Wednesday, April 29, 2009

What do YOU find important?

A while ago you could read about Samsara’s efforts in Naxx25 with a raiding coalition. In the end it didn’t work out, so 25-mans were out the window for a while. But now we’re back, this time with a full Samsaran force.

However, as we make our first steps into 25-man content, it's become apparent that some aspects of raiding have to be looked at, perhaps even revised. After all, 25-man content is very different from 10-man content, even if the dungeon is the same. Several aspects of raiding are under discussion right now, and it has made me think:

What do I find important in raiding?

Every person is different, and thus everyone has a different view of how things should go and what is important. I’ve always been one of the middle road, seeking balance between both extremes. If I had to classify myself, I’d have to say I’m a fun-seeking progression raider. I want to progress, I want to see new things, I want to beat the bosses. But it’s still a game, not a job. If I can’t have fun, count me out.

Ever since I’ve started raiding, I’ve been aching to see more. I set a personal goal for myself: to be a part of the progression team without sacrificing my life outside WoW. It’s a hard goal to reach, and even harder to maintain.

Keeping that “profile” in mind, I can sum up things that are important to me while raiding.

Professionalism would be the major one. I love a joke as much as the next guy (and more often than not I’m one of the people making them), but when starting a raid I set my mind to the goal at hand: clearing the raid instance, and doing my utmost best as a member of the raid group. Preparation is a big part of that. It’s my belief that, as soon as the raid starts:

- You’ve repaired your gear
- You’ve bought all your buff food, flasks, scrolls, reagents and whatever else you need.
- You’ve read up on boss tactics if you haven’t quite gotten the hang of the fight yet.
- You’ve been around for a few minutes already (if real life allows it, as is not always the case)

Also, during a raid:

- Should the raid wipe, don’t wait for a rez but corpse run if everyone else does as well.
- Let the Raid Leader speak when he’s explaining something, interrupting and/or publicly disagreeing with a Raid Leader is rude and disrespectful.

I’ve seen many of these things happen while raiding, more often than not in PuG raids (why I still bother with them, I sometimes wonder). Of course there’s no pure right or wrong in these things. Warcraft should never become more important than real life, and if real life issues require you to leave mid-raid, then so be it. People might be late because they were held up by something, no problem. And everyone is “guilty” of these things every now and then, including myself. But when you see people consistently showing up un(der)prepared and acting that way during a raid, the will to group up with that person quickly diminishes. I vowed never to become that way myself. I have always played with the goal to be viewed as a respectful, dependable, valuable player and person. This carries on into every aspect of the game, as I’m not only upholding my own reputation as a respected player, but also the reputation of the guild.

As controversial as it is, and perhaps a bit unexpected for the people that know me well, loot is also important. As I said, it’s my goal to be a progression raider, seeing the content that is offered to us. And while experience and class knowledge is a very important factor, you will also need the gear to back it up. I don’t care for gear because I want to be the best of the best, I find it important because I don’t want to fall behind. I want to keep up with my goal, and my fellow guildmates and friends.

The most important factor of all is the fun factor. This game is for relaxation, entertainment. I play it because I want to forget about the worries of the world for a bit and just enjoy myself with my friends online. If at some point any aspect of the game isn’t fun anymore, I’ll stop doing it. I enjoy my fair share of PvP every now and then, although Arena doesn’t interest me at all. Result? I hop into a Battleground once every full moon, and avoid Arena. Same goes for raiding. If it ever loses the fun factor (and I hope with all my heart won’t ever), I’ll stop raiding. As much as I like progression, I equally enjoy the many Naxx10 runs that have gotten me nothing but a great evening with friends. I don't just raid to progress, I raid because I love it. So let me crack my jokes, as terrible as they might be. Because if I can’t have a good time with my friends while raiding, I might as well call it quits.

As hard or elaborate as the answer might be, it’s always a good idea to ask yourself the question:

What do you find important?

Monday, April 20, 2009

New Day, New World

Patch 3.1 has hit, and everyone’s busy getting used to all the changes. Dual Specs, the Argent Tournament, revised talents and of course Ulduar, it’s been one helluva patch. In the past half week I’ve been quite busy myself.

I managed to get a working spec together. Honestly, as long as you have the “core talents” there’s no way you can go wrong, but even after my first spec I felt like it needed some changes. Those are done now, and it’s working like a charm. I chose a 0/13/58 spec, taking a few slightly PvP talents, since I do go in there every now and then. I was a bit skeptical about Divine Sacrifice, but Josh from Eye For An Eye made some good points about the spell. And after trying it, I do agree that it has its uses, so thank you Josh.

I also activated my Dual Spec, since I have ambitions in healing as well. I have to say that it’s really easy to switch back and forth between specs, increasing my flexibility and sense of freedom. I’m no longer stuck in one spec. However, I think the freedom has gone a bit overboard. I was a supporter of the idea or needing a Lexicon of Power to be able to change your spec (or your class trainer, that makes sense too). However, they took that out and just made it possible to “respec” everywhere you want, with certain minor restrictions (during combat, battlegrounds, arena). I can DPS one boss, and heal the second, and all I need to do is click one button. I don’t know, it seems…… too easy. Still, I’m enjoying my healing escapades every now and then, and I sincerely hope my guildies do as well. I have the gear, but the experience is a bit of a learning curve...

And of course I’ve taken a gander over at the Argent Tournament. It reminds me of the Isle of Quel’danas, as a place with all kinds of daily quests. It’s a good money maker, and I’m diligently doing them every day. The mounted combat has been done very well, and there’s some nice rewards to be had from the vendors all around. The Coliseum is still under construction, so I’m excited to see how this will unfold.

And tomorrow (Monday), Samsara is taking its first steps into Ulduar! We’re taking the 10 finest people into Ulduar for the all-important experience. It’ll undoubtedly be a wipe-fest, getting to learn all the fights, but all in the name of progress! The team is not entirely clear yet, so we’ll have to see tomorrow. Fingers crossed for a spot!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Priestly Progress

Look at this.

I’ve been faithfully leveling my Priest Myczil again, after what you could call an alt hiatus, and the result is starting to show. Level 65 with only Hellfire Peninsula and Zangarmarsh done (although Armory isn't showing the last few levels at the time of this blogpost). I know I’ve still got a long way to go, but I like my overall progress.

Quite honestly, it’s hard for me to focus on an alt. The level ranges that just take forever, the utterly annoying quests that you are faced with again, the overall squishiness that you suddenly have again, it’s too easy for me to just give it up and go do a heroic on my Paladin.

But I stuck to it this time and got him up there. After clearing most of Hellfire and Zangarmarsh I went to Nagrand and picked up most of the quests there. I’m torn, however. I loved questing the first time around, and I love the zone in general, as I’ve mentioned earlier. However, I just can’t bring myself to doing it again. Of course I also quested there on my Alliance Death Knight, which might explain the reluctance to go there again.

I think Terokkar Forest is a better choice, and it should get me another level or two. By then I can either go for Nagrand anyway or move on to the higher zones.

Either way, I’m definitely staying in Outland until I hit 70. I don’t want to waste half of the Howling Fjord quests on the 68-70 mark, I’m planning on taking full advantage of the nice exp that Northrend gives.

I have no schedule for him, no planned date on when he should hit 80. I’ll just see where it goes, and get there eventually.

Sometime this year would be nice.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Shared Topic - Does Your Toon Have A Soul?

Over at Blog Azeroth there’s a thing called the Shared Topic. A helpful tool for bloggers who are having trouble finding something to write about. Each week, it gives you a specific topic to write about, in the form of a question. More often than not, these topics are pretty cool, making you view your game from a new perspective. Therefore, I’ve decided to follow these Shared Topics for a while. This week’s question: Does your toon have a soul?

“Even if you’re not a role-player, you may have noticed your toons having their own personalities and preferences. Has any of your toons developed their own personality?”

As I play on a Normal PvE server, I don’t experience much of role-playing while running about. There’s the usual people with stupid names, Chuck Norris jokes and guild names (or rather sentences) that make you /facepalm, and in such a degree that you’ll never find on an RP server. I was pleasantly surprised at the general atmosphere when I visited Steamwheedle Cartel EU. RPing conversations between players, people walking around in matching gear sets, not something I see on a daily basis. But constant role-playing isn’t my cup of tea, so I know I’d be happier on Lightbringer EU at the end of the day. However, as I still enjoy my fair share of role-playing every now and then, and that shows in the background I give to each of my serious characters.

The serious characters being Vaadren and Myczil.

I’ve recently discovered that Vaadren and Myczil are, in fact, brothers. Both Blood Elves, Myczil was the older brother, looking after his baby brother Vaadren. Myczil quickly learned the ways of the Holy Priest, and set out into the world to help others. However, he fell to the Scourge and was buried in Tirisfal Glades as a Nameless Hero of the Horde. Shocked by the news, Vaadren mourned the death of his big brother, and vowed to avenge his death. He devoted his life to the Light, but as a powerful Paladin instead of a Priest. When he was old enough, Vaadren ventured out into the world, following his brothers footsteps. He exacted Holy Retribution upon many Scourge, fighting for the Horde, his brothers memory and a bit of revenge. Years later, Myczil was revived by the followers of Sylvanas, and joined the ranks of the Forsaken. Remembering nothing but his name, he continued to follow the ways of the Priest, but found new power in Shadow. However, as time passes, Myczils memory is slowly returning, and who knows: perhaps someday, the brothers will fight alongside each other again.

As for personal traits, the two are quite different. Despite the many comments flying around, Vaadren is, in fact, not a stereotypical “gay Belf”. He doesn’t spend hours in front of the mirror, enemies won’t go easy on you just because you look good. Gear doesn’t have to match, as long as it does what it’s supposed to do. He does, however, have a phobia for small and mid-length cloaks, and refuses to wear them, even if it’s an upgrade stat-wise. He’s not a merciless fighter though, he’s made lots of friends in his current guild, and gladly jumps in to help them in times of need. He’s also a bit of a flirt, running around Northrend bare-chested and dancing with the pretty girls while yelling “Hey baby, your guild or mine?”. These actions have gotten him into a slightly questionable love triangle with two female Tauren of the guild, and he now bears the nickname “Moo loving tart” as a result. Oh, and he’ll smack anyone who says that hawkstriders are chickens.

Myczil, on the other hand, is more of a loner. He mostly rolls on his own, and will party only when necessary. Furthermore, he hates his boney legs, and will do anything to cover them up. That’s why he spends most of his time in shadowform, hiding his features in shadows. However, that’s not always enough, so he’s on a constant quest for robes that will cover his legs. He hates vestments and tunics, but he’ll wear them if necessary. Just as long as there’s something better on the horizon… He also abuses Mind Vision like no tomorrow.

Join in on the Shared Topics, they’re fun!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Taking A Look Around: Burning Crusade

Nope, not Outland. Burning Crusade. I decided to divide the posts by expansion, so here’s the Burning Crusade post.

Who didn’t get the wow-factor when stepping through the Dark Portal for the first time? It’s a decent size already in the Blasted Lands, but in Hellfire it’s just HUGE! Maybe not the prettiest sight, but awe-inspiring nonetheless.

Without a doubt my favorite zone in all of Outland. The fresh colors, flying plateaus, many waterfalls make it the only place in Outland that actually looks peaceful. It was definitely a welcome change from the hostile environments I was questing in before Nagrand.

I love the Blood Elf architecture, and Eversong Woods was a very enjoyable starting zone in my opinion. A zone in the same style, completely attuned to level 70 players and with a cool faction (with equal awesome tabard) really made it for me. I grinded all the way up to exalted, spending hours and hours on the many dailies to get there. The only thing I haven’t experienced yet is Sunwell, but I’m determined to clear that place someday. I just have to!

And again, let me know your favorite places brought to you by The Burning Crusade!

Northrend’s pretty places will be featured next time, in the final chapter of “Taking a look around”.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Personal Projects

Sorry for the lack of updates, I’ve been out of commission for the past few days, unable to post. I’m back though, so let’s get cracking!

Recently, I introduced an initiative from all our Deathbringers (read: Officer’s pets) into the guild. This initiative, called “Deathbringers will help YOU into raids!”, basically consists of us Deathbringers to help fresh 80s gear up and get ready for Naxx. 10-man content is cool, but quite frankly also getting boring. And with Ulduar around the corner, getting a 25-man team ready is important for our progress as a guild. So we’ve been helping guildies run heroics and get their gear together, and a few of them are already raiding Naxx with success, so it’s definitely paying off.

I’ve taken on my own personal project, so to speak. My Hunter-turned-Pally friend (whom I shall name Cara, as I have a feeling this won’t be the last time she’ll pop up in my posts) introduced a friend of hers to WoW a while back, and the poor guy has been hooked ever since. After starting a Warlock, he quickly decided that necromantic spellcaster wasn’t what he wanted his business card to show, and he switched to Death Knight as soon as he hit 55. It’s been his main ever since, and he recently dinged to 80! It has always been his intent to tank, so while leveling up we’ve let him tank some normal instances. So now, at level 80, he’s getting used to keeping aggro, marking mobs, boss strategies and whatnot. And seeing as he’s become such a good friend, I really want to see him succeed and successfully tank Naxxramas (honestly, I’d love to be there for his first time). And so we’re getting him through high-end normals, and pretty soon also heroics, for the necessary gear upgrades and all-important experience.

It also shows that it doesn’t matter where you go, as long as you bring some good company. I’m done with normals on Vaadren, and there are some heroics that I’ve seen too often as well, but good company plus Ventrilo always equals good times, even if you add bothersome instance into the equation.

On another note, the poll has ended, and here are the results:

Question: Which layout do you like better?
Answer 1: The old layout was better: 0 votes (0%)
Answer 2: The new layout is better: 8 votes (80%)
Answer 3: They’re both just as good: 2 votes (20%)

Not that I'd immediately change the new layout if you hated it (although it'd make me think about it), but it's cool to know that you like it as much as I do. There’s a new poll up, so ahead and vote again.

The “Taking a look around” post for Outland is almost done, it should be up tomorrow. After that, Northrend of course!