The more you tighten your grip, the more will slip through your fingers

Yesterday Kestrel of Kestrel’s Aerie asked a bit of a thought provoking question. He asked “Is Wow losing it’s hold?

To try and put it simply (a first for me I know) the game has changed. It is much more friendly to those with limited time to play. Not quite to the point that it has become a single player game, but not far off. 

More importantly, the people playing it have changed. At least the ones I know are older, mostly wiser, and generally better at what they do than before. On the other hand I find more and more people that simply use Wow as a really pretty chatroom. Doing quests, fishing, running an instance here and there.

The game has become much more about the social aspect and the folks I hang out with than about slaying critters and getting thier loot. Many people I have talked to have told me that if it were not for the friends they have in game they would no longer play.

I agree.

It is hard to put this into words.  Literally I have deleted the rest of this four times (as of now) and started over.

Since I cannot speak for everyone I will just speak about me. Actually I could try to speak for everyone, after all it is my blog, but meh. I’ll keep it simple.

I have leveled three characters to the cap. One still sits at 70 and semi retired, the other two are at 80. My next project is currently sitting 66 and climbing. I figure by the time I finish terokkar and negrand he will be 70 or so, assuming I keep plugging away at him.

Suffice it to say that I have leveled a couple of toons. I would love to try out different classes, and actually I am. My problem is staring at the sign on screen knowing that I have three months or so of my playtime that will have to be devoted to doing the same damn quests over and over again to level my latest prospect.

My next three highest alts, a warrior, pally, and druid are stranded in the bloodmyst isle/ashenvale grind right now. I simply can’t force myself to keep playing them through that tired old content again.

That brings me back to my 80′s. They are both geared well enough that I don’t need much outside of raid drops. Well, I could use some odds and ends, but what I have will do until I either catch a lucky drop or gather enough badges to buy it outright. Since Valor badges are what I need I am looking at 25 mans to get them. Ok, Emlon in 10 man Voa or anything in 10 man Uldar as well, but I won’t pug those.

I enjoy Wintergrasp, but it is the exception to the rule. I no longer do any other battle grounds. They are a waste of my time.  I am sitting on 50k honor on at least one toon and about 45k on the other, yet there is not a damn thing to spend it on.

I don’t have an arena rating, therefore I don’t get to purchase any of the halfway decent PvP items. If I am not going to be rewarded for my time, I won’t waste it. 

I don’t have an arena rating because I don’t have enough gear to have a fighting chance while I learn what I am doing.

I don’t have the gear because I can’t buy it.

I can’t buy it because I don’t have an arena rating.

Return to step one and repeat till you give up and go watch reruns of House.

Well, if leveling is either done or boring me to tears and PvP is a once every two hours thing for about 10 minutes, what does that leave?

Dailies are one thing I suppose, but remember that “I hate doing the same thing over and over again” thing from leveling? It applies here as well. Actually with leveling it’s not so bad, I only have to do each quest once per toon as opposed to once per toon per day. Other than the rep grinds for Ebon Blade and Sons of bitches Hodir I have not done a single daily since wrath came out.

I make enough money off the AH to never worry about cash. That leaves out farming, grinding, and questing for cash.

I suppose I could still do it, but for what purpose? I am sitting on about 20K gold right now spread amongst my toons with stuff in the bank worth probably 3-5k more if I chose to sell it all. Other than flight training for my upcoming level 66 hunter I am pretty well set for big expenses.

Now that I think about it, that pretty much leaves out everything but raiding and instanceing. Even leveling my latest project is just so that I can transfer him and go run instances and such with other people, it’s just a means to an end. Perhaps that explains why I don’t go on much anymore, and why I don’t miss it when I am off.

I can see it in game with fewer and fewer people I know online at any given time. (except raid time)

I can see it in the sweeping changes Blizzard is trying to make and the pacing of it’s patches.

I can see it in the number of bloggers who have simply gone silent.

I can see it in the bloggerswho now blog as much or more about the real world  than about the game one, myself included.

To answer Kestrel’s question I would have to say Yes.

From my perspective, Wow is losing it’s hold.

Way beyond grumpy

Dear Blizzard,

The Instructor fight in Naxx has brought something to my attention.

I suck at tanking.

I have no idea what you were smoking when you designed the encounter . Hell some folks might even love it.

I don’t.

If I wanted to tank I would not have rolled a flippin PRIEST. Holy crap! that almost makes sense!

In the mood I left the game tonight I am seriously considering deleting the priest, just so I never have to deal with that again.

Screw you Instructor.

Screw you with a telephone pole.

Covered in tar.

Dipped in shattered glass.

And set on fire.

orange 

/deep breath

Ok, rant over. I am going to bed now.

With any luck, I’ll feel differently tomorrow.

If not, I’m done.

This is what happens when I start thinking

Ever start to feel like there is nothing much left you can do in game? I know the game is ginormous, there is always something to do. There is a shiny new raid, a new tourney with a pile of new dailys, all kinds of stuff. Still it feels like there is not much going on.

I just wonder if I am the only one who logs in, checks the AH, and then wonders what to do. Apparently not, just read trade chat some time.

Both my priest and my huntress are 80.

Both are geared well enough that the vast majority of their upgrades are through raiding or badges.

If I can’t set aside a block of time where I know I won’t have to walk away randomly to like, you know… be a parent and stuff… I can’t really commit to a heroic or a pug raid. It is not fair to the others in the group.

So what is a person to do?

Level an alt of course!

You see,  a beautiful thing happened in patch 3.1, for me at least. I actually benefits more than just me by far. Anyone who wants to level an alt faster without paying for a second account should be quite pleased.

The 10% bonus to experience from the heirloom shoulders will now apply to both monsters killed and quest experience.

That is a beautiful thing.

 I am still waiting for the BOA 90 day trinket that gives 300% XP and allows you to not consume rested status. Naturally it does not work above level 60. I won’t ever see it, but I can dream right?

Anyhow, I actually picked up a pair of those shoulders a while back. I intended them to be used for leveling my druid alt, so of course I got the cloth ones.

Why cloth you ask? Simple. I know this will not be the only alt I ever level, cloth can be worn by everyone.

Hell, If I remember correctly they are currently on my pally. I think they look funny on my death knight, but I don’t care. 10% is 10%. Any time I go to play an alt I find them on the character screen, log in, and mail them to the one I will be playing.

Now that I am thinking of alts, I am thinking more and more of this blogs namesake. Dechion is currently sitting at a very rested 65 in Zangermarsh. I am apparently nuts for wanting to do this, but I think he will be leveled next.

Why do I want two max level Draeni hunters on the same server? Who the hell knows.

Maybe I just want to be able to farm anything I want. Drupadi is mining and engineering, while Dechion is skinning and herbing. Between the two I could gather just about anything I needed for crafting.

Maybe I will level him up and then transfer him to a different server. Someplace where I would like to have a max level alt to tinker with from time to time.

Either way, it sounds like a plan.

Dech, you hear me? Get your levelin’ shoulders on, it’s time to get the hell out of Outlands.

 

Note:  To any of my guildies that may stumble acress this. No, I am not planning to leave Draenor.

Lessons learned

Once upon A time I was looking at the character creation screen for the first time. We have all been there. Some of us still have that character, some don’t. Either way many of us have other characters we play at least as much, if not more.

I started as Horde, although I play Alliance now. I still remember the first character that made it high enough to actually get talent points. He was a Tauren Druid named Atauren (cheezy, I know) 

I was not really new to the concept of gaming, but it had been a long time. Then again the only online cooperative I had played was Team Fortress. The last time I had played anything even resembling wow the games were pen and paper.

I had a friend that also played, but he was busy raiding and had little time for running around helping out a noob. I asked about it once. He told me that I would learn my class better if I did not have him to fall back on. So I ran shiny new, unguilded, and pretty much entirely clueless.

After reading the official class descriptions and decided on a druid. It seemed like the best choice, I did not know what would be expected of me at level 60, but the druid seemed equipped to handle it all. At the time I did not even know blogs existed.

Now while it was nice to have a high level friend on the server, A little more info would have been nice. I would have asked questions, but did not even know enough about the game to know what to ask.

This is not to say I got no help. As a gift for making level 10 and completing my bear form quest the friend of mine (who also played a druid) swung down to where I was at and made me four ten slot bags. I remember those helping out loads.

 If I remember correctly all I had were two six slotters I had found at the time. I also had not yet discovered what the bank was. At least I made ok profession choices with skinning and leatherworking. Skinning and herbing would have been better, but once again I was a noob.

I learned everything I needed to know about the game from the game itself.

The first thing I learned was that wrath and moonfire were great.

I learned to keep my buffs up on myself too, they helped.

I learned that when things get too close you can always try and cave in their head with a stick. (works in real life too, I prefer pool cues. but that’s a tale for another blog)

I learned with bear form I could put one and later two heal over time spells on myself, become a bear and last a long time. Now there is no doubt that bear soloing was slow, but I could understand it.

I reached level 20 and learned cat form. It seemed so different than bear form. It’s could put out more damage, but I found I was dying lots trying to figure it out. Everything seemed to see through my stealth and the combo points made little sense.

I decided bear was better for soloing and stuck with it. I wonder how things would have been different if a higher level druid had stumbled upon me and steered me in a different direction, but it did not happen.

The reasoning behind my leveling spec at the time went something like this. Bear already works good, no need to waste points there. I don’t use cat form, no point putting them there. I guess I will improve my spells.

So, there I was , leveling as a bear. Ignoring cat, with my talents spread between balance and resto. No wonder it took me forever to kill stuff. 

Then came the day that I received a whisper asking if I would go do wailing caverns with a group. I have never been in a group so far, but I will give it a shot. After all, how bad could it be? I might even make a friend or two.

The group was a warrior, a hunter, a mage, a rogue, and myself the druid. I looked at the group makeup and decided (correctly) that I should be the healer. I had never healed anyone other than myself at this point in my wow career. Now that I think about it I think it was the first time I ever saw party frames.

Until just recently it was by far the worst pug I had ever been on, and it still rates in the top ten. Looking back I can tell the warrior was neither specced for or had any intention of tanking. The general plan seemed to be for the mage, warrior, and rogue to all pull separate mobs and try to solo them. I kept trying to heal but was going through mana like water through a pasta strainer and they seemed to not understand I needed to drink.

The only one that seemed to know what was going on was the hunter. He trapped things in big blocks of ice so we could deal with them later. He used his pet to pull mobs off of me when they tried to chew my face off. He even made them run in circles trying to catch him. It was funny in a way, almost like a three stooges kind of funny.

We wiped. After each time the warrior, rouge, and mage would get in party chat blaming it on the noob druid. Yes in fact I did let them die. Not only did I run out of mana constantly, but often they would pull in two or three directions out of line of sight from each other.

 It was really difficult trying to keep up with three people who were each fighting their own fight. They wanted to hear nothing of it, it was all my fault for letting them die. One by one they left. Once the three of them were gone it actually became fun.

It was just me, the hunter, and his pet. We went on for a while with me healing his pet while he killed things. It actually went better after the others left. Unfortunately there came a time that the pulls were just too much for the two of us. His mend pet (channeled back then) and my hots were just not enough to keep his cat alive. We called it a day and left.

I learned several valuable lessons from this run, not all of them true.

1. Never ever go on runs with people you don’t know. (I pug pretty often now, but for years I did not)

2. The healer will be blamed for all wipes. (even if the mage breaks his own sheep and the hunters ice trap, then pulls an extra pack of mobs)

3. I enjoyed healing (believe it or not trying to keep up was fun, part of the reason my main is now a priest)

4. A well played hunter is a huge asset to a group.

5. Rebirth is a good spell to have in a group, always carry a few seeds. (since I never used it soloing, I saved the bag space)

6. Two people cooperating can do more than five all trying to solo the place.

7. People blog about Wow. (the hunter told me about Petopia and BRK)

8. Tauren can use thunderstomp to piss things off (oops, I just used it for the stun)

9. Standing on top of an ice trap is a good place to be if you are healing.

10. Mark of the wild and thorns can be put on other people as well, and should be.

I went back to leveling solo, never again answering a whisper for an instance with that character, not even to say no thanks.

I had learned a few things from the run that would pay off later though. I always tried to buff those around me now that I knew I could. I started reading Wow blogs, through Big Red Kitty I found the Big Bear Butt. As I read their sites and made my way through their blogrolls I learned a lot more about the game. My spec changed, my play style changed, and I had a lot more fun because of it.

About a month after this the friends I had started playing with decided to switch servers. I don’t know all the reasons for why but we went to the shiny new server of Gnomerragan. Most of them would be transferring characters over once it opened up for transfers, I knew I would not. I would simply reroll.

My druid had made it to the mid thirties. I don’t recall exactly where but I had travel form but no mount. It would be pointless to move him at that level, better to just start over. I liquidated everything I had. Then gave the cash to someone who was transferring later so he could pass it back to my new character. On the plus side it came to nearly the 100g I would need for my basic land mount at 40 on the new server.

Back at the character creation screen again I looked at it in a new light. Remembering how much fun it looked like on that day in Wailing Caverns I rolled the first of my many Hunters. I took up engineering and mining because of the other hunters jumper cables. I rolled solo that way for a long time.

I always remembered that first pug. I learned to trap, I learned to control my pet, I learned to try to help out others when I can. If you take anything away from this (assuming anyone still reads my sorely neglected blog) remember that the other characters have people behind them as well, treat them as you would like to be treated. If they are new don’t mock them, help them. You might just make a lasting impression on someone.

It took me almost a year to finally get around to leveling another healer. You know him as Morham, but that is a story for another day.

Pardon my dust

Just a quick note to those who stop by, the blog will be undergoing a bit of a face-lift. It will be off and on today and on into the weekend.

It’ll get better, honest.

Dech

My paradigm shifted without a clutch

I changed my mind.

It happens.

Sometimes the circumstances change, sometimes it’s my attitude that does. This time I think it was a little of both.

 I have run both a priest and a couple of hunters up to the level cap and raided with both of them. I always preferred Dpsing to healing, although I do enjoy both. I suppose I favored Dps because my kooky availability meant that I would miss most raids.

I know from experience that Dps is much easier to replace on short notice. Not wanting to leave the group hanging I have usually considered my hunter to be my raiding main. I would keep the priest sitting in Shat (now in Dalaran) repaired and ready to go just in case a healer was needed, but the hunter was always my first choice.

Then came dual specs and all the thought that went into it.

My paradigm has shifted.

It now makes better sense for me to do both Dps and healing with the same character. The biggest reason for this is gear. The more often I bring a single toon into an instance run the more often that toon will get upgraded gear. With the dual specced priest (deep shadow and deep holy in my case) I can gather gear for both specs at the same time.

Simply put, off spec actually means something now.

My hunter is a lot more fun when running solo than the priest. Actually other than questing my way to 80 and doing some fishing I simply do not like playing my priest solo.

So there I have it, my mind has changed.

My dual specced priest will now be the one to go dungeon crawling with. He was created, leveled, and always meant to be in a group. With a group he will stay.

My hunter on the other hand. The flavor of the month is gone. Survival no more she is back to beastmastery where she belongs. Anything else just felt wrong. Specced and geared for soloing instances it’s now Drupadi and her pets, alone against the world.

The way it was always ment to be.

Patch 3.1 blows up the servers, film at 11

Actually at the rate we are going we will be lucky to have the realms up by 11.

I understand 3.1 is a huge patch, and with that comes a lot of stress on the hardware.

 

Top secret image of a world server power source

Top secret image of a world server power source

 

Everyone and their cousin Ted have been drooling over one thing or another. Weather it is a new raid, the Argent Tournament, dual specs, or simply fishing for the new ultra-super-rare turtle mount. (on a tangent, is ultra super rare simply uncooked?)

After taking the servers down for the better part of a day and having eleven million of us all trying to log in at the same time (to servers that are not even up yet) have to put a little stress on the old system. Well wouldn’t you know it, the servers are running like hammered ass when they are running at all.

*huff*

*QQ*

Why yes, I would like some cheese with my whine, thank you very much.

I give up, I’m gonna go watch reruns of Gilligan’s Island or something less frustrating.

Someone call me when Blizzard turns the world back on. I have a new spirit beast to tame, a mount to go solo in Zul’Gerub, another one to fish up, dual specs to buy, specs to choose, glyphs to install, four pets that each need two specs as well, and…. and…. and…

Crap, this is starting to sound like a list of chores.

That’s it, I’m watching Gilligan.

A lame excuse for a post.

I just wanted to drop in and tell the few folks who still wander by this campfire that I have not given up. Your storyteller has not gone anywhere, I will be continuing to write.

I have had real life issues crop  up that have kept me from both having the time and energy to play Wow, much less write about it.

It’s hard to come up with things to write about a game that I have not had time to play.

Seriously, I generally try to stick to either a humorous story of things that happened while I was playing. Either that or something informative and helpful.

Well, when I am not playing much I don’t have much that is blogworthy happen around me. Also with patch 3.1 looming very close now (it’s not a moon it’s a space station) anything I write will likely be out of date by the time I hit the “publish” button.

With that in mind I’m going to take a bit of a breather. I may post something if I have something worthy of a post, but I am not going to write just to “put something out”. If I have nothing worth talking about I simply won’t say much.

back soon.

Dech

Waiting

Waiting.

It seems like all I ever do anymore.

Some folks are waiting for new content, challenges they have not yet seen. Me? not so much. I rarely get to raid so actually I am still 3 bosses short of seeing Naxx completed. Other than that its Sarth pugs with no drakes up and VoA after wintergrasp (assuming we win).

Half the 5 mans that are out there right now I have not run either, heroic or not. Just have not managed to find a group for anything when I have the time to go.

Why then do I sit around waiting for the next patch to hit?

Why does it even matter?

 

I think a big part of it is wishing the dual spec feature was in place already.

stillwaiting 

 

My priest sits in Dalaran occasionally making glyphs for the auction house. Mostly sitting there, specced Holy, for the odd day that he is actually wanted for something. I would like it if he were able to switch out for Shadow Dps without it costing me 100g every time I decide to go heal something. Yes I know I could go do it, but I keep thinking to myself “If you just wait another week or two you can pay the 1000g once and be done with it.”

My guild is set for healers (and that’s a good thing, I am not bitching). The only downside is that I don’t get in on many guild runs with this toon. Since my raiding main is my hunter that is also what I would prefer to gear her up first, and others with healer mains would like the gear for them. Perfectly understandable on both counts.

Looking for group, while a wonderful comic (see sidebar), is not really a good place for a healer to find runs while gearing up. Seems most folks get it in their heads that when they armoury you you should already be over-geared for the instance and have all relevant achievements done or you are not worthy. I am going for the same reason they are, to clear the place, have fun,  and gear up my character.

Screw them, they can take bandages and health pots.

So there he sits in Dalaran, specced for healing, Waiting.

 

My hunter has been the busiest of all my toons lately. Like an ant I have spent lot of time gathering stacks of food for later use. Times when I will be a lot more pressed for time than I am now. I have grind-leveled one pet from 75 to 80 and am working on another who is 76 at the moment. The new one is Sherman the armored boar (always did love boars). I can’t help but think of the upcoming changes to pets while I work on him.

I can’t stop thinking about how much more efficient I will be after 3.1 goes live. My second spec will be Beastmastery for soloing to go with the Survival that I enjoy while raiding. Put that together with the pet changes that are coming and it makes me feel like I am wasting my time. Sherman will level much faster when he has thunderstomp for multi mob aggro, and when I can go Beastmastery so I can do more than autoshoot with viper on and not pull aggro.

Yes, I know, spec Beastmastery for soloing and pet leveling. I can always respec when raid time rolls around. If you thought that, you would be right. Once again I am looking at respeccing between one and three times per week depending on weather I am available for raiding on our three scheduled nights, and weather there is a spot for me if I am. That’s a pile of gold I just don’t want to part with. I just can’t help but think I am throwing away money on respecs now, and I should just sit in my raid spec and wait on everything else.

So there she sits in Dalaran, specced for raiding, Waiting.

 

I suppose I could simply respec one of my characters and go off and do things with them. The problem is that the one I really want to play solo is my hunter, and she is also my raiding main. I wanted one to solo with badly enough that I leveled a second one to 65 before word of dual specs was released. Now I just can’t seem to get into leveling him again. I know that dual specs are coming, and in all likelihood he would not even make 80 before they go live. Once they do the point of having two level capped hunters of the same faction on the same server is kind of lost.

Once again, it would seem like a waste of time. The only way I can think to justify it would be by leveling that hunter to 80, gearing him up so that he would not be a complete joke, and then transferring him to a friends server as a high level “play me once in a blue moon” type alt. As much fun as that would be, I just can’t see me doing it quite yet. Not without a definite goal in mind.

So there he sits in Negrand, gathering dust, Waiting.

 

Word has it that the patch will go live on either the 14th or the 21st. Both are guesses, but I think they are good ones. Educated ones at least. My personal thought is that it will go live a week from today on the 14th, but hey I am just some schmuck with a keyboard and a loud mouth.

I suppose I could just take a week or two off of raiding, respec beastmastery and try to go solo the old world.

I could even change my raiding main to be my priest. Actually when dual specs hit he will be much more versatile than my hunter. I also already have a half assed decent set of shadow gear built so I don’t have to go as a healer.

I could take a week or two off of the game as well. If I walked away for a while the world would still be there when I got back. Then I would really have something in common with my characters.

I would be sitting around, watching history channel reruns, Waiting.

The sound of silence

It’s quiet here.

Too quiet…

 

If you have been watching movies as long as I have you have most certainly seen that line beaten to death.

 

The problem is that it’s true.

 

Last Tuesday, as though anyone reading this does not already know,  BRK announced his retirement from blogging and re-dedication to family. I read both his post and those of others on the topic of RL / Wow balance.

The first thing I did was take a good look at my own priorities, making sure they were still in line. 

Then I sat down with my wife and kids, first separately and then as a group and talked to them about both how much I play and how often. I wanted to know if I was unknowingly playing while any of them felt the least bit concerned with it.

I needed to make sure they knew that they come first, always.

 

Later on I logged into Wow and puttered around for a bit. I did not really have more than about an hour till I needed to take off and we had just won Wintergrasp, so i decided to try and run the vault.

I was lucky at finding groups, but unlucky with loot. The oddest thing happened though. There were six Hunters in the 25 man raid and three in the 10 man. All of them, myself included, had the exact same pet.

At level 23 my young Draeni huntress wandered all the way to the Barrens and camped for days to tame Humar the Pridelord. They have seen fifty-seven levels together since. Ever since Wrath made taming him stupid easy in the form of the quest mob Pitch there have been more and more of them around.

Don’t get me wrong, I think its a really nice pet skin as well. The problem comes when I can’t tell which one is mine in a raid. With all the “don’t stand in the bad thing” encounters we have going on I need to know for sure which one is mine.

My solution? Why, finding another cat of course. With the upcoming dual spec and remote pet stable access I can have more than one cat. That way I never have to wonder which one is mine again.

I thought about it for a few minutes. I had always like the look of the Frostsabre Pridewatcher, a little colorful, a bit distinctive, and best of all they were a common spawn that I could just run over to the area and tame without camping forever.

What I saw when I got there made me change my mind though. As I ran up to frostsabre rock I saw a flash of blue amongst the white. Pausing a moment to look a found none other than Rak’shiri looking back at me.

A trap and a tame later the newest addition to the family joined up to help take the raiding pressure off of Shadow. (he is a bit long in the tooth after all, just look how tired he is)

 

So if you are at all curious what I have been up to all week, I spent it in a cave. Just the two of us getting ready for friday nights raid. My entire playtime for Wed, Thurs, and Friday up till an hour before the raid was spent grinding that cave over and over again.

Two full clears per bubble.

Six bubbles per level.

Five levels in two and a half days.

When my bags filled I would drop my portable mailbox and mail everything off while mailing myself bullets, food, and drink from a bank alt.

I have a twenty eight slot ammo pouch, and I emptied it twice in that cave.

In the end it was all worth it as we raided Naxx together Friday night.

 

 

So when you ask why I have not written in nearly a week I can honestly say “Sorry, I was living in a cave”

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 484 other followers