvl 359 epics that we can acquire with valor points from running daily heroics, it’ll take awhile but it is sort of a bridge. There’s also some crafted epics out there.

So the progression may rightly be seen as 85 normal dungeon pieces -> 85 heroic dungeon pieces -> valor point purchases/crafted epics/Blackwing Descent drops. Yet the horde guild waltzes in there with whoever will go, in whatever gear they have on, and expects to learn the fight and win.

My death knight’s DPS gear is close to optimal. Not all there yet, but close. I was asked to tank instead, because of course no other tanks are supported in any way, they’re just expected to grow on trees I guess. Likewise for everyone else. They just assume that everyone who signs up to raid is just as hardcore as, say, the resident MT.

I’ve climbed the hardcore mountain, and I know I don’t have it in me to keep doing that. I did it, and I know I could do it, and that’s enough for me. I wish I knew who these guys in the horde guild think they’re kidding. It’s not a hardcore guild. But the few people who are…and there’s always a few…cannot avoid this trap. Expecting everyone else to be up to their standard. And they’re not.

It is a social failing, I suppose, to talk of gear and skill as if, well, everyone is skilled, it’s just bad luck. Just have to learn the fight and it’ll be ok. Mind you, ‘learning the fight’ is a euphemism for gaining skill. Some time down the line, I am sure we will actually beat these encounters. And I am just as sure that nobody will associate those wins with better gear. In the abstract they can talk skill all day! But up close and personal, it is rarely said.

In the hardcore guild I was in some time ago, of course…that is exactly what was said. As good old Kologarn used to say back in Ulduar, YOU FAIL!


Keystone raiders

December 22, 2010

In a particularly laughable fit of optimism, the horde guild led its first raid into Blackwing Descent, the entry-level raid instance for Cataclysm. We got a look at Magmaw, one of the first bosses you can reach.

I can’t really say more than that about the actual fight, because the rest was searing pain.  🙂

The almost religious fervor of some of my guildies strikes me as familiar, if only for the degree of cognitive dissonance it must require. The typical refrain of easiest boss, shouldn’t be hard, mechanics not gear, learning experience…well, in fairness there was one learning experience on the trash. And it is always fun to witness the guild gripe about the lack of tanks after everybody clamors to go everywhere with the resident MT. They don’t even try to build up a few necessary offtanks. They simply assume that somebody will show up and do it. That ended up being me.

But it quickly became clear that we had no chance in hell at downing this boss, so after being roped into the hopeless raid I diverted more of my attention to watching Tosh.0 reruns than the reruns of…fight starts, pillar of flame, ranged/healers drop like flies, wipe…rinse, repeat. As if practice will somehow permit the ranged DPS to…DPS harder, I guess. I don’t know what the thinking is. It isn’t logical, whatever it is.

Tonight they plan to hit it again, perhaps look at a different boss fight — this is after claiming Magmaw would be the easiest, of course — so I may just alt-F4 out of there and watch a movie, or play an alt, maybe just decline. The gearcheck premise is something of a crutch, but I would be more comfortable being forced to OT with some better gear and more experience at it. They might be better served by splitting up into two heroic groups, stand to benefit more…they are seldom that sensible, however. But I can be.


Do not trivialize me!

December 14, 2010

…says the average Cataclysm heroic. I get the impression from the small handful of heroic dungeons I’ve run with the horde guild, now that my DK is level 85 and has meh-to-ok gear (utter baseline item level for heroics). Having this basic level of competence/leveling/gear down makes me a candidate for guild heroic runs. I get whispers from them daily, it seems. Random? Now this week, Heroic?

The resident MT, probably on account of hurrying to 85 ahead of us and dungeon grinding, may need the heroic gear. Or he’s pushing for achievement bragging rights. Or he’s just relentlessly optimistic — he’s definitely that, to the point of making me laugh hard and often.

Take for example the Stonecore. What can I say about these boss fights? I have to wonder if I will be laughing about them in a year. Is the gear going to give us that much health? And I think, well…yeah, probably. For now they are…rather deadly!

The first boss is a worm that has a burrowing phase. It periodically leaps out of the ground and back down again. Anybody who gets caught in that dies. Anybody. The second boss drops stalactites from the ceiling during an air phase and they will kill you dead. So will the blasting AOE it does if you don’t stand behind those stalactites. The third boss does a ground slam that will one-shot a tank standing in it and a shatter that will kill anyone standing too close when it goes off. The final boss does a force grip on the tank that can easily kill him and levitates huge rocks around that can kill anyone hit by them.

Death on a stick. Wipe after wipe. Meanwhile the guild MT is cheery. I’m sure we’ll get this. We just have to learn. I know; and yet by the third boss and the second (or third) port out to repair, one of the DPS gave up and left ‘before he got upset’. I think he was already upset.

Meanwhile I’m thinking, we’ve had shorter raids than this. I could have run how many regular dungeons by now? Three? More? Even with a bad DPS queue.

I think I go on these dungeon runs of pain just for the humor of it. I don’t understand this, he says. On my last run we nearly one-shotted this boss. And then on the next few tries he dies to the worm’s burrowing.

The final boss we killed after several tries, and on the last try, the tank was down and me and the mage in the group finished her off. What can I say? I find a lot of things funny lately…but I don’t think they are. It occurs to me that I missed this phase of the game in WotLK, in that I was leveling the DK while the others were already at 80 on their mains, testing out the early LK-era heroics.

Maybe I’ll go level the priest alt tonight.


Imminent cataclysm

September 21, 2010

I’m expecting an interesting couple of raiding days with the DK this week, thanks to the ambition of our raid leader. After watching them struggle for weeks to down the Blood Queen again with the RL (and later, a second aspirant) trying to complete their Blood Infusion quests for Shadowmourne, they finally finished it last week. I was participating in the raids too, of course, but that quest is one I’ve done months ago.

In spite of my advice that the dps-lowering debuff from the axe makes a tough fight tougher, that we can barely drop her as it is and the group needs more practice…these two yahoos exhibited zero patience in practicing the fight, training and gearing their fellows, or any other positive virtue that I could identify. And so we’ve spent the last few weeks wiping, lots, on the Blood Queen. Toward the end of that joust with a windmill, I think we clocked in around 3 hours a week of straight BQ attempts and wipes. Like an hour and a half a day.

I expect that next on their greedy to-do list will be my old bane, Frost Infusion. The one even I couldn’t get done back in my hardcore days earlier in the year. I would be surprised if they don’t gun for Sindragosa now, and as much as possible, until they can get her down while performing the quest. Sadly, if they demonstrate this senseless greed, I will too. If they’re going to punish us all, I may as well take my piece.

I mean, I’ve had the quest for most of the year. I’ve seen Shadowmournes out there and it’s a cool weapon. Even more interesting with its buff and unique graphics.

You can power up sucking out the souls of your enemies and walk around with anguished-looking spirits swirling around you, you’re like a mini Lich King. Sure, I’d like it. But with the casuals Sue and I have thrown our lot in with, it’s not going to happen.

This doesn’t stop them from trying, of course. But they fail to do the math. We’ll have the penalty of questers getting debuffed and slowed, not to mention lowered dps from trying to get breathed on repeatedly instead of killing the internet dragon. Poor dps from us, more stress for the healers, yay! This on top of the fact that the guild hasn’t even dropped the boss once. Difficulties with knowing the fight mechanics and tactics. Always pugging a few people who don’t know the fight or the particular way we do it. I expect we will die. Horribly. Repeatedly. For weeks.

I’m probably being overly optimistic in thinking we can finish that process of pain and suffering in a month, but it could happen. That we might be on to the next step by the end of October. And thencollecting Shadowfrost Shards. 50 apiece, and all three of us would be clamoring for them. I hope we don’t get that far in time, honestly. It’s the sort of thing that could lead to serious drama, injustice, gkicks…like if the esteemed raid leader reaches the pinnacle of greed and demands the first fifty for himself. Would an otherwise friendly-seeming fellow take such a plunge? Would the guild leader and their officer clique back him up? Would they risk friendships and reputations for one last chance at the orange axe?

Ha! Do you even have to ask? Yeah, I’m that cynical.

Cataclysm, you’re our only hope. I’ve heard rumors that it could release November 2nd. That would be wonderful. The sooner the better. It’s either that or bow out of the raids for awhile, let them struggle on in my absence, maybe look up a horde-side raid that sells gear and quest completions…do an end-run around the conflict. Although it would mean bailing on one of my activities with Sue, it might be better to disarm this potential drama-trap.

Turned out to be quite the curse, this axe. Even when I stop caring about it, the drama pulls me back in.  🙂

Thursday morning edit: I’m happily wrong this week; the raid went on going after the blood wing on Wednesday. Although this pissed off a pugger shaman when they didn’t get to see the plague wing (must be some loot they wanted there), we spent half as long wiping on BQ and beat her on the last attempt. So, we’ll probably do some lame tries on Sindragosa on Friday with the whatever-we-can-get pug crowd and fail miserably. Hopefully that trend continues until the end of the xpac.