Archive for the ‘Deep Thoughts’ Category
It’s been awhile since I’ve done an update, but that’s partly because I don’t know how much there is to update. In the game not a ton has changed. I mean, some things have, but mostly things are the same. However, there are a few things that I’d like to say, and I figure this is as good a place as any to say them.
I Love My Guild
As I often tell the guild, this is something I don’t think I say enough. So I’m going to just say it. I have the privilege to raid with a group of people that for the most part I genuinely enjoy spending time with. Maybe some of them stand in the fire more than I’d like, but as a whole there is no one in my guild that I just can’t stand. And I believe that is a pretty rare thing.
Why am I telling you this?
Well, it’s kind of two fold. Firstly, anytime I use my blog as a brain dump/stress relief/dear diary therapy I invariably get that one comment about how maybe I need a break, or need to find a different community for my raid time. I’m just going to put it out here: I don’t. One of the reasons I started this blog was to get thing out of my head. To put my stress in a medium that isn’t me screaming at my raid.
And you know what? It’s worked. I’m a significantly calmer raid leader because I have a venue where I can dump my thoughts and stresses, and where I can get feedback (or commiserate) on the struggles that I may be facing. I’m pretty open about everything that happens, and I like that. So, I wanted to let people know that I really do love where I am and the people I am with.
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(image by Dan Scott can be found at Dan Scott Art)
On September 1 we took our first three pulls on Heroic Rag, to “see what he was all about”. On September 6, we started working the fight in earnest. We are now some odd 345ish pulls into the fight, and each additional night that we work on the fight a small part of my soul dies. I no longer have the energy to get angry when people make mistakes. Many times the first two phases of the fight feel mostly like just going through the motions. It’s like a dance that I’ve done 100 (well, more like 300) times.
For about the first 250 pulls I was energetic. Enthusiastic. Excited. But somewhere between then and now I just feel…tired. At one point, if I was asked if the fight was “fun” I would have said that yes, I was enjoying the progression. But that point has long past. Now it’s mostly just frustrating. I have little patience for my own mistakes, and less patience for others. Spending 7 minutes just to have a son hit the hammer because someone made a bad decision makes me want to put my fist through my monitor. Spending 9 minutes to get into our new “progression” phase, only to get 60 or 90 seconds of “progression” and then having to start over makes me want to kick a kitten.
Which brings me to the question: Are 400 pull fights good design? Read the rest of this entry »
I had a dream last night that we killed Heroic Ragnaros.
In a swimming pool.
Well, more on the deck of the swimming pool. There were only five people alive: myself, our moonkin, our two tanks and another healer (but I can’t for the life of me remember who it was). The tanks kited Rag around the deck of the pool. And myself and the moonkin were on a white mat on the deck. And I screamed at ANYONE who got close to our mat, much like Joe Pa might when it is clear the Ref cashed the other team’s check before the game. DON’T YOU STEP ON THAT MAT AND BLOW US UP! I SWEAR TO CHRIST I WILL KICK YOUR ASS ALL THE WAY TO CANADA IF YOU DO! The tanks ran round and round. The moonkin dps’d. And I…screamed. A lot.
When he died, everyone jumped into the pool in celebration with our moonkin doing a cannonball to put all other cannonballs in history to shame. And then I woke up and remembered that no, he wasn’t dead. Yes, we are some 300 odd pulls into the fight and still haven’t killed him. I wanted to curl back up and find sleep again, in that dream where it was all over. Read the rest of this entry »
Over the past week we’ve heard a lot about Blizzard’s decision to nerf Firelands. People who are in favor of the changes. People who are opposed to the changes. People who think there are better ways to deal with making the content more accessible. Since Tuesday, we’ve also had a lot of feedback from people who went in and experienced the content first hand. “It’s a joke”. “Seriously, no challenge”. “LOL NERFED!”.
Now, we had our first raid since the nerfs last night. We cleared to Heroic Rag in two hours without incident. But I’m not here to talk to you about how easy I felt the content may have been. I’m not here to tell you how the nerfs may have ruined the challenges of Firelands. I’m here with a proposition for you.
Create Your Own Challenges
This is what I said to my raid last night as we stepped foot into Firelands. Just because the content is now easier, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t still challenge for you. It’s just a different kind of challenge. Where before perhaps an encounter challenged you, now you must challenge yourself. Easier doesn’t mean that you still can’t push yourself harder. Read the rest of this entry »
I think it was Larissa that once commented that she wondered how much Twitter has impacted the Blogosphere – how many posts went unwritten because the conversation occurred on Twitter, and how many voices missed out on being heard for the same reasons. More and more I think that Larissa probably had a very valid point/concern. The reason I’m bringing this up is because a comment made on Twitter yesterday really got the gears in my brain churning and I thought it was a shame that those who aren’t part of the Twitter community would miss out on something so thought provoking.
Now, anyone who was listening in on yesterday’s WoW Twitter community would have had about 12 hours of very vocal commentary on the news that Blizzard intends to “nerf” Firelands content starting next week. In all honesty, after about hour 4 of the “great nerf of T12″ marathon debate, I was about ready to shut down my twitter feed to do something productive like, I don’t know, focus on work However, in all that madness, there was one comment that really made me stop and go “huh”. And that is what I want to explore today.
The comment was made by Borsk, and went a little something like this:
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It’s not Monday, and I’m a bit behind on everything, so here is my weekly brain dump on, er, Wednesday. But with good reason! Which I will tell you about later. Maybe.
Things are pretty static on this front, without much to report! Which isn’t necessarily bad. We snagged a second Baleroc kill (not without some effort, but it wasn’t too painful) and ended up with a good amount of time to flirt with Heroic Ragnaros for the first time. Except it was a holiday weekend. And no matter how many times you ask people to give you a heads up on their holiday intentions, it’s always a scramble at the last-minute when raid time comes.
That means we only got one of two nights to focus on him – but were able to go in an 24 man Heroic Cho’gall and Sinestra on Sunday with a few friends and family members tossed in to help. Alas, she was stingy with her Shard of Woe, which made us all a little sad. But Monday, with the healers showing that they don’t believe in vacations and free beer, we were able to go in and play around a bit with the big fire kahuna. And it was a lot of fun.
I’m quite sure that after week 3 the novelty of finding new and interesting ways to wipe on Heroic Rag will wear off, but for now it’s still fresh enough that people seem to be enjoying the progress. We have approached the fight with the mentality that this will take months to master, and each night we look at the next small step we need to accomplish to get to the end goal - a kill. Breaking the massive encounter up into smaller pieces of progression markers makes the encounter a little less intimidating for me, and I’d like to think others as well. While the end result is still a kill, we are trying to make sure that we don’t burn out our guild trying to get there. Each small achievement is one more step down that path. And eventually enough small successes will combine themselves into a large success.
We’ll get a kill on our time, and my only goal is to see that happen before the next content patch. Personally, I’m looking forward to the challenge. Read the rest of this entry »
There has been a bit of a stir up in the community lately regarding the concept of Heal Sniping and how it’s viewed by different healers. I’ve already offered my thoughts on it in several different comments as I worked my way through each post, and I’m not going to rehash them here. However, all of this discussion did get me thinking about a tangentially related topic. Competition.
Competition is not a four letter word.
Something that regularly confuses me a little bit is why people tend to classify healing competition as a bad thing. I mean, we ask all of our DPS to compete with each other regularly. We even go so far as to look at who is on the top and who is on the bottom – and to an extent insinuate that those on the bottom should strive to be on the top. Granted, there are encounters where DPS are given special assignments that will hinder their DPS for the good of the raid, but generally DPS is a rat race to see who can contribute the most for any given encounter.
We expect this of them and consider it good play. Read the rest of this entry »
Anytime I question if a certain expansion in WoW will be my last, as I ponder the question I always ask myself “what would I do if I didn’t play WoW?”. Because unless I can answer that question, I’m not entirely sure that it’s my time to hang up my branches and move on to other things. Especially if I am still enjoying the content, and generally still enjoying the game. However, no one can play WoW indefinitely, so being the OCD planner that I am, I’m always considering and thinking about what will occupy my time when the inevitable finally arrives.
As I struggle to find out what is wrong with my hands, these are thoughts that have come even more to the forefront of my mind. What will happen if the doctor says “you have xyz, and you must spend more time away from the computer”, or “you have abc and it will require surgery and months of rehabilitation”. So even though I have no plans of leaving the game at this time, I still ask myself that question. What would I do if I didn’t have WoW anymore?
I asked this on Twitter last night, just out of curiosity, and I found that I got a wide array of responses from people who have also contemplated this question. What I found somewhat interesting were those who indicated that they had quit the game, but ended up coming back because what was on the other side of WoW really wasn’t all that appealing after all.
While there were some very unique responses yesterday to how people would occupy their now free time, there were also several answers that were quite similar:
- Read more.
- Play other games.
- Watch more TV.
- Various Arts and Crafts activities.
This, of course, got me thinking even more about how I would fill my agenda. I even chatted a bit with Brade about it to see which of my activities he would participate in, and what he would end up doing if he stopped playing. Because, you know, I’m fascinated by the topic and truly curious how other people would fill this now open void in their time. For me here are some of the things that I came up with:
- Take a Photography class or two at the community college. I’ve always been fascinated by people who could take beautiful pictures, and I love to make memories. So I think I could get very much into photography, however I think this would be a fairly expensive hobby if I took it seriously. At least as far as the start up goes.
- Take Tap Dance lessons. I mean, why not? I think it would be a lot of fun, and great exercise! Surely there has to be an adult beginners class out there somewhere. Cost would be fairly low (shoes, taps, lessons, but other than that probably not much).
- Try to talk Brade into taking some Ballroom dancing classes with me. I used to love to polka. During the summers when I worked up at Interlochen they had a band that would go to a local bar and play polka, and there would be dancing. I would do it for hours. I think it might be fun to do some group dancing a couple of times a week.
- I think I would definitely read more as well. Mostly because I read a lot before I started playing WoW, sometimes going through three of four books a week. This can also get very expensive very fast!
- I would spend more time playing with/training my dog. I might even look into some agility classes run by her trainer that are currently only run on raid nights.
- More Exercise. It was very easy for me to work in exercise with WoW when I lived in Atlanta, because our raids didn’t start until later in the evening, so I could come home before raids and run the treadmill and cook dinner before raid time. Now that I’m in Seattle, it’s a rush to get home before raids and make dinner, to sit down at the PC straight away. It’s very easy to then not be motivated to do anything after the raid. Of everything, this is the one thing I regret the most about my current raid schedule.
- Cook. This is something else that I loved to do (and had time to do) before I moved to Seattle. Cook meals. I would try at least one new recipe a week. So I definitely think that I’d cook more. And I’d probably eat a little healthier as a result!
That’s quite a list! Obviously, it’s something I’ve put some thought into. Of course, anytime that I ask myself what I’d do if I didn’t play, I also ask myself what I’d really miss if I didn’t play. This one is very easy for me:
- The interaction and community. I don’t know a lot of people in Seattle, and I’m not overly social. So I don’t really see myself reaching out and magically coming up with tons of friends in the area and a social calendar that is full. It’s just not really who I am. I think that my overall life would be a little less without the day-to-day interactions with people in the game. Even those who irritate me from time to time. And honestly, the social connection is one of the more important things that keeps me playing. I also think it’s something a lot of people overlook or brush off, even though I think it’s one of the most important things about the game.
Because I’m a curious sort, I’d like to know what you’d do if you didn’t play WoW anymore. I’d also be interested to see what you would miss the most about the game!
Happy Monday, Everyone! Why is Beru so happy on a Monday? Well, mostly because after some very long travel I am finally back home. It feels good to come back home after living in a hotel for 10 days and raiding at the mercy of hotel internet for that period of time. And believe it or not, it feels good to actually cook a meal. Eating out really does start to lose its luster after about day four (and the five pounds you add in the time you are gone). Anyhow, I have some musings to dump out of my head after so much time. Forgive me if they ramble a bit, but I really need this brain dump.
Raiding has been very good to us as late. Last week we knocked out Heroic Staghelm. This week we saw Heroic Baleroc tumble after just two nights of work on him. Not only that, but the raid team surprised me with a one shot on heroic Staghelm and over 30 seconds left on the enrage timer. Truth be told, I think everyone was expecting a second Staghelm kill to take a few pulls to shore up and most people were as pleased as I was when we walked in, high on our Baleroc kill, and knocked him out fairly easily. We had a few deaths at the end of the second set of orbs (I let my co-soaker die ) but we pulled it out beautifully.
Healing Staghelm is a bit odd. There really isn’t much healing to be done on the fight outside of the orb phases – which are pretty healing heavy. Other than that it’s mostly just keeping the tank alive and topping up people who took damage from seeds or a leap. In fact, we have one priest who goes smite spec and DPSes everything but the orb phases. It hard to tell if I have a good grasp of the best way to heal the fight, as I help to soak an orb, which means I have lower legendary concentration up time. So it’s hard to tell if I should be doing certain things differently, or if I am doing things properly but see lower healing output than I’d like (comparatively) as a result of lower concentration. Read the rest of this entry »
One of my favorite musicals of all time is Les Miserable. I go to see it every time that it is within a two hour drive from me. In case you aren’t familiar with it, it is based on the book of the same name by Victor Hugo (the musical starts about 700 pages in). There are many fantastic characters in the story, but one of my favorites has always been Fantine. A women who was a single mother in revolutionary France trying to make ends meet to keep her child well cared for. She tries to earn an honest living, but eventually is turned out into the street where she must resort to prostitution to continue to pay for the people caring for her child.
She’s in less than 1/3 of the show, but I feel that her story is one of the strongest – even if it fades out very early. There is a gut wrenching scene where she bares herself, and tells the audience about her dreams. How she came to be a single mother, how she holds out the hope that the father will return to her, how every last dream she had is devastated. If done well, the scene is breathtaking. In the end Fantine ends up giving away almost all of herself to make sure she can send money for Cossette. But you see the glimpses of her remain. She is devoted, determined and will do anything it takes to shelter Cossette. In the end, it kills her, but she didn’t let people’s perceptions of her drag her down and she held on to what dignity she could, considering she was a whore at the cusp of the French Revolution. She fought for what she wanted, at any cost.
Oddly, there is another character in the story who is a jailer named Javert. He is also one of my favorite characters in the story. He also clings so strongly to his beliefs, and his actions reflect that. Every thing he does is done because he believes that it is right, and from time to time he is blinded by what he perceives to be justice, but makes the folly of never giving it any of his own thought. He is devout in his perception of right and wrong, and draws a very black and white line that distinguishes the two with no grey in between.
As you watch his story unfold, you see that he and Fantine really aren’t that different. They both have something that is precious to them, and they will both do anything – no matter the cost – to get there. The difference between the two is that when Fantine is faced with challenges she accepts them and meets them. She is flexible, and puts her pride away. Javert on the other hand cannot bend. There is right, and there is wrong. There cannot be anything in between. And, in fact, when he is confronted with an in between, unlike Fantine, he cannot bend. And trying to do so ends up breaking him. Another scene that, if done well, is incredibly moving.
At this point, you are all probably wondering where I am going with this. Read the rest of this entry »