Showing posts with label RDF storytime. Show all posts
Showing posts with label RDF storytime. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Staggering intellect at work

The other afternoon - possibly Saturday or Sunday - I was doing a little LFR tanking on my warrior. I don't do this every week, but sometimes I feel like I want to, so I do. We were in the process of clearing Zon'ozz trash, which means disinterestedly pushing buttons and praying for the tentacle to throw you so you can leap back to it, which is about all the fun that's to be had there.

And then I saw someone in /say insult someone else's DPS. I kind of rolled my eyes - whatever, it's LFR - but then I saw the response. The person being attacked was a rogue, and their response to link their achievement for getting a rating of 2400 in 3v3 arena. That made me roll my eyes even more than the original insult did, because again! This is LFR. We do not care about your arena rating.

Our intrepid DPS-checker says "whatever that's fine, but all you're doing is white attacking, if you're better than me then show it."

The response was "I don't raid. I'm just here for the vial."

This was all in /say of course, so most of the raid didn't see it. And then before I could bring it up, the other tank pulled the boss.

Immediately after the boss, I said in raid "so anyway, this rogue straight up said they're just white-attacking for a chance at the vial, so let's kick it."

Rogue's response? "You mad, brah?"

I felt like the only sensible response to that was "you hurf, durf?"

Then the kick went through, so that was nice.

Pro tip to all the pros out there that wanna leech off of LFR without expending even the barest minimum of effort: keep your fat, stupid mouth shut, you lazy idiot.

Sorry, this is a really lame story! I was just completely blown away that some guy feels so entitled to the fruits of another's labor that he didn't even try to hide it. Usually, someone trying to deliberately cheat others at least feels a little shame, you know? Tries to be sneaky about it? This guy was all "pushing buttons in PvE is beneath me - bring me the loots, peons! Hoist me upon a palanquin and deliver unto me the purples that I so clearly deserve! And be sure to peel them, first!"

Remarkable. Just remarkable.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Passion in the Maelstrom

Note: this post could be kind of NSFW! I mean. It's not strictly NSFW? But it could still be tough explaining it to a coworker or supervisor that happened to read some of it over your shoulder.

It's kind-of-but-not-really fiction starring the inimitable Grubtor, who you can read about here.

Also it's embarrassingly long.

Warnings made, may I present to you:

Passion in the Maelstrom!

I hadn't been planning on doing LFR that week, but I'd been unlucky with tokens and still needed new pants or a hat for the four-piece bonus, and picking up a Maw of the Dragonlord wouldn't hurt either, so I decided to queue up. It popped in a couple minutes and I accepted the summons, instantly transporting me to the top of Wyrmrest temple.

The aspects and Thrall were standing around in a circle, staring mutely at each other or glancing at myself and my twenty-four compatriots as we tumbled out of thin air. I considered wandering over to Nozdormu to give one of his immortal nipples a friendly tweak, but being the Aspect of Time, he knew my plan before I did and was already growling an icy "I'll shave off your beard if you come an inch closer, dwarf" when I tried to give him a sly glance.

"Hah! You're just afraid I'll flip up your skirt and see how far the tattoos go!"

Did you know that you can hear a Dragon Aspect grinding his teeth in rage from 30 paces?

Without warning, there was a hearty Draenic laugh behind me and I was almost knocked flat on my beard by the impact of a meaty slab of hand. Recovering my balance, I turned around to stare up at the ridiculous gray bulk of a Draenei hunter.

"Ho ho! That was good joke, short bearded friend! You are making him so mad, it is for laughs! Ho ho ho!"

His laughter was deep and booming, and although I didn't know his name, I already felt that he was something special.

"Ho ho ho! It is very well to be meeting you, short bearded friend! I am Grubtor! And this," he said before sticking two cheek-tentacles into his mouth and issuing a sharp whistle, "is my ferocious and faithful war-moth, Tinkles!"

With a plink! a small moth popped into existence by his knee. A little below his knee, actually. It flapped its wings and shivered, surrounding itself with a brief nimbus of iridescent pink dust.

"Do not be afraid, short bearded friend! Tinkles is a highly trained war-moth and will attack only on my command!"

At the word "attack," the moth darted forward - I flinched in spite of myself - and burrowed into my beard, where I could feel it digging around. I was too astonished to so much as splutter. Grubtor frowned. "Tinkles! Cease attack! Cease! Come to Grubtor!"

After a few moments the moth emerged and fluttered lazily back to its position by Grubtor's knee, leaving a trail of sparkling motes behind.

"Are you hurt, short bearded friend!"

I peered at Grubtor.

"No. I ... am not hurt."

"Ho ho ho! It is well! You are hardy as well as bearded! I am sure with allies such as yourself, we will succeed in none time with the killing of dastardly Deathwing!"

I shook my head to clear it rather than try to understand what had just happened, then looked around the platform where the raid was pretty much assembled. At least half of our allies were slack-jawed and empty-eyed, strings of drool trailing from their chins. Gem sockets gaped black and empty everywhere I looked, while the tell-tale shimmer of powerful enchantments was largely absent. As I watched, one human paladin that had been walking in circles slowly sank down into an awkward sitting position, pulled his shield off his back, and began to absent-mindedly gnaw on it. I shuddered and didn't even think about trying to find the other tank. I was better off not knowing.

"Yes, Grubtor. These... are definitely some... stalwart. Um. Companions." I sighed.

Suddenly the Aspects stopped staring about blankly (or in the case of one, glaring at me) and began channeling things into the big floating butterscotch candy otherwise known as the Dragon Soul.

"Ho ho! Grubtor sees the encounter is to be beginning! Munificent!"

The paladin continued to gnaw on his shield, so I went over to nudge him with a foot. "Hey. Hey uh. Paladin. You should probably, you know. Stand up. Tank some things. Some of these purple dragons? Tank them?"

No response.

By then, Alexstrasza and Deathwing had finished being dramatic at each other and some of the purple dragons started to show up. My taunts didn't seem to have the necessary power to bring them down to attack me (my mum had always stressed politeness, and the best of the worst that I could summon was "I bet you're only ok at singing 'happy birthday'!") and many of my stalwart companions seemed to be too noble to taunt anything, so several dragons began to fill up the platform with fire. I started to heal the various people standing in it.

To my astonishment, Grubtor, who had been occupied with the loving, caressing inspection of what appeared to be a lightweight ballista, sprang into sudden action. He stood behind the paladin and fired a crossbow bolt that spiraled into its target and made a rude farting noise. When the dragon whipped its head around, he jumped up and down pointing at the paladin. "Ho ho purple dragon! It was him that fired the taunting arrow, yes!" Enraged, the dragon swooped down upon the paladin, who gazed back at it impassively. Incredulous, I began casting a heal on him.

Grubtor was a blur, darting and running to every which side of the platform, pelting the attackers with bolts more akin to javelins than anything else, his crossbow ratcheting and twanging furiously. Being bitten by a dragon had roused the tank, such as he was, into a modicum of activity. He'd stood up and was attempting to place the shield in between himself and the dragon, while occasionally shouting incoherent gibberish at new dragons as they appeared.

A Death Knight, one of the warriors hand-chosen by Arthas for his prowess in combat, stumbled off the edge of the tower to his second death. I rolled my eyes. After the Lich King's defeat, the former lieutenants of his that found their way into our ranks seemed to be both foul-smelling and imbecilic, leading me to wonder how he'd ever been considered a threat in the first place.

Before too long, Ultraxion fluttered up from below and started declaiming things. I rolled my eyes again. The dragons are undoubtedly the campiest race on the face of Azeroth, and this guy somehow managed to be the campiest. Ultra, honey. You're the fifth boss in the instance. You can be the shadow which blots out the streetlamp, making an alley look scary, ok? The sun is just overreaching.

But I'm wandering.

Grubtor spent most of the hammed-up speech looking bored and occasionally petting Tinkles, but once the start of combat got close he pulled out a vicious, serrated super-bolt of some sort, then turned to me and winked.

"Ho ho, short bearded friend!" He was clearly trying to keep this sotto voce, a skill that I don't think he's ever likely to master. "This one is to make froofy pink dragon bleed!"

"WHAT WAS THAT ABOUT BLEEDING? WHO SAID THAT? AND I'M NOT FROO-OOOOWW!"

Grubtor had cranked the crossbow back as far as it would go and then let fly. The "tank" was covered in twilight dragon blood and began swinging his hammer wildly, flinging globs of the Light every which way. The slim, Night Elf druidess standing next to me buried her face in her palm for a moment - I think I could hear her mutter "just one more piece of tier and I can never come back, come on, one more piece" - then transformed into a dire bear and charged forward growling, wresting Ultraxion's attention away from the mostly-dead Gnome rogue he'd been chewing on, letting the tiny angry man fall to the ground. I gave him a renew.

The encounter went pretty smoothly. Once the paladin had cleared the blood out of his eyes, he managed to somehow taunt whenever the druid was afflicted with fading light. Of course, when he got fading light he just died and got resurrected by one or another Death Knight or Warlock, which I found hilarious.

After it was all over and Ultraxion had gone tumbling to the ground to join the Death Knight from earlier, I snuck a few peeks at everyone's healing epeens and compared them to my own. I felt pretty smug - I'd grabbed the red crystal as soon as it had appeared, then yanked the blue crystal out of the hands of another holy priest, who'd stamped his feet and disappeared from the raid in disgust.

The weird thing about turning from Alex into Kalec is that your hips actually get wider. Strange, huh?

Anyway, then I looked at the epeens of our damage dealers and my eyes widened.

Grubtor's epeen was massive. It was majestic and radiant in its glory. It was bigger than the next six epeens combined. "No wonder that dragon went down on us so quick..." I whispered.

While I was caught in the throes of admiration, a Draenei restoration Shaman clopped up on her fastidiously pedicured hooves (how come I'd never seen the hoof-polish merchant in the Exodar?), batted her eyelashes at Grubtor, and said "oh why hello Mr. Hunter. I'm sorry I'm such a silly shaman, but would you mind telling me where the Skyfire is going to dock for us to board?"

"Grubtor is smart and experienced, of course he can! It is that way!" Time seemed to slow down while Grubtor pointed with his left arm, his right for some reason curling up until he touched his shoulder with a fist. At this point, his shoulderguards, cuirass, gloves, and pants simply burst off of him, unable to contain his magnificent physique. The shaman and I gasped at the same time as he stood revealed in naught but his bracers, boots, and chainmail boxer-briefs.

They actually said J U I C Y across his behind.

"Well well," said the Shaman, "my name is Kandyce. You can call me Kandy for short. Ta!" and she skipped off to the Skyfire, trailing a finger across his chest as she went. I narrowed my eyes at her. I'd seen him first.

For his part, Grubtor seemed oblivious, looking around at the detritus of ruined equipment scattered on the ground. Eventually he shrugged and as I wandered up he boomed at me, "It is good that guild covers repairs, yes! Ho ho!" And off he went to the Skyfire.

Between the relative competence of myself and the other healers, our lovely bear tank, and Grubtor's turgid epeen, the next couple encounters went smoothly and we found ourselves standing on islands in the Maelstrom.

The smells of salt water and the scent of burning decay swirled together in the mist that sprayed over us. The center of the Maelstrom was a glowing red vortex, bubbling and sloshing with the corruption seeping from Deathwing's injured body. As he reared out of the water and clung to the rocks with his twisted, ruined limbs, I had eyes only for Grubtor.

The sheen of moisture on his skin.

The smooth action of his body as he pounded bolt after bolt into Deathwing's claws and tentacles.

The good-natured bellow with which he ordered Tinkles to attack, and the miraculous fact that the moth seemed to obey (although I'm unsure how much damage it could possibly have been doing).

As we advanced through the platforms, I found myself healing Grubtor more and everyone else less. A naughty urge began to bubble up from my unconsciousness, and although I tried to push it back down I eventually gave in. Blushing furiously behind my beard, I sidled up behind Grubtor (J U I C Y indeed) and cast another heal on him - a different one.

He shivered when it hit him, looking over his shoulder (still shooting crossbow bolts! Accurately!) to say "Short bearded friend! Never have I felt such a heal! What was it!"

Blushing harder - perhaps he could even see it through my beard by now? - I hit him with another. "That," I panted, "was a Flash Heal. Usually you'd only use it in an emergency, probably on a tank. Using it on a DPS at full health is," and here my voice grew husky with the illicit, deliciously sinful truth of it, "very mana inefficient."

"Ho ho! I am liking it very much! Yes! I think it helps me damage more damagingly!"

I gave in fully to the moment, letting go and dumping flash heal after flash heal into him, occasionally consuming Serendipity with a greater heal. It was wondrous.

Then we were interrupted by the cold splash of a chain heal in our faces, followed by a riptide landing on Grubtor and cascading down his back. It was... it was that shaman!

"Kandy! Hello! Would you also like to be healing me!"

She laughed, walking towards us with a confident stride. To my surprise, I found myself captivated by her ample, jiggling blue mana bar as it swayed with her hips.

"Well, I can't let you boys have all the fun, can I? Hey Priest - I bet you've never felt this before," and with that she cast earth shield on me. It was so wrong - so very wrong, and yet also so right. She'd spoken the truth: I'd never felt the firm yet gentle caress of an earth shield before. I was suddenly jealous of tanks.

It degenerated from there, as the entire healing team healed Grubtor and his epeen more and more, egged on by his lusty and excited bellows of "Yes, my friends! All of you! All of the healing for Grubtor! I am doing most damages, heal me with your heals!"

The druidess snorted in disgust and teleported to Moonglade. The gnome rogue, seeing the Corruption tentacle turn his way, vanished and used his hearthstone. But Grubtor, glorious Grubtor! He was enough! With a final bolt, the tentacle sunk into the sea and he turned his attention on the wing.

As he began to damage it, his hands a blur, Tinkles dusting the wing furiously, I noticed that Deathwing was watching. His tongue was undulating wildly - lasciviously, ecstatically - in the air and his molten eyes rolled this way and that, always returning to Grubtor. When he spoke, it was in a throaty, grinding growl, the sound of boulders tumbling in a magma flow:

"YES, YES!" he said.

"I HAVE BEEN A BAD DRAGON ASPECT! DAMAGE ME, HUNTER! PUNISH ME! YES!"

The wrongness of everything that was happening was as pervasive as it was addictive. We continued to heal Grubtor, rivulets of sweat running between his shoulderblades, mixing with healing rains and glowing with the warm golden glow of the Light.

One by one, healers ran out of mana. Kandy and myself were the last and we both let our final heals go at the same straining moment before collapsing to the ground together, blissfully spent. Grubtor still stood, his epeen straining, still somehow growing. "Yes!" he would occasionally shout or "Ho ho!" or "More damages!"

Deathwing growled back at him, writhing in the middle of the Maelstrom, and although everyone else in the raid was dead I did not fear: Grubtor would clearly kill the wing before Cataclysm finished casting.

And then...

With a final growl of "OLD GODS, YES! I DESERVE IT, I'VE BEEN EVIL! CORRUPTED! YESSS--"

Then the Cataclysm castbar suddenly just finished all at once, eradicating all life on Azeroth, even Tinkles, who took 90% reduced area of effect damage.

As our souls drifted in the twisting nether, I heard a distant echo of Deathwing's voice. It said: "OH MY GOD GUYS I AM SO SORRY. THIS IS REALLY EMBARRASSING. THIS NEVER HAPPENS TO ME. UGH. PREMATURE CATACLYSM, THIS IS THE WORST."

And then I found myself on my back below the spirit healer. Even dead, I was still blissfully exhausted, but (literally) not above further crudity.

"Hey Spirit lady, I can see up your toga. Where do you even go to get wa-" and then, with a ringing, ethereal echo of "creep!" in my ears I found myself on my back at the Maelstrom, afflicted with resurrection sickness. Just before the various Aspects faded back into existence.

"Hey Nozdormu," I said, slightly muffled, "I can see up your skirt."

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Upcoming Change to the LFR Loot System

As you know, all of us here at Blizzard take customer feedback very seriously. We all spend a lot of time every day reading the Battle.Net forums for World of Warcraft, we communicate with our fans through Twitter and Facebook, and we have a variety of statistical tools that monitor and report on what actually happens in-game.

The new Looking For Raid feature has generated a lot of feedback. Indeed, it has generated so much feedback that we had to bring another 38 quintillion petaFLOPS of server capacity online to handle the new topic requests sent to our North American forum servers alone.

A lot of the feedback we've received has been very positive, and we're extremely happy about that. People with irregular schedules, or in guilds that don't raid, or who have a variety of reasons that make it difficult for them to tackle the normal modes have informed us that they've had a lot of fun with LFR. We really could not be more pleased about this.

Unfortunately, there have also been some complaints. Most of that server capacity we added has gone towards serving the topic-posting needs of people who rolled on a thing that dropped in LFR and yet, somehow, did not receive it. After reading a representative sample of threads with titles such as "LFR Loot System has hit rock bottom" and "A Simple Look at, Looking For Raid Loot" and "LFR loot issues thread#29992", we have come to a conclusion that we feel best serves the needs of all our valued customers.

We are currently deploying a hotfix to all realms that will remove all loot drops from Dragon Soul bosses in the Looking For Raid difficulty. Instead, bosses will drop Legendary Satchels, with each player able to loot their own individual Satchel. Satchels will have orange text and contain a small but non-trivial amount of gold and have a small but non-zero chance to drop certain easily obtainable companion pets, as well as a basically-zero chance to drop the Ashes of Al'ar.

All of us here on the World of Warcraft development team are extremely excited to read your feedback about this latest change, but we have anticipated that the volume might very well be beyond even our ability to capture a representative sample. We have so far been reading and collating results from between three and four-hundred threads on the LFR loot system posted to Battle.Net every second, and this has allowed us a reasonable grasp on the contents of the other seventy to eighty million threads posted that second. Conservative estimates from our research team have indicated a likely post volume far in excess of the total information contained in the observable Universe, and as such we are simply incapable of adding sufficient server capacity to address your needs.

We would need to secure the services of an omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent Being merely to handle the posts made by customers upset that they received a cockroach pet of the wrong color. Incidentally, should such a Being be reading this post, I would like to personally encourage you to visit our Careers Page and apply today! We offer competitive benefits and will assist with your relocation to Irvine, California.

Until such time as we are able to hire a Supreme Being or Beings, however, the most cost-effective measure to throttle feedback and allow us to continue delivering the reliable gaming and forum-reading experience you've come to expect from Blizzard has turned out to be hiring third-party professionals skilled in stealth and infiltration to administer a powerful paralytic neurotoxin to all active subscribers to the World of Warcraft. You should be feeling the toxin's effects shortly: do not be alarmed! Our hired professionals will also be connecting you to intravenous nutriment delivery for the approximate two-week duration of the paralysis. We do not believe any convincing evidence of long-term harm has been shown to occur from this toxin, but do be aware that you agreed to be paralyzed against your will when you clicked "Accept" without reading the updated EULA and TOS.

Thank you again for being such amazing fans of World of Warcraft! It has been a dream come true to work here. We're looking forward to your feedback in a couple weeks, when you've had time to relax about it a little bit.

Good luck obtaining the Ashes of Al'ar!

Greg "Phantomcrustacean" Road

Monday, December 19, 2011

We play this game for fun, right?

There are a few recent posts out there in the WoW blogging ether whose intersection I want to talk about a little bit.

The first is Cynwise's post on motivation - and I highly recommend watching the presentation by Chris Hecker that I linked in a comment on that post.

The second and third posts are Karegina's post about LFR and Windsoar's response, touching on mental illness more broadly.

What I think is important about looking at these three posts together is that if you find a good answer for Cynwise's problem, I think you're well on the way to having a good answer for Karegina and Windsoar. I shall tell a short story to illustrate what I'm getting at.

To begin the story, we'll have to go back to the Burning Crusade. The raid guild I was in at the time was working on Mount Hyjal. I don't think we'd yet begun progression on Archimonde. In those days, Cursed Vision was the best hunter hat (and rogue hat, ret hat, cat hat, enhance hat,...) in the game, but obviously we weren't at Illidan yet. The second best hat was the season 3 PvP hat.

At the same time, my boyfriend was playing a holy paladin and the best healing gloves in the game were the PvP gloves.

The solution seems obvious, right? Obvious and, if you did arena PvP at all during season 3, pretty horrifying. It's hard to imagine a worse pair of classes to arena with at that time, and it's especially hard to imagine a worse pair wearing mostly raid gear.

I won't go into the process in detail, but we did get our PvP items, at the cost of sinking a lot of time into doing an activity that wasn't fun for either of us and made us fight and like, really? Fighting with the person you love over WoW arena losses is pretty unpleasant. And so we swore it off foreverrr-r-r-r-r!

Until, you know, Cataclysm. Kinda. Independently of other things going on, I started to do some PvP on my priest, just random BGs, and it was a lot of fun! It was even more fun when I did them with guildies, because as few as 2 or 3 of us working together could really dominate a BG. And one of the guildies I was doing them with was my boyfriend (on his DK), and we weren't fighting! Yay!

I don't remember who initially brought up the idea, but at some point it was suggested by someone that myself and my boyfriend and one of our guildies do 3v3 arenas. I thought that two factors would keep us from fighting. First, now it was me healing instead of him, so I figured he'd be less stressed by watching healthbars drop. Second, we were doing it with another person, which I thought would be better. I'm not sure why or how.

Instead we ended up in the same place we'd been before, in BC. We stopped queueing for arenas, and honestly since then I haven't done any WoW PvP.

Looking back, I think that the core mistake we made was forgetting why we'd started doing BGs together: they were fun! It wasn't particularly fair of us to (mostly) steamroll uncoordinated random BG teams, but we were having fun playing as a group, and we didn't need to have a full raid of 10 people online to do it.

So once we'd kitted ourselves out in honor gear - which took no time at all with a 85%+ win percentage - we said to ourselves "we could do arenas! We could get rating and better gear and titles and stuff!"

Right?

We shifted focus from the intrinsic fun of wrecking BGs with friends to the extrinsic carrot of titles and rating and stuff. And part of what tripped us up is that we were right about some things. We were all individually pretty capable people! But it takes a while to pick up the specialized skillset for arenas, and even then you're still vulnerable to hard counters. More importantly, the MMR system does its best to give you a 1:1 win:loss ratio, and if you're chasing rating then every loss is like "ugh we lost rating points" and it just feels crap.

Similarly, when we were doing arenas for points in BC, we wanted those points to buy things with. Every loss meant we'd have to queue one more time for the necessary points to buy the things we thought we wanted.

If you're going to be doing arenas, you should be doing them because they're fun for you. Not because you want gear for your raid toon or a cool title.

By the same token, if you're going to be queueing into LFR, it should be because you want to do LFR. Sure, when I'm in there on my hunter I'm partially doing it for gear, but it's also fun for me to do things like compare my damage done with others and just sort of watch the on-screen chaos of 25 totally uncoordinated people flailing away at nerfed versions of the encounters. For my priest and now my warrior, LFR is a way for them to do what they do in a raid-like setting.

I have encouraged my raiders to do some LFR for the gear to help with our normal-mode progression but I have also (I hope!) been clear that I totally do not require them to do so. I have tried to emphasize that I've had fun with it, and getting free purpz is a surprising side effect of that (seriously, every time I win a roll I'm astonished).

The flipside to this is that I think some guilds might require people to clear LFR weekly until they can't get anything more from it, and I think that's ok too just so long as the guild as a whole agrees to that.

What is definitively not ok is a guild that says it's fine with people that don't do things like farm the TB trinket or farm LFR but then puts a lot of pressure on members that don't want to do those things. Especially because for some of our fellow raiders and friends there are issues that magnify and compound the flaws of extrinsic rewards, totally wrecking their enjoyment of the entire game:
A couple of  years ago during a depression, I almost completely disappeared from the game. I felt too pressured to do anything but group activities, and I just couldn’t handle it. When I screwed up my courage and started telling people not now I found that, not only did my guildmates not despise me for leaving them high and dry, but I could handle playing the game on a regular basis again.
From here.

We all choose this hobby. We choose to fork over our $15 every month. We do it because we want to. It's surprising, then, that it can be so hard to keep an eye on why we choose to do that. I actually think that keeping up with this blog has helped a lot with that, for me at least, because when I get really excited about something I write about it.

I've always got a record of the things that have made me happy.

So hey - has anyone else tried that? Especially if they're feeling crap about the game at a given moment, either written down or gone back and read a previously-written bit to remind themselves about why they're in Azeroth? If not, it might be worth a shot.

And if you're considering doing something that you dread, or simply have no desire to do - I say just let it go. Concentrate on what's fun. Jettison the rest.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Dragon Soul so far: pretty great, actually!

I think I spent maybe 6 or 7 hours logged into WoW for the entirety of November.

It just wasn't something I was really very interested in doing. I mostly logged in to farm the nerfed Firelands normals, but we pretty much gave up on trying out heroic progression. Killing the same stuff over and over again in hopes that the few things we needed would drop was extremely tedious. Beth'tilac was the first boss we killed in Firelands and she never did drop a single tanking sword. On the other hand, our rogue got kitted out in his BiS for every slot, so that's cool.

The point being that I was pretty much totally bored with WoW and couldn't be bothered to log in. Patch 4.3 has done a lot to address that, at least for the meantime.

Part of that has been the raid finder, and I'm forced to admit that I was completely wrong about it. Basically my thinking was that all mechanics would have to be nerfed to the point of irrelevance, thus robbing the encounters of any sort of inherent ability to be engaging. Socially, the raids would be poorly organized and raid chat would be the linguistic equivalent of the pus drained from a festering, poisonous boil (sorry for that image).

The first of these predictions was correct, but I've underestimated my fellow humans when it comes to the second. I've done a few different LFR jaunts, both on my hunter Peregrina and my priest Andaviel, and more than anything else it's been pretty quiet. To be honest, I do most of the talking! I do things like try to engage with other people there, make jokes, what have you, and I haven't had much luck with that. But it hasn't been a whirling cesspool of misspelled epithets and and trash-talking about overall damage done, so whatever! Well done, population of the raid finder queues in my battlegroup.

I've also been enjoying the new heroics. I don't have a whole lot to say about them: they feel easier than the troll heroics did on release, but whatever. They're pretty fun, and generally visually engaging. I like the mechanic for the shade of Sylvanas the best, requiring as it does some modicum of organization and halfway competent DPS.

The real meat of it though, the normal-mode raids with the guild, has really been the big bonus for me. Raid nights this week have been fun, damn it! I'm looking forward to logging in next Wednesday night and clearing out the first four and then taking more shots at Ultraxion. There's been more chatter in vent, discussion of how we're doing the different boss encounters and dealing with specific mechanics, teasing each other about stuff: all the fun parts of raiding in World of Warcraft.

The difficulty curve is really strange. We wandered in and killed Mor'chok the first time we pulled him, and I think we wiped 4 or 5 times total between Yor'sahj and Zon'ozz. Hagara took another 5 wipes on her own, and then we ran into Ultraxion and he is a really surprising brick wall of a gear check. One of our raiders was actually really upset about this: we're raiding Dragon Soul normal modes with Firelands normal modes gear, and our best pull got him to 14%. That's a pretty significant debt to make up.

Now, I think we'll kill him next week, but I think the way we'll do it is by going to two healers. I don't like making my healers take on roles that aren't really the ones they want to play, but I honestly don't see another way to do it. I talked a bit with someone in raid that had killed him, and they were sitting at almost 170k raid DPS (for a 10). We seem to be averaging around 140k raid DPS. And I really don't think we're doing bad with the 378 gear we've got. Our DPS mains seem to be pulling between 20 and 26k, with an average around 24. I think the drops to 20 are in large part due to bad RNG with fading light, but I should check that in the logs.

Anyway, as you approach that 5:00 mark, it seems to me that the damage very quickly ramps up, such that you're going to be wiping at around 5:30 regardless of the number of healers. Dropping down one healer shouldn't be a huge deal.

The important part for me is that we were having fun, even with the wiping to the gearcheck boss. I've also cleared the place out in the raid finder - the last two encounters are pretty fun. I don't think this particular guild is going to clear out Dragon Soul on heroic, but I think we'll finish our rogue's daggers and I think we'll get a few heroic modes down. I'm pretty happy with that.

I recorded a video of the Hagara kill, which means I'll need to finally find a video editor I like and address the compression issues. It was the first encounter that really seemed at all worth a video though. I will try to have that up in a week or two.

Oh yeah! I'm also going to be - gosh. I'm sort of embarrassed to say this? Like it seems silly that anyone would want to listen to this. But on the off chance someone would, I will mention that I'll be chatting with Hydra and Fimlys on the Twisted Nether Blogcast Saturday night, 10:00 P.M. CST. So if you're super bored I guess you could have a listen!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

In keeping with our theme from yesterday

The video for lord Rhyolith still hasn't had a successful upload. I'll get it one of these nights! It would probably help if I got the size down a bit more though - I'm amazed at how large video files are.

Also apropos to the theme from yesterday, I've got a couple short stories from the RDF and even a tiny one from trade. The first story is from Selinah, my gathering alt and tank. The further we progress into the Firelands, the easier it is to cap my main on VP, so I get a chance to heal or tank every so often. Last night after work, I thought it might be fun to pick up a satchel especially because tanks get instant queues.

I zoned in to a fresh ZA and we started up. Someone facepulled the little group of mobs right before the start of the gauntlet just as I ran up to the scout, so I got to tank a few extra adds and what have you, but it went fine. One of the DPS died on Akil'zon, but I didn't see where it happened and assumed that they'd stood in the lightning storm.

Then, as I was preparing to head off in the direction of Nalorakk, the healer says "Tank. You take too much damage."

I was pretty flabbergasted - it's not as if Akil'zon does a lot of tank damage, he's one of the party damage bosses. Further, I've tanked ZA and ZG several times, occasionally with somewhat undergeared healers. I use my cooldowns and debuff the bosses, and unless I stand in fire or something, I'm never really the point of failure.

There's this funny thing that happens in RDF parties though, where whoever first calls someone else bad tends to get others to agree with them. So if I'd called the healer a bad for letting someone die - even if that person had stood in the lightning storm - things probably would have gone differently.

I suggested that maybe if tank damage was an issue for him, he should consider using healing touch, but he was adamant that lifebloom should be able to heal 100% of the damage in an encounter.

Now for reference, here's the armory of the healer in question: Tankshifter of Silvermoon.

What happened last night was that, still flabbergasted, I said "uh, I've tanked this entire place multiple times and my gear is obviously sufficient. Maybe you should cast HT. But if you're TOTALLY CONVINCED of yourself, votekick me I guess?" And they did. And the healer apparently got some sort of tank to carry him, and probably lied about how I was bad.

In retrospect, I wish I'd been bitchier.

I wish I'd inspected him and said "oh look, someone with unenchanted pvp gear and welfare epix wants to get carried by an overgeared tank."

To the DPS that chimed in with him, I wish I'd said "maybe if your DPS wasn't so hilariously awful, Akil'zon wouldn't have taken so long and run our terrible healer OOM."

I wish I'd said "I'm obviously wearing enough gear for the content and I use my cooldowns, which means that if you can't heal me you're just bad."

I wish I'd said that healing through Nefarian after he'd been nerfed six feet under the ground didn't mean you were anything better than mediocre.

The group still would have kicked me, probably, and the healer especially would still have thought he was right... but I'd've felt better.

That said, my re-queue got me into a ZG group which ended up being fun. We got two DPS that had never been to the instance before, so I gave them quick tips on everything. The first couple healers saw that we had two new DPS and bailed, but the third healer, who was wearing T12 (Paladin T12 hat + shoulders look SO COOL) and was clearly only there for VP, stuck with us, even killing some of the quest mobs.

All of the DPS - all of them - died on the Zanzil encounter, chewed up by the berserker that I'd told them to kill (even melee, DPS in general was loooow and there was no way we'd be zerging Zanzil down without killing the zerker), and the healer and myself whittled down the last 40% or so of Zanzil's health ourselves.

I used all my cooldowns multiple times, used darkflight three times and intervene even more often to keep myself away from the berserker, and the paladin used holy's perpetual sprints to keep away from it. It was glorious.

We had to reset Jin'do once because I guess they thought I was kidding when I said "stand in the green on phase 1", but the second pull was successful (if hilarious). We actually broke the shields on all three chains before the first chain had died. I had never seen that happen before - a platform full of twisted spirits, none of the chains shielded, and no berserker up nor any reason to have one. So I spent a lot of time stunning and killing spirits and generally keeping them off of the healer and DPS. It was probably the longest Jin'do encounter I've ever seen, just like Man'dokir with that group was the longest I've seen it go on and actually result in a kill.

At the end of it, though, I'd had a lot of fun. More fun than I've had in any of a number of fast and smooth yet mute RDF runs.

Also I won the barrel from Gub and it was full of Sagefish. Yay!

Finally, this afternoon when I was on briefly before work to take care of some stuff and check auctions, trade chat had a little series of questions. There was one guy that was asking if the int heirlooms were for casters and the agi ones were for phys DPS. And it wasn't even that he was asking that general question, but he would link each individual set and then go "is this for casters?"

And, you know, yes. It is. But once that you've established that int is for casters, why do you need to ask individually for the cloth, leather, and mail heirlooms?

Another person had a very basic question about how to play their spec, and I remarked that the official forums typically have a well-maintained stickied guide thread for any given spec, and it would be faster and less prone to error to read that.

Some people in trade thought I was being rude, but I really don't think I was. I wasn't being insulting or mean about it - just letting people know that there are easier resources than asking trade, which often has 32 different flavors of the wrong answer for any given question due to a combination of people being mistaken and being trolls.

Sadly, even those people that make it to the forums don't necessarily read the stickies. Most days, there are 2-3 new threads posted to the hunter forum that say "how do I play Marksmanship?"

Now, I'm all for people asking that question and coming to the forums for help with it. But there stickied threads right at the top of the forum that are clearly guides for how to play MM and SV post-4.1.

I'd be fine with someone posting a thread that said "I read the stickies and didn't understand this particular part..." or "So in the sticky it said this thing about 4.1, but is that still true in 4.2?" or "the guide doesn't make any recommendations for how to do a fight like Beth'tilac, can anyone give me advice on that boss?" But no one does that! They show up in the forum, don't read the stickies, and then want people to re-type all of it just for them.

Why does this happen? I don't get it.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Continuing the theme from my previous post

It's easy to guess that my last post was occasioned, at least in part, by forays into the RDF system. I've been playing my priest a lot, and that's meant a lot of pugging. I've had some mysterious, inexplicable experiences. I've had some poisonously bad experiences. And I've had some good experiences.

Although he didn't especially want to, I wheedled my BF into doing a random troll'roic with me last night. Our first tank dropped immediately after we'd completed the gauntlet to Akil'zon, providing no explanation. Our next tank dropped immediately after Akil'zon was dead due to need vs. greed drama over the bag of coins (it had an exorbitant 40 gold in it). The tank immediately after that lasted about two minutes before the hunter facepulled a group and wiped the party, at which time the hunter and the tank left. The tank after that lasted until Jan'alai, and literally everyone but my boyfriend and myself dropped group after him - I guess because they wanted something he did or didn't drop. Deflated, we gave up for the night.

Earlier today, I did a random troll heroic and it was ZA again. Nalorakk died pretty easily, we made it to Jan'alai and wiped, and the tank left.

Sigh.

I'm not sure where people get the impression that they ought to be able to clear one of those heroics with people they've never met and not wipe once or twice here and there. I don't understand how that patently silly idea gets lodged in their craniums. If you're RDFing the troll heroics, you're going to wipe sometimes. And that's ok.

A later random ZG had me fill in for a healer that had left or DCed or something on the first boss. I clarified that everyone felt familiar with the boss, because there is nothing I hate more than a group staring silently at a boss for 10 seconds then running in and having one or more people who clearly have no idea what's going on. Then I tried to let a heal finish casting on someone and was killed by a poison line. The torrent of venomous (and of course, homophobic) profanity was instant, and I guess they were especially mad because I had asked if everyone know the encounter.

Sigh again.

So I put that entire party on ignore and teleported back to SW. They'd used their votekick on someone else already, so at least I had the satisfaction of forcing them all to leave the group individually and wait out their dungeon cooldown in Stormwind, which was some consolation.

What are these people trying to prove with their ludicrous posturing in RDF groups? Do they think anyone's impressed? Do they think they get points they can spend on gear or companion pets by pissing in the RDF pool?

Perhaps the most utterly confusing part of this sort of stunted, embarrassing behavior is that it actively works against what I would assume is the person's goals. Most people want to clear, right? Get the satchels and the drops and the bonus VP, right? Does anyone really think that's likely to happen if every misstep and every wipe is heralded by a deluge of unthinking, reflexive bile?

Bitch, please.

You know what is likely to clear? Patience. The willingness to explain and wipe a couple times while everyone figures it out. And you know what? If you just want to have every run go flawlessly and wipelessly even though you're using the RDF tool, you know what you're hoping for? You're hoping for a guild group kitted out in raid gear that can carry your sorry ass through the content because you're too crap at the game to figure it out on your own.

Anyway, I've actually cleared more often than not with my groups. I had yet another group (it's been a wow-heavy weekend) that did, in fact, clear ZA. We wiped a few times on Jan'alai, and although the mage and the arms warrior got into a fight over who was killing which adds and who was bad and whatever else, the very nice tank and myself got them to calm down and kill the boss. Said mage rolled on the cloth spirit bracers that Halazzi dropped, and I could have pitched a fit about it, but I didn't. Everyone else kind of did, but you know what? Whatever. I'm sure I'll kill Halazzi again. It's not a big deal, and I let everyone know as much. Then when we killed Dakaara, I got a new mainhand and some nice tells from the tank. Much more satisfying than yelling at people would have been.