So I read a blog post the other day that rather disappointed me. No, the post was excellently written and more than likely a fairly good estimation or opinion on the subject matter. What was the blog about? How Guild Tags don’t matter anymore. *Falls on the floor Stunned* “You can not perform that action while Stunned”
So while the implications of that statement are shocking, the hard facts are that partially the poster was correct and partially they weren’t. Looking For Raid and the RealID cross realm ability to raid with friends from other realms, has definitely laid an impact on guilds as surely as War Stomp, but is it enough to say that a Guild Tag no longer matters? I think not and furthermore, I’m appalled at the statement.
True it is that you don’t have to be in a guild even to raid, and what your friends guild tag says while you are raiding Firelands with Friends, really doesn’t matter in the technicality of the fights, there is still a lot in a name.
For one thing, Progression will always be guild orientated and while many people don’t care so much about progression anymore, a great great deal of us do. To those people, our guild tag is everything. It’s what’s attached to a teams achievements, it’s what defines us on our own realms where we spend 100% of our game-play time. It defines us as having leadership that is capable of securing new content and successful in leading us to it. There is a lot more in a Guild name than simply a “<Tag>”.
Those nifty Mass Resurrection buttons that we all have on our menu bars, is another thing. Guild perks like mobile banking, mass rez, mass summon etc etc, are all things that you have earned, as part of the guild. You have had to raise your relationship with that guild enough to use them, and the “Name” ties it all together. True, these are just little perks but perks that are used extensively in raids no matter what tier of content.
Last thing on this. While technically, what guild tag you hold makes not a bit of difference to how the old bosses go down, to your enjoyment of friends on other worlds, or to the loot you get while doing older raids (anyone still use this stuff???). Your Guild Tag means a great deal to your GM who has spent considerable amounts of time building all the benefits you have. It should also mean a great deal to each and every guildie or raider with that Tag. There is a certain amount of pride in belonging to a respected guild, whether that respect is from progression prowess, or from “Good Folk Reputations, it’s pride, and I’ll bet the reason why you joined that guild.
If you or your GM doesn’t have that sense of pride in who the collection of people are… it’s time to find a new guild.
I’m a pretty hard core Shaman fan, there is no doubt about that. I love the feel of healing as a Shaman and the synergy of her spells. Even during Shaman’s darkest hours when we were bottom roster and the famous Paragon wouldn’t entertain the idea of giving us a spot, I still loved the class. I knew they were wrong, the good Shaman just find a way to make it work even if it’s not optimal or easy.
So when I started my Priest you can well imagine I wasn’t to overly optimistic. Yes they are powerful and yes they are fun and complicated to play. It’s a bit of Elitist thing to be able to say you play a healing Priest well and Blizzard has had a lot of time to perfect this class. Don’t get me wrong, Priests have had many a dark hour of lowly healing status, but again the really good ones always found ways to make it work.
If you read my first post about Priestly healing as Discipline, you know that I’m rather liking this toon quite a bit. I thought perhaps once it got more complicated, I might not be able to handle the class and might just put her away during her still “fun to use” phase. I can’t figure out if I’m proud to say or saying it guiltily, but I LOVE this class. Yes, there it is, I love this class as much as Restoration Shaman. This little tequila drinking goblin of mine is quite adept at keeping stupid tanks and crazy DPS alive during the worst of the damage.
She’s finally hit 80 this weekend and I can honestly say that if I had of started out with a Priest healing, instead of creating my Shaman all those years ago, I might have enjoyed the leveling game all along. Dungeon leveling with her has been a joy even if a tedious endeavor.She’s just found her way into the first few of the Cataclysm regular dungeons and although it’s a bit of a balancing act to heal through these, it’s still way way easier than I remember my shaman being. Actually, let me correct that. Healing with this Disc Priest in Cataclysm dungeons is way easier than healing with my Shaman through them, at level.
I’ve discovered the wonderful, oh so wonderful spell of Prayer of Mending. Oh this little gem just sits on a party member and waits to heal them, like a little blinging bouncing ball of HPS. Set and forget, refresh on CD and the smart heal is like music in my headphones. Holy Nova makes me feel like a Mage! Bling! Bling! small and low HP mobs go down in a flash. Atonement is another thing that I had to wrap my head around and I’m not ashamed to say, it took me some time. The quicker and more powerful my DPS, the more HPS I put out during damage. No damage? No Problem, I’m still sitting second on a DPS meter. How freaking cool is that?
Priests have all kinds of utility, which is one of the main features which brought me to pick one up. Levitate has proven it’s uses in bosses past (ugg, Crusades) and Pain Suppression (Blood Queen ohyea). Inner Focus and Power infusion are the things I need to remember to use, but all in all this little healing green machine packs quite a powerful wallop.
Maybe not the most interesting blog update, but I felt the need to sing my Priests praises for just a little while.
Sometimes things just don’t go smoothly within a raiding group. We all know that and get it just fine. We expect small problems and all dread the large ones, as officers. But as officers it’s our job to be on the watch for possible problems and ways to interfere with those problems blooming.
A while back I read a blog post by @Lodur about running a guild, or leadership of a guild and found myself nodding my head subconsciously while I was reading. The general consensus about being a GM is that it’s a very cool thing. You have power and your the master! Fearlessly leading your flock into battle with Interweb Dragonz!
Yea right. If that were the case I’m sure that someone would have found a way to market the job by now, because truly that it what it is. A job. I won’t bother boring you all with the things that make being a GM a job, far more savvy bloggers like @Lodur have already done that (check the blog here “The Burden of Leadership”, it’s pretty cool) Instead I want to touch on an experience that every GM can appreciate and understand, and with the raiding guild GM, has had to deal with at least once but most likely much more.
Our guild is pretty small. We technically have enough players to host a 25 man ran 3-4 times a week, and truly all 25 players are decent enough to make a go at it. We choose not to, instead preferring the atmosphere of the 10 man raid and the flexibility it offers us. So we have 2 10 man teams, both equal and both an entity unto themselves. They each have their own set ways of doing things and as the GM, I think it’s fabulous. Each raid has it’s officers and leaders, bank tabs and loot rules. Both teams follow guild guidelines, about conduct, drama and respectability on the server.
We are not hard core, we love to raid and expect everyone to give their all, but a person having an off night isn’t going to piss us all off. We all have lives and responsibilities, none of us are kids with the average age being around 30. Some older and some younger but averaging it out, 30 is about right. Both teams are currently working on the first few Heroic mode bosses and we do alright. Our guild isn’t any different than any other guild really and suffers from the same roster and time issues as everyone else. We have friends, family and online friendships within the guild that have built over the last couple years together, but some of us have raided together for 4 years or more. This is us.
My raid team has been plagued with roster issues, gearing new toons and loses of core players to real life for several long months. Since Cataclysm released, I believe we are still left with 5 of the 10 of us and I count myself lucky to have retained those 5. We have been through Raid Leaders, 4 since release, who for one reason or another, decide our raid isn’t what they want or have had to move on to Real Life. I am no leader, I organize and arbitrate and give good moral speeches. I keep us working hard and keep our reputation of a douchebag free guild, intact. I’m in PR, I’m the one that the whole server knows, so yes… I’m reduced to a mascot of sorts. Whatever, I’m happy not leading around 10 people to their pixelated deaths.
So over the last year or so, our raid team has fine tuned itself to those people who want to work hard, don’t worry or stress if we wipe on bosses, are NOT loot hungry (except as a means to an end) and who get along pretty well. One of our members is someone who has given us great versatility and flexibility when it comes to raiding toons. He has one of everything and plays them all with a certain level of efficiency that we can count on. Not the tops, but passable at the least. He has stepped up and tanked for us, healed for us and truly didn’t have a problem with swapping out whatever toon we needed. We don’t roll like that normally, we prefer for people to play what they want and we work our raid and strats around that makeup. But… the option has certainly come in handy and I can’t say it wasn’t ever needed.
When Dragon Soul came out, we decided to NOT utilize this and allow this player to use his main. He is good on it, knows his stuff and is quite comfortable on him. All in all, a good player and during mostly all of our regular mode bosses, we could count on him to pull his weight and do his job. Of course, the job wasn’t to specific other than blow crap up, but you get the idea.
In came Deathwing. Madness of Deathwing was a boss we fought with to get enough DPS to meet the timers of platforms. We fought, and struggled. We had a new mage that we were gearing but who pulled more DPS than expected of her gear level, so wasn’t a problem. We had noticed in Spine of Deathwing that our long standing, reliable player’s DPS was being far surpassed by others’ as they got more gear and as officers, we started to take a look as to why. It wasn’t a gear issue, his gear was one of the best in the raids. So… what was going on?
The person whom I chose to lead us into battle after the loss of our Raid Leader a month or so ago, is an incredible player. Versatile beyond explanation and well versed in the game. She knew her classes, worked the math, worked the problems and is great at strategy. She was always a godsend to our raid as our highest DPSer, our most reliable “g-to” person and well, the leadership shoe fits her quite well.
After meeting with her and discussing the players issues, she took it upon herself to delve into the world of his class more fully in an attempt to understand what changes could be put into place for our friend. With WoL’s, forums, class bloggers, class sites of every kind and with talking to a few very respectable players of his class, she developed a few changes for him from enchants, to spec. Nothing drastic to be sure, but things that could potentially raise his DPS by about 15k. Wow, just… wow. After all the research she talked with him, showed him the research and helped him get a spec and rotation down, enchants and whatnot done. He appeared to be pumped and ready to show off his new skills.
First boss after all this was regular Blackhorn and hoopla! his DPS soared. He didn’t die constantly and damn but it was a good fight! 2nd in DPS/Damage right behind our Feral Druid. DAMN but we are going to be unstoppable now… right?
Spine of Deathwing spelled DENIAL for his new found DPS. He returned to his old rotation and habits. When we asked what was up, he said his buttons were wrong and he’d fix. Next attempt, wrong again and again and again. Eventually, we got Spine down but knew Madness was a lost cause for the night.
We gave him a few raid nights then had another meeting. Nua had talked to him several times and each time was ignored. It was obvious he wasn’t into changing. On a night that he wasn’t there we brought in a pug and downed Madness of Deathwing after days of wiping on him. Next raid night our regular was back and we went in for Heroic Morchok, the first and easiest of the Heroic bosses. He refused to feint to mitigate some of the stomp damage he was taking as the 2nd melee soaker and just all in all, wiped us out the entire night. We called it early and I went to work on getting a replacement as clearly, the rogue didn’t want the work associated with Heroic mode bosses. He even said exactly that, in raid chat and my heart just dropped with defeat
Nua again came through and found us a warrior dps/tank to solve some problems. Now…
The Worst Part
In my job, I’ve fired people, written them up, suspended them and ripped a chunk more than a few times. It’s my job and though I don’t like it, it’s necessary. I now had to essentially, “fire” our Rogue… from the game. WTF? I don’t remember this being in the game description. Not one bit. So I told him what was up, that considering he told me Heroics was to much work for him, I found a replacement and will be trying him out. Next day for raid he shows up and wants to raid, says he’s “IN” if we will have him. Andddd… I feel like a total CAD but what am I supposed to do? 9/10 people in the raid want the work, they want the challenge, they want the gear and they want to do it together. But I still felt like I was tossing away a great person and player that maybe could be salvaged, has put a lot of time into our raid and stood with us while others bailed. Did I act to quickly? I don’t know, I don’t think I did but it doesn’t help me feeling horrible and hating my job as GM.
Being a GM may seem cool and the best job of the WoW world and truly, it does have some perks along the lines of pride and achievement I can’t deny that. I also can’t deny that it has some really crappy moments and aspects that turn my stomach as surely as a 1/5 of tequila.
I most recently started leveling a priest at the request of who was at that time, our Raid Leader. A cantankerous warlock who busted our rumps and pushed as any good Raid Leader does. Recognizing that adding a Priest on some boss fights instead of my beloved Shaman, had benefits. I vehemently disagreed with him, but nevertheless started a Priest who I expect I would ditch within the first 50 levels.
I chose the Goblin race for the 1% haste casting buff and because I just think they are hilarious little hordies. I always play female characters and this Priest was not going to be any different. End productive thought train. I honestly figured that I wouldn’t like the Priest play style and that my Shaman was the best healing class for me. I am no pro, this is for sure, however I DO know my class. I watch for upcoming changes and prepare to tackle them. I quickly adapt to some of the not so savory changes Restoration Shaman have undergone in the last couple years and heal on. Shaman, is the best of my game and as far as pixels go, I love every one of them contained in her Goblin form.
So, I didn’t really think about what she’d look like, or what her name is. I’m known as Sue to everyone on the realm so of course, the Priest had to be Sue”something” or “something”Sue. It shows where my mindset was when during the naming of the Priest I didn’t come up with anything clever or cute (as only a goblin can pull off) or anything remotely “Priestly”. Instead, I chose something that either speaks of “Goblin Stripper” or some “Drunk little Green Thing” and named her TequilaSue.
This weekly post will be her life. What she goes through as she levels and dungeons her way to raiding, or rather, what I go through as I level her and sit in endless dungeon ques with endless face-pulling tanks and hunters who auto-shot their way to glory…. on a different mob.
She chose Discipline as her way to go for many reasons. The versatility lends to the end game content I was sure, she would never get to. The fact that my DPS can equal my HPS gave me some small satisfaction in the one thing I’d always found faltering in my Shaman. I gulls me that I have to DPS (cast Lightning Bolt) in order to have enough mana, to heal an entire boss encounter. So, when I found out I could DPS and Heal at the same time, using one spell and therefor, one General Cool-down, I begrudgingly admitted that it could be very, very useful. Combine that with the shielding properties of Disc Priests, I figured it would be the most tolerable use of a class, I didn’t really want to play.
Since leveling in itself isn’t all that exciting, questing, dungeons and spending money, I conveniently avoided blogging about this until she was at a level that I consider, getting juicy. She’s 68 currently and just started healing Northrend dungeons. Expect to see video, screen shots, tales of dungeon exploits and debauchery and of course… accounts of new things I learn about the class and spec. For you priests out there, I’m going to bore you silly or make you laugh so hard you’ll get fired, but remember that priests are different now than maybe they were when you leveled yours. The fact that your healing spells automatically apply shields is an incredible boon to me, where for you… it’s just “duh, of course they do!”
Take the journey with me as this Shaman wielding healer, L2Heal Priest Style.
Last Tuesday Blizzard released their patch 4.3.2 and one of the controversial features of the patch was the nerf to current DS content. That being Dragon Soul raid bosses, all 8 of them. I say controversial simply because as always, the nerf received mixed reactions from the community as a whole, and after a week of watching and listening to raiders complain or praise the change, I am still quite undecided.
Blizzard took a slightly different approach to this change than it has in previous content nerf patches. Instead of buffing the players and allowing the players to either keep or discard the buff, they nerfed the content and allowed players to either keep or deny the nerf. Let’s face it, changing the difficulty level of a raid boss is a nerf to content as much as buffing the players is, the end result is still the same. But there are slightly different dynamics to what this change means to players depending on the player. Joystiq.com posted a nice little informative post about this change that rather sums it up and as anyone who reads my blogs know, I don’t believe in re-inventing the wheel. Check Joystiq.com’s post here
Currently there are at least two points of view on the 5% damage reduction within the WoW community and both have valid points.
Those guilds out there who have been struggling with the content for various reasons, are primarily quite pro nerf. Some have had roster and attendance issues that comes with the release of other MMO’s. Some are semi casual raiders where the roster may change from week to week. These guilds sometimes lack the cohesion of longer standing teams who spend 10 or more hours a week together. The nerf allows these guilds to still see the boss with all it’s mechanics intact and with to see it with guild mates they have killed previous bosses with. This is no small feature.
Why don’t these guilds just do Looking For Raid content then? Many reasons.
Blizzards Looking For Raid is great for people in guilds who don’t raid, for those who want to experience the raid sometimes, but can’t or won’t commit to the weekly grind and for casual groups of people who may not be getting to see certain bosses at all. Looking For Raid allows many types of groups and people these opportunities. As great as Looking For Raid is, the mechanics of the bosses aren’t quite intact. There are small changes or large ones, that mean stacking isn’t quite as important, or being spread out, location to DPS, or placement of the boss by the tanks, just isn’t quite as “make-or-break” in Looking For Raid. This is the primary reason why players often see “LFR is a joke!” in trade chat or in guild chat. Regardless of these people think or want to say, LFR or Looking For Raid, has it’s place and it’s a very good place for it. If your a player that thinks it’s a joke enough to spam trade chat with the sentiment, you more than likely should concentrate on a standard 10 man or 25 man raid composition instead.
The 5% nerf solves many of these in between problems. The mechanics are intact. You still have to spread out, or stack your raid. You still have to position the boss properly as a tank or risk cleaving away your party to a wipe. Healers still need to carefully select their heals and overall, your raid still needs to have awareness and understanding. These things aren’t any different. The damage is different, the bosses health pool is different and really 5% can make the difference in a group who is honestly struggling with a boss.
Well this is another category altogether. Here we have the guilds who have downed the content for the most part at least in Regular mode raids. We also have the standard array of what people call”Hard-core” who think… well all sorts of things. They have the achievements for killing the bosses and it took a considerable amount of work, time and management, to get those bosses dead. These are the groups that raid regularly, that have somewhat stricter attendance regulations and who have a certain level of skill requirement, in order to be in their raid.These are the ones that compete for Real, US, EU or World “Firsts”.
As a GM of a dedicated 10 man raid guild and previously an Officer of a “Hard-Core” guild like this, I can tell you it’s no easy task to keep 25 or 10 people on track and focused. Never mind the hassles of making sure you HAVE 25 or 10 people at raid start time. These are the people who understand the ebb and flow of the MMO world, or understand the migration patterns, summer holidays issues, Christmas break issues all rolled into what we called Attendance. These guilds pore over combat logs and watch other people’s actions at least as much as they monitor their own. Some min-max every raiders stats and abilities often to the sacrifice of a raiders personal enjoyment in their class, all for the synergy of the raid team. It’s a team effort or don’t be there. It’s somewhat of a pride thing when you’ve accomplished this and it hurts just a little to see other people who haven’t committed the same level of dedication (for whatever reason), get the same achievements and gear.
This I can also understand. I hate using the term “level” of raiding but truly, this is what it’s about. I will say, that in this Anti nerf group are also contained, those few guilds who just want to do it without help. They may have roster issues, attendance issues or any combination of issues that have prevented their teams from going 8/8 in regular or heroic modes. These are the stubborn ones, who just want to prove that they can. They believe that their team is capable, that there are some changes they can make to accomplish the kill without the nerf and are willing to make those changes. When Blizzard puts out the “Nerfs” to content difficulty, it sometimes kicks these guilds into higher gear. The players WANT to believe that they can do it, and so… work twice as hard to prove it.
Whatever group your mindset is in, the reduction in difficulty allows everyone to gain something. Don’t want it? turn the nerf off, talk to dear old Lord Afrasastrasz. The progressive difficulty nerfs will server to allow people to see the bosses outside of Looking For Raid and I can’t imagine how this would negatively impact anyone else other than a small hit to pride.
Lastly, how much of a nerf is it really? 5% is like, forgetting to put up Kings, but 5% is quite honestly, about how much that is needed for many groups to get just that much more DPS in, that the phase requires. To some guilds the 5% isn’t going to amount to enough right this moment. To other guilds it’s going to be perfect. Either way you slice it, this nerf has been received about the same as every other content nerf in the history of WoW. Mixed reactions that allows some to quietly take pride again in their raid, or boast how their raid didn’t need it.
After all, what would WoW be without a little epeen?
So yesterday something truly remarkable was started. I couldn’t partake myself, but from what I understand the whole thing was an absolute blast. Besides the fun of it, the practicality is perfect timing with the release of Blizzards 4.3.2 Cross Realm Raids ability.
Yesterday Blizzard rolled out the 4.3.2 Patch update and with it, quite a few fixes and little additions. The largest and most important, by far, is the ability to raid with your RealID friends on different realms, in any raid besides current tier. Meaning, everything except Dragon Soul. The change is a much sought after change for long time WoW gamers who have developed friendships along the way and kept them, while friends migrated to other servers. For full details on the Patch 4.3.2 Cross Realm raid information, click here.
Perfect timing is often the key to any new endeavor and the timing of this, is perfect.
@vitaemachina posted on Twitter yesterday that he’d opened up a mumble server with the expressed intent of supporting joint raids for twitter groups, or MMO groups of friends. Doesn’t this play perfectly into Blizzards Cross Realm idea? Hellsyea it does! Several people on Twitter all follow the same group of people, are all part of a group that for some time, have made note that they wished they could form a raid group just for the sheer fun of it. Now it’s possible, AND with the grace of @vitaemachina groups don’t need to invade one guild’s personal vent to coordinate their raid efforts.
The mumble server is at sleepyhams.org. If you go to the home site, www.sleepyhams.org you can get all the information that you need to hook up and sound out!
@vitaemachina has a great group of guides to help you get going and make modifications to suit you.
Check it out! and while you’re at it, follow
@vitaemachina to get the dirt on all the stuff he does, yourself! Hats off from one nerd/geek to another. You are among the best of us.
I’m a long time Twitterererere….Twit! I follow only a few specific people or companies, and have very few followers of my own. Something that I’m absolutely joyous about. But I like Twitter, I get links to articles, blogs and updates earlier than alot of non twitterer… Twit’s that I know.
Recently (a few minutes ago in fact) @WOW_News posted an article about migration patterns of MMO players here.
MMO’s have been around for a very long time and companies like Blizzard Entertainment have capitalized on the concept and developed MMO into the meaning it is today. There are many current MMO’s out there, RIFT, SWTOR, WoW, LOTRO who all have a player loyalty base, or do they?
The poster raises some good points about recent trends in MMO Players and their habits of migrating from one game to another. The post asks the question:
So the questions arose in my mind: Can you play two MMOs and still have time for other things in life? If not, what does the choice come down to? Do you play the game that you’ve been playing and that you know well, or do you strike off into a brave new world to spend time with your friends? What is more important to you, content or friendship?
The answer is going to be different for everyone, and personally, my answer is No. I don’t migrate to another game for the simple fact of time. I put a lot of time into WoW and my guild in order to keep 19 other raiders going, happy and prosperous. I have a life, a very full life, and simply juggling WoW and life, is quite enough for this ol girl, I assure you.
But it does raise questions as to why other’s migrate from game to game? I’ve recently asked several guildies who moved to SWTOR and have come back to WoW, why they left in the first place? What brought them back? What almost kept you there? And for those who didn’t return, why not?
A common factor in return, is the guild. The people. I have to take a small measure of pride in that, as the GM, and as someone who has hand selected and gone through every application to the guild or raid team, with a fine tooth comb. I have a wonderful, set of people in our guild and quite frankly, they are the only reason I’m still there.
Raiding in one game or another, is just that. It’s still raiding with the same base concepts and same base requirements. You form guilds or unions, teams or factions and you have all the same elements to a raid. Good guys, and bad guys. So, for raiders it’s the people you raid with. For achievers, its the game and things which make each one different.
All in all, I have think that people make MMO’s what they are. It wouldn’t be Massively Multiplayer if people weren’t involved. There is such a large variety of people in these games that finding a group which suits anyone, isn’t hard. Once you find that group, the hard part comes in leaving them.
I am a PvE healer, I don’t do PvP and quite frankly, besides the occasional BG, I find it boring. Many of my healy friends PvP and hey, great for them! It’s just not my thing and for that, I am grateful. I’m not the ultimate healer, I’m not always on my game and I certainly, am not always top of some meter. I do however, have the Healy Essentials. Awareness, quick reactions and the ability to calculate incoming damage on a scale of importance.
So, while I can’t teach you how to heal and have ZERO desire to try, I can give you glimpses into our world that as a Tank or DPS, you just can’t understand.
With Blizzards introduction of the “Looking for” tools, we are introduced to a huge range of talent and skill, some greater than others. Sometimes it’s frustrating and sometimes you get tiny little rewards in the form of finding someone decent off-realm. What does that mean for us as a healer? Using the tools helps us to broaden our healy experience. We need to be prepared for ALL kinds of debauchery and ridiculous levels of stupidity. Sometimes we get the pleasure of simply, healing and being the best that we can be. Either way, it broadens our range of abilities, or quite simply, we fail. Patrons of the Looking for Raid tool are certainly, very good at pointing these things out.
Now with Blizzards update 4.3.2 comes the inclusion of cross-realm-raid. These raids include everything below current tier of content and are a great way to get together with your friends on different realms. How many times have you wished you were raiding with the people you know on a different server? Because, of course… they are SO much better than the raiders you raid with every week. Stuff would go down quicker for sure… right?
Put your money where your mouth is, and see just how green the grass is over there. For a complete look at what 4.3.2 entails, check out Blizzards PTR patch notes here as they are pretty much, what is going to be released today in an update.