Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Thoughts in the final moments of Warlords of Draenor

It is interesting that Warlords of Draenor seemed to start so well but then seemed to fizzle during the following 2 years. Key new features and ideas were added, which held interest for a short period but rapidly became dull, and the content seemed to be lacking compared to previous expansions.

It wasn't all doom and gloom. There has never been a better time to be in Frostwolves as there was a huge focus on the Frostwolf Clan, and allowed everyone to understand a bit about the lore behind the Orc clan our guild was named for. Much better than being named Blackrock or Shattered Hand, if you ask me :P

An article in Polygon talked about the disappointment with Warlords of Draenor. They had this interesting graph, looking specifically at content with each patch in each expansion.

(Lt pink = dungeons, med red = raids, Dk red = PvP BGs or arenas, Dk maroon = zones)

It didn't paint a very good picture of WoD at all.

I had thought that perhaps content must be very limited if even I am levelling alts to 100, as I had never done that before. But, I suspect it was the ease at which I could level which made it more appealing than it had been previously.

I admit there didn't feel like there were many raids. Just the 4 for this past 2 years. There were 5 in MoP.

Tanaan was to Draenor what Timeless Isle was to MoP, great for those levelling or wanting to do alts, but there didn't feel like there was a lot to do there except kill some rares, do your reputations to get your flying and get your empowered rune.

Even my friends blogs were quiet. There was little that people were writing about or engaging in, except to write about the alpha, beta or PTR. I have been avoiding all those things, hoping to just level at my own pace.

I didn't get to finish some things, which is a disappointment.

  • I didn't finish my 2000 pet battles in Draenor. No statue for me.
  • I didn't kill all the garrison invasion bosses. I am still missing two. Damn they're not easy to get!
  • I didn't get my last Pristine Archaeology item. Warsong Ceremonial Pike, I hate you.
  • I didn't get to do many mythic raids. I miss that but I accept that as something I will have to give up if I want to stay with my friends and run a guild the way I do. We were never much of a mythic guild anyway, but I would like to push harder but I don't want to compromise our accomplishment as a stable, pleasant guild to become something that may not make it as pleasant.
I will miss my Garrison a bit. I liked having my bank there and pet battles to do, and a quiet place to fish. But being in Dalaran again with everyone will bring back a bit of the WotLK awesomeness where both factions are in the same place.

I will miss flying. No more flying for a while. I wonder when we'll see that again? Probably when we've done Loremaster and levelled our reputations again.

But I am so excited for new content. I am excited to see all my guildies on, with a bulging guild roster as everyone else is excited to be online and ready to go. Xyn and Exray have 25 quests completed and ready to go so they can hand them in and get a head start on levelling. It will be a while before I get home, since I'm stuck here at home.

It's now officially Legion O'clock. 5pm AEST. LEGION IS LIVE!!!

Happy leveling everyone!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Levelling with Invasions - even I am doing it (albeit reluctantly)

Xyn thought it would be fun to do invasion levelling as a guild raid group because the invasions were a good time to level a toon.

"That sounds like a good guild event," I said.

Navi's inner voice: "I can't think of anything more boring than levelling a toon by killing demons over and over but since it's a guild event I should show up, being an officer and all."

So we had to find some low level toons. You can do an invasion from level 10 but even at level 1 you can just hang around and dot mobs and get xp from doing... well nothing.

So I turned up a few minutes late on Thursday with some SMS text prompting from HK and Xyn, and there was a surprising number of people online getting ready for this invasion thing. However, they were a LITTLE bit like children.

"When is this thing happening?"
"What's happening? Is there raid today?"
"How do I get into the group?"
"How do I get an invite to the guild invasion group?"
"What's a guild invasion group?"

I suspect Kyxyn was overwhelmed by the numbers and was on his main helping sort it out, despite wanting to be on some scrappy alt levelling.

Navi's inner voice: "And you said this would be fun. I knew it wouldn't be fun."

 He was a little flustered so I told HK about Xyn's whinging concerns, and HK said "Tell him to stop stressing. I'll sort the raid out, he can go get on his alt."

"Why aren't people reading the MotD or listening to what's being said on Discord?" lamented the officers.

Navi's inner voice: "Well, because I normally do the talking and I'm already trying to drum up enthusiasm to level, let alone give instructions on how we're going to level coz I have absolutely NO idea."

So the idea was, that we form the group with the leader entering the Stage 1 invasion and we kill mobs around the main site until Stage 3 invasion. At that point, we would disband the raid, the leader would log out and log back in, and they would get back into a stage 1 invasion. Then everyone just had to whisper "inv" to the leader and they would get autoinvited and then the killing could start again.

Well, there were a few hiccups there.

Navi's inner voice: Are you surprised? You know NOBODY reads MotD and then don't read guild chat, raid chat or listen on Discord so we have to say the same thing about 20 times....

Firstly, there were a few people in the group cross server since their Saurfang slots were full. The "inv" thing wasn't working. Was it Exorsus not working? Xyn was also using another addon - oRA3 - and he thought maybe THAT was doing the invites properly across Battlenet and cross server. It led to a bit of confusion (and a bit of trolling from Ultra) about "What's happening? Why has the raid disbanded? Where did everyone go?"

Navi's inner voice: That bloody troll Ultra. Demoting him to hibernating...

So HK and I both installed oRA3. And the invites still weren't working. THEN we figured out that it was some tickbox we hadn't marked in Exorsus. Once we had that done, it worked. I turned off oRA3 - I'm not like our new guildie Ram, who has 150+ addons running at once. However, I have heard that oRA3 has some option in it to turn guild repairs on and off. That might be useful.

Navi's inner voice: "Well, it would be useful if I remembered to actually turn the repairs on and off..."

But it went smoothly after that and we had a good turnout - there were like 13-15 in the raid on average and people popping in and out. We got good XP, it was more interesting to do it as a group and on Discord because it felt social, and I hoped that everyone who was new was feeling like part of a guild.

"That was fun!" said Xyn at the end of the night. "I think people had a good time."

I had to agree - at least to the second part of Xyn's comment. I probably wouldn't call it "fun" but seeing everyone else enjoying themselves was enjoyable. And I got to be a part of it. I even got some levelling, even though it was only 20 something levels. But levelling is levelling... dull as dog poop. And levelling this way means I'm dirt poor. Imagine getting to 100 and having 0 gold.

Navi's inner voice: "You're an idiot. You should have played your shaman for the pet. You totally did not listen to Tacky did you? Shamans and Demon Hunters have pets in their class halls. Now you have to go do that again."

Well. There are still a few days before Legion. Not like we've got much else to do, right?

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Raiding - Archimonde I don't ever want to see you again

Last week of WoD. Which means the last week people can get their moose. Fortunately it's been nerfed heavily so it's a lot easier than it was - we did it last week with a whole bunch of demon hunters and it went ok despite very meh damage output and little ranged.

I have been really pleased looking at the guildies who have turned up to help out other guildies get their mounts. However, it was a little bit trying yesterday because we had 11 carries inexperienced people and we actually wiped on Manny and Archi on our first goes.

Of course, I lay the blame on Ultra's feet. He was excited about getting to tank the last Archimonde and wanted to go on his Demon Hunter. Unfortunately HK tends to forget that Ultra hasn't tanked before so Ultra's taunting was a bit off and Manny moved strangely. We eventually got it down and then off to Archimonde.

Well that didn't go well either. We died the first time and then we were going to do 2 runs with half of the inexperienced in one group and then do it again for the other half. However, Ultra switched to his hunter and Xyn jumped on his tank, I made Erve heal instead of doing rubbish warlock DPS, got Taxar off his mage and onto his paladin, and also got Gorvek on his shaman. The next go went HEAPS better and everyone got their mount. I was happy to see Nath and Jazz join us, as well as Ednatola and Zanthula, Deathblight, Orbit and Dilandach, and they all got their mounts, much to my relief. There were so many healers that I got to do some crappy DPS.

I stared at Archimonde's body for a little while - partly because I looted an Heroic Titanforged trinket, and then managed to roll an even higher item level Heroic Titanforged trinket, and was boggled by that - and thought back over the expansion. The struggles we had as a guild when we first started raiding, where we had too many raiders and people had to sit out and were annoyed at the high numbers of people raiding that they hadn't seen before.  Of the angst we had when we started using EPGP and people were unhappy with donations and how the looting system worked. It wasn't long into the first raid tier before we had issues with those who weren't quite the right fit for the guild moving on, which was really the best thing for them and the best thing for us.

After that we seemed to find our feet again, settling into our identity and getting the group guild feeling back again. We raided along in BRF and then into HFC - I remember the first heroic Assault seemed so hard we were pondering whether we were just doing something wrong or was it overtuned? Turns out we were doing it wrong!

And our first heroic Archimonde kill. I remember the exultation when we got it down - it was a great feeling and a huge sense of achievement. And then the debacle of mythic raiding which caused a lot of dissatisfaction within the guild - those who didn't want to raid with outsiders ended up not raiding, and those that ended up leaving to join the guild that we had been raiding with. I am never going to do cross guild mythic raiding ever again as a joint guild venture.

And then we started getting in some new blood - some really good new blood - and things are starting to look up again. The full raid team for Legion looks a little bit different but there are still 10 that have always been there and it's comforting to see.

That took a long time to write, when in fact it ran through my mind in less than a minute whilst standing there looting my goodies, but I wasn't sad to say good bye to WoD raiding. It had gone on for too long and unlike the end of Siege of Orgrimmar where we were still raiding progressively trying to get our mythic Garrosh kill I felt a little cheated, but I accepted that to preserve our guild culture and identity that chasing mythic and progression is not our goal. Along the way we may have lost some great players because of that mindset, but it really is why our guild longevity is so good and so stable.

Goodbye Hellfire Citadel!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Where Khadgar's latest party in Dalaran is a bit of a bust

Server maintenance means something new is coming and there was a new thing in Dalaran with Khadgar. I thought "Ooh, I'll go do that after raid!"

Xyn said, "Don't get your hopes up. You would probably find it more exciting to pick cactus apples in Durotar."

Hmm. That bad huh?

So Khadgar wants us to find some orbs and zap them and then after we do that, we get to meet Alodi, the first Guardian. 

Ouch. Well, at least that's a movie tie-in! Except that Alodi was Glenn Close in the movie, and here it's clearly a guy.

So he tells us we have to find the 4 pillars on Broken Isles. And that's the end of that. 

Hm. Well I have to disagree with Xyn on that one. I think that cactus apple picking is marginally more boring than that quest in Dalaran :P