So I’ve kind of stopped blogging for a good bit and basically that’s because I took a heavy third responsibility – Warcraft Raiding. It’s an end to an expansion I looked forward to fully immersing myself in raiding. There’s plenty to talk about and if you aren’t into Warcraft I suggest you move along.
World of Warcraft: Take Two
If you look at my former posts on Warcraft, you’d get that I joined the game in Burning Crusade, started raiding a little late as I dinged 70 couple of months after the expansion was out, played T4,5,6 and left for Warhammer Online. I had some unsettled business with WoW having never been on the cutting edge of raiding. I am personally not a gamer, WoW was the first game I invested serious time into and like any thing I put a lot of effort in, I wanted to be on the cutting edge. I’m an economist by training and maximizing the rewards to efforts put in is key for me. I skipped most of Wrath came back late when ICC was already on farm. Imagine my surprise when I found out that the final raid instance of the expansion was puggable. Bananas. That would never happen in BT or Sunwell. Then, I realized how dumbed down content was. Tanking was no longer an art. My proudest moment as a Warrior tank was main tanking Mount Hyjal without a Paladin off tank. AOE tanking and even ranged (spell reflect) tanking was an art at that time. Not so now, shockwave, heroic throw, RANGED (omg?!) taunt, charge usable in combat, etc etc. A little disappointed at how easy everything got to but hey, its the direction the game takes so move on.
I wanted to hit Cataclysm running, if this is going to be my one shot some sort of competitive gaming, this was it. I must have spent nearly 12 hours a day in the first month of Cataclysm to ensure my toon was ready out of the box to raid. Quick leveling (without sacrificing sleep), getting pre raid gear and ensuring my entrance into the raid team was unhindered by a lack of personal effort. It was a pretty good team that I was in and being the least experienced I wanted to make sure there was nothing found lacking in my performance.
Let’s just say that Tier 11 was the toughest tier of raiding in Cataclysm, yet the most rewarding. Our team made it to server 3rd in killing the final boss, within the top 5% percentile world wide. The fights did stretch each and everyone of us. The fights I was personally proud of was Maloriak and Atramedes heroic, unique difficult roles that was consistently pulled off. There are many other fights I was proud of the team for pulling off with the little gear we had. (We had terrible drops in the first month of raiding). Content at that time was tough to the point there were multiple threads in the Blizzard forums to take things down a notch. But I loved every moment of it. In the little time I have to experience cutting edge raiding, this better be tough. It was also at this point in time that the team went under stress. Little fractures appeared, some burning out because, well as I said earlier, content was punishing.
We entered this tier after a minor break caused mostly by burn outs. Blizzard completely changed raiding from this point onwards. Normal modes were a joke and heroic modes were no where close to where T11 was. The burn outs and tension started costing the team. We managed 2 early heroic kills to move up the ranks but after that, time took its toil. Disagreements, differences, things that are not at all surprising for anyone who has been raiding seriously. It finally fell apart late in T12. We finished up some content and decided on a server move with combining two teams. It was a difficult moment for most of us. The team we came into the expansion with had a strong progressive attitude and sufficient rapport and understanding had been built within ranks. This was starting a new, fresh, without expectations. At this point I begin to dabble more outside my usual role of tanking.
A Damage Dealer?
Tanking did get pretty dull after BC. Aggro was a joke, and warrior mechanics left little one could do to min max survival compared to other tanking classes. I play a DK as well and have to say DK tanking is a lot more fun. I was given the role to be a damage dealer for one tank fights in T11 and T12 and managed to hold my ground well against a competitive DPS team. In the 4 fights I played DPS (V&T, Al-Akir, Baleroc, Major Domo) I was ranked well (given those were melee friendly fights). To go fully into damage dealing would be quite a change something I thought would be good to add in experience since the team was going to start fresh anyways. So for the first time in 3 years playing WoW, I was a damage dealer. Again, I felt the need to prepare well for the role, I would be up against those who have played DPS all the time and had to make sure I could add value to the team.
The final tier, normal mode was again a joke. Heroics were simpler than T12. One cannot blame Blizzard as they have to cater to a less hardcore crowd. I began to understand a lot more of raiding in this tier. As the third officer in the guild I was DPS lead without having much knowledge of my fellow damage dealers. In most fights our melee classes performed well and warriors were in a good place. It was only until heroic Zon’ozz that I had to step into adjusting DPS strategy. I’ve to say I wasn’t ready to lead the DPS. I spent some time talking to other classes to find out what they were like. With some fine tuning, we went 4/8 heroic pre nerf which was pretty good for a new team. The experience as a damage dealer on my first try was pretty positive, I was able to provide top end performance for all of our first kills, maximizing what my class should be doing and being ranked for all fights. This is important because most players compare damage dealers by a dps meter. That only helps if you have mirror classes. Comparing dps btw different classes via a meter is doing an apples to oranges comparison. With the early un-optimized tactics that we carried out, burst classes definitely pulled ahead. There was a tiny tinge of unhappiness when some of my fellow dpsers ripped on another and that was down to not understanding how damage dealers should look at each other’s mechanics and put a strategy together that way. A red is dead formula will always give a burst class advantage. It is something I believe both the team and myself learned at the end of the day.
A couple of things made me call it quits for raiding in this expansion.
- First and foremost, my studies required more of my attention I brought forward 2 year 4 honors modules for this semester making this the highest workload sem I have. Doing 2 honors mods in Year 3 would make my final year a little easier. Giving myself an extra 9 hours of time a week sounds really good.
- Secondly, I hate farming downed content. Nothing in this game gives me a bigger rush than the first kill. I absolutely hate to be sat out of a first kill because to me the first kill is what matters. It’s kind of similar to watching a live vs. recorded performance / sports event /etc. It’s only great once and the rush happens only once. The cheering is the most glorious thing you’ll hear over ventrilo and belongs only to the first kill. I came back to play WoW for that rush.
- Third, Blizzard began a serious of minor nerfs. Dropping HP levels and damage dealt against players by 5%. The coming week will see a 10% dip. As I mentioned earlier, I came back for the cutting edge and it did feel that the time frame for that edge was over. We were 5/8 heroic and barely had time to move on to more because of the time it took to farm. I can see why my fellow raiders enjoy the gearing process because this in itself is a RPG – loot is the reward. I happen to not be really bothered about it. This was the main reason I always offered my fellow raiders loot first most of the time.
- The final reason is a mixture of things I feel should be at my priority given I’m already 25. I have very likely clinched an internship with a large GLC as an analyst (just HR stuff to get the clearance for a go ahead) and should be looking fully into my post education options. Also I’ve a rather big announcement to give my parents next year and while that has been going very well for nearly 3 years I want to make sure (as always) that the delivery of the announcement is perfect.
Concluding the Second Experience
It went slightly better than expected. Team performances were positive and personal performances were on the mark. While maybe we could have gone a bit further if social tensions did not occur in T11 and 12, I am grateful for having a solid core throughout this expansion – a core that I could rely on and put my trust in. It’s crazy how often this game is described much like a real life event, but when you send 10 people to get a series of sometimes complex mechanics handled, you’ll be really grateful for having reliable people that can watch your back. Of course there were those of whom much more is expected but with the current game’s direction and the fact that experience is gained at every round, it should work out good.
The social context of a raiding team must not be forgotten. While I was not socially close to the new team (as ‘new’ would suggest) I had the pleasure of making and extending friendships with some new players. This kept me sane when progression hit a grinding pace. Raiding is team game, and these are the gems that kept the game fun and lively.
I am not fully quiting the game per say. I still like to dabble a bit of PVP which is good fun that takes no more than 30 mins (although warriors are in a pretty darned sad place for PVP atm). MOP? Maybe but I don’t see myself sinking more than 6 hours a week into this any more. I have experienced what I set out to do and am pretty happy with the overall experience. I’ll probably write a lot more like what I did before. Most of the time spent will be mugging anyways.
Till then, always be having fun!
Some Videos in T13 with the New Team
Didn’t fraps Zon Heroic (didn’t expect the kill) and Hagara Heroic (post nerf).