Since BBB is working today and wanted me to write a post, here it is and as the title says, it’s pretty much just a rambling post of what I’ve been experiencing and thiking about the game lately (you’ve been warned).
As he said, the guild has been making great strides in raiding. I participated in Gruul’s last week and then Mag where I finally had a good roll for once (instead of like a seven) and got my first piece of Tier 4 Gear – Netherblade Chestpiece. We’re going back into Kara this week (probably starting tonight) and hopefully I will get my gloves or helm (really want the helm!). Both dropped last week and paladins took them. Romulo’s Poison Vial also finally dropped and a stupid hunter took it on the roll, even though it’s clearly a rogue item (even Kaliban’s has it as a secondary class item for hunters). Yes, I’m bitter and I’ll admit it. To be honest though, I’d be much less bitter if the hunter who took it had actually equipped it. But no, a week later, still not using it AND already had trinkets much better than what I have. GRRR…..
I also joined the guild for their first attempt at Lurker on Saturday after doing trash pulls as they had done previously. After wiping a few times, it was called due to the late hour and people needing to leave (since it took almost an hour past raid start time to actually get in and started). I didn’t really enjoy that event so much and probably will take a bit of time off from trying SSC again. Gruul’s is enough of a pain for me :-) I’m much more a fan of 10-man or even 5-man runs where you can have fun together and maybe get some loot, not 25-mans which just feel too chaotic and yet, at the same time, much more “business-like” to me (i.e. let’s get in, get this done, divide up loot and go home, nobody be goofing around in game or on TS, focus people, focus).
Overall the guild is really focusing much more on raiding progression (that’s the current guild buzzword – everything done must be in the name of the magic and holy “progression”) and less on having fun together in smaller groups (or some, including me many days, would say ANY fun at all). On one hand, I understand it to a certain degree. The people who have been doing things like Kara and heroics for a year or so are getting bored and want to see bigger things (and get bigger loot).
On the other hand, for those of us that are less geared and newer at the game, it’s uncomfortable and overall yucky. We’re asked to join 25-mans and in some places play a key role (spell-kicking/interrupt in my case) and yet we’re not really geared for that level of instance, so we fairly quickly die in some cases, and then the people coordinating the raid are yelling at the healers for not healing in time and the healers are complaining because there’s too many people needing massive healing and they can’t keep up and it goes downhill from there. Basically, there’s a lot of us that still need to do the earlier stuff, but the more experienced leaders don’t want to do the “boring, same old stuff again” and are forgetting that progression isn’t going to happen overall if everyone isn’t appropriately geared and not just a select few.
I’m also still experiencing a bit of transition in the before-70 WoW game and the after 70 game. BBB and I just talked about this again last weekend and I expressed my dislike at Blizzard for making the first 70-levels mostly about doing things on your own, succeeding and questing and occasionally getting 5 of your friends together for a party instance, like ZF or Sunken Temple. But mostly, you setting your personal goals, working through leveling guides and having fun. For those of us who are even goal oriented in a video game, there were plenty of goals to set and achieve.
Then you hit 70 and all that routine that you’ve come to know and love (and that has made the game fun for almost 6 months in my case) abruptly comes to a screeching halt. Suddenly, you’re told that in order to go any further you have to find 4 or 9 or 24 other people and are going to be forced to play with people that in many cases you personally can’t stand (not just sorta are different from, but in many cases, that it actually pains you to play with), but you’ll have to do it for “progression.”
Sure, you can stick on your own, do dailies, do quests for endless money, and sort of wander around the world unfocused and I’m sure, over time, find a purpose that you enjoy (but not really get any new gear). But the transition of hitting 70 seems to come out of nowhere and I kind of ended up feeling like Blizzard tricked me. I was having fun and now “where’s my fun? I want it back.” As I’ve mentioned before, I started WoW for a very specific reason (needed to get away from real life pain), so the last thing I really want is to suddenly have to interact with other people that, in many cases, just like to create drama for their own personal enjoyment. Suddenly the game feels like more work than my real life and that’s no good. One of the WoW Insider columnists talks about this transition and drama today here (and probably says it better than I did – see his response to “What’s the number one thing Blizzard could do better?”)
I’m NOT against all raiding or even the dreaded progression (even though it probably sounds like it from all my complaining here), but there are certain aspects that I have issues with, in addition to the chaos and drama potential. The biggest one is time management. To be a raiding guild (which I didn’t think is what I was joining – but that’s another issue), you have to be committed and you have to participate. The focus becomes scheduling runs and coercing everyone possible into participating in every run and doing it “for the guild.” Suddenly people don’t have time to play their alts, be a spec that they have fun with (because that’s not a spec the guild has a need for right now), run heroics for badges, or even GASP, have fun with their friends unless it’s done in the realm of raiding.
That’s ok for a lot of people. That’s how hard-core raiding guilds get to where they are and get the bragging rights of saying how many bosses they’ve done in BT or how they have SSC on farm status. But that’s not who I am or want to be and it’s not really where BBB wants to go either (ok, largely because I’d never let him, but anyways..lol). Last week I was exploring the forums on our guild website (translation – avoiding the work on my desk) and stumbled across a “who are you” thread in which people posted information about themselves IRL. Like in some cases, their actual name (not just their toon’s name), what they do for a job (for those who have one outside of WoW), and other personal info. I knew that BBB and I were older WoW players (which is a whole other rant about how over 30 is NOT old), but I had no idea until after that post just how YOUNG most of the guild truly is. The majority of the people that are officers or that are the active players in guild chat and instances are in the 18-23 year old range. As I put it to BBB, my favorite sweatshirt that I bought for myself is OLDER than most of those people, lol. And since BBB is 6 years older than me, some of the people could actually be his children (and I suppose the younger ones on that range could be mine too but only if I was a very advanced 13 to 16 year old, lol).
Those players, in general, have much less responsibility in the world. Many of them still live at home (and joke about drawing “mom aggro” when they are playing too long or missing dinner), have maybe a part-time job, might be going to school, and in general, it’s mostly about playing as much as possible around the clock.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I remember those days. I remember being single and being able to set my own schedule, having fun and fitting work and school into that fun time, and having other people (parents) to pay the bills in many cases. But for me, that feels like a really, really long time ago (living with a BBB ages you prematurely, lol). However, it’s also about having a different focus. BBB and I have “real” jobs, we own a house, we have responsibilities with our families), and most importantly, we have a child. We have a 5-year-old who doesn’t deserve to be parked in front of his toys or even worse, a movie, for hours three or four or more times a week, so that we can meet the guild’s new ideals of progression and everybody joining in.
BBB has been running a Kara group (again, since most of the others in charge have no interest in doing it anymore). I’ve been trying to go since most of the next stage of gear is in there for me. That means 2 nights of playing for 2-3 hours. Then there’s now the weekly Gruul’s run and an SSC run on the calendar that I often end up going on (either because they need a rogue skill or another DPS or just a warm body to fill out the 25 slots). Now with the success of Mag’s last week, another run added to the calendar. Suddenly that means there are expectations (more for BBB as a MT than me) of being available for 5 nights a week! Up to 5 nights that we rush dinner, so that there’s time to do a few dailies before arriving for the raid, up to 5 nights that our son has to hear “I can’t get you juice right now. You need to wait until after this “boss bad guy” is down, and up to 5 nights a week that we try to squeeze in tucking him in around a pausing point in the run before running back to our computers and having to feel that we need to apologize for having made 8 or 23 other people wait for 5 minutes, so that he could get a hug and kiss from mommy and daddy before bed. That is SO wrong on SO many levels and it’s not the kind of parent that I want to be or that he deserves to have us be.
But where do you draw the line? If BBB sits out on too many guild runs, he’s going to be looked down on and likely quickly replaced with another MT who can be “committed to progression and understand where we’re trying to take this guild.” Which isn’t fair because he spent a lot of time and energy getting his toon to where it is and knowing how to jump into a raid and do his job well. He could stop running the Kara group, but then most of the undergeared players who need gear and to, more importantly, learn how to play their toon in a group setting aren’t going to get that chance.
I could stop raiding, but then I feel like I can’t be online for even a bit during the raid because then I’ll be seen as not being committed either and wanting to just do my own thing, especially if a raid doesn’t happen because there weren’t enough people online and I could have filled a spot. And again, I’ve got the best gear I can get on my own and there’s only so much quest money you can make before it’s not fun anymore and you want to do something with others for a little bit, so not raiding at all doesn’t really work. I could quit the game completely and spend more time with our son while BBB raids (like I used to). But BBB and I do enjoy playing together and having something that we can talk to each other about and set goals that we can assist each other with. We could find another guild that is much more casual and not as progressed (for example, only doing Kara and maybe ZA or attempting Gruul’s). But BBB is an officer and likes being an officer, so starting again at the bottom of the pile, could be a real bummer too.
Is there anyone that is in a similar situation who has some advice for us? Or even if you’re not, any suggestions on how we can still be committed to a guild, but not have that be more of a focus than our real lives? Help saved a tired bear and his family (assuming you’re still awake from my wall of text post)!