July 2009

At this time of year my WoW time is severely limited due to work commitments, (and my blog posting as well, apologies for that. Normal service to resume after 22nd August.) So my playing time consists of my Sunday night raids into Ulduar on 10 man. Last week I got the Pyrite Infuser, Nice! But the problem is the Flame Leviathan. The first few times you do him, it’s fun. Interesting even. Then you can try out all the different vehicles if your attention starts to wane.

But at the end of the day, going through the Flame Lev fight again is like masturbating with a cheese grater. Slightly interesting, but mostly painful.

The problem is that I’m not playing my rogue. I’m driving a stupid vehicle and spamming a few buttons. And running away when it targets me. That’s it. I mean, whoppee fucking poopee. This is so lame now it make my eyes cross over in spasms of futility. I don’t mind going through easy bosses. Hell, I was on a Naxx 10 farming run a few weeks ago to help out some guildies and I had fun on Anub’Rekhan the first boss in the Spider Quarter. I had fun because I was PLAYING MY ROGUE. Which is why I play the game, you morons at Blizzard.

It would be OK this Flame Lev crap, if that was all we had to do. But taking half an hour driving around at 3 miles per hour to take out the Iron council really gets up my goat. Can’t we just get this out of the way already??

No, we can’t. Because this Boss has been carefully planned by Blizzard. The other week I was in Zul Gurub, trying to get the Tiger Mount with a friend of mine. A level 60 raid and the two of us breezed it. But this will not be the case with Ulduar after a few expansions have gone by. Don’t expect to just walk in and clear the lot with a friend. Because the Flame Leviathan is there to stop that sort of play. Your character will affect the vehicles health, but the damage is the same. So in the future, even if you are level 100, you are still going to need almost a full raid to take this prick down. Which is what I think Blizzard actually had in mind with this highly annoying boss.

Oh well, it beats fishing I suppose.

Well, not much anyway. And certainly not to the extent that Christian Chase is talking about here. What am I talking about? One of the comments in Chase’s article sums it up nicely;

” … On the next trash pull, though, when your CDs are still blown, if there’s 3 or more mobs I’ll just keep SnD up on one of ’em and spam FoK. Still does tons of damage.”

Gee, that sounds like fun. Sit there and keep up slice and dice while you just spam Fan of Knives the whole time. Yeah, that’s why I started playing this game in the first place, for a real challenge.
In the all out blood rush to top the damage meters, all players are doing a lot of the time is making the game boring for themselves. Don’t get me wrong – on any boss fight I am trying to top the damage meters. And if a trash pull goes wrong then I will up my damage output any way I can. But going all-out all the time to top the charts just means that the game becomes somewhat stale.

On large trash pulls I like to float around a bit, like say a rogue actually would. I like to neutralize and take down the casters and healers using my stuns and interrupts as much as I can. I might hit the dreaded Blade Flurry and Adrenalin Rush double and take out two mobs at once, then finish them off with a Killing Spree. In other words I like to quickly examine each encounter and see how I can be as useful as possible while still having fun and keeping my interest in the game. Sometimes that will mean that I will top the damage meters on a trash fight, sometimes it won’t. But the group that I play with know that I understand how to use my rogue to get the most out of her in any given situation. This is why playing with a good raiding group is so much more rewarding than Pugging or playing with a team that has the ‘Damage Charts Blinkers’ on all the time.

I like to use FoK together with Tricks of the Trade as an emergency threat generator button. Back in Burning Crusade, Hunters were the shit when it came to their misdirect ability. It was a huge thing for them to bring to fights and often we had to have a hunter in the group just for that. In Wrath, Tricks together with Fan of Knives are our own version of that. Just the other night in Ulduar while fighting Kologarn, (The big guy who you only see from the waist up because he isn’t wearing any pants), I used this combination on our off tank when he had to pick up the rubble adds, as without this he was having problems picking them up.

Of course, play the game how you want. If that means doing whatever it is that you have to in order to top the meters, then go for it. But it’s not the only way to play and enjoy the game and still be a successful raider. I mean, if they introduce a pink fedora that ups rogues DPS by 0.5%, I am sure that there will be a lot of rogues that will wear it. You won’t see me wearing it though.

We have a new guildie who joined us last week. A nice guy, he came raiding with us in Ulduar the other night. He was professional, respectful and highly skillful. He came on his healer, but it turns out that he has four fully geared level 80’s. It seems that he was booted from his last guild for not being available for two weeks to raid due to real life commitments. His ex-guild is one of the higher-end raiding guilds on our server.

Their loss is our gain, but it got me thinking on the future of guild direction. I don’t think that guilds are going to be able to behave like this for much longer. The reasons are varied, but I think that the more sought-after guilds in the future will be like the one that I’m presently in – a casual raiding guild which allows you to see high-end content and get loot without the requirement of being fully committed. But not just that. We are also a personal guild – we take the time to get to know our members, to boost them if they need it, to encourage them to start raiding if they are thinking about it, to help them become better players not just gear them up. We like to have fun in there, not just get the content down.

Everyone agrees that WoW has been dumbed down for various reasons. The game is changing and taking new directions, yet many raiding guilds still behave as if this was Vanilla WoW 40 man content. Achievements are flawed when it comes to raids. Guilds and PuGs look for people to do Ulduar who already have Ulduar achievements. Which came first – the chicken or the egg? The tempo of the game is crazy now – more and more content being introduced, Tier 8, no it’s Tier 8.5 … wait! Tier 9! New raids, new achievements, changes to this and changes to that. As it stands now, if you have to take a break for just a few weeks then you’re “behind”, and you may find it difficult to catch up so that you can still compete with the players at the high-end range.

Which means that the guilds that take time to invest in their people are the ones who are going to have success. I doubt that high-end raiding guilds are going to be able to chew up and spit out players as they have done in the past. Because those “high-end” players cannot exist in the present climate outside of a high-end raiding guild, the content is changing too quickly for that. It’s the chicken and the egg again. So unless these guilds start poaching from other high-end guilds, where are they going to find those players? Not from guilds like mine. Either our gear is not up to their exacting standards, or our players are just happy where they are. We’re seeing Ulduar content now. Sure, we didn’t see it as soon as it came out, but we’re not that far behind. And with more and more casual players in the game who are starting to raid, there will be more players for casual raiding guilds to choose from.

It’s an interesting time in WoW. There is an old Chinese curse however, which says; “May you live in interesting times.”