Sunday, June 19, 2011

The last few months

The day that Cataclysm launched I was set and ready with my paladin. I grabbed my best friend, took a couple of days off, and bought a whole bunch of junk food to be ready. It started at 3 AM and less then 48 hours later we were 85. We jumped straight into heroics by the third day, and had a full set of heroic level items by the end of the first week.

Then the idea was to raid. We had a little guild set for 10 man but people who we though were gonna play never logged on. We waited while other people hit 85 while trying to recruit. We tried guild alliances but the furthest we ever got was Algalon. Since we weren't really raiding and I had spare time on my hands I leveled my shaman. After she hit 85 I did the same thing. I was nervous about healing with her in heroics but I did surprisingly well.

The frustration was high with bladez. I joined a new guild hoping to raid but after logging in for a week straight and not really doing much of anything I was flying circles around Stormwind. I see a pug group looking for a ranged dps so I jump over to my shaman and ask them to join. I get picked up right away and I was amazed at my damage on Magmaw. We weren't able to get the boss down so they asked if I could switch to healing since they had an offspec healer. We proceeded to kill half the raid that night, and the next night we got most of Bastion of Twilight down. I asked if they were recruiting and was invited to join the guild.

In the weeks to follow I was on of their main healers and we ended up 10/12 of the current tier of content. I was happy to be raiding and I even got my best friend into the guild and we cleared a ton of content together. It was a lot of fun but the guild did have troubles. Even as a 10 man guild every night we had to pug 1 or 2 spots. We got lucky most of the time with good people joining up. Some nights only 5 guildies log on so we have to call the raid. We had the talent but we just didn't have the time to finish the content.

At the same time I was also getting married. Two weeks before the wedding I told the guild that I would probably be offline until after the honeymoon. At the same time the guild had decided to transfer off server. They just were having a hard time on Thunderhorn recruiting good players for raiding. I couldn't blame them but I didn't want to go with them. They had no garuntee that they would find what they were looking for over there and I didn't want to spend the money to move a character since I have 10 characters on the server.

Life goes on. I went and got married. During down time I will still play world of warcraft but I really don't have a guild anymore. I have developed some altitus and have been leveling some new characters. Since the Cataclysm changed the 1-60 game I had a lot of fun with a new worgen, goblin, and an undead hunter. Also when my friend and I get time together I play my neglected death knight.

The thing I wonder about is the future. I really did enjoy raiding but it is easy to get burned out on it. My first love is tanking and I even have 1 of every tanking class. The problem is that tanks/melee aren't as desired as ranged/healer. The reason my shaman has better gear is because the need for her is greater. I am sitting at full 359 gear and she is ready for firelands. Since I am married and my wife isn't into warcraft or gaming for that matter she wouldn't understand a schedule based video game. The idea that I have to be on a certain time of day 3 days a week every week would sound insane. Either way I don't have a raiding guild and I don't know which character to focus on so raiding for now is off the table.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Hunting for a guild

The cataclysm expansion has not been kind to me. This is not anything that blizzard has programmed in the game but more the luck I have been having with the people I have interacted with. When I was in last hope things went somewhat smooth. After not showing up back last April I found myself removed from the guild. I didn't mind at the time because I really didn't care for raiding. When my friend brought me to his guild Vanquished I wasn't sure what to expect but I went with it. When only about 5-7 people were on during peek times at the launch I was nervous. There wasn't enough to fuel a raid but we could run 5 mans while we waited.

Unlike most people I never had much issues doing pick up groups. There are a lot of horror stories but considering I was the tank and I was good at providing instructions we did really well while the content was still considered hard. Within the first couple of weeks I knew the guild was not a good fit for me. I tried to salvage it by hitting up the recruitment forums but people don't want to join a starting up guild. They want to be in a guild that has been established and have already downed some bosses. You can't down bosses without people so it became a cycle with no way out. I jumped ship and put myself on the market for a new guild.

This is when things just got depressing. While looking around for a new guild I had nothing better to do on Bladez the paladin so I leveled up Giaz the shaman. I think the leveling up process is great in cataclysm. The quest flow is smooth and not tedious, story keeps your interest, and quest rewards are the carrot on the stick that makes you keep going forward. It didn't take long for Giaz to hit 85 and start hitting up the heroic dungeon finder.

A big complaint about Cataclysm was how hard they had made the healing game. In Wotlk you could compensate for a bad group by just being a good healer. You never had to worry about mana and people could just stand in fires and you could heal straight through it. It was changed so that the success of the group is on everyone shoulders and if people messed up it was the healer who suffered for it. I decided to take up the challenge and while sometimes a bit overwhelming I did really well at it. This is really surprising considering I never really ran with a guild group. Every time I ran a heroic it was through a complete pug and most people refuse to put themselves in that nightmare scenario. I persevered and within 10 days of hitting 85 I was decked out in full item level 346 minimum gear in every slot.

I was researching different guilds on the server and I tried applying to the best guild on the server (bedlam) but they never responded to my post. I applied to my old guild last hope but Gluteas just hates my guts and refused to talk to me. I went for a middle of the pack guild in Malleus Malefricarum and they had accepted me. I wanted to play my paladin but as I looked for a new home most people already had their tanks in order. You didn't need more then 2 for a 10 man or even 3 for a 25 man and considering that tanks were the people who got geared up first because of their instant heroic ques I was late to the party. There was also a lot of competition between Plate Dps. The top two classes played in WoW was death knights and paladins, with warriors not to far behind. That meant all the gear I was going for was going to be in high demand.

I noticed that the highest in demand was ranged dps and healers. It was a role that my shaman could easily fill. Considering that spell mail was only useful for shamans I wouldn't have much competition outside of other shamans. So I applied to MM with my shaman because that was what they were recruiting and during the interview process they said that they want people to play what the loved so I told them that my paladin was my main love. Heck I named an entire blog after him. They told me to play that character so I was extremely happy to be able to play the character I love. This would not last long though. I would log on regularly during raid times and would be put on the backup list. Every so often they would bring me in for 1 easy boss such as omnitron and then sit me again when they moved on to the next boss. For 2 weeks straight I never missed a raid but I raided for a total of about 3 hours max.

The kept recruiting to try and fill out a 25 man raid but they never got close and in the end they just sat the people that they recruited. I log in one day sit for 30 minutes and they fill out the raid with their "core" group and start up without saying one word to me. I whisper the leader and he says that seniority matters when it comes to progression nights. At that moment I knew I was finished. I was sitting in stormwind like I always do watching trade chat go by and I see looking for 1 more for Blackwing Descent. I whisper the guy and tell him that I have a shaman and they invite me to the raid.

I join the raid and it was a guild group that was just looking for an extra person to fill out their 10 man. We start on Magmaw and I blow up the dps charts. They were impressed but we didn't down the boss because one of their normal dps was healing for the first time and wasn't doing well at it. They ask me if its possible to heal and I agree. I never healed a raid before so I was nervous but was ready for the challenge. While we did wipe again we did defeat the encounter afterwards. I got comfortable in the healing role and the rest of the run went smooth. We were jumping from boss to boss and I was learning new encounters I have never done and was competitive with the other healers in raid. By the end of that raid I had joined my new home Crimson Fate.

It was a good fit. They raided Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday starting at 8 pm. This allowed me to raid regularly while having my life on the weekends. They are far in progression but they don't act like a hardcore guild. There is no attendance requirements or dkp system. You show up, you raid, and they help out with guild repairs, enchants, and flasks. It was not an environment I was used to but I liked it. But no guild is without its faults. Since there are no requirements we often times find ourselves starting raids late and most nights we have to pug at least one person to fill out our 10 mans. It is annoying when you log in on time but no raid happens since there are only 6 people on.

I have enjoyed the cataclysm experience but it has taken me for a ride. It is depressing when you are on a big server but don't have a place to call your home. It was depressing jumping from guild to guild and even toon to toon but I am happier now then I was over the last few months. I still see problems happening since we are such a small guild that isn't able to fill in every slot and I dread attempting heroic content.

Friday, January 7, 2011


It has been about a month since the release of Cataclysm and I am frustrated. I had a blast leveling through the content, running heroics, gearing up to be ready for raiding. Here I am now fully equipped and ready to raid but unable to.

They had made raids difficult, but manageable. They ask that you understand the mechanics, be equipped just enough to handle the encounter and execute well. All the bosses I have encountered so far have been doable but I just haven't had 10 people with the capacity to defeat the encounters. I check Guildox's website (progression monitor) and I see other guilds working their way through the content and remember being in the top 3 guild raiding for my server. Now I am in a guild that is trying to start up and we just don't have the members to really start the content.

After I left my guild back in April I really didn't want to raid until Cataclysm came out. My best friend started running 10 man Lich King with the guild I am currently in now and they were competent people who knew their stuff. I suspect many of them were tired of raiding on their mains and switch to an alt for the last couple months of wrath. The guild thought that everyone would continue to raid through Cataclysm but most of them returned to their original guild and original characters. When my friend convinced me to join the guild there was only about 5 people who were working their way to 85. I helped start the recruiting process, trying to get people to join the guild but it just wasn't working well.

People want to join an established guild more then a start up guild. You have to show them that you are worth joining. You can't show them that you are worth joining because you don't have the people to make it happen. It's a cycle that is hard to break out of and now I'm logging in the last couple days ready to raid but we hardly have 6 people on who are raid worthy.

At this point I don't know what to do. I don't know if I should stick it out and try help recruit more people in frustration. We did get a few people to join who were good but once they saw we weren't accomplishing anything they stopped showing up. Also while sitting in trade there are tons of guilds recruiting but none of them are making any headway either. Looking at other guilds, I am finding it hard to find any guilds that match what I need. I want to join a guild that doesn't raid late into the night, nor do I want to raid on weekends. There aren't any good guilds that I find that have a need for me.

So here I am flying over the roofs of Stormwind on a Tuesday after reset just sighing because I can't be in a raid because there are just not enough people on in my guild who can raid and no pugs who need me. Guess I'll go level my alt.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The New Heroic

I guess you could call me hardcore. Cataclysm came out December 7th and I was 85 on December 8th. Before the first week was up I had already gotten some epics through reputations, gotten a ton of gear from heroics, and leveled up both my professions to 525. I ask myself though how hardcore do I want to be. I know my ability. I make a good tank because I can multi task. I make a good leader, explain things well, have good control in fights, can maintain threat, positioning, and adjust quickly as the fight changes. I do think about the game a lot when I am not playing , but right now I'm not thinking all good thoughts.

World of Warcraft is a social game. It can be amazing when you get together with other people and things turn out real well but at the same time the opposite is true. Lately, playing with certain people has lead to more frustrations then enjoyment. The LFD tool is great. It lets people get together and tackle heroics but it was introduced at a time when running dungeons was a joke. The entire group can be held together with 1 or 2 competent people and everyone else was along for the ride. Now that gear has reset and we are not as powerful as we once were, we have to rely on the entire group to be able to defeat encounters.

This is where my frustrations are. I have been increasing my friends list with people that I know are competent. I try to run with them whenever possible. We will all get together on vent and we mark targets, crowd control, and use our abilities to make the encounters easier. The thing is I don't always have people online when I want to run a heroic and that is where I have to rely on the pick up group. I would have to say the likelihood of getting into a group that has the capability of getting to and defeating the last boss is about 30%.

The first pull will tell you a lot about how the group is going to function. To many times I will get a group that has no CC. A warrior, death knight, and a druid will be my dps and I am limited to root which wont do much when I have caster mobs. Then you have the people who refuse to interrupt. They probably don't even have it on their bars. People will listen though. They will dps skull first usually, will crowd control when asked, try to use some of their non-dps abilities. The problem is they don't really react fast enough. If a cc breaks they won't even notice. A spell starts getting cast and they wont interrupt. They don't notice when whirlwind is happening or there is fire on the ground. People are stuck in tunnel mode once the fight starts unless they are looking for something. We were doing the third boss of Grim Batol last night and a boomkin druid and holy priest just refused to get behind the boss when he did his 180 degree arcane breath.

Communication is key when doing heroics and when I explain to the group what to expect it increases our chances but doesn't mean success. I have been lucky with drops and have gotten to the point where there are no tanking upgrades left in heroics. The only thing left for me is to get my 70 valor points a day. I click on the LFD tool but don't always que up knowing that I might waste over an hour of time and not come out successful.

Then their is raiding. For as hard as heroics are, raiding is on a different scale altogether. Outside of Baradin hold, the other raids are extremely punishing. There are just to many abilities that the boss does that punish you if you ever mess up. I know I am more then ready for the raids but the people I run with are not decked out as well as I am. I can't really blame them because we have only been in Cataclysm for less then 3 weeks. My server, Thunderhorn, just doesn't have a good hardcore raiding community. The one guild that was in front as far of progression split up due to drama. We have been pugging a couple of spots for our raids and while the people we recruit are good, we haven't been able to make headway into raiding.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cataclysm Week 1

Three Weeks ago the Shattering happened changing the world as we knew it forever. I created a couple of new alts and got my hunter up to 52 and got to experience the Blizzard magic through all the new leveling zones. This week was the true test though. December 7Th the new expansion launched at 3am.

Just like the last 2 expansion me and my best friend took a couple of days off and were ready and waiting for the clock to tick down to the point where we could get experience again. The difference between this expansion is the digital download and the fact that you could buy the game at midnight but it didn't start until 3 am. So it felt like the entire server was there waiting for the switch to be fliped. We were there along with them at the gryphon trainer to get our Master Flight Licence and to grab our bread crumb quest to enter Mt Hyjal. We did have some hiccups getting what we needed but we were able to get going and start our grind to 85.

Last expansion took about 4-5 days to get to level cap so I figured this should take about the same time. Competition was fierce this time around though. Everywhere you turned there were tons of people trying to grab whatever quest mobs they could causing frustration all around. Story has taken the stage for the questing experience and I wanted to make sure I read everything and understood what was happening in the zone. Also with phasing and all the new cut scenes it does make you go a bit slower then the people who ignore everything else and jump straight to finishing the quest and getting experience. During Wrath Expansion were about the 20Th to 25Th people to hit 80. For this go around it took less time with less then 2 days to get to 85 but we were closer to being between the 50Th to 60Th person to get to 85.

Unfortunately my best friend and I both wanted to play Plate tanking classes. Him on his Death knight and me on Bladez the paladin. We do have synergy but that also means we are competing with each other for any drops out of dungeons. Speaking of dungeons I must applaud Blizzard on making the 5 mans a lot more engaging. Mechanics that were usually reserved to raiding has been found on every boss in Cataclysm. You may not notice it to much in the normal dungeons but the heroics require coordination and understanding of the encounter to pull off. There are a lot of punishing bosses in Cataclysm and I have sat at certain bosses for 15 attempts before the group can take them down. Some of my favorite include the 3rd boss in StoneCore where as a tank you have to constantly side step a Ground Stomp and run away from a shatter. If you fail to do either one it is a group wipe. The third boss in Blackrock Caverns is also very punishing. He has an armor buff that can only be removed by standing him in fire. Debuffing him only lasts 10 seconds but every time he gains his armor back 3 adds spawn. Killing the adds results in an explosion of fire that will allow hurt you but remove his armor. The longer he stay in the fire the bigger his stacks get which does fire damage to the entire group. You have to kill the adds at the same time otherwise when they die it will create another pool of fire that will give the boss more stacks. Both of these bosses have challenged me and my group to play at our absolute best to defeat.

Then we have the raids. So far I have done the Barradin Hold raid which isn't to difficult but the first boss in both Blackwing Descent and Bastion of Twilight are nothing like Wrath Intro Bosses. They are defiantly Gear Checks as well as ability to execute checks. The bosses have 8 or more different mechanics that have to be dealt with during the encounter and needless to say it whooped our butts.

I don't mind though. I enjoy learning a new fight and trying different strategies before settling on one that will eventually succeed. In terms of succeeding gear is defiantly a big factor. Since I am a tank the Que is pretty short. I also enjoy the leading role so I will mark all CC targets and explain every encounter to any one I run with to maximize my chance for success. As a result I have decked out my character in almost all heroic level dungeon gear. There are a few pieces here and there that I want to pick up as well as reputations to level up to get me some epics. Though for only 1 week into the expansion I am in a good spot. Now its just time to wait for the rest of the people to catch up and to start downing some new bosses.

Friday, November 26, 2010

New Beginning

Finally, the face of Azeroth has been burned and reborn anew in the fires of Cataclysm. Patch 4.03A has been released to live servers and with it brought all the changes to the 1-60 content. I always enjoyed the questing process but after 6 years and 9 different characters I really didn't want to go through it again. The world isn't completely changed but the questing has been vastly improved and I am having a blast.

In the excitement of Cataclysm Beta I gobbled up as much info as I could, trying to get a taste for what is to come without spoiling to much. All the starting area's have been greatly improved but the new undead storyline had the most talk. I decided to roll a new undead hunter. Currently I am at level 17 and I am really impressed. Blizzard made a lot of attempts to make the starting quests easy to learn and fun to play. The story has also been vastly improved on. My favorite parts of the game are the in game cut scenes. Every so often your character will walk into an area or start a quest where the camera takes over and a conversation starts that is fully voice acted. As part of the forsaken you are an agent of the Banshee Queen and you enjoy doing her dirty work.

My best friend also jumped on so we decided to roll trolls on a new server. The Troll starting quests are just as amazing as the undead. You start of on training grounds where you see an army of trolls just honing their skills. The questing brings you to Vol'jin, leader of the Darkspear trolls, and he shows you what happened between him and Garosh and the tension that is rising in the horde. You continue your journey that leads to an epic showdown where vol'jin fights by your side against a naga boss.

I am only 17 on my undead and 8 on my troll so their is a ton of zones that I have not gotten to. Also when Cataclysm does ship I will be rolling a Worgen Druid and a Goblin Rogue. All that will take a back burner to my true love, Bladez the Paladin. When I stopped raiding I had some of the best gear available so I really couldn't do much with him in the last couple months. I would log on him to try out the new talents or play a special event. As of December 7th all will be pushed aside to get him to 85. Out of everything leveling my characters and gearing them out is probably my most favorite. I can't wait to start replacing my epic level 80 gear with new blues from dungeons, quests and heroics. Looking at gear again and deciding what is best to get, leveling my blacksmithing and finding new pieces to make. I will start optimizing myself to start running all the new raids.

As far as end game content goes I'm not sure how I am going to handle raiding. I defiantly want to raid but I don't want to go back to what I used to be. I don't want to be on a strict schedule of having to be on a certain times multiple times a week. I want flexibility and choice but that really doesn't exist to much if you want to take it seriously. Also I am currently engaged to be married and I want my life outside of WoW to always take priority over raiding. I am afraid of myself. I have an addictive personality and I might see myself falling into the same trap.

I am a huge fan fo the lore in warcraft. As such I have read the last couple of books. Arthas, Stormrage, and most recently The Shattering. The shattering was such an amazing book and did a reall nice job of setting the stage for Cataclysm. When the expansion was announced there was a lot of head scratching with some of the story elements that were chosen. Garosh becoming the new Warchief, the death of Carine Bloodhoof, the council of three hammers were all perplexing at the time. After reading the shattering I can say that they had explained all of them, were entertaining to watch them play out and will be interesting to see where they go with those characters in the future of the game.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


I had stopped playing hardcore World of Warcraft back in April of this year because there was nothing new to do. Raiding is fun but since November of last year it has been the same bosses every week. We defeated the Lich King and had done hard mode on about half the bosses. Cataclysm was on the horizon and I wanted to do other things so I had just stopped raiding altogether. Now its almost November again a full year after they released the last patch and I have got the itch to play again.

Two weeks ago they had dropped 4.01 that changed the talent trees and play style of almost all the classes. As far as paladins go we got a whole new resource to manage that drastically changes the way we play. Also the Blizzard philosophy has changed to make encounters more challenging so ret is no longer cooldown based abilities and Prot has lost the ability to aoe tank well. With protection spec paladins we had a set 6969 rotation where you always knew what ability to use next. I grew to memorize this very easily throughout wrath and having a bit of a tough time adjusting to the new 4.01 model. The problem is it extended the cooldown on a lot of our abilities and it gave us 2 buttons to press and I can't find a good keybind I like for them.

With 4.01 they converted all our different types of currency down to either honor or justice points. I am severely over both caps and while I don't loose any right now I can't gain anything either. I was over 5600 justice points on bladez and once you go over 4000 you can't gain anymore. I went out and spent as much as I could to drop me below 4k but there isn't anything I really need or want. While I am excited to play there is no drive to do anything with bladez so I find it hard to even test my abilities since things die quickly. Outside of the Headless horseman event I find playing WoW pretty boring right now.

I am really excited for the release of Cataclysm and I find myself checking MMO-champion and WoW Insider any time I'm bored and on the Internet. Usually there aren't many updates but I can't stop looking at them. I am nervous about the changed to the paladin class because I just don't know how well they will play out on the way to 85. As prot the nerf to our AoE makes me nervous, and our threat generation doesn't seem to be holding up as well as it should. Retribution seems OK and it will be fine for leveling because things die quick enough that there really won't be much time where we are waiting to hit a button.

December 7th can't come soon enough. I was hoping for some world events to happen so I would feel like I would have some stuff to do but the last 2 weeks have been uneventful. The gnomergon event could be completed in one sitting and it wasn't repeatable. Luckily I have had other things to occupy my time. The new fall lineup of TV shows is out and they have been pretty good so far. Also the holiday releases of video games have also arrived so I have been on my Xbox 350 and Wii more often. Plus between going to the gym, keeping my girlfriend happy, and working overtime I have plenty of stuff to keep me busy. But while engaged in those things I always have warcraft on the back of my mind.