It’s been a funny weekend, all things considered. A weekend worth a rambling, stupid, tired Bearwall.
It started out with a rather unexpected bonus, and then kinda drifted from there.
I’ve been playing on lower level characters for weeks now, having fun on the Warrior here, the Paladin there, just messing about. It’s been fun.
Along the way, the Rogue that I was leveling hit 80, and the “hey, I’m 80, I should get gear” impulse kicked in, starting a frenzy of Heroics.
That started a cascade effect.
Running on the Rogue just reminded me of the good times on my Hunter, who had never quite finished getting geared from Heroics.
Running Heroics on my Hunter just reminded me of the good times on my Paladin, who REALLY had crap gear on his Ret spec. Most of his early emblems went to tanky stuff. Blech.
Once on my Paladin, I was reminded that, hey, I like my Druid too.
That began a weekend long process of flipping back and forth between the two in Heroics.
That brings us to this last Friday.
I hopped on my Druid to tank a quick one, and what should I get but Heroic Pit of Saron, immediately followed by the Battered Hilt dropping, and my winning the roll.
Hurm, as Rorshach might monotone.
What to do, what to do.
The Battered Hilt sells for around 7500g on my server at the moment, so it’s 7500g sitting there… but, I don’t care about gold. If I need it, I sell some of the tons of mats my various crafters collect. Never really had a problem with gold yet. Sure, I can’t just buy a Tundra Mammoth out of pocket, and I don’t have a motorcycle, but that’s okay. If I really wanted either THAT bad, I’d have gotten it already.
I was going to get a motorcycle for my Engineering Hunter, but she won the roll on a VOA Mammoth a long, long time ago, a nice three seater model, and after that, it kinda seemed like a moot point.
Back to the Battered Hilt… if I use it, who to use it on? And what spec?
This was an actual crunch time for me, because it caused me to really think about what I enjoy doing in the game, how I felt about playing the game, and who I wanted to invest in with a big ticket item for the long term.
I thought of my Druid first, of course, but I have the Orca Hunter’s Harpoon on him, and I really like the way it looks. From a pure graphics standpoint, it’s the awesmome. I don’t like what the weapons Feral Druids get from the Battered Hilt look like, despite how awesome all that Expertise is.
But, but… the weapon would have been better! Yeah, but this was the first realisation to come out of my thinking… I really, no I mean really, don’t care about stats beyond Heroics at this point. Faced with the guaranteed big time tasty weapon for someone, I decided against stats…
And went with looks.
My Ret Paladin has the big honking axe from Heroic Pit of Saron. It’s a good axe. Thing is… I don’t like the looks of the axe.
The Tyrannical Beheader is one bitchin’ looking weapon… but meh. My Paladin is SO over axes this season.
But do I really like my Paladin enough to replace a perfectly good, powerful two handed glowey axe with a two handed sword valued at 7500 gold, no matter how smokin’ hawt?
I thought about it a long time, and realized… yes, I guess I do. It’s only money, and screw stats.
Plus, hey, I’ve heard thats a real fun quest chain. That’s a bigger draw than whatever weapon I eventually get.
The second thing I internalized is, I like my Druid for Tanking and Healing. I like my Hunter for ranged DPS. And I like my Paladin for in-your-face melee DPS.
Any other character I play is, inevitably, going to end up being a good time leveling, before being dumped on the trash heap of MMO history.
Oh yeah, and being a Profession bot.
I did the entire Battered Hilt quest chain, and when I finished I had a massive two-handed Quel’Delar with Berserking enchanted on it courtesy of a rather melancholy player.
I was, initially, quite pleased.
I was so pleased, so heady with that ‘new gear’ smell, that I dropped the 8 Primordial Saronite I’d been stockpiling to someday craft my Druid a pair of pants to cover my big bear butt, and instead had a pair of stainless steel britches forged instead.
They chafe in places that I shall not mention.
It was quite nice to sit and enjoy the feeling of having significant gear upgrades on a character I used to like to play.
Alas, like any other toy, there’s only so much fun to be had looking at it sitting on the shelf.
I decided to take that new gear out on the road for a spin, see what it could do. Open it up, feel the wind through my fur… um, hair, and glory in ridiculously oversized male compensation, er, I mean brandish my big honking sword, a mighty weapon that requires two hands to lift, no, no, that’s not much better, perhaps I shall leave that line of descriptive narrative, hmmm?
It was at that moment in time when the weekend kinda went downhill. At least it started on a high note.
Now, I’m not going to let this just degenerate into pissing and moaning.
I did some runs using LFD, queuing mostly as melee DPS, and gee whiz, it took a while to get groups.
I’m sure you never expected that.
When I did get groups, there was a pretty even mix of groups that failed due to people way undergeared and not playing well, or people way overgeared and not playing well, and the asshattishness such things see as a result.
When there were no problems, when the runs would go smoothly, which I’d say realistically were about 40% of the time, the accompanying silence and curtness would remind me of playing Unreal Tournament Onslaught in bot mode. Fun group play, but you feel like you’re the only actual person in a field of automatons.
There were about a solid 10% of runs that had friendly people, people who met adversity in some way, rose above it, and became groups that were fun to be a part of, if for no other reason than it was nice to know that for once I was playing with people that seemed friendly and mature.
But the worst of the runs… they do stand out, don’t they? They stand out for what they tell us about ourselves, and what we choose to do.
I’ll grab one example out of the grab bag, because as a proponent of Feral Druid Tanks, this guy just pissed me off.
I happened to pop on my Druid to heal one, since I’ve mostly forgotten what healing is like.
I got a random Heroic Gundrak with a Feral Druid tank. The Feral Druid had over 6k GS, and by the time we were done with the snake boss and hitting the Elemental Boss trash, I had begun to realize that this tank, by my standards, just sucked. Bad.
Why? Because either from lack of skill or lack of give a shit, he wasn’t bothering to actually play as a tank.
First example? I spent most of the first boss with 4+ snakes on me because he went after the boss rather than clear the trash first.
Apparently, holding aggro is for lesser geared tanks that actually give a shit. I spent the entire short time healing myself and everyone else while the other DPS shot things off of me, bless them. The tank, of course, was busy being a 6k GS rockstar out front.
All the snake adds that came in after the boss aggroed? On me as well.
Really? Just, really?
So yeah, I’m thinking to myself, self, what are the chances that this guy just happened to get so many prime pieces of feral tanking loot in high end raids that he’s an (actually 6.1k GS) rockstar, but he doesn’t know how to tank his raid groups? What are the odds he’s really normally kitty DPS and just stupid at tanking?
Maybe 50/50, I guess.
Either way, he sucks, and it’s irritating.
But here is realization #3; the runs I have with people possessing a gearscore of over 4800 are far worse than those with people in 4000 to 4400. They are more painful, there are more deaths, there is a lot more bitchiness and general pissyness, and people display a complete and utter lack of skill at the most amazing times.
Cassie, having long ago decided the same thing, tells me that I need to start queueing with my weapons and shoulders unequipped, cutting down on my apparent gearscore, so I’ll have a better chance at running with lower ranked players.
Why is that? Because she thinks, and I’m starting to agree, that one of the biggest irritants we see is that people with high raiding gearscores are arrogant, think they are ‘the shit’, feel like they are too good for Heroics with ‘the scum’, and yet do it to get their two Frost emblems each day anyway.
So, they’re slumming, resentful of it, and phone it in, playing with their heads up their ass, and frankly sucking at it. Gear does not equal skill, and I have seen countless 4400 GS tanks do a mind-blowingly superior job tanking compared to the 5.5k GS idiots I see more often.
I agree with her… I’d rather play with people that are still cautious and trying to play with skill because they think their gear sucks and are trying their best so as to, ugh, not offend the high gearscores that are deigning to carry them.
You think I’m kidding?
Let me finish talking about that one Gundrak example.
We are just hitting the trash in the room outside boss numero two, the purple goo elemental that inhabits the stone statue, when our masterful Feral Druid tank decides, after a run of dead silence, that he has wisdom he’d like to share with the class.
Specifically, he starts talking shit about the Warlock in the group. Just, out of nowhere.
First, he announces, “Mr Warlock. Stop using Rain of Fire. It sucks. Only Seed of Corruption.”
Now, before anyone has a chance to respond to these words of Heroic Gundrak wisdom, while still sucking as a tank and I’m healing everyone frantically while the Death Knight is pulling one of the mobs the tank ignored off of me, he continues, with the flat announcement “crap DPS pisses me off.”
What, crap DPS pisses him off? Well, eating mobs in my branches pisses me off, bad tanking pisses me off, bad FERAL DRUID tanking freaking enrages me, and I’m not pissing and moaning about it in group, now am I?
And then, right on the heels of that stunning bit of personal sharing, he announces that “I’m sick of playing with crap DPS.”
Now, I’m pretty confused. I hadn’t noticed anything wrong with the run so far except really crappy tanking, to be honest. Stuff is dying mighty fast, ain’t that what DPS is supposed to do? They’re even grabbing the mobs off me that the tank is ignoring, I’d rate them as a bunch of fine chaps, they’re all right in my book.
I glance at the DPS Meter, maybe there is someone that ain’t pulling their weight.
I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt on that one, since I had JUST been in a Heroic Halls of Reflection where a Warrior gleefully announced he was still leveling his weapon skill… he was at 320 at the time. During most of that HHoR run, the warrior averaged 352 DPS, so yeah… I could understand a little aggravation if we had another one of those types of situations.
Oh, that HHoR run? Nervous Tank with 4400 GS, Healer with about the same, my Paladin, a Mage and the aforementioned Warrior… it was one of the smoothest HHoR runs I’ve ever been on, thank you very much. Not a single 5k+ GS to be seen (except me), and yet us poor little peons managed to do JUST fine… unlike the runs in HHoR I had later in the weekend with the 5500 GS tank and healer combo that couldn’t make it past the first boss.
That’s not evidence of anything, by the way, unless you want to think of it as my experiences in reinforcing why I increasingly don’t want to play with strangers in Heroics with really high gear.
now, after that build up, where do you think that Warlock came out on the DPS meters?
He was indeed at the bottom, with a measly 3000 DPS.
You know and I know that 3000 DPS isn’t exactly rocking the ICC hard mode charts, right?
But this isn’t ICC. This is Heroic Gundrak. Heroic GUNDRAK.
It’s not even ToC, FoS, PoS or HoR. The four instances where gear over iLevel 200 drop.
It’s Heroic Gundrak.
I don’t care how you measure it, 3k DPS as the lowest on the chart doesn’t suck.
A couple of the other players, not even the Warlock, talk for the first time in the run, one saying that he wouldn’t exactly call 3000 DPS “crap”, and the other saying “asking a Warlock not to use Rain of Fire is like asking a Hunter not to use Volley, lol” which I thought was pretty damn funny.
I was initially busy, because you know… getting eaten and having to heal frantically and all.
But I find the manual dexterity to chime in with, “The only problem I’ve seen so far is you aren’t bothering to tank, unless I’m supposed to be tanking all these mobs as part of your master plan.”
The tank, without a further word, runs forward, pulls the boss, hits it once and drops group.
Well, that’s show us, won’t it! That certainly put us in our place.
Without a break in stride, the Death Knight went all out while the Warlock sicced his pet on the boss, we easily killed the thing, and there were no deaths, thank you very much.
Then we requeue for a tank, and laugh at his idiot fail butt. He couldn’t even handle a proper seeing to!
We wait for about 30 seconds before I say “I can switch to my tank spec”, at the same time as the Death Knight says HE can switch to tank… and we get a new tank anyway.
30 whole seconds.
We get a measly 5500 GS tank, who lols at us for wiping, and when we explain the tank abandoned us in mid pull, he kinda metaphorically shrugged his shoulders, hitched his suspenders and away we went.
The rest of the run went smooth as silk, and hey, nobody said anything the rest of the run. We even ran the extra boss, which is nearly unheard of.
That’s just one example of the kind of thing that’s been eating away at the back of my brain, making me nibble around the edges of realization #4.
It’s not yet a full blown realization, it’s still a burning question.
No, really, why do I continue to play this game?
I don’t like other people’s snotty little kids. I just don’t.
I don’t put up with that kind of bullshit in person, so why should I put up with it on the internet? Serious business? Oh, please. Cry more? Yeah, keep talking that brave internet talk.
I keep telling myself that the number of really nice, mature people that play the game are the silent majority, and the asshats just seem more prevalent because they make SURE they make their presence felt.
It’s always a comforting thought to hold dear. Sure, this guy may be an assclown, but most folks in the game are nice, pleasant, mature folks it’d be a pleasure to quaff Guinness with.
But, is that true?
Are most people in the game nice? Or pleasant? Or mature?
Over the weekend, I ran into two players in a run, both from a guild called something similar to “Sofa king reh todd edd”. That one stands out in my mind as almost demanding a bitchslap, but it’s certainly not an isolated incident.
Others I know told me of similar naming delights they experienced in their pugs, but fortunately my memory has blocked it out.
There is something I’ve long held to be true, and I’m starting to wonder how it applies in an MMO.
“You can’t depend on anyone else to make you happy. In a relationship, in life, in a game, whatever, only you can make you happy. Other people can try and bring you up or down, but whether or not you’re happy all comes down to you.”
I get cranky at times, and take a shot at an asshat or two, or wonder at the idiocy I see around me, but when it comes to having fun in the game, I’ve never had a problem finding the fun. If I’m not having fun at the moment… I move my butt until I’m back in the fun. I don’t expect the game to do it for me, to present me with a covered platter, under which there shall be found ‘teh fun’. Nope, if I ain’t having fun, I go looking for it.
I don’t expect other people in the game to make me happy, or be my good time. I expect to have to seek out things that I find fun, and my good mood has to come from my own point of view.
Realization #4 is that I really have to re-examine what I want out of the game, and how I spend my time… because more and more, max level activities with strangers, any strangers, are just NOT it.
And from that realization comes some corollaries.
For example, if I ain’t gonna play at max level anymore, why bother getting upgrades for level 80 play in the first place?
I have been riding that edge already, spending every Emblem on my toons to get Heirloom gear to make leveling new alts a smooth experience.
But aside from a kick ass weapon… do I really need Heirlooms? What’s the rush to get to 80? All I’ll be doing is putting another character on the shelf and starting another one.
I still really enjoy leveling new character classes, building new adventures around a new persona. That’s still a lot of fun, and nobody talks about how they raped someone else in PvP when you’re soloing in Barrens with all the chat channels turned off.
What I’m thinking, is maybe I should restart on another server entirely, much like Elystia did.
Just pull up stakes, start somewhere new, and if I want to help a poor low level alt out, I can make a Death Knight to go do some quests in Outlands, pull in a few gold.
Make a new character, go out without Heirlooms, and see the World of a different server.
And before I take that first step… shut off every global chat channel in the game. Make it the equivalent of the biggest single player game filled with random bots ever seen.
I’m getting burnt out. Burnt out on playing a game where the misfits are starting to outnumber the people I’d like to hoist a few with.
It’s too bad that Quel’Delar can’t be Bind on Account, and scale in power like an Heirloom.
In fact, it’s too bad all the Legendaries don’t do that. That would make them oh so glorious to have, a true joy to play with rqather than an epeen bragging right on your trophy room wall? If your Legendary scaled and was Bind on Account? That would be just too cool to see on a level 1 in the Exodar.