Monday, September 21, 2009

My WoW Weekend...

I had not intended on playing WoW at all this weekend; my wife and I had a planned trip to our college alma mater, the University of Mississippi(Ole Miss for those in the South and sports fans) to see our home football opener. However, this fell through early in the week when we realized my wife is just not in good enough condition to travel 6 hours, now that she's 7 months pregnant. Therefore, we had a weekend at home.

I had a fairly preductive weekend; gaining several gear upgrades and lots of achievements.

I had every intention of full-steaming ahead with leveling Bara to 80, and Friday morning started off as such. Our resident guild mother(and my resident therapist, God Bless her) Eus was on her hunter and wanted me to level in AV with her, which I was happy to do. After about 4 hours of that, and nearly and entire level later, I gave the BG's a break after lunch when the wife came home from her halfday, and after doing my dailies on Nym, I gave WoW up for the day.

Saturday and Sunday were different stories altogether. Nym was on-call for tanking duty, and he was certainly used. 5 ToC runs, 3 heroics, 5 Direbrew fights, and a 10 man run of the three Watchers in WG. I'm certainly feeling very comfortable again with my tanking, and confident to take on more difficult challenges. Having great heals from our top quality healers in my guild certainly did not hurt, either. I also grabbbed lots of gear, upgrading my hands, waist, legs, feet, and trinket.

A few things I've noticed, as someone who was gone for a long time and has recently returned to the game:

1.)Pugs, for the most part(and pugged players, in extension) are much more competant now. I'm sure this is a result of more time with the content; however, even at the end of BC after two years with the content, people still couldn't figure out their a$$ from a hole in the wall. It just seems that either the players are learning their roles better, or.....

2.)The content is stupid-easy. I know, I know, I've seen this said by everyone from Blizzard programmers all the way down to George W. Bush(just kidding, he still hasn't even seen Naxx). But for someone who left 3 months into WotLK and was grinding heroics to get geared for Naxx(looks like not everything has changed) and heard how even geared people could get slaughtered if they didn't know the fight, things have changed. I sauntered into Naxx halfway through for the first time last week, on Grob. I, along with 4 other members of the 10-man, had never seen Naxx. We swept through our first two bosses in Construct Quarter without a wipe with half the party just winging it. I OT'd and never came close to dying, neither did Jake, our MT. And it was with 2 healers(we had a 3rd, who was incompetant to say the least). I know its the entry content and once I get into Ulduar soon and then on from that, I may eat my words. But for now, someone who has essentially been playing for two weeks has been kicking ass.

3.)Blizzard seems to try REALLY hard to make the game fun. They really do. Cataclysm will probably be the best X-Pac to any MMO I've ever played, and I've played a few(WAR, SWGO, EVE). But once you get to 80, most of the Now, I play WoW in this percentage:

PvE content/raiding/heroics-50%
Social interaction/guild/crafting/Bullshitting-40%

And that PvP is regligated to two areas: AV and World pvp.

But if it happens that you just can't be on at the "appropriate times", the game can fall flat for you. I work 4 10 hour days, Monday-Thursday. That leaves about an hour free Mon-Thursday night I can't do much more than check my AH. My play times are Friday/Saturday/Sunday, from about 8am until about 9pm. And I know that part of this is my fault due to my availability, but as a tank I find my options limited. Yes, I can pug heroics. But what else? I'm worthless in Arena. And in BG's. And dailies only take so long. I think more effort should be put into things that can be done alone once you're 80 to keep you involved. I think I've heard that Cataclysm will do some of these things, like more rewards for putting more effort into your crafting, or things to do for your guild that will up its level and advancement.

Ahh, that's a long rant. I had more to say, but it can wait until later. Next up, the pain of trying to find time to level/play an alt that no one needs when they do need your main. :)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Back in the Saddle Again...

Hmm, maybe I should name all my blogs after song titles.

Last night I was back tanking for the first time since the month of January. Ty, Eus, Stig, and Nose ran Heroic UK and Reg ToC with me, and they both went well, from my point of view.

We finished UK in about 35-40 minutes, and no one died except for Stig, who only died twice, which is a huge accomplishment for her. I remembered it being much harder, but then again I was with a skilled group and it wasn't much of a challenge. I remembered most of the instance, which I'm happy with considering I hadn't seen it in over half a year.

I didn't know anything about ToC, having just recently returned. I was pleased to find out that even the normal version dropped lvl 200 gear. The jousting was a bit annoying and unnecessary, but I understand why they put it in. The fights themselves were rather easy, and not a person died. No tank gear dropped, but a good bit of decent dps plate did, so I'm glad that Nose was able to get some gear.

The guild was going to run Naxx after that, but it was already 9:30 CST on a Sunday night, and I had to be awake at 4 to get ready and drive to work by 6. I was upset I wasn't able to at least do a wing with them, but I'm planning on making it a point to do it sometime this week. We have a trip to Oxford for an Ole Miss game, but I'm hoping to fit it in one evening this week before Saturday.

I've started to get a good feel back for my rotation, especially during UK last night. Hopefully it keeps coming back to me. Ruh, Edy, and Eus remind me that skill is much more important than gear, but I've still got some work to do to get back to the experienced, comfortable tank that I was. Looking forward to keeping it going forward.

Now I just need to remember what addons I enjoyed using and get those back installed again. And to remember how to install them...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Being demoted to the "C" team...

I had a vacation day I took today to take care of somethings around the house, but I spent the better part of the evening on WoW, hoping the guild would run something(My innate hatred of PuG's has not lessened over time). And they did.

However, no one asked if I wanted to go. Because they already had a tank. And it dawned on me then, that I was no longer in the starting rotation. During my time gone, I naively thought I'd come back and be one of the two main tanks for the guild again fairly quickly. What I didn't count on is that not only are there many more tanks now that are better geared than I, there are many new people in the guild who have no idea who I am. This reality shock has caught me offguard and made me wonder about my options.

I'm considering leaving Nym behind indefinately and leveling my shaman to heal; thereby almost guaranteeing myself a spot in almost any heroic or raid. The problem with that option is twofold; I don't know I would like healing, and I know I would miss tanking.

Another option I'm considering is leaving MAS. Not for any personal reason, as I'm still very fond of everyone I'm close with there who I've been through alot with. However,my entire focus on this game has been pve...instances and raiding. The guild is not big enough/active enough to run multiple instance groups on most nights, meaning that there are not enough spots(after all, you only take one with you)for the multiple tanks. Which leave me with a dps DK, which there is a surplus of, and the aforementioned shaman to heal.

I was glad to note that, possibly, in the past this development would have upset me, or made me bitter, or something very silly to feel over a game. Now I'll just see how the next few days goes and take it as it comes. It is just a game, after all.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Conformity is Key...

Which is why I'm here. If everyone else is doing it...

I'm actually doing this blog, honestly, because I have alot of free time at my job. What's my job? Thank you for asking. I'm an administrator for the world's largest designer and producer of military warships, Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding. From the Gerald R. Ford nuclear aircraft carriers all the way down to the Virginia Class attack submarines, we do it all. I can't say much more than that, due to classified reasons :)

I am a fairly long-time WoW player. I started playing about November 2006, a few months before BC hit. I played for about a year until Christmas-time 2007, leaving because of being burnt out on the game. I rejoined early summer of 2008, staying until February 2009. I left this second time against my will, but I can't say more than that. This was followed by several life changing events, including moving from my long-time home of Oxford, MS and several subsequent shorter moves before I ended up in the New Orleans/Gulf Coast region; and later starting my current position and then finding out my wife and I were to be expecting our first child. Luckily, things have settled comfortably into a place where I now find myself returning to one of my favorite pasttimes, WoW. And speaking of that subject..

I have several characters, most of which are on the Daggerspine server but I also have 3 70s on the Korialstraz server, which I haven't touched since the first time I left WoW in late 2007. I have an innate hatred of "clothies"; not that I don't like playing alongside them or appreciate their talents, I simply cannot play one. I have tried, oh have I tried. 3 attempts at playing a priest, 1 as a mage, 1 as a warlock all ended with me throwing my hands up in frustration.

I love paladins. In every way. Neverwinter Nights, D&D, have a paladin class? I'm there. I have my bachelor's in history with an emphasis on European history, and the traditional chivalrous mounted crusader-type warrior has always captured my attention. This carries over to my playstyle; whether I'm on my paladin or not, I want to rush to the rescue of anyone who needs one...and a few who don't. This also lends to my decision to play as a tank. Just another concept of the paladin, or any noble warrior-being on the frontline defending his comrades. I simply get a feeling of pride tanking that I don't get when I'm playing my DK or my shaman and I'm DPS'ing. And I'm far too unskilled to heal, so I won't even get into that.

So while other guildies have a purpose to their blog(or blogs...), I really don't. I will make it a point to comment on things I see from the point of being a fairly experienced tank and/or paladin player, but I'd like to comment on the simpler things as well. I think WoW is a microcosm of how our world could, in a very real way, end up one day. A fantasy writer once wrote that we don't fight for peace, we fight for civilization, because only civilization can create peace. And I think, even though this is a game and should in no way be taken seriously in the way you should take raising a family or nuclear war "seriously", I find myself regularly seeing things I thing other people should notice. And of course I want to make fun of people too. Can't be all business all the time.