Lazy Friday

Here’s a bit of a personal blurb, feel free to skip until the first bolded title if you don’t care.  This heatwave in Toronto is just divine…

Some of you know me personally, some of you are e-friends, some of you guild mates and others still are just blog readers (the devil only knows how you ended up subscribed to my posts…).  To those in the latter two categories, here’s a run down of my awesome (potentially sarcasm) life:  parents asked me to move back in with them about 2 years ago because they were in a bad financial spot.  I was working for Nissan Canada at the time and chances are if you’ve bought a Nissan in the last 4 years or so and are Canadian, whatever program was used by your salesman to determine your final pricing is something I wrote.  Oh but wait, I was technically just a customer service representative at the time… doing everything except working the phones… I’m not bitter, no no no.   Anyways, my parents’ situation got way better but they suggested something I had given up hope on:  why not take advantage of being back home and go get your teaching certificate?

It didn’t take long for me to apply to school and quit my office job, soul shattering and hope ending as it was.  I would work with my father who runs a renovation/construction business, and go to school a couple days a week until I had graduated and found a job (and really, being male and speaking French is enough to get any teaching job I could want in Canada).  But, problem 1:  I had trouble getting nearly 30,000$ to finance my school the first year.  Skipped it to work.  Second year I was an idiot and didn’t submit my application in time.  Skipped it, had to.  Now I’m in for September… except I can’t stand living at home anymore for reasons purely reserved to “too much of something”, ie: just simply spending too much time with the whole family that I love dearly.  So I’m in the market for a townhouse most likely so I can rent it out to someone (ideally a 20 year old blonde bikini model with legs up to HERE) and be on my own again.  But still, in the meantime I work in renovation.

It isn’t a bad job.  The hours are your own as much as projects get finished in time (which means some days are a few hours of work and most days are 10+ hours), the pay is good (duh) and it’s a satisfying job… creating/crafting/beautifying really is fun and it’s great for me to know how to do this stuff.

Why did I share all this? For two reasons, one, because I felt like it.  Most importantly, though, is reason number two: so I could explain why it is Friday afternoon and I’m lying in a swing in my backyard in 35 degree weather (roughly 95 Fahrenheit for you Yanks and Southern Yanks) and typing up a blog post while enjoying a few Blackthorn ciders.  Because that’s the nature of my work.  I’ve been slaving away the past 7 or 8 weeks except for 3 days in which I went camping, and now I have the whole weekend off including today, FRIDAY. Fuck yeah.

Know the best part of it all?  On the 23rd of July I’m going to Paris for a week.  And the EVEN BETTER PART?  After a week in Paris, I’m hopping on a flight to Rome for another week. 🙂 YESSSS!

So after tanning for a few hours, then reading for another few hours, I thought, hey, time for a long blog post! Let’s make it all over the place, start with personal stuff, then go on to philosophical points about WoW, then let’s end with a good old fashioned rant at the game!  Here go parts 2 and 3!

Musings about WoW – Valor Points

I’m a raider deep down (make note of this opening statement and remember it when I talk about pvp).  I think where WoW succeeds is at the end-game raiding scene, with the encounters that challenge even the absolute best players in the world (still no heroic Ragnaros kill) and entertain the worst long enough to make most people happy.

WoW has always been a game of grinds.  Grinding experience to level, grinding reputation, grinding gold, grinding mats, grinding gear…  near the tail-end of The Burning Crusade (*wistful sigh*) we got our gaming brains reprogrammed to also start grinding badges/marks/points which translates into an indirect gear grind.


It’s almost like a pact you agree to upon deciding to play WoW beyond the leveling game: you will have to grind to get anything, the grind will not necessarily be fun.  In fact, it will most likely make you want to kill yourself but you will still do it because you have a serious problem.  That sounds fine to me, yeah, it really does.  I’ve made allusion to this before, but I’m the moron who skipped work because I was grinding mats for a pve set to raid Karazhan when I first hit 70 and realized it was worthwhile to get it.  8 hours of 25ish$/hour at the office? Fuck it, I can grind mats instead for imaginary make-believe money!

All I’m saying is that as much as the grind may be painful, it’s something that is enjoyable in the grand scheme of gaming.  It makes me think of a game of solitaire on your computer… you don’t necessarily drive home thinking “man I want to play solitaire” but you end doing it.  Or did before real games started getting released.  You do it to pass time, to de-stress, whatever…  same with the grinds on WoW.  I personally know plenty of people who watch a movie while doing their grinds for the day without really paying attention, and only once they are done and move on to other things (if they have time), do they suddenly turn their sound back on and shift their full attention to their computer monitors.

Granted, there are some hardcore people (myself included about once a month) where the grind is actually enjoyable in and of itself.  But this isn’t the point of what I’m saying at all.

The Current Valor Point Grind is THE MOST TERRIBLE THING EVER*
*within the game

That is my only complaint about the current Valor Point grind.  I have to do 7 trollroics a week if I want to get full valor points on a pve toon.  Here are the most common arguments against doing so and my rebuttals:

1.  You can get it from raids and then just do one or two trollroics.

Sure but I don’t raid anymore, I didn’t like the scheduling for it and committing myself to three nights of unavoidable gameplay per week over the summer months.  This is not up for debate, nor is the merit of raiding versus non raiding.  I don’t raid, so my blog posts does not concern itself with points through raiding.

2.  Who cares if you cap valor points every week since you don’t raid.

I care.  I may not raid but I still have my e-pride.  I want to be the best I can be given the activities I partake in.  Since I don’t raid, my best I can be is from valor point gear and from Hyjal dailies (eventually).

3. Even if you miss a few weeks of valor cap, you’ll still get the gear eventually, no need to fret now.

Ah but there is.  I don’t want to be the best that I can be eventually.  I need/want to be the best I can be RIGHT NOWIf I don’t hit my valor cap every week that I’m able to, that means someone who is in my situation (doesn’t raid) but does cap them week in week out will be better than I on paper.  That is unacceptable to someone who enjoys being the best.

4. Dude, you don’t fucking raid, what’s the big deal?

WHAT IF I CHOOSE TO RAID AGAIN?  WoW is not a game where memories are long lived.  Sure, some of my guildies will remember that I was one of the best of the group, but what have I done for them lately?  Nothing.  But if I have the best of the best possible gear, then at least I can offer someone who won’t need to be run through tier 11 just to be at an acceptable ilvl.

5.  You can run regular heroics not just the troll ones.

So I can run 7 regular heroics and get 490 valor points and not be able to gain more that way and then have to run 4 more trollroics.  11 heroic dungeons versus 7 of them.  Duh.  Shut up with this stupid point.

I’m out of numbered points because I lost myself in my own thoughts, so let’s move on.

The end result of wanting to remain competitive and at the top of my game is that I need 980 valor points a week on Latus and 980 points a week is what I’ll bloody get, whether I spend an entire Monday farming trollroics or whether I spread it out over the course of a full week.  Par Toutatis, I will have that cap.  Bonus points for knowing “Par Toutatis!”.  What I will buy for those valor points remains to be seen as I have no actually made a gear plan yet.  It will all depend on the potential success of a Sunday alt-run for Latus in which I will get gear if it works, and in which I will get absolutely no gear if people don’t show up and it never gets off the ground… crazy concept I know.  If it does, the entire gear plan is shifted to accomodating drops from Firelands.  If it dies, then my entire gearing plan will be based on boe items and valor point items.

Musing about WoW continued – difficulty and skill

Here is a story all about how my life got flip… err.. sorry.

Here is a story all about how the same fight by the same “core” raiders in a guild can go a million different routes.

Exhibit a:  25man core raiders down 5/7 in Firelands.  Saturday a group of 10 people go in.  2 of them are not core raiders but myself who has never watched a single strat video for Firelands yet and am in full tier 11 gear (not heroic) and an alt of a former core healer (also a healer now) who similarly has not been in any raids lately.  We get the briefest possible run down of the strategy for Majordomo Staghelm and one shot him with nobody being even slightly threatened with death.  People collapsed, spread out, stayed on the outside, stayed out of the bad… dead boss, loot, go on to fight Ragnaros…  Get to phase 3 at least once on the first few attempts, call it and be absolutely certain that he will die the next day… which he did.

So yeah, I’m 2/7 in Firelands by the way, those two being the last two bosses.

On Thursday, our 25man was missing too many people and was split into two groups of 10 (damn Harry Potter).

Exhibit b: the “better” 10man, and I say better because it had the raid leader in it and people are scared of him and try harder most of the time if he’s around, goes up against Staghelm, wipes a few times, kills him.  Took them over an hour unless I’m mistaken.  Close to an hour and a half.  These were all core raiders.

Exhibit c: the other 1oman, still comprising some of the best tanks and dps I’ve ever played with, simply cannot do it.  When I logged off my toon, they had been trying for about 2 hours and wiping constantly.  Maybe they got him, maybe they didn’t.

Neither 10man was going to bother trying Ragnaros.

So what do we have here?  A clear example of skill being an important factor.  This does not mean skill in the sense that one person can do more dps than another, it means skill in the most basic way:  an ability to follow instructions.  The first group that cleared it was comprised of ten excellent raiders, only two of which were undergeared for the content but are good enough players that any gear deficiency is made up by output / throughput compared to better geared players of the same class.  This was the reason for the one shot, and only slacking and a general festive atmosphere on Ragnaros attempts made it take 5 hours, otherwise he would have been dead within the same night if we had been all OMG FOCUS GUYS LETS BE SERIOUS the whole time.

The second and third group still had excellent players (like Ankatra, who reads this, and a bear tank, and a pally healer, and an aff lock, and at least a couple of players who were part of the first group’s kill) but they were spread out.  If I had to guess, I’d say each group had 4 excellent players, 2-3 good players and 3-4 average/bad players.  The result of that kind of make-up was a disaster by raiding guild standards.  It was utterly devastating to the morale of players in the group that was struggling to know that two other groups had done it with relative ease.  It was mildly insulting to the group that did kill the fight to know that another group had one shot it with no difficulty.

Who is to blame?  Is anyone to blame?  Yes, no, maybe…   if our officers cut all the people who were not excellent, there would be about 13-14 players left.  The guild could run 10mans and leave a handful of players out in the cold.  Those players would eventually leave for other guilds and the core would remain at 10… then if one of those players left, you’d go back to the same situation as now.. eventually 5-6 of the 10man would be excellent, the others would just be filling space.

This is the problem of being a 25man raiding guild on a server that does not traditionally support high end raiding.  Moon Guard is known for many things – ok, or possibly just one – so recruits are often taken in because they look like they won’t fuck up too badly instead of because they look amazing for the role.  Bad play is tolerated because the guilds have no choice.  Tolerate bad players or don’t raid at all.

What would you do?  I’d sure as hell tolerate those bad players.

It’s also why it’s so easy to break into the roster of any of the current raiding guilds on servers that aren’t super progressed.  If the guild isn’t pushing 3+/7 heroic bosses, chances are they’re starved for quality players.  Whether people hold it against me that I quit raiding or not, they would infinitely prefer to have me in the group over a large number of people currently in it.  I felt the same about people I didn’t even particularly like but who took breaks or left us entirely.  I feel the same about a couple people currently in the line-up (even though I’m not in it myself)… I’m happy they’re there despite not being a fan of them on a personal level.  If they were not there, someone else would be who most likely would be terrible.

Like, seriously, the warlock who “replaced” me in a way was someone who did not acknowledge any suggestions and refused to use Bane of Havoc (15% extra dps), who had dot uptime hovering around 75-80% and who generally just failed at everything there is about Warlocks.  But she was still there for a few months because that was the best that was available and willing to raid.

The sad state of Moon Guard raids:  you can be bad, it’s ok, we probably can’t afford to cut you!

Player skill is definitely not overrated… like… ever…

Musing continued – PVP time!

No, nevermind, I’ve got nearly 3000 words written here that aren’t necessarily very coherent… I’ll do this some other time.  I’ll give you a brief insight into what these musings were going to be though: shadow priest/resto druid is not a good team!


3 Responses to “Lazy Friday”

  1. 1 Tania July 15, 2011 at 6:43 pm

    First: holy shit, that is a lot of money for school. Worth it, I guess, but ow. Back to school is definitely exciting, since history degree can’t do too much by itself. Similar to a couple years of a science degree. Useless. 😛

    Second: I miss PvE. 😦

    Third: shadow priest and resto druid isn’t good *anymore.* Heh. I tried though! Really, really hard! 😦

  2. 2 Ankatra July 16, 2011 at 12:43 am

    Actually I was in the group with Alora that downed him quicker… which I’m sure made it all the more frustrating for Nahbre because he was stuck there for another hour and a half banging his head against Staghelm while I got to relax and read A Dance With Dragons.

    Your post made me think of Ascension at the end of BC… we had a really great group of raiders, downed Kil’jaeden even, and then as Wrath began we started to replace those really good raiders (who had to leave for whatever reason) with mediocre raiders, and we ended up not being able to replace those mediocre raiders because without them we couldn’t raid at all due to recruitment issues. Over time this trend continued and eventually the mediocre began to outnumber the good… meh. I think if I continue this line of thought I’ll just depress myself.

    • 3 latusthegoat July 16, 2011 at 1:03 am

      I was probably unclear in expressing myself about the groups but outside of like, you and Iavasul, nobody will even know who I was talking about 😀 I did realize you were in the group that killed him quickly / quicker, just… English hard.

      Blizzard has the tendency of late to make things easier for the mediocre players. It isn’t an insult for me to say that without the 30% buff we really wouldn’t have been clearing all but LK on heroic in ICC, or that some choice nerfs are going to make content easier now in Firelands (heroic Shannox was already adjusted to allow for all hits on Rageface to be critical hits during that part). These nerfs are needed for the mediocre players, not the best ones. I doubt there are enough mediocre players currently in the guild to make others leave to the point of a guild break up, since if 25-10 man fiascos didn’t at Cata launch, and if the mild but strong exodus of most of the top dps didn’t, chances are nothing will really affect ID in the near future. Cliquish behaviour by some gigantic assholes currently in the guild, on the other hand, might just be enough…

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