So today I transfer my hottie night elf rogue, Elizzà, away from the horrors of the Magtheridon realm. The ganking project has been a lot of fun and I’ve learnt a great deal, so it’s only fair that I mention some highlights of the experience that I can look back at in a few years and wonder at the horror of it all, (just kidding!).

Things I learnt.

Being in a guild can be a lot of fun if it’s not populated by drama seeking attention whores, soul sucking leeches and the socially and skillfully inept. A typical message in guild chat could go something like this:

“Anyone want to run a random heroic with me?”

And that would be it, no replies. People that wanted to go would whisper for an invite. What’s missing here? Well, the times when nobody would whisper of course. In other guilds in the past that would result in the person who received no replies having a massive drama bomb meltdown because, “nobody likes me or wants to help me!” This was completely absent from the guild.

I learnt how to PvP and I learnt to appreciate and value a PvP realm. These two go hand in hand. I didn’t want to play on a PvP realm because I didn’t know how to PvP, and I didn’t want to have to suffer the ingnonimy of being ground to dust by the other faction. I had nightmares of level 77 death knights wiping the floor with me. In truth, it wasn’t that bad at all. It did take me a while to get my PvP skills up to scratch, but now I’m a better player for it. I would never voluntarilly choose a PvE realm again. I look forward very much to the level 80-85 levelling process in Cataclysm on a PvP realm.
I also got my PvP gear set. Sure it won’t last a week in the next expansion, but now I know how to get a good set quickly and I know and appreciate the difference that it made.
I got into Wintergrasp and learnt how to play it. Prior to this guild I had never set foot into that place, for reasons tied to the PvP realm bit. There were some battles in there which were extremely memorable, not least the one where Gevlon and I hid a pair of Demolishers off to the side of the keep when on attack. After our first assault had fizzled out against the walls and the horde ran out to kill all the Alliance, we moved them quickly up, took down the first wall and then positioned them to shoot over the second wall at the main door, taking it down and winning the battle. Awesome stuff.

Playing arena matches for the first time and getting fairly competant was also a big deal. I would like to thank my arena partner Eluzis and demand that he transfer with me. Come on bro, you know you want to.

Being around a guild full of goblins you cannot help but learn how to make gold, and make gold I did. Not huge amounts, but more than I have ever had in game. The stuff just seemed to pour in. Which is why I loved those GDKP runs so much. Here’s hoping I can make the golds on the new realm.

Running raids with competant players. This was really amazing. No arguing, no fighting, no blaming, no defending from criticism. Just honest appraisal with the goal of killing the boss always foremost in mind. People removed from the raid for not being up to scratch and then seeing them there the next week, trying harder and improving on their past performances. Idiots being quickly culled from the ranks with no drama, (usually there was a disinterested comment along the lines of, “well I suppose we better find another priest then”), gave the good players the comfort and security to know that they could just get on with the job. They knew their leader would get their back.

I hope that you all have enjoyed my reports and ramblings on the Ganking Project. It’s been a lot of fun sharing it all with you. So now we head on to a new adventure, Gevlons PuG project. May the good times continue.

Gevlon is winding up the ganking project, effective probably within the week. Those of us in the project received the news yesterday on our forum. The reaction was sadness and a lot of support for Gevlon, whereas he had been bracing himself for anger. The interesting this is that I was going to write this post last week, but I didn’t due to not wanting to jinx the project. Irony for the winner.

It is no secret that I have enjoyed the ganking project immensely, as it gave new focus and goals as well as the opportunity to learn new skills to my WoW game. But as we progressed a little doubt began to nag at me. My enjoyment was all based on the whim of one person. If he decided to pull the plug then it would be over. Nobody else would be able to step in and take his place. To understand why this is so, you have to appreciate the enormous amount of energy and sheer force of will that Gevlon put into the project. And in a way, us guildies were feeding off that. We were doing our part to be sure, (well most of us), but I knew that I could always count on Gevlon to be there and sort things out. And is it fair to burden someone with that amount of responsibility? Of course, Gevlon started the project, it was his decision to do it, so it is his responsibility. But how many times have you started something and not really realised what you have gotten yourself into?

Yesterday after the news broke, there was a lot of discussion in guild chat about someone to replace Gevlon and carry on with the project. I made it very clear that I would not be interested in taking on such a role. It requires the leader to be online every day. You can’t take a break from leading something of this type. And you cannot effectively delegate responsibilities to other players in the guild, no matter how capable. At the end of the day it is force of will alone that carries something like this forward. Perhaps that is why it was so enjoyable. But it is very hard to keep up that sort of performance over a long period of time.

But the disappointment at its conclusion must be balanced with the positives to take from this experience. Apart from finally learning how to PvP, I have to say that I have never played with a group of people of such a high skill level and such a low dickhead factor. Perhaps this was the true secret to why I enjoyed the project so much. Gevlon is set to announce a new project in the next few days. Will I be joining that one? Lets wait and see what it is. But if he manages to attract the same calibre of player it will be very tempting indeed. Let us only hope that the project is something sustainable and not balanced on the force of will of one person.

I got a drop. The other night, in ICC. It was just a little drop, a small thing, nothing to write home about by the name of …

Flesh Carving Scalpel, oh my god, holy bucket of snot!

Not that I’m excited or anything.

Regular readers of my blog, (all 7.3 of you), will know that I have had a dry run with regards to getting some daggers. So this baby dropped and there were two rogues in the raid – me, and some other rogue. Now normally this would be the cause of great angst to your truly as I can tell you right now that I do not have either achievement called needy or greedy or whatever they’re called. You know, the achievements for rolling 100 on something? Yeah, I don’t have those. Cause I don’t roll 100. My roll is closer to the 10 side of things. If there was an achievement for you suck at rolling then I would have had that a long time ago. That could be a good achievement line:

You suck at rolling – roll 1 on a need roll.

You still suck at rolling – roll under 10 on 20 need rolls.

You suck at rolling so much you should just stop rolling. – that would be me.

Anyway, there was no horrible random rolling problem here as this was a GDKP run. And you know I love those. So we start bidding. The rogue bids 100g, and I’m just about to bid when the hunter bids 250g. Now, I know this is a joke on her part but the other rogue immediately starts screaming and calling her a huntard. I’m assuming that he didn’t know that she is Gevlons girlfriend …

So I bid 500g, just to get things moving. He increases it to 600g which tells me that he is trying to keep the bid low. Awww … he’s trying to keep the bid low.

1000g from me.

1100g from the rogue.

1500g from me.

There is a long pause, then the rogue says; “Come on, just stop already.” Just stop already? I haven’t even got started. I’ll take this all the way to 10,000 if I have to. The rogue bids a measely 1600g. I top it off to 2000g. There is a looonnng wait. Is there a time limit on how long we can wait? Eventually the rogue says;

“Why are you even bidding, you won’t even use it!”

Ah, I see. You’re looking at my combat spec and thinking that I won’t even use it. Have you ever heard of dual fucking specs and that we are doing these raids to get drops for our little PvP mission that the guild was made for in the first place you moron??

I don’t say that of course. I just mention politely that I also have a mutilate spec. This rogue only joined the guild a week previously. He left his other guild on the realm because he wasn’t getting to raid ICC enough. Yes, you heard it right. The ganking guild is now getting recruits from the two major raiding guilds on the realm to do ICC. They were making fun of our raiding prowess a few weeks ago. We’re now 10/12 in ICC and last night we got Sindy down to, wait for it, 33,000 health before we all keeled over and died. No Alliance guild on the realm has got the Lich King down yet. It will be a source of wet dreams for us if our pvp guild can do it before the raiding guilds can. Because don’t forget that we have been concentrating on pvp gear. Some of our guildies have mega-awesome PvE setups, but a lot of us don’t. I have an ilvl 200 trinket, 213 wrists, 219 boots and 226 chest among my other crappy pieces. But still we’re 10 from 12.

So anyway, back to the bidding. His next bid is 1600g and 5 sets of leg armor, I can’t even remember what they’re called. This is amusing, I thought. Can I throw in a stack of abyss crystals? How about some fish feasts? But then Gevlon comes out with the news that his bid is now worth 2400g taking into account the AH value of the leg armor. What the fuck? It’s not valued at didley squat until he sells it. I thought this was gold bidding? Can I throw in my grandmother too? (I would have if it were possible).

So I bid 2500g. Gevlon just wanted to bump up the price as he loves weapon drop bidding wars. The dagger is mine. I hand over the gold and gaze at its icon with a tenderness bordering on madness. I will never disenchant you my beloved, never ever ever.

After the raid wraps I go and look up my new piece on wowhead. I love doing this as I get to read the long list of comments from people saying how much they love it and how they wish they could have one. But then … only 2 comments. And they’re saying how much the itemization sucks. What the fuck do they know anyway?

There has been a lot of words written in the WoW blogosphere in the last few weeks about the difficulty of holding guilds together at the moment, let alone actually recruiting. This is of course perfectly natural and on par with the life cycle of the game between expansions. If it wasn’t happening then I would be surprised. Added to that the fact that we’re heading into summer and it’s just a bit too much to expect people to have their standard drive for a game. I myself took a break from the game just after WotLK was released. I left it for about four months. No big deal, I just wasn’t interested anymore, and I needed a break. We all need a break from time to time.

So this period is about trying to keep your guild from falling apart. That doesn’t sound like much fun. I know that it wasn’t fun for me at the end of burning crusade. I was so zonked after that process that I promptly took those four months off. I did it the day the Wrath expansion pack arrived at my door. I opened the box, looked at the cover and just thought that I didn’t want to know about this right now. The game stayed wrapped in its celophane on my desk for all that time. Lets face it there is nothing left to do. We’ve all run these instances a million times, dailyed our brains out of existence and battlegrinded our way to mental oblivion. And no Ruby Sanctum dragon run is going to change any of that.

But I’m not bored at all, on the contrary. I’m having a great time in WoW right now and I have to thank Gevlons ganking project for that. It’s given me a new focus for the game. When I log in I have many things to do, all of them to help us reach our common ganking goal. It could be playing the AH a bit to get some more gold for a GDKP run, or running some battlegrounds for the honor, or playing some more arena matches for the gear and experience, or running some raids, or greatly upsetting the horde when they try to win a fishing contest, or ganking their faces off at the jewelcrafting daily. And all of it for a common goal. And all of it with other people from the guild who have the same goal. And the guild keeps growing. New players join every day. We really need warlocks and mages at the moment, so if you have one of those and you’re bored with the game at the moment why not transfer over and join? If you do transfer, bring a lot of profession mats with you, just a friendly tip.

There has also been quite a bit of talk recently concerning the state of MMO’s, with the usual screeching directed at Blizzard as the main culprit. This culminated this week with wolfshead’s rant. A major complaint is that these games don’t encourage community anymore. Look, I’ll spell it out for you all. Blizzard gave us the tools within the game to be social, but they sure aren’t going to hold your hand to make friends. Social is what you make of it. Does social mean that you need to whisper other players trying to make friends? I suppose you can try that if you like, but you won’t be getting me to hang around with you for very long. I’ve made a bunch of new friends and contacts in WoW over the last few months, both from the blogging guild and the ganking guild. People working towards a common goal or people with a shared passion playing together. The game is what you create from it, and that’s the greatest freedom of all. Some people just can’t handle freedom when it’s given to them, even when they have been clamouring for it.
The problem that players like Wolfshead have is when they log on they want to be entertained. I think that it’s amazing and testimony to the game itself that WoW has managed to do this for them for so long. But sooner or later the fun runs out if you don’t make any effort yourself. The ganking guild is a creative use of the game at a time when many players are left standing around in Dalaran hoping for inspiration. I haven’t stood around in Dalaran for a long time now.

We ran ICC on Sunday night with the ganking guild, (which means we are a pee vee pee guild at heart for those of you who don’t know). We cleared the lower wing with ease, although we wiped once on heroic gunship when we all forgot to equip our jetpacks before the fight, (NOOOOOBBSSS!!!), and once on Saurfang because we didn’t set our handling of the adds properly.

Then we moved into the next section of the raid where I had never been before, which entailed me quickly flicking back to my saved pages of rogue tactics online. It said that the next boss was Festergut who was a simple rogue fight apart from giving people a buff when you got it, so I thought cool baby and up we went. We took down the nasty Valkyrie trash and the two big doggies and then we began fighting the boss. Perhaps I should have paid closer attention to his name because within a very short space of time I worked out that this was not a simple rogue fight, what with slimes everywhere and this guy spinning around on me so I was facing his front all of a sudden. This was not the fight that I had just read up on. This was Rotface. I managed to stay up until the wipe and then got clobbered to death. We picked ourselves up and after I read the correct fight details, we did it again. And we got him down, which was a marvelous feeling.

At that point we had to call it due to people leaving, but still it was a good run. Particularly because I finally got a weapon upgrade for my PvE spec when the Bone Wardens Splitter dropped off Marrowgar. I have been using the Kenetic Ripper which is a ilvl219 weapon for too long now so this was a huge upgrade for me. Only one problem; there was another rogue in the raid who wanted it just as much as I did. I am pretty calm when it comes to loot. I don’t get worked up, I don’t get all upset when a hunter rolls on my leather, (like fuck I don’t). But when a major weapon upgrade drops I am all over that baby like a rash.

This was a GDKP run and the first big one that I had been on. The bidding started at 100g, which my rogue friend duely began. I hit it up to 500g because I didn’t want to fuck around. He hit it up to 1000g because he didn’t want to fuck around either. And up we went to 1600g when he suddenly dropped out. I thought that it was going to have to go much higher but in the end I got off lightly. The best bids were for the ilvl264 heroic drops off the gunship – some plate and a shield, which got up around the 4000g mark for each. At the end of the run there was over 10K to divide up between everyone, so I got just over 1K back from my one and only bid. I love this syetm, I really do because everyone gets something, whether it be gold or loots or both. And the best part is that the loots go to those that really, really want them. It’s all too easy to press roll and take something away, but when you have to cough up the cold hard cash you start to understand who really wants something or not. A death knight who had only joined the guild a few days before and who had only just hit 80 scored the heroic plate armor, which looked amusing offset with all his blues.

Gevlon was raid leading and his method of getting us to pick up our game was to calmly inform us that he had cleared these very same bosses the night before with his blue geared project and their average dps was around 3500, which is a great motivator to put your head down and do the job. Now all I have to do is get my head down and make some more gold before we go in again tonight. Or maybe I’ll just sit back and let people bid like crazy and get my gold that way!

I don’t normally post on weekends as I have better things to do with my time, such as skipping through the tulips, (not many hits on weekends). But I have decided to make a random Saturday post of random thoughts and perhaps links which I have found around the internets during the week. So this is the first random Saturday post. I suppose I will have to create increasingly bizarre titles for them.

Yesterday we won Wintergrasp with 6 players against 80. We were attacking and at the beginning all looked hopeless. But the other day, Gevlon had come up with a cunning plan and I had helped him to refine it. This was our first real chance to put it into practice. It involved sneaking a couple of demolishers up to the walls of the fortress while the Horde were busy elsewhere destroying towers, pillaging and looting, checking their email etc. The great thing about demolishers is that they can shoot over walls. Which meant that we didn’t have to get the last wall down. We just positioned them correctly and took the relic chamber door down from the other side of the wall. With 6 against 80 we had the full tenacity buff, and with the door down three of us managed to fight our way through the dense crowd of incredibly desperate horde to get to it, with our paladin succeeding in clicking the relic. Quite simply an awesome win. There are other elements to the cunning plan but they are too secret to be imparted here to you, (send gold).

I had my biggest ever volume day on the blog yesterday, with my post about our VoA run garnering me almost 2000 hits. Considering that my second month blogging I got 65 in total, and that was a year ago, this was pretty huge blogging wise. So for those of you who haven’t been blogging long and are wondering if you’ll ever get visitors and comments, you will. If you stick with it and write often, (and if greedgygoblin links to you …)

On my dashboard for the blog I can see where the hits are coming from via incoming links. These can often be interesting, and yesterday there was one that raised my eyebrows. The insidious guild forum linked to yesterdays post and it was their members who were the ones that behaved rather childishly in the raid in question, (and if you read the comments you will see that one of their guildies who was on the raid, Koushirou, admitted this himself. I would assume that he linked my post to their guild forum.) Unfortunately I cannot access their forum as I do not have the required permission, but with the number of hits coming from them I would be very interested to know what they have said regarding this issue. Feel free to comment here!

And finally, I have a little something for your viewing pleasure. A WoW players reaction when he finds out that he has been “hacked”, (when in actual fact it is his friend who has changed his password).

Quite a few F Bombs.

Yesterday we held Wintergrasp for three straight victories. We lost the fourth because by that stage the horde were so annoyed they must have turned up with everyone on the server and the zerg was impossible to stop. We now have almost 40 level 80 players in the guild, so at any one time at least 10 of us are going into WG. The strategy planning is interesting because we have to make provision for two things: how to win against the horde and how to counter the random idiots who will show up on our own team. Someone will put forward a good attack plan but then we will spend most of our time working out how to send our moron allies off out of harms way, while thinking that they are at the cutting edge of the battle.

Anyway, after the third win we decided to do a VoA 25 man run. Half were guildies and half were PuGs. Crucially, the tanks were members of our guild, so we could easily control the run. A few of the PuGs were very loud-mouthed in the lead up to starting the run. I don’t know if they were excitied about seeing a 25 man VoA on the server after 60 years of not having one or if that was their normal behavior, but whatever the cause they were vocal and moronic. Gevlon may not be the best tactical leader but he sure is the best leader of the group when there are morons to be dealt with that I have ever seen. The first boss we did was the stone giant, and Gevlon announced before the fight that this was a dps test and anyone who did under 1500 would be kicked. Nobody was kicked. Then we did the Fire boss with the same conditions applying. Still nobody was kicked. Don’t get me wrong, they were vocal about this, but when it came time to put out the damage they got their heads down and did it. Then we moved on to the Ice boss that drops the sweet 270 loots. Gevlon came up with a fantastic plan: the lowest ranged dps on the orbs wouldn’t get any loot. There was howling about that, but when it came to the fight everyone did what they were supposed to do and we one shotted the boss. He dropped, and within 10 seconds the chat was filled with something like this; (I’m para-phrasing)

“Gevlon you fucking piece of shit you can’t fucking run it this way who the fuck do you thinkl yopu are you fucking son of a whore …”

He went on for quite a bit longer. Then unsurprisingly, he was kicked. This was a shadow priest, (there were no cloth drops), who put out 6800 dps, and who had been one of the vocal idiots during the whole run. I asked in chat what was his problem as I genuinely had no idea. His problem was with the rule for ranged dps on orbs. Forcing him to do his job had caused his dps to drop below some of the melee on the recount chart. Thus his temper tantrum.

I was staggered by this. I mean, we all make fun of gearscore, we all argue over recount and what its positive and negative points are, but at the end of the day most of us doing the arguing here in the blogosphere are somewhat sane and rational. So to see recounts true effect on players who don’t think somewhat sane and rationally is … insane. This guy had the biggest dummy-spit that I have ever seen in a PuG, and a PuG that was a complete success with no wipes and just one or two deaths. And what was it over? It was because someone succeeded in forcing him to do his required task at the expense of the recount meter. Because he did his task we got the boss down. But this upset him, a lot. Because he was only 4th on recount for that fight. It makes no sense whatsoever.

Now I know that Gevlon used recount at the beginning to threaten players with being kicked if they didn’t perform, but that was a minimum number, not a maximum. All you had to do was your required task and be above 1500dps. If the highest dps got a reward then that would be different as this players dps would have been “compromised” in such a situation.

I like recount and I refer to it often to gauge how I am performing. But the extent to which this tool is misused had escaped me until this situation yesterday. Gevlons idea of lowest ranged dps on orbs gets no loot was a brilliant one in this case. But going on how players are motivated by recount in a negative way, you will need to come up with a plan like this for every fight just to get players to do their job. Based on this, Blizzard has a sure-fire way to create a boss that a 25 man PuG will NEVER get down: make it so that a successful attempt will require dps players to run around and do all sorts of jobs so that if they do it properly their dps will never go above 2000. Or even better, include a special prize that the boss give out to a player in a group that wipes whose dps was over 10,000 lets say in this case. Evil.

Some players dropped the group after this but we decided to try the last boss anyway. But as we got there, one of the hunters misdirected the boss onto our group, left the instance and we wiped. Apparently he too was very annoyed at being forced to complete a task at the expense of his dps. Another PuG who had been fairly quiet for most of the run then said that we would be lucky to ever form a 25 man PuG again on the server and he dropped the group. So to sum it all up; we nuked the bosses, never wiped, and got the loots, but we will never form another PuG again because we made people do their jobs.

Oh, and no rogue loots dropped, sheesh.

ps; apparently the priest was not kicked, he quit group himself. And the rules were all clearly stated in raid chat before the first boss went down and players were saved to the raid.