Hawley, destroyer of amphibians

October 29, 2009 at 7:56 am | Posted in LotRO, Minstrel, Moria, raiding | 5 Comments
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Wotcha everyone,

Recently, I killed a turtle.

Admittedly, that’s not the most impressive-sounding of feats.  And it’s a turtle that many others have defeated before me.

At first, it even looked like a particularly weedy opponent (especially for a raid), but pretty soon I discovered, in true Father Ted stylee, that this was because the turtle was Far, rather than Small.  This turtle was a big turtle.  So much so that it went from being “the turtle” to “The Turtle” pretty rapidly.

I’d not faced off against The Turtle previously.  It’s a one monster, one room fight.  It’s a test of dps, where the idea is to race between the amount of damage we can kick out, against the rapidly increasing amount of dot damage the monsty kicks out.

In an age where fighting raid bosses seem to be more a case of performing random crazy acts at the same time as tanking, damaging and healing, this was a refreshing change.  After time spent in Ulduar, this was a fantastically straight-forward fight for a healer;

Can I keep healing fast enough, and cleverly enough, to keep everyone alive?  Or am I going to blow my power so fast that we all end up dying?

It was also a reminder of why I love raiding.  I love pitting my wits and skill against a situation, and constantly wondering if I’ve got it right.  Especially when I’m in a situation that I’ve not encountered before.  Because I’m targeting other raid-members rather than the monsty itself, I have no idea how much longer I need to keep things together; feeling like it’s just about to unravel when the raid boss drops is the best feeling in the world.

It was the first time I’ve been involved in killing Nornuan.  Probably won’t be my last.

Cheers,

Hawley.

Arthas: My part in his downfall

October 16, 2009 at 6:33 am | Posted in raiding, World of Warcraft | 2 Comments
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Wotcha everyone,

Spinks posted a lovely article here, and whilst I wanted to reply to some of the points she raised, I didn’t want to clog up her comments with an unholy mess of a ramble.

So here it is.  Lucky you (it’s not too late to run).

I can understand how there might be howls of anger at Arthas being the end-boss of a 5-man instance.  Surely Arthas, Lich King of Dooooom and general bogeyman throughout Wrath of the Lich King should be end-boss of a 25-man raid?  And a real challenge at that.  He is, after all, the Apex Predator of raid bosses, surely?

According to the Lore, he’s the biggest, baddest dude on the face of Azeroth.  Just thwarting his plans has taken the combined might of two alliances, numerous groups and societies, and a few hundred guilds.  Per server.

I try not to be a Lore-monkey.  Where did “Lore” come from?  Isn’t it…  “Background”?  At some point game background, there to add some flavour to the games we play, became more than just background, and to reflect that newfound prestige it gained a brand new, more impressive title; “LORE”.

And with it came Lore-monkeys.  Ready to complain at a drop of a hat whenever THE LORE was ignored.  Or even worse, when it was changed.

As you might have gathered, I’m not that interested in LORE.  I like some semblance of coherence to a game, but I’m more of the opinion that what makes for a good game is far more important than making sure the LORE is followed to the letter.  After all, fun is the reason we play, and a good game is going to be more fun.  If the LORE means less fun, then dump the LORE first.

I also don’t think that every part of the World of Warcraft is a raid waiting to happen.  Why should Arthas be solely a raid boss?  Why does he need to be a raid boss?

Not everyone who has played through Wrath of the Lich King is in a raid community.  And not all of those raids are going to be geared up enough to take on Arthas in Arthasland, if Arthasland is the final top-tier raid at level 80.

Now, with Wrath of the Lich King, Blizzard have tried to create a play-through story experience.  Areas in some zones change to reflect our position within the story; we get cutscenes and even flash-backs to previous, world-changing events.  We even play Arthas, so we can have a better understanding of the big cuddly harbinger of doom.

So, here we are.  We have played through the storyline.  We’ve seen the start of his reign, we’ve seen the effects on Northrend, we’ve played through a massive campaign which has had the sole aim of ending Arthas’ designs upon Azeroth.

I wouldn’t mind seeing an end to that story.  Don’t I have the right to some form of story closure?

The LORE should exist to enhance my gameplay, not restrict it.  And if Arthas is such a big bad guy that only a raid should be able to take him down, then why stop at 25 man?  Oh, how soon we forget those halcyon days of 40-man raids.  Ragnaros got 40 people beating on him at once.  So did Onyxia, back in the day.  So who’s this no-mark who only needs 25 people to take him down?

No.  I want to play my part in Arthas’ downfall.  I want to be able to put the boot in, even if that meant a really cool solo encounter.  One hobbit does it for Sauron..  One man kills Kurtz.  One man kills the Emperor (Okay, he’s more machine than man.  And he had his slacker son in the room).  The science fiction and fantasy genre is filled with One-man-making-a-difference.

Haven’t I earned that right?  Dress it up however it needs to be, but I’ve got just as much invested in seeing Arthas kicked to death than any other player, so why should it only be a small, select group of people on each server who get to do it?

Go Blizzard, you make Arthas a 5-man instance boss.  And I thank you for that.  You could even make him a solo encounter.  Maybe I could wait until he’s asleep.  And on the toilet.

After all, I’d hate for the climax to this story to just be another way of measuring the size of my epeen.

Cheers,
Hawley.

First to get de sugar…

September 17, 2009 at 5:32 am | Posted in healing, raiding, Shaman, World of Warcraft | 1 Comment
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Wotcha everyone,

I had an entertaining conversation the other day, which made me ponder the nature of online gaming, with reference mainly to World of Warcraft (but there is a certain resonance with other MMOs).

I was asked by a level 80 Shaman: Where do I get my level 80 gear?

Now, that’s a question isn’t it?  I was pootling around Dalaran wearing 4 out of 5 items of (I think) Tier 7.5 gear, which means Bright Orange! and somewhat over the top in the style stakes.  So I was an obvious person to ask.  I was someone obviously wearing a tier set.

In a nutshell, the conversation was this; chap wanted to know where to go to get the items, and then how to get into a raid to get the items.

I shall now leave the chap and conversation, and instead ponder some of the thoughts that slowly bubbled up through my brain in the couple of hours following…

Is it easier for healers to get into raids?  I think so.  Most people enjoy dishing out damage, so they play dps characters.  And I think some feel that healing is a chore.  It doesn’t help that when things go badly, it’s generally the healer that gets blamed.  So healers get the twin bonus of less people competing for the role, and the fact that without healers, no-one goes raiding.

Should a hybrid class with healing use that to get into raids?  In this respect, I think it’s something that World of Warcraft players brought upon themselves, so yes I’ll use it all I can.  I play a Shaman.  I can be melee dps, ranged dps, or healer.  So whilst the class is, effectively, two thirds dps, one third heal, most only see the one third heal.  So I can happily have a class that can solo with a minimum of effort, and raid in a role I enjoy.  Win for me!

Should hybrid healers be able to change to another role once in a raid?  That depends on your raid, but with most things being so gear-oriented, the only way to perform to required standards in a raid is to have good gear.  And that means having more than one outfit.  But once in a raid, it’s easy to get that second set of equipment, and once in a raid it’s a scary amount easier to swap roles, or even characters (with attendant class swapping).

Is raiding, or Tiered equipment, a right?  No, it’s not.  But it’s a real shame that so much of the focus of the game at maximum level (I hate the term “end-game”.  It has far too many negative connotations for my liking) is towards raiding, and grabbing hold of tiered armour sets.  It’s a powerful draw, and there is a remarkable amount of peer pressure when it comes to being decked out in purpz.

Cheers,
Hawley.

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