Archive for the “General” Category
I’ve just been musing on the raids we’ve had so far, and some of the spoilers we had from the last Blizzcon.
We were told that the final raid boss of the Mists of Pandaria theme will be Garrosh.
Perhaps ‘final raid boss’ is too strong a term. Towards the end of this expansion, we will be going in to take Garrosh down, irrespective of faction.
We saw his willingness to use weapons of mana destruction against Theramore, the worrisome rise of high-placed assistants that come from the old Blackrock Orc clans, splintering within the Horde factions and covert assaults murdering those that dare to show their uneasiness or dissent.
What I’m wondering is, what would bring things to the point that a raid of destruction would be required to unseat Garrosh.
Yes, he is currently the Warchief of the Horde, but that doesn’t make him supreme dictator and overlord of all the peoples that make up the Horde.
The Horde is an alliance of disparate cultures, bound together for survival and mutual benefit. At a certain point, if the leaders of races other than the Orcs were to band together in opposition, what exactly will the Orcs do? Are the Orcs truly felt to be as powerful alone as all of the other Horde races put together?
Maybe so, but if things truly got to the point where Garrosh simply must go, and a coalition of the other Horde races allied with Thrall or other neutral factions confronted him, there need not necessarily be all out war.
Except for one worrisome thing. Garrosh has brought the Warlocks together into a solid force of destruction, used so far against the Alliance very effectively.
Are we seeing the seeds of what we’re going to face?
We know what happens when powerful emotions, especially negative emotions, are allowed to run unchecked in Pandaria. To give in to powerful negative emotions is to open your own heart to infestion by the Sha.
If you give in to your rage, your anger, your fear, you can become infested with and overcome by the Sha.
What are the Heart of Fear and Terrace of Endless Spring raids showing us? That a powerful Sha being can infest and control another soul against their will, even beings that are truly good, and direct them against us.
We have seen, especially in Terrace of Endless Spring, that the beings so controlled by Sha may by their nature try to fight the control, and not want to do what they are doing, but the greater Sha are so powerful that it takes an outside force to break the control and purge the being of the influence of the Sha.
We also know one other thing.
We know that a long, and fairly deep quest chain for the Warlock class, going into and through the Black Temple, will play a part in this expansion. And who is noted for the sudden use of Warlocks and the Dark Arts in war?
So, are we seeing what will come?
Will the current war between Alliance and Horde in Krasarang result in Garrosh coming to the shores of Pandaria, bringing the organized use of Warlcoks with him, and will his incredibly powerful negative emotions lead him to become infested by, and merged with, one of the Greater Sha?
Garrosh merged with a Greater Sha, supported by Sha-infested Warlocks with ties to the Black Temple, with a previously unknown surviving black dragon, Malkorok, posing as an Orc from the Blackrock Orc clans and manipulating events from within just as ‘Lady Prestor’ once did?
Is this what will tie Wrathion and his Legendary quest chain into the picture? Will Malkorok turn out to be pulling a Lady Prestor, and if so, will he be an assistant TO Garrosh, or is he the true ‘big bad’, a black dragon infested with Sha energy? Or are evil infested black dragons in an expansion something someone will be looking at and saying, “Dude, too soon.”
What happens if a Greater Sha infests and overcomes Garrosh… and is carried outside the bounds of Pandaria to the shores of Kalimdor, where the Pandarians are but lately come?
Would the Greater Sha slowly infest and consume all those around him, and cause Ogrimmar to become a dark place, filled with beings tainted by the Sha exactly as the Terrace of Endless Spring once was?
Will we see the last raid be an assault on a Sha-infested Orgrimmar, defended by those who were once friends, allies and even family to the rest of the Horde, and now standing in the way, protecting Garrosh and the Greater Sha within him?
Will we see major boss encounters of a Sha-infested Warlock Council, perhaps Malkorok the Sha-touched Dragon, and culminating in the attempt to break the bonds between Garrosh and the Greater Sha that infests him, freeing Orgrimmar from the evil influence?
Will we have to work with powerful, balanced Pandarians that can bring a calm, peaceful influence over those touched by the Sha and even purge them, in an attempt to free the Horde ‘trash encounters’ rather than just kill them all?
I’m just spinning ideas here, but it all seems plausible, and you know, I’m a geek. Speculating about this stuff is fun all by itself.
I can see an expedition making its way to Orgrimmar, having to fight their way into the city, trying to pin down the citizens and purge them of the Sha, destroying demons unleashed by the Warlocks, struggling against Demonic Beings that are infused and suborned themselves by the Sha…
I mean, you can see that coming, right? It’s not just me? Demons merged with Sha?
I mean, you know that’s eventually got to be a thing.
One last thing. I like the feeling of synchronicity and growth involved in having an almost-mirror of Stratholme… but instead of giving in to expedience and killing everyone infected, this time a group bands together to risk all to actually SAVE those who were infected, even though it is far harder, and the risk is even greater?
How about you? Does it seem too obvious, or in keeping with what’s happened so far, or do you see other clues telling us we’re in for something completely different?
What do you think we’re leading up to?
12 Comments »
A cornucopia, a plethora, a herd, flock or swarm?
Ooh, I know what you can call lots of choices in Looking For Raid dungeons…
An Embarassment of Raids.
I love having all these LFR raiding choices, but at the same time, it’s a bit overwhelming. It’s almost too much of a good thing.
But then again, maybe it’s just right.
You don’t have to do any LFR at all. But, if you do choose to do one, you’ll get 90 valor points. That’s the equivalent of 18 daily quests, all in one shot.
And there are a lot of them because they’re all broken up into bite size boss pieces, so it’s entirely possible to only run the third and fifth LFR instances if those are the only ones that drop gear that would be useful to you. Like, oh, a hunter weapon. Damnit.
Last week, on Tuesday night, I knocked out Sha of Anger before dinner, did Gate of the Setting Sun heroic to take another daily shot at the epic bow, and then began queueing for the first of the LFR dungeons.
There are now five LFR dungeons to choose from, if your average iLevel is 470 or higher.
The iLevel gating didn’t matter to me, I have managed to stay current with the content on my Hunter by doing Sha of Anger, LFR and heroics every time I had the chance and the Klaxxi dailies and even some Golden Lotus to stay up on my valor points and gear. And of course by not spending any real time on any other character at all.
The iLevels are fairly effective gates. I had to put forth some serious effort and planning to make sure I hit those 470 levels on my Hunter without normal raid drops.
One does not just walk into Terrace of Endless Spring.
You can’t just slip, fall into a pile of epics and stroll into LFR like Ghostcrawler designed it all just for you, you precious little snowflake.
You have to put some effort into getting geared up. You have to, you know, show an interest. Run Heroics, gain reputation with some factions, earn and spend some Valor, make or buy some crafted, etc.
The result in LFR attitude seems to be positive.
When I step into an LFR right now, the relative skills displayed by players (including me!) may vary dramatically, but the level of intensity, of interest, of giving a shit is there.
Right now I can feel a big difference between Pandarian LFR and Cataclysm.
I ran Terrace of the Endless Spring again last night, as well as the second half of Mogushan Vaults. You know… the two raids that have a chance to drop a weapon upgrade for me.
Not that they did. SON OF A USED CAR SALESMAN.
But it’s cool, because I still got an upgrade. All those days of Gate of the Setting Sun? It left me maxed at 4000 justice Points, so I was able to upgrade both my Tempestuous Longbow AND my Alchemy trinket! So my Alchemy trinket got a double boost, they buffed it in the patch from 450 to 458, and now with JP I got it up to 466.
It’s only a teeny upgrade, but it feels good. Look, I got a little better without having to rely on luck!
Screw waiting for a lucky drop, I can now improve all of my gear through perseverance and grinding and wait, this is a benefit again? Oh, of course it is, but holy crap, if I thought there was pressure to cap weekly valor before, the knowledge that there are now 496 valor belts, boots, trinkets and rings available from the new rep, PLUS the ability to dump endless valor into upgrading existing epics… ugh.
Awesome, but still… ugh.
With all the new options for customizing and modifying and personalizing gear, you know who I really feel sorry for?
Ask Mr Robot. This has to be a coding NIGHTMARE.
Whatever else may happen down the road, this one change in 5.1, giving us the ability to spend valor to upgrade items, THIS will be something that has long term effects way out of proportion to the effort of adding it.
I can’t even imagine how dedicated high end raiders are going to have to be now to keep earning that max valor every week to keep upgrading even their Heroic raid gear multiple steps. Bye bye Sun, hello begging for removing the damn weekly cap so we can earn at OUR pace, and not have to log in like it’s a daily job to punch in and out of.
But I’m talking about LFR raids, and getting back to the point, the experience I had last night mirrored the one from last week, and all the weeks before it.
There are plenty of boneheads in LFR. That has NOT changed. There are people who zone in without a clue what to do, where to go, what to shoot, where to drag bosses (Will of the Emperor tanks, I’m looking at you), or what to get your butt out of.
As a side note, if you’d like to do the LFR raids but don’t want to look clueless, can I strongly recommend the Fatboss series of Youtube videos? They’re good, informative, and funny as hell. So you get to be entertained while you learn. Isn’t that nice? Just search for Fatboss on Yourtubve, subscribe to their channel.
But yeah, while there are plenty of boneheads…
The negaitve attitude, that nasty, mouthy, bitchy eliter-than-thou attitude is almost non-existant.
There are people who get exasperated at times, and there are always people who drop group after a boss, for whatever reason.
But the one thing that sets these Pandarian LFR runs apart from Dragon Soul is intensity. Determination.
When things go wrong, and they will still go wrong when people unfamiliar with what to do are there, there are few recriminations. No ranting. No swearing, or whining about repair costs.
There will be whining and bitching about drops and gold, of course, but not about “why you so fail”. People dig in and try. They may not know what the hell they’re supposed to be trying to do, but they are trying just the same.
People are paying attention. Things still go wrong, but it’s from enemy action and ignorance, and not from a willful desire to troll the raid or screw off.
I can’t help but contrast that with the Cataclysm Dragon Soul LFR.
I wonder how much of this is from there being so much to do, trolls don’t have the time right now to blow a whole night just to screw over a bunch of strangers by wiping the same raid over and over, especially when it’s just one raid out of five available to do.
I obviously wonder what part of the iLevel gating and the effort needed to break through that gate has to play in the reduction in intentional trolling. Has the effort needed to get into LFR caused those who are in to value the chance and try harder to do their best? Has that played any part at all?
Right now, it feels like everyone present in LFR is intent on getting things done right the first time, paying attention and not wanting to screw around with running back in. It’s easy for me to feel it might be because of a desire to get done to go do something else, because there is so much that can be done, and a weekly valor cap needs to be reached, over and over, world of warcraft without end, Amen.
You know who I’m not seeing in current LFR? Those people who feel they are too good to be there, that they’re slumming and the rest of the raid are peasants who need to do all the work to carry them as they chat about how stoned they got that weekend.
You know who I mean. Picture if you will a couple of loud-talking cell-phone using people with free front row tickets to a Billy Joel/Elton John legendary concert. “Oh yes, Phoebe, I’m here at that show they were handing out the tickets for at the office. Oh, I don’t know, it sounded like it might be okay, but really, they’re just singing some tired old song that is just so ’80s, I’m sure my mother would love it, but really, I can’t believe people would pay to see this. Who cares about that, I’m just waiting until I get a call from Mark and then we’re going to coe meet you. How are you? Is that party you’re at fabulous? I’ll get out of here as soon as I can, it’s just so dreary, blah blah blah…”
Oh yeah. In Dragon Soul LFR, some days it felt like that was half the damn raid.
I haven’t seen them at ALL in the new stuff. Maybe once the easy peazy epics start dropping, and they can waltz in past the iLevel gate without having put forth any effort? Or maybe they’re too busy tilling their farm, or doing dailies, or looking for rares, or any of the hundreds of new things to do that don’t require effort to get into.
I’m sure they’re coming, but by then… well, seems we’re still getting new stuff to do, amiright? And as we get what we want from the lower iLevel LFRs, and new daily quests come out, we don’t even need to run them for valor.
I don’t know. It’s just wierd. I keep expecting people to be vocal asshats or try to intentionally grief the raids like we saw in Dragon Soul, and it keeps not happening.
I have raids wipe on bosses through ignorance of mechanics or low DPS or failure to move their ass, but that’s perfectly acceptable to me. People try, and learn, and eventually succeed.
People, you have trained me to hate and dread LFR. Why are you confusing me so much?!?
11 Comments »
Ow the loot!
That’s the thing to make the boys git up an’ shoot!
- from Loot, by Rudyard Kipling, found in Barrack-Room Ballads
Ever since my Hunter hit level 90, I’ve run Gate of the Setting Sun once every day. My hope, of course, is to be lucky enough to win the epic bow Klatith, Fangs of the Swarm from the final boss, Raigonn.
I have come to really enjoy Gate of the Setting Sun. It’s short, it has lots of twists and turns, and the final boss mechanic is extremely fun for the DPS lucky enough to use the rocket fast enough to be one of the two players on Raigonns snout, smacking him in the Weak Spot with a rolled-up newspaper.
It is the only Heroic I do, and I don’t get Valor for it because I queue for a specific one, not a random.
Gate of the Setting Sun is fun, and fast… but I do it for the loot. If the bow were to drop for me or I were to win a better from LFR tonight, I would not be running it again tomorrow.
I run it because it’s fun, and because there is something there I’d like to win.
There are a lot of great experiences to be had in the game. I want to do everything at least once, twice if it was really fun.
Loot is what overcomes my weariness when all other reasons to do something are long gone.
I had a brief discussion with an Enhancement Shaman in a Gate of the Setting Sun run last night, and the gist of it was, they wanted to know how many LFR runs it took for me to win the one item I was wearing at the time.
Why? Because they had run LFR constantly, and never seen anything but gold. They had no idea how loot worked, when they should see loot drop, or how often.
I told them, “The way loot in LFR works, you kill a boss, the game does two loot rolls for you. The first roll determines if loot your class and spec could have used would have dropped at all, and then the second roll is to see if you would have won a need roll for that loot when competing with others. If yes to both roll checks, you get loot. If not, you get gold.”
That stopped them. “I never heard that before! That makes a lot of sense now, thank you!”
We chatted a bit more, and it was clear that they had been thinking of giving up on LFR.
Their perception based on personal experience was, there is no loot won from LFR. It’s a fun experience, but it only rewards gold.
Perception versus reality? Programming issue or public relations?
I think it’s good to talk about this system, because it’s been out for a bit now, most folks have had some chance to get in and try a Looking For Raid run if they really wanted to, and so we have firsthand experience of it to form some opinions.
I walked into the LFR having spent some time thinking about the ramifications of the new system. So, when I ran it the first week and won nothing, I wasn’t surprised. When I ran it the second week, used every bonus roll, and won one piece of loot, I felt it was working as expected, and I was grateful to have won that piece of loot (my hat).
The Godmother recently wrote a post about someone who wanted to see what others won. She wonders, rightly, how anyone could ever want loot drama back. Does anyone really think that wouldn’t bring back drama? And if you know it will, why do it? The only true benefit of the current system is loot has become personal and personal means no drama.
Or is that the only benefit?
The one main thing that brought down the tone of the Cataclysm LFR was the way people would piss and moan about loot. Who won it, how often they ran without winning it, angry at other people rolling Need that already had better equipped, people playing as one spec rolling Need on loot for another spec, and other issues.
But how does the new system differ from the old?
The most visible is, people ain’t bitching about what other people won. Instead, they’re bitching about getting “gold again”.
Are there things about the old system we might miss?
In the old system, some people might choose NOT to roll if they didn’t need or want an item. Some people might only be along in the hope of one item, one super-rare, never seen, white elk item like, oh, the Vial of Shadows. As an example. Some might even just be running for some quick Valor.
So in the old system, not everyone always automatically rolled Need on everything they could.
In the new system, when computing the individual rolls, it is assumed everyone who could roll Need does.
No, you are not directly competing with anyone else in your run. But you are competing against a virtual number of other people, represented by the number of people Blizzard feels would have also wanted the same item. If in the first roll Blizzard decreed a 17% chance it would be loot usable by Agility DPS, and on the second roll you would have had a 15% chance to win it, the rest of the people you are competing against are represented by the 85% failure rate. Broad figures for the purpose of discussion only.
So in the old system, the longer the LFR was available, the higher the possibility that people running in it might have won loot on a previous run and could pass. This resulted over time in a higher chance for new alts to win an item they could use. Over the extremely long lifecycle, once people didn’t even want Valor points, the only people running LFR were alts, and everyone needed everything again.
Yes, there were flaws. But not everyone rolled Need all the time.
In the new system, as it stands now and as we understand it, your chance to win will never improve week to week, no matter if everyone else is geared in ilevel 600 or not.
Because in the new system, the virtual players you compete with in your loot chance roll Need all the time.
But what have we gained?
Make no mistake, we have gained quite a bit.
As the Godmother pointed out, we do not have loot drama because of other players. Nobody can ‘steal’ your loot. That is the most obvious.
But the other benefit, one that I haven’t seen discussed much, is that your chances to win loot are no longer tied to a fixed loot table.
There are no longer two or three physical (pixelated) objects for people to see and haggle over.
Just like a casino, your odds are controlled by background settings, probability generators. There can now be… slider switches.
The number of items that can drop in a regular raid are fixed. In the new LFR, all variables can be directly modified by Blizzard to increase (or decrease) drop chances any old time they want to.
If Blizzard chooses to, as time goes on and the early LFR raids become increasingly obsolete, they can simply slide the gain and increase the chances of tank drops, healing drops, DPS drops or all of the above. In any configuration. Individually.
They could conceivably increase the chance items drop for players of lower average iLevel while reducing the chance for players decked to the nines.
Do you see? The majority of the community focuses on the short-term, the eternal now, as if what we have now is, was, and what shall ever be.
It feels brutal now, but who knows what may happen tomorrow, or after 5.1 hits, or when there are new raids released past Terrace of the Endless Spring?
Maybe there will come a point when a character hits 90, and can queue for LFR for a few weeks to get pretty well geared up in iLevel 476/483, and then be off to enter the very bottom of the newly released raids with their guild.
I would not expect any kind of announcement from Blizzard that they are even considering it, because experience has shown us that as soon as Blizzard announces something coming someday, that same afternoon everyone makes their plans as if it’s being implemented tomorrow.
Whether you think they would ever change those percentages or not, the new system gives them the option to do it without even letting us know.
They could even now be sliding them switches back and forth, trying to find a sweet spot where the perception of loot drop frequency begins to match the reality.
It’s just a thought, but when it comes to planning for the long-term, I’m going to bet on Blizzard.
They know why we play, and why we push forward doing the same content repeatedly.
They know better than anyone that if people think they won’t get any loot, they’re going to lose interest in running on that treadmill. The point of dangling a carrot on a stick is so you can see and smell that carrot, you can almost taste it, right there in front of you.
A lot of people seem to be having trouble seeing the carrot right now. They see bags of gold instead.
I count on Blizzard to find a way to change that.
8 Comments »
If you follow patch notes or news sources, then you have already heard about the Brawlers Guild coming in patch 5.1.
I’m not going to complain or bitch about it. I’ve got so much going on right now, and there is so much new stuff coming down (including more reputations!) in the patch, I had no intention of doing it for months and months and months, even before I heard how it was gated.
The short and sweet of it is, there will be a Brawlers Guild that you can get invited into, where you will fight solo against challenging NPCs, only one fight can happen at a time, and other players can watch from the stands.
Spectator blood sport, and you are Jean-Claude.
When I first heard about the Brawlers Guild, and how it would be by secret invitation like an underground, illegal death match, I made a few assumptions about how you’d get invited.
I was wrong. It turns out, the first invitations will be for sale on the Black Market Auction House. If you have an invite, you can invite someone else, although we don’t know how many such invites you’ll be able to make. A total of ten invites lifetime? One a day? One a week? Only one ever? No idea.
But to get started, there will be ten invites sold on the Black Market Auction House. Whoever has the most interest and the biggest bankroll when they go up gets access to the content first.
I wasn’t planning on doing it anyway, at least not for months and months. I still haven’t finished my beginning goals in Pet Battles, nor has any character of mine done a single quest in Krasarang or finished Four Winds (and yes, I do know how freaking awesome the final video for completing all the quests in both zones is, it’s why I’m waiting to savor the moment). My Panda Monk is only level 12.
I’m not exactly lacking for things to do.
I just wanted to throw this out there, though.
I can see something like an underground death match being joined through shady dealing, whispered word of mouth, and the Black Market. It does make a certain amount of sense.
I can also see the whole thing as being something that Garrosh AND Varian would love, and would be secretly (or not so secretly, in the case of Garrosh) behind. Publicly pretending to take no notice because there are rules, you know, but behind the scenes keeping a close eye on the top fighters as people to watch… and make use of.
We’re talking Garrosh and Varian, who have the mentality of two pit bulls fighting over the same junkyard. If anything, I’d think they were both behind the idea, and would enter the fights under assumed names or identities to get the taste of blood in their mouth without arousing the disapproval of the stuffed shirts.
Still, I don’t like the high roller, big pockets gating of buying your invite when there seems to me to be a more elegant way to handle it.
The point of the Brawlers Guild, as far as I’m aware, is to give players a venue to fight powerful, challenging NPCs one-on-one, and show that they can take ‘em down. All in front of a crowd.
Now, if we pretend for a moment that the Brawlers Guild existed before patch 5.1, then there would presumably be very powerful humanoids who had been invited to come take part.
Humanoid NPCs that may be out in the world. If they were invited to come to the brawlers Guild but hadn’t traveled there yet, wouldn’t that make them challenging, powerful, deadly opponents in possession of an invitation when looted?
Wouldn’t it seem to make sense that if you, the player, happened across one of these powerful foes, fought them and killed them, that you might find THEIR invitation among their belongings?
You take the invitation intended for them, and wouldn’t it be yours by right of conquest anyway? They were invited to come to the Brawlers Guild and prove who the strongest brawlers is, and if you took them down, didn’t you have the better right to come prove your worth?
I’m just saying. If they put the invitations on the existing rares, or on only a few of the existing rares in Pandaria (the ones considered the hardest), or made a handful of new, challenging NPCs out there that could drop an invitation when you take them down… that would just seem to be a sensible way to begin.
I’ll even go further. To prevent a group killing a rare so that one of the group can easily get an invitation, you could let the start of the chain be an item that drops from a rare… an item that then starts a quest that leads you to a phased or instanced cave where you only get in if you have the item, and within that cave you can face down a challenging NPC all on your own. Killing THAT NPC results in you looting an invitation.
Kinda like the old epic bow and quiver questline for Hunters, where you had to face down and win on your own, nobody else helping or healing you. If you can’t do it on your own with your own skill, you ain’t succeeding.
It would be easier to manage nowadays since you would be phased out of sight to other players while in the cave taking on your own personal opponent.
Right? Prove your worth in a solo fight, pry his invitation from his dead, broken fingers, and travel across the world to take part in the Brawlers Guild in his place.
It is the kernal to more martial arts movies and stories than I can think of, because it works. Other fighters were invited to the Brawlers Guild because of their reputation or who they know, but you’re the underdog, the warrior with a hidden agenda, the unknown factor. Did the leaders of the guild only invite those they thought would be entertaining, but not powerful enough to ultimately win? Now that you, the unknown quantity, are coming to fight, will you throw their plans into dissarray by being a stronger Brawler than they planned for?
Or did you not get invite because they really didn’t think you had what it takes, and now you will teach them a hard lesson for underestimating you?
For RP, it would work better as a framework, because seriously, HOW MANY fighting games are out there where every fighter has a different backstory for why they are coming to fight. There is always at least one character that is taking an enemies’ invitation and entering the fight in order to work their way through the other opponents to take their revenge on a nemesis that can’t be gotten to any other way. And of course someone that wants to be the best in the world, or to prove their fighting style is superior, or to try and prevent a loved one from risking their own life in the arena, and the only way to convince them is to fight your way through the arena yourself. As if that ever made sense, but okay.
It would give you a lot of different potential hooks to start with rather than “bought my invite”, is all I’m saying.
I like the idea of the Brawlers Guild, I think it will be very interesting to see how it all works out, and I’m looking forward to spending at least a little time in the stands cheering on a few guildies who get their invites, see how they do.
But this does feel like a glorious opportunity to give roleplayers something to build into their characters that is just going wasted.
Just my thoughts on the invitation thing. Take them for what they are.
5 Comments »
Hi, I’m Beartrap, and I’m a convenience raider.
I can only raid when the times are convenient for my schedule. The other activities in my life, be they family, social, work or chore related get prioritized first. If there is a block of time in my schedule where I can reasonably make sure I’ll be available to raid consistently week over week, AND if there is a raid team that runs that same schedule that will have me, THEN I can raid.
So, I’m a raider of convenience.
I love to raid, I LOVE having long term goals, having something in the schedule to look forward to in the game, something to work towards, all that jazz, all culminating in the camaraderie of banging on a boss with friends. Love it.
I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to be part of this team.
Team Snuffy has our first scheduled raid this Saturday, November 10th. I’m gonna be the DPS Hunter in our ten person group, and I’ve been seriously sweating being as ready as I can be.
I started behind where I could have been, and I know it.
When the expansion came out, I had burned through all my saved Valor to gear up my Death Knight alt. You know, the alt I haven’t even touched since. Oh yeah, and I also leveled my Druid to 90 first AND stayed on my Druid exclusively until I was exalted with The Tillers.
Those were good weeks, fun weeks, I had a lot of fun playing there. I expected to play and raid as Druid, so it was good for me to really find out for myself how my Druid felt now. Time was NOT wasted.
Still means my Beartrap started out the expansion several weeks behind where I could have been in terms of Valor point gear and reputation.
Yep, when I committed to raiding on my Hunter, I was sweating it. I was so far behind in rep and Valor, will I possibly be ready on time, ready to be an asset and not a boat anchor?
The first thing I had to have was a goal. What would be the bare minimum gear level I should hit to be where Blizzard tuned the first raid bosses? I cannot, CANNOT be lower than that when I set foot in there with Team Snuffy.
Fortunately, the ‘need’ for raiders to do LFR to gear up has been a hot topic on the forums.
My question was answered, in detail, by Blue poster Draztal. The whole thread on MMO champion there is good to read, but the relevant paragraph is;
You’re not supposed to transition from LFR to Normal. You’re supposed to start on Normal (in fact, LFR opens a week after the normal mode of the raid has). So, if you want to get every possible drop to advance in your progression, yes, sure, you’ll want to raid the LFR if you’re not doing Heroics, but there’re more areas than just gear where all raid groups should be looking at when having issues with a certain encounter. Most of the times, unless it’s a dps race, it comes down to something else (bad strategy, for example).
Reading this and other comments make it clear that the intent was for a raid team to be capable of success if they start by being fully geared through Heroic Dungeon iLevel 463 content.
That set a baseline for me. If every item I have equipped is properly itemized for a BM Hunter, and is a minimum iLevel of 463, then my only chokepoint to being an asset to the team is my skill.
My skill. Uh oh. Shit.
So, since I’m sure I am going to suck, let’s try and get the highest possible iLevel of gear I can in the time I have available, all right?
I’ve been running random Heroics, and I’ve done fairly well there in drops.
Cassie has worked hard to level her Leatherworker, and she made me the crafted mail Chest and Gloves. I easily made the Tiger trinket with my Inscription, and made some decent money selling what I didn’t want along the way. Sidenote – it takes approximately 200 herbs milled to make one random Darkmoon card. And I’ve been farming 200 herbs in about 15 – 20 minutes. Just FYI. The stopgap is the Scroll of Wisdom, and there are ways, grindy ways, around it but one a day is fine for me.
I’ve bought a nice Valor Cloak by being Honored with Shado-Pan, which I did from questing in Townlong Steppes, I don’t have the faction dailies unlocked yet. I got a couple very tasty drops from LFR, but never by using a token. My tokens only ever give me gold. So it goes. I think getting one upgrade per week of full LFR isn’t that bad.
The Sha of Anger has some nice guaranteed boots, and groups form up for that constantly.
There have been a lot of ways to get gear upgrades so early in the expansion, and once I’m Exalted with Klaxxi there will even be a ring upgrade to go with the one I got from the Halloween event. I’m not gonna make that by this Saturday, but it will happen some time next week.
My point here is, by last night, I reached iLevel 470. On the dot. So, when the other skilled raiders in the guild said they were going to hit Heart of Fear LFR for the first time and asked who wanted to go, I COULD GO TOO.
I am current on what I can access. I’m caught up. I’m not AHEAD, I’m caught up. Color me delighted.
My Hunter is not Exalted with anyone yet, but I managed to reach ilevel 470 even with a 450 Zen Alchemist Trinket, thanks to one valor item, one purchased necklace epic, three crafted items from our own crafters, a Halloween drop and heroic loot.
This means after two weeks, the pressure is off.
I don’t HAVE to run LFR at all now, except I like it and can do it when it’s convenient for me. Technically, I don’t even have to run any more dailies unless I like them. ‘
From this point as a raider, I am geared right for the starting raid. To progress further and improve, I should expect to get upgrades from raiding and as incidentals when i build up valor.
Where I need to be focusing now is on skill. Learning the fights, practising my coordination, watching videos by Tankspot and Fat Boss.
I will continue to do LFR, because I like the chance of loot and I like running in LFR. I did back in Dragon Soul days too. And I’ll hope for drops, sure. But I don’t HAVE to.
I will continue to do Dailies and improve my reputation with factions. Not because I have to, but because I do want to be Exalted with Klaxxi, and all the rest. I want to progress through all of the content while it is current… and when patch 5.1 brings new factions and storylines, I’m going to be able to shift my focus on to them without feeling I left unfinished business behind me. Hopefully.
A scant few weeks of dedicated preparation, oh yeah and a LOT of help from guildies in doing Heroics, and I’m good.
I see the complaints on forums and Twitter, the outrage about dailies and faction grinds and LFR loot drops and what people say they HAVE to do. I’m not buying the full package.
It feels more to me like people imagining some perfect world where all that exists is the eternal now, and then getting outraged that their vision does not match reality, without any consideration for whether it will all be irrelevant in two months when shit is fully released and a new patch comes.
If you’re a new raider, it does not take that long to get to where you need to be to get started. I just proved it. And once you’re getting drops from the raids that are now being released, you WILL get items of such higher iLevel that the LFR stuff will be massive downgrades.
I can see Valor staying viable longer, but iLevel 476 and 483 LFR gear is very much a short term help.
Give it a month, maybe two months from now, and this whole controversy will be gone as ilevels of available content that people are clearing goes past ilevel 500.
Would I dearly love it if the epic bow that drops from Raigonn in the Gate of the Setting Sun heroic had a higher drop chance than 1.5%? Yes, of course. I am specfically running the Gate of the Setting Sun heroic every day in the hopes I’ll get that bow, to get that much better prepared before raid start.
But I don’t have to do it, I am choosing to do it. If we fail this Saturday, it’s not going to be because I didn’t have an epic bow. It’ll be far more likely to be due to my not moving my ass when I was supposed to.
The key points I’m trying to make here are, if you want to be raid ready but feel daunted by all the reps and stuff to gear through, don’t be. Aim for a heroic drop in each slot if you can, and do what you can at your own pace to improve past that point and consider it gravy on your bacon.
I know that there is a lot to take in with the expansion, but if you do the quests through Townlong Steppes and Dread Wastes, getting the quest rewards from those two zones, you should end up with a high enough iLevel that you can buy just a few crafted PvP blue armor pieces to fill out your starter gear and be able to run heroics.
The heroics? I’ve run them all, and honestly, they are not that tough. The shift has fully changed to AoE from crowd control. Lots of damage, lots of AoE spamming, learn the mechanics and you should be fine. As a tank, be prepared for AoE swarms. Lots of them.
Understand that if you stand there and let a group get behind you, you will be taking it right up the butt, and they won’t be gentle. MOVE, just moving a little bit backward can force the mobs to the cone in front of you, eliminating those backattacks. I can’t count the number of tanks I see that run forward into the middle of a group of mobvs and stand there looking cute, while the healer goes bugnuts trying to keep them alive.
Also, clouds of shit? Move mobs out of it, please. We can’t target into that shit, so again, hared concept, but move your butt out of the cloud, and then move the MOBS out of the cloud. Your butt is a cute one, we want to see it.
Consider the heroics to be in the mold of Wrath of the Lich king… with shorter routes, fewer trash pulls, but slightly more complicated boss mechanics. Slightly. And lots more swarms of dinky adds.
So relax. Don’t get too caught up in the rhetoric of the forums. I am right there with people who want to be the best I can be and as prepared as possible… but you’ve got to have a baseline to start with. You can’t look at the top of what is potentially available and then just assume you MUST have all of that gear or the entire raid dies.
I’m not kidding. In two months, I promise you we’ll be looking at more powerful gear from the new reps, JUST like when Molten Front came out, and we’ll forget all about the gear available from previous reps.
And we’ll have built up such a stockpile of Lesser Charms that we’ll be able to take weeks off of dailies and still be buying our three Elder charms each week.
So relax. Chill.
This entire post is liable to be revoked if we go in Saturday and die because my DPS was too low. :)
Oh, and Team Snuffy is still looking for one ranged DPS player, not a Hunter, who would like to raid with us and would be committed to being a part of our regular team. We will be raiding Saturday afternoons only, and if you’re interested, just give me an email.
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