Archive for the ‘Deep Thoughts’ Category
One of the things that I have always been a pretty firm believer in has been the thought that gear does not make the player. During my time in WoW, I’ve seen some of the best players that I’ve ever played with school people in their blue gear; and conversely, I’ve seen some of the worst players that I’ve ever played with decked out in full BiS gear from the most recent tier. I’ve always felt it’s worth the risk to take a chance on an undergeared player with “potential”, because gear is easy enough to obtain, while skill is either natural or trained through hard work, desire and practice.
As such, one of my biggest pet peeves as a player is when someone writes off a lackluster performance because “I don’t have the gear” – and then stops any further evaluation of their play. While it is true, that gear can, and will, have some impact on your ability to perform, I feel that too often it’s a crutch that people lean on to explain away why they can’t become a better player. Too often I’ll look through logs where I will find areas to improve that are completely unrelated to gear. DoT uptimes that are too low, HoT uptimes that are too low, poor use of mana regen mechanics, a significantly lower number of cast/attack x, cooldowns that go unused. And yet, rather than understanding what a player can do to perform better, so many times they will lean on the crutch of “my gear”.
If I’m being perfectly honest, it infuriates me. I think the reason that I feel so passionately about it is because gear is a valid reason for lower performance, but it is rarely the only, or even the main reason. And yet so many people are satisfied with the excuse that their gear isn’t good enough to do better that they don’t take the time to look past it and evaluate what else they could be doing to improve as a player. And because of that I think that they are doing themselves a disservice.
Gear isn’t a crutch, it’s a reason to try harder and become a better player. Read the rest of this entry »
A couple of weeks back, I read a post by Graylo where he pondered the vitality of 25 man raiding as part of his “MoP Wishlist” series that he’s been writing. I agreed with a lot of what he had to say in regards to the struggles that 25 man raiders have faced, and I do think that 25s are a dying breed. Throughout the course of this expansion I’ve watched guild after guild close their doors, many of whom I had great respect for and who stood the test of time and survived…until now.
Watching many long-standing, successful guilds shut up shop, and having first hand experience with some of the struggles 25s are faced with, I was already intimately familiar with the challenges that Cataclysm brought to guilds trying to retain a 25 man environment. Graylo, of course, put some numbers to his insights and speculations, but I don’t really think those numbers are needed to show that 25 man raiding is slowly bleeding out. Read the rest of this entry »
The seemingly black and white nature that exists between the mindset of “hardcore” and “casual” is something that’s been on my mind for a couple of months now. I think the first time that it tickled my thoughts was a few months back when I was having a conversation with someone who said “if you aren’t hardcore, you’re casual” and it stopped me in my tracks. I didn’t agree with that statement at all. In fact, I completely disagreed with it. I guess where I kept getting caught up in the logic was the immediate leap to the opposite, the complete black and white nature of the thought, with no room for the vast grey that falls in between.
The Space in the In Between
I’ve never really liked the terms “hardcore” and “casual” because of the stigmas that the community has associated with them and the fallacy of such terms, but whether I like it or not, they are terms that everyone recognizes and associates with. When most people think “hardcore” they think of guilds like Vodka or Paragon and when people think of “casual” they think of guilds who are content plugging through content at a much slower pace, often times not seeing things like “hard modes”. This is the black and the white. The complete opposites on the raiding spectrum. There is nothing wrong with either of them – they are just on different ends of the spectrum.
But I believe that it isn’t as simple as just black and white. I don’t think you have to be limited to being strictly “hardcore” or strictly “casual”. I think that there is a lot of room in that in between, a lot of grey that isn’t black or white. In fact, I’d almost wager that a great number of people in progression raiding find themselves in this in between area. Where they enjoy pushing content, but aren’t pushing it at a neck-breakingly fast pace – either because they aren’t capable of it or just don’t have the time to do it.
As I think about it more – I guess the question is “what defines hardcore”? Is it how fast you progress? Is it what you demand of your players? For me, I want to play with people that I enjoy being around and who have a vested interest in improving every night - even if maybe they aren’t always the best of the best of players. Does that make me “casual”? On the same token, I also expect them to avoid making repeat mistakes, to actively work to become a better player, to acknowledge when they’ve made an error and who want to progress through content while its current. Does that make me “hardcore”? Progression for me is fun. But playing with people who make the game fun because of who they are and what their personalities offer to that experience is also important to me. So where does that leave me? Can I have expectations without being “hardcore”? Can I have friends without being “casual”?
Honestly, I think it puts me pretty squarely in the majority of progression raiders and raid teams who fall on the cusp - somewhere in that in between. Do I sometimes desire more? Absolutely. But I also question the cost of such desires and ponder if paying Charon’s toll would be worth it when all was said and done.
So what do you think? Is progression black and white? Is there only “hardcore” and “casual” or do you think there is somewhere in between?
I wonder if there is magic in the air lately. Perhaps it’s just in my mind – but I’m doubtful that I’m the only one who has been sprinkled by a touch of fairy dust. Admittedly, I’ve been a devotee of Once Upon A Time, and have found myself hooked on Grimm. But I think I’m probably not the only one, or two separate movie studios wouldn’t be venturing into Snow White’s world.
But that’s okay, I’ve always been a fan of the Fairy Tale. What’s not to love? Good always triumphs over evil, the guy always get the girl, vanquishing evil along the way, and you can’t help but feel good at the end result. I’m sure that you are wondering where I’m going with this. Or maybe not, but I’m going to tell you anyhow. You see, I’ve been suffering some insomnia the past few nights, and last night to try and fight it I queued up Tangled and joined along as Rapunzel journeyed through the outside world. Of course, it was sitting right there in my favorites pile right next to Beauty and the Beast, and I could probably recite either show from memory, I’ve seen them that many times.
But as my sleep addled brain continued to work, and Tangled played on, I started to wonder what it is about the fairy tale that draws in so many people.
Is it the happy ending? Is that what we all ultimately all yearn for? Happily ever after? I mean, obviously the thought has merit and people buy into it, as Disney’s been selling it for almost a century. But is that really all it is or is there something more about the fairy tale that makes little girls, grown women and Julia Roberts playing a hooker dream of being Cinderella?
At first I wondered if it was the escape from reality that makes fairy tales so tantalizing, but the more I thought about it the more I felt that wasn’t really true. I mean, sure, wouldn’t it be divine if everyone had a Prince Charming that would ride up and sweep them away from life’s troubles – I mean even Pretty Woman grasps at this desire. But I wonder if the draw isn’t more the thought that evil can be conquered and overcome, and that’s something that we subconsciously cling to as we navigate our lives.
I’ll admit that as I lie in bed watching Tangled last night I was looking for…something. I’d had a long day. I felt pretty beat up on, and good lord is that high road exhausting. But why is it that when I’m feeling a bit weary, my go to is always some version of the fairy tale? Is it because I want Prince Charming to sweep me away and tell me that all of my problems have been solved?
As we watched this week’s episode of Once Upon A Time, I couldn’t shut up at how deplorable I found the Mayor/Evil Queen. Brade advised me “You aren’t supposed to like her”, to which I naturally responded “well, good! Because I don’t!”. But the bad guy is what drives most fairy tales, when you think about it. Without that evil antagonist, there would be no princess in need of rescue, no realm to save, no children to free from the gingerbread house.
And you know, not only do the bad guys get the best songs, but it’s also very easy to incorporate the people in your life who you dislike or struggle with into those positions. It’s not a big stretch of anyone’s imagination to cast manipulative, difficult people into those roles. And in a way, I suppose it’s a little cathartic – because in the end the bad guy always gets his. And in a world where “good” is keeping your head up and walking the high road and “evil” is hitting below the belt, I suppose it feels good to think that what goes around comes around and think that good always triumphs. Even if that isn’t always true.
Perhaps in looking at this brain dump, my inner-child is screaming to get out, or maybe I just never grew up. And I will admit that if a complete stranger rode up to me and grabbed me, even if he was my Prince Charming, I’d probably mace him, not burst out into song. But in the end, don’t we all desire (and can’t we all see) a little bit of the fairy tale in our lives?
This topic is actually something that has been on my mind quite awhile, and in fact was something I brought up back in November when I was chatting on the Blessing of Frost podcast with Vidyala and Kurn. Back in November I questioned why Blizzard felt so strongly that they needed 10 and 25 man raiding to be considered “equal”. Which, frankly, has caused almost insurmountable problems as they’ve struggled with tuning and class/role balancing trying to meet this seemingly unobtainable goal – often times to the detriment of the player and their enjoyment in the game.
Put your torches away, and let me explain what I mean before you decide to torch me.
WoW has changed significantly since I first pulled those five CDs from the vanilla box and installed the game on my computer. One of the things that have changed for the worse, at least in my opinion, has become this focus on the progression “race” – which is heavily perpetrated by guild ranking sites like WoW Progress and GuildOx. But I’ve opined on that previously, and I don’t really want to go into a rant on my thoughts here as I’ve done that previously. However, I do think it’s important to acknowledge this change because it plays into what I do what to discuss: The “equality” of 10 man and 25 man raiding, or more specifically why there is such a push to make them equal. Read the rest of this entry »
It’s been a little quiet. There are many reasons for that, but one of them is that the Seattle area just had a big dumping of snow that kept both Brade and I house bound for 3 days. As such, rather than doing things like working on a Hagara guide or finishing one of the dozen blog posts in my draft folder, I spent some of that extra time with Brade. Amongst other things we discovered the glories of Castle and navigated our way through the first season. When he opted to play Star Wars, I spent some quality time curled up with the puppy, drinking tea and reading People. And…I enjoyed it.
Anyhow, we received 12 inches of snow, if the weatherman is to be believed – which is a ton for the Seattle area. We only lost power a few times, and in flickers, so we were fortunate on that front as many people in the area lost power for days (and some still don’t have it back). There was so much snow that after we walked the dog, we had to carry her back to the tub and use hot water to get the clumps of snow off of her feet. Here are some pictures of what it looked like at the end of last week.
Read the rest of this entry »