Tag Archives: guild

The more things change

Purple dragons and pretty flowers are in no way misleading to the content of this post.

It took me some time to think about writing this – first, whether I wanted to write it, and second, how I’d go about doing it. It’s a strange topic with a lot of emotions tied up in it. It wasn’t a big deal, and it was a big deal – and it was somewhat freeing, and it was also an incredible downer. It felt like a kind of failure, and it also felt like one of those things you build up into being a huge thing and then it just isn’t.

About a month ago now (I’m just guessing) – our formerly strict tens guild decided to let our strict designation go. Earlier we’d made the decision to keep it when an in-guild vote yielded an exact tie. After a few more months of working our way through the “stale content doldrums,” the vote came up somewhat differently. The guild was overwhelmingly in favour of forgetting it, and so we did.

What’s funny about it is that it hasn’t effectively changed our gear at all. Most of us who hadn’t done so have poked our noses into an ICC pug to see what the fuss is all about. I didn’t win a lick of gear, and our pug wasn’t good enough to down Rotface so I didn’t even sniff the instant-drama magnet DFO. I personally enjoyed my brief foray into the larger version of ICC. Marrowgar didn’t really feel very different. Lady Deathwhisper felt much like the ten-man heroic version of her fight, except with more adds (and more tanks to pick them up, and more people to burn them down). I have to admit that I liked the 25-person Gunship quite a bit more. It really felt like a real battle with all the cannons lined up there and so many people flying back and forth. It’s an encounter that didn’t translate as well to the ten-man version.

My overall feeling was one of being underwhelmed, though. Of course, I was in a pug: somewhat disorganized and dysfunctional and not apt to succeed. I’m sure being in a great guild run is a different beast! It just reaffirmed for me that I am interested in tens exclusively, and I’m okay with that.

The guild has taken it in stride, and it’s business (time, har) as usual for us. Fsob made a joke about how we were now ranked 114th for progression on the server. Good news, guys, we’ve killed Marrowgar! Others were over the moon to be able to finally bring their many alts with achievements into the guild. That definitely helped me realize that it was the right decision at this point in time. With waning interest in ICC, it’s important that people can explore any options they feel like – an ICC 25 pug some night we aren’t raiding, or whatever. This became increasingly apparent was I’d hang around in trade, see a pug advertised – “They are looking for a mage!” and then realize that of course, I couldn’t go, and neither could many of my guildies. It started to feel like a weight.

The strict ten movement was an important one I still wholeheartedly support. I love being part of a group of people focused on tens, intent on proving that tens can be done in gear available from tens. If you don’t believe it, just ask Kae – her guild was the second strict ten in the world to down H LK recently!

I’m still all for that, and our guild will still raid tens exclusively come Cataclysm. Especially with the shared lockouts between them, this is going to be a non-issue for us. I feel that what we were aiming to achieve has been done – shared lockouts and shared loot is an open recognition and an admission from Blizzard that the way that tens scaled was unfair. Never again will people who like 25s have to farm tens just for emblems, or for a specific drop that isn’t available at their preferred raid size. Never again will I have to sigh and mentally adjust my DPS numbers and BiS gear “downwards” from what is recognized as “the gear” to have – because I know I can’t have that gear, can’t push those numbers, and will have to settle for what I can get my hands on.

As I have said before, it’s not about the gear specifically, it’s about parity. I think there are still plenty of people who want to raid 25s and will still do so. I sincerely hope it to be true that everyone can raid the size they want. I know some people really don’t like tens. I really don’t like 25s. Cataclysm has a place for all of us, and I can’t wait! I’m grateful that this isn’t a debate our guild will need to have again. No one will ever need to be restricted – we’ll all raid together. No one will be excluded from the guild because of what their characters may have done in the past. Maybe we’ll never be in the top ten rankings again with the growing popularity of tens, but that’s okay too. I believe we’ve accomplished what we set out to do in this expansion. Although we’re still working on H LK, we won’t be designated as a “strict” guild when we do it, and I am okay with that. Our contribution served its purpose – and we remain completely unchanged in essence and fact.

A few of my favourite things

Having fallen frightfully behind in any kind of regular posting schedule, I decided that the best thing would be to write something, anything. The good folks at Blog Azeroth are always fantastic for coming up with shared topics, and this week’s was suggested by Relevart at Relevart’s Druid Reliquary.

It is a very broad topic open to interpretation that asks, “What was your favourite ____ in Wrath of the Lich King?” I’m going to tackle it in a bit of a categorical way.

Quest
I didn’t have to think too hard about this, truthfully. My favourite quest series in Wrath of the Lich King begins with A Tale of Valor – you pick it up from Tirion. Warning: Pretty major quest spoilers follow, if you haven’t done the quest. It begins:

Perhaps you’ve heard the praises for our missing hero?

Crusader Bridenbrad was in the Broken Front aiding the attack against the Scourge when the undead army came down upon them. The many men of that allied force scattered, but Bridenbrad alone returned and dragged more than a dozen men to safety, one by one through the carnage.

He has not returned since. He was spotted heading to the far northeast, towards the Silent Vigil. Bring him back to me that I might honor him for his valor.

It turns out that Bridenbrad hasn’t died, but is also not entirely well. He’s battling the Scourge’s plague, knowing that when he inevitably does die he will rise again as the very enemy we’re all sworn to oppose. You’ll undergo extraordinary measures to try and save his life, and have an interaction with many major powers in the world while you’re doing it. I think it’s the only quest that has ever actually made me cry. Each of my characters have done it, and at the conclusion I always take a screenshot. It was only when I was going through my screenshots folder that I realized I had so many different Bridenbrad ones.

I have heard some people didn’t like it – but I think it’s worth doing at least once, if you haven’t!

Most recently, Jikali hangs out with a talking chandelier.

Raid
Ulduar was my favourite raid in the expansion, and again there’s very little contest. Unfortunately we joined Business Time fairly late – and I feel that ToC came too close on the heels of Ulduar, but that’s a topic for another time – so for many of the fights we have only experienced the hard modes.

Charles over at Planet of the Hats wrote a really interesting post a few weeks ago touching on just what made Ulduar so great. He said it better than I could, really. For me, Ulduar was awe-inspiring. It’s also the location of what I consider to be my first true and significant raiding accomplishment. My first raid with my tens posse was hard-mode Mimiron, more commonly known as Firefighter. I had never done Mimiron on normal mode. I’d watched the hard-mode video multiple times and written down notes. I really didn’t want to botch it.

During the weeks that we were working on Firefighter, it really became clear who was committed to spending time wiping on something that really wasn’t easy. (Not the guy we caught raiding on an alt with another guild at Firefighter time when we were short on people, and not others who suddenly started to be “mysteriously” unavailable for raids when Firefighter was on the menu). It took us one hundred and twenty-one wipes before we had our first Firefighter kill. The excitement on Vent when we did was overwhelming. Everyone erupted in cheers and it felt awesome.

I’ve enjoyed the challenges that ICC has to offer, for the most part, but the model of “boss hits for x amount harder” model of hard modes is not as interesting and engaging, I think, as the encounters in Ulduar were.

Accomplishment
Algalon! I loved this encounter. Even with vastly improved gear, Algalon does not die easily, and the associated lore and environment are amazing and incredible. I get a wave of dizziness every time the encounter starts and then an adrenaline rush of “IT IS ALGALON TIME.” I love his calm, measured voice and the celestial surroundings – along with the fact that you had to really work to get to him by doing all of the hard modes and earning a key, Algalon is simply awesome. I remember reading over at HoTs & DoTs when Lathere and Cass were first starting on Algalon. At the time, I thought: This is a fight I simply won’t see. Along with the hard-modes they were doing, it just wasn’t in the cards for the guild I was with. I was wrong! Even if I did kill Algalon technically long after he was “relevant,” I’m proud of the work it took to get there.

Your actions are illogical.

Item
Given my answers above it’s probably not going to come as a huge surprise that my most prized possession is my Rusted Proto-Drake. I’d never had a 310% mount before, and frequent character switches had ensured that the violet one achieved through holidays was out of my reach. It’s also my favourite proto-model. (I didn’t used to like their funny vestigial arms but they’ve really grown on me). I just think he looks awesome and I’m proud to fly around on him. I can’t look at him without remembering what we had to go through to get this mount – he truly represents the culmination of many Wrath highlights for me.

After all that fuss, I haven't even named him!

Missing you, Moon Guard

Last year in late September I realized that my current server couldn’t suit my specific needs when it came to raiding. I wanted a very focused type of guild to belong to – a strict ten-man guild, and I set out to find one. Prior to that, I’d been playing about two years – and all of those years, I’d been on the Moon Guard US server.

Perhaps you haven’t heard of Moon Guard at all. Or perhaps you’re hearing about it now, in the form of a WoW.com article that details Blizzard’s plans to “police” the Goldshire area for inappropriate and harassing behaviour due to complaints that they have received. Perhaps you had heard of Moon Guard, and you heard that it was “the place where all of the naughty roleplay goes on,” or whatever.

First of all – yes, a lot of unsavory things happen in Goldshire. I only passed through on rare occasion (when I was doing Loremaster quests) and there were a lot of shenanigans there. It was a relief on my new server when the new “thanksgiving” type event came out and I realized that I’d have to go to Goldshire…but on my regular old PvE server, Goldshire is a ghost town. I did not enjoy Goldshire on Moon Guard.

However.

There is no other place in the game I have been (and I’ve visited quite a few servers, including roleplaying servers) that was as friendly and welcoming as Moon Guard. I mentioned that I was relieved at the quiet Goldshire on my new server. I’ll confess that I was also a bit relieved the first time I had to go to the Stormwind Cathedral on an alt, and there was no one there. Likewise, the place in Stormwind where the warrior trainers are was deserted. On Moon Guard there were usually people roleplaying in those places – the Cathedral could sometimes feel like running a gauntlet of religious types, beggars, and other oddities. I was relieved – and then I was a bit sad.

The people that populate and congregate in these places are what give the world a sense of space, an environment you can immerse yourself in. Hanging around with “Ipwnu” the DK bouncing around on his spectral tiger mount in front of the bank is not the same thing. On a normal server, you can have crowds, but you seldom have gatherings. I never see anyone walking any more. The world has become a place where people are in perpetual, frenzied motion – unless they happen to be AFK.

Moon Guard has a massively large community of people who truly care about their server. It’s so vast that there is bound to be a place for everyone. There are long-established guilds there to provide homes for people with innumerable divergent interests. There was a gnome in Stormwind who used to cry the daily “news,” there was a bizarre Night Elf giant woman, there was gossip and backroom deals and drama. It was an exhilarating place.

For me, the server transfer did involve some sacrifice. On my new server, a dwarf isn’t going to sit down next to me while I’m doing a fishing daily (hoping to get a crocolisk!) and wind up chatting for over an hour about how he used to be a pirate, and got chased out of town because of an inappropriate involvement with another pirate’s daughter.

On my new server, I’ve had someone chase me around a zone whispering profanities at me for “stealing his mobs.” I messed up in a pug run (before LFD was introduced, so this was all “local” people) and I got hit by the ghoul explode in the ToC 5-man. A warlock in the run started ranting at me, “Why would you do that?” etc. I whispered to him and told him that I realized I screwed up, there was no need to be so rude, and he told me I should be thankful, because “It could have been worse, I could have been swearing at you.” (This has since become a running gag for me, “Well it could be worse, I could be swearing at you! You should be thankful!”)

In the two years that I played on Moon Guard, I never had anyone say or do such things. Sure, it’s anecdotal evidence, but isn’t any server experience that way? You either have good experiences in a place, or bad ones. And don’t get me wrong… I love my guild. I wouldn’t trade them. But I feel absolutely no loyalty to my server whatsoever. I’ve met some neat people there, but in general people are more impatient, ruder, less helpful, and less friendly.

It took me over an hour to find enough people to sign my alt guild bank charter on my new server. I accomplished the same task in ten minutes on Moon Guard. On the new server, I was offering TEN gold per signature and people still wouldn’t help me. It was boggling, and I wondered if I had made a mistake in coming there. I don’t feel that I did at all – the community of people we have in the guild is also awesome. But the community in general is not. It’s pretty much non-existent. I have friendly relations with another tens guild on the server, but I don’t post on the realm forums because it’s more trolls than anything.

On the Moon Guard forums, people organize realm events, or talk about RP, or whatever. Sure, it has trolls. It’s the largest RP server in existence, that’s bound to happen.

I knew people who weren’t roleplayers, had no interest in roleplaying at all, and still played on Moon Guard. When asked why, they said, “Because the people are just really nice.” It’s true. I left because I wanted a different form of play – more intense raiding, and I found that. But my leaving doesn’t speak to the server itself. If I were looking for a roleplay server, I’d go back happily. Now people who have no knowledge or interest in RP servers whatsoever are hearing about Moon Guard’s infamous Goldshire, and I find that unfortunate. Just remember what with any story, you’re going to hear about what’s “news,” but it isn’t the whole or even a fraction of the truth.

This is my mage learning how to polymorph things into pigs. She was still wearing her super Outland clown gear at the time, because the drab browns and greys of Northrend didn't exist yet! This is related, because it was taken on Moon Guard, with a pig. They are proud and noble animals.

Gallery

Counting the Reasons

This gallery contains 16 photos.

Back when there was much discussion going around about the changes to ten and twenty-five person raiding, I wrote a post detailing how excited I was about the changes and why they were a fabulous thing for my raid group. … Continue reading

It’s still pugging if you met in an instance.

Today I had the chance to play my not-so-wee-anymore paladin. I’ll be honest with you, I wasn’t exactly looking forward to it. In fact, after a tumultuous couple of weeks in the wow-verse, I’ve been avoiding my paladin altogether. Long story extremely short: I inherited our guild. I’ve been recruiting for said guild, and doing all those guild-ish things, and it hasn’t left a lot of time for pugging when I do get a chance to play. I even made an alt in Single Abstract Noun, and haven’t had a chance to login there since. I really like the idea of hanging out with all of the awesome blogging folks, and it was a blast when I was able to do it, but I don’t know how often I’ll be able to do so. No, it isn’t a “look at me I’m so busy and important” so much as it is “I can only devote so much time to this game and keeping a guild going and raiding take a lot of the time available to me.” I love reading about what other SAN folks have been up to, though.

But more than all of those things, I’ve been avoiding Vid because I just haven’t been in a healing mood. Logging in and staring at her in her heirlooms wasn’t changing that fact, either. I thought about it. My patience (low) and energy (ditto) just couldn’t handle a frustrating pug experience. I was in the mood to hit some things in the face.

It was time to drop my prot spec and make it a ret spec.

A quick google search yielded this thread on the official WoW forums: Paladin Leveling Guide 3.3. There was a ret spec fully mapped out there, level by level. I followed it blindly. I hopped on my unicorn and did a few laps around Stormwind. My horse suddenly has more horsepower! Then I bought ret glyphs, and queued exclusively as a DPS and hopped a flight to Chillwind where I had a paladin quest to drop off. Surprisingly enough, the instance announcement appeared while I was somewhere over Arathi.

An unfamiliar loading screen later and I found myself at the entrance to BRD. This is definitely one of the instances they’ve chopped into tiny, digestible pieces, apparently – because when we reached the end of the run we all sort of looked around going, “Is that it?” It seriously took… it felt like about ten minutes. Maybe fifteen, I wasn’t timing it.

At that point, the tank whispered me and said, “If you want to queue for the next part, drop group and we can queue for it.” I thought he was just yanking my chain, since you can’t form a group with people from other servers; until I actually looked at his name. He wasn’t from another server, he was from my server. But when we formed up again, we couldn’t queue for the next part because I was lower level than he was and it wouldn’t let us. I suggest that we could queue up again for just a random, and he agreed. Sunken Temple came up instantly, and I was quite pleased because knowing the tank, I knew I could get him to come and do my quest to kill Hakkar. Taking Cass’ most excellent advice, I made sure to look up a map beforehand so I knew exactly where it was and could easily say, “It’s just right here, guys! The boss drops good loot!”

Fortunately the group was patient despite what actually is a bit of a gong show of a quest. “Yes, we’re going to get locked in this room. Uh-huh, waves of adds are going to come out and start attacking everyone willy-nilly. If you get blood from this one you have to extinguish the flame here. No, not there. Here. Over here. Right. Here!” So I finished the quest finally, we wrapped up the instance with no problems – the tank was really very good. A tank that makes me happy is one managing the mobs into neat groups. A tank who even does a line of sight pull on the trolls before Jamma’lan! It was great. I even got a proper healing shield! (I know, I was DPSing, nobody else wanted it anyhow.)

When we were done the instance, my new-found tank friend and I talked in party a little bit. Did I have a tanking off-spec, he wondered? Because he would like to DPS an instance. I said that no, I didn’t, but I could queue as a healer and that should get us in fairly quickly.

Twenty minutes elapsed with the pair of us queued as healer and DPS.

“How about we quest while we wait?” he said.

I considered possible answers.

“Yes, I’d love that. Waiting for queues has been so frustrating.”

“Oh no, I couldn’t do that, because I’m not questing, you see. It’s for my blog.”

“Ummm brb, dog aggro.”

You can surmise what my answer was when I tell you that Vid is now level 54. When I logged in to pug yesterday, she was still 49. It sure wasn’t pugs that helped her gain nearly five whole levels, although they did play a role. I quested together with the warrior for a goodly long while, and we were unstoppable. Mobs fell down before us. He would gather entire packs and I would be there cutting them in half with my gigantic two-hander and it was so fast. Pugging has been incredibly fun, particularly in the lower levels when I don’t enjoy the zones as much, it was a refreshing change from the lowbie grind I’ve done so many times. But watching other people level alts at light-speed and pass me by (at present count, no less than four alts in my guild have been rolled and subsequently reached eighty or near to eighty while I languished in my forties, crawling my way slowly forward.)

So with the longer queue times, I’ve still been putting myself out there to pug, but also questing in-between. I went back and finished off much of Felwood last night while waiting in a queue that eventually appeared and dropped me in BRD into an “instance in progress.” I was greeted by groans and general exclamations and complaints against Blizzard. Apparently, the instance I’d joined had just finished, they’d killed the last boss and were completely done. I guess when one member left their group it automatically queued for a replacement? I’m not quite sure. In any case, I had another fifteen minutes to wait until I could queue once more, but another group never did appear, although I was queuing as either heals or DPS. I can only imagine what havoc the new “wait time debuff” will play with my pugging scheme in the case of technical errors like this. It’s not like I joined a pug to be a jerk and then just left. I guess I should be cautious about accepting “in-progress” groups from now on. With a wait time of about twenty minutes to get into a group, and then a fifteen minute debuff if the group falls apart for some reason – it could conceivably be half hour or more before I even get into a viable pug, let alone finish one. So it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that I am going to keep doing some questing to get to level sixty.

Does this mean the end of the Pugging Pally? My husband tells me that “The Questing Pally” doesn’t really have the same ring to it. Of course I’m going to keep pugging, I may even pug more exclusively once more as I head into Outlands where there might be more demand to run the instances, and certainly Northrend will be the same way once I’m there. I just don’t see the point in punishing myself for the sake of my “experiment,” or pure cussed stubbornness. If the experiment was to see whether one could level to 80 entirely using the LFD tool – absolutely, once you hit 15 and are eligible for queues, I have no doubt you could get to 80 entirely that way. Especially if you’re inclined to be a tank, or in the case of many crazy people of my acquaintance,a tank/healer dual-specced, or leveling as a tank with a healer friend, etc. But I don’t necessarily think it’s the most expedient way. Even for a tank with instance queue times, I believe that XP per hour gained is much greater from quests and a judicious combination of instances. I’ve also learned that it’s a little bit boring being confined to the capital city, just waiting for your next pug. I’ve been running around gathering flight points, and doing quest chains, and that’s part of what I enjoy about the game. I like quests. Why did I ever decide I would do no quests?

I wanted to put myself out of my comfort zone and meet people and I’m going to continue to do that. Heck, I quested for hours with someone I had pugged with yesterday, which is technically a quest pick-up-group. And I had a blast! That’s really more the spirit of the endeavor anyhow – level a character a bit differently and have a good time. If my own restrictions have begun to impede that for no good reason, then it’s time to change the rules. I made them, after all.

That said, here are some fun things:

This is the face of someone who's been wearing weenie-roasting forks on her shoulders for 50 levels.

I love the look of plate armour. It’s really nice to wear plate armour. I have nothing against the mail that’s been serving me so well, but as I’ve complained before – it just doesn’t feel very paladin-esque. I suppose neither does the giant battle-axe with the skull on it, but use your imagination, right? The skull is being used in service of the Light.

Have I mentioned how much I really enjoy retribution since I’ve tried it? I’ve set up my Power Auras to let me know when things proc, and Miksscrollingbattletext does the same. I may or may not have been gleefully yelling, “Art of WAAAAARRR” when my art of war procs. You have no proof.

My other favourite thing from around here – search engine terms! These are the ones that made me laugh out loud, along with a sizable number of “Maraudon – Pristine Waters” searches. I’m sorry, I really don’t know as much about it as I should know, having been there a number of times. I wasn’t even spelling it correctly until recently.

tanks rushing looking for dungeaon – They do that. You can ask them politely to slow down so you don’t have water splashing past your face as you try to drink and run simultaneously. They might call you a whiner and be jerks, or they might apologize and say they didn’t realize you hadn’t had a moment to catch your breath. Or they might simply ignore you and continue on regardless, but you won’t know if you don’t try, right?

you’ve got mail sfk – In this romantic comedy gone wrong, Archmage “Wolf” Arugal enters into a correspondence with Sylvanas Windrunner. Unknown to them both, it is in fact Arugal’s crazed worgen who are terrorizing Silverpine Forest and messing with Sylvanas’ people in the region. When they set up a coffee date, he sees her and realizes that she is cute, but dead, and she freaks out when he stands her up and a wolf makes off with her quiver. Eventually circumstances bring her to realize his true identity, and she orders the Forsaken to slaughter him and all of his worgen minions, proving in the end that love does not conquer all. “W-O-L-F.”

my paladin swings so slowly – Maybe he needs coffee? The fast and dirty ret guide I found yesterday said that slow, hard-hitting weapons are actually what a ret pally wants. Correct me if I’m wrong, those who are more knowledgeable in the ways of swinging the Light. And an edit here, thanks to Kring in the comments, I know that a slower weapon isn’t actally bad for a pally tank either! You can read more about that here. This is why I have people who know things!

why didnt i get my achievement for scarlet – Did you do the whole thing? Really, the whole entire thing? Every wing, from Graveyard, Armory, Library, and Cathedral? Because if you don’t complete all of them, you won’t get the achievement, it’s tied to all of the bosses together.

anything good for paladin drop in zul’fa – Yes, and then your tank will drop group after he gets it.

“lfd leveling” mage build
– Now this one isn’t funny so much as I think it’s interesting. I’d personally go Frost all the way – in fact, hang on, I’m leveling a mage right now, and I did go frost all the way! Frost is great for soloing in addition to instancing (for while you’re waiting for that mystical queue to appear) and it’s incredibly mana efficient. Plus, it’s really fun. Don’t glyph Frostbolt either – the slow effect helps a ton while you’re out killing things, and even sometimes in instances. For leveling as a frost mage, I’d use something like this build. Go deep down the frost tree and then pick up arcane after, on your way to 80. It isn’t necessarily an ideal DPS build but should be very mana efficient and control oriented. I put two points in Arctic Reach because I like being able to hit things from as far back as possible, but if you find yourself using Cone of Cold fairly often it’d be worth putting points in the talent to buff that, or in something like Frost Warding if you are doing a lot of soloing or would like to try your hand at PvP as you level up. I didn’t put points in Imp. Blizzard because combined with your freezing/chill effects it will do that thing where it locks all the mobs to the ground, causing them to turn to the nearest melee and try to eat them, regardless of how much threat the tank might have. It’s nice for AoE grinding mobs if you’re out soloing, but kind of annoying in an instance, so take a point there at your own discretion.

Alternatively, I suppose a strong argument could be made for a fire build going through LFD – it’ll give you a lot of damage, but you won’t be quite so survivable if you (whoops) pull aggro from a tank. If you wanted to be fire, I’d go with a spec like this one (I only did it until level 60). Actually, I realized in doing this that I’m out of mage touch (sniffle) and it saddens me. Any magier folks want to take a stab at what they’d recommend for an LFD fire mage? Don’t put yourself out, though, because I imagine the person who googled it originally will never actually see it.