Busy Little Bees

March 10, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Posted in General | Leave a comment
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Wotcha everyone,

No, not much posting this week.  I blame, in no particular order:

  • A busy social life.  Being sociable is a good thing, so I don’t complain about things like that.
  • A busy working week.  Which means I am tired when I get home, so less likely to want to put my strange rambling on the internets.
  • A slacker.  That would be me.
  • A lot of Rift.  Well, not compared to most, but I have been using most of my available Geek Time to play.

Yes, I’m really enjoying it.  I love the varied game-play; the appearance of an invasion or a rift changes my gaming priority, and I like that.  I like that I rarely have the opportunity to get bored, and despite the fact that questing is pretty much the same as most other games, and that PvP is still a case of me heading off to get dedded repeatedly, and that leveling is still just leveling, I’m having a ball.

I think it’s safe to say that I have thrown myself into the game, to the exclusion of others.  I’m not even chasing down levels that fast; Cleric Hawley is only level 24, and I have much lower level alts as well, but that’s good.  I’ve not been racing through the game with that level 50 goal in mind (to be perfectly honest, I didn’t even bother finding out what maximum level actually was.  I’ve sort of picked that number up by osmosis, I think), and it will probably be a good month before Cleric Hawley has run out of levels.

Instancing is also fun.  It’s nice to see that of the two levelling instances I’ve been in (Iron Tomb, and an unfortunate lag-hurty visit to Deepstrike Mine that had to be abandoned because of said lag) progression and survival seems to be more about co-operation and forethought, rather than one person messing up *their job* and the group wiping as a result.

Trash mobs are a challenge, bosses are good fights rather than grinding to a formula, and the rewards good.  It’s worth doing the instances for the xp and trez alone; the fact that they’re also fun is pure gravy.

It’s strange, because I wasn’t expecting to get into Rift this much or this quickly.  Right now I’m glad I got the 6 month subscription, especially since it is (with the founder’s pricing) so cheap.  I haven’t even accidentally blown up the guild yet.  Bonus!

Cheers,
Hawley.

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Sisyphean Gearing

January 13, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Posted in General | Leave a comment
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Wotcha everyone,

I currently feel like a one-man farming machine.

The answer to why is simple; it’s all part of getting everything ready to start raiding.

Of course, the important part of that last statement is the use of the word; “start”.  Sometimes it really feels like the mountain that Yawning Angel refers to in his latest post.  At other times, it feels like the part of Sisyphus will be played by Mr Hawley Poppet for this expansion.

Why Sisyphus?  Well, as our erstwhile rock-roller is pushing his boulder to the top of the hill only to have it slip and roll down, so it feels with getting raiding gear.  You struggle to the gear requirement to enter a raiding tier, only to find that the raid group has already moved on, and you need to gear to the next tier.  Or suddenly the mountain has changed completely, in the case of a new expansion.

It also feels like gearing up for raids is the new levelling (which was the new purple, before it became the new black which was the old black, but now the new black).  Levelling is not the beast it used to be, and without wishing to immediately leap for the term “devalued”, it’s hard to find a term that encompasses what has happened to the levelling game.

It’s a lot quicker, for a start.  With xp requirements being slashed, with quest rewards (in terms of xp gain and materiel) being improved, there is no longer the requirement to spend months levelling a character to maximum level.  It’s now weeks, and that’s if you’re a slacker like me.

Nothing you gain while levelling means anything, either; none of the rep, none of the gear, none of it.  It’s only what you gain after attaining that maximum level that matters, because that’s the rep that allows you to get the gear that allows you to go first into Heroics, then into raids.

Even the money you gain whilst levelling means little.  The amount is paltry compared to the sums that can be made whilst at maximum level, from the gold substituted for xp in quest rewards, to selling phat purple lewts on the auction house.

So if levelling has been lessened in importance, where is the game that *was* levelling?

It’s simple.  It’s now gearing for raid.

I admit that I’ve not been attempting to gear up in the same way that I gorged on levelling from 80 to 85, but that’s largely because levelling solo is an awful lot easier and quicker than attempting to gear up from jumping in and out of Heroics.  It’s also a lot more gratifying; without having to rely on the vagaries of PUGs and randomised loot tables, I am relying on my own skill and gaming time.

But it’s taking a longer time for me to get my gear to a point where I won’t embarrass myself in a raid environment than it did for me to level through 4 zones and 5 levels.  And I’m a slooooow leveller.

I suppose that’s a symptom of the modern MMO.  Gone are the days where it was as important to have a good and fun levelling game as it was to have something to do when the levelling was over.  Levelling used to be a part of the social side of gaming; now, it’s something done as quickly as possible, and alone because levelling with someone else is only going to be slower.

It’s even got to the stage where Blizzard have removed the requirement to group whilst levelling.  The only times I grouped during ‘Clysm’s open play was when a named mob needed doing over, and there was a queue.  The grouping wasn’t a necessity due to the challenge of the mob.  It was to cut down on having to queue for respawns, and the truth was revealed in how fast the group disbanded after the mob’s messy demise.

Once we’ve started to gear up, suddenly we’re outstripping same- and similar-levelled mobs.  Shaman Herewerd has gone from having to actively fight mobs, to pressing five (maybe six, if the mob is particularly recalcitrant) keys in a particular order before the mob is dead.

A few week’s time, it will probably be down to two or three key-presses.

It does make it easier to go farming.  I don’t have to worry about having to slow down much between herb and ore resource nodes, but there is a little part of me that feels saddened that the world outside Heroic and Raid Instances becomes a hazy shadow, compared to the bright, vivid world of challenge within.

At the same time, there’s always that lure of more exciting gameplay to keep me going.  It’s the challenges that make me want to continue playing, and without that I’d probably get bored.  Stagnant game-play is not fun, and logging on to do the same set of things by rote is the surest way to get me logging off, for good.

Cheers,
Hawley.

Mr Hawley Goes to PUGgington

January 5, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Posted in General | Leave a comment
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Wotcha everyone,

There is a part of me that longs for the harsh, blasted wastelands of Fallen Earth, that dreams of the vast emptinesses of Eve Online, that yearns nostalgically for Lord of the Rings Online.

But the realist in me realises that without putting some time in on World of Warcraft, I’m not likely to get the “most” out of the game over the coming months.  Levelling and gearing up so that I can get into raiding before it’s old, rote, and lacking in challenge is something that I want to do.

Focussing in one direction means a lack of direction in another, hence a lack of apocalyptic, space, hobbity action.

What it has meant is me making more of an effort to get into instances, because of World of Warcrafts heavily laddered/tiered progression.  Normal instances to Heroic Instances to Raid Instances to Bleeding Edge Raid Instances; jumping a tier is much more difficult at the start of an expansion than it is later on.

However, whilst it’s more likely that a guild run on an instance is likely to happen (more members on due to newer content, more interest in seeing the instances, more need to get gear from those newer instances) there are still the same issues when it comes to putting a group together.  Largely the need for tank, healer, dps, in their necessary ratio amongst 5 people.

This has meant, in many situations, utilising the LFD tool.  Now, anyone who isn’t new here will know that I am not a natural PUGger.  I have certain gaming sensibilities, which seem to be inimicable to the average PUGger.

And whilst I might not utilise various arcane technomagically-powered bits of software to work out the best rotations, I have at least the glimmerings of how MMOs work, how aggro mechanisms work, how AI tends to behave, and I have good enough situational awareness to realise when to shift role in order to survive an encounter.

Yet I’m also a Darwinist when it comes to MMOs; Evolve Or Die is something I’ve blathered on at length about before, and will no doubt blather on about again.  Getting geared up for raiding fun and frolics has meant evolving as a player, and the necessary evolution has been to allow the fact that I can’t rely on full guild groups, and that I am going to have to PUG-up in order to gear-up, and get into instances.

So, in an homage to Spinksville’s “It came from the Pug” series, here is a small selection of the joys I’ve experienced as an evolving PUGger:

There was the fantastic Mage – let’s call him Sage-Mage – in my return to the Deadmines, who sagely advised that if I watched my aggro, I would die less.  I’d died once, to a random monkey-poo-thrower.  This was, of course, before we realised how the random monkey-poo-throwers worked.  Sage-Mage also advised our healer to heal more, and was most put out when he kept dying, to the point of initiating a kick vote to get rid of the healer.

Now, not only is that a little mean when the healer is having a hard time keeping a tank up as well as an aggro-whoring Sage-Mage, but it’s also a little stupid when the party comprises of Sage-Mage and four players *from the same guild*.

Cue an immediate response from the party tank, wherein Sage-Mage was booted unceremoniously from the party.

Personally, I liked Sage-Mage.  He made me laugh, and I wanted to keep him as a sort of mascot.  Regimental Goat, and all that.  But I also realise that he needed kicking as a sort of wake-up call or at least a lesson in guild loyalty.

There was also Warrior-In-A-Rush, who dropped in to the Halls of Origination when the party healer had to go, and the paladin tank moved to healing.  The paladin was a fellow guild-member, and the group was going for a full run.

Warrior-In-A-Rush, however, was not.  There was a surprising amount of grumbling, as he just cared about getting to the final boss as fast as possible.  He even used the ultimate argument (and I quote); “this isnt WotLK”.

Huwah?  The boy wants a speed run, then tells us that we’re not playing Wrath of the Liche King, official Home of the Speed Run?  I laughed.  I didn’t want to keep him as he wasn’t as much fun as Sage-Mage, but he jumped on his own when we weren’t going fast enough for him, requiring a second tank to jump in just before the last boss.

No, I didn’t get it either.

Now, as well as the funny, there has been the sobering; realising my healing gear just wasn’t good enough to keep a pug together after a couple of attempts at the first boss in Heroic Grim Batol meant me holding up my hands, reporting that I just didn’t have the oomph to get us through it, and dropping out with no hard feelings on either side.

That sort of knocked the wind out of my healing sails, so I’m quietly and calmly raising the quality of my healing gear, and will catch the wind again when I’m better equipped (and hopefully tanks are too).

I have also found that the atmosphere in pugs has generally tended to be much better than I remember from instancing in Northrend.  For a start, there is much more communication, especially where tactics are concerned.  Sometimes, during Wrath of the Liche King’s later days, it felt that communication beyond “gogogo” was for the weak and noobish.

Instance runs were also all about the speed, rather than the fun of the experience.  Because most players were over-geared for the instance, and it was just an exercise in collecting tokens, all that was required was to run in, kill everything as fast as possible, and rely on the healer to keep everyone up.

All in all, I didn’t enjoy that sort of play.  I do, however, enjoy the better atmosphere of ‘Clysm.  Oh, I’m sure it will all change soon enough, but right now it seems that PUGgers are far more willing to explore all of an instance, to drop all of the bosses, even to chat, rather than just do what’s required to get the tokens/points.

Warrior-In-A-Rush notwithstanding, of course.

The natural order will probably be restored as we revert to speed-running through instances for Valour/Justice points, but that won’t be for the next couple of weeks at least, and I for one am happy for that.

Cheers,
Hawley.

2(Throne of Tides)

December 21, 2010 at 4:38 pm | Posted in General | Leave a comment
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Wotcha everyone,

I have now been to the Throne of the Tides twice.

The first time was a few days ago, whilst levelling.  It was a first time visit for a few of us there, and it’s a bright, breezy romp with a few very nice visual design touches.  When I’m rich and powerful enough, I’m going to have a lift made out of a jellyfish too.  It can take me up to my zeppelin.

I love that lift.

There are also a few really nice game-play elements in there as well.  There are a couple of gauntlets to run, a couple of entertaining boss-fights, and even an opportunity to beat up your mates (or just one if you’re unlucky).

All in all, it’s a nice place to go adventuring.

The second time was last night, where I was lucky enough to go with a guild group as part of my first run at the Heroic version of the instance.

I’m not sure about anyone else, but Heroics seem to have regained their hallowed nature since the launch of ‘Clysm.  I was always ambivalent about the Heroics in Wrath of the Lich King. I didn’t do that many of them, never really understood them or learned the fights because all the tactics seemed to consist of; Run in, welly anything that moves, aoe everything that doesn’t just in case.

This is largely because by the time I’d got to level 80 (I was late to the Lich King party) everyone else was so geared up that Heroics required little more tactics than; “Get ‘im!”.  In point of fact, they were the norm, rather than instances that had more of a challenge for exceptional players.

But the wheel turns, and Heroics are once again a challenge.  Not only were mobs and bosses harder, but there were a few design elements that were modified, or added in the jump between Normal and Heroic difficulty.

I would say that they’ll be a challenge for a few months, but the more cynical part of me thinks it’s more likely to be just a few weeks before the vast bulk of the player base gears itself up in the move towards raiding, and Heroic tactics revert to their usual status.

That’s a shame.

Heroics were cool when they were introduced in The Burning Crusade.  They were for when Normal just wasn’t enough of a challenge, and had an element of mini-Raid about them; all the challenge, but without the requirement of a horde of other players.

Because World of Warcraft has such a gear-based progression system, success breeds even more success.  That means that content isn’t just conquered, it’s ground into the dirt, spat on, and completely disrespected.

Until then, though, I shall continue to enjoy Heroics.

Cheers,
Hawley.

Will healing classes be Left 4 Dead?

November 9, 2010 at 4:40 pm | Posted in General | Leave a comment
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Wotcha everyone,

Every so often, I sit and think about MMOs.  It’s usually whilst I’m holding a sizeable amount of tea in an unfeasibly large mug, and it’s the sort of pondering that sees other, more normal people, sort out The Big Things.  You know, The Big Things That Affect The World.

Of course, being a Geek (First Class), I think about geekish things.  To me, The Big Things That Affect The World are the sort of Cthuloid-scale entities that only exist in online worlds…

Recently, when tea-based pondering occurs, the subject of instanced dungeons keeps popping up.  To me, it’s no surprise, really.  There’s Cataclysm and all its new-and-old instances hiding just behind the horizon.  There’s Fallen Earth, and its perceived lack of “endgame” due to not having instanced dungeons similar to those in World of Warcraft.  There’s even speculation about next year’s offerings, with both Tha Seekrit Wurld and The Old Republic on my radar.

Of course, new games often means new speculation, and with that comes talk using dirty, dirty words like “innovation”, “originality” and “new”.

One of my pet triggers is when someone casually drops the H-Bomb.  Yeah, when a spokesmouth for the game says something along the lines of not needing healers.  How needing a healer makes Baby Buddha cry.  Oh, how my heart leaps at those times.  And the fangs come out, the hackles rise, and the urge to summon Great Things Of Terror (I know, I’m capitalising a lot today.  I hope it’s a fad I’ll pass through rapidly) to go and punish them for their temerity by eating all their biscuits, and weeing on their chips.  I *like* playing healers.

Now, I am getting better.  Part of it is conditioning.  It’s becoming such a commonly used concept in pre-launch hype that I’m getting used to it.

But I’ve also seen one future where there are no healers, and it’s not actually that bad.

I’ve spoken of it previously, and it is Left 4 Dead.  Or, if you’re like me, you’re with the cool kids in Left 4 Dead 2 which I have been lead to believe is the sequel.

Whenever I read that Dalaran is a bit like a lobby area, with players waiting for their instance to start up, I think of Left 4 Dead.  Each Campaign is like a multi-wing dungeon, and each involves 4 players in a journey from A to B, with a number of set-piece events, the gathering of trez, and the killing of lots of mobs and bosses along the way.

The mobs are zombies, the bosses are called Special Infected, the trez is largely guns and ammo, and the set-piece events are often less about defeating a big bad boss, and more about running, screaming and general headless-chickening (if you’re me.  You are probably cooler, and therefore more level-headed than I am).

So the concept is the same.  It’s in the level of detail that things change.

Part of that level of detail is the removal of a healing class.  I’m pretty sure there wasn’t a specific desire to remove the specific healing class from the game, more that there are *no* classes in the game.  Want to be melee?  Pick up and use a melee weapon.  Want to be ranged?  Why, choose from one of the many fine and reliable ranged weapons in the game.

Want to be a healer?  Concentrate on picking people up from the ground, maybe concentrate on keeping those zombies that slip through from munching on your team-mates, and always be ready with a med-kit for when one is needed.

Of course, there’s no helpful aggro mechanic, so whomever wants to be tank will find that they just need to get in the way a lot.  Or they can just realise that Left 4 Dead (or the sequel, indeed) is also a future where *all* roles have been abolished.

Well, all roles apart from that perennial cockroach, the DPS.

Yes, I can make that gag, I’ve played enough damage dealing classes in my time, and I love seeing a big number floating up from a monstie just as much as the next damage-dealing chap.  I’m just being all clever and ironic.  Or something.

Yet despite that loss of role, it’s pots of fun.  Zombies are the in thing, and there’s no surprise there.  After all, there are no zombie rights.  There’s no fear of offending the undead minority, or having to deal with the Right To Shamble lobbying groups.  Add in high-velocity firepower and cooking implements, and you have a winner.  It’s not glorifying violence, because it’s zombies!

Everyone is allowed to pick on zombies.

And even better than that, they can feel good whilst doing it.  The fact that you also get some great action, clever set pieces, and some clever game design means that the game is a lot of fun.

So there it is.  A party based instanced game, with not a single role in sight.  The game-play has been specifically created to enhance the playing experience, to the extent that whilst one might wish for a healer class or role within the game (heal spells on tap would make it *a lot* more easy), it is not required for success; health and healing is a resource that must be managed more overtly than it is in most MMOs.

Would an MMO without roles ever be created?  Will one survive?

There have been plenty of classless MMOs.  Star Wars Galaxies was one; skill-based, not class based.  But that still left people gravitating towards the role they preferred to play.  It just meant they could pick and choose exactly how much of a role they wanted to perform, within the framework of the game.  One could also say that the roles were still a required part of the PvE game.

Would a role-less game mean freedom?  Would it mean that all players would have the choice to do whatever they want, however they want?

Or would it mean that everyone was free to be just the same as everyone else?  That every single player is free to be *exactly* the same as everyone else; part of one homogenously bland whole?

I suppose that until someone makes a widely received MMO that is genuinely role-less, I’ll be drinking a lot of tea whilst attempting to fathom out whether such a game would be one I’d enjoy as an MMO, rather than a fun romp for a couple of hours every week or so.

I also suppose that with compelling and engrossing game-play, any sort of game is one that is both good, and fun.

Of course, the ability to gauge what is compelling and engrossing is most probably the most important skill of a games designer.

Cheers,
Hawley.

On Greed

June 2, 2010 at 3:37 pm | Posted in General | Leave a comment
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Wotcha everyone,

Greed, as I’m sure we are all aware, is one of the seven deadly sins.

It’s also a funky-looking fist weapon that’s all lovely and phat epixxxy.  It’s lovely, quite lovely, even though it seems to make me look like I’m beating monsties to death with a rather vicious-looking sock puppet.

I won it in a Culling of Stratholme run, equipped it, and that evening used it at the start of the alt-raid that I have mentioned previously.

I say used it at the start, because during the alt-raid, Gutbuster dropped after we’d given Festergut a good shoeing.

And with no-one else wanting it, the raid leader shouted at me that I might want to upgrade.  He’s a good friend like that.

To Gutbuster thanks to Greed, all in about 4 hours.  It was a strange feeling, as I thought Greed and I were going to be best mates for some considerable time.  Such is usually the way with my characters; after getting a good weapon, it’s usually some while before I get a new one, especially one with such a marked increase in potency.

I might be somewhat level-headed and salubrious when it comes to gaining phat lewts, but it’s always nice to actully get hold of not one, but two sizeable upgrades in weaponry.

Yay!

Cheers,
Hawley.

LFD and Me: Ceasefire

May 26, 2010 at 4:45 pm | Posted in General | Leave a comment
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Wotcha everyone,

I think it’s safe to say that LFD and I are now in a state of uneasy truce.

Running random dungeons with strangers is the fastest and easiest way to hoover up Emblems, be they Triumph or Frost, and buying Tier armour with Emblems is most certainly the fastest and easiest way to get hold of epixxx when you don’t have access to either 4 or 9 other players.

But there’s that having to withstand the slings of arrows of outrageous fortune; am I going to get a fun, fast blast through an instance, or am I going to get multiple dropouts, kick votes, and more wipes than a baby convention?

Yet familiarity is starting to bring acceptance rather than contempt.  Whilst I’d much prefer to be running them with friends, I’ll stand one random dungeon bash a day as a solo player without too much grinding of teeth.  More than that would be stretching it, and the last thing I want to do is burn out on the LFD.

There is a funny side, though.  I don’t know most of these dungeons, so I’m reduced to spending a first attempt at a boss with the tactic of smack hard, smack often. If that works, all to the good.  If that doesn’t, then after ressing I try and glean what I should do from various, sometimes snarky, comments raised by my erstwhile colleagues.

Still, my dps is rising, and Recount sometimes says I wasn’t wrrrrrrrrubbish, which is nice when it happens.

Cheers,
Hawley.

Enhanced Gaming

May 20, 2010 at 5:40 pm | Posted in General | 2 Comments
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Wotcha everyone,

I feel like such a raid hooer.

I spoke to my friend in the rather successful raiding guild, checked out their website, and found that whilst they have restoration and elemental shamans up the wazoo, they don’t have an enhancement shaman.

I’ve never played an enhancement shaman in my life.

Until now, of course.  Yeesh!  Is there nothing I won’t do to get into a raid group?

The answer seems to be; “No”.  I’ve respecced from elemental, which I didn’t really mind as I found it to be rather boring to use when farming and questing.  Of course, it was boring because it did such a scarily large amount of damage.  Three key presses and whatever normal mob it was would be lying down on the ground, desperate to give me all its xp and trez just to make the pain stop.

That is no longer an option.  Mine is the more involved, more difficult route.

(See what I did there?  I’ve managed to alienate every single ranged dps player in every game ever!  Just with one simple little line.  Let’s see if they notice.)

Ahem.  The gear, or lack of it, didn’t help.  Being the only enhancement kid on the block wearing +spell gear doesn’t help in the Not Looking Like A Njub stakes.

Follow this with what I previously knew to be true about Enhancement Shamans:

Windfury gud.

Umm.  That’s it.  So I did some research.  Deciding to cut out the middleman, I decided to go straight to Elitist Jerks.  There I found that:

Dual weapons gud.
2.6-3.0 second swing times Gud.
Two-handers bad.  Ded-bad.  Even more bad than ded-bad.

I tried to find out more, but there was a lot of acronyms going on, and maths, and I was already feeling out of my depth.  There was also a throbbing vein in my temple which I’m pretty sure is a bad sign, so I cut out whilst I was ahead.  And before some sort of head-explodey thing happened.

Time for Plan B: I installed a Shaman mod.  Now, I look down on people who use mods for gameplay purposes.  I am a gaming snob, and feel that gameplay mods just prop up poor skill.  So, with my get-out clause of “It’s just until I have a better idea of what I’m doing” at the ready, I started my first fight.

And almost died as my screen suddenly lit up like a Christmas Tree, and I couldn’t see anything for all the bars and screens and something was in my head screaming; “Thicky! Thicky! THICKY!”

I’m not sure the voice in my head came with the mod, but by turning most of it off I now feel that it’s helping me a bit, without playing for me.  And the voice went away, so maybe it was an option in the mod’s settings after all.

It’s called Shock and Awe, and I use the timer bars as they are very helpful.

Of course, all this wasn’t enough.  I needed proper practice, not just picking on normal mobs for pocket change.  My friend very kindly offered to team up through a few LFD runs.  Now, both of my regular readers will know of my dislike of going off for a bit of LFD, but if I’m going to go raiding I need the gear that those little dungeon monsties drop, as well as their lovely little, oh so juicy emblems.

So here am me, in a nasty patchwork of low quality enhancement gear and high quality +spell gear, girly-giggling as I try and keep up through a dizzyingly phantasmagorical selection of instances.  Needless to say, Recount said I as wrrrrrrrrrubbish!

And, honest admission time here, with my mate as co-pilot, they were much more fun.  In point of fact, I had a good couple of hours as we worked to get me enough emblems to get a set of shoulders from the nice emblem man.

And I had fun as an enhancement shaman, even if I’m a particularly poor one.  I need to work out a proper rotation of abilities, as well as learn when to use the right ability.  I need to sharpen up my positioning skills, as well as sharpen up my gaming enough to keep up with ranged dps, but hey, it’s a challenge I look forward to.

Have I sold my principles for a shot at raiding the big time?

Well, sometimes principles are misguided, and it takes something like this to remind me of the fact that I have a bad habit of deciding on a certain course of action, to have certain principles, and do my utmost to keep a death-grip on them despite any negative influences that they might have upon me having fun.

Whereas sometimes it’s fun to be a complete njub, and feel like I have to learn everything again.  It’s refreshing, as is deciding to lay aside any principles and prejudices I might have created, and go and have fun.

I’m all for challenges in my gaming, and if playing an enhancement shaman in a raid group is too much of a challenge, then I’ll be happy as long as I gave it my all.

Cheers,
Hawley.

LFD – Not for me.

May 10, 2010 at 3:19 pm | Posted in General | Leave a comment
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Wotcha everyone,

I wrote a post about how I just didn’t enjoy World of Warcraft’s Dungeon Finder when I tried it out last week.  But all it did was make me sound an awful lot more ranty and annoyed than I actually am about it all; it also looked like I needed some bread and cheese to go with my whine…  So I deleted it, and decided to go for a lot less moaning instead.

I had a few negative experiences whilst attempting to use LFD, and those negative experiences were enough to reinforce my dislike of PUGs.  It didn’t help that it wasn’t the system at fault, it was my inability to get with the times (granddad).

I still see instances as a cool thing, a group endeavour where everyone works together to achieve the aim of having fun, killing bad guys, and getting trez and xp.  But times have changed, and somewhere, somehow, for a lot of players it seems to have become another grind, there to be done as quickly as possible to get it out of the way.  It’s now a solo endeavour, and heaven help anyone who stands in the way of fast xp and faster trez.

This is a shame.  It’s a shame because I just don’t want to play that way.  I don’t want to prosper, or even survive, in that gaming environment.

It is also not my intention to try and change my fellow player, to make them play in the way that I want them too.  Even if I had the right to stand up and say; “You are doing it wrong; this is how to do it right”, I wouldn’t.  We all play in the manner we enjoy, and we get the fun that we deserve.

So I’m going to step away from LFD, and go back to what I do enjoy in game.  I’m actually having plenty of fun levelling Skooge through quests, and it’s not like I’m in a rush to get him from his current 73 to level 80.  After all, what’s he going to do when he gets there?

Well, he’ll stab lots of narsties to death, steal their trez, and see about getting a flying mount that’s faster than his manky old blue windrider.

Cheers,
Hawley.

LFD and me

April 26, 2010 at 3:47 pm | Posted in General | 1 Comment
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Wotcha everyone,

I had my first experience of the Looking For Dungeon tool today.

I’d been putting it off.  Really, I had.  I love instancing; it’s by far and away my favourite activity in MMOs.  Throwing myself and a trusty band of leet-death-hero-ninjas into a den of evil and fighting the good fight is just purest cool.

So you might imagine my trepidation when approaching anything that might replace those thoughts of purest cool with “gogogogogo” and the sole intention of farming the instance as quickly as possible.

Having been informed that the LFD groups have a better attitude when levelling, I decided to go with Skooge for my first attempt.  Brave on a number of fronts, I felt.  It’s a long, looooong (yes, that long) time since I went into an instance with a dps class, never mind a dps class made of tissue paper.  Skooge is also carrying quest rewards, rather than anything punchy like phat epixxx, so his dps is going to be looooow.  Finally, out-of-practice-and-badly-equipped Skooge is a dps class, so is therefore easily replaceable…

It was the middle of the day, and being dps I knew there would be a delay.  Seeing as there are plenty of quests for a level 70 rogue in Northrend, I was quite fine waiting 30 minutes for the panel to flash up asking me if I was ready.

And a short while later, I was back in the queue because one of the dps slots decided not to come.  Four attempts later, we’ve got a full group.  Each time, it was a dps position that decided not to come, and I’m thinking it was because they’d queued and then gone afk due to the long wait, died of boredom, or decided there was no chance they were going to go adventuring with Skooge.  Or something.

Anywho, we’re in a dungeon.  I’ve no idea which, seeing as I’d not been there before, and I didn’t catch anyone saying which one it was.  It had those viking-styled chaps, and wolves.  It reminded me of Preston on a Saturday evening, about the time the pubs shut.

Now, as part of a giggle, I decided to install Recount.  It was there when I was installing a couple of other useful mods, and whilst I think people spamming dps lists is purest bad form, it is useful when I’m trying to eke the last bit of dps from poor little Skooge.

Well, Recount told me I was wrrrrrrrubbish.  This is understandable; green quest-reward shivs and gear, a talent spec that was thrown together in moments, and a severe lack of practice at dishing out the pain in instances meant that I was dead last, with Recount giving me a dps in the mid 700s, with even the dual-wielding warrior-dps a clear 100 dps above me.

My shame was not to last, though.  The tank had decided to keep running and pulling, despite the poor tree-lookin’ drood running out of mana.  The first time the tank took a dirt-nap there was moaning and shouting, and the drood told him that no mana means no heal.

Yet shortly after the first boss, the tank goes sprinting off without seeming to check that the rest of us were with him (never mind the tree) and is quite understandably taking his second dirt-nap a few seconds later.  Cue crying and a toy-pram interface failure, and the tank leaves the group.

After a short while, the instance is over.  Big fat servings of Damp Squib Pie for everyone.

It was instructive at the very least.  It was also gigglesome, but not in an especially good way.

I’ll be coming back to the LFD tool, but not necessarily immediately; I might see about getting some instancing in with a more forgiving, less PUG-angry set of people first…

Cheers,
Hawley

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