…the more they stay the same.
Apparently, just because I’m tanking on this character doesn’t mean that I should stop doing more damage than the rest of the party whose sole job is to actually kill things.
Now that two weeks have elapsed I’m starting to get some perspective. Initially I suppose I was cold tukeying about the whole situation, but plenty of other things to do in real life not to mention some decent Xbox support from Carabus got me through.
Now don’t get me wrong, Warcraft is an excellent game when played with friends. However, at it’s most basic level the game is actually quite pedestrian and boring. Graphics and sound do the job nicely, so it’s not the GameBoy-esque presentation that’s the problem. It’s just the sheer grind of everything. Every encounter, every quest, every dungeon is designed to be a grind. The game rewards your efforts with some snazzy gear which kinda makes you feel like the whole thing was worthwhile, but the snazzy gear just allows you to grind more stuff to get snazzier gear and so the cycle continues. It would be okay if the grinds had some interesting features or variations, but they don’t.
When you do this with friends it is fun to work together as a team to see everyone succeed. When you do it with regular WoW players you just go through the same pedestrian boring motions and rotations and more often than not there is absolutely no social interaction OTHER THAN THAT IN UPPER CASE.
Every grind can be likened to learning to play a piece of music. The WoW grind gives you better gear to let you try harder grinds but the tune remains the same. Playing music gives you better skills to let you try harder music where the tunes are fresh and new, rather than giving you an epic piano with three gem slots.
Seriously, the shine of WoW is all gone for me now. If I were to play again it would purely be with friends, but there are loads of multiplayer games out there which are far better than this.
You may have noticed that the blog has been unusually quiet over the past few weeks. This is primarily down to a rather unusual set of circumstances which have resulted in the coming into the world of the very first ZombiePirate mk2. My wife and I are now enjoying a 3 hour sleep/feed cycle and understandably between hospital visits and being at home with a newborn little time has been left to really indulge in my normal activities.
That being said, I am now back at work following paternity leave and, with things settling down, am finding time to once again grab a few moments to myself when not needed elsewhere.
As hinted at in the title of this post I am beginning to come around to be of the same opinions as Servitob. My quiet time is generally composed of some time in Azeroth at the moment. I’ve been enjoying my Shaman a lot. Not doing anything specifically but enjoying my time and running Tol Barad in the main. However, my main issues right now are with the LFD system that Servitob mentioned in his post about taking a break.
While I had the good fortune to run a few dungeons with him before he upped and left I am now bereft of that partner for my own dungeons. However, LFD is becoming a constant source of failure and annoyance. I tend to get thrown in as a healer using my resto spec, I do not mind this at all, healers provide a vital service in a group and as I can, I will and have done so with some success, however, in the past week I cannot remember having completed a single random Heroic through the LFD system!
This kind of rate of failure warrants some kind of investigation, after all, there must be some reason as to why this keeps happening and let’s face it, perhaps me as the Healer could be the cause, I’m not going to rule myself out as something that can be improved upon. Now, primarily my Shaman has been Elemental and the DPS I do is pretty decent, I was doing 10.8k in Baradin Hold last time I was there which netted me 3rd on the Damage Meter and I was very happy with that. My gear is actually ideal for healing Heroics and my achievements attest to the fact that it is possible, I’ve had some really wonderful groups after all, but through all this there is one glaring problem when these groups fail! A lack of DPS.
Now, simply stating that the DPS is poor doesn’t really help anybody out so I think I need to go a little further in my explanation rather than just flagging the DPS as poor. Having a primary spec that is DPS and having done DPS I think I qualify as someone who knows what they are talking about and am qualified to offer advice. Heroics are not a walk in the park these days, nor should they be, you have to use the tools at your disposal to overcome the challenge, this is a bit of a throwback to the Burning Crusade and I rreally enjoyed running those with my real life friends in the guild we ran together. Yet, if everyone pulls their weight and knows what to do these challenges are pretty easily overcome yet the mentality in LFD is that you load in and should ROFLstomp your way to victory with no effort.
Due to my being an Elemental Shaman really I have the DPS mods on my UI, I have Recount and Omen so can measure damage and threat easily enough so I am watching what is going on. Last night I was healing Heroic Throne of Tides and the very first pull consisting of two Spiritmenders and two big melee chaps, normally you nail the healers first before taking anything else out. Our group didn’t, in fact the Guardians were dropping before the Spiritmenders, this fight took around 10 minutes to complete due to all the healing the mobs were doing. I knew from this point (and going virtually OOM on the first pull) that this group was not going to do well. It was composed of a Pally tank, Kitty Druid, DPS Warrior, a Warlock and me healing. I’ve finished this place on Heroic more than once so I know how the place works. That first pull was a true /facepalm but I persevered. I told them to drop the healers first.
The next few pulls didn’t go much better, melee DPS standing still in puddles of poison (I will not heal people through it, you need to learn to move!) and things were very slow. I left before the first boss due to an average of 6.5k DPS and trash fights wiping people as the mobs were killed in poor orders and not even attempted to be crowd controlled.
To be honest this was the icing on the LFD cake for me a true travesty of a group that I knew had no chance of making it past the first boss let alone to the end of the instance. The DPS warrior was doing a massive 5.8k dps too, way too low for Cataclysm heroics and his lack of movement away from danger areas meant he died twice on pretty simple trash pulls.
I switched over to my DK tank and thought I’d try a normal, we went into Blackrock Caverns, I got us through to the third boss with no problems, I’ve been wiped on those elemental pulls a lot when Cata first dropped so getting through that was nice. However this was my first time tanking the boss, I knew the mechanics but would be doing this for the first time and it is a gimmicky fight so we wiped pretty quick on the first try, second try went better but still wiped. When one of the DPS asked if I was retarded I left the group. I’m not here to deal with that kind of abuse, I was the second tank in that group after joining before the second boss so who knows what they did to the first guy. It pretty much put me off tanking now as I don’t want to spend my time in gimmicky fights like that. I’ll stick to my DPS or healing ways where I know what I am doing.
Running dungeons is becoming a real strain and I am noticing myself having an increasinly belligerent attitude to those people in there. In general it seems to be the melee DPS classes that cause the most issues in terms of underperforming, whether this is a class issue or player issue I think we can gloss over for now. The only real fun I’ve been having is in running Tol Barad, both the dailies and the PvP scenario as well as a couple of other PvP battles.
I know that the answer to many of these issues could be a “run dungeons with your guild” but that too presents issues. We have almost 200 people in our guild, at most we have maybe 10 online at a time and only a handful of those will be 85 and most of the time off doing their own thing. We don’t have the numbers online to run pure guild dungeons and even when we have tried this some of them must have been running it in their RP gear or something because again subpar DPS meant fights were taking far too long stretching my mana reserves and making fights harder.
I really believe that in many instances (pun not intended) the problem with DPS is that they are expecting everyone else to do the work, that they can waltz in, do their mediocre DPS and get carried through to get Epics and that just isn’t the case anymore. Yes it might have worked in Wrath but now we’re almost ignorning that content and going back to when you had to learn fights and control those mobs. If you can do this you can win but few people seem to be aware of this and I am running out of patience to try and help. Sure I could go and find another guild, one that allows me to run those dungeons with an all guild group, but I don’t really want to do that as I’ve made a big contribution to the current guild and don’t want to just abandon them as they are good guys and gals.
However, just like Servitob WoW is becoming a chore rather than a place of rest, while I may still be on here and there to do the PvP I do enjoy at the end of the day I am a PvE person. I missed raiding in vanilla, TBC and Wrath and I wanted to see it with Cata but more and more I am thinking that when my current subscription expires I may not renew, at least for a little while.
Perhaps a change of game will help, I get paid on Tuesday and I’ve been watching Rift quite closely and I did enjoy it in beta.
Last week I decided to give my career in World of Warcraft a break. It’s now one week on and so I’d thought I’d share the experience.
To begin with things were quite tough. Mainly because WoW is such an easy time filler. If you have any downtime, it’s easy to boot up and log on. Initially I missed that. It actually meant that I had to plan my recreation time better because I didn’t have the easy fall back position that WoW provides.
Positives So Far:
– More time for sleeping!
Those of you who are regularily reading googlespiders might remember my last quit post which I wrote a while back.
So I successfully stayed off the Warcrack for nearly a year, but with the upcoming release of Cataclysm and the reactivation of a few friends decided once again to step foot in Azeroth.
After much grinding, dungeoning, tanking and general leetness I have decided to give it a break. The game is still pretty awesome, yeah I never much liked the grinding side of things but the playing with friends and other people really made it for me. I’ve done all the heroics, got all the phat lewts and met some great new people along the way. Unfortunately, the only way to progress now is to give my life to the gods of raiding. I don’t much fancy all the drama or time commitments to do that.
One aspect of the social side of the game has been becoming more apparent to me. It was something I think was first mentioned by grumhelden, a regular commenter here. Wrath of The Lich King more than ever has bred a generation of WoW players with serious entitlement issues. It seems that a lot of the people you meet out there in LFD assume that completing an heroic run is a given, and get irate at any signs of a wipe despite the fact that they are happily undergeared and underperforming.
This undergeared/underperforming is most apparent with the dps/pvp classes who are well versed in WRITING IN UPPER CASE when things go southward. The healer goes out of mana, the tank dies, they stand in the fire but it’s never their fault. Listen people, Wrath was last year. Healer mana is now finite. You can no longer take down bosses at your leisure. If you are not pumping out the dps at a great rate of knots we will wipe and it is your fault. Yes, you. Get your rep gear, learn your rotations. The era of being carried is over!
Since the advent of the so-called Holy Trinity of MMOs there has always been a slant towards Tanks as being the heroes of our gaming lives. Afterall, without a tank the group would go nowhere, almost as critical therefore is the Healer whose primary responsibility is keeping that chap alive.
When I first started off playing WoW and got to the maximum level I was a Priest. I went around healing dungeons and eventually raids. The original group we started with on Argent Dawn was friends and we managed to pick a tank, dps and healer without any prompting whatsoever. This allowed us to level together through dungeons and we 3 manned a lot of the content on the way to Outland, the end game content at the time.
Through this experience I then took my Priest through Northrend and this toon was my first 80. I had the Shaman that would become my main still there but once again took up my healing reigns. Therefore I’d link to think that I am well-versed in the stresses that are placed on a player in a dungeon environment from this point of view. My Shaman is focussed around DPS (although I currently have a Resto off-spec but want to see what Enhancement is like once I finish collecting the pieces for it) and it is much more relaxing (in general) than trying to keep people alive, especially people who seem oblivious to damaging effects that they are standing in.
I’ve done the healing game, I’ve done the DPSing from range, therefore the only real things left to me are the melee DPS and tanking. I did do some tanking in Wrath. I created a Death Knight and tanked through all the normal dungeons until they threw in the major changes to Death Knights just before Cataclysm. I never therefore did any Heroics.
I’d done some tanking on other characters over the years, I had a feral Druid once and done some Pally stuff with friends again before Cataclysm. I made a post when the new 4.0 patch hit about a new character I’d created, the amazingly witty named Hotplate, a Blood Elf warrior that I was going to tank with. She is now sitting pretty at level 19 after a couple of nights of questing and dungeon running and therefore I thought I’d put down some of my experiences with the tanking side of the game, things I have come across during the higher level shenanigans of my Death Knight as well as the lower level antics of the warrior.
With my main being a DPS character now I’d like to think I have a handle on that side of things, therefore with tanking I should be able to prepare for the DPS, however, tanking seems to put you in a different mindset and on LFD when not with guildies you seem less likely to put up with having to deal with crap from anyone. I’ve noticed this from others as well as in part myself. So, what is it that drives these tanks to such distraction?
Marking mobs – somewhat of a lost art, even in our post Wrath-AOE everything world. Crowd Control is a skill that can be used effectively when properly coordinated. These days we have things like hex/sheep pulling back to the fore, always at the tanks request of course. Just grabbing all the mobs together and trying to AOE them down is not the always viable tactic it used to be. CCing just one mob can make a pull significantly easier for all parties involved. However, what really irks me when I am tanking is that if I take the time to mark mobs (not always necessary in lower end dungeons) you can bet your ass that at least one of the DPS (normally a Hunter by coincidence) will pick whatever they want. I follow the generally accepted international convention of Skull for the first mob and then X if we need to mark a second mob. Yet, time after time, at least one of the DPS will go for the other mob rather than the quite clearly labelled skull.
This behaviour means I am getting less likely to try to put aggro on that mob and hopefully it will go chew on the guy shooting it, unfortunately in low-end stuff the mobs are pretty easily soloed anyway, especially for the aforementioned Hunter.
Am I going too slow for you? – The frenetic pace demanded by some LFD participants towards the end of Wrath is well documented. I’ve been in numerous instances where one of the DPS, normally a caster in this instance, is spamming GOGOGO!!!! into the party chat. While this can pretty much be ignored for the most part what really gets my goat (or Draenei I suppose) is the retards that take it upon themselves to pull the next group of mobs. I had a very special snowflake of a Hunter in my last Wailing Caverns group that would do this every single pull. I told him that I didn’t want him pulling and would start living by the rule “You spank it, you tank it.” However, a Hunter can easily topple the mobs in that place so even though I stopped taunting stuff off him it was killed pretty easily. Pulling before the tank is ready (who is also watching the Healer’s mana bar) is asking for trouble that can easily be avoided.
AGGRO!! – My tanking at the moment is done on my Warrior, I’ve also done the Bear tanking too. At my level my Warrior can’t do a charge into battle, I don’t have the ranged pulls that Paladins do for instance, I have to wade on in an spank stuff. While being a tank means that I am watching the mana/focus levels of my Healer and DPS to make sure we can get through a fight the reverse doesn’t seem to be true. Utilising rage normally means that for the first pull of the dungeon or after a boss is downed we’ve rested and I don’t have a store of rage. The way I build it is to be hit or hit things myself, however, the rest of the group seems blissfully unaware of this concept and I imagine that many of the people I come across are not playing their first character either. Yet, time after time, I go in to try to grab the mobs and so the DPS unleash all hell like if they waited for a few seconds the world would end. Normally this means one mob going for the Hunter as he ignores the skull and various other scuttlings if someone has decided to AOE everything. This means I am getting less rage and have less chance of rounding things up quickly, I have not been called a bad tank because of this but can imagine people thinking that as I obviously have no control over the pull, despite this being the DPS not giving the time required to generate the rage. I am sure this will be less of an issue as I get higher and can generate more rage more quickly but it annoys me that I have 0 Rage in my bar and the rest of the group still go bats*** crazy on the mobs as soon as I hit one. Would it kill you to wait? Probably not but then you might lose precious DPS on that Recount monitor you are glued to…
And finally just a shout out to a very special snowflake I had the joy of being in a group with for a RFC run. This was our healer, when you first come across the Troggs there are a couple of pulls you do before taking on Oggleflint, the first boss. Our healer decided it would be funny to run in, pull the whole lot and then leave the dungeon!
I don’t care who you are and how funny you think this is, wiping a group like that just makes you an asshole! No ifs, no buts, it is not funny. People generally use LFD for a quick run to get loots and improve their level, they don’t want to deal with that kind of asshatishness at all. Would your guild accept that if you did it in a raid? No, so get over yourself and treat the other people in your group with the respect you’d want to be treated with yourself.
If we each followed that advice we’d make LFD a much nicer place to reside and more tanks might join in. As it is I can see why tanks are somewhat of a mythical creature due to their necessity but lack of desire to deal with all the crap that can be flung their way. I’ll stick with it because the gameplay is rewarding but I can imagine myself less and less willing to put if with crap during my relaxation time when I choose to do a thankless job where I have to do a lot more than when I button mash on my Shaman!
Good morning Interwebs. Cataclysm has been live for around a week and a half now which means, of course, that about 11 out of the 12 million reported Warcraft players are level 85 by now. Not so with yours truly. In a rare example of restraint (or perhaps the fact me and Vashj’ir don’t see eye to eye) I find myself sitting around 20% off level 83. I’m getting there but in my own time.
So, what have I been doing in the meantime? Well, this week has been pretty good actually and I’m happy with the progress I’ve been making. I’ve done some mining, not a lot really but selling a few stacks here and there to keep some money coming in, although all the quest rewards and unusable loot has been going for sale too. I finally finished the grind for my Mag’har rep! I’d done the quests and then found the place with the fastest Ogre respawn and they also dropped Obsidian beads for the hand ins with regularity. This netted me all the Talbuks and also took me over 50 mounts so I can now fly around on the Albino Drake. The only difference between my old main my Priest and my Shaman now is a few reputation rewards which I’m really not all that bothered about. I also jumped into a PUG Sunwell Plateau raid which was interesting, it was one of the many TBC raids that I missed out on and isn’t a walkover even with a group of 80+ characters.
I joined in with some of my guild to bag some achievements to help level us up, we did Zul’Farrak and then tried Caverns of Time (which doesn’t have a guild achievement for it apparently) and then went off to do Ahn’Qiraj we cleared the lower of the two raids and then tried to three man the 40 man version, that didn’t go so well and I imagine we’ll go back with a bigger party for retribution. I did get a Yellow and a Blue Tank though to help me on my way towards those 50 mounts.
Then, last night I actually went through a whole Blackrock Caverns instance with a mostly guild group. I got a few upgrades along the way and had been doing some questing alongside. I’ve now finished the Naga Battlemaiden quest chain in Vashj’ir and am trying to get the zone finished so I can move onto somewhere else and give that a try.
Overall my Shaman doesn’t really have much Wrath gear left, most of it is now quest/dungeon blues and greens. This has added around 1000 spellpower to my stats and given me heading towards 50k health and over 30k mana. I am noticing swift and meaty increases in my DPS as well and I didn’t consider my DPS as low in the first place.
Glyph prices are high at the moment so I still haven’t glyphed the resto spec that I have purchased recently. I’ll be doing that as our guild raid team may be short of healers and I’ve been asked if I want to take part when I hit 85, which of course I do. This expansion is one I want to participate in and with only 5 levels to go up it should be easier. I am collecting rested and have more than enough to hit 83, I’m just hoping the next zone is a little more fun, I may go to Deepholm as that looks pretty nice from when I warped in there last night.
While there are still those who argue that WoW is getting dumbed down that is not something I am feeling from the dungeons with greater emphasis placed on tactics for the fights it makes people think and work together otherwise things don’t get done. I also think people are getting more used to wipes although a DPS Warrior in our group last night insisted that our Druid (my Guild Leader) ninja’d a piece of loot! What happened was that when the boss died people needed on it and the Druid won, the DPS Warrior did a /roll after the loot had been given out by the system and proceeded to whine that he had won it and needed to be given it or he would submit a report to Blizzard… He then needed on a pure Agility trinket over the Hunter in our group and said he’d give that to the Hunter when the Druid gave him the other loot, shockingly no one was going to be held to ransom and he got booted from the group. If you play on Argent Dawn beware of groups with an Orc Warrior called Rhadish, I’m not sure what server he was from but certainly a special snowflake!
Still, I’m having fun even if I am going slower than the rest of the server, I can tell you that the Cataclysm starter zones are a lot less crowded now, which is a good thing!
Oh and two more Oracles Eggs still haven’t produced that Proto-Drake….