It’s been pretty quiet here the last month or so, and I’m not entirely sure what to say about the silence. The truth is that when I created this blog, it was supposed to be a venue for me to express my thoughts, frustrations and cleanse my mind. Unfortunately, as more people started reading my blog, I stopped using it as much to do something that was very healthy for me, due to adverse reactions from some people in my guild and people getting upset. Which is unfortunate, because it was a wonderful venue to think through things that were challenging and frustrating me and I needed to work through – and I want, no need, to return it to that. Over the past six months my blog became a lot less personal, and as a result my internal thoughts a lot more crowded.
So, in the interest of getting back to my roots (pun intended!), this post is going to be personal.
This past Monday Brade and I disbanded the raid team in Monolith. It was not without hurt feelings and controversy – and I will not be surprised if someone childishly (and most likely cowardly) posts hurtful things in the comments to this post (which I reserve the right to monitor and remove). But the truth is that it was long past time. Back at the end of Cataclysm Brade and I discussed at length, over the course of several months, shutting down the raid team. Ultimately, after much back and forth, we made the decision to continue for one more expansion. We thought Mists had promise – and many of the things that were weighing on our minds, and most personal conflicts, seemed resolved. So it was with enthusiasm that we pushed forward.
Unfortunately, once we got into the expansion it became clear that those resolutions were not permanent, and many of the things that made us question continuing on into the expansion resurfaced, and seemingly multiplied. It was disappointing, but because we are stubborn and committed we put our heads down and continued to push on. We don’t quit simply because things are hard – we have over eight years of success to back that statement up.
But then, on January 2nd, as I was driving into work, this happened:
I was driving my normal route, moving with the flow of traffic, when my car hit an ice patch on an elevated part of highway and I lost control of the vehicle. It did one of those scary spin around things before hitting a car entering from an entrance ramp and getting hit by the car that was travelling in the lane next to me. Fortunately for me I drive into work early in the morning, before rush hour traffic is in full force. And that the bus behind me had time to react and stop before plowing into me as well. And that I purchased a car with a very high safety rating, and a bajillion airbags.
I walked away with a minor concussion (a bump on my head about the size of an orange), pretty beat up (they took xrays of my knee to make sure it wasn’t broken) and extremely shaken. Driving to work today, with the weather in the same conditions as it was the day of the accident, was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I drove like a grandma, and just about every other car on the highway passed me, but I made it to work in one piece and imagine I will be a little less scared next time.
Anyhow, the accident had a profound effect on my thoughts. It’s strange how one, very scary, thing can make you see things more clearly. Things I had been struggling with, were now crystal. The fact was that Monolith’s environment had morphed into something completely unrecognizable, and completely unenjoyable for a lot of people – including myself. I realized this was no longer the guild that Brade and I had decided to fight to hold onto, and we no longer wanted to see it continue to degrade. Attrition was high – for any number of reasons – mostly real life. And community was almost non-existent. After a blow out on Sunday night, Brade and I spent a lot of time discussing this, and after Brade fell asleep I stayed awake with my thoughts.
The truth is, life is simply too short to do things where the enjoyment doesn’t outweigh the stress, and to surround yourself with people who make you feel bad about yourself and miserable. My car accident was a trigger to make me finally acknowledge this. I realized that I want to write my history in more than pixels, and I want more than regrets on the pages. And letting Monolith’s community degrade to the point that it was a shadow of what we had worked so hard to create was a regret I didn’t want.
Upon announcing that we were disbanding the raid team, many cruel things were said to me. I was told I was selfish – despite the fact that I had given over eight years of my life putting everyone else’s happiness in front of my own. I was told I was mentally unstable and needed to seek professional help – despite the fact that this is the best decision for everyone involved, even though it probably doesn’t feel like it at the time. I was told that the guild deserved to die under my leadership – despite the fact that it didn’t die, we killed the raid team and all the toxic vitriol that came with trying to maintain it, but in the process saved the community and the guild.
And while I would be lying if I said these things didn’t bother me a little, I can honestly say that I’m not upset about them. I am 100% comfortable with the decision we made, and I know it was the right one. But for every nasty comment I received, I got two from those who understood and supported our decision – those who agreed with our assessment of the situation and valued the importance of community. And for the first time in months I logged in and enjoyed guild chat again. There was laughter and fun. People were in high spirits and joking around. It was almost like playing an entirely new game, and I was reminded why we valued certain things over others.
For those of you wondering if the current state of druids played into my decision – I would be lying if I said no. Was it a main factor? No. Was it a top 10 factor? Yes, but towards the bottom of the list. I truly feel that Blizzard needs to do a better job of balancing classes if equality is their goal. I continue to feel they should abandon the idea that 10s and 25s are equal, because they never will. Hating my class was certainly a factor in my decision, and certainly had an impact on my ability to enjoy the game. For right or wrong, I struggled with coming to terms with how poorly resto druids scaled in 25s, and got to the point that I almost didn’t even want to try because it didn’t matter. And, in all honesty, I don’t feel the “new” mushrooms, in their current iteration, are going to improve our situation any – but that is likely a topic for another time.
So many of you are probably thinking “what now, Beru”.
Well, I’m not really sure. Something I haven’t been hugely open about is that Brade and I have decided to start a family, and have started trying to conceive. Because I want to bifurcate my gaming blog with this effort, I did start a new blog, Wind Blown Tree Tops to chronicle my adventures. Right now, it’s simply a completely generic, blank blog as it has been since I created it in September. But I imagine in time I will have a lot of things to say there and will nitpick both the style and the content until I’m happy with it. You are all welcome to follow me through this adventure if you’d like, although I don’t know how exciting it will be
Will I keep blogging here and about druids? Well, I don’t know. I’d like to, but I also don’t know what I’ll have to say. I suspect only time will tell. Will I keep playing WoW? Brade and I have decided to play very casually at this time. We are finally getting around to challenge modes (which are immensely fun!). In time, we will probably do a 1 night a week ten man with friends to see what the new content is all about. I will continue to enjoy the addiction that is pet battling. But I don’t know if I will ever raid seriously again. I find that as time goes on I am less inclined to have my gaming environment constrict my time. I want to be able to take the aquasize class that meets two nights a week. I want to be able to come home from work and relax, game if I want or watch TV if I want. And I strongly suspect that as I continue to have less of an obligation to be online, the value of no longer having a raid schedule (and all the things that come with it – like dailys) will outweigh any desire to be competitive again.
And, I am content with that. For the first time in years I feel a freedom that I had forgotten about. Will I miss raiding? Yes, absolutely. And I will continue to cheer on and support those of you who are still pushing through it. I have many happy memories brought to me from raiding and I think it is a fantastic group effort that can teach valuable life lessons. I don’t have any regrets about the time I spent in WoW – it was well worth it and got me through some of the most difficult times of my life. It is my hope that I can still continue to enjoy it, just on my terms now.
And, well, if things go as planned, I have some big changes on the horizon
See you in 2013!
(Perhaps, maybe, I’ll find time to do a pet leveling post, but no promises!)
When my hands were at the pinnacle of having issues and very painful (mini update: seeing yet ANOTHER doctor at the end of January, and being started on Prednisone in the interim), Brade and I picked up a few board games so that we’d continue to have an interactive activity to do together. From there, we have spent many nights enjoying “game night” unplugged. And I love it!
We have spent many an evening playing games with just the two of us. We’ve also been working to set up a semi-regular game night with several different groups of friends, and have met some new and fun people in the process. I often fretted and worried about what I would do when I decided it was time to send Beru to Nagrand and log out of WoW permanently – would I have any social connections, would I be bored out of my skull, would I become a cranky old lady who reads books and watches my “shows”. However, I am happy to say that many of the experiences that I’ve had since re-introducing myself to the tabletop game genre have not only been overwhelmingly positive, but have also reminded me that a lot of people who don’t play wow continue to have a lot of fun and don’t all become cranky old ladies who whistle through their dentures while shaking their cane at those crazy kids these days (/gasp!).
We are also very fortunate in that we have an amazing game store locally where we can window shop, and even try out games before we buy them. While games tend to be slightly more expensive here, there is something to be said for the environment found in a game store. It’s hard to really describe, but there is just something…energetic and intriguing about it. One of the things that the shop closest to us does is have a “free play” night on Friday nights where the store is open until midnight and you can go in and just enjoy the games – and even ask one of the store personnel to teach you how to play (one of the other stores has a Munchkin Saturday Night – and has someone from the Munchkin team that comes and teaches people how to play). While we’ve not taken advantage of this as much as I’d like, it’s definitely on our list of “Friday Evening Activites”. Read the rest of this entry »
The great monk Nerf has occurred – and it’s pretty much done jack and shit for the current state of the Resto Druid. Our toolkit problems continue to be reflected in our output in 25s. And, honestly, with Blizzard indicating they feel we are “fine” I’m running out of energy – and feel a bit like I’m wasting my time – continuing to try and show we continue to struggle and have problems.
Here is the breakdown over the past few weeks.
Since this is the fourth time we’ve taken a look at this, with no indication that our life is going to improve, I feel I don’t have much left to say on the topic.
Our Monk overlords have been summarily replaced with disc priests. The monk nerfs were steep (maybe too steep), and the bubble lords swooped in and have mitigated their way into the position formally held by monks. Mushrooms still suck. Our healing model still does not work well in the world of MoP healing. Our fixed mana pools still do not support the toolkit we have to work with. And well, that’s about all I have to say on the matter.
If I hadn’t devoted the past eight years to the Druid class, I would seriously be considering a reroll at this point (and have, in fact, given it consideration). But I don’t feel that I should have to give up a class I’ve put so much energy into, and enjoyed for so long. I pretty strongly feel it should be Blizzard’s responsibility to make sure that classes are fun to play. That they are equally competitive, that they have tools suitable to meet that goal, and that players can continue to feel like viable assets of their raid team and enjoy the game based on skill rather than be frustrated because of artificial limitations set by the game.
But maybe that’s just me.
Please feel free to review the prior three posts in the series for more in depth looks at the problem and potential solutions.
One of the things that I have learned in the past few months is that I am a Katy Perry fan. It all started with her movie. I have always been a fan of documentary type things, such as Behind the Music and True Hollywood Story, so it was no real surprise that I was interested in this movie. I’d heard a few of her songs on the radio, and found them catchy. I’d always thought she had spunk. But upon watching this documentary, I decided that I actually really like Katy Perry.
I’m sure you are wondering if this post has anything to do with WoW. And it does. I’ll get there. But even if I didn’t, I’d point out that this is my blog and if I wanted to do a post that did nothing but talk about how I decided I was a Katy Perry fan, that’s my right. Fortunately for you, I do have some points that don’t involve Katy Perry.
Anyhow. The reason I bring up Katy Perry here is because she has a song that I really, really like the message. It’s called Part of Me – and it basically talks about (at least my interpretation, anyhow) being true to yourself and remembering that nobody can take a part of you, unless you let them. This resonates with me for many reasons – but largely because I’ve grown to the point in my life where I am pretty happy with who I am. I am pretty comfortable with myself, and well aware of both how things make me feel, as well as my likes and dislikes.
*yawn* Is this ever going to get to the part about WoW? Read the rest of this entry »
As another two weeks have passed, it is time to take another look at how Druids are faring in this tier or content. Since we’ve already talked quite a bit about why we are having problems, and how it needs to be fixed, I’m not going to elaborate a whole lot more on that. This is partly becaue the new charts show some interesting things, and I have a few other things I want to discuss.
Let’s start with what the numbers tell us. As a reminder, I am only evaluating how Druids are performing in a 25 man raid content because this is my raid setting. If you are raiding 10s and rocking it, good on you! Go on with your bad self.
In looking at these numbers, you can see that Druids are still rolling along at the bottom. Disc priests have soared as they received buffs and starting gaining familiarity with their toolkit. Paladin and shaman seem to have plateaued, while Druids continue to struggle with the same problems we have since release. Aside from priests, not much has appreciably changed since our last look.
Until we take a look at how heroics are looking.
Read the rest of this entry »
I had intended to work on the post giving a third look at the state of Druid healing, but when I opened my email this morning, there was a note from the photographer letting me know that our pictures were ready. So you are getting wedding pictures instead. Out of the massive file that was sent, I managed to find a few that I liked! I’m sure that we are all our own worst critic, and that Brade will like different ones than I do, but the ones below we’re amongst my favorites. It was a very lovely (albeit Seattle rainy) day – and in the end, I suppose that I am happy we ultimately decided to hire a photographer.
While I am still quite disappointed with the state of druid healing, I thought I’d take a bit of a break on my continuing evaluation on the state of resto druids to talk about something else today. Progression. (Don’t worry, I do have a two week follow up coming this week and I will get back to it, I just need to talk about other things for a bit). I’ve had a few people ask me how we decided to approach progression this tier, so I thought I’d go ahead and give a few thoughts on our decisions with regards to progression as a guild for this unwieldy first tier in the expansion.
However, before I get to that, I thought I’d spend a few sentences talking about something else that is related in a tertiary fashion and has been on my mind: the T14 gating.
When the gating was announced, I remember being very excited about it because the amount of content being released as T14 was staggering in the number of encounters presented, and subsequently overwhelming. I still like that there was gating for it, but it the execution of this particular gating was a little…clunky. Which, in turn, means that I didn’t care for how this content was gated. What ultimately happened was that when Mogu’shan Vaults was released there was a large period of time before the next zone was released. This meant that your above average guild was able to clear the zone, and then subsequently work on a few heroics while waiting for the new content. However, when the new content released, you stopped your heroic progression push to clear the new normal mode zones – and then two weeks later had another new zone to tackle. And then, only after that, would your progression push be back to heroics.
The problem I had with this was that the long period of gating with the first raid disjointed what is normal progression, that is to say that most people would push all of their normal mode content and then start heroics once that was cleared. And I’d wager a fair bet that most heroics are tuned with the expectation of having gear from all three of the zones. This meant that everything with progression was just thrown off by the awkward way that the content was presented. In hindsight, I wish that the gating was more fluid and smooth or that heroic content was approached differently. Should Blizzard opt to gate content this way again, I hope that they make that decision from the outset of the development of the content so that progression isn’t quite as disjointed.
Planning for T14 Progression
Ok, so now that is out of the way, let’s talk a little bit about how we decided to attack T14 progression. Read the rest of this entry »
The devil presents me with three choices, one of which I must choose.
I ask if, in my heart, I believe.
With my sincerest apologizes to Dr. Seuss.
At the far end of town, where the fool’s cap grows and the wind smells slow and sour and no bugs ever sing excepting old Klaxxi is the street of the lifted Lorax. And deep in the fool’s cap, some people say, if you look deep enough you can still see, today, where the lorax once stood just as long as it could, before someone lifted the Lorax away.
What was the Lorax? And why was it there? And why was it lifted and taken somewhere from the far end of town where the fool’s cap all grows? Ghostcrawler still lives here. Ask him. He knows.
You won’t see Ghostcrawler. Don’t knock at his door. He stays in his tree, planted in his grove. He lurks in the branches where the leaves have all fallen, and he makes his own clothes from mushrooms and rejuvenallen. And on special dank midnights in November, he peeks out of the shutters and sometimes he speaks and tells how the Lorax was lifted away.
He’ll tell you perhaps…if you’re willing to pay.
On the end of a line he lets down a tin pail and you have to toss in the cap of three mushrooms and a snail. Then he pulls up the pail, makes a most careful count to see if you’ve paid him the proper amount. Then he hides what you paid him away in the claws, his secret strange hole in his gruvvulous paws. Then he grunts, “I will call you by crab-a-phone, for the secrets I tell you are for your ears alone”.
Down inches the crab-a-phone until it reaches your ear and the old crab’s whispers are not very clear.
“Now I’ll tell you,” he says, with his claws sounding gray, “how the Lorax got lifted away”.
It all started way back, such a long time ago, in the days when the fool’s cap did not grow. When the trees all had branches, leaves rustling in the wind. Before mushrooms bloomed, and dangers loomed, I came to this glorious place. At first I saw the trees! The glorious happy trees, with bright colored branches and heals that didn’t sneeze! Their leaves, oh their leaves! All dancing in the breeze!
And under the trees, I saw brown guardians frisking in their big bear butt suits as they played in the shade and were healed by the trees. From the rippulous pond came the comfortable sound of the orcas all humming while splashing around. But those trees! Those trees! Those healing trees! All my life I’ve been searching for trees such as these! The touch of their rejuvs, the tickle of growth, warmed my injured heart like butterfly milk. I felt a great leaping of joy in my heart, I knew just what I’d do and I unloaded my crab cart!
I no time at all, I realized they needed a change. So I sat in my shop and pondered giving them the chop. With all my great skill, and with my great crab speed, I realized I knew just what they need! I planted my mushrooms and awaited fungal explosion, my claws were crackling with the thought of implosion! The instant I’d finished, I heard a ga-Zump! I looked, I saw something pop out of a stump! It was a sort of man.
Describe him? That’s hard. I don’t know if I can.
He was shortish. And oldish. And brownish. And Mossy. And he spoke with a voice that was sharpish and bossy! “Mister!” he said with a fungal born sneeze, “I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees. I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues. And I’m asking you sir, at the top of my lungs!”. He was very upset as he shouted and puffed. “What’s that thing you’ve made from my trees tuft!”.
“Look, Lorax” the crab said “There’s no cause for alarm. The Mushrooms will heal and I’m doing no harm. I’m being quite useful, in offering this tool, mushrooms are something that all people need! They plant, they heal, they have other uses! They aren’t rotational, but druids will love them and sing of them like muses!”.
The Lorax said, “Sir! You are crazy, my friend. There is no one on earth who will use them in the end!”.
The crab laughed at the Lorax, “You poor stupid guy! You will use them, and like it, or just manage to get by”.
“I repeat,” cried the Lorax, “I speak for the trees!”
“I’m busy,” I told him. “Shut up, if you please”. I rushed to the phone to put in a quick call, I called all my brothers and uncles and devs and I said, “Listen here! Here’s a wonderful chance to plant with mushrooms and watch them explode! Get over here fast! Take the road to the Steppes and turn south at the wastes”. And, in no time at all, in the grove that I built the who crab family was working full tilt. We were all planting mushrooms just as busy as bees, to the crying sound of all of the trees.
We were planting mushrooms as fast as before, and that Lorax? Well, he didn’t show up anymore.
But the next week he knocked on my new office door. He snapped “I’m the Lorax, who speaks for the trees, who you seems to be stifling as fast as you please. But I’m also in charge of the guardian bears who played and received heals in their big bear butt suits. NOW…thanks to your mushrooms there aren’t enough heals for the trees to toss around. And my poor guardians are all getting the crummies because they have mushrooms rotting their tummies! They loved living here, but I can’t let them stay. They’ll have to find heals, and I hope that they may.” And then the Lorax sent them away.
I, the crab, felt sad as I watched them all go. BUT…Mushrooms are Mushrooms, and they must grow, regardless of crummies in tummies you know. I meant no harm, I truly did not. But I was sold on three mushrooms, so a planting I got. I planted them here, I planted them there, I advocated their usefulness everywhere. I went right on planting my mushrooms, and I didn’t worry about the healing, which the trees didn’t need.
Then again he came back! I was trying new shrooms when that old nuisance Lorax came back with more gripes!
“I am the Lorax,” he coughed and whiffed. “Crab!” he cried with a croak “Crab! You’re making such your making the blooming broke”. My poor moonkin, why they can’t starfall a single star! No one can with no healing to keep them afloat! And so”, said the Lorax, “please pardon my fear, but they cannot leave here. So I’m sending them off.”
“Where will they go?” I don’t hopefully know. Somewhere with rain and mists I imagine. To escape from the mushrooms you’ve planted here. “What’s more,” snapped the Lorax (His dander was up) “your mushrooms are send the trees into a gloom.”
And then I got mad. I got terribly mad. I yelled at the Lorax, “Now listen here, Dad! All you do is yap-yap and say BAD BAD BAD! Well, I have my thoughts and I’m telling you I intend on doing just what I do! And, for your information, you Lorax, I’m figgering on keeping mushrooms without biggering! Because mushrooms are the answer that EVERYONE needs!”.
And at that very moment, we heard a loud whack. From outside in the grove came a sickening smack.
We look out the window to see the last tree had fallen. Their spirit crushed and their branches swaying. The trees walked away, the grove left decaying. The devs looked around me, and started to pack up, with no trees there was no back up. Now all that was left ‘neath the mushroom covered sky was my big empty grove…the Lorax…and I.
The Lorax said nothing. Just gave me a glance…just gave me a very sad, sad backward glance…as he lifted himself by the seat of his pants. And I’ll never forget the grim look on his face when he heisted himself and took leave of this place. Through a hole in the mushrooms, without leaving a trace. And all the Lorax left here in this mess was a small pile of rocks, with one word….”UNLESS”.
Through the expansion, as my mushrooms have fallen apart, I’ve worried about the trees with all of my heart. “But now,” says the crab, “Now that you’re here, the word of the Lorax seems perfectly clear. UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not. SO…Catch!” calls the crab and he lets something fall. “It’s a mushroom spore, the last one of all! You’re in charge of the fate of the trees, and trees are really what everyone needs. Plant a new thought, treat it with care. Give it clean water and feed it fresh air. Grow a forest, make it big and strong. Protect it from Mushrooms, and sing it a song. Then the Lorax and all of his friends may come back.”