No Warlocks Need Apply.

July 31, 2009 at 9:52 am (Raiding, Warlock)

Seen yesterday, in Trade channel (yes, yes, I know, I turned it back off, but for a while there, I just couldn’t look away):

“LF6DPS VoA-25.  No hunters, death knights, or warlocks, all others welcome. PST.”

Wait.

What?

Okay, let’s start with the fact that you’re looking for 6 DPS.  That suggests you’re not all that close to having built the group yet (yes, I know, DPS are dime a dozen, but this guy was still a nickel short, and there was more than one group in /Trade recruiting DPS for a VoA run).  I know warlocks are a rather underrepresented class at level 80 (9th out of 10, only rogues have lower representation), but hunters and (especially) death knights are not.  Per the Warcraft census (not enough data on Duskwood to give a reliable result, so I used all US PvE realms as a proxy) those three classes together make up 33% of the Alliance level 80 player population.  So, immediately, you’re knocking out a rather huge chunk of your potential DPSers, regardless of skill or gear.

The question is: why?  If the raid leader is stupid enough to simply decide “no death knights/hunters/warlocks know how to play their class”, well, there’s nothing to do for that, and I hope he/she enjoyed endlessly wiping on Emalon because he/she is a drooling idiot.  It’s not like the raid needs any diversity to speak of – DPS is DPS is DPS.  It’s clearly not a utility thing, as said raid leader didn’t feel the need to say “no rogues”, and rogues have no utility whatsoever.  Plus, you’ve eliminated two of the three classes that can do the 13% spell damage debuff on the target, so they’d better have had a boomkin, or they are seriously gimping themselves (and their non-Warlock caster DPSers).

I suppose it could be the design of the Emalon fight (specifically the need for high burst damage to take out the overcharged add before it wipes the raid), but even there, his choice of classes is bizarre.  Is a shadow priest really a better choice for burst than a Destruction warlock?  A Marksmanship hunter?  Are DKs (all DKs) really hurting for burst?  Affliction warlock, fine, that’s a rough fight for affliction, and I wouldn’t go into it specced affliction.  But this guy’s exclusion was a bit overbroad.

After that, I run out of ideas.  They’re all pet classes?  I can’t think of how that makes a difference.  The only thing I can think of (and it just occurred to me as I was writing this) is that maybe it was a semi-guild run pugging additional people, and they didn’t want anybody to compete with guildies if tier gear dropped (any other gear is going to have at least one other class potentially rolling on it anyway).  If that’s the case, okay, but a better solution would be to find out if said warlock (or whoever) actually needed the loot in question (if it’s PvP loot, for example, no way would I be interested in it, and if it’s the T8 pants, I already have them), or whether it’s just being done for badges.  Not like you can’t enforce that by means of master looter (and if it’s a semi-guild-run and they don’t have it on master looter, then they’re idiots).  Just say ahead of time “All loot of XYZ sort is reserved for guildies”, and as long as that’s made clear in advance, so that people have time to back out before being saved to the instance, it’s all good.

Anyone have any ideas on this that I’m not thinking of?

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A good first step

July 31, 2009 at 1:12 am (Raiding, Running Guilds Into the Ground)

So, the Guild Which Shall Not Be Named Because People Will Make Fun of My Latin had its first night of real not-playing-around-in-vanilla-content raiding tonight.  First fun discovery – the answer to that question “I wonder when they’re sending out raid invites” that passed briefly through my head was “Whenever you get off your ass and do it, because you’re the guildmaster.”  Oh yeah.  I suppose I’ll be used to that eventually.  I’m also terrible with authority – not in the I-turn-into-Genghis-Khan sense, but in the sense that I’m far more likely to preface my “Switch over to your main characters for invites” request with embellishments like “whenever’s convenient for you”, “if it’s not to much trouble”, or “unless there are any objections, of course.”  I assume time and many evenings of trying to do the equivalent of herding cats will eventually cure me of that.

Anyway, it wasn’t the most ambitious night of raiding ever, but we cleared two quarters of Naxx-10 (spider and plague wings) with nine people.  And one of those nine people was me off-tanking on my pally, which I’m absolutely terrible at, so really, it was like we had eight and a half.  Maybe 8 1/4.  I did get a few nice pieces of loot though, including my tier shoulders.  Which will make me a slightly better-geared mediocre tank.

Lots of rust needed to be shaken off, even from those of us who weren’t spending our time muttering “No, you’re supposed to pull aggro, it’s kind of your job,” to ourselves.  But that’s why we started out easy.  Anyway, we have a very solid core of raiders, so I’m really excited to see how we do in Ulduar, which will be real progression for many of us (I’ve seen about half of it in 10-man, but some of our raiders have never been, or have only downed the first boss, so I’m excited to see what happens).  I’m also very excited that we will, eventually, recruit a second geared, competent tank, and I will be free to resume blowing stuff up, which is what I’m best at.

Okay, okay, I’m officially done bitching about my tanking skills.  Or lack thereof.

In addition to our nine raiders from this evening, and a tenth currently on vacation, we have two more on the way from my old guild (probably joining us next week, when one of them returns from vacation) – a tank and a healer.  Score!  Also interesting are the mutterings that we may be absorbing some old long-ago raiding buddies of ours (“ours” referring to me and a couple of my officers) whose current guild appears to be in its death throes (diagnosis – a terminal case of guild drama).  Given that they’re not children, or addicted to drama themselves (in fact, they’re fleeing it), the more the merrier – if this keeps up, we may be in 25 mans sooner than I anticipated.  Meaning before Satan needs to put on a sweater.  At the very least, we will have enough people that we don’t have to pray for every single guild member to log on (in what is, after all, not a hardcore guild) in order to run a raid.

Other shoe is no doubt dropping in 3…..2…..1……

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Alt-a-palooza

July 30, 2009 at 10:08 am (Navel-Gazing, Running Guilds Into the Ground, WoW General)

So, building the new raiding guild is a slow, steady process.  We’re just about to the point where, if everybody shows up, we may have to shuffle people around a bit (i.e. I may need to hop on my tank alt, another DPSer on a healing alt, etc.), but we can actually put together a 10-man.  That “if everybody shows up” is the key, though, as we’re not a hardcore guild, so we’re probably going to need to overrecruit a bit.  While we did down our first raid boss the other night, it was three of us screwing around in UBRS and then taking out Onyxia, so I don’t think it really counts.

Meanwhile, I’ve been giving a chance to some under-loved alts, namely my hunter and rogue.  My warrior and shaman have been kicking around at level 24 or so for what seems like forever, but even that was good compared to my hunter and rogue, which (until the last day or two) never cracked the big two-zero.  Why these four classes are stuck where they are, and why a surprising class may be the one of the four to jump ahead, is a question I’m not sure I know the answer to.

Shamans, my problem, I think, is the same one that bedeviled me as a mage until I cracked it – I’m not sure I’m specced to the playstyle I prefer.  With my mage, I was going a cookie-cutter fire/arcane hybrid I’d heard on a forum was good for leveling.  I had heard wrong.  Once I specced Frost, though, I completely fell in love with the mage.  It’s a little RNG (will I freeze the mob?), but the feeling of control it gives me over the mob is a lot of fun.  I had heard enhancement for leveling was the way to go, but I’m just not feeling it.  I feel like my work is in tossing down the totems before pulling, and occasionally throwing a shock in.  Otherwise, it’s auto-attack.  Not very exciting.  I may have to regear her and go elemental (I’d go resto, but boring the mobs to death doesn’t sound like that much fun).

Warriors, my problem comes down to a problem very similar to what killed Lord of the Rings Online for me – I despise “on next swing” combat mechanics.  I prefer more responsiveness, or I find combat frustrating, like trying to run through waist-deep water.  Also, I probably should have given my warrior another fantasy-type RP-appropriate name (like all my other  toons) instead of indulging in a little tribute to one of my favorite kickass blonde female warriors of fiction.  Particularly since “Buffy” was already taken as a name, and deliberately misspelled versions of names just don’t have the same cachet.

Nevertheless, I still got both classes over the Level 20 hump.  The two classes I would have happily called my least favorite classes in the game were not so fortunate until the last week or so, and I’ve found that, having done so, I enjoy both of them more than my shaman and warrior.

Hunters bored me.  Send pet.  Hunter mark.  Toss in a serpent sting and an arcane shot, and then autoattack until death.  Incredibly powerful soloers, but absolutely no elegance.  Until level 20.  For starters, I dropped that silly beast mastery thing and went marksmanship.  Here’s a case of making it harder for myself making the game more interesting – I can now pull aggro off my pet accidentally.  Keeps me on my toes.  Second, I got two more pets, so now there’s some strategy in terms of when to pull a given pet out (I have a cat, a bear, and a spider).   But finally, my abilities seem to have hit a critical mass – Disengage with concussive shot is just fun when a mob closes the gap on me, and Freezing Trap is tons of fun, though I wish it lasted longer.  My number of aspects jumped from two (which I didn’t generally switch between) to four (which I’m constantly juggling, based on whether I’m in combat or traveling, or whether I’m flush on mana or out).  So, the class got considerably more complicated, and I find I’m really enjoying it (though I can see how it doesn’t need to become more complicated if you don’t want it to, and thus why the legend of the Huntard who leveled from 1 to level cap without using anything other than “send pet” and “autoshot” was born).

Finally, the rogue, bane of all things warlock-y.  Not that I PvP, but it’s sort of an ancestral memory thing – all the warlocks before you that have died at the hands of rogues, well, it leaves a mark.   What always puzzled me was how anybody managed to level a rogue in the first place.  It seemed like the worst aspects of mail-wearing classes (charge right in and start beating on the enemy!) with the worst aspects of casters (we’ll give you tissue paper for armor!).   Stealth seemed to break if you looked at a mob cross-eyed.  Everybody always said “level combat swords!”, but the only way I could stay alive, or (at best) not trade half my health to kill a single same-level mob (two would kill me, most assuredly) was to stealth and backstab, or gouge and backstab.  Which required daggers.

Well.

Yesterday, my rogue joined a Deadmines group (first half – utter failpug featuring a tankadin who didn’t think he needed a shield (he did) or Righteous Fury (he did – I ended up tanking more mobs than he did), second half was fine once the idiot had to go and we replaced him with a competent warrior).  I entered Deadmines at level 19, and was 21 by the time I finished turning in all the quests related to the instance.  I got the Blackened Defias chest, and two nice swords (one blue, one green).  Then I went and got poisons (I didn’t need to do the quest, but I did, and it was much fun).  And I don’t know whether it’s the gear, the poisons, the new abilities (though I’m not really using new abilities much), or what, but for some reason, suddenly my rogue feels powerful.  I lose a little health when I fight, but not enough that it can’t regenerate by the time I pull the next mob.

So, now, I have four toons (on my main server) more or less tied for last place, progression wise (I go through phases – before my hunter-rogue fixation, I was All Mage All The Time).  One of them is inevitably going to be my next Power-Level-My-Way-Through-The-Next-Ten-Levels-Until-Something-Shinier-Catches-My-Eye toon.  And right now, I’m thinking that toon is going to be on the sneaky and stabby side of things.

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The stupid, it burnsss….

July 27, 2009 at 9:19 am (Navel-Gazing, Uncategorized)

Every so often, something happens that makes me wish Mighty Ponygirl were still blogging.  Apparently EA is….well, best to just go look at the story (hat tip: Tamarind).  Long and the short of it, as part of their promotion of their game “Inferno”, EA apparently encouraged men attending Comicon to molest the women who work the EA booth.

Let me just point out, that, I am not a lawyer…..oh, wait, actually, I am.  This is a deeply, deeply stupid thing for EA to do on that basis alone, totally forgetting what this stupid promotion says to women (and non-douchebag men) who might be interested in buying an EA product

They’re apparently apologizing, and indicating they just meant people should take their picture with the booth workers.  Because, of course, when I think of acts of lust, the first thing that comes to mind is a bit of tasteful photography.

And not that it needs pointing out, but one gathers from the description of the event that they didn’t have strapping young men (say, from marketing) for the women and gay men attending Comicon to molest take pictures with.  Go figure.

Just from a self-interested perspective, you would think that the jackasses who constantly lament that not enough women play video games might begin to consider the effect of this kind of behavior on women’s interest in gaming (and gamers).  And one wonders why those of us on the geekier end of the spectrum don’t exactly have the world’s best reputation.  Anyone else remember the whole GroperGate thing at WorldCon from a year or two back?

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In the Big Inning…

July 24, 2009 at 8:25 am (Running Guilds Into the Ground)

So, our first officer meeting was a somewhat informal affair.  We got some great advice from our former guildmaster (I know it’s a great relief to me and my co-founder that our former GM supports us, given how many LV members we’re poaching or trying to poach, though of course, people for whom raiding is the goal of the game would be leaving LV anyway, and better that the core remains intact, to the extent that’s possible).  We worked out a few details about who we want to ask to be officers.  We established, for ourselves, the sort of guild we’re looking to create (social-oriented non-hardcore raiding guild, much as our previous guild was, that is serious about raiding from invite time to group dissolution, but otherwise doesn’t try to dictate to people how to play).  And we now have enough guild members (as well as the correct composition) to run a heroic.  Assuming everybody’s logged on at the same time.  And we giggled about the prospect of a guild called “Soldiers of Light” (pause for everybody to look at the Latin and go “Oh, you were way off”) being led by a warlock.   So, things are starting to take shape.

Not long ago, I was considering whether I wanted to continue playing this game.  In large part, that was due to a lack of progression in my own goals (one can only farm Naxx25 so many times before losing the will to live, and LV didn’t have the 25-person composition to go further than one boss into Ulduar25).  As we dedicated ourselves to raiding Ulduar10, I felt a bit of that excitement return – I was seeing bosses I’d never seen before, learning fights, and progressing.  Obviously, when LV folded its raiding operations, that feeling of ennui came back in spades, particularly as I didn’t see myself not raiding, but I was really not relishing trying to find a raiding guild not filled to the brim with asshats.  So, the opportunity to build it myself, instead of looking for the ideal guild somebody else built for me, and build a guild that actually provides a positive play experience for other people, has me really excited.

Boy, that all sounds awfully sunny.  This will, naturally, be the point where drama rears its ugly head (“Hey Kahleena, somebody ninja’d the guild bank!”).  Must practice how to say “doomed” properly (it’s “doo-ooomed, DOO-OOO-OOO-OOO-OOOmed”, in one’s best Vincent Price voice, naturally.)

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Milites Lucis is born

July 23, 2009 at 3:29 pm (Running Guilds Into the Ground)

If my Latin is wrong, please don’t tell me, I’d rather not know.

As a matter of fact, I’m pretty sure it is wrong, and Lucis is supposed to be Lucum.  Ah well.

I. Will. Not. Go. Get. Another. Ten. Signatures. To. Correct. That.

I. Will. Not.

No.

Oh yeah, I just remembered, I dropped the 100 gold on the first tab of the bank vault.  Yeah, I’m not that picky.  Never mind.

Still, off to a smashing start, aren’t we?

EDITED TO ADD:  change that to 350g for the first two tabs.  Now I’m really stuck with it.  On the other hand, now I’m having second thoughts about whether it really should be Lucis instead of Lucum, so in order to avoid driving myself mad, I’ll just pretend I was right the first time, and move on.  Website here.

EDITED TO FURTHER ADD:  Next guild I name, I’m naming it in freaking English.

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That which we call a rose…

July 23, 2009 at 1:56 pm (Running Guilds Into the Ground)

So many things to consider, when starting a raiding guild.  So many, it sort of terrifies me.  The vent server alone has me worried, as I don’t have the first clue how to get one, what it costs (if the answer is “more than nothing”, I’m in trouble).  Then obviously, there’s setting up the administration of the guild, who would make good officers, and working out all those petty logistics (policies, schedules, building a website, etc.).

So naturally, I’m spending my time thinking about the guild name.

We (my co-founder and I) were considering just taking my banking guild, in which case, we would have been stuck with the name “S o l u s” (with spaces between the letters, because apparently “Solus” without spaces was already taken, and I panicked when I was turning in the charter).  However, that name was chosen for my bank guild because it means “alone” in Latin, so turning it into a group guild would create a guild-name disconnect that would bug me (yes, I’m a freak, but you knew that).  Plus, I need a banking guild to store mats for my gazillion alts.

So, now, the sky’s the limit namewise.  Both of us like names of a more epic feel, so the initial joke “Guildless Rejects of Duskwood” (our server) is out.  Plus I’m pretty sure it’s too long.

Any l33tspeak is out of the question – I’m not an RPer, but Kahleena, Warlock, Wielder of Darkness, child of refugees from destroyed Lordaeron, Conjurer of Demons and Inflicter of Disease, would not belong to an organization called ImaPwnULOL.

And that leaves us….absolutely nowhere.  At a certain point, too many choices (i.e. “choose any name whatsoever, as long as it hasn’t already been taken and isn’t deeply stupid”) tends to lead to paralysis.  Where’s my English-Latin dictionary….

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Because I am completely insane…

July 23, 2009 at 11:58 am (Navel-Gazing, Raiding, Running Guilds Into the Ground)

…a former guildie and I were chatting while I was leveling my mage in Un’Goro Crater (in contrast to Tamarind, I’m generally not a fan of the zone, largely because I don’t share Tam’s enthusaiasm for “f*ck-off enormous dinosaurs” with apparent stealth abilities, but the quests are piled up too thickly to not do the zone, and I’ve done all the 50-60 old world zones enough that I’m really just trying to get to 58 so I can head to outland).  The guy I was talking to is a former LVer, and we were discussing where we were headed in the way of a new guild.  I mentioned the hardcore guild I applied to (application since withdrawn, for reasons I’ll get into shortly), he talked about trying out a friend’s guild, but being unimpressed, and then those magic words were spoken*:

“We could always start our own.”

Somewhere, millions of voices cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced.  Then they started laughing their asses off.

Said guildie quondam guildieque futurus, of course, was perfectly happy to defer GM-ship to me.  In point of fact, I think his exact words were “Not it!”

I’m doomed.  First officer’s meeting (both of us) is tonight.

*Please note:  said magic words probably weren’t spoken, or typed, at least not precisely, but conversation wound around to the general idea, in a way I can’t quite remember, and  I reserve the right to dramatically reinterpret what happened for the sake of storytelling, so piss off.

EDITED TO ADD:  On the bright side, I can’t imagine anything more likely to lead to a lot of hilarious bitterness, self-deprecation, angst, rage, and all-around entertainment than me trying to run a guild.  So this blog should be in good shape, if nothing else.

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Guild applications

July 22, 2009 at 11:21 pm (Raiding)

So, realizing that, in fact, the raiding bug was not going away, but would continue to nibble at my ankle until I did something about it, I submitted my first full-blown guild application (my joining A New Dawn was under special circumstances, and I basically had an in with a few members of Legio Vici – I honestly don’t even remember if I completed a full application for either one).  The catalyst for this particular application was seeing a recruiting thread, and seeing a prominent guild on my server needed a warlock.  So, what the heck – I put in an app.  I liked the policies as outlined on the guild’s site.

First thought:  clearly, I wasn’t missing anything in avoiding the guild application process before.  I’ve had medical tests for the sorts of illnesses one doesn’t discuss in polite company that were less thorough.  I’ve never led a guild, but I can only assume that on some level, it’s an idiot filter – someone who’s too impatient, arrogant, or ADHD-addled to fill out a 30-to-45-minute application is someone you probably don’t want raiding with you.

Second thought:  this is probably the hardest-core raiding guild I’ve applied to.  I’m definitely punching above my weight here.  If they decide I’m not yet adequately geared, that’s cool (I got one boss into Ulduar25 with LV, whereas these guys are working on Yogg-Saron, so obviously, that’s a pretty steep gap).  I will find it hard to entirely blame them, much as I can’t entirely dismiss some of the criticisms of my gear/gems/chants that came from one of the guild’s warlocks, though other criticisms I thought were, in context, not correct, and (politely) said as much.

Third thought: anxiety.  I don’t know anybody in this guild.  Thus, I don’t know the guild’s Asshat Quotient.  Which is, I suppose, the point of the initiatory period – not only for them to audition me, but me to audition them.  On some level, I internalized the idea that a hardcore raiding guild must necessarily be made up of asshats (probably because the “hardest core” members of my first raiding guild were wannabe-hardcores, as Temitope characterized them).  I certainly hope it’s not, at any rate.

Final thought:  re: the warlock mentioned above, clearly, there’s no professional courtesy among demon-summoning disease-inflicting nether-twisting Servitors and Manipulators of Darkness.  Who knew?

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Back…

July 21, 2009 at 9:10 am (Uncategorized)

….and in a somewhat better mood.  Mainly because my camping trip is over and done with.  Why did I think camping was a good idea?  Me, urban computer geek lawyer from Cambridge, Massachusetts?  Camping?  Really?  Complete with leaky tent, bugs, and the complete inability to wash my hands (I’m borderline OCD about washing my hands, though that, alas, doesn’t translate to cleaning my apartment).  Yeah, that was a well-thought-out plan.

Huh.  How did I get 2300 page views in one day last week?  Wow, the power of a Sylly link (or five) is amazing.

Anyway, to ease back into this blogging thing, two images demonstrating that Blizzard really does love the Horde best.

T9 Alliance Warlock

t9_alliance_warlock

T9 Horde Warlock

t9_horde_warlock

They at least get to, y’know, look like warlocks.  Instead of Faberge eggs.

Just saying.

Wonder how Kahleena would look with green skin….

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