A bleak future of unreal raiding

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This is a rant.

You have been warned.

It’s with slight dread I see what’s on the horison. LFR – chaotic as it may be at times – suited me fine. I have no interest in “real rading”. Reasons are many, among others an almost chronic stress level, occasional panic attacks, slow reactions and a self confidence wich at times reach rock bottom. I am not a raider, I don’t want to be a raider. You certainly don’t want someone like me dragging down your progression.

Ah, yes. Unreal raiding – because as you all know, LFR isn’t “real raiding”. I’m a terrible cynic, of course.

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The player I am
Once I hit a gear level I’m comfortable with I’m fine. Done. Right now I’m comfortable with mu iLvl 542 on Vassannah and 540 on Shuanna. It is enough for the content I usually do. I walk the lonely road of soloing stuff instead of having to endure “team play”.

I don’t care about reaching the next hamster wheel of gear because I do not care about progression. That doesn’t mean I’m not taking care of what I do. I’m not lazy, I want to improve – but I do it on my own terms, in my own way. I don’t rely on other people and I certainly don’t expect welfare epics.

I consider myself skilled enough to play my main classes. I might not be the most optimal player, but I make do. I’m good enough for flex (should I ever want to go there). I will be good enough for the Warlords of Draenor “normal” (wich, as far as I understand, is the current flex).

I ran my LFRs for a reason (outside the legendary cloak gotta catch ’em all sigil hunting). LFR is a tool wich gives me the ability to aquire “raid equivalent” gear. This, so I can seek out the challenges I enjoy on my own terms (or in company with a select group of people who know and understand why I sometimes become the despondent defaitist without yelling “noob!” … unless they mean it in an endearing way). I more or less stopped running LFR right after the boost to 90-disaster. The stress was too taxing.

Timeless Isle fixed the lack of “gear progression”. On Timeless Isle, even if it is a grindy business, I play on my own terms. I’ve grinded out the Shao Hao-rep on both my paladin, Shuanna, and my warlock, Sharenne. I have the mount. I also found a metric ton of Burdens of Eternity along the way. With valor points upgrades I thus reached an iLvl I hardly didn’t even dream of. Heck, I’ve even killed Ordos (something I never thought I would do)!

The iLvl, especially with the legendary cloak, is more than enough for most advertised flex raids. I don’t intend on signing up for any. I don’t “need” better gear. I’m confident and comfortable with what I have. I don’t need the stress of trying to function in an environment that is more challenging than LFR with a bunch of strangers. Even if they are more skilled.

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Second rate players
I don’t care what other people say. Heroic raiders with their epeen showing or wannabee hardcore raiders with delusions of Method grandeur – their words and slurs don’t affect me. Neither does the sometimes terrible atmosphere of LFR.

What I do mind is getting branded as a second rate player by none other than Blizzard. I’m sure it’s not their intention but their actions so far has devalued the kind of player that I am. End game doesn’t have to be cutting edge to be challenging. Forcing people, such as me, into content that will likely be too challenging for me to complete will devalue the game itself. I don’t want to run Warlords of Draenor normal raids (current flex difficulty). I don’t want to be punished either. If I choose to stick with LFR I will be punished. The increased drop rate of gear doesn’t make up for it. The gear will still be sub-par – and more importantly: It WILL stigmatise players such as me.

You know it will happen. A wek into Warlords of Draenor and Anyone who use LFR will be berated, bullied and told to jump of a cliff. I trust Blizzards decisions around game development and design. I do not trust the community, not for a second. The tradition of bullying is too ingrained in the very fabric of the community for it to not affect the LFR decision. Even now people jump on “weakness” like they were competing for a “fascist of the month”-award – and not just in LFR). Dungeons, battlegrounds, world bosses. You know the shit’s going to start flying after the first “seriously?”. Tone of voice is rarely conveyed through text, of course, but there’s a certain tone to it nevertheless.

It’s started allready, by the way. Just take a look at MMO Champions comments.

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Upstairs and Downstairs
I fear this is exactly what will happen: There will be an even clearer distinction between “upper class” and “lower class”. The decision regarding LFR – especially on the subjective matter of art assets – is putting down the groundwork for an in-game class war. Normal raiders will berate LFR raiders. Heroic raiders will berate normal raiders (“normal” raiding will probably be called “dumbed down” or “welfare running”; it certainly won’t be “real” raiding). Mythics, well … to be honest I believe the minority of raid ready and raid skilled mythics will do what they do now: Stick to their own game.

As usual, it’s the tail of pretenders that will form the stormtrooper squads of virtual self-proclaimed dickwads. The changes to the raid structure, LFR in particular, will cater to the crowd who feed off entitlement and disrespect – the bullies, to put it bluntly. The system will cater to the crowd who regard empathy as a weakness. The kind of player who deem himself (or herself) “too good” for the rest of the crowd. Those who think themselves to be “hardcore”, the Call of Duty-crowd. Those who spend most of their time dead or AFK spewing insults into chat. Don’t think for a second “normal” raiding will be a good ol’ raidteam boy scout outing where we “make new friends” (the “make friends”-mantra is well worn out by now).

It will be savage.

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The light to see

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It’s been a busy week, to say the least. One of those weeks with a need to juggle writing jobs and World of Warcraft – not to mention mundane things such as feeding the cats (and others). Still, I think I came out on top of it. Cassanna the Huntress blasted from a long level 70 hiatus to 90 in about 2 days with a bit of boost help through Lich King dungeons.

(I never run (PuG) dungeons on a hunter. Somehow things just die too fast for me to take a careful aim. It’s like “I am a stone … a silent ki… Oh for fracks sake! They’re dead!?”.)

That was last week, of course. This week, thanks to World of Lae it’s mage week. And do I have a story to tell. Let’s start from the beginning, as all great stories start just there. Once upon a time I was sick of melee classes. I had painfully struggled my way to 80 – this was in Wrath of the Lich King – on a retribution paladin, Shuanna (also my first character on EU Saurfang). I needed a change. I had dabbled with ranged classes before but never seriously considered a mage.

Thus Cahanna was born. I spent a good half an hour trying out different names, ending up with a name I never really liked. But I had to live with it; my imagination had run dry and it was either Cahanna or “Mageypants” (no one in their right RP-mind would ever let themselves use such an abomination of a name!).

Back then, early Cataclysm, Arcane was the King of the Mountain. Of course, being a stubborn person with an afffinity for pet peeves I chose Fire instead. Because things that go “Boom!” are more fun than things that go “Fzzzrrtttt!”. I leveled to 63 as Fire, rather pleased with crits of 9.000. Also, the name – Cahanna – grew on me. I became increasingly infatuated with the often scantily clad mage.

One day I was happily burning fel orcs close to Hellfire Citadel when a guildie proposed I should go Arcane. I said I was fine with Fire. The guildie persisted. Eventually I grumbled a bit, changed spec – Arcane was my second spec, never used – and started a few testruns. That’s when it hit me. Well, actually it hit a fel orc – a crit of almost 20.000. I was amazed. Flabebrgasted. What the flying fuck was that!? I looked around ,surely there were some 85 mage hiding? But no. It was Lil C …

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One level later she became Big C. The infatuation grew to affection. The levels flew by; 70, 75. One memorable moment was soloing the boss of Utgarde Keep; the rest of the group was dead, boss at 50%. By the time the others arrived he was down to 1%.

Now, to keep the feet planted firmly in the ground I’d like to mention another, less memorable, moment – just to balance things out. I reached level 85 eventually. A guildie – the mage who convinced me to go Arcane – made me some PvP gear, just to break the iLvl for the Cataclysm Heroics. From there on the gear and valor points just piled up. When LFR came around I was curious, so I popped into a raid and …

And I had rearranged my keys. I used to have Arcane Brilliance on “8” but had replaced it with Ice Lance. When the raid party started buffing up, muscle memory made me hit “8”. I had Ultraxion targeted. It could have been me, but it could have been an over-eager tank as well. I’m not exactly sure who pulled the boss while people were still getting dressed. But I take it as a Mea Culpa, just in case.

While stacking up valor points I also set off on an epic adventure of my own. I like soloing old content and what better way to have fun than kill two birds with one stone? So I decided I should go for “the Exalted” title. The mission was impossible, or so I thought. I spent close to a year, more or less, grinding out the necessary reputations. Amassing a ton of netherweave and other stuff in the process (wich turned into shiny gold coins on the AH). Then, one day, I was there. The moment of epicness will never leave my mind.

It was short a few weeks before Mists of Pandaria was expected. The day before I had blasted through Karazhan with some guildies. I ended up on 99% in reputation. To quote Darth Vader: “Nooooo!”. I grumbled a lot in guild chat, thinking I had to wait another week for that elusive title I had been chasing for so long. Then a guildie told me that trash respawn but bosses don’t (I didn’t know that!). I headed back, burning through trash, seeign the reputation stack up. Then, right on the stage of the Opera Event, I blasted down a pack of mobs that had chased after me … Aaand!

The light to see. Sometimes it comes with Gandlaf in Moria. Sometimes it comes center stage as a reward for a long sought wish: the ultimate achievement (at least for someone like me).

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Cahanna has amassed quite a lot of fun toys over time. One in partuclar is always useful – the Orb of the Sin’dorei. I know, it’s probably silly, but changing into a blood elf is fun! Especially if you’re a transmog addict as well. These days – since Arcane took a beating with Mists of Pandaria and I’ve only started, cautiously, to experiment in Frost – Cahanna spends most of her time digging. Archaeology that is. When she’s not digging up Mogu slivers of the past (and running away, like Rincewind, when an angry Yangol wants to eat her), she’s … well.

Doing silly stuff.

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Cahanna being a very silly “BLood elf”

Or just showing off how awesome she really is. Well, sort of. She do share a sense of un-fashion with the adopted one, Sharenne the Warlock.

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“Never underestimate a mage …”

Zed, the well behaved Raptor

It’s #hunterweek! It’s also a I Have A New computer Week! It’s a lil’ beuty, that computer. I returned from a walk and there is was, courtesy of my partner. A new computer means a lot of things. Most of all it meant a return to World of Warcraft. Much can be said about returning to Azeroth after a forced 8 months long break but I won’t say it here. That’s for the future (likely I have to start Archaeology again on some toon, just so I have time to do something else but killing internet dragons; it’s amzing how much work you can get done while flying from Uldum to Winterspring).

Hunter week, alas. As it happened I was lucky enough to acutally have a hunter. She’s the kid sister of teh family, Cassanna is her name and … I was utterly bored with her. Sorry Cass, but you’re not a very talkative draenei you know. There’s more to life than the grain weight of buckshot or the air velocity of the New Bow (“I was like, whoa! Sis! This damned bow is amazing! You want hear about how I once skinned a worm in 5 sec… you’re going? I thought you loved me!”).

Cass is a bit … well. It’s hard to socialize when you spend most of the time in the outbacks of civilisation literally killing for a living.

A few weeks before my old computer said “No!” I had more or less shelved Cassanna. The daily routine of shoot, kill, skin had worn me out. Hunter – a class I actually enjoy – was no fun no more. For many a reason leveling Cassanna pre 5.1 was a pain in the ass. Northrend was slow. Slow! I had blasted through Outlands in less than two days and then I hit the wall of the north. Outleveling a complete expansion, the burning Crusade, in less than half of a week had left me with a backlog of outdated Leatherworking. I spent more time in Terokkar oneshotting than questing in Northrend. by the time I hit 70 I was fed up.

I rarely do dungeons on a hunter. While I’m not a very competetive person by nature I do enjoy being in the top 3 (or first). Somehow – I have no idea why since every other class* works out just perfectly – I can’t keep up on a hunter. No matter what spec I’m in. I loathe Beast Mastery. Teh only reason I specced BM was the rare pets I can tame. So, in 99% of the time I’m Markmanship. It’s perfect for questing (and hunting). But it is … slow. Or rather – it was slow.

To my utter amazement this is no longer the case. I returned to my dusty character Cassanna the day before yesterday. She was 70. She is now 85. How the heck did that happen!? Ah …

The XP requirement for Wrath of the Lich King has been reduced by 30%. 8 months absence meant a lot of rested XP. With heirlooms there was a definite boost as well (I know there’s a few Darkmoon Faire items as well but I haven’t used them; the Faire is boring).

With the help of a guildie – the masterful hunter Viszla, btw! – we stormed the Nexus. Then we continued to storm a string of dungeons. In about three hours I boomed from 70 to 73, then my rested XP ran out. But all in all the wall of the north is no more; I roflstomped my solo way through quests and hunting for most of a day and all of a sudden I hit level 80. That was in Halls of Lightning, by the way, with a nice boost from the master hunter mentioned above. It took another day to reach 85 so now I’m all set for not only Pandaria but also the very reason I once rolled Cassanna: Deth’tilac <The Smouldering Darkness> .

What with the headline, you say? Oh, that. Zed the Raptor is a well behaved raptor. If you don’t believe me, just take a look at the vacation photo from Hyjal.

Let’s hope “Dethy” can behave just as good.

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These are not for eating, Zed!

These are not the droods you’re looking for

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This is not a druid

This week is #Druidweek (look for that tag on Twitter if you like). The idea of an Alt Appreciation Week started out over at World of Lae with “Death knight week” a week ago and thus it continues with druids. We all know that DRUIDS ARE FIT 4 FITE, right? Well … Everyone else knows it. Apparently. My excursions into the realm of druidism has of now not been very lucky.

I mean, there’s a limit in every family how many species you can actually adopt. My family is (mostly) draenei with a “naturalised draenei” of human origin thrown into the mix (that’s my warlock, the foulmouthed Sharenne but with a heart of gold, at least when it comes to kittens). There’s a glaring lack of night elves. Or, you know, any other druidic race. Add to this my own personal dislike of druids and you get a severe druid shortage in my character roster. That doesn’t stop me however. Rules are meant to be broken!

I’m not a total druid noob. I have played druid once in a while, allthough none of them last longer than level 20. this in itself is a conundrum since I find the idea of a shapeshifting class very interesting.

My first druid – she’s now running an inn at Teldrassil – was born around 2009. Altariel (wich at the time I thought was a fitting night elf name) made it to I believe it was level 20. Then my subscription ran out. When I returned a few weeks later I did what I always do: I started a new character (a draenei, of course; I think it was Creannah the Shaman).

Altariel languished for some time in my roster before she eventually opened an inn (that is – deleted). I didn’t think much of it at the time even though I did have some fun with her. Most memorable moment was in fact a level 80 Tauren druid who bowed to me while I was trying to find my way in Moonglade.

My second druid was born around 2010. Alas – I can’t remember the name. No doubt her bones are still somewhere in Ashenvale; there’s where she fell victim to a wolf. There’s where I rage quit, fed up with her career. Not every druid is a good druid, you know.

My third druid was a night elf as well. Her name was Efrosyne. My plan was to level her as a healer and nothing but a healer. My old guild, now defunct but reborn as Eternal Exiles, planned on leveling a complete dungeon group. the plan petered out into nothingness due to lack of interest and a stormcloud of petty guild drama (wich eventually led to the destruction of the guild in question; I remember a “guild meeting” with me and a few others stuck right inside the entrance to Gun’drak while all the accumulated bile and bitterness of Some People just spewed forth … and 48 hours later I had removed 9 characters out of 10 from the guild and joined the Eternal Exiles).

Yeah, you guessed it, no doubt. Efrosyne opened an inn close to the Stormwind harbor. Given the prevalence of alts opening inns maybe I should start a franchise of Azeroths version of Starbucks.

Anyway!

There you have it. I’ve been known to roll druids. My druids either die or start cooking for hungry heroes. None of them, as of yet, has made it past level 20.

These are not the droods you’re looking for.

Death Knight Week!

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Zavannah the Death Knight, aka “the Dead One”

World of Lae made a shout-out for Death Knights to start off the very interesting idea of Alt Appreciation Week. This is an opportunity I simply can’t resist. After all, how to drag readers – most likely kicking and screaming – to my place in the Matrix is always something I’m at a bit of a loss figuring out. It’s a new blog, this one, so I’m not too despondent about the “3” new visitors per day or week – but still!

Readers are fun.

With a stroke of luck I realised I actually have an alt, a Death Knight. Fortunately I also have a decent enough presentation of her. Right here in fact – Let me introduce her. This is …

Zavannah the Death Knight, aka “the Dead One”.

Currently at home on server EU Saurfang.

Enjoy.