Tuesday, September 13, 2022

The Hell Just Happened?

A little over two weeks ago I had a conversation with one of my fellow "Leftovers" (aka the Leveling Shamans left behind in the Old World when the Dark Portal opened back in June 2020), which between the two of us became a grousing session on how TBC Classic went down, raid-wise. Given that the two of us were the only people online in Valhalla at the time*, we had a good long rant session in Guild Chat. 

I was kind of busy helping get
a waylaid pilgrm to Falcon Watch
at the time.

A day or two later, I got pinged in Discord by him. Would I be interested in joining a 10-person raiding team for Wrath led by himself and another of the Leftovers?

Given that my job situation is such that I could now raid at night, I was initially receptive to the idea, but I needed to know more about what they were looking at. And as I was not planning on joining the franken-guild in Atiesh, I definitely wanted to make sure that joining the guild wasn't a requirement.

Narrator: It wasn't a requirement.

The more we chatted, the more interested I became. I think the clincher was when he asked what level Deuce was and whether I'd be interested in using her in the raid team. 

  • Getting a chance to raid on one of the two toons I'd consider taking into a raid**? Check.
  • Me not having to raid lead? Check.
  • Wanting a raid team that is "more chill" than having the same 2-3 people talking all the time? Check.
  • A raid that has a built-in rotation and bench where everybody sits at one point or another? Check.
  • A raid not built on either DKP or Loot Council, but instead a Loot Reserve system***? Check.
  • A raid that they are reaching out to people they personally liked to group with? check.
  • A raid that --unlike our experience with TBC Classic-- people aren't going to have deadlines to get toons leveled so raiding can begin ASAP? Check.
  • A raid that won't harass you about getting your gear the optimal gems/enchants ASAP? Check.
They pretty much had me at the first item on the list, but still the entire thing read like a dream. The thing was, I wasn't totally sure if I was going to want to do this again. I didn't want to get my hopes up only to have them dashed by having someone I personally didn't like on the raid team. While I get that I have to tolerate such things at work, I don't consider playing games to be at that level. I'm not interested in dealing with people I dislike just because I want to see content.


The people they were bringing on board read like a who's who of people I've missed playing with in WoW Classic. And it included my questing buddy!


Okay, what's the catch?

Well, that's what I was wondering, and I waited for that shoe to drop in a meeting on Discord last night. 

As far as that meeting went, I can safely say that everybody there was on board with the concept of 10 person raids with 2 more --maybe 3-- for a rotational basis. We have 8 already, and it's a matter of recruiting 4 more to round out our list. My questing buddy is currently bringing her Priest, and I my Mage, but we are both flexible as to whom we bring. I'm fine with switching to Ret, and she's fine swapping to Warlock, but we both want to make sure we have those holes plugged before we do so. Others are fine with moving a bit as-needed, but we all want to see this group succeed. 

My questing buddy already informed me that she will torpedo any attempt on my part to try to level another toon --a Shaman, perhaps-- from scratch. "You are NOT doing that again," she informed me.

One obstacle that I can mention is that the franken-guild isn't quite as enthusiastic about this raid's existence, because "blah-blah-blah it will take away from 25 person teams blah-blah-blah", but I'm pretty sure the act of trying to compress 3 25-person raids down to 2 will do that on its own. As my questing buddy pointed out to me later, when people discover that they're going to be on the bench --and clearing up to the first boss so that the real raiders can take over from that point onward-- they'll do a "peace out" quicker than you can say "The hell going on..."

Okay, so this is referencing
the NFL's bizarre offseason player
moves this past summer, but it still
is appropriate. From twitter.com.

Regardless, it was pulling teeth to apparently get a chat channel created in the franken-guild's Discord to even discuss the thing, so one of the orders of business last night was to have us move our discussions to a separate Discord without being concerned about any snooping going on by said franken-guild's leadership.

To be perfectly honest, I felt immeasurably better with that having happened, because I did not want to have to be in that Discord any more than absolutely necessary. I'd had one of the people in that guild reach out to me in-game to ask if I was going to join them on Atiesh, and I rather bluntly said "Not planning on it."

And I'm still not.

I don't want to be there when the drama goes down, and I don't want to be there when I know that the questions about "Why move and merge at the same time?" start showing up when people begin complaining about the excessive people signing up to raid. I don't want to be there when the clash of guild cultures ends and the other guild's culture wins.****

Not exactly the clash I was
thinking of. (From Twitch.)

And now my Horde guild is thinking of dipping it's collective toes into raiding in Wrath. Nobody there has asked me yet if I want to raid with them, but given that there aren't a lot of L70 Mages in the guild, I'm kind of expecting to be asked at some point. I'm not sure what to do there, exactly. I'd not mind raiding on Neve, but I also know I don't have the time for multi-day raids beyond what I've already committed to. So, I guess you could say that all that's old is new again.

"Did someone say something about Northrend?"
"Don't worry, Neve. We'll get to you soon."

*There are a few of us that are still in Valhalla on Myzrael-US. There's a ton of alts that never migrated --and I doubt they will-- as well as the people who burned out and left. I keep a close eye on who logs in on a regular basis, just to see if getting any groups together for things are a viable option on Myz.

**The other would be a Ret Paladin. Could be Linnawyn 2.0, or another Ret Pally. Not sure yet.

***I've run Loot Reserve systems in the past, particularly in AQ20 and Zul'Gurub, where people are allowed one soft reserve. It's worked out very well. This particular iteration allows people to take turns on who gets loot, so it's not a Soft Reserve with rolls to see who gets loot if there's more than one reserve, but instead each person who reserved an item --if it drops-- gets a turn at getting their loot. That way the entire raid gets gear together, rather than one person with lucky dice gets the lion's share of gear and the rest are left with scraps.

****What I've been told, that has pretty much happened already. I've been involved in too many corporate mergers over the years to not know how the culture clash will end: there's always a winner and a loser, and the corporate culture I've been on has typically been on the losing side. The lines from Pink Floyd's Time come to mind...

And then one day you find ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun


  1. That sounds great! I really hope this works out for you and your questing buddy!

  2. So glad to see things looking up. I really hope you enjoy the things. I also hope they give us a chance to do the things.

    1. Yeah, tell me about it. I'm kind of hoping the increased difficulty in Discount Naxx will slow the "release faster!" crowd down a bit, especially with the knowledge that at the end of Wrath Classic lies.... Cataclysm Classic.

    2. The increased difficulty actually seems like it might make things worse if they don't reduce it over time. One of the amazing things about Kara, and one of the things I think that makes it so beloved in the community, is that it was easy. So many people go to dip their toes into raiding because it was easy and eventually had no attunment. I had an in-game friend who got her start in Kara and loved it, but called it hard, all during the last patch. 25/10 Naxx had the same effect, with easy pugs and as a starter run. They need endgame raids that people who aren't what most raiders think of as "capable" get to do, or they will lose those people.

      Cata didn't have that and I really think it's a huge part of why it didn't do well. Dungeons were hard, raiding trash was miserable in early Cata, WoD had the same issue with overtuned Flex raids, and if the only thing they are doing is catering to the "No Chnages!!!"/hardcore crowd, I think this thing that is keeping WoW/Blizzard afloat is going to suffer.

    3. Post Phase 2 nerf, Kara was easy. Pre nerf, Kara had bosses that really required healer throughput to survive (Nightbane, Aran, and probably Maiden). Those were the bosses that my Enhance Shaman was pressed into an off-healing role, especially if the healers still needed a lot of gear. But yeah, post nerf, the hardest part about Karazhan were the bosses with the random aspects to them (Prince's adds and Aran's Roulette of attacks).

      I always felt that Kara was so well remembered was because it was a lot of people's first steps into raiding. Well, that and rose-tinted glasses.

      Cata, well.... I think that Cata's effects were more of a long term result of the expac. Things such as miserably long LFD queues and toxic behavior in those 5-person instances, the realization after the fact that the pre-Cata Old World wasn't so bad that it required a blowing up and redesign, and the disjointed nature of leveling in the resultant timeline (Cata revamped Azeroth -> back in time to BC -> still in the past in Wrath -> finally to the present in Cata). When you add to the fact that a lot of quests in the Cata revamped Old World referenced the "before times", things that new players wouldn't understand, it felt like Cata closed the door to new players coming into WoW.

    4. Cata is a sore spot, and I pick scabs and worry sores, so sorry ^_-

      I think the hindsight Cata reputation suffers from all of that, plus no content and stunted content for non-raiders, but the immediate drop in subs after the new expansion smell wore off was in no small part because of the dungeon difficulty. While I can say I really did enjoy it myself, much of the LFD aggro was from how hard they were; who wants to wipe on the first boss of revamped SFK 5 times because one person in your group can't/won't interrupt, only to have them replaced every time by someone who also can't or won't? Happened to me many many times and was repeated with the revamped ZG first boss and all kinds of mechanics.

      This isn't to say that this was the only bad thing about Cata. I was listening to the Blizzard Watch podcast as they ran through the revamped Stonetalon as Alli and one of the players, who had only played Horde, was aghast at how demoralizing the storyline was. The third zone they had done and just like the two before it, totally demoralizing endings. Imagine all that new content and just how bad it made 50% of players feel. They butchered so much in the revamp, I think in no small part because they were probably planning on redoing leveling content again and again to freshen the game over time. It only makes sense. Yet here we are, after those horrible sub drops, the Old World has never been touched again, and never will, both closing off the nostalgia factor, and the newness. I have argued before that the only real reason Classic exists is because of Cata.

      Thanks for letting me vent. ^_-

  3. Sorry, I'm losing track of all the clones, haha! So this would be on Atiesh? I know you levelled a second Card there, but I must have missed you also levelling another Linna...

    1. Okay, I should clarify...

      This is happening on Atiesh, where a lot of the Myz progression raiders moved to (Alliance side, anyway). Some teams did move to Pagle, which is much worse in terms of congestion, but most moved to Atiesh. Those Horde progression teams who moved off server --and there were fewer Horde to start with so a larger percentage has stayed on Myz-- moved to Mankrik, which I've seen is periodically with wait times to login at the moment.

      Now, that out of the way...

      I have Cardwyn 2.0 on Atiesh --the one I call Deuce-- at L67 right now. I do have Linna's name reserved, so if I wanted to I could either buy a boost, transfer, or just level her. I do have another Alliance Paladin there, but only around L10 or so, so I'd have to boost that one if I needed to run Ret there. A Shaman, well, I'd have to go the Linna route if I needed to do that. Since leveling from scratch to get to L80 is out (and I do appreciate my questing buddy kicking me in the ass for not going the "Leveling Shamans" route again), it's either a transfer or a boost.

      I'd prefer to just raid on Card, and the other Mage and I just divided who will go Arcane and who Fire for the raid (I got Fire), so I'm fine with how things are developing.

  4. A Raider to the last! I hope it works out and is enjoyable! Atheren

    1. The irony is that I didn't start raiding --ever-- until 2020. PC has been around a lot longer than my raiding career, that's for certain.