Posts Tagged ‘socials’

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Learning experiences

March 29, 2011

I was pleased to read the updates on the Greedy Goblin as Gevlon did indeed decide to permit alts in his a-social guild. He also offered some data to suggest that the new Cataclysm experience is no harder than ICC used to be.

I made that prediction myself a while back, and as time passes I think it’s right. Heroic dungeon runs have become easier. Even pugs routinely finish rather than go on interminably. Gone are the raid-length dungeon runs. Even the raids make progress now, and even without my help half the time, the horde guild seems respectable amongst casual guilds as to its progress. That’s good; I don’t want to be the guy they can’t raid without, like the resident guild MT.

It’s never enough for the perfectionists (like the aforementioned MT), but such is life in Azeroth.

On the bright side, I took my holy pally on her first raid, aww! It was a pug raid into Baradin Hold, arguably the entry-level raid, and so I promptly screwed up. I had to adjust for more effective cleansing of debuffs, and the raid had to stand in fire a bit less, no big deal. At least it only took one wipe for everyone to stop with the tomfoolery and pretend it takes some effort. A few more months, and Argaloth will be cake, and they’ll open up a new wing and boss for us to fumble around on.

Kind of bizarre taking Flash of Light off my pally’s main button bar and replacing it with Cleanse. It used to be, well, what holy pallies used. FoL spam no longer. I never use it. Surprisingly, the plain old Holy Light continues to be useful, in spite of what I’d heard. It’s not that fast, it doesn’t heal that much, but if the group can hang on I can cast it all day. And I do.

Still, it is occasionally fun to bust out the Light of Dawn and blast my group with sunshine, or pop Holy Radiance and just ooze healing, or conjure up my rather hostile friend who grunts and yells as he duplicates my heals.

He may be my pal, but he has anger issues. Must be offended that we conjure him up just to keep some folks alive in a heroic dungeon pug.

I like my holy pally. I like the DK more, but healing adds an enjoyable challenge when mad dps bores me.

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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!

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On rewarding loyalty

January 26, 2011

As the horde guild progress begins to stagnate, it’s been interesting to observe how the officer crew handles the problem — well, fails to handle it, really. Guild XP does not meet the daily cap so much these days, since most of the mad leveling is over and people aren’t doing 25 dailies/day to make up for it (as if even that could). So what do they do about it? They tell people to do more guild dungeon runs.

Granted, the resident MT whores himself out to about as many dungeon runs as he can personally attend but it’s one person, one tank. The guild is still spoiled.

I probably contribute a fair bit of daily guild XP from running dailies in Tol Barad on my DK, then questing and such on my alts. That moves the bar. But I have my reasons. The guild identifies a problem — and a solution — but fails to offer any real incentive for the solution. Oh, there’s the real benefit of guild perks, but what if that’s not enough?

Another example: guild achievements. There are achievements for professions, for creating set (large) amounts of profession-related goods. Cooking, fishing, alchemy, all manner of profs in mass production result in achievements, including some useful perks. Cooking unlocks a feast recipe; fishing another; alchemy flasking another perk.

So how do they manage this? Well, again, the officers tell people to simply do things, complain when they don’t. One of them decides to tap the guild bank, buy herbs, make flasks, and sell those, at some profit apparently in the end. Now there’s incentive. Incidentally, she took most of the pain of the crafting away by tapping the bank and not farming herbs. Hey, I’d do that too. If I had access to the bank. And I weren’t working on Darkmoon cards, heh.

This can’t be done for, say, fishing. But we still need to fish up 10,000 fish or whatever. No easy way out there. Now, I can imagine a proper incentive, like a fisher’s fee, fish up X fish and we give you gold for them. If they were clever, they could buy Cataclysm-quality fish, cook and sell them, and maybe even still turn a mild profit while engaging the guild in getting the achievement…

Hmm.

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It’s my guild, it’s every guild

November 10, 2010

This gave me giggle fits after seeing it on WoW Insider, so I may as well inflict it on my friends:

It is my guild, it is every guild. And I have been in a few guilds to see it over and over. I can’t quite figure out which category I fit into, though…I think I qualify for several! I’m definitely not Billy. And don’t say Altoholic, because I am a responsible alt-meister. Even if I do have about 8 80’s or so. Maybe 9…no. Definitely 8. And some of them are alliance.

  1. Know-it-all? Could be…
  2. The Legend? Only Sue can tell.
  3. Mysterious One? This reminds me of Sue at times…
  4. The Couple? heh. no comment.
  5. Lore Freak? Eh, maybe.

And, well…the ventrilo simulation is priceless. Say something hot! Oh wait, she’s 13 and probably the guild leader’s daughter.
/shudder
/perv

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Progress on Sindragosa. heh

October 1, 2010

In contrast to my last week’s fretting over the Shadowmourne quest, we’ve spent time this week just dying over and over on Sindragosa. Sue has remarked how the zen of not caring makes this bearable. Sure, we offer a bit of advice here and there, but mostly I’m just laughing at the variety of slapstick ways in which we wipe on the fight. We’re being destroyed repeatedly by what seem like relatively simple tactics. But getting 25 random folks (well, probably ~15-20 reasonable sorts and ~5-10 morons) to do it right…it’d be painful to watch if I cared.

Sindragosa puts a Frost Beacon on the Ice Tomb targets about 5 seconds before they get entombed. Since Ice Tombs not only damage their targets, but also everyone else in a 10 yard radius, it’s important for the ice tomb targets to move away from all non-targets and from each other. After 20 seconds, she’s dropped all her bombs, lands and resumes Phase 1. At this point, the entombed players start to take damage from asphyxiation. Players are freed from the Ice Tombs by destroying them (~450k HP). They should be damaged to about 10% while she drops the bombs, and quickly destroyed after the fourth bomb has exploded.

A couple things that kill us here: failing to break people out of these tombs (they are getting better at this), and mainly the ‘chain’ effect of ice tomb targets being too close to other raiders and tombing other folks — sometimes lots of them. If it happens again I will have to take a screenshot.

This ice tomb issue becomes more difficult in a later phase of the fight.

Phase 3 starts when Sindragosa is at 35% health. She becomes permanently grounded, and continues all of her abilities from phase 1. Although she stops casting Frost Bombs, Sindragosa continues to cast Frost Beacons and Ice Tombs, which players must use to control her new ability, Mystic Buffet. One stack of this debuff is gained by all players in her line of sight every 4 seconds. Each stack increases magical damage taken by 10%/15% (10/25 player).

In theory the marked raider moves to near the front or the rear of the dragon, clear of the raid, and gets tombed. We then use the ice-block as described to block line of sight, drop our Mystic Buffet, and then break it. In practice, the raiders are having a rather hard time moving from one side to the other; from hiding behind one block at her head, to galloping across the fight/raid to get tombed at her back feet. My favorite wipe on Wednesday was the guild leader dropping a tomb in the middle of the raid. Kaboom, ice cube tray! Such a good thing my voice chat is push-to-talk. They would not appreciate my hysterical cackling.

Not to mention a sizable chunk of the raid either not managing their Mystic Buffet or, apparently, ignoring it entirely! The healers complain so much…I don’t know why they don’t add an extra one, have a dps swap to healing for the fight. It’s been suggested and ignored, of course.

Anyway, I offer advice that mainly gets dismissed, so I just go about my Frost Infusion quest and dps away, routinely one of the last to die. After spending about 3 hours just wiping on this fight on Wednesday, I have to wonder how tonight’s raid will go. If at all.

On Wednesday, one of the better raiders flat out refused to go. On account of him not needing anything from that fight. It was amusing watching the social pressure tactics in action, the frustration evident in the raid leaders as the guy steadfastly refused to be social, helpful. I guess he hit his limit. I would consider doing that myself, were it not for Sue wanting to go, and me wanting this quest done. If they do get it done, I intend not to miss it. After that, the chips — and the Shadowfrost shards — can fall where they may.

Saturday morning edit: As has become typical, events progress in unexpected and amusing ways. The Friday pugs were surprisingly competent for the most part, possibly leaving a few of the regulars embarrassed, if they still have the capacity. The raid actually downed Sindragosa on the 4th or 5th try. And somehow I was the only Shadow’s Edge wielding fanatic to complete the frost infusion quest. I think the tank lost his to the infusion timer. They want to extend the raid again to focus on Lich King-25, which puts me in an odd position for next week. Time marches on.

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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.

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Not dead, but might as well be

August 13, 2010

I find today that Greedy Goblin has come to an unpleasant conclusion about the future of raiding. Well, unpleasant for some. And I realized upon reading it that he was describing my experiences, along with the statistical backup to my personal anecdotes.

Sites like WoW Progress track guild progression (along with pugs like Gevlon’s). You can readily find your rank and figure out where your progression stands compared to everyone else. And what it showed is that his 25-man pug hit the top 1/3 on its first time out, and they only stopped because they ran out of people before they could beat more bosses. They could have done better, and probably will in the future. But them’s the breaks, in pugs and guilds too sometimes.

What does this mean, when the supposed advantage of being in a guild doesn’t apply? When you might as well just pug it?

Blizzard merely acknowledged the fact: most guilds are 25-incapable, and it cannot be fixed by simple nerfing. They nerfed ICC to the ground by the 30% buff and the result is: trade chat pugs progressed to 8/12 and guilds did not. To be 25 capable as a guild, you must be hardcore, or huge. So if Blizzard wants to keep the guilds meaningful (and they want as it is an important selling point to socials and boost-demanding M&S), they can’t continue nerfing. They must scale down raids. Since 10-men and 25-men will give the same loot and share lockout, the raiders will have to choose. For social guilds it’s unthinkable to go with a trade pug instead a guild run. This kills trade pugs since they were formed by good raiders of social guilds.

So: trade chat pugs progressed to 8/12 and guilds did not. The horde guild I’m in has progressed, technically, to 10/12 and 1/12 heroic, although they may not do that every week; boss #10 (blood queen) they just got a couple days ago, after all. I suppose Gevlon would call this guild hardcore, though I wouldn’t. Many of the trade pugs don’t take two days to accomplish what they do, since most of them couldn’t possibly reform on another day.

Looking at the guild I’m in now, I can see how they progressed during the gradual increase of the Icecrown buff of pity, although I didn’t arrive until pretty late in the run.

5% (applied March 2nd): They were at 4/12, no change during March.
10% (March 30th): They went up to 6/12 during April.
15% (April 27th): They went up to 8/12 during May.
20% (May 25th): They went up to 9/12 during June.
25% (June 22nd): No change during July. No help from me, ha!
30% (July 20th): Picked up the Blood Queen 25 kill on Wednesday.

There’s no point at which the buff increases and a boss goes down right after. At least a couple weeks pass before anything changes. The essential point remains; even after the huge buff, trade pugs can equal or do better than the efforts of most guilds. And it does explain why Blizzard chose to do the 10/25 shared lockout.

To really kill the 25-man raid, though, they would actually have to stop making the content. Social guilds will continue to feel the pressure from their socialites to keep running 25-mans. There will be some conflict between them and the competent raiders who want to actually finish the raid content in 10s, but this is social crap. I expect the socials will win most of those fights. Besides, 25-mans allow more room for the teeming multitudes of dps that won’t or can’t learn to do something more useful.

Perhaps he should have called it ‘the end of trade pugs’. Or perhaps ‘the end of social 10-mans’. I wonder if competent raiders in these guilds will be able to resist the social urges to run the 25 and do worse on progression. I wonder if I’ll be able to. I get this futile notion that the KOTOR MMO would be a great escape, but I doubt it…the social disease is everywhere.