Archive for the “General” Category

Last night I bought my son a planet.

How cool is that? I bought a planet for my son.

I shopped online, got a really good deal on a planet, brand new, nice solar system, fresh unexplored territory for he and his friends to play around on.

Even better, in this brave new world, I am God.

My son loves Minecraft, as do many of his classmates. If anyone knows this it’s you folks, single player can be cool but sharing what you’ve done with your friends online? Force multiplier of sheer awesome.

Some of the kids don’t play the same version of Minecraft the Cub does. Some are on the tablet version (PE) and others are on a trial version instead of the full thing. Still, four or five of them are on the PC and could join in on multiplayer if their parents permitted.

Before unleashing my infinite power and creating a new planet, I had to consider what my goal as a parent was in this.

What I came up with was;

1) A single place for them to play together.
2) Easy to setup/access for the computer illiterate parents.
3) A gated community for our children – no strangers AT ALL.
4) Controlled environment – game rules set to limit abusive behaviors.
5) Security – hardware and software protected from external hacking.
6) Persistent and independant – the game world exists 24/7, independant of my computer hardware or internet connection.

I started messing around with creating my own server world on my computer, biggest benefit being it’s free (assuming you own a licensed account for Minecraft) but I quickly ran afoul of points 5 and 6. If I’m running it on my computer, it’s always got to be on in the background. Also, ports need to be opened, forwarded, protected, etc. IP needs to be permanent instead of dynamic, all that stuff.

I set it up anyway, checked and it worked GREAT for the Cub and I to play within our home network. If it was just going to be a server for us to do multiplayer on it was perfect. To stabilize and secure it so others could log in? A bit more than I wanted to get into.

So instead of creating a world, let’s sub-contract. I went looking to buy a planet.

I checked a few server providers, and found MCProHosting. For about $2.50 a month, I could buy my own planet. Well, rent. But that included mineral rights, so it’s all good. We’ll strip mine that sucker and never look back.

Real estate has never been cheaper!

So yeah, I did that. I bought a planet for mah boy for his birthday. What did you get YOUR kid for their birthday, a PONY? Ah hah hah hah hah haaaaa. Losers.

What I found after dropping some dough on a discworld was that even for someone like me that has no clue whatsoever about setting up a Minecraft server, they make it pretty easy to take over possession of a pristine planet.

I looked at the options, and chose the $6 a month plan. The $2.50 limited you in three ways; overall Mb, only 5 simultaneous players online and vanilla Minecraft 1.7.4, no mods allowed.

For $6 a month, I get to have up to 18 players on the world at a time, more than enough to cover the Cub and his friends. Also, while it’s set up as a vanilla Minecraft 1.7.4 world right now, I have the option of either having MCPro install some mod packs for me, or I can select and upload my own .jar files and plugins.

Best of all, the world is a true gated community. You can set up your whitelist so only the player names you specify are allowed to log in. The Cub can give his classmates the IP address, but unless they give us their player names and we include them on the whitelist, they cannot come in.

This isn’t like a ventrilo or mumble server on your local realm, where if you give out the info for pugs in a raid you’ve got to change the password or wonder who the heck these strange people are. Set it up with a whitelist and everyone is forbidden access unless specifically invited in.

I like that.

Access is denied! Papers please? Papers? You got badges? You DO need to show me your stinking badges!

The last thing I did was go through the world configuration settings with the Cub before he went to bed. I ran down every option to ask him how he wanted it set up.

He got to choose that it be set to creative mode, that flying be allowed, that monsters CAN spawn but it’s set to easy difficulty so there will be SOMETHING to fight but not too hard.

And, at my very strenuous suggestion, there is NO PVP allowed. in the immortal words of Barney Fife, NIP IT IN THE BUD.

We both logged into the world before and after our changes. It was good, spawn point next to a lake, I got blown up by a creeper or two before we changed it to creative and the Cub laughed at me, but all in all a lovely little world.

Now comes the God part.

Before we changed the settings and made it a creative world, we were poking around on survival going “gee, it worked!”

I saw that while I was logged into the server admin panel, I could click on active players. I selected my son, and it gave me a range of options, including giving him any items in any quantity I wanted. I could also teleport him around or summon things to him. Basically, I had unlimited power over him without the itty bitty living space normally associated with it.

I tested it, selected a standard bed, quantity one, and ‘gifted’ it to him. Poof, it was in his inventory.

Suddenly, I can understand why some of these videos the Cub watches have interesting sub plots of the server admin whispering players on open multiplayer worlds and messing with them.

I’m very glad I am the admin. Not that my son would necessarily abuse the power when playing with his friends… but then again, I certainly would have when I was his age.

Are you kidding me?

If I could have summoned an Ender Dragon and dropped it on my friends’ heads when we were ten, you can damn well bet I would have.

The only difference between then and now is if I were to do it now, I’d FRAPS the results and post it to YouTube.

Cassie made very nice printed out cards with the server IP address on it, our phone number and email address, and put a note on them asking parents to call or email us for details so I can explain what it is we’re doing, and what the situation would be for their children while playing.

I hope we get some responses. It would be very cool for even one or two of the kids to begin playing with the Cub after school.

Especially since I’d be able to see what kinds of things they create when they put their minds together.

I am almost as excited as he is to see how it all turns out!

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Hailsword the Derpknight

Ever have one of those days where everything seems to be going too well, and you just know something is wrong somewhere but you don’t know what?

Before Mists of Pandaria launched, my son’s favorite character was his Death Knight, Hailsword. His favorite spec to play was Unholy, because permapet. He loves him his pet ghoul.

He just didn’t stay with it.

My son loved the look and feel of the zones in Northrend. That was where he felt at home. He liked the frozen cold and forbidding saronite walls of Icecrown, surrounded by undead and delighting in the opportunity they gave him to Control them and use them as his minions.

He did fall in love with the look of the giant Sha of Pandaria. He liked that there was an achievement for finding them all and killing them, he liked the mystery of who was the unknown Sha and where could it be hiding, he liked all the lore behind it.

He just didn’t like PLAYING it.

Basically, playing in Mists sounded great in theory, and looked cool, but in practise kinda sucked. Too many tough mobs traveling in packs to level quickly unless you were a tank.

So I set him up with a Blood tanking offspec to take on those mobs and not end up half dead every fight. Mostly for when he reached the last two zones.

I can’t remember how far past level 90 Alex continued playing Hailsword. I think he played enough to attain Exalted with the Cloud Serpents and raise his cloud serpent from a baby to an adult, but not much further than that.

Once he realized it would be months, if EVER that he would be able to join a group that could defeat the Sha in the Terrace of Endless Spring for the achievement, he lost his enthusiasm. He was excited until he realised that he had to be in a committed raid team to ‘catch ‘em all’. Not going to happen.

Time passes, though, and while he loves his Portal and Minecraft, he still misses his Death Knight and the golden age of Burning Crusade and Cataclysm.

Most especially he misses the more melee-friendly raids of LFR Dragon Soul, where melee didn’t have to master a doctorate in avoidance and dancing to survive five seconds without wiping a raid.

I decided, you know he really misses his Death Knight, so why not just spend my time playing Hailsword a little, try and get him some better gear? Get him set up so he could go into LFR alongside my Warlock main, and maybe we could get him having fun on it again.

Queue the bear playing a melee Death Knight, a class I know nothing about. I have one at level 85, and he’s very skilled at pet battling. Wears a pith helmet full time. Stylish!

I approached this project with all the skill and wisdom I show for all new projects.

I loaded it up, glanced at the buttons and figured it looked okay, figured yeah a lesser mortal might research it first, but screw it, how bad could it be? Faceroll Death Knight, toss some timeless gear on him and go kill some shit.

Granted some time far in the past I’d set him up as an Unholy Blood crossbreed, but I’m sure it’s all fine. He’s in Unholy spec, button bars are full, go for broke. It’s not rocket science, right?

I crafted a 553 belt and pants, made sure he had a decent weapon (a 510 weapon from some ancient ToT LFR) and we’re good to go.

I took Hailsword to Ordos and the Celestials. Got a season 15 neckpiece. Score! Gear getting better already.

Oh, maybe I should change my loot spec from Blood to Unholy. When did that happen? Wierd.

Then I decided to queue for LFR. Reforged, gemmed and enchanted per Ask Mr Robot so we MUST be good to raid, RIGHT?

RIGHT?!?

The first boss I get in LFR is the Sha fight, boss 4. Okay, big hit box, not too bad.

We won, and I was still alive at the end thanks to Death Strike being on my bar, man that thing does lots of self-healing. How OP is that? I get to do DPS AND heal myself.

Geez, unholy is kind of a pain the butt though, amiright? I’m always having to refresh my diseases and I’m spending FOR-EVER waiting for runes to refresh, standing around twiddling my furry thumbs. What a drag.

I queue again and get the first boss this time, all the trash packs and Immerseus.

WTF is it with tanks not keeping aggro on packs of bubbles on the trash? A few Blood Boils and here comes a black bubble or two to munch on me. Well, at least it’s not on a healer, so I’m providing raid utility. I’m helping!

Get the boss down, not bad, working my butt off I pull 85k DPS, but still, lots of downtime waiting for runes to regenerate, and I hate not having a button to click.

After all that, I just don’t have it in me to go on. 85k, working hard, and all the melee chasing to do in the Fallen Protectors? I don’t have the energy for that shit. Blech.

It occured to me as I left the LFR raid, maybe I should visit Icy Veins, see what they recommend for Glyphs and Talents, make sure I’ve got the right stuff. I haven’t looked at any of that stuff except to make sure I had some, maybe there’s something better.

Hmm, talents selected looked pretty good, might be a good idea to put some of them on my bar so i actually use them.

Glyphs, wow my glyphs were messed up. I had that leveling glyph for refreshing Death Grip, didn’t have Festering Blood, I DID have the no taunt Glyph for Army of the Dead though, so pro all the way.

Then I moved on to the page at Icy Veins that discusses optimizing DPS rotations for Unholy. maybe I could learn something there. When should I be Blood Boiling? Before or after Death Strike?

Hmm, okay, so… Death Strike doesn’t seem to be on here. What is this they have here instead? Festering Strike? What’s that?

Festering Strike. So, that’s supposed to be on my bar, then? Oh, it’s an attack that automatically extends the duration of diseases so I’m not always blowing runes on other shit.

Gee. That might help.

Oh, and I wonder which presence I’m supposed to be in? What presence am I in now, I guess I should have checked that earlier.

Oh, I’m in Blood presence, is that good?

Oh.

Oh, so Blood is for threat gen and health, for a DPS Blood would be bad.

So, I’m guessing that would be bad to have on for the entire duration of LFR boss fights and add phases?

Unholy presence is the one for Unholy spec? I never would have guessed.

At least my transmog is looking good. If I’m going to derp, do it in style!

I guess it could be worse.

I suppose I could have gone into LFR naked, wearing only a cock ring and a smile.

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The toughest challenge facing MMO developers is how to create content faster than players can consume and become bored by it.

Traditionally, core MMO content is a story you play through, presented in the form of a chain of quests. Each quest is a link in the chain giving you a small part of the story, then sending you on to the next link. If the story events change location, the next quest will direct you where to go, or might intend for you to search for clues or items to guide you in exploring the area on your own, and in the process revealing more quest chain beginnings. All of it intended to help you continue the story.

It’s an interactive novel that unfolds at your own pace. A great idea that I know I’ve loved playing.

The problem is I can blow through a great book faster than most folks can write one.

MMO developers are a canny bunch, they knew that going in. The earliest content included built-in molasses to slow us down so we couldn’t consume content faster than it came out.

Those lovely grind quests and slow foot travel while leveling, followed by reputation grinding, drop requirements to craft resist gear to equip your team before taking on tougher raid challenges, attunements and keys, and on and on.

It worked, but it couldn’t work forever, especially with a subscription model and more competition with newer and shinier toys.

We will never stop wanting more new content, as soon as it comes out we devour it and immediately hunger for more.

But that’s with the traditional story-based content model.

Our MMO play experience in the past has been to travel through zones and continents as the quests direct us, and in the process we reveal more of the story step-by-step.

The drawback to this system is, once you complete the last quest in the last chain, you’re done. The quests are either done or not, there is no partial completion or partial reward.

I think the solution is going to require changing what we consider as MMO ‘content’.

Now before we get too far into what tose changes might be, let me say I’ve always felt there was one big ‘gotcha’ to the quest chain story progression system; outleveling quests.

I don’t know about you, but one of the things about story questlines that has caused me problems in the past is when I leave a quest chain before that ‘chapter’ of the story gets resolved.

Usually it happens because my character had leveled past the point where the quests were providing experience or rewards. “I want to play with my friends in end game”, I think, “I’ll come back and finish that later to see what part of the story I missed.”

Whatever the reason for it, when you abandon a quest chain in the middle, you never resolve that part of the story. You don’t know what happened, and that can leave you confused later in the game when you begin quest chains designed for players of a higher level.

You start taking part in a quest chain several chapters deeper into the story and you’ve just been dropped down in the middle of stuff. You don’t know who the players are or what the big reveal is that went down before. You don’t have a frame of reference for how important any of the smaller nuances of the story may be to the big picture.

For those who played World of Warcraft during the Wrath of the Lich King expansion, imagine having abandoned the quest chain in the middle, right before you would have reached the Wrathgate. Imagine having missed all of that story and cutscene, and then try to figure out what is happening later on strolling into Icecrown.

Can you do it? Sure. Would it cause the story to feel disjointed, even broken? I can only imagine.

I think, personally, that this is one of the reasons some of the big story elements are revealed in out-of-game books sometimes, especially the lead ups to expansions. And sure, it encourages players to buy the books. But this way a player might not know what quests are or are not critical to following the story, but they know that the book holds a big chunk of ‘what you need to know before Warlords of Draenor explodes on the scene.”

The traditional quest chains to deliver story aren’t entirely going away any time soon, but we’re mostly past gating content through agonizing grinds. Players are sick of it, and it doesn’t score anyone any brownie points.

To gate content, developers need to either build in obstacles like grinds to hinder our advance, OR provide us with so many options we always have something somewhere that feels worthwhile to do.

Queue the music as we see the effects of the current Timeless Isle rollout, and ponder the words of Blizzard that the Timeless Isles ‘spontaneous event’ system will be integrated throughout ALL of Draenor in the new expansion, and oh yeah, hello Garrisons.

We are told Garrisons are going to play a large role in Warlords of Draenor. If you look at the system they have proposed, you can see that it has leveling buildings, chasing drops, hunting for rares, running content for building patterns and managing teams of mionions all built into it’s structure.

Think about it. This is content that has no specific quest chain story associated with it; it is instead your own story of your continued expansion and entrenchment in the hostile terrain of Draenor.

Garrisons takes away the rails of guided quest chains and replaces them with an RTS resource management and base building mechanic. Your advancement and progression in that mechanic is gated by how many things you can do that will all result in an improved Garrison, or leveled up or more powerful minions.

And let’s talk about minions for a moment.

They will have levels, and you can assign them gear drops. Have you played Diablo III? You can give your buddies gear in that game as well to make them more powerful.

Have you played mobile games such as Marvel Puzzle Quest or Heroes of Dragon Age? Those games also feature a team you have to select, train, level and manage. That is the entire heart of the gameplay, seeking out new, more powerful members of your team, training them, leveling them and assigning them to tasks. They do the work while you plan your strategy and wait for the result.

World of Warcraft is dropping the gameplay of team management games like Heroes of Dragon Age directly into Warlords of Draenor as just one aspect to the expansion. Thank the devs that there will be no microtransactions to make me want to kill them.

The result? The more engaging that aspect of the game is, the less we will miss story-driven quest chains.

Now consider the ramifications of Timeless Isles style spontaneous events spread across an entire continent.

Right now, Mists of Pandaria has many rare creatures to seek out and kill for achievements and a chance at various cool drops. My personal favorite is the Ai-Li Skymirror.

How much more challenging will it be when it’s not just a rare creature we have a chance to stumble across for a quick kill and a chance at loot, but an entire event such as the pirate ship spawning, or the adds that come to life that you can begin to kill to have a boss spawn.

And how much more will it draw us into grinding, without grinding, when all of those events have their own loot tables and chances for rare pets, rare minions, rare Garrison building patterns or even epic loot.

Grinding, without grinding. That is when you’re doing something that should be tedious or time consuming, but you don’t mind because you’re engaged in the thrill of the hunt.

The Timeless Isles has succeeded to a point. It brought us all sorts of things to do, along with repeatable daily quest chains, loot from reputation grinds and token drops at vendors, rares with loot tables, TONS of goodies and events and things to do.

It’s occupied folks for months now, and let’s be honest. It’s a small island. It’s a flea speck in the vast sea.

Now take that experience and spread it out over an entire continent.

I intentionally avoided using the word ‘sandbox’ to describe what we’re going to get. So long as there is a guided quest experience and leveling, the game will not be a true sandbox to do whatever you want in.

But they are dropping entire new types of gameplay in, massive expansions on their Farm and Timeless Isles and Pet Battles systems.

I think if we look at the whole, we can see where Blizzard is going with the MMO. If we take speedbumps like grinds and reputation gates away, we have to add something else to slow the rate we devour content.

It seems to me that instead of throwing rocks in our path, they’re adding more games within the game to distract us, to lead us away from story advancement and give us other things to chase to occupy our time.

I am fascinated to see how much of the game continues to have strong story-driven questlines in it.

I am imagining an expansion where the same quality and quantity of story-line quests from the original Mists of Pandaria expansion are released with the addition of all of this other non-quest content to do right from the get-go.

I’m imagining it, and a huge smile is spread over my face.

You give me a team of minions to manage, I might not even notice we don’t get new quests in a content patch. Sorry, too busy picking my team to raid Onyxia, I’ll go quest later.

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When Warlords of Draenor comes out, we’ve been told that the existing stat system is getting a pretty big overhaul.

Reforging is being removed, taking control over the fine tuning and balancing of our stats away from us.

I keep hearing cheers for this. I don’t understand it.

Yes, I do understand that they are removing Hit (and I believe Expertise) from modern gear.

Without a ‘hit cap’ or expertise cap to reach to eliminate misses, we will no longer have to depend on reforging our early gear to reach a hit cap at the expense of other stats.

That simplifies things, certainly, but it doesn’t remove the benefits of having reforging available.

Every class and spec has some stats that are preferred over others. And with Haste in the game, some classes have certain ‘break points’ where reaching a set amount of Haste will give one extra tick of a Hot or Dot.

I don’t understand why I would WANT to give up the capability of choosing a stat I want to prioritize over others, and reducing other stats to get more of what is truly valuable to me.

I can see why Blizzard would do it, I’m saying I don’t understand why I’m supposed to be happy about it.

World of Warcraft is easy to learn, and requires some effort to master. Right? Of course you CAN play your characters without reforging, optimizing stats, reaching hit caps, etc. Just as you can queue for LFR without enchanting or gemming your gear.

Yay?

I like having reforging available as an option.

I once played this game without reforging being in it. Did you?

A lot of us did.

You may recall, during Burning Crusade, when there was no reforging but there WERE gem slots and gem cutting.

As a Bear Druid Tank, I made quite a few posts breaking down the benefits and how-tos of ‘reforging’ your stats using gems to get the most benefit in damage mitigation and avoidance. Because we wanted to be the best we could at our role, and the only tool we had at the time to adjust our shit was doing the math on stats from gems.

I rejoiced over the addition of reforging because it meant MOST of my fiddle-fapping around could be done at the reforger instead of by using expensive gems.

If you’re going to remove reforging and expect me to actually be happy about it, then the core reason why we wanted reforging in the first place has to be removed entirely.

Our gear would have to dynamically shift stat weights to favor the most optimum stat balance for our current spec FOR us.

Either every leather-wearing agility-using class would need to share the same stat priorities, or the agility leather chestpiece that drops would have to adjust it’s own stats so that when equipped by a Guardian Druid it has more crit but when equipped by a Rogue it has more Haste.

Those are not to represent what those classes/specs want NOW. It’s just to illustrate that we know that ain’t gonna happen, so I am unhappy reforging is going away.

As far as I can tell, the reason we shouldn’t mind that reforging is being removed is because they are royally fucking gear stats.

Our gear will now have main stat and stamina, and those other stats on it are, well, a bonus. We should consider ourselves lucky they have those bonus stats, and what bonus stats something has may be made up at random, so you never know what gumdrop will pop out from the loot dispenser next.

So now Normal, Heroic, Mythic and Warforged get a new variable added to the mix; stat roulette. What will we get this time? Will it be useful, or crap for my class? Oh boy!

I’m still not seeing how this system is going to result in anything other than our keeping every damn piece of loot we get so we can swap pieces in and out to balance our stats that way. Yes, keeping three different chest pieces in my inventory is far better than visiting a reforging vendor.

Okay, I’ve gotten that out of my system. It’s not live yet, and since I occasionally play on a heroic raiding team I might be unusual in my desire to squeeze every drop of capability out of my character that I can get to offset my lack of skill.

I don’t know, I can’t see the future. Maybe when the new stat and gear system comes out, we’ll be so excited at the way our gear changes from healing to tanking to DPS as we change specs that we won’t care about stat maximizing anymore. Maybe we’ll just let it go and stop sweating it so much.

While I’m talking about stats and changes to the system in Warlords, I’d like to hit one more topic.

Haste.

I would like to see the removal of Haste as a stat from the entire system.

I am playing a lot of characters, swapping back and forth right now. And for the first time I can recall, I am playing multiple characters of the same class.

I am playing my heroic-geared Warlock, and then I switch over and immediately play my son’s LFR and Timeless Isles geared Warlock.

I raid with both Warlocks, I make the same effort to gem/enchant/reforge both, they both have the same spec, it’s apples to apples.

Don’t check Wooffie on the Armory today, I got two new pieces of gear late last night and I haven’t gemmed or reforged anything to accomodate them yet. Normally, he’s the bees knees.

I’ve noticed this before, a LOT, but the Wooffie to Ursinerate swapping has really shoved it in my face.

Haste as a stat SUCKS FOR GAMEPLAY.

The other stats all increase or decrease potential damage or survivability. Bigger numbers, smaller numbers.

Haste is the only stat that actually changes how your character feels to play.

The more Haste you get, the faster those buttons can be clicked, the faster your energy regens, the faster you can DO SHIT.

When your Haste is very low, as it is at the start of your gearing journey, fighting and using your abilities in combat, and waiting for energy to regenerate can feel like punching under water. The moves are there, but they’re sllooooowwwwwwww and have no sense of oomph to them.

As you improve your gear and your baseline Haste increases, abilities get faster, your character gets more responsive.

This is not fun.

Sure, if you’re raiding and your gear improves constantly so you’re running hot, it’s fine. Your character feels slicker than a greased otter in a jello-wrestling pit.

But what if you’re not raiding at the front of the curve? Most of us aren’t.

What, so we get to play characters that aren’t as responsive or nimble as others do?

Gameplay is the feeling we have when we play our character, how responsive it is, how quickly we can react and move and perform our abilities.

Stats that increase the power of our abilities makes sense, but stats that change the flow and frequency of how often we can USE those abilities change our impression of our characters, how they feel to handle and control, and can give a new player the feeling that this character with long cast times sucks to play because slooowww, while this other character with lots of instant casts is far more fun because buttons.

I would like to see all characters have the ‘good’ Haste rate be standard. Characters should always be responsive and quick to play, we can have our power gated by some other tool than by limiting how often you get to push a button.

My hunter, who I began to play a bit the last week (I blame Rosin) won the trinket in LFR Siege that reduces the cooldown of a lot of abilities.

Totally transforms the character play flow, things feel faster, more responsive. A LOT more fun.

Why not feel like that all the time? Why stand around twiddling thumbs, or waiting for glacially slow cooldowns spamming the same shot cause that is the only option up?

You don’t need Haste to reduce the effective power of a character. That greased otter feeling ought to be there all the time.

Thus ends this morning bear bullshit break. Have a great day!

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I’m gonna start with some facts, then veer wildy off into the weeds. You’re invited to come along with me, and point at the pretty aminals just before they eat us.

Last night our guild leader Tom went looking to kick off an open Flex run.

He filled up the raid list with folks who wanted to go that weren’t already in the other main raid team slapping Sha around in Siege normal.

He thought we were a might light in our loafers where tank and healing was concerned, so he brought in a warrior offtank and a druid healer from Oqueue.

Sounds familiar? Seem pretty normal? Ask around with your friends first, and then move to a more open platform where strangers roam the arid plains.

Off we go to flex-mode Siege sequence two, the Galakrasical Wonders of the Flappy-Winged Age.

Kill all the trash, try like heck to pull everything on the beach at once to pad AoE DPS, fight to set off cannon bombs while players are still in them, the usual shenanigans.

We get lined up, set up a tower team, make the pull and midway through lose the new tank and healer down below in the valley and it all drops in the pot.

No worries, right? Most of us are on alts anyway.

Being on alts means, we HOPE to pull it out since we know what we’re doing, and get gear on our alts that could use it.

BUT… if the bosses aren’t dying, we swap alts out and bring mains in until bosses start dying. It’s the natural order of things.

Sometimes, you need bigger guns.

Ah, but then comes this gem. This was a first for me, a high point in the week, nay the month.

What happened, though incredibly minor, is the kind of thing I’ll remember long after I forget what raid we were even doing back in this expansion.

Two things happened at the same time.

Tom was driven to check what happened to the tank that he died so fast. Squishy, or standing in bad, or what? He was from Oqueue, maybe there were performance issues.

I hear a lot of people suffer from performance issues. They make a drug for some of them, but not one you can take that helps your raid. And how do you bring the subject up with your flaccid tank? “Hi, we’ve noticed you’re kinda… squishy… lately. We think this will help.” [presents bottle of ARMORALL armor polish]

So Tom does a quick look to see what happened, and at the same time Pumpken, the most incredible healer that plays a Shaman ever in the game, and who happens to be on her main at the time, gets a whisper from the Oqueue druid healer.

The whisper is as follows;

tryhard

So Pumpken shares that whisper with us at the same time as Tom finds the problem. No heals coming from the OQueue Druid healer, who has low gear, no gems, no enchants, and apparently, no “try”.

Tom let the druid go, removed him from the raid. Told him, “Go get gemmed and enchanted, and we can take you some other time.”

The Druid called Pumpken a “Try Hard”. Like, as an accusation.

What, was he afraid she was making him look bad?

This is the great lie. Someone else does not make you look bad. Only YOU can make you look bad.

You, by not performing, by not moving out of bad, by not bothering to gem or enchant or reforge your gear.

By not trying.

YOU make you look bad, by not giving a shit. By not trying.

Others do what they do. Has nothing to do with you.

We were laughing about that “try hard” stuff in vent and in guild chat for a long time after that. Mostly ’cause I couldn’t let it go. That attitude is fascinating, I keep circling it like a dog smelling shit. It’s horrifying and yet I can’t stop looking at it.

Someone else in guild, not one of the progressive raiders, saw us basically mocking him for being upset at Pumpken for, what, healing too well? Giving a shit? And asked, legitimately not wanting to ALSO be mocked some time in the future, “What iLevel should I be to join your Flex runs? I’d like to start going too.”

Tom answered “Meh, whatever. It’s Flex, come join us.”

It’s not about being an elitist. It’s about whether you can do the best you can with what you’ve got, and that you try to be prepared. Basically, that if you’re putting yourself out there to join a bunch of others, that you’re going to give a shit, try to do your best (and raid utility!) and not tank the raid.

Unless you’re a tank. You know wtf I mean.

Listen, when all of your mains gear is 561 or higher, then everything else looks undergeared. You stop expecting the best possible gear, and instead you look at what seems reasonable for what you’re running at the moment.

And for Flex, what matters most is you are going to give a shit, you’re going to try, you’re going to care.

Since we can’t read your mind, we have to look at how you take care of your stuff.

Just like I, when interviewing someone for a job, will take a look at what they drive in to the interview, go out and look in the front seat while they are inside filling out the application. I hire service techs that will be out in the field all day long, given their own company truck. It’s reasonable to me that if I’m giving you a truck and I’m never going to see how you maintain it, then looking at how you take care of your personal car right now might clue me in as to whether you naturally give a shit and take care of your stuff, or just throw whopper wrappers and half-full pop bottles in the passenger foot well. It ain’t perfect, but it provides a clue.

Same with the character you’re bringing to the raid. If I look at your gear and see that it ain’t gemmed, enchanted, reforged, whatever. If you are missing major glyphs. If you forgot to take your level 90 Talent. If you never pop a flask, eat a food buff (even when given by a feast!) or cast your own raid buffs? None of that tells me whether you WILL try or not, but if some of it or all of it is missing, it’s a good clue that you don’t give a shit.

Or that normally you do give a shit, but this is an alt you don’t care about, so you haven’t paid it the attention a character you bring to a team raid deserves.

We have to look at these things, because now more than ever each player has to try hard.

When you get out there on the field of battle, you move your butt, you attack what needs to die first, you follow the flow. You interrupt. You move stuff away from others. You focus on the adds instead of padding the meters by burning the boss when it’s doing nothing to help us. Raid utility, whatever you brought, use it. It’s a force multiplier. Interrupts? CC on the trash before Garrosh? Big honking force multiplier.

This is what I love about the modern raids, and what increasingly irritates me about LFR and random person picked up from a queue.

These raids are designed so that every boss has a Lich King Defile.

Old school ‘get out of the bad’ meant if you stood in the bad, you died.

Modern ‘get out of the bad’ means, if you stand in the bad, the RAID dies. Or has a big pain in the butt to deal with.

It’s a shift in raid design. We had some special ones in the past. Remember Shade of Aran? “I will not move when Flame Wreath is cast or the raid blows up.” It was special and unique enough that there were monk chants on Youtube about it, it was infamous, because it was so damn simple… but if you had strangers in your raid group, somehow they always moved!

Now the fights are all like that!

Maybe it’s because of Deadly Boss Mods. Communication addons that, if you have them, clearly communicate in big honking letters, “pay attention naow!!!”

Maybe Blizzard feels if people are told what is happening that easily, then there needs to be more piled on top of it to strain your ability to process it all and react properly.

I dunno, but I like it.

At the same time, this is the biggest challenge I see in LFR and when I join other Flex runs, especially in OpenRaid with strangers.

It is not enough for the raid leader, tanks and healers to know what they are doing, move out of the bad, and by being awesome carry everyone else.

Each and every member of the team has to be a try hard. One person blindly attacking General Nazgrim during Defensive Stance, and endless Ravager axes come to eat you. That’s all it takes. One DPS who doesn’t act properly, and things go very wrong, very quickly.

Sure, you get enough really strong, solid raiders who outgear the stuff, and it compensates for a few that are in starter gear. Absolutely.

But that doesn’t mean it’s a blind carry. Those players in starter gear still have a profound impact on the flow of the fight. You don’t need mega-gear to interrupt a Shaman before they can get off a chain heal. You don’t have to do 300k DPS to pop a defensive cooldown and jump on a ticking time bomb before it blows and does damage to the entire raid.

Just, amazes the shit out of me. “Why are you such a try hard?”

There is a group of people sitting here beside you, thinking you give a shit.

The better question is, “Why aren’t you?”

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