I’ve been quiet about WoW lately, because most of the stuff I used to find fun… isn’t.

I used to enjoy;

  • Playing end game instances/raids with others
  • Leveling/questing/exploring in the world
  • Playing cooperatively while leveling with my wife

I’m not going to write some massive bearwall. It would be too long, and undoubtedly boring.

What I will say is, I didn’t enjoy the way Wrath made every 10 person guild a potential progression raiding guild, with that inevitable awareness in the back of everyone’s head that you could possibly see everything in the game… if you started raiding more often. And started taking it a little more seriously. I did enjoy the tempo and design of instances in Wrath, though. Say what you will about them, I enjoyed being able to get a group and burn through an instance at a fast pace. It was pretty cool. I’m not talking about the difficulty level or lack thereof, I’m talking about how long the bloody things took. With Cataclysm, we have the same 10 and 25 person raid progression go go go, but with Burning Crusade style instances requiring teamwork, coordination and cooperation.

I love the new heroic instances as a concept, and I applaud Blizzard for combining the carrot of leveled guild rewards with the stick of heroic instances that are hell on pugs. I think Blizzard sat down and did some serious thinking on how to deal with the endless bitching and complaining about asshats in PUGs. From out of these meetings came the realization that if they could just get the players to form larger guilds, and make them WANT to play in runs as guilds instead of PUGs, then the asshats they end up hating will be in their own guild… and all that bile and hatred would be turned on guild leaders and officers to deal with the asshats rather than on Blizzard.

A guild you can level with great in-game rewards, mounts, pets, Heirlooms and stuffs? Where having more people doing things levels you faster? And to level the guild you have to do things together that you used to PUG? Well played, Blizzard. Well played. I hope that your customer service complaints have been reduced in the percentages expected.

I’m not enjoying exploring the world, because all of Azeroth has changed, and the instancing means that my max level characters can’t just go out there and check things out 100%, learn it. Oh no, if I want to see the zone the way it’s supposed to be… I have to do all the quests in the zone, damn near. On everyone.

And hey, it sure would be nice to go hang out with a lower level friend, maybe help out… oh wait, I’m in the wrong phase. Oh well, guess you’re on your own. Sorry!

And I’m mostly not enjoying playing cooperatively with  the love of my life and best friend, whom I happen to be married to. You see, even if you’re grouped together, and playing together, and leveling together and staying in perfect sync XP to XP… a lot of this phasing takes you out of the game world into your own little custom zone, for you to address the serious stuff.

Boy, that’s just great when you were doing the quests together, and one of you is the Tank while the other is DPS/Healing. “Where the hell were you when I had to kill the bad guy? Sucker tried to eat me?” “Sorry, I think I slipped into an alternate universe there for a second. My bad.”

Blech.

On a side note, a digression, a sidebar if you will…. Blizzard, it takes a special kind of genius to design a game that has as its sole end game focus GROUPING… to work hard to emphasize grouping, to drive people to bigger guilds, and to design content requiring teamwork and cooperation and coordination, just as I said before… but to make sure that while leveling up while questing, that you CAN’T COMPLETE THE LEVELING QUESTS AS A COOPERATIVE GROUP.

Boy, with all of that, you might think that I’m a whisker’s breadth away from quitting, right?

Damn near, my friends. Damn near.

What is keeping me from that is one main thing.

I CAN play cooperatively while questing with the woman I love. I just have to do it in Outlands or Northrend, that’s all. And then, once we finish in Northrend… well, I guess we’re done, because the new content is another clusterfu&^ for leveling while grouped.

So I’m playing my Frost Mage while Cassie tanks as a Bear. She dinged 68 last night while I’m still at 67, in Shadowmoon Valley.

It’s so much fun… sad to say, my biggest hope now is that Blizzard doesn’t “improve” the old content, it’s the only stuff we can still play together as a team.

I am also contemplating trying something wacky with folks on some other server somewhere, doing Elune only knows what. There’s a really fun-sounding concept guild called “Twits and Giggles” that the Disciplinary Priest started over on Fizzcrank-US, Alliance side. It’s Death Knights only, and as the title implies, it’s just for fun. I could try that. I’ve been leveling a DK on my server, but wtf, I could do another one, right?

It’s either that, or see if I can find someone somewhere that can use a Bear tank once in a while, but who can’t commit to playing that often. Yeah, put THAT in your application and see how far you get, huh?

30 Responses to “WoW! Sorta kinda maybe”
  1. Dechion says:

    That goes a long way toward explaining the sense of meloncholy that has been hovering about the most of my WoW friends of late.

    More and more friends are not logging in any more.

    More and more of my fellow bloggers are going silent.

    I’m very close to being one of them myself.

    • Mhorgrim says:

      This is sad, and here I am just starting up blogging on social and personal observations as I rise through the ranks. Hope you stick around!

  2. ben says:

    I would have expected blizzard to learn their lesson from Icecrown Citadel and the group quests that were difficult to get a group together because different ppl were phased to different things.
    Cataclysm sure did split WoW. Now Azeroth in each realm is thousands of different shards, each character perceiving their own world. Its become quite psychological. Each character sees their own world.

    I miss wow occasionally. but playing actual single player games where i can play to my own schedule is much better.

  3. […] Found: http://thebigbearbutt.com/2011/03/09/wow-sorta-kinda-maybe/ […]

  4. Dave says:

    The only significant problem I had with phasing was trying to summon people to ICC. I never did any quests in the zone, so I was never in the same phase as basically anyone.

    And, uh, there must be something I’m missing about phasing, because if you’re leveling up 1-to-1 then you should always be in the same phase, yeah? My girlfriend and I did all of Cataclysm together and were never apart.

    • Solitha says:

      What Dave said.

      I leveled two toons 80-85 in cooperation with my husband’s, and don’t recall any time we were separated. I’m rather surprised to hear the complaint about you and Cassie being in different-but-equal phases.

      Recall also that it’s a long-range goal of Blizz’s to allow high-level toons to scale downward to pair up with a low-level friend.

      • Gilgalen says:

        If you are doing quests lockstep, then yeah, for the vast majority you are in the same phase. However, if one of you has done one mini-chain, you can’t always run with the other person to help them catch up. BUT, there are definitely places where there are ‘hard’ phases that being on the same quest doesn’t make a difference.

        Right off the top of my head, the wedding in Twilight Highlands was one of them. I was in tank mode and my wife was in squishy mode and we were separated. That was not a fun feeling at all. There are several places where this happens. Uldam was probably the worst for hard phasing.

      • bigbearbutt says:

        We have started level 1’s to play together. You’re experience at 80 – 85 may be different, but I can assure you that we’ve had some interesting phasing problems from quests in the low level zones. And by interesting, I mean “seriously? wtf?”

  5. Yojamba says:

    I so identify myself with this post! I’m trying to find ways to keep playing and have fun.
    I just started a new druid, gonna try and level up slowly without any pressure, and blog about it. Maybe this way i’ll get some of the fun back! Gonna try and create a guild just for trolls, just for the sake of it.
    Maybe this way I’ll be around a bit longer…

    • Mhorgrim says:

      For whatever motive, it’s good to see someone who is going after a no pressure easy leveling. I hope this works for you. I know for me, especially with my busy schedule, it makes things alot more fun. Well, most of the time, I’m writing a post on my Blog about Fel Iron grinding right now lol. Anyways, I hope the magic returns.

  6. Aleysha says:

    I have one word for you: RIFT
    ‘Nuff said ;)

  7. Kadomi says:

    Rift is really awesome for cooperative leveling. It is a lot easier to die in Rift than it is during WoW-leveling. There is no phased content, and the only downside is probably that the questing is vanilla-style, kill 10 foozles style for the most part.

    The game does something very rewarding, exploring is totally encouraged. If you climb the highest mountains and dive into the deepest lakes, you have a shot at finding artifacts and cairns with excellent loot as reward.

    I play WoW for the raids on the weekend, and Rift for the rest of the week. The WoW content from 1-85 is great as solo player, doing all quests once, but has very little replay value for me, after six years.

  8. Tsudrats says:

    Put that on your guild app for us and you’d have a spot immediately … :) … really :) you just have to accept that our guild are there because we enjoy ourselves rather than follow some strict timetable on things so it can take a while to cover all the content :).

    Phasing … is rubbish … that and soul patched trees I’d do away with

    I want the blue tree form from Nexus

  9. Analogue says:

    I’m really not sure why, but my husband and I just didn’t have trouble leveling together. Maybe twice there were quests that auto-turned-in and phased us over leaving one behind for five minutes, that was it. Possibly our recent Refer-a-Friend experiences had taught us better questing-together habits; ever since then I’ve had a sneaking suspicion that if I turn in a quest and he’s not there, I won’t get enough XP for it!

  10. Bunnyfer says:

    Hubby and I have been playing WoW as a team now for over 5yrs. We have leveled multiple toon combos together, and we have never experienced this problem you guys are having…even in the 80-85 grind. True, sometimes a quest will phase us for a min or 2, but we always on the same phase most of the time.

    I do agree though, something is missing, and I wonder if the joy of the game may be running its course. I am considering putting WoW on hold, and picking up RIFT instead…I keep hearing so many good things….but I have devoted so much to WoW…walking away seems so hard…

    • Mhorgrim says:

      Hmm to this, the MMO community said the same thing about Age of Conan, Aion, and a few other titles. Certainly go out and try it, but as a new game, I promise you that it is still unpolished and buggy as hell. Take a break from WoW for certain. I did for an entire year, came back and have had a blast with my wife and some close friends in our small guild.

  11. TheGrumpyElf says:

    The way you started writing it I was thinking I wrote it. I used to like those things and now they lost their appeal. Seems that way for a lot of cataclysm content if you ask me. Sad really. It sucks that you can’t go and help someone out because you either have not done the prerequisite quests yet or you already did them. Nice way to create a team attitude blizzard, don’t let us team up.

    My guild would take someone like that as long as they realized they where a back up only. I am sure lots of guilds are like that. It would not ruin an application.

    I have a DK on that server, level 80 too. Maybe one day I will go there and get it to 85. I have DKs all over the place, funny being that is the only class I don’t actually play.

  12. Pawzy says:

    I hear you. After the changes to bear tanking, I got frustrated with my little twink druid at 75. She’s been sitting there for months. The questing has felt.. uninspired for my warrior and shaman. The only fun I have in WoW anymore is roleplaying. I rerolled on Wyrmrest Accord and lucked into a good guild of RPers and have fun again.

  13. Mhorgrim says:

    My wife and I quest and instance together as well. I know the phased questing is sort of a pain in the ass. Sometimes we have to wait for one another to catch the same phase so it can be a little bit of a challenge. But over all, the game still has a ton to offer. I wouldn’t give up on it quite yet. Hope you guys don’t quit, I’ve been a lurker on your Blog for a bit and enjoy it. anyways, best of luck out there.

  14. Zelmaru says:

    You should come join us on Azuremyst in Eff the Ineffable. We have a few bloggers. A part-time bear *is* hard to squeeze in, just because tanks tend to need to be ahead on the gear curve, and part-time tanks generally have lesser gear… but part-time healers or dps are much easier to swap in.

    • bigbearbutt says:

      I swear, if I didn’t know that I as an individual was just some dumb schmuck, I’d think that there was a concerted effort to get me to come to Eff the Ineffable.

      As things stand, I’m smart enough to attribute it to you folks just being nice in general, though.

      Hey, Grimmtooth is in Eff, so at least I know I’d have ONE hunter to harass!

      Don’t be surprised if I come say hi to you folks soon, just to say hi.

      • Zelmaru says:

        Yeah feel free to create an alt and harass us there. Or listen in on a raid. Some people decide it’s the right atmosphere for them and others do not. One dude I think got scared off because we were all talking about our exes one night.

  15. Tesh says:

    Psychochild’s article on “Punishing Grouping” is a good, relevant read. It still surprises me that Blizzard, of all people, with their obsessive focus on group content at the endgame, don’t get this stuff right. I maintain that the dev team is schizophrenic.

    http://psychochild.org/?p=745

  16. Arrowrest says:

    I hate to say it, but the idea of elemental invasions and how that changes the world for everyone in a particular area in Rift makes more sense as a game design to me than Blizzard’s player-centered use of phasing content. I don’t know how well that will hold over time in the game but it’s a refreshing approach when you compare it to WoW’s pre-Cataclysm elemental invasion. Even Rift’s ideas for rewarding people for exploring the world rather than sitting in the city hubs seems refreshing despite how simple an idea it is. I think people are feeling down about Cataclysm because there really wasn’t anything new that Blizzard did in this expansion compared to Wrath, just a refinement of what we had before.

    Perhaps the designers were too caught up in redoing the 1-60 game (and redoing all of that was no mean feat) but I do get a real sense that something has gone astray. I’ve played now for over five years and this is the first expansion that has not “wowed” me if you’ll pardon the pun. Seriously, why don’t we see Deathwing stomping through Ironforge killing everyone in his path once and awhile like Highlord Kruul did back before BC or random elemental invasions that take over questing hubs like in Rift? Give players a reason to want to go kill the big dragon. I’d think by this expansion there’d be some sort of dynamic content in WoW or something new to keep people occupied between raids besides dailies but right now I don’t see anything on the horizon.

  17. Joel says:

    As usual, you are living in my own head. I can’t have said any of this more perfectly.

  18. Eryius says:

    Although I do not experience what you mention, you have not mentioned one thing which might bring you new joy: PvP (I say MIGHT)

    How about trying to do some PvP together?
    I’ve never been into PvP much, but going into an arena as a well-played team with a healer can be a killer :)
    Also BG’s can be a lot of fun with a pair. I really enjoy the PvP more at this point than PvE (and I’m on a PvE server, so I only PvP in BG/Arena).

    Might give it a shot, getting the honor for initial PvP gear is manageable (not super fast, but ok-ish) and that gives some nice resilience to get you started.

    Just an idea, maybe it helps :)

  19. RiegnMan says:

    Well, once again you have hit right on target with my feelings and thoughts on the game. I quit playing at the end of Jan. and haven’t missed it. . . yet.
    I ran 4 of my toons to 85 and got my bear tank geared and tanking Heroics. I liked them, just not most of the ppl from the PUGs. Then I lvl’ed all professions to 525. That is always a dead give-away that the end is near for me. Then I said “hey, I’m gonna lvl a hunter”. So I lvl’ed a hunter from 1 to 85 ’cause I thought that a hunter would be fun just to “play”. It was, for a day or two. After I got all the spirit beast it got old too.
    I have all these alts sitting at 85 or in their 80s, a lvl 3 guild with a 4 tab guild bank to store all my crap and tens of thousands of gold sitting in the bank and I can’t think of anything fun to do. So I cancelled my subscription and started playing tabletop D&D with my wife and 5 of my kids a couple nights a week. I have never looked back.
    For about 3 hours two nights a week, I have the undivided attention of my family (minus the one teenage boy that talks to his GF on the phone for 6 hours every evening) and we have a blast. That’s just something that WoW can’t do even if everyone was playing WoW at the same time.

  20. Hugmenot says:

    I commented how the new zones were unkind to couples a few months. My wife and I ran into the same problem very early in the expansion and we found the only solution (if we want to quest together in Cataclysm) is to be on the same exact quests at all time, We leveled one pair this way from 80 to 85 but the second pair is very slow going because all the quests are absolutely trivial when grouped with another player. No challenge is no fun.

    I ended deleting a 80 so to start another pair from scratch. We mostly level 2- or 3- manning instances on our way to 80. 2-manning is generally more enjoyable – especially when we use two hybrids – but 3-manning is a hoot if a clothie is tanking.

    Something is definitely missing when we have to ignore the way the game is designed to be played to enjoy it.

    And don’t get me started on every quest having a “hip” reference …

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