I’m Rolling Need on You (Lara)

This is a guest post from Lara at Root & Branch, the musings of an Azerothian healer. I saved it for last because it is poignant and lovely, but I’ll let you discover for yourself!

If anyone tells you it's foolish to run Magister's Terrace at level 68, well, they're probably right. But try it anyway.

 

You may not realize this, but every single time you run a dungeon using the dungeon-finder tool, regardless of your level, there’s a chance you might win epic or even legendary quality loot.  What’s more, such loot can potentially drop for every member of the party.

Now, some of you may shake your heads with disbelief when you read this; others may scramble to look up the loot tables on WoWHead to see what you’ve missed.  Don’t bother looking!  You won’t find it there.  But believe me, it’s true.  The kind of loot I’m talking about, however, isn’t something you’ll find on any boss’s loot table.  It’s not a funky trinket, a glowing sword, or a powerful belt.  The loot I’m talking about here is friendship, and it’s the very best loot you can possibly get.

Friends don’t drop in every single dungeon you run.  In fact, the drop rate on friends can often be very low, sometimes!  However, when a friendship does drop, it’s so much better than any other random item you could find.  Friendships are bind-on-player, they are transferable across servers, they scale with your level, they’re not specific to any class or race, and in some cases they will even work outside the game.

It’s my feeling that friends are the best and most important kind of loot you can find, and they’re what really makes this game of ours worth playing.  Without some friends around to share in the struggles, the victories, the defeats, and the puzzles, even the most epic drops can’t keep things fun; all the other rewards of the game can lose their meaning.  World of Warcraft isn’t meant to be played alone:  Compared to dedicated single-player games, it’s not all that engaging when you go it alone.  However, once you toss some friends into the mix, it has the potential to blow those other games out of the water — even the ones that have much nicer graphics.

There’s no doubt that the dungeon-finder has been a mixed blessing for this kind of friend-loot.  The ease of assembling a group of players has made it much easier to meet a diverse group of players from a variety of servers, and the time you save by teleporting straight to the dungeon helps you find more groups in the same amount of time.  This is great!  In the dark days before the dungeon-finder, you had to find people on your own server, and it could often be really hard to get a group together.

On the downside, however, the dungeon-finder has encouraged a kind of “dungeon tourism”, in which groups pop in, waltz through the place in a superficial way, and pop back out, sometimes without even speaking to each other!  Maybe you see a cool suit of armour a shiny weapon, and a pet?  I see a loud, red-faced, pushy American tourist in a loud floral-print shirt wearing a crappy instamatic camera on a lanyard around his neck, bellowing at a harried concessionaire over the price of a hot dog.  It’s a lot easier to understand why some groups behave as they do when you look at it this way.  The Hunter with Tourette’s Syndrome shouting “GO F*ING GO GODDAM GO” and pulling everything in sight?  That’s him.  And just like when you see this as you’re trying to peacefully experience the grandeur of some ancient wonder, it’s all right to be embarrassed for him.

Don’t lose hope, however.  Not everyone is like that.  I promise you, it’s true.  If you keep your heart light, and your eyes open, you can still find those polite, helpful, friendly, patient players who want more from the game than to blunder through the sacred sites snapping blurry Polaroids and bleating about how they wish they were at home.  It won’t happen every day, and sometimes it takes a little encouragement, but when you do meet them, it’s like a little moment of magic, something you may remember for years to come.

Right now, our friends-list doesn’t work across servers.  I hope they’ll fix that soon.  But even without that, and even if you don’t want to give people your RealID information, we can still keep in touch.  How?  One thing you could do is to use an IM account — something like AIM, Google Chat, or Jabber.  Sure, it’s not as convenient as an in-game whisper, but it’s better than losing track!  Are you worried about revealing your real identity for professional reasons?  No problem — it’s easy to create yourself an e-mail address you can use just for gaming purposes.

Whatever you do, though, please don’t click “Pass” on potential friends.  Before you leave your group, take a moment to look at the real loot window, otherwise known as your party interface:  Even a little friendly banter can sometimes lead, in time, to a wonderful and fun friendship, in this big and interesting game we all play.

Don’t believe me?  Well, dear Reader, if you’re reading this blog then you should know that what you’re reading is here because of how Vidyala and I met:  Through pugging.

 

Very few bears were harmed in the making of this picture.

 

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11 responses to “I’m Rolling Need on You (Lara)

  1. Hey, don’t be a stranger, Lara.

  2. I feel I’m very enchanting. Do I get the option to disenchant this loot when the window appears? Or friendship more like a mount?

    Very fun article. :) It’s true — I’ve met many good people through pugging. Don’t be afraid to start a conversation while slugging through content. While there may be an art to small talk, making an offhand comment about, say, a tabard (“Oh man. The Shattered Sun? I’ve ran that place so many times for the phoenix that never drops.”) or title (“The Immortal. Ugh. Remember when Sapphiron was a right pain? The Prayer of Mendings bounced around like ping-pong balls.”).

    Then again, as an avid people watcher I also like to sit back and piece together imaginary profiles of the people sitting behind that mage or warrior. Either way, pugging can be a very interesting social thing.

  3. This is a very sweet post Lara, and so true! With how convenient and fast pugging can be today, I think those impromptu friendships that popped up in groups are less common, which is a shame.

  4. Lazaros of Llane

    My guild is a small, social group. We don’t raid, and tend to pug a bit since at least one of us has a healer or tank we’re working on, making dungeon ques faster for those playing DPS.

    The other night while testing my UI, spec, and ability to relearn my bear, two of us ended up with another person from our server in the PUG. He was unguilded, but polite and personable, and a recent transfer to our server. After talking in whispers (not having to spam Swipe every CD has benefits!), we decided to offer an invite, as he had stated that he was looking for a relaxed bunch of idiots (an apt description of the guild) to hang out with online.

    The guy is a great player and a fun person to have around. He’s already contributing to the guild, and trash talking like he’s been in there all along. Just as stated in this article, a serious epic drop.

    • If I had to give just one piece of advice to new players of WoW, it would probably be this: Find a guild. Don’t worry about perfect matches. Don’t worry whether it’s the “right one” or not. Just find someplace interesting, and go for it. Change when you have to, but go for it.

      With Cataclysm, being in a guild will practically be a sacrament, but even now, it’s probably the single best thing you can do to improve your experience of the game.

      Don’t leave everything to the roll of the dungeon-finder dice. Don’t closet yourself away in a banking guild. Don’t be a mercenary.

      Because, while that can be fun for a while, this game wasn’t meant to be played alone, and it can suck the life right out of you if you’re always alone. It’s kind of like life in that way. So don’t be afraid like I was. Just go for it. The things we do for fun should be shared.

      • Lazaros of Llane

        That’s it. No more hiding in my small guild with just close friends. A few of us are looking to level new alts, and may meet people new to the game. It’s time for action.

        You’ve inspired me to help mentor new players if and when we find them, and they are willing to learn. We’re not a progression guild, but dammit, we can do our part for the realm as a whole.

        Cheers, Lara!

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