Oh Crap, Raiding

As some of you know, I spend most my weekends in the summer at the lake, fishing, IRL.  So this usually limits the days I can play WoW to 4 days a week, sometimes only 3 as I am usually volunteering one of those 4 nights.  But this weekend, despite it being the 4th of July, I’ll actually be staying local, because I hate holiday traffic so much. 

Apparently Crits and Giggles Friday/Saturday raid will be down a few people this weekend.  And as a result, I have been asked to come along on Rossini.  I used to run with this group on Rossini way back when.  It was really a great time.  Ross downed the Lich King and surpassed Elgar in raiding experiences.  The warlock isn’t my favorite class to play, but if there is one thing Crits is short on, it’s warlocks, god knows why?!?  In fact, for the Classy achievements, we’re missing warlock the most for the races we have yet to earn the achievement on.  Warlocks, where are you?!?!  Maybe we need a Call to Arms: Warlock? 

Anyways, so I’ll be running with them on the lock, because they would like one.  While I am confident I can follow directions and hopefully make minimal errors, my gear isn’t optimal and I’m not sure I can pull the DPS that will be needed.  I do run about 11 or 12k DPS on BH boss, so hopefully it will be similar if not better and that will be sufficient.  I’ll do some reading to see if I’m making any critical mistakes in rotations or whatever–go-go demonology lock! 

I have been informed we’ll be attempting Nefarian.  Okay, so my first raid and I’m going for the hardest boss out there?  I have to be insane, right?  I think I might be.  Should I even mention that if you asked me to go find Nefarian right now I have no idea where to look?  I’d probably go to BWL 20-man raid.  I’m a raiding embarrassment.

But, at the same time, I’m ready for it.  Bring it on.  I’ll do my best to DPS and stay alive.  I have been known to toss death coil to heal myself, even a quick Drain Life to boost myself back up a little to relieve healers now and then, if we’re not bumping enrage timers, it seems worth it.  I also try to use Life Tap sparingly, I don’t want to tax the healers anymore than needed. 

It has been a long time since I’ve stepped foot in a raid, except for BH, which I don’t really count.  On one level, I can’t believe I’ve agreed to this, but on the other, I am ready for it, ready to give it my all, ready to help the raid accomplish what they have been trying to do for so long.  I’m not really ready for Firelands raid…but I’ll go there if the raid decides to try some.  I mean warlocks should like fire anyways, right?  Too bad it’s not green fire.


Non-Raid End-Game

I promise I’ll get that post up about shaman hybridism soon.

But first, after many days of spending time on the water away from WoW, I came back to the game and logged quite a few hours on Monday.  Leveling Troutwort the hunter from 80 to 82 because he’s technically the GM and isn’t even friendly with the guild, so I can’t buy the extra guild bank tab (how embarrassing) and then played Haydn the rogue going from 64 to 66. 

Back to the point of this post though, and that is following a discussion I had with a guildmate about end-game content, and more specifically end-game if you don’t raid. 

I am pretty much a non-raider.  I haven’t raided in Cataclysm, my raiding experience in BC was limited to Karazhan and Mag’s Lair.  In LK it was Naxx, ToC, and Icecrown Citadel.  In all cases it was usually long after these things were current content and so there were those that had better gear than content.  The only one that I was really on par with was ToC.  Anyways, no raiding yet in Cataclysm.

So I’m basically at that age-old discussion of what do you do for end-game if you aren’t into raiding?  As it currently is, I have three toons at level 85, I think three at level 82, and then some others like 80, 75, 66, and 27 or something like that.  When I log-in there are times I stare at this screen trying to decide who to play.  Almost always the three level 85s are ruled out from selection unless I need one of their professions for something.  Since I don’t participate in the raiding I don’t have raids to prepare for, gear isn’t important to me, and their professions are maxed, so there’s usually little desire to play those toons–what else is there to do?  None of the heroic dungeons really excite me, I think I previously posted that none of them feel really epic/fun to me.  Typically then I pick up a toon that isn’t 85 and level them.  For me, leveling provides a sense of progression and accomplishment that raiding and getting new gear doesn’t provide for me.  With new levels comes new spells or abilities, new talent points, more character development.  But with raiding, just comes new dresses to wear. 

The sense of accomplishment, for me, really drops off at 85.  Usually it’s finishing up a zone or a profession and then maybe some dungeons and heroics and that’s it.  There isn’t a draw for me to continue to do anything.  So I level the next toon.  I understand that downing raid bosses is an accomplishment for a raid group, and I love hearing about the cohesiveness and success.  But I can’t sit and do one thing for 4 hours or commit to that sort of schedule of twice a week–it’s just not me. 

So I start to think about what I did at 80 or even 70.  I had 4 toons to 70 before LK and 7 toons to 80 before Cata.  So what did I do with them all?  Grinding reputations or doing dailies was different.  For example:  reputations in both LK and BC gave patterns for crafters, I would decide which factions were most beneficial for my crafters and focus on them, even if I didn’t ever make the pattern, knowing that I had it felt like I was still accomplishing something.  Fishing and cooking dailies took me all around the world, though people complained about travel time, it got me the F out of Dalaran, so that if suddenly I was in Sholazar for fishing, I might as well do some Oracles/Frenzyheart dailies or if I had to go to Borean for fishing, I might as well stock up on fish or try for that turtle.  Sending me to Nagrand to cook some stew would sometimes find me doing some Kurenai rep or else defending the PvP zone in the middle.  Since I was there, I felt a reason to do other things.

Fishing dailies being limited to Stormwind or other capital cities are quick and easy fishing skill points, but if you ask me…BORING.  And the lack of a fishing bag that has anything new to offer since LK is really lame.  At least in BC I could get a croc pet and LK had the strand crawler and fishing poles, but really, nothing new for Cata?  Why isn’t there an 80+ only fishing daily?  It doesn’t make sense, they didn’t really make a new fishing daily, they just offered it to level 10s.

Daily quests in Cata also are sorta of…bleh.  The Argent tourney in LK was nice, again rewards of pets, jousting to gain reputations, it wasn’t that bad–mounts and prizes were cool.  Tol Barad has them as well…but the inability to fly there makes them annoying…I’m tired of being dismounted by stupid spiders. 

The Isle of Quel’Danas dailies while not always awesome, were good in one way, there was a whole server progression there.  It felt like you were contributing to something when you did those and when after a few days a new section of the isle opened up, it felt awesome.  That was a brilliant idea–it felt like I still was contributing and progressing in the game. 

Achievements added in 3.0 added some sort of accomplishment as well, but let’s be honest, most achievements are “worthless” since the points don’t give you anything.  A few titles are fun to get and those additions were nice, but again, not enough to keep me going. 

Okay, long post is long, so what DO I want??  I have no idea.  I guess if there was some sort of accomplishment that would still feel like my characters are progressing and improving without it just being gear, that would be awesome.  I’d like daily quests outside of capital cities.  I’d like PORTALS back to all the cities so that I didn’t feel like I only played in Stormwind anymore.  I really feel disconnected too because of the way the zones are now.  With the new 80-85 zones spread out, it’s not easy to just fly over that ridge to the next zone and do what I want there…no, it’s hearth (load-screen), then fly to portal (load-screen)…there’s too much load-screening and not enough continuity.  I want to be able to do an herbing lap around one zone, then be close enough to the next to just swoop into that zone too, without load-screens. 

One other thing that would help is if archaeology felt like progression too…instead of still finding VooDoo dolls at max level if the things you found improved and the chance of lesser things decreased at least it would give a sense of geting better.  Fishing for example allows you to catch better things as you improve your skill.  Aside from a few rare items in archaeology, it really does still feel like you’re doing the same at skill level 525 as you did at skill 100.  Hopefully there will be changes to this later.

I fear that Cataclysm really isn’t living up to all the excitement I had for it.  Challenging heroics are good, but god, I hear more people complain about dungeons than I hear people say they love them.  So maybe there need to be at least a few that people don’t cringe over? 

I know it’s hard to build a game that feels like you’re still progressing after you’ve hit 85 and that isn’t about gear.  I’m not saying I know the answer, but I think there have been things in the past that might be good ideas to bring back.  Perhaps not.  It might just be the crotchety old man in me desiring times past.  I just didn’t feel so blah about my toons at 80…and I can’t figure out why I do now. 

One other thing that would be AWESOME, is that once you complete a zone or storyline on one toon, the zone would be changed for the next.  Example:  I have put the world pillar together 3 times already.  Why the F do I have to keep doing it?  One time is cool, but the second time I come through, can’t the world pillar be put together already and now I work to defend new attacks or work on cleaning up the mess left behind?  That would feel better to me from a leveling stand-point.  Doesn’t have to be every zone, but ones with really dramatic storylines such as that seem sort of lame the next time you have to do it.

Victim of Call to Arms

Dear Internet,

I have a confession, I am the person you were worried about.  The person driven by the Satchel of Mysterious Goods (or whatever its name is).  The person who queues for a heroic because they have run Baron so many times that the chance to get his mount outside of Stratholme is very desirable. 

So yes, I queued as a healer for a heroic because it was Call to Arms: Healer.

Now, I will be the first to admit that I have no business healing a heroic.  I am still adjusting to Cataclysm healing styles, working in more smites, etc.  I still seem to really have lots of trouble when melee in particular take lots of damage.  I always lose them first.  But anyways, another reason I shouldn’t be healing is that my gear is still lacking, though the computer says I’m geared for heroics, I still have three greens (gloves, wand, wrists) and I think only one epic (alchemy trinket).  I also am missing a few enchants.  I just hate enchanting gear that in one run (even a normal) could be replaced.  I just don’t seem to get lucky with drops!

I should do more questing to get rep up.  I’ll work on that soon.

So back to the story, so Elgar healed.  And much to my horror, it was HoO.  Now granted it could have been worse, I still have never been to SFK, so if that would have popped it would have been worse since I’ve never seen those fights, even as DPS–I can’t believe I’ve never been randomed to it, even on Rossini.  Anyways, the tank had 188k health.  That seemed like a lot.  So that was good, there was however, no CC used.  I lost the tank twice on trash, once on the first boss (we all died then, tank was last though), and once on one of the elemental bosses.  I felt like it wasn’t going well.  We skipped to the final boss, which was okay with me.  I was REALLY worried about being able to heal through the final boss when he does his mucho AOE.  But it went awesome.  I lost the hunter, but he was out of range.  PROTIP TIME:  Run toward your healer, not away.  But during the AOE everyone collapsed, hid under my PW:Barrier and I spammed AOE heals with PoM bouncing about.  Yay!  Cost a ton of mana, but I had shadowfiend ready once we were out of that attack and all was well.  I was REALLY excited and happy!  I figured if I lost the tank on trash, that was bad, but healing through that final HoO boss and one-shotting him was awesome! 

Ado congratulated me and said do it again!  I told him, it’s best to quit while you are ahead. 

It did feel good, I’m still not really confident in my ability to heal as things currently are.  But at least I know it’s not impossible!  I just need more practice and to really finish up questing/rep gear.  Normal dungeons give decent amounts of JP too, so I can use those to improve my areas of poor gear.

He’ll get there, he’s still my favorite toon, but there are many a day where I wish Elgar felt as good healing as I did in LK or BC.

Thanks for listening, Internet.  I promise not to recklessly join a queue for Satchels too often.

Bizet and Sousa

D’oh!  So yesterday I mentioned how I should have tried Sousa for the rename of Borka instead of Bizet, but I didn’t think of it until it was confirmed for the name change.  But to ensure that Sousa would be available should I ever need the name, I have created a placeholder on the server.  And as Lagalot suggested, I made him draenei, even as a placeholder.

I did log on to Bizet though in the evening and play with him a little bit as I wasn’t feeling up to doing anything serious and I felt like playing melee for some reason, so I did.  He was already about 75% done with level 80 so I just did a few more quests in Hyjal and dinged 81.  I’ll have to figure out how that new Unleash Elements ability will work into my rotation.  It’s a very interesting thing.  I will also have to read up if it just applies the mainhand enchant or if enhancement shaman get both weapons applied…though flametongue doesn’t have an effect from what I could tell anyways.

Speaking of flametongue, I know that in theory flametongue on my off-hand is probably the way to go with the whole Lava Lash deal, but I will say that I do miss the days of double windfury!  Those procs were awesome though I suppose too bursty and unpredictable, which is probably why they went to Lava Lash. 

So now both Bizet and Sibelius are at level 81.  Schubert, Rossini, and Elgar are all at 85.  Trout and Kalinnikov still at 80–though they both are somewhat done with that level thanks to dailies. 

Though leveling is half the battle, those at 85 seem to be really stagnant, though now I can make 525 tailoring items so it should help everyone out a little bit.  I guess too I just don’t find dungeons as fun as I did in LK either, so I tend not to queue up as much as I used to.  And don’t get me started on hit rating…I’m still epically confused about how anyone is supposed to get their hit if they don’t get the spirit conversion.  Oy!

Nothing major new though, more leveling, and more will continue.  Good times.

When it Becomes Work…

So yesterday, I really wasn’t feeling WoW.  I was feeling burnout, but I couldn’t pinpoint it.  I just didn’t feel inspired by any of my characters.  When I got home from work, I played some Minecraft before logging in.  It was a nice distraction–I built a lighthouse and a fairly long bridge which was kinda annoying, but in the end is much better than swimming!  Oh, and I died for the first time ever, so that was an adventure.

But afer a bit of that and having accomplished my two goals, I decided to log into WoW.  I looked at the start in screen.  Nearly everyone was in Stormwind…I hate Stormwind.  Let me repharse that, I hate that I have to be in Stormwind.  Well everyone was there…except Schubert and Troutwort.  Schubert is in Icecrown, at the Tournament, his hearth is set there (I love portals), and so I did a few dailies there for more seal for mini-pets, and while he’s doing those, I look at the guild XP.  Maxed for the day, thank god.  After those few quests, I see Troutwort is in Sholazar due to his Oracle Egg, so I hop over, Aged Yolk, and get another one quick. 

Then I realize what it was…

Last week, we didn’t meet guild XP every day like we usually do.  I would log in at 7 or 8 at night and see we only had 30%.  Ugh.  I would do dailies and round-up guildies to do dungeons and do all my cooking and fishing dailies to bump up as much guild XP as possible only to log out still only at 70% or stay up until after midnight grinding out quests to reach 100% then joyfully log out.

So what I realize now, is that the quest for max daily guild XP became a chore for me and was sucking all the fun out of the game, because it had become work, and not fun.  Now maybe some people like the “structure” or “routine” of logging in, doing their dailies, posting to the AH, getting a heroic done, gathering mats for the weekend raid.  Blah.  I can’t do it.  When it comes to WoW, I’m much more a free spirit.  I log-in and pick a character based on whatever I feel like doing.  Is there a profession I want to work on?  How about leveling?  Do I want to do dungeons?  Am I out to make gold?  Or am I just trying to get something I’ve never seen before?  There are so many options and sometimes just looking at the screen makes me decide what I feel like. 

But that freedom is part of what makes the game fun for me.  So tonight when I log in WoW, I’ll pick a character and do what I want, and I’ll try my damnedest to not look at the Guild daily XP so that I don’t stress myself out and force myself into something I’m not going to enjoy.  My guess is no one else is worrying about it anyways.  😛 

Sorry for the “I am bored” yesterday, but at least I was able to figure out what was going on.

I Need Some Ideas

Okay, I’ll admit it…I’m bored.  I look at my log-in screen and sometimes even log-out before I log-in.  I go down the list…

Elgar – Alchemy, Fishing, Archaeology, Herbing, and Cooking…all maxed.  Shadow spec is okay, but not ready to try healing again just yet.
Schubert – Level 82…don’t feel like finishing up Hyjal and the idea of Deepholm makes me cringe, Mining > 500, Tailoring is above 450.  Instead of leveling, I’ve been doing Argent Tournament dailies. 
Troutwort – Level 80, tamed King Krush.  Skinning and LW at least 450.  Don’t feel like leveling, instead gets his Oracle Egg.
Borka – Level 80, some Cata Inscription, Herbalism at least 450.  Don’t feel like leveling…mostly stays in Stormwind making Fortune Cards.
Rossini – Level 85, Enchanting supplies are a bitch, Tailoring is just as bad or makes useless crap.  Tired of Tol Barad dailies.
Sibelius – Level 80, some Cata Jewelcrafting, Enchanting around 450.  Don’t feel like leveling or doing the JC dailies. 
Kalinnikov – Level 80, nothing since Cataclysm, just sends ore he has to those that need it.  Engineering and mining at 450. 
Floy – Level 73, Blacksmithing around 430, Mining is behind…around 400.  Does dungeons, but with Cata she went from blood DPS to Unholy.  Not really a fan of the change. 
Haydn – Level 57, Skinning and Mining on track for level.  Levels WAY too quickly, doesn’t finish zones.  I don’t want to start Outland as I know it will come up to speed eventually.
Mouret – Level 23…wait to play with my friend.  Though I should probably just forget that idea and level him some.

So that’s what I look at, and that’s what goes through my mind.  Nothing really excites me.  I’ve won the fishing tourney, done all the raids up through LK.  I could go tame rare pets on the hunter, but I know I’ll still use Grizzlethorn the bear from Ashenvale anyways, and running Stratholme and MgT for mounts just isn’t that fun anymore…  I’ve done a bunch of pet collecting and Elgar is up to 97 even without some of the purchaseable AH ones – like the Argent tournament ones.  Still don’t have Armadillo or Seagull either.  But that’s not really motivating me either.

So I need some ideas!  What can I do in-game that would be exciting or new?  Anything?  Have I done it all without partaking in activities that make me want to beat my head into a wall?  There has to be something…

PvP is an option, for a bit anyways, though I’m pretty terrible so it will be best to do it on a toon that isn’t max level I think. 

Anyone have any ideas or challenges?  I need something to breathe some life into my game.

Still Sorta “Meh”

So I still really haven’t gotten into this expansion.  I can’t pin-point why I’m not really enjoying myself, but I find myself more frequently logging in and then sitting there, staring at my character selection screen and thinking…

Elgar – did I do my transmute?
Schubert, Borka, Kalinnikov, Sibelius – do I feel like questing Vashir or Mt. Hyjal again?
Troutwort – is my Oracle egg hatched or is there GM stuff to do?
Rossini – dailies?
Haydn – is he rested yet?
Mouret – I really should wait to level with my friend…

And then I sit there, and go through the list again.  And again…and then I think, I should go play that Orc, but then I think well I’m the GM so I should stay on my own server.  So I pick someone in Stormwind, do a cooking daily and go from there.

I guess it’s not fair to say I’m not enjoying myself, because that’s not true.  I do have fun playing, I just am not really all “Yay Cataclysm!” like I thought I would be.  I have started to take a few guesses as to why:

1)  Well we all know the healing thing from recent posts, so we’ll just skip that.  😉
1b)  Getting around.  Yes they added flying to the old world, which has been AWESOME for leveling archaeology.  What is not awesome is that I constantly need to go back to Stormwind to get to a new Cataclysm zone.  There’s no just get on your mount and fly to the next zone since they are all spread out.  Yes, I know hearthstones are on 15 minute cooldowns, but still, this really seems more annoying than it should be.  Outlands and Northrend kept all the zones together, this was nice, I thought.  Though I’m sure people will beg to differ and they like their portals better. 
1c)  For the love of all things Elune, if you want to make me use these portals put them in more cities than just Stormwind.  Seriously.  I don’t like it that much.

2)  Professions are…meh.  I know people liked when they got rid of the specializations from BC to LK.  I honestly miss them.  There was actually a point to being a tailor back then.  I would be much more into tailoring for example if there were some BoP.  Remember when you could be a mooncloth tailor and basically get yourself a couple of epics right at 70?  I miss that.  Now all I can craft is not so useful PvP gear and those epics sure take a long time to make with an annoying cloth cooldown.  I haven’t done ALL my professions yet, so maybe some will be a little more exciting or useful, but I guess I’m going to find similar things.

3)  Quests are too linear?  I know I’ve really only leveled two toons so far, so maybe you can skip quest hubs currently if you reach a high enough level or something, but I kinda liked hitting Borean Tundra and knowing that if I didn’t want to do DEHTA I didn’t have to, or I could skip Fizzcrank and just do Amber Ledge.  There was a little more choice in which quests you could do because quest hubs in the zone kinda all became available about the same time.  This linear model, while good for story telling, really doesn’t give me the option to skip quests that I don’t want to do.  Too much phasing??

4)  Leveling too fast.  Okay, people are probably like “what?!”  I know some people HATE leveling, they find it annoying they have to level up to get to the part of the game they enjoy and feel the game doesn’t really start until level 85.  I like leveling.  I like feeling accomplished when I hit max level, but just like Rossini, Schubert is currently leveling up via quests and he’s about halfway through Mt. Hyjal and he’s already level 82 having done 3 random dungeons in there.  So I figure that I’ll probably be close to 83 if not done with 83 by the time I’m done in Hyjal and then head over to Deepholm and suddenly I’m close to or already 85 before I’ve completed 2 zones.  It just seems too fast and like I’m missing out on so much or have to go back to do quests if I want to see them…or to stay on the most applicable zone, I leave zones incomplete.

5)  Reputations.  This one is the most annoying to me at the moment.  Basically there is one place, one zone to get reputation with a faction.  I’m not too thrilled on this again because just like the linearity of the quests, this doesn’t give me options.  In LK you could get Valiance Expedition reputation in Borean AND Howling Fjord.  Wyrmrest was in Borean AND Dragonblight.  Argent Crusade was either Zul’Drak OR Icecrown.  See my point?  If I didn’t like one place I could go to the other and still get the reputation start I needed to get myself a tabard and some rewards.  Even the Kalu’ak had questlines in both Howling Fjord and Borean Tundra.  This one faction per zone really is…annoying.

Okay, I’ll stop now.  Sorry, I’m just typing out thoughts as they come to me and really it’s helping me figure out why I seem not so eager to play lately.  I think the one thing I really loved about WoW pre-Cata was that there were SO many options.  Now I feel like that isn’t the case, my options are limited.  For someone like me that plays solo 90% of his playtime, I feel the options to make the game what I wanted was what kept it so interesting.  I never really had to do the same EXACT thing twice on my characters.  Now to level up another toon it’s all the same…same thing I did yesterday or two weeks ago, or a month ago.  The variation isn’t really there and I think that’s what is leaving me ‘unsatisfied’ at my character selection screen.