Things have been quiet lately, here at the blog. Not apologizing for that… just acknowledging it. I know that there are people who regularly read what I have to say, and I’m grateful to you. The truth is, I’ve not said anything lately because I haven’t known how to say what I want to say… (the BBB post notwithstanding: that was a special circumstance, where distractions fell by the wayside in lieu of “I need to write this – now”).
There’s a reason that things have been quiet. There’s been something of a small cataclysm within my raid team lately, personnel-wise. It’s something that I won’t talk about in detail on the blog. The personnel changes don’t specifically pertain to me – I’m still there, with the other members of the core – but they have hit me very close to home nonetheless. And so we’ve gone from a team rolling with the changes to a team trying to rebound from some big changes.
Changes, meaning defections. Or, rather, abandonments.
By my count, we’ve lost eight people (more if I include substitutes) since we started raiding in November 2012. In business terms, we’ve had more than 80% turnover in the past year. This isn’t an entirely accurate number, since there is one tank position and 3 DPS positions that have been constant since the very first week. But if we had gone through that many people at the company I work for, it would be classified as more than 80% turnover. And it’s a lot of turnover.
Nonetheless, in World of Warcraft, on a “casual guild” level, it’s not necessarily unexpected. People come and go. It’s the nature of the game.
However, there is a personal nature to several of these departures. While Roy and Ben left of their own accord (Roy simply retired from the game; Ben left to go to dental school), I have a hard time not feeling responsible for others leaving. I can’t necessarily prove that I am responsible… but I find myself feeling guilty about them all the same, and all I can do is play on and try to contribute, in spite of all of that.
Anyway, the bottom line is that people left – and if it wasn’t one of the two above-named peeps, it was mainly because of substitution issues**, which is also a common thing around the game.
**In a conversation recently, Squid noted that most of these issues would have been moot if Flexible-Normal had rolled out with MoP instead of WoD. If that had been the case, we likely wouldn’t have lost a few of our teammates along the way.
The most recent cases of abandonment have seriously left us in the lurch. It has now been three weeks since we killed Nazgrim in 10N, and we haven’t been back. On Blizzcon weekend, we killed the first seven bosses in one night with some friendly substitutes from around the server, and had to cancel the second night due to lack of attendance. This past weekend, courtesy of Somb and his affinity for OQueue, we killed Malkorok through Siegemaster Blackfuse with 10-12 people in Flex…
…And, you know what? We had more fun than we’ve had in weeks and weeks, and weeks. We brought seven of our normal peeps – the most recent defectors had weeded themselves out. Sunday night, the seven of us joined with three friendly peeps from Uldaman-US and an extra healer, and spent a short evening learning the Siegemaster fight. And – I’ll be honest – it felt really good to get that kill. We had a good time, communicated well, learned the fight, made adjustments… and it felt like progression. And there was no drama.
I’ll confess, there were things about this past raid weekend that were awesome, and things that sucked on a personal level. We had fun and made progress – 12/14 flex, with 4 new bosses down that we’ve never seen before – but the gear thing…
Yeah… I know I’m probably alone on my team in this way, but I’ve only got two pieces as low as 540 (base ilvl) right now. So, while the Flex kills are very rewarding – and I did have fun getting them – there’s really almost no gear that I want out of Flex.
I find that I’ve got that typical “I’d like to bring my alt” feeling creeping in from time to time when it comes to Flex. I certainly don’t make it an issue, because I can help the team most, 99.99% of the time, by bringing my hunter. But there is still a nagging feeling that I’m overgearing it… and so I think, “hey, I could bring my resto druid; she could use the gear, but is already geared enough to contribute…” which is something that is, at this point, somewhat hard-wired into our brains as raiders, as the carrot on the stick that makes raiding that much more special on a personal-character level.
Of course, that’s all silly: my favorite toon is Mushan, and I love playing him, and my team probably needs him more than it needs the druid. And I had no problems playing him in Flex. I’m just saying there’s that itch to bring the druid…
(OK, it’s gone… for now…)
Ultimately, killing those four new bosses was progression for us. It was fun and rewarding on an achievement level. But the fact remains that there are relationships that have been harmed as a result of recent events – and that sucks.
And that’s why it’s been quiet here lately. While I can speak in generalities and evasively, as I have in this post, I have otherwise not really known what to say. And the “has affected me personally” thing has really affected me enormously, to the point where I’ve been considering taking an indefinite sabbatical from the game itself. Any thought of blogging about WoW has been out-shined by all of these raid-related things that have affected me so. And so, while I’ve come to WordPress with fully-completed posts over the past week or so (twice, before this one) where I address Warlords of Draenor, I haven’t been able to polish and publish them. Every time I’ve tried to do so, I’ve found myself attempting to instead avoid despair and inner conflict regarding the subject (which drives me away from the keyboard and to some other activity, for my own emotional well-being), as well as trying to avoid saying something that I could regret later. And those feelings are not going to magically go away for a while yet.
At any rate, I’ve pulled into my shell a little bit, lately. I’m leveling a new hunter. I’d like to talk more about him later. I’m raiding whatever my friends can raid. But I don’t know what the future holds, beyond the start of the next xpac. At this point, I’m taking it little bit by little bit, enjoying the company of my friends and doing other things as the spirit moves me.
Thanks for reading this post by Mushan at Mushan, Etc. Comments are welcome!
The day finally arrived. Friday was the day that my girlfriend finished making 21 Hardened Magnificent Hides, so we got together and exchanged mail belts in the evening.
First, she made the belt for me on her druid…
Then, she switched over to her shaman, and I made her the Int Mail belt…
And then, I finally ditched my Tier 15 2-piece gear by equipping some new shoulders and making myself the mail legs. I figured, what the heck – it’s just a game, and these hides couldn’t possibly mean more to me if used for anything other than new hunter pants, even if only for a short while.
This trade was necessary because, betwixt my two Leatherworkers, I still had not learned the belt pattern on either (in 50 days X 2 worth of cooldowns). It worked out, because she was able to help me and I was able to make her a belt to compensate her – she was able to get her belt as soon as she was able to make it, and I was able to get mine in the face of possibly never learning the darn pattern. As I said in a previous post, there’s something fun and immersive – and elusive – about mutually beneficial activity when it comes to professions, and I’m glad I waited for the experience, rather than just buying a belt at the Auction House.
Of course, the next morning, this happened:
*and palm met face*
Ah well, at least we each got our belts – no harm, no foul. Although, regarding the legs, I fully expect to win the tier legs or some Warforged ones during the next week, now that I’ve used four weeks worth of mats to make the crafted ones. That’s how RNG works, right? Manipulative, playing with our emotions, torturing our hopes and dreams, laughing in our faces… It would not surprise me in the least!
Thanks for reading this post by Mushan at Mushan, Etc. Comments are welcome!
So. We have to wait three weeks or are we going to be thrown a bone, Corgi style? /waits—
The Ghostmother (@AlternativeChat) October 17, 2013
With Blizzcon drawing nigh, there is a lot of excitement and buzz about the unveiling of a new expansion to come. And with the announcement that the new MOBA – formerly Blizzard All-Stars – will be called Heroes of the Storm, which was trademarked in September, there are no actual titles out there…
Dark Below = never registered Heroes of the Storm = Blizzard All-Stars. So...ANYONE'S GUESS, people!—
Anne Stickney (@Shadesogrey) October 17, 2013
…taunting us with their “I’ve been trademarked, so I could be the title, but nothing’s official” statuses at this point.
I’m personally having a hard time getting excited about all the speculation. In fact, I’m fighting this feeling inside – the feeling that the current expansion is already done. And I’ve been fighting it for a couple of months now.
Don’t get me wrong: I do certainly think about the next expansion. I’ve variously referred to it as “BC2,” “6.0.Whatever,” and “World of Warcraft: 100″ in previous posts that have touched on a smattering of topics that relate to what’s coming in the future. But that doesn’t change the fact that it feels like Patch 5.4 came out and was “over with” in a week.
- August: Blizzcon buzz starts to really pick up steam, along with “when is 5.4 coming?”
- September 10: Patch 5.4 released. Lots of commentary over the next week or so about Siege of Orgrimmar, Flex, Timeless Isle, Timeless Isle, Timeless Isle…
- September 17: LFR wing 1 and Heroic SoO released. The race to world first becomes almost secondary to the rapidly-ongoing transition from Timeless Isle and LFR to the next expansion amongst the community.
- As weeks pass, most of what I read becomes about the next expansion. I’ve never seen a major raid patch swept under the rug as fast as this one…
Obviously, this is just a general impression, not hard numbers. Nonetheless, it’s the impression I’ve gotten.
This contrasts to where I am in-game. In Siege of Orgrimmar, we’re 8/14 and making our typical “march to the end-boss” – and we’ve still only done the first eight bosses in Flex. And so on. At any rate, there’s a lot more raiding to be done before we complete the tier/expansion.
So for me, the story is still going on. We’re going at our own pace. And since we’re less than two months into the patch, it feels like we’re in a fairly normal place.
But it seems like all of that is moot in the big picture. More than with Dragon Soul, and even more than that compared with Icecrown Citadel, it seems like this particular “final raid patch” has happened under the cloud of future content.
I’m not criticizing the community, by the way. Rather, I think that this probably stems from two basic circumstances:
1) The calendar vs. the game. Blizzard released 5.4 two months before Blizzcon – the first Blizzcon in two years, by the way – and the several months before Blizzcon are usually abuzz with speculation about what they’re going to announce, quite understandably. As a result, Blizzard has somewhat drowned their own content by releasing it under the cloud of anticipation about the announcement of more new content – content, by the way, that more people are interested in than what is happening in the game right now.
This is a consequence of pushing content out at this pace after taking forever to release patches/expansions in the past. This year, the calendar has lined up unfavorably for Patch 5.4.
2) More than ever, it seems that people are looking to the next expansion as something of a “make or break” expansion. Fairly or not, since MoP continues the downward trend in subscription numbers since Wrath and has had it’s share of problems, people are looking to the new xpac to cure those ills. If too many problem-aspects of the current game remain, people will leave. If the theme and/or story and/or raids aren’t awesome, people will be disappointed.
There are legitimate problems with the game, and many players are anxious to see how Blizzard is going to fix them. And to look at it from another view, people love the game and are simply excited to see where the story will take them. I am definitely in both of those camps.
Speculation is a natural part of this whole experience, and I am no exception. As I said, this post is not intended as any type of criticism of current community discussion. Speculate on! I know I will, to some extent. However, I can’t help feeling like 5.4 was over before it started – like Mists of Pandaria is already over, already on the back burner in the minds of many – and that feels like a shame to me. Perhaps it’s just the calendar/release schedule, or perhaps it speaks to the flaws in the game and things like the Timeless Isle, but this feels different than it felt in the past for me.
Thanks for reading this post by Mushan at Mushan, Etc. Comments are welcome!
This is a late update, but as of last Sunday (October 20th), we’re now 6/14 in Siege of Orgrimmar.
Last week, we aborted our normal “Saturday Night Flex” run when someone dropped after one wing and we found ourselves with just our core 10-person group. The suggestion was made to burn through the first four bosses in order to finally spend some quality time on, and get past, Galakras. Said suggestion was readily agreed upon, and said mission was duly executed that evening.
Sunday night, we managed to kill Galakras, and then Iron Juggernaut died as well. After a prolonged delay – when one of our healers went afk and never returned – we then spent some time checking out the Kor’kron Dark Shaman encounter. I think it’s not going to take us a whole lot of work to get that fight. Having ten people will help…
I like Siege of Orgrimmar. I feel we could be further along, but I’m happy that we’re not stuck. It’s not my favorite raid ever, but it seems to be going well.
Outside of raiding, the game has slowed down quite a bit for me. This is mainly, I think, due to the fact that a few of my friends only play on raid nights / weekends, along with other factors such as the ‘lack of new dungeons’ thing and other issues that I have with Mist of Pandaria’s end-game. Also, the expansion has been out for 13 months as of today, and I’ve put a lot of time into it.* So there’s that.
*See: my last year’s worth of posts.
While I don’t decide what we do on raid nights, I’m hoping we can take a week off from Flex and work on maybe getting seven bosses down this week, so we can start working on Nazgrim. This will depend, of course, on who shows up and other factors, but we shall see…
Thanks for reading this post by Mushan at Mushan, Etc. Comments are welcome!
During each week, I have certain priorities that I like to complete on my main:
- Cap Valor Points
- Kill a Celestial and Ordos
- Be supplied and ready to raid
Additionally, there are professions to take care of on a daily basis:
- 2 Blacksmithing cooldowns
- 2 x 2 Leatherworking cooldowns
- 1 cooldown each for Alchemy, Engineering, Enchanting, Jewelcrafting
- 2 Tailoring cooldowns
- 7 x farms
- Check raid/food supplies and shuffle items accordingly
Beyond that, though, my time is basically mine to use as I wish. Since the second week of 5.4, I’ve mainly used it to play my Resto druid, although my Prot warrior has gotten some love lately, and I’ve played my mage on and off. One thing I’ve noticed is that, although I’m moderately proficient with each of these toons in certain areas, there are certain places where I do well, and others that I enjoy less.
This really started to come to mind when I began taking my druid into heroic dungeons for Valor Points recently. Until a couple of weeks ago, I had healed exactly zero dungeons. I had tanked a couple of dungeons early on in the expansion with that toon, but virtually all of my healing has come in LFR. Since the druid is an alt – and therefore Valor Points are not vital – I’ve simply gotten my healing fix in LFR and left it at that.
However, I have healed a few dungeons recently. And there have been mixed results.
Don’t get me wrong – I am overgeared for these dungeons. Grossly overgeared. I’m geared enough that I can heal in wing #1 of Flex (and have done so, a little) and not do too badly. This means that when I go into a dungeon, usually one of two things happens: A) if the tank is overgeared for the dungeon, I’m bored. B) if the tank is grossly undergeared for the dungeon, or does things he/she can’t handle relative to his/her gear, that tank can still die… much to my chagrine.
In my limited experience thus far, I’ve mostly run into tanks who are fine and can handle whatever they try. However, last night I ran into a Prot paladin who had 387k health (buffed), but played like he had twice as much.
Pro tip: if you’re at the level where most of the gear that drops for your spec in heroic dungeons is still an upgrade, and you’re the tank, chain-pulling and repeatedly going out of line-of-sight of the healer is not going to be a good recipe for continued survival.
Things came to a head in this instance – which was Heroic Scarlet Halls – when we got to Armsmaster Harlan. I was still halfway up the stairs across the hallway when this tank jumped down into the pit and lost almost all of his health. I barely made it into the room before the door shut, and kept him alive, but then he was smart enough to get caught up in Blades of Light (and died). He also did this on the second pull, although the DPS managed to still kill the boss. The DPS then kicked him, and we finished the dungeon with our DK, who switched to Blood and pulled things in a more manageable fashion.
Anyway, I was frustrated with the tank, but I was also frustrated with myself, because I couldn’t keep him alive. Then again, I suppose that even great healers might have a problem with a tank in bad gear playing badly.
LFR/raiding is a different story. I think I enjoy it more. Perhaps I would feel differently if I were running dungeons with friends, but that doesn’t happen anymore in my circle of friends/guildies – if any such grouping happens, it’s usually for LFR. And whether I’m running with friends or not, I generally enjoy LFR more on my healer. LFR still sucks – don’t get me wrong – but since it’s not imperative that I finish it, and I’m doing it because I want to rather than because I have to, I can just go in and do heal-y stuff and not worry about it too much.
Things are pretty much totally opposite for me when it comes to tanking.
I’ve always preferred tanking dungeons to tanking raids, especially LFR. I can generally tank just fine in any situation, but I prefer dungeons because I’m in control. It doesn’t matter if there’s someone there with a legendary cloak or if everyone else’s average ilvl is 450: the dungeon will be completed if the tank is moderately skilled, around or above ilvl 500, and doesn’t make boneheaded mistakes.
As a tank, the group goes through at my pace, and I’m comfortable enough with both the dungeon and my own familiarity with Protection warriors that I can gauge how much we can pull at one time, which way we’ll go, and how to handle emergency situations on the fly.
Of course, I’m to the point where I’m tired of all of these year-old dungeons, so I’m not the dungeon-running nut that I would like to be at this point in the xpac. However, if I’m in the mood, I can do a few, snag some VP, and have a decent time along the way.
This is my preferred tanking mode. I’m just not interested in tanking enough to do so in LFR. I expect many tank-players feel the same way. If necessary, I would tank in normals or flex, but that would involve coordination with familiar players, which has its own enjoyable qualities. And at this point, I’m not needed for tanking.
Ranged vs. Melee DPS
I play a hunter. I’m pretty good at it. I enjoy the ranged aspects of playing the class. I also enjoy not having to be up close to the boss’s hit box* in order to be doing damage.
*Obviously, you have to be close to the boss to tank. But if you’re tanking correctly, the boss wants to be close to your hit box, so it’s a win-win situation.
While mages have a different toolkit than hunters, I do enjoy playing my mage, in part because it’s also ranged, so I don’t have to deviate much from my positioning habits in general as I play. With both my hunter and mage, I am proficient at both raids and dungeons. So I don’t necessarily have a preference, although I will say that I’ve usually taken my druid into LFR rather than my mage, in part because of queue times. But if I’m going with a group of friends, I’ll bring the mage along, and he’ll do fine.
Melee, on the other hand, is a different story. At this point in the game, just about the only melee I enjoy playing is as a tank. Perhaps it’s because I’m out of practice, or because I’ve only tried it on a warrior this xpac (I suck at warrior DPS, period). But in general, I’m not a fan of the limitations of melee. Perhaps it’s something I should explore more, perhaps in PvP…
Anyway, if I’m going to DPS at this point, I’m either going to DPS at range, or I’m not going to DPS at all.
Things are pretty clear for me, with regard to the alts I play the most.
DPS: I like ranged, without question; doesn’t matter where.
Healing: I’d rather be raiding, but I can heal dungeons I suppose.
Tanking: Dungeons all the way – unless I’m tanking with a friend-tank. Which rarely happens.
Here’s my question for you. What do you do best, and where?
Thanks for reading this post by Mushan at Mushan, Etc. Comments are welcome!
On Monday, I got my first ever hit via Reddit.
That’s what I said to myself when I saw that. As far as I know, I have never been linked on Reddit before. Since I was curious, I followed the link back, and it was to a thread by someone who is new to the game and chose to roll a hunter.
The link to Mushan, Etc. was put there by my friend Cheap Boss Attack, who referred to my blog as “a nice hunter blog.” To which I say, thanks! and /salute! @ Cheap Boss Attack. :)
But at the same time, I was troubled, for two reasons…
1) While this may be a decent blog – and perhaps even fun to read from time to time – I don’t know that I have much specifically helpful hunter content to offer a new hunter here; and
2) There is no longer quite as long of a list of places to send a new player/hunter for advice.
Nonetheless, in case other brand new players come to my blog looking for guides or whatever, there are a few places that I can, in turn, recommend.
Resources for new hunters/players (Not a complete list by any stretch!)
WoW Insider is a wonderful site. It’s extremely active, with many new posts a day concerning most aspects of the game. There are weekly class columns for most of the classes, including hunters. WoW Insider is also a great source for up-to-date news, lore, commentary on the design of the game, daily Breakfast Topics to promote reader discussion, raiding and PvP columns, a weekly podcast, and much more. It’s a site with something (or many things!) for virtually everyone, and has a very large base of active commenters. Additionally, there is information in the form of new-player “getting started” guides there for new players (of any stripe), which can be very helpful for someone just beginning to explore this huge game.
Scattered Shots – specifically – is the hunter class column. It has been written by different people over the years, and went through a long hiatus during the spring and summer between columnists. However, it is currently active and is being written by Adam Koebel, who seems to be doing a great job. The previous columnist, Brian Wood, wrote Scattered Shots for several years until this spring, and although the game tends to change from patch to patch and expansion to expansion, the pre-Adam posts are definitely worth the read if you’re looking to get a feel for the history and culture of the class and the hunter community.
If you’re looking for a site that is chock full of information on gear/items, quests, NPCs, professions, loot tables, and more information than I am willing to categorize in this post, WoWhead is your place. It’s a massive database/news site/blog that has a just a ton of info on just about anything you could need to find. Definitely a place to bookmark and visit often.
For good basic guides on how to raid with your class once you hit the max level – as well as dungeon/raid boss guides, news, forums, reputation guides, lengthy quest lines, etc., Icy-Veins is a great resource for any class.
Darkbrew (The Brew Hall) not only blogs about hunters, but he’s a co-founder of the Hunting Party Podcast, which is the podcast for World of Warcraft Hunters. He posts each episode on his site, and you can also find podcast information at OutDPS!, which Darkbrew recently took over when the podcast’s co-founder, Euripides (founder of OutDPS!), retired. The Hunting Party Podcast is both entertaining and informative, and listening to back episodes can provide a further look into the history of the hunter community, and of the game itself.
For all the latest news, datamining, first looks at new gear/quests/mounts and pets/blue posts and changes, etc, MMO-Champion is a great site. Not only do they have frequent posts (and updates to those posts) with info on the game as it changes, but there are also forums with helpful guides to many aspects of the game. Additionally, in the past couple of years they’ve put together a great site in WoWdb, which is, among other things, a comprehensive item database with some excellent search-filtering features. Another great resource.
Have a question about hunter pets? Wondering what special abilities certain pets have, which pets are best in certain situations, or which pets bring which buffs to your group? Want to know which food you can give your pet without him spitting it back at you? Petopia is your one-stop shop for pet info!
Fishing can be both an enjoyable and profitable activity. If it interests you, or if you need to find certain fish, or have any other questions about anything fishing-related in WoW, El’s Anglin’ is the top resource. He cover’s fishing, cooking, achievements, and related topics on his site.
WoWpedia is the wiki source I use whenever there’s something I want to know about the game that I feel they might cover better than most. There’s information on almost everything – I tend to use it most for lore and history, but over the years I’ve gone there for information on just about anything you can think of.
Looking to optimize your gear and character for end-game raiding, dungeons, or PvP? Mr. Robot can help you gem, enchant, and reforge your gear, as well as find upgrades, and also has an in-game addon for all of that. There’s a lot to explore on Ask Mr. Robot – I use it all the time. Check it out!
As I noted above, this is nowhere near a comprehensive list of resources. There are also some important links to resources that I didn’t include on this list at the right side of my blog, so feel free to check them out. Additionally, check out resources you can find on other peoples’ blogrolls, and links to great sources of info in articles on the sites I mentioned. There’s a lot of info – and fun stuff to read – out there, and I don’t even know about all of it!
World of Warcraft is a big game – and by that, I’m not referring to how many copies it sells or subscribers it has. What I do mean is this: we’re four full expansions past the game’s release, and looking at possibly a fifth during the next year, which is also the 10th anniversary of the game’s release. That’s a lot of lore and history and community and commentary to discover: you could theoretically lose yourself for hours on some of the sites I mentioned above, and for days on others!
I hope that someone finds this post helpful. I’m not a guide-writer or a theory-crafter, and I’m not even a nine-year “been here since WoW-beta” veteran. But I’ve been around a while, and have found all of these tools useful. Hopefully, sharing them with you can open your eyes to new things as well.
Thanks for reading this post by Mushan at Mushan, Etc. Comments and suggestions are welcome and encouraged!
I’m just sort of winging it here…
The past couple of days, I’ve been thinking a bit about the next expansion and how I want to approach the opening week(s) of play.
With the past two expansion releases, I made increasingly concerted efforts to get to 90 quickly. In Cataclysm, my druid went first, leveling as a tank, and my hunter came second, leveling as… well, as a killing machine!
(/queue a Joe Swanson “YEEAAAHHHH!!! LOCK N LOOOAAD!!!”).
The druid took longer, obviously – I finished on Friday after playing almost non-stop other than sleep and meals since the Tuesday morning of that launch. The hunter wasn’t speed-leveled, but it took less play-time regardless. In MoP, I reversed course, leveling my hunter in about 30 hours and finishing on the Thursday, after starting at about 6pm on the Tuesday of that launch. The druid and warrior soon followed, but the speed-leveling was done at that point.
The reason I leveled the druid so fast in Cataclysm was because I wanted to devour the content. In retrospect, I should have done that on the hunter, but I wasn’t thinking about it that way at that point. In MoP, however, the reason that I speed-leveled the hunter was because I wanted to be ready for raiding as soon as it was available. I was chomping at the bit to start raiding, without a doubt.
So, how did that go?
Well, it had its positives and negatives.
I had fun leveling on Mushan, because it’s the toon I would have the most fun doing most things with anyway, but I also blew through content that I could have enjoyed more, particularly given the speed at which we actually started raiding. (For those not in the know, it took us more than six weeks to get into Mogu’shan Vaults.)
In light of those general facts, I’m contemplating different leveling strategies for BC2*. More on those later in the post.
In addition to the 90-95 or 90-100 grind that is forthcoming, I’ve also been thinking about the leveling game as a whole recently.
Right now, I have seven 90s. Of those, one raids, two can do LFR whenever I want, and the others are currently in various states of “profession mule”/”play when I feel like”-ness. In addition to these, I have my 85 scribe druid – and I am loathe to level her right now (although I probably will sometime before the next xpac, because I do like having a scribe) – and low-level (25-30) hunter and shaman.
I usually enjoy leveling, and had some good fun leveling my death knight during this expansion. But I can’t get into leveling either of my lowbie toons right now.
This is a somewhat sad thing for me, because I remember a time just five years ago when the game seemed much bigger. There was so much that I didn’t know about it: I was leveling my druid, and having so much fun. The quests were awesome (if painful at times), there was no way to fly around and air-drop into quest spots, there were a ton of materials and items that I had to figure out what to do with. As this was my first MMO, and one of my first RPGs, there was a lot to learn about crafting and questing and the like. I made my way through this completely huge world in constant awe of everything before my eyes, which is something that I miss – indeed, it’s even something that’s easy to forget when you become a jaded veteran, which is what I sort of consider myself.
These were the days before I was a raider. The days when I was scared shitless just thinking about PvP. When I got stuck on some quests in Dragonblight and got so frustrated with questing that I grinded Crystalized Water at The Mirror of Dawn (to sell on the AH) for two-thirds of a level so that I could just skip to Grizzly Hills… which took me for-EVER…
Yes, you read that right.
There is something terrifying and wondrous about being a complete noob and learning new things through the sheer experience of encountering them in the game. It causes you to work through problems in your own way, even if your solution seems completely asinine to others or upon reflection – like what I did back then in Dragonblight. It causes you to tread with care, to learn by trial and error what you can handle and what you can’t. It causes you to make mistakes – like using a rare crafting mat to make something that maybe you don’t need, or wearing something from the wrong armor class because you thought it might help, or spending your gold on something dumb and then not having enough to buy your first mount – and to learn to both live with the consequences of that choice and to get by in spite of it. This all comes in addition to the constant joy of new discovery through exploration and interaction.
In some ways, those experiences are both irreplaceable and unrepeatable. You can look back nostalgically, and revisit, and even still learn new things, but the first wave of eye-opening is a powerful thing.
There’s one time you can do this again (without rolling a toon on the opposite faction, which is still an incompletely new experience), and it comes every couple of years or so: when a new expansion drops. And even then, it can’t be a completely new experience, because there are elements of the game that are the same as they’ve been since the beginning, and you’ve already experienced them to some degree or another.
Regarding what I said toward the top of the post, I’m thinking about these things as I imagine Week 1 of BC2*.
*BC2, for those who haven’t read me lately, is my attempt at a semi-humorous working title/reference for the next expansion, which may, or may not, be about the Burning Legion. Your mileage may vary… and we’ll find out in about a month what’s really going to happen!
There’s not much that we know about it at this point. There’s speculation, based on the tooltip for the heirloom weapons in Siege of Orgrimmar, that the next expansion will feature a level cap of 100. Presumably, this will mean that individual levels will be achievable more quickly, since the last thing many people want is an even more brutal leveling experience..
Beyond that – and that there will be many changes to how we play the game – not much has been confirmed. But it’s pretty much certain that there will be new zones to explore, new characters to meet, and so on.
My current m.o. is that I prepare and conquer, but I’m not so sure that that’s the way to go in “6.0.Whatever.” Based on my experience at the beginning of MoP, there probably wasn’t much value for me in getting to level 90, and getting geared to the teeth, as fast as possible. I sat and waited – impatiently, I’ll admit – for six weeks before we started raiding. And it took a long time for the raid team to come together even after that.
Oh, there was definitely value in being as geared as possible when we made our first foray into raiding. That extra preparedness on my part certainly didn’t hurt our efforts to kill the first boss or two in MsV. Being 90 in less than a week meant reaching the Valor cap the first week, being able to do LFR on schedule, getting the long rep grinds underway, getting the legendary grind started, and so on. But was it more fun than the alternative?
At the time, I spent a sizable portion of my time stewing over the fact that people weren’t leveling as fast as I thought they should. Several people had talked enthusiastically about raiding, but then disappeared, or whatever, and while there were several of us that were getting there, ready to go, there were others that took longer than I liked or even fell off the map. And the key here – given that switching guilds isn’t really an option that I’m interested in, since I’m playing with my friends (Period.) – is that I spent time resenting people when I could have been enjoying myself and my game-time more.
So the value was there, but I think I went about it the wrong way. Perhaps the uber-intense Mushan isn’t the best Mushan for Mushan’s guild.
We’re a casual guild – like, hard core. And I think that I’d like to embrace the opportunity that that can afford by enjoying my leveling time and experience in the next expansion. I’d like to complete more zones, get into the story a little more, and not worry about being the first to everything, the most heavily armored, one of the best-geared peeps on the server right away; that sort of thing.
I think that taking a different approach to this next expansion can help heal some of the malaise that I’m feeling about the leveling game right now. If I’m going to raid with good players / friends in a casual guild – in due time – perhaps I would have more fun if I allowed myself to enjoy the process of getting to that point.
I know this is all sort of general and abstract, but hopefully it makes sense.
This morning, I talked with a Pandaren NPC. Of course, at the end of the encounter, he left me with “Slow down. Life is to be savored!” I thought to myself that, given what I am contemplating for the next xpac, there’s a certain irony that I’m thinking of “slowing down and savoring” my experience a bit more, but an expansion late.
Ah well, better late than…
P.S. I’m going to suggest that the new expansion could be called “World of Warcraft: 100″… not that it should be, of course! But “100″ and level 100 both go with the 10th anniversary kind of well, do they not? :)
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Much has been made over the past few months about how hunters need to be seriously revamped in 6.0, and the next expansion (which is something that I am referring to with tongue in cheek as BC2). Many hunters have voiced opinions and concerns about this, ranging from The Godmother to Arth and Frost at the WHU, people on the forums and twitter, and other fine bloggers.
Among the topics: hunters have too many DPS buttons. Hunter specs are too similar to one another. Hunters aren’t top DPS, and one of their specs is at or near the bottom, but we’re “pure DPS” so that sucks. Hunters don’t bring a raid-wide cooldown. Pet issues abound. And so on. All valid issues.
The list of issues is long. Arth at WHU is working on a Hunter Community Expansion Revamp Project (HCERP), whereby the community collectively brings issues and suggestions to the developers’ attention in a mature and organized manner, which is a fantastic endeavor. And Ghostcrawler has even said that they are likely to look at revamping some classes in a manner similar to the warlock overhaul in MoP, and that hunters are possibly at the top of the list.
Now, for some people this can be scary, if you don’t see the problems, or don’t care about them and just want to play the hunter you love. For others, these issues are of vital importance, because they are issues that frustrate them about the class as it is today, both for themselves and for other players.
I’ve written about a couple of issues that I hope can be fixed, but I’m generally not contributing to the conversation at the WHU because I don’t think that I have anything original to offer; nor do I feel that I can explain things better than some of the folks who are more heavily involved in contributing. I generally just state my opinions here at Mushan, Etc. as the spirit moves me, and leave it at that. We’ll see what happens.
Meanwhile, outside the bubble that we hunters tend to live in, there are other classes that are hurting.
I read an interesting post on Monday by Zellviren, at
Unwavering Sentinel [Edit: Zell has consolidated Unwavering Sentinel into Bastion of Defence; the link has been changed and still works], whose main is a Protection warrior. In it, he talks about how the Prot warrior has sort of fallen off the map as a preferred tank.
For those of us not in the know, there appears to be a general consensus that monks, death knights, and paladins are the tanks of choice. Druids are viable… and warriors are viable too, but druids generally have a distinct DPS advantage – which comes into play on fights with tight enrages – as well as self-healing advantages over warriors. For much of this expansion, warriors have been at the bottom of the DPS and self-heal totem poles, and the changes in 5.3 and 5.4 to warriors and tanks in general haven’t really changed the fact that warriors are still struggling.
In his post, Zell laments Ghostcrawler’s comment about Blizzard’s intentions for the hunter revamp, in light of the most recent hunter population data compiled by Cynwise. According to Cyn’s research, hunters are the most popular class in WoW. This is completely understandable, since hunters are easy to level and generally very fun to play. And on the other end, rogues and warriors have serious problems. If you’re not familiar with the problems that warriors have been having, go read the last several months of The Care And Feeding Of Warriors columns by Matt Rossi at WoW Insider. I can’t go into them all here, but he does a good job talking about all of the specs. This post in particular, which is something of a Call to Arms / plea for warriors to get out there and tank something/anything, illustrates how things have been so bad for warriors this expansion that the perception has become even worse than it should be (when people are surprised that a warrior is tanking a dungeon, things have gone too far).
And getting back to Zellviren, here’s that telling comment from his post:
“My class of six years is broken. As most of you know, I’m always complaining about warrior design and we arrive at the Siege of Orgrimmar to find that, actually, it’s not been fixed. Sure, the class is doing better than it was but it still suffers from endemic design problems that are going to persist into the next expansion as well. Blizzard seem happy enough with the gutting warriors got in Mists and there was a blue Tweet saying that they intend to put most of their design iteration into making hunter specs feel more different.
“No, you read that right. The game’s most popular class is going to get the most design time.”
Obviously, his post/comment is drenched in understandable disappointment. And I feel a lot of sympathy for his position and his feeling of resentment. This is just one person, but he is vocalizing a sentiment that has become common among warrior players. I’ve read about many warriors who have switched to tanking with DKs or monks, or paladins. While warriors have myriad issues, monk tanks are very strong, with some even calling them the best designed tank in the game, followed closely by DKs. So there is definitely a problem: warriors are frustrated with warrior tanking, while other players see them as weak, and/or inferior choices for progression tanking.
At any rate (read the post, and Cynwise’s post, and check out Rossi’s stuff, for reals), I have to wonder if Blizzard will actually make hunters a top priority for 6.0/BC2. Generally, we’re going to see lots of changes to all of the classes, but I wonder if making hunter spec-uniqueness a top priority is really the best thing for the game in general when there are some core problems with warriors (and other classes) that probably need to be fixed – for the overall good of the game – before hunters are revamped.
Hopefully, they can do it all: improve classes like warriors and rogues while also giving hunters some constructive love. But I’ll be honest and say that, while I do think hunters need some work (and I’ve written about some of the issues, as I said), I also feel like we’re in a nice, competitive place right now. Hopefully, Blizzard will get things “more right” next time, giving players more freedom to play exactly the class that they want to play while also making the improvements and changes to the game that are supposed to make the next expansion Awesome(TM).
Thanks for reading this post by Mushan at Mushan, Etc. Comments are welcome!
I went to visit with family last week, so I didn’t play WoW until the weekend. It was a happy break away from the game, the news, and the community; time was, instead, spent enjoying great food, ridiculously good weather, several walks around my old hometown, meeting a future family member, helping my father out with some home maintenance, and having lots of good conversation.
As such, the blog has been quiet, as has my Twitter account. It was a nice little vacation.
As of the weekend, I was back at work, and back to my favorite thing, which is raiding with my friends. Of course, the fun was somewhat diminished by my best friend spending a combined two hours over the course of post-raid-time Sat. and Sun. bitching about a drop that was lost to another player on a roll…
We use the /roll system. That’s it. Whoever wins the roll and qualifies for the item wins the item. Exceptions to this are very rarely made. And since we’re supposed to be mature adults, sometimes we see a player pass on an item because they just won something else. For instance, we killed Sha of Pride last night, and both the 2H sword and the Protector chest token dropped; Somb won the sword, and then passed on the token “until next time, since I won the sword,” because that’s the kind of guy he is. I won the token; which is amazing, because, since we have two shaman, two warriors, a hunter, and a monk, I was rolling against four other people. Anyway, examples of deference such as this are common, but aren’t mandatory, and it’s been this way for years with this group.
When someone gets as pissed off about the perceived unfairness of the system as this person did, I get annoyed. Last night (and the night before), I was embarrassed. I tried to insert some soothing words into the conversation – followed by some less-than-soothing words – but it was like trying to stop a rapidly oncoming train by stepping on the track: useless.
So now this person is talking about leaving. It may be bluster, or it may be real – it’s hard for me to tell right now. But in my mind, under this system, if anyone has such a massive fit over loot and the “selfishness” of others, to the point where that player’s own selfishness is bringing down the enjoyment of just about everyone* else involved, that person can fuck off.
*The sad part of all of this is that the person who won the item was, and, I believe, still is, oblivious to any drama… never mind, check that; this person didn’t need to know. I’m glad they don’t know. They are better off not knowing, feeling angry or guilty or resentful, or anything like that. The whole point of me saying this was that this kind of drama sucks.
Those who know what I’m talking about may be surprised by my saying this, but I hate having my enjoyment of the game ruined by people being assholes, regardless of whether I’m friends with that person.
In my experience, you lose a roll now and then. Sometimes, it really stings. So, what do you do? You bring your m***** f****** A-game. You prove – constantly and emphatically – that, in spite of your perceived slight on the loot-side of the game lately, you’re still the best. I’ve done this many, many times.
I remember doing this in Firelands, when the other hunter “put dibs” on the ridiculously good cloak from Rhyolith. I made a deal with him when he did that: fine, you take the cloak the first time it drops, but I get the bow from Ragnaros the first time it drops. He accepted my offer (for some reason). Sure enough, the cloak soon dropped, and I really wanted it, but I passed, because we had a deal and because I was looking long-term. In the meantime, one week when he was out, another hunter filled in, and of course the boots dropped off Baleroc, and the substitute hunter won them… and I burned inside! But I let it go rather than making a scene – because gear isn’t worth being a dick to your friends and causing drama – and focused the fire from that low roll on proving that I was still the force to be reckoned with.
And eventually, I got my bow. And my cloak. And my boots.
If topping the meters is part of the game that you get enjoyment from, make your own enjoyment. Top the meters. Find a way. Find a tactic or a strength that you didn’t realize was there, and use it to make up that perceived shortcoming. Most of us raiding at my level aren’t playing perfectly anyway, so if the gear isn’t forthcoming, use it as an opportunity to up your game.
At least, that has been my mindset, and it has caused me to become a better player. And becoming a better player can make as much of a difference as – or more than – a piece of gear.
Due to various circumstances – mainly time and personnel circumstances – we are still 4/14 normal // 8/14 Flex for the tier. Which is fine, I guess. I’ve been fortunate with gear drops so far: 2-piece bonus, both Haromm’s and Assurance trinkets from Flex, and the normal-mode crossbow from Protectors. I’m still one of the top 25 geared hunters on the server, and I’m having good fun playing my hunter.
With the set bonus and trinkets, I’m basically sticking with Thrill of the Hunt for the time being. I still don’t like the spam-happy playstyle it tends to engender in players like me, but then again I do need me some Rapid Fire uptime, so I’m not complaining!
Now, if only I could learn that damn belt recipe from my LW cooldowns…
This week, I am determined that there will be more than one post. Hopefully, I can come through on that!
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On Saturday night, we took a team of eleven players into Siege of Orgrimmar Flex, and managed to clear the first eight bosses (all that were available to-date) in about three hours. That represented four new Flex kills, a nice improvement over the previous week’s work.
Due to some luck with rolls and drops in the first couple of weeks of the patch, I had decided that my bonus rolls this week would be as follows: the crossbow from Protectors-normal, Haromm’s trinket off the Dark Shaman in Flex, and… a roll to be determined later, depending on how much progress we made in normal modes.
With that in mind, I contentedly declined bonus rolls last night – all the way up until the Dark Shaman encounter – but to my surprise, I won the Assurance of Consequence trinket from the Sha of Pride. A quick trip to Ask Mr. Robot confirmed that it was indeed a significant upgrade over the normal Bad Juju, so I popped it in, no reforging necessary.
After the Galakras fight, where I was on the tower team, I started leading the damage meter by a significant margin, to the point where I was asked by my girlfriend – who was playing Elemental last night – if I had gotten a new weapon…
See, normally, if she’s healing, I’m on top of the meters, but when she’s DPS, she can smoke me if she gets the right combination of procs revolving around her ridiculous Crit trinket. So she was a little confused.
I replied: “I’m using the same weapon as last week.” (wink, wink)
She: “Oh, I was just wondering, because you’re doing way more damage than before.”
What she had apparently forgotten – which I had told her upon winning the trinket – was that I had gotten the Sha trinket. As in, THE Sha trinket that I’ve talked about with her before. The trinket that, among other things, lowers the cooldown for Rapid Fire by more than a minute.
Additionally, I’m using the trinket in conjunction with the two-piece bonus, which lowers the cooldown of Rapid Fire by 8 seconds every time I fire an Arcane Shot or Multi-Shot as SV.
Without doing a lot of math, here’s how this changes things from where I was a few weeks ago:
- Rapid Fire’s base cooldown is 3 minutes. [3 minutes]
- Assurance of Consequence lowers that by more than a minute (actual change depends on which version you have). [-1 minute; new CD ~2 minutes]
- With the 2p bonus, shooting 7 or 8 AS/MS over the course of a minute basically reduces the cooldown by another minute. [-1 minute; new CD ~1 minute]
- New Rapid Fire cooldown: approx. 1 minute.
Theoretically, you could realistically have Rapid Fire up more than 20% of the time most of the time, if even more AS/MS are being fired per minute.
(With Rapid Fire “cooling down” less, I guess you could say it was “hotter, more often”… right? No? Yeah, that was really bad; sorry.)
When we reached General Nazgrim – an add-heavy fight – I thought back to a conversation that I’d had with Kheldul of Hunter-DPS last Monday on Twitter. He was playing around with using Thrill of the Hunt, combined with the set bonus, and said that he’d gotten on some crazy streaks. So I ditched Dire Beast for the fight and decided to give TotH a try with the set bonus and the trinket. It seemed like a good time to try it with so much of the fight about focusing adds, which often means more Arcane Shots than usual.
The results were pretty awesome. With the Rapid Fire cooldown almost always less than a minute, and TotH proccing like it normally does, I was able to do fairly consistent damage to adds, burn the boss when he was in Berserker Stance, and so on. Focus generation was rarely a problem, although I didn’t manage it as well as I will with more practice. And we got Nazgrim down on the second attempt.
Incidentally, here’s how the damage looked. Keep in mind that there are significant portions of the fight (Defensive Stance, etc.) where we lay off the boss in order to keep his Rage levels down.
(I also died during the fight – killed by a bastard Kor’kron Assassin – and was rezzed about 20 seconds later. For reals.)
We had two tanks, six DPS and three heals – our normal raid team plus an extra Shadow priest – on the fight. As I said, I used TotH, as well as Blink Strikes and Glaive Toss, and I played as SV. It’s a great fight for hunters: there’s a lot of target-switching, and the class is just wonderful for that. That class strength, along with the trinket and the two-piece, make for a pretty powerful combination in this type of situation!
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