Thursday, July 30, 2020

Keep that Hamster Wheel Going

It was inevitable that I'd get on the gear treadmill that MMOs hitch their endgame to these days.

And part of it is, admittedly, the desire to not bring up the rear when it comes to DPS.

Yes, I do have a story about that.

About 3 weeks ago, somebody I knew from running pugs whispered me and asked if I was interested in joining their guild's weekly Zul'Gurub run. "Sure," I replied, "which toon to you want me to bring? Mage or Rogue?"

"Bring your Rogue, as we already have several Mages."

Which was fine with me, as at the time I'd several runs of Zul'Gurub under Az, so I knew what was expected of me. My enjoyment in doing the little things tended to pay off with certain bosses in Z'G. So I grabbed a few potions, rebuilt my poison supply, and accepted the summons to Z'G.

I joined the guild's discord channel, but I decided to stay quiet and listen. This wasn't a pug per se, and I counted about 3-4 people who weren't guild members, so I wasn't going to butt in unless there was something relevant.

The first thing I noticed was how smooth the run progressed. "Like a hot knife through butter," is how I described it in my guild's chat. While I did notice I was running around 11-12 in DPS, I knew that I wasn't as well geared as the guild team I was in, but somewhere in the bottom third was okay for me.

Then I noticed just how many people were in the raid.

There weren't 20 people, but 15.

So, I was barely above the healers, and sometimes not even then.

That made me wonder just what on Azeroth was going on, so I started inspecting people in between pulls.

They were all BWL geared, and poor old Az had a mix of T0 and Z'G gear.


Now, the guild was very nice and didn't mention my lack of DPS, although naturally during Jin'do I got mind controlled and critted on a healer, taking her out. As I said in my guild chat later, it would figure that my best crit of the night came when I was mind controlled.


So after that experience, I decided I was going to have to work harder at getting raid worthy gear. If I was going to be invited to a raid like this, I wanted to pull my own weight.

That meant two things: I was going to have to complete the T0 sets for both Cardwyn and Azshandra, and I was going to have to be more diligent in raiding on both toons.

Saying I was going to do it was one thing, but doing both? Well, that's a different matter. And, I'll confess, it also involves more than a little bit of luck, both good and bad.

One piece of luck dropped my way soon after the previously mentioned Z'G run: an acquaintance in Classic whom I'd run instances with invited me to their guild's weekly MC pug run. The timing wasn't purely ideal for me --I tend to prefer WoW activity later in the evening after dinner-- but I conferred with my wife and we agreed that we could work in dinner prior to the raid, so I wouldn't have to miss sitting down with the family.

The people in the raid were nice --and several of them were older than me, which made me feel good-- but I'd not done Molten Core as a melee DPS before, and it showed.

As in "I was a splat on the ground multiple times" showed.

My acquaintance felt bad for me about that, but I assured her that I was expecting to die a lot. Melee DPS is a completely different mindset from ranged, and Az was (arguably) geared more poorly than Cardwyn. So when you combine poor gear with "up close and personal with the fights", yeah, you can die pretty damn fast.*

Still, it was an enjoyable experience, so I was happy that my acquaintance and I worked out a regular night for Az to raid MC.

That left Cardwyn, and she has her "regular" MC run, as it were, but her issue wasn't so much as that as that her T0 set (theoretically the Magister's set) had a lot of other T0 pieces filling in gaps. Such as the Devout Crown, because nobody wanted it when it dropped and Card's headgear at the time was a green she'd picked up from trash in Maraudon. The same thing goes with other pieces, such as the Warlock T0 legs, that despite the number of times she's run Stratholme Undead she's never been able to replace.

So Card became more aggressive in running instances that would allow her to fill out her T0 set properly.**


For a guy who prefers to play casually --and play by his own rules-- this has been a bit of a shock to the system.

Focusing on raiding has a bit of a team sports mentality to it, no matter how laid back or casual the raiding group seems to be. Having played team sports for over a decade in my youth***, I'm not exactly sure how I'll react in the long run to being part of regular raiding groups. I've had good and terrible experiences playing sports, and I've got a very low tolerance for asshats. So far, so good, but I think I'll have to table any real raiding opinions until I've got a couple of months under my belt. By then, I'll likely have graduated to BWL at the very least, and maybe even ventured into AQ20 once or twice.

But we'll see.

Oh, and this past Tuesday's run had a glitch. Az was jumping across the lava during the Ragnaros fight when I "fell through" into this:

You don't need to pay for Shadowlands,
everyone. I just found the WoW afterlife!!

I couldn't even be rezzed, as the raid team couldn't reach me, so I had to release and run back. But my reward for being glitched into oblivion were the Rogue T2 legs that dropped.

*My first death was also my oddest, as I critted so hard on my first swipe that I pulled aggro and died almost instantly on one of those Ancient Core Hounds. I still have no idea how I did that, because I took some time to let the tank get aggro by positioning myself perfectly behind the puppy, but I still managed that massive crit in just the wrong time. Oh well.

**As of this moment, that Devout Crown was finally replaced, but she still needs about 3-4 more pieces to have a complete T0 Magister's set.

***Started with baseball, then spent the Spring playing baseball and the Winter playing basketball, and finally three years of Track and Field in high school. You'd never guess that I played sports now if you saw me, but yes, I was an athlete.

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