So, we’ve talked about gaming and family. Let’s give a fine example of trying to balance the two.
My friend James, who has just celebrated the baptism of his youngest, Joey (congrats again, buddy), also plays WoW.
He has a dwarf Rogue named Melpo, which has been his only real character for about 1.5 years. He’s level 70, and trying to finish his Kara attunement.
So last night we had a bunch of friends on, some in the Singapore time zone and just starting their day all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, and some of us here in the central time zone staring 10 PM in the face.
Our respective children are in bed… nothing stopping us from playing for a bit. Of course, we know we have to get up early in the morning, what with the baptism and party, etc. But no reason we can’t run the next stage of his Kara attunement…. Old Hillsbrad.
Well, at least in theory there is no reason. In the real world, we have what I call ‘too much infantry, not enough support’.
Among the 4 of us on and ready to go, we have two mages, a rogue, and myself as the tank.
Hmm…. not a single person that can take over tanking from me so I can do heals… and not a single other class that is a hybrid that can heal either.
Ironically, most of us have started leveling priest alts cause we’re getting tired of this, and want to melt faces. That’s quite beside the point, which is, at this present time…. no healers.
Now, it’s a 66-68 instance. I’ve run it many times before. The perversity of a warrior always being on the runs where the tanking ring drops from Lieutenant Drake, and also of course winning the roll, is beside the point. There will be no warrior on this run, so I know the ring won’t drop. We’re gonna run it for Jamie.
The question is… can we find a healer amongst our friends, one from our guilds, or a PUG healer to fill out the group, or will we have to run without a healer and DPS our butts off?
Well, by the time we all assemble in the Caverns of Time, get buffed, and everyone is all set and the respective children are ALL accounted for, it has gone from 10 to 11. I consider Old Hillsbrad a 1.5 hour run. In the group, I am the only one that has run it, so I’m figuring if we get going, I’m looking at 1 AM. That is doable. Sleep, phooey. Time enough to sleep when I’m dead.
The rest of the group decides to make a concerted effort to find a healer. One good friend comes online, that has specced her druid to resto, but she has a work assignment scheduled for early the next morning. She just CAN’T do it. Calls go out to the guilds we are a part of, but no healers are to be found. Trolling the LFG channel nets nada. Zero. Zilch. Zed.
And then lo and behold, Kemangi, the wife of our wondrous mage Tikky, comes online with her Warlock. “I can help” she announces. Outstanding, we’re gonna try and DPS our way through. Hah
Of course, we then run into the wonderful time sink that is the quest “The Caverns of Time“, an escort quest that is mandatory for every player to do, to be able to enter the Old Hillsbrad instance. Guess what? It is about 15 minutes of wandering around following a blathering idiot. And since this is the first trip for some of us, it has to be done. Twice. And one of our group has the bug come up where you can’t get the quest to start if you are mounted when you accept it. So we waste even more time trying to figure out why it won’t work.
By the time we bite the bullet, and everyone is ready to go, it’s midnight. We have no healer. But what the hey, what’s the worse that’ll happen? I’m used to getting up on 4 to 5 hours sleep, so I’m not too worried. Jamie, on the other hand, is going to have one crazy busy day. We do a gut check, he says he’s fine, he really wants to get this done. I’m not so sure, but he’s a big boy, and I figure if he thinks it’s ok, well, we’re doing it for him, so let’s get cracking.
So at midnight we go in, when we had 4 people ready to go at 10 PM, for a run that should take 1.5 hours. Welcome to casual land.
Let me tell you something though, having two mages on a humanoid only instance is highly amusing. Each pull in the barracks, and in Durnholde, we mark for two sheep, I take one or two to tank, and everyone DPSes anything else down first. James the rogue is tanking the targets that are the first to down as the DPS pours in, and the pulls go smooth as silk.
I rarely have any health problems, and even on the Thrall Death March, culminating in Thrall tanking one of the two healers supporting Captain Skarloc, and preventing us from sheeping both healers and burning Skarloc down first, we are able to do the whole thing with excellent results. A couple of times in there we have someone die, but the first time I have a rez, and the second it’s not that far a run.
All this changes with the last event, the Epoch Hunter. Everyone say it with me, class….. Dragonkin can’t be sheeped.
We burn through the first two waves of Dragonkin, but the third wave is just too much. I lose aggro on one that gets loose amongst the casters, I can’t keep my health up that long even with popping out and spot healing between waves, and the only reason we don’t all wipe is that Thrall dies and the Dragonkin fade out. Only two were left alive, Jay the mage and James the rogue.
So we regroup. I look at the time. We have reached 1 AM. I am dog tired. And I don’t see a way for us to handle all three waves and still be in good shape for the Epoch Hunter. So I call it. And I am really upset because we kicked butt all the way, but just couldn’t do it without a healer of some sort, or crowd control on Dragonkin.
Ah, I hear you scream “Wait!” as I say that. “But Big Butt”, you scream, “Druids can hibernate Dragonkin!”
You are absolutely correct. All I can say is that except for the first wave where we were ready and waiting, I did not find a moment during the succeeding two waves where I could safely pop out to hibernate one without having two mobs being tanked on top of me. I am sure a better tank could have done so. Maybe I could have if I wasn’t so tired. I dunno.
But I announce that I am too tired and I don’t see us finishing it this time, when at that moment James says that he has a paladin from his guild that is willing to come get the last boss done. At 1 AM server time.
Of course, now we need to decide who is leaving the group to make room, we have to run out of the instance to summon him, etc. Jay the mage decides he can bail since of the 4 of us he was the only one not 70, his mage is level 67. Not that we noticed, he does the DPS of a 70, I kid you not.
Well, we get ready to go… and the paladin can’t get in the instance.
He needs to do the escort quest first.
Everyone types “pizza break” and splits for 15 minutes.
When we come back, he is still on the escort quest.
When all was said and done, and the paladin was in and ready to go, it was about 1:45 AM server time.
We kicked off the fight…and about 5 minutes later it was done and successful. It was ludicrous how easy it was with a paladin providing healing support.
Yeah, yeah, I know, a well balanced group of 70s in Old Hillsbrad. It should be easy. At 2 AM it feels like a pretty hard earned victory if you ask me. And I am trying VERY hard not to ask myself if the results are worth the lost sleep and potential wife aggro.
So we get it done, James gets his next part of the chain complete, James is happy, everyone is happy, I thank everyone and bail for bed. I am grateful that I ahve managed to ahve a good instance run with my freinds this week. I know it’ll be at least another week before I see everyone online again together at the same time.
Bless my wife, she lets me sleep in until 9 AM without asking, letting me out of breakfast duties, AND letting me out of mowing the lawn for the day. I don’t think she knows just how late I was up, but she also knows I will be watching our son so she gets to sleep in Sunday, and I’ll be making the breakfast then, so it’ll balance out a teeny bit. But she makes real good waffles and bacon, so I’m still gettting the best part of this deal.
We head down the state for the baptism, and I see my friend. I was wondering how he would be doing, since he seemed intent on continuing on when I logged out. He’s doing good, he’s showing no signs of stress. He’s handing the guests and keeping track of his three little menaces with panache.
But at the end of the evening, his wife and my wife get their heads together and compare notes. And his wife tells my wife that James didn’t come to bed until 2:30 AM because of ‘that damn game’, and she looks square at me and asks me why I made him stay up so late! And my wife then looks at me and says, “Wait a minute, you didn’t come to bed until 2:30?”
All I can say is… if everyone was asleep when the playing was going on, and I wasn’t out drinking at a sports bar and risking a DUI, was it so bad? I promise I’ll get up early Sunday. Sweetie? Honey? It’s okay, right?