Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Like Riding a Bike, If It Involved Wholesale Slaughter

I was commenting on a post by Shintar about how I've been strangely optimistic about WoW the past week or so, and I think it has something to do with a couple of factors.

Well, there's this for starters:

Yes indeed.

I think my questing buddy was stunned when I told her I joined a Horde guild.

Now, before anybody says the word "raiding", Catalyst is a leveling and social guild. It's been quite a while since I was in an active leveling guild --I think Retail Orphans kind of qualified, but they fizzled out far quicker than this guild has-- and logging in to see about 20-25 people of all sorts of levels just doing things is refreshing. When you're in a (hardcore) raiding guild, leveling toons are few and far between. Or if you find some, they don't stay that way for long as they rocket up quickly so they can be used for raiding alts or to support your main raiding toon. Just lazily leveling along is quite the exception.

To be fair, I realize that my stay in Catalyst might not be very long. Leveling guilds tend to have a pretty decent amount of churn as toons reach max level and then move on to other guilds for raiding or other endgame content. But at the same time, having a guild that isn't constantly fretting over parses or following the meta* or arguing over various aspects of raiding is quite nice. 

Some people will tell you that my current raiding guild is relaxed and social, and to that I raise my eyebrows in disbelief.

If this is relaxed and social, I hate to find out what other hardcore raiding guilds are like. 

No no, scratch that. I once had an extended conversation with someone who was on the (at the time) #2 raiding guild on Myzrael, and he was telling me that he had to come up with about 1800 gold a week to cover all the potions and whatnot they needed for raiding multiple days a week.

"1800?" I was stunned. "Are you sure you had two zeroes there?"

"Oh yes. More than once I was tempted to just buy gold to keep up."

The irony is that I do know people who (at least in Classic) bought gold just to keep up with the demand, and their raid teams were nowhere near the top of the charts. 

But still, the stress of trying to be the best would have driven me bonkers. And my somewhat feeble attempts to keep up in TBC Classic --because I was a raid lead and had to at least set a decent example if I was going to ask others to do what they could to be ready for raids-- were frequently sabotaged by my desire to zag when everybody else zigs.

Like right now in the Isle of Quel'danas.

***

Someone asked me last Friday before Karazhan what I thought of the Isle of Quel'danas quests and Magister's Terrace, and I told him that I hadn't been there. "There's no real reason for me to go, since I'm not progression raiding, and I figure I'll wait until the crowd has moved on in a couple of months and then I'll go up there."**

"But right now if you get into a group for MgT with a decently geared team it's really easy."

"Oh, I've no doubt, but my experience in Magister's Terrace was when my Mage leveled through there. Imagine doing MgT on quest greens instead of raid gear."

"Oh... shit."

"Yeah."

For me, it's exactly like trying to tell someone who is kitted out with Phase 3 raiding gear (Hyjal / Black Temple) that the Zul'Aman bear run is hard to do, when your raid team is frequently a mix of Phase 2 and 3 geared toons and toons with a decent portion of quest greens or some Phase 1 gear. If they haven't walked a mile in your shoes, they won't understand it.

Or like my questing buddy telling me that I'm pretty much hiding from the guild these days, to which I'll agree completely. 

After all, being a non-raider in a hardcore raiding guild is like being a second class citizen. 

Things that you want to do for fun are shelved because there's not enough people to do them, but if it's progression raid related in some way people will show up for it. I have never forgotten being booted out of an instance run because I was just coming to help out but someone else who showed up right before the run needed something for the raid from the dungeon. The organizer felt that person's need --even though they logged in at the last second-- was more important than me volunteering to just help out and actually heading out to the dungeon entrance before getting the boot. 

There was a secondary reason, of course. I wasn't part of the guild at the time. And for me, even though I'd been raiding with them for months, I suspected that the dungeon run organizer hoped to give me enough of a kick in the pants to join the guild or something. But I don't work like that. I'm not a conformist just to do things so I can hang out with the cool people. I want to enjoy myself and do things that matter, because that's what friends do. Friends don't dump one another for others who login at the last moment.***

***

So, I'm in a Horde guild that is very casual, and it has reinvigorated my enjoyment in just hanging around and doing things. I don't have any pressure to be doing what's expected, or what my gear set is, or anything of that sort. Some people are more driven to level quickly than others, like one person who just joined because their uncle is hoping to get them into raiding, but I realize that person isn't going to be in the guild very long. So I'm not worried or anything. 

I can just do whatever, comment on things people bring up in guild chat, and once in a while get into a dungeon run. I've been on more TBC dungeon runs on Neve in the past 1.5 weeks than I've been on in Linnawyn total. Part of that is the lack of ability to get pugs together at this state of the game, but also that I'm trying to keep Linna on the down low for the time being. 

***

That does lead me to the other reason why I feel more upbeat about WoW lately.

See all those pink bars?
Paladins for everybody!!

I've gotten back into running Battlegrounds.

My Classic Battlegrounds adventures petered out when I began progression raiding, and truth be told I was tired of all the losing in Alterac Valley.  So when my questing buddy began prodding me to go capture fortifications in Hellfire Peninsula or capturing Spirit Towers in Terrokk Forest for PvP Honor****, I finally relented because she needed gear for an alt of hers and one way of getting it was through PvP. 

I went and did it, and dammit, the bug bit me. 

So I did it on both Brig and Linna. And then on Neve.

And then after another friend showing me what gear he was able to get just doing this sort of Honor farming while leveling, I realized that Linna could finally get a weapon that was at least within 50 miles of being close to what her Retribution Paladin BiS would be. Lugging around a quest green weapon into Karazhan was my nightmare, that I'd essentially have to be carried the entire run and not pull my own weight, and here was a chance of at least not looking so pathetic that all I did was engender sympathy. 

I had no idea that this was actually a remake.
This was the version I knew, but Lyn Roman
did a version in 1973.

So I steeled myself and queued up for Alterac Valley. And we won.

And again.

The next time we lost, but the speed runs that had replaced the terrible grinding losses were addictive.

And dammit, I could do this, even with my crappy gear.

So I kept running AV on Saturday night, one after another, until I looked up and it was 5 AM on Sunday morning.

Uh oh.

I went and lay down, but I couldn't sleep. I was too hyped up on this; I could run AV and get some positive direction on gear, and I could do it without running around and begging people for help. 

My honor goal toward getting Linna a weapon grew closer and closer throughout Sunday, in between yard work and eating and some other odds and ends. Having everybody else in the house out for the day had its advantages, since there are 4 drivers in the house and only 3 cars. So.... Oh darn, I can't go anywhere. I guess I'll just, oh, run another Alterac Valley.

I finally had to force myself to confess what I'd been up to with my questing buddy, and she gave me the "you need to not do this so singlemindedly and relax" bit that I typically give others.*****

"Yeah," I replied, "but I say that because I have those tendencies too, so I know what it's like."

And here I was violating all of that in pursuit of that high that had proven so elusive in Battlegrounds in Classic, and was also a big reason why I stopped playing Retail WoW. When all you feel is losing, it infects your mindset, so having an equal chance at winning is just so damn addictive. 

I did get enough Honor to get Linna her weapon --it took 25 hours, by the way-- and I took a deep breath and backed off a bit. I'm still running Battlegrounds, but not at the insane breakneck pace I did last weekend. If nothing else, I need to show I can master my emotions so I can be a good example to others. And if I can't, I need to tell people that so I can get some help.

***

Okay, so yes, I feel like things are moving forward after being stuck in neutral since, well, December.

And that's not even covering the changes to the code of conduct that Blizz is bringing to WoW soon. 

Thank goodness.



*Which, right now, involves running the Magister's Terrace dungeon and doing dailies out at the Isle of Quel'Danas for reputation. For... what exactly, I'm not sure of. Most of the people doing this stuff are doing it likely to get certain enchants and other items for their raiding gear, given that most people out there have Mount Hyjal / Black Temple raid gear which are much better than any reward from that area.

**There's another reason, of course. I feel that I'm, well, incomplete. My raiding career was cut short at the end of Phase 2, and I never got to even finish Tempest Keep before my last raid, so in my mind I don't get to skip straight to the end and go up there. I didn't earn the right to go to the Isle of Quel'Dans. I needed to be in the trenches, finishing Tempest Keep, and fighting my way through both Mount Hyjal and Black Temple with the rest, before I can say that "Yes, I deserve to be at Quel'Danas". Anything less would be dishonorable toward the Monday raid team, who earned the right to be there because they fought the hard fight. It doesn't matter that they've not yet finished Hyjal or Black Temple, that will come soon, I know, but I don't deserve to reap the rewards that they earned. I will not be the child of privilege who comes along after they did all the hard work and skip ahead straight to the end. So while I'd love to go there, I just can't. 

From The Incredibles.

***Sorry, I'm not saying who it was who did it. I don't need any more drama in my life, and I've pretty much cut him out of it anyway.

****One of the bosses in Mount Hyjal requires everybody to have a "get out of a stun free card", which for the raid team meant getting a PvP trinket that you can pop and get out of any stun once every couple of minutes. So, everybody had to farm PvP activities for the trinket. And when I mentioned that there's no way I'm going to get back into progression raiding right now because I'd have to study the fights and do PvP and get other gear, my questing buddy said "Oh it's easy, you just sit at the towers or the fortifications a couple of times, turn in the daily quests a few times, and you've got the honor you need!"

*****Okay, I should clarify this a bit. She tolerated my explanation, giving me the "yeah, gear is good" and a few other tidbits, before she said something akin to "I suppose I should say 'be careful and don't overdo it' that you usually say to others but you already know that," which I totally admit I earned. In a way, I'm glad she handled it the nonchalant way she did, because it snapped me back to reality much more quickly than I'd have expected. Must be a mom thing, because if you're used to whatever drama of the day your kids bring to you, my foibles are like small potatoes by comparison.


EtA: Corrected a couple of grammatical mistakes.

EtA: Clarified a part by adding "*****".

9 comments:

  1. "Raiding and social guild" is such a strange concept for me. Further is "people that move to other guilds once they hit max" or something like that. To me the Guild is mother, the Guild is Father. I don't grok this whole concept of skipping guilds.

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  2. Neither did I, but having seen it in action where people level up, realize that the majority of players are still leveling, and then they look around for a raid to join. After a few runs, they just move on to the new home. It's a very weird beast if you're used to raiding or PvP guilds.

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  3. BTW, do you want me to remove the anonymous version?

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  4. We also used to call these guilds "feeder guilds", as in they feed people towards the more dedicated raiding guild. Folks would join a leveling guild and if they got the raiding bug they would 'trade up' guilds until they reached the highest level they could sustain. They would learn the ropes, attune, and gear up, repeating each process through the tiers until they were able to join a guild raiding the current tier.

    Also, while some people treat guilds more like a lifetime membership organization, many view guilds as just another playground ad-hoc grouping. Once that bit of playground activity is over it is time to join a fresh group for a new activity.

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    1. Our Monday raiding team has had that problem. Even though we're on current content, we only raid one night per week, so we've had issues where people decide we're not raiding frequently enough so they move onto either the 2x/week team or another raid team entirely that raids more frequently. As a result, there's a constant churn where people have to become comfortable with each other before the team as a whole can progress further. And then someone decides to leave --in the most recent case, someone left so they could run the multiple GDKP runs per week-- and we have to start all over again.

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  5. I am in a VERY casual guild but I am noticing that I am slowly losing money just by doing the once a week raid that I do. I don't even get food and I definitely don't have the coolest enchants and gems. I get some potions and maybe a flask for the raid and then we wipe... a lot. I guess maybe that is a big part in why I lose money on the raiding come to think of it.

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    1. As long as you like what you're doing, then you should do as the Blood Elves say: "Stay the course."

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  6. Doing some catching up with my reading and commenting, and I just wanted to say I'm quite grateful for this post because I was honestly a bit confused by your alternating "my guild is the worst" and "I'm really enjoying WoW again" posts. :P This makes it a bit clearer.

    And lol at your AV binge! We're all allowed to engage in that kind of thing every now and then, as long as it doesn't become a habit...

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    1. Yeah, I'm trying hard not to let it become one. However, when a "grindy" AV run is at most 1/2 hour, it can become highly addicting.

      But Linnawyn is gearing up quite rapidly with her PvP gear. The Arena Season 2 PvP gear is now available strictly as Honor, so it's now quite easy to obtain. I've already gotten 3 pieces + the 2H weapon, and while it's not close to Phase 5 BiS, it's a lot closer to it than quest greens and even pre-raid BiS gear. Outside of using Badges to get gear that's around T5 equivalents, it's a good option.

      And I'll freely admit that the Merciless gear actually looks good, too. Stylish, even.

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