Challenge Modes – The Center Cannot Hold

It’s over. No Challenge Modes for me! Or for the grand folks who tried to help when we ran into troubles, either.

When we lost our tank unexpectedly yesterday, Wren was good enough to help us out with his Paladin, and he did a great job working our way through Stormstout Brewery, but in the end having five people who had not attempted Challenge Modes before, or at least played as though they had never done Challenge Modes before proved to be too high of a handicap.

To be blunt, none of us acted like we knew where to go or what to do, and everyone looked to someone else to tell us what to do. No excuses, just poor preparation and no time left to overcome it.

I found out we were done the hard way… I logged in tonight, asked the person who had started this run what the plan was for the evening, and was told she had found friends to do it with her.

As in, not you Bear and your tank and healer. Other people than you friends.

As in, we’re not doing them with you and I wasn’t going to bother to email, tweet or in-game message you because you’ll find out when you log in and I’m already in there with my friends right now so kind of get the point?

As a friend of mine said, ouch.

Fair enough.

I can walk away from this experience with the satisfaction that, for one night, I ran with a tank who was exceptional in his skill, who led from the front, and who helped me to see success in two of the Challenge Modes in Silver, the Gates of the Setting Sun and the Temple of the Jade Dragon. Doing those as a team that came together and getting those silvers was a very rewarding feeling, and I am grateful to have had that experience at least once before the pre-expansion patch came.

I also feel the satisfaction that came from playing well in the Tuesday night runs, of performing all of my tasks as a Warlock with skill, and being well prepared for what was to come. I can look back on that night without a single regret. It was as challenging as I expected, and felt incredibly rewarding when we eventually succeeded.

What those Tuesday runs had was intensity.

Do I have any regrets about not completing the Silvers and having any of the mounts?

Yes, I do. But not about the Challenge Modes themselves, more about why I never got them done in the first place.

The truth is, I never attempted to go for Challenge Modes because I don’t know other people in game well enough to have friends to do them with. That is the reality. In game, I don’t have friends that I play with that would consider me as someone to ask when CM time came around.

I don’t really have many close friends in game. Just one or two people I really enjoy spending time with, and I often feel that I hang on them too much as it is, since, y’know, being my only good friends means I’m always there like a puppy when they log in, “How ya doing, huh? Huh? Wanna play? Huh? Huh?” Nobody likes that shit. Even I know that at the very time I’m doing it.

For folks that only know me from my blog, it may be surprising, or maybe not. I really am all the time how I am on here, and while a small dose of me in written form may be entertaining or endurable, in person all the time I’m told by those who would know it’s tiresome.

I have acquaintances, people I know to nod to, say hi when they log on, enjoy their company and wish I did things with and hung around with, but I lack something to make and keep those kinds of friends. I’m not the guy people call up when they want to go do something. I don’t really know why, over the years I’ve just come to assume I’m too abrasive, too big of an asshole to maintain friendships. I lack social graces. 🙂

Or maybe, as was said in ‘Hackers’, “I don’t play well with others.”

That is what I regret.

I regret that, in the last two years of Mists of Pandaria, I haven’t made the kind of friends, the connections with other people that would have led to going off and doing some crazy shit like Challenge Modes. Of being the guy asked to come tilt at windmills, to slam our faces into a brick wall and scream in shared frustration and hard-earned triumph.

Phoenix Mounts would have only been a token of a larger and grander thing, something that you can’t achieve in a single week of frantic last minute cramming for the CM exam. Of friendship and shared experiences.

For all of you that, in my attempts this week to help someone forge a CM group, who offered your time, your efforts and your partnership in my endeavors, I want to say to you all, thank you.

Thank you all, truly, for being there for me when I asked for help.

I know I do not know all of you or any of you as well as I would like to, but just to know that there are folks that I talk with here who were willing to come forward and try this insanity with me, that really does mean a lot to me.

It gives me hope that maybe if I pull my head out of my ass, I can get out there and make some friends.

And yes, I know that phoenix mounts were a hell of an incentive to run with me. Bribing people to get together, it’s so WARCRAFT that I wouldn’t have it any other way.

God bless you and keep you safe, but not so safe you don’t get to live in interesting times or have your own wild adventures.

In my guild, I would especially like to thank Monster and Tom for being there for me as my friends, from the very first day that I joined the guild right up until today, despite my being a colossal ass. I will endeavor to provide buttflame amusement and dancing Baloo bear bollocks as long as you’ll continue to have me around.

Good night everyone, and have a wonderful final weekend before the curtain finally draws on the Mists.

10 thoughts on “Challenge Modes – The Center Cannot Hold

  1. BBB, I would gladly volunteer my abilities of my Disc healing priest to help you get the CM down, as I personally got them all already with our guild group and know the ins and outs of each one enough to help the group. Getting that last ding with our group was as amazing a moment as you’ve probably built it up to be, and I really want that for you! Please feel free to email me or friend me in game 🙂 I can PM you my handle if you are up for a stab at it!


  2. It is unfortunately you didn’t get a message from the person running them .. but there could be a perfectly good reason for it so I would have a personal chat before getting too annoyed about it (that’s me .. ever the optimistic!).

    But I know how you feel about CM .. I really wish I’d made the effort to get them done too. We tickled them a bit for a while, but made no serious efforts .. and then suddenly they were about to go and I’d run out of time :p It doesn’t help that I don’t often have long periods of time to spare for WoW … it’s usually max a few hours here or there – and I’ve usually got something organised in those few hours!


  3. There are so many of us who don’t have “real friends” in WOW. We are the silent minority who love the game but don’t have others who share the same interests. We love your blog and share not only your interests but also your frustrations. I had the same issues with CM Silver and gave up as well because I could not get a core group.

    Don’t despair. There are many of us out there in the same shoes.

    Quaras. Bear Tank -Vek’nilash


  4. BBB If A bear like you is too abrasive and lacks the social graces for a group setting, then I’m proud to say that you da Bear. Keep plugging away. Your attitude, opinions , and outlook inspire me to keep playing in a game sometimes overpopulated with asshats. Cheers


  5. I think this taught me to start earlier. 😉 But like you, I didn’t have a group to tackle them with and I was reluctant to do it with strangers.

    I did really enjoy tackling them though–they were way more challenge then I expected, but in a good way. (Unfortunately I had studied up hard for Shadopan and not Stormstout that second night). If you want to try them again in Draenor, just let me know!


  6. I’m sorry to hear that Bear. I’m surprised your guild didn’t run them, since it seems rather big. But I guess it’s just about who has time to do things, I guess. Chin up – next expac you’ll be ready for it right? And I’ll be there cheering for you when you get them and hear about how you went.


  7. As someone who stumbled into a raiding guild, then lost touch with everyone I played with after said guild fell apart in ICC and its members scattered, and I couldn’t find a new group to play with when I later returned to the game because I’m a task-orientated loner who doesn’t play well with strangers… I can empathise with your woes. But good luck when the expansion arrives, and the landscape changes once again.


  8. I’m sorry to hear about your CM group falling apart, and the way it happened. It sucks when people treat other people in-game like they’re disposable NPCs.

    May I suggest you try again, with a group made from volunteers from your readers? We got our CMs done in about 18 hours total with a completely inexperienced group (0/0 experience). We just watched videos beforehand, did a heroic mode run through to plan out what we’d do, then knocked them out slowly for a couple hours each day. Went for all silvers first, then gold. Wiping tons is normal (don’t believe otherwise) and so is a lot of cursing of Mogu’Shan (my personal bane), but a dedicated group that doesn’t give up CAN do it!

    P. S. Openraid is also a good source, but I suspect your readers would be less likely to bail at the first sign of wipes.


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