Archive for the “Guild Babble” Category

This is sort of a recruitment post, but not really.

I was shooting for the passive voice there. Did I hit the mark? Oh goodie!

I have been a member of the Band of Misfits, an Alliance guild on Azuremyst in the US.

I’ve mentioned the guild a few times here, mostly to mention in admiration how well they can be nice folks and at the same time accomodate multiple levels of raiding and achieving types of activity.

The guild is not strictly a raiding guild, people who are not raiders are certainly welcomed within it. And the talk on guild chat is not “raid raid raid” all the time. It’s always of a more personal nature, individual achievements and stuff.

Raiding progression is something folks take pride in, though. Bet your ass. 

Basically, if you are in the Band of Misfits, and you don’t want to raid, there’s no pressure to do it. I know for the longest time, when I didn’t raid, that I never had the feeling like I was an outsider or a lesser member of the guild. I just wasn’t on one of the raid teams, I was doing other stuff instead.

But the option to raid has been there, and after a while I took advantage of it. I joined one of the three raid teams.

There are three 10-person raid teams in Band of Misfits. They are completely seperate from each other.

Different raid leaders, different members. Sometimes when times were tight, some folks took part in two teams on two different characters, but for the most part it’s three separate groups.

There are Team Wanda, Team Teddybear, and Team Snuffleupagus.

Team Wanda and Team Teddybear are both full, well organized, and have their plans nailed down for this expansion. Heck, they’re already raiding! Well, I know Wanda is, I’m not sure about Teddybear. If they ain’t yet, it’ll be soon.

Team Snuffy is the team I am a part of, and we are still working things out. We’re short a couple peeps.

I want to be clear that I’m not the raid leader, I’m not a guild officer, I’m just this dude what likes to play a game. That being said, we’re trying to get the band back together, and I’m helping out the responsible folks.

That’s right, I just called Elo and Bari responsible. I’m ruining their hard-won reputations! :)

Team Snuffy has a plan. We’re going to raid on Saturday afternoons, from 12:00 Noon to 4:00 PM Pacific time. That’s one day a week. We’re aiming for November 10th as being our first scheduled raid time.

Please don’t ask me to tell you what time that would be in another time zone. If you’re reading an internet blog and you can’t figure out how to look up time zone conversions on your own, you wouldn’t be a good fit among people who are responsible for being prepared and ready to go on their own.

What we’re looking for to help build the team is a single Paladin healer, and a leather-wearing DPS. It is possible we could use a leather-wearing healer as well, or instead, it’s kinda fluid at the moment, and things may change depending on who responds to us.

We’ve got two plate-wearing tanks, a Priest healer, a plate DPS and a Hunter, and there should be a few more folks too but I haven’t heard positive confirmation about them yet. So we’re trying to balance the team between range and melee, and make sure there’s a nice balance of people that can use each kind of drop. 

Here’s the biggest challenge. We’re not looking to fill a raid team by throwing warm bodies at it, we’re looking for people who would want to be part of the guild, full members who fit in well with the group and aren’t asshats and stuff, who will then also be part of the raid team.

It’s critical to get that point made. The guild is a pretty special place. Maybe there are flaming asshats in it, but if so they never open their mouths. It ain’t a bunch of prudes by any stretch, but the one thing that seems to characterize members is a sense of respect for other people as people, warts and all.

In the years I’ve been here, I’ve seen no trash talking, no belittling, and no venom.

People in the guild may mess with other people in a friendly way, but the normal asshat bullshit just doesn’t happen.

Two examples.

First, I swear the guild is almost evenly balanced between male and female members, including raiders. I mention this because I am tied into the blog/social media WoW network, and I see other people outside our guild bitch about how women in WoW are treated in game, in guilds and in raids, all the time.

I almost feel stupid mentioning it, because life in Band of Misfits has me sometimes wondering if people are exaggerating or something, because that shit just… it’s just not something in the guild.  I can’t even imagine that shit happening in the guild. Maybe I’m delusional, I’ve been in other guilds, I know it’s out there, maybe it’s even so common that it’s assumed to be a part of life, but… well, maybe the guild is just magic or something. I dunno. But it’s a thing I notice in the absence, because other people on Twitter or on blogs talk about the tough times they have in their guilds elsewhere, the demeaning, the condescending, the patronizing, and I’m just like… “but why would you put up with that shit when there are other places to go that aren’t like that? What, just to raid?”

That shit doesn’t happen in Band of Misfits, not that I have ever seen. And it’s not the other direction, either. It’s not aggressively anti-male. It’s just… again, maybe it’s respect. People don’t treat other people like shit in any direction.

The more I think about it, the more I’m wondering who these freaks are I’m guilded with. They don’t sound like real people. They might just be alien pod people.

The second thing is, the age of a player isn’t as important as maturity and skill. I’ve seen several people in the guild that are freaking insanely skilled… and they’re not 18 yet.

You might say “yeah, so?”, but I know of plenty of guilds that would never have given them a chance, based purely on age. But I see them play in groups when I’m lucky enough to be invited, and I wish that someday I could be as skilled as they are. 

Okay, or as mature.

You don’t get a raid team spot if you don’t have the skills and the mature attitude to take your responsibility seriously to show up, be ready, etc. But age isn’t an automatic block. If you can be 14 and have skills out the wazoo, AND be mature and responsible, well, so what? Go kick some butt.

Maybe it all comes down to respect.

I’m not an officer, I have no idea how they manage this magic. Maybe they just try people out, and if they’re all drama-prone, they boot ‘em when I’m not looking, I dunno.

So, this isn’t a real recruitment post. I’m not looking for two raiders to join a raid team.

What I am saying is, Team Snuffy has at least two openings to our team, and if there are a few folks out there who would love to be a part of our guild and think it would be a good fit for you, AND wanted to be a part of the team and raid on Saturdays with us, then you can whisper me on Bigbearbutt or Beartrap at Azuremyst-US Alliance side.

I can make sure you get in touch with the right person from there.


Edited: Changed raid time from 11-3 to 12-4

Comments 10 Comments »

Are you in a frantic race to get prepared to raid? Or are you kicking back and enjoying having too much to handle all at one time?

It doesn’t really matter how much time I’d have, there is still more stuff than there are hours in the day for me. That’s fine with me, I just have to prioritize what’s important to me, and do that, happy in the knowledge that there is stuff on the table I can look forward to for later.

You know… instead of just hoping I’ll get a content patch ‘soon’.

From some of the conversations I see on Twitter, I get the feeling having all of these blue exclamation points is a problem for some folks.

I’m just going to throw this thought out there – when there is more content available than can be done within a single 24 hour cycle, you might need to exercise some personal restraint to determine what to do, what not to do, and when to call it a day.

If you can’t stop yourself until you’ve done every single last possible daily in the game every day, please do me a big favor and don’t blame Blizzard for it.

Me, I like having tons of content to play through, and if you start bitching in public about having too much to do, I’m going to mentally punch you right square in the nuts.

That sudden burst of agony, fading away into a dull ache in the stomach? That was me, punching you in the metaphorical nuts.

If you weren’t born with them, have no fear, a long time ago in a D&D campaign I had a mage who researched a new spell that attacked a targets vulnerables, and if the target didn’t HAVE vulnerables, temporarily gave them some. Then it whacked ‘em.

You may call it something innocuous like “Apply Vulnerability”, I called it “the Nuttifier 4000″. It got the job done.

Ahhh, so much content. The luxury of having a CHOICE.

It’s been glorious.

Who do I level? Do I level some more now and go questing? Do I queue for one of the new dungeons? Do I look for a cross-server Sha of Anger run?

Do I take a break and go Pet Battling? Maybe it’s raining in Jaguero Island and the Baby Ape is available to tame!

Or should I go do some Archeaology, or some fishing? Or plow my farm and plant some tasty carrots!

Or heck, maybe I’ll just wander around, looking for a real fighting challenge by taking on one of the many, many rares that can be found in Pandaria.

Or search for some of the hidden treasures.

Scenarios? Good lord, you mean there are even more things to do?

So much… just so much. Spoiled for choice.

I’ve tried to spread out my playing responsibily, a balance between having fun now and preparing for tomorrow.

When playing in Pandaria, I focused on questing with my Druid.

As soon as I reached level 90, I had to choose what I’d really like to do first.

I’m still 7 days away from upgrading my Ghost Tiger Staff to epic level with Inscription, so I chose Lorewalker rep and Archaeology. And yes, I did get the Spear of Xuen on the second day. :)

Getting the Lorewalkers to Exalted, and Archeaology to max was fun. While working towards maximum level Archy, I managed to get enough Sealed Artifact Crates to pile up the fragments for 5 Tol’vir solves… none of which were rares, but that’s okay. The system WORKS.

Blizzard, please make the Crates I get in exhange for your crated solves stackable? PLEASE?

Regardless of what I got, I know the process works. Just be solving Pandarian artifacts, I will eventually get my Tol’vir rares.

How do I know this?

Cassie did it last night, had 30 crates to turn in, and not only did she unlock the Crawling Claw pet I’ve tried to get for the last year, but she ALSO got the Vial of the Sands Alchemy recipe from her Canopic Jar! Woot!

So yes, you can get your rares, and even the Alchemy recipe. Eventually. :)

So much to do, so much to do.

I’m taking a pass right now on almost all other rep. I will do it all, eventually, but I just don’t want to burn through the whole game.

I’m excited to be doing the Tillers and expanding my farm, and doing a little cooking while I’m at it.

On the subject of farming, Alex saw Cassie and I doing OUR farms, and wanted in on the action.

I helped him get to Halfhill, showed him where to get the first quest, and let him loose.

Two days ago, as he harvested his plants, one of them coughed up a monstrous seed. “What does this do?” he asked. “No idea! plant it and we’ll see what grows tomorrow!”

So yesterday, he went and harvested his plants… and the monstrous seed had grown into a Terrible Turnip companion pet!

No shit, I don’t know who was more surprised, him or me. Really? You grew a pet? WOW!

He thinks it’s awesome, and so do I.

Now here is the “Ugh” part. I looked on our AH, and those things are being listed at 25,000 gold each. So, do we tell him he could sell it now and get some amazing gold and risk getting another one later? Or let him enjoy his awesome pet in innocent bliss of the opportunity for cash on the barrelhead he’s missing?

I think we’ll just let it be. It’s not like he’s needing any gold to save for anything.

Cassie and I will just push him to USE that pet, that’s all. :)

It’s worth noting that Alex was level 85 with a 4 plot trainer farm when he got that seed, and I think he got it from planting Carrots. So, rep doesn’t matter, level doesn’t matter, farm size doesn’t matter, anybody could get that lucky seed in their own crop and get the pet.

Now that my Druid is max level, I’m taking my Hunter into Pandaria to do all the areas I passed by the first time.

My Hunter, for whatever reason, feels massively more powerful than my Druid when it comes to killing quest mobs by the dozen. I am a Dino-wielding Sha Destroying Machine. Maybe it’ll change once I get into other zones.

One thing I am not doing is preparing to raid.

I’m not yet running instances, let alone heroics, and I’m not one of the folks worried about gearing up to raid.

The two other raid teams in our guild are in full swing preparing, with Team Wanda already successsful in downing the first two raid bosses. I hear Team Teddybear will start raiding in a month or so, maybe. If they can hold out that long. :)

The raid team I am part of is, sadly, in the procss of rebuilding for the expansion.

Our former raid leader has very, very recently announced he and his lovely and talented healing significant other will be retiring from the game, and enjoying some new adventures in real life.

We’re going to miss them as friends to play with, very much. That being said, as a crotchety old person it’s nice to see young people look forward to the future, and move on to other things to do.

Still means we need to figure out a whole new game plan for the team.

I’ll tell you, it feels like good news to me.

I know I’ll still get to play with Elo and Bari and the others when we do kick things off, but for now I know that it may be a month or two before we have a full ten person team put together.

That gives me all the time in the world to get prepared, FULLY prepared, in my own style. With lots of side quests and ooh look shinies along the way.

Heck, maybe there will be some raiding after all… just in Ulduar and Sunwell instead of the Vaults!

Best of all possible worlds. A great game full of new things to do, and no pressure to get it all done NOW.

I hope that, whether you are in a rush to raid or taking your own time, you’ve been having as much fun the last few weeks as I am.

God speed!

Comments 17 Comments »

As I continue leveling my Hunter on Azuremyst, it’s certainly giving me a perspective on the game I haven’t had before, or at least in a very long time.

My Hunter dinged level 60 last weekend, and with only a little messing with the Auction House, I had 1007 gold at the moment that little Achievement spam lit up.

That seemed pretty amazing to me, because I had that gold even after paying to learn all the recipes for Jewelcrafting and Mining up to the max levels you could reach before hitting 65.

More than that, though, was running and gunning through old Azeroth without a sugar daddy, or Heirlooms, or any other support except the emotional support I had from my new guildies.

That… and also the benefits of being in a high level guild.

I’ll touch on that again in a bit, but for now I wanted to say that once I hit Outlands, everything changed.

I do not like leveling in Outlands. Northrend will be bearable, but even so, too many alts too recently. Just, do not want.

I’ve reached the point where I have a system that has worked like clockwork to minimize my time in zones I hate.

I do 100% of Hellfire, which is usually good enough to reach level 63. I go to Zangarmarsh, and go directly to Orebor Harbor, where I do every quest that gives Kurenai rep. That should get me to Friendly, and once Friendly and 64 you can get a quest introducing you to the Kurenai in Nagrand. If I’m not quite 64 yet, I’ll go putz around in Terokkar Forest just long enough to ding, and then it’s back to get the Intro to Nagrand quest, and off to Nagrand.

From there, I milk Nagrand for all it’s worth. It’s the only zone in all of Outlands that I still like. In fact, I’ll find myself just hanging out there, tooling around and seeing the wonderful lush scenery.

Blizzard I think could benefit by taking a poll of players concerning our favorite zones… based not just on quest flow or story, but also on mood. On appearance. I’m sure I do NOT represent all or even most WoW players, but I much prefer playing in zones that feel comfortable and healthy. Zones that have a warm and inviting lighting scheme and a feeling of welcome.

Nagrand fits that bill, as does Un’goro Crater and Northern Stranglethorn. Even Duskwood, to a certain extent, is nice once in a while for that dark emo vibe. The wastelands and deserts and plague-ridden marshes, not so much. Again, that’s just me. I’m curious what the results of a poll like that would be.

Anyway, I hit Nagrand and take my time through it, and then it’s time for the tough choices. I’ve done Blades Edge, Netherstorm and Shadowmoon Valley too damn many times. No matter where I go, it’s gonna be a drag.

I think this time I might go to Shadowmoon as soon as I can, and see if I can grind a Drake. I haven’t done that on anyone except my Druid Main during the early days of BC. I haven’t walloped a peon with a Booterang in a long, long time.

Too long.

Getting back to my point, when I hit 60, everything changed.

I didn’t want to grind through Outlands or Northrend. So, I server transferred my 85 warrior over to Azuremyst. Along with him came… yeah, my Hunter Heirlooms. The shoulders, vest, bow, two daggers with Agi enchants, the works. That’s certainly sped things up.

I’m now level 65, and I’m in trouble, because Nagrand is starting to feel tiresome. If I lose my enthusiasm for Nagrand, that doesn’t bode well for any more alts in my future, yo.

Here’s the biggest strange change I’ve had in my playstyle, though.

The guild I’m in on Azuremyst, Band of Misfits, is a very large guild.

Like, large. They’ve got three 10-person raid teams on three different schedules. Some are more aggressive on the calendar than others, but all of them are very successful. The guild is a hair’s breadth away from dinging the last boss kill they need to get the Cata Raiding mount.

They’re also guild level 21. They might even be 22 by now, I was pretty sick last night.

I… I feel strange being in such a high level guild.

On the one hand, the rewards, even if you’re only Neutral on a level 1, are very helpful to you.

If you’re dead, your spirit moves it’s ass. That’s very nice. You’re hearth has a 15 minute cooldown. That’s pretty sweet. You get a bonus 10% XP gain, which I might have liked to have been able to turn off in the old Azeroth world, but that I’m loving now.

Even more… you get +10% to Reputation gains.

Therin probably lies the secret behind my relatively painless Exalted with both Stormwind and Darnassus.

Potentially cooler, if I get in a party somewhere with another guildie, we could summon each other to where we are. I haven’t tested it, maybe there are level limits preventing a guildie in Northrend from joining group with me and summoning my level 65 butt there, but hey… that’s still pretty cool. It’s not just for raiding.

So, lots of nice rewards just for being in the guild and leveling, right?

The thing is, I haven’t done anything to deserve any of these benefits. I still haven’t played with anyone in the guild, I’ve been leveling solo. Sure, someday I will, but not yet. And if I were to leave the guild before I reach 85 and run with them, I’ll have gotten something for nothing.

On the surface, it seems like a strange system.

It does make sense, of course. The benefits help a low level character level up faster, gain rep for rewards needed for raiding faster, and move where needed quicker so as to get in the groove with the other, long established guild members.

The neat stuff that doesn’t actually work to get you into the upper levels faster or help in raids like a quick run speed while dead, things like pets and mounts, require rep with the guild.

What it leaves me wondering, though, are two things.

First, if it’s divided amongst what gets you to the raiding level, and what is a fine but essentially useless perk, then why do the guild-only Heirlooms require guild rep? By the time my Hunter will be able to buy them, she won’t need them. Maybe they’re specifically for your alts in the guild, and alts only. But then why the built-in 10% XP bonus available without guild rep? It’s just wierd. But that’s cool, I can’t afford them anyway, I gotta save for fast flight.

The second thing is, it really does feel as if it’s been solidly thought out for raiding guilds to advance… but for leveling guilds, and friend and family guilds, I can’t really see why the system chokes the guild rep gain so badly based on level. 

I know intellectually that Blizzard has had comments published before, stating that the point is to be part of a large community. To be in big guilds, to take part in what makes the game “Massive”.

I get that.

I also know that there are plenty of folks that don’t WANT that.

What WoW has excelled at, for me, is being a cooperative game.

Sure, I’ve felt a huge thrill at big raids, at the Massive element. I still remember with fondness 40 person raids on Onyxia and Molten Core. Raids so big, in such an early age of the game, that it was nearly impossible to tell who was doing what, or in some cases… who to blame for that massive screw up that wiped the raid.

Moar dots? Whelps? Many whelps? DEAL WITH IT!

But to counterbalance that feeling is the more frequent pleasure of having a game world that you can play in cooperatively, just you and a few friends, or with the significant other in your life.

When you think of WoW, is your mental picture of the game about something that you play with huge gobs of people, is it a solo experience in a huge world, or is it a cooperative game?

For me, when I think of it, the draw has never been to play with gobs of people (gob = new word of the day. It pays to enrich your goofy word power.) It’s been to have a deep, rich, engaging game world to explore cooperatively with my friends and significant other.

Some programs Blizzard has implemented has seemed to reflect an understanding of that. Recruit-a-friend, for example. Come to glorious Azeroth, and bring a friend to play with you!

As much as I like the guild leveling concept, and the rewards are neat, and all that… it makes me sad to feel that the people who play the game in a purely cooperative way with a limited number of friends, friends who may have limited playtime, will never get the chance to experience those rewards.

Guild Levels have been out for a while. I imagine most folks have already made their decision. They’ve chosen to either stay with their small guild and accept no rewards because they don’t raid or play enough, or split and join a larger guild.

I don’t feel that I’ve made that decision, myself. I’ve still got my main characters in our small guild, just Cassie and I. These are new characters in a new land, and I’m doing what Blizzard seemed to want; meeting new people, developing new friendships. All that good stuff.

I’ve never been opposed to meeting new people, making new friends, or being part of a large group. It’s been a lot of fun. Blackbear the Warrior (no, really, I’m serious), Matheo, Hedwig and Crosshair all seem like really nice folks, and I’ve been getting to know some others as well.

I just think it’s unfortunate that when making your decision, it comes down to saying, “You don’t HAVE to join a big guild… but then again, we don’t HAVE to give smaller guilds any benefits, either.”

If this seems particularly unreadable… I am sicker than hell at the moment. It feels like my head is going to explode. And I’m holding crisis at work together as I write this in spurts, so I can’t just leave. I apologize for the blargh.

Comments 23 Comments »

I’ve been having just the most incredibly fun time on Azuremyst with my new alts.

Wait, how is that possible? I’ve been playing WoW for years and years and years. How can it still be fun? No, scratch that, how could it possibly be awesome?

Haven’t I heard? All the cool kids are sneering at WoW and going off to play other games that are newer and cooler and better and stuffs!

I had heard a bit of that going around, but I do strongly believe that attitude matters. If you walk around looking for an excuse to feel pissed off, seems to me it doesn’t take long to accomplish that goal.

I’ve never been what you could call pissed off at WoW. I’ve just been adrift, trying to find my center. My happy thought.

I can’t fly if I don’t have my happy thought, damn it.

Well, I’m flying now, baby. Figuratively.

The first thing I’m finding is that I really missed the challenge of being broke. Of being on my own without a big sugar daddy supporting my low level adventures.

I made a Death Knight on Azuremyst, but I got so into my Druid that I never leveled him to 60 to get flying. Just having too much fun, you know? I’m sure glad I didn’t now!

Having only the money that I make myself on low level characters by playing the auction house and gathering has added a degree of challenge that has been long missing, and I’m loving it.

Selling that stack of copper ore for 19 gold 24 silver really feels like I scored! It’s the little things.

The second thing I’m loving is I finally have a clear set of goals.

On my normal server, I’ve got 10 characters, and half the time when I log in, I’d be staring at the list, trying to figure out who to play. Too many characters, too many levels, too much damn history.

On Azuremyst, I’ve got a Fury Warrior that I retired as being too bloody easy to level (sorry, but he is), I’ve got my Feral Druid that is just a gas, and I’ve got this up and coming Hunter that I’m really rocking the place with.

Two characters I’m enjoying… and almost as though it’s a second chance to play the game for the very first time, I’m playing them… but I’m doing it up right this time.

My Druid was the first one to go down the road of “Hey, why don’t I…”.

They added this new (to me) kitty mount to Darnassus Rep a while back; the Striped Dawnsaber. I love that mount. I’ve lusted after it for a low level character ever since Cassie bought one for her Night Elf Druid when we started playing Mage/Druid together.

I never had a chance at that mount for any of MY Night Elf characters when leveling. By the time it was added, my Hunter had the Mammoth and my Druid had the chicken mount from Sethekk Halls.

Now, I can finally have that chance. Even better, mounts scale with your Riding skill, so I can have that land mount I love, and keep using it all the way to 85!

Adding to the fun, neither my Druid nor my Hunter are Night Elves. To get that mount… I need to get my Darnassus rep to Exalted. So if I really want that mount early enough to be fun… I gotta work for it.

What’s that, a challenge? Well, aw shucks.

Having that goal made the game even more interesting for the last week. After all, I have to find two different ways to get that rep, or I’ll burn out doing the same zone quests twice in a row.

I’ve almost nailed that challenge on BOTH.

What I did was, I went back to Teldrassil on my Worgen Druid, and played through all of the quests. I’m in the early stages of Ashenvale, and I’m already halfway through Revered with Darnassus. No problem.

Once I got to that point and knew that my Druid was right in the bullseye, I switched over to my Hunter.

My Human Hunter, having the advantage of Human rep bonuses, didn’t go to Teldrassil right away. Instead, after I got the Darnassus tabard, I started doing Stormwind related zones to get my Stormwind rep to Exalted.

I kept at it until I hit Exalted with Stormwind doing quests… and along the way, the shared rep with the Alliance factions got me 1 point away from Honored with everyone else. I also ran some random instances in PUGs, getting rep from the tabard.

By the time I entered Teldrassil on my Hunter, I was well on my way to Revered, and this evening I had barely set foot in Ashenvale when I dinged Exalted. I got it on my third quest in the zone.

Isn’t she pretty?

I really love the looks of that kitty.

Having this extra challenge I set for myself has really been great. It’s been so exciting to see what it would take to get there, without ruining the quests my Druid is doing.

Speaking of kitties, there was that other thing about my Hunter…

Cassie came through. Well, of course she did.

After one hellaciously long run at level 16 through Stranglethorn getting flight points along the way to Booty Bay and the boat to Ratchet, I made my way over land to that infamous den of mindless PvP, Crossroads.

There, Cassie summoned me a pet that I’ve been proud to have by my side ever since.

Say hello to… Moonshine. :)

It feels very rewarding to play the game this way. I’m not just questing through the zones, I’m using my knowledge of the game, of the zones, of how reputation works, of what rewards are available and what pets are where, to do what I would have loved to do when I first started playing the game years and years ago.

I have a level 31 Human Hunter riding a Darnassus cat with Echeyakee for a pet. It doesn’t get more gigglicious than that.

Yes, that’s a word now. Shush.

What I’m really looking forward to now are the quest zones I have yet to see.

My Hunter and Druid are both poised to quest in zones I’ve never set foot in since the Cataclysm.

Mu Hunter is heading to Hinterlands, and will do the Hinterlands – Western Plaguelands – Eastern Plaguelands – Badlands sequence. I understand that Badlands, in particular, rocks.

My Druid is going to finish out Ashenvale and move further on down Kalimdor, seeing how the land was sundered. I hope there is lots of fun for Alliance to have in Thousand Needles. South Barrens looks crazy!

Honestly, it’s a brave new world. I’ve limited my character options, removed the safety net of lots of max level characters, no longer have Cassie there to “run me through” something on her main if I just want to knock out a quick instance for quests, and have to earn every silver piece I get, for a given WoW value of “earn”.

It’s just like playing a brand new game… fresh and exciting. Except I, like… already know all the secrets and tricks and where everything can be found, and where resources are on the web.

As a side note, and I know this will seem very sudden to some people, but I can no longer be found in the guild Eff the Ineffable.

The folks there are wonderful folks who went out of their way to try and make me feel right at home, and I am very grateful to them for the invitation that brought me out of my Kael’thas shell to try something new. Please don’t believe that I have anything aganst them in any way. I don’t.

But a guild has to be a good fit for both the guild and the people in it, and while the people are great, their goals and mine within the game just aren’t the same.

I hadn’t realized going into it that they had formed the guild as a new place to make a solid go of raiding, and that there had been a lot of worry and sadness recently over what to do to get a guild of people focused on raiding. They are working very hard to get everything right, and from everything I’ve seen a re doing great.

I had been invited by nice folks I knew through Twitter, and I was very glad to go and spend time with friendly people, but in the end, the fact is I’m not a raider. That’s not my focus in the game. It’s not where my cheese is to be found.

I had lots of fun lurking in the guild chat channel… but I wasn’t a contributor to the success of the guild, and I knew that I never would be. I’d be that guy that dings 85, and then moves on to a new alt. Just when I could finally start pulling my weight in the guild and help them do what they want to be doing, I’d be moving on to another alt.  

I know that I could have stayed and been very welcome, and I’m sure nobody would have ever said anything to me about it… but I have to feel that if I am part of something, I am actually a contributing part of it. I have to feel I’m pulling my weight. 

It just wasn’t going to happen. That was, honestly, the single biggest reason I knew it wasn’t going to work out. I’d been thinking about it all week. I did have some minor issues with one person earlier in the day, but it had nothing whatsoever to do with my decision to leave. I’d been thinking about what I should do from the moment I read up about the guild and how it was formed, and realized they were a raiding guild, and meant it.

So, I said my goodbyes and left.

I’ve got some other friends on the server, I’ve been around long enough that I think I know someone on darn near every server in the US at this point. Hedwig and Matheo have invited me to hang out with Band of Misfits, a more casually-oriented guild on the server. They still raid, a LOT, word is they’ve got three raiding teams, and do so very well from what I understand… but from everything I’ve been told, it’s very casual friendly. I’ll be able to contribute to the guild by running light content in 5 person instances, and questing together with folks, or by being an occasional fill-in if someone needs a hand. That’s something I think I can handle. Plus, I won’t have that feeling that if I’m not raiding and helping the guild push through new content, that I’m not doing my part.

There are a lot of very, very nice people in Eff the Ineffable. They’re going to be pretty big stars on the raiding scene, because they have everything they need; a great GM, wonderful guild members, a mature, adult attitude and a determination to succeed. If raiding with good people is what you’re looking for, people who will actually come prepared, looking to succeed or get a punch to the crotch, then Effs’ the guild for you.

I owe the people of Eff the Ineffable a huge debt of gratitude. I may not be a raider at heart, but they brought me in and put me in a situation where I was able to rediscover all the things I love about WoW, and get my gaming groove back on.

When I get home from work now, I’m really looking forward to what I’m going to do when I log in. I’m thinking of the challenges ahead, and of what kind of neat stuff I can get up to in the world of Azeroth. That’s something that was missing for a while, and I knew I had to get an attitude adjustment to find it. I’m glad I’m back in the game.

If you’ve read this far, thank you all very much for your patience, and have a great week.

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My last post may have seemed like a bit of a downer, but it’s an honest look at where I stand with WoW.

I still love many things about WoW; the rich story and lore experience,  a vast complicated world, and a beautiful place to live.

When I look at other games to try, the one thing that stands out to me the most is how much WoW matches my aesthetic tastes.

I love the wire frame designs, the slightly skewed proportions of gear and architecture to people. The massive weapons, the big honking shoulder armor, all of that stuff. It’s been called cartoony, but I admit that I prefer the imaginative and slightly unrealistic designs to the ultra-realistic. I already live in the real world, I’d like to visit something else for my fun.

I love the artistic designs of the wildlife, the cat and bear forms on Druids, the Night Elf Druid epic flight form in particular. I love the smooth flow of creature animation. It’s a game where I can take joy in the simple act of watching an NPC snowy wolf take down a rabbit in Dun Morogh. Where I can enjoy watching the Spring Rabbit hopping around and leaving… erm, messes.

More than anything, I love the color palette.

The vibrant colors are exactly the tone that wakes up my eyes. The shimmer of the sun on the sands of Tanaris, the deep greens of Stranglethorn and Un’Goro Crater, the sunsets off Darkshore. The graphics of our spells and effects, of our enchants on weapons.

Yeah, it’s the look and feel of the game that keeps me coming back more than any single game mechanic, when I compare MMOs.

The one other component that brings me back to WoW is the community.

I’m not just talking about numbers of warm bodies playing the game. I am fairly certain that any MMO I pick up will have a suitable number of warm bodies playing it, and if I try really hard, I can meet up with some in game and chat and group and all thatkind of stuff.

The community I mean are the people who of their own initiative have built a network of information, suggestions, guides, conversations and enthusiasm outside of the game.

The people behind game database and quest research/comment sites such as WoWWiki, Thottbot and it’s spiritual successor Wowhead, MMO Champion, Ten Ton Hammer, WoW Insider. These are the big names (and there are so many, many more) all help feed a desire for news about the game taht we never even knew we had until they came along, and with their continuous efforts have helped us all gain a deeper understanding of everything surrounding the game; how it works, where to find things, what are the possibilities just waiting for me to discover as I gain levels?

They’ve built a support network so that, no matter what you may want to do in the game, there’s an answer to your question somewhere.

Then there are all the people who write guides, for their own websites or for the official forums. Is there anyone out there who has never used one? 

Someone took the time, and had the enthusiasm, to want to write that guide to answer someone else’s questions and help folks out.

And how about those websites created to help you plan and optimise your character! Websites like Ask Mr. Robot, and of course the old, bold  originals, Elitist Jerks.

Or all the people who program those kickass Addons we use, and support download sites for you to find them like Curse Gaming, without which we’d have long ago ripped our hair out in frustration.

And finally, of course, the game boosters. The cheerleaders. The bloggers that write about anything and everything, pouring their frenetic energy and enthusiasm for whatevers out onto the internets. The people that drive this ongoing buzz that helps build a feel of vitality into the game.

Without the people who do all those things, who drive everything, what you’ve got is what you see when you log in, and whatever you find on your guild forums, plus some basic community fora.

I keep coming back to WoW because of the look and feel, the art design and the pretty colors, and also because of everything that contributes to build this sense of community.

It’s why I keep flailing around in the game looking for something else to do that’s fun.

I am at that point where I keep looking for new things to do. I’m not going to lie, I don’t see a long term interest in growing a specific ‘main’ right now. I have little to no interest in ever pugging anything consistently. Everything I’m doing right now is in the pursuit of developing a new short term interest that may grow into something that has long term potential.

I’m playing my Mage with Cassie. She is playing a feral Bear tank while I do Frost DPS, and it’s been a lot of fun. We just hit level 70 last night, and bought our epic flight skills. She now has the beautiful purple flight form with gold jewelry. I’ve always thought that was a gorgeous design.

It’s not a long term interest, though, because at some point we will hit 80, or even 85… and then what? Cassie isn’t going to tank for strangers in PUGs, and I’m not really interested in pugging as a DPS/DPS.

We might get into PvP someday, but without my being able to toss heals her way, without that tank/healer survivability, it sounds painful. Last minute saves are fun! Although I could see my getting on my Druid, and the both of us doing Druid/Druid PvP someday. But then I’m not playing that Mage we leveled together.

So, we’re having fun, but nothing long term that will take us past a few months out.

I did do something else last night in the interest of trying to look for that potential long term excitement. 

I sought out more of the community to get to know on another server.

If it’s the people that are at the heart of the game, I decided to go see some folks.

What I did, was I made an alt on Azuremyst-US Alliance-side, and joined up with Eff the Ineffable, a guild of nice folks that seemed to be seeing some serious growth last night.

I joined them eventually, after spending most of the evening annoying them by stalking the guild members that were online with my alt, and then Tweeting about them. Basically, I played a game of “Guess the name of Bear’s new alt”. Meh, it was a way to have some fun and mess around for an evening, it wasn’t supposed to actually be annoying.

I can certainly see hanging out with the Effing people on Azuremyst for a while, because if I judge a guild based on the kind of conversations they have, this one should be interesting and comfortable.

There wasn’t any stupid fratboy ‘I got so raped in PvP last night’, or some other immature ‘get a life’ BS.

Instead, there was an ongoing conversation on different ways to carry your newborn baby around comfortably, and the different ways you can safely hold your newborn while they sleep, and still be able to play videogames.

I could relate to that conversation, I recall Cassie wearing one of those chest carriers while laying down and playing the Gamecube, with Alex asleep comfortably on her chest.

Ahh, the days before he learned to talk. Or say that he didn’t like what we served for dinner. Just shut up and eat, kid! There’s gaming to do! /sigh.

(Just kidding. I wonder which readers had enough of a chip on their shoulder to take that seriously and get pissed? I know damn well SOMEONE did.)

So, that bodes well for how comfortable I’ll be hanging out. I’ve decided that when I’m not playing with Cassie in WoW, I’ll probably be on Azuremyst hanging out and playing my new alt.

Is it long term? Well, I have no idea, now do I? But it does have a lot of potential. And it will definitely be a lot of fun in the short term.

So, to Grimmy and Rhii and Apple and the Parliament of Murlocs that welcomed me last night, thanks for the opportunity to have some fun and get to know you. See you later!

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