Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Innana: Discovery (Fiction)

I mentioned long ago about how much I enjoy getting into the heads of characters and when I race-changed into a Draenei, I had a lot of difficulty trying to get into the head of an immortal space-goat warrior that channeled energy from a talking and sentient crystal on a crusade for righteousness. So I swapped back to a human, and starting thinking about who she was and where she was in her life, what her day to day work was like, and what might make life interesting for her.

This is the start of what I came up with, I'll likely write this very slowly, and I wish I was an illustrator of any worth as I think this would make a fun, ongoing comic, but ah, well. Besides, non-funny Warcraft comics don't do well anyway, and this is far from funny. Anyway. I haven't drafted this as much as I wanted to but I'm trying to churn out more material more quickly and this was keeping me from other material that's a bit more urgent.

Read at your peril!

INNANA: DISCOVERY

There was once a girl who knew her place in the world. She would wake in the mornings and know the day ahead of her, and the day after that. Weeks and months unfurled like a written scroll, inscribed with foretelling and prophecy until the day someone set fire to her future.

Fire fell from the sky and reached out from the earth, horror consumed all of her tomorrows and when she woke up, her future was a wet clump of ashes in her hands. Her father's gardens were gone, her mother's maids were haunted and desperate women, shocked into senselessness. The men who served her father looted the house as it burned, and ran into the night, some into fire, others into axes and swords. Gold and silver scattered, the butchers uninterested in their gleam.

The girl, however, was too small to be noticed, too unimportant to matter, and when the butchering finished and the fire died, when the sound of horror faded, and she had slept and wept and slept again in the small hollow beneath the burned down house, she was illuminated.

A mailed hand reached down from the blinding light and she was lifted up from the ruins of her life into the comfort of a white tabard, staining it with her ashen hands.

Innana closed her eyes and sat in bed, the nightmares once forgotten were recurring more and more often. Outside her window, Stormwind bustled and there was life waiting for her to join, but she was far from it. Her maid, Alie, knocked and then entered, with a basin of water, and clothing for the day, and Innana put on her smile and attended to her bath.

There was always paperwork to be done. Documents to read, petitions to judge, treaties to be ratified, licences to be granted, wax seals dripping red on her untidy desk to press against one more parchment, and by the time she finished the last of it, the sun was in the west, and there was the Seminary lecture yet to give, a recounting of the Cathedral armaments to see if she could find the source of thieving and a personal consultation with a petitioner.

She had become another cog in the great machinery of the Cathedral of Stormwind, an instrument of the Light. From her window, across the plaza, she could see the holy edifice rising into the sky, the peaks of its steeples lost beyond the rim of her view. Priests, pages, knights, beggars, petitioners and the devout were always on the broad steps, flowing in and out of the Cathedral.

The girl from long ago had once walked similar steps in another land, in another time, in another place, with her mother, hand in hand, attended by servants, they had come bearing flowers and gifts, and standing in the pews while the church rang with the hymns, she felt the awe of divinity. Her mother leaned down to whisper in her ear, "You will wed here, one day as I did."

Her mother was wrong.

She was wed, but not in that church, which was burned and trampled beneath the war machine. It was here, in the Cathedral, that she was wed. Many years ago, and not to a man, no. For the second time in her life, she was illuminated by the Light - it descended from the great stained glass behind the Bishop. It was a small ceremony attended by the family of her brothers and sisters who stood with her, and a handful of petitioners who happened to be there - all strangers with only a mild interest in observing the ceremony, not the church bursting with guests for a great wedding as her mother had thought. The girl had knelt next to the other boys and girls, and then stood as a Knight of the Silver Hand.

She remembered the weight of the sword on her shoulder, the steel gleaming, "You are a weapon. A vessel for the Light. Woman no longer, you are an instrument of justice and righteousness."

And then the sword was in her hand, sword and shield, mace and censor, hands full of power, and there were wars, and terrors to overcome.

Innana closed her eyes, pinched the bridge of her nose. Where was this reminiscing coming from? This day was no more or less important than any other, no anniversaries to spark these distant nightmares and memories. She stood up, calloused, rough hands against the wooden desk, her left hand specked with red wax, and absently picked up her sword-belt. Even in Stormwind, without the armor, dressed only in her plain gray shirt and loose black trousers tucked into polished leather boots, she still felt the need to carry her sword. It was an extra limb, an extension of her will, and she buckled it, unable to withstand the rush of memory.

The girl from long ago had hated swords. She had hated weapons or violence of any kind, she loved the stories best where knights befriended the monsters and turned them into companions. Stories when love and friendship conquered what violence could not. Songs where queens and kings ruled in benevolence over civilized and chivalrous lands, and even the monsters were civilized, brought into the cities, discarding their bones and furs and taking the cotton and leather. She believed this was possible.

That was until the violence found her, turned her life around and left her to face a different world where violence was not just something meted out of anger but it had to become a shield to keep civilization from being washed away in the tides of barbarism and chaos.

Outside her door, in the hallway, there were other doors, some open, others closed, all filled with other cogs in the machinery working on their own paperwork. She set about her business. Visiting the Seminary did nothing to keep her from falling deeper into nostalgia. Her first weeks there as an orphan, getting used to sharing a large dormitory, no maids to help with her everyday processes, the two robes, one of which she was to wash herself every night to have it clean for the next day, the daily lessons in history, numbers, and the holy reed.

When she proved exceptional in her classes, she was moved into the more rigorous training - the deep mysteries of the Light, yes, but also rhetoric, logic, politics, trade, philosophy, music, arithmetic - the kind of education her brothers might have received had her mother born sons. Five years later, she was offered a seat into the priesthood, but she shook her head no, and undertook a new journey, even as her tutors of seven years stood gaping in shock, all of their attention and training wasted on a girl who would become a foot-soldier.

Here, now, she looked at the girls and boys who sat in a row of benches looking up at her, their faces open, and she remembered the woman who changed her life.

A woman with a hard face, short cropped hair with a shock of white running through it, her chin tilted from a blow making her too ugly for anyone to ever kiss, but who spoke with a grace that moved Innana to join her instead of the priesthood.

Today, would Innana speak with enough conviction to change the minds of one of these children?

The lesson ended, she blessed the class, her hand tight around the pommel of her sword, and rushed through her meeting with the Bishops, relenting to their wisdom in the matter of pilfered armaments, with little motivation to become involved in the matter. It was likely to be some poor footman or squire trying to feed his mother or pay his sister's dowry and the Cathedral could afford to part with some of its wealth.

The sun was low over the western hills above Stormwind proper by the time she rushed back to her office for the petitioner. Her stomach growled and she could not remember if she had eaten since leaving her quarters in the morning. Sometimes it seemed her entire life was spent trapped in this square, from quarters to office, office to seminary, seminary to cathedral, cathedral to quarters. Around the square, a team of men went about, lighting the lamps one at a time.

Her hand flexed. The hilt of the sword felt warm, the weight on her hip, the jingle of the chin holding the sword to her belt, and suddenly, she could have been in Northrend... there had been a life beyond this once. But there were worse memories to dwell on than her childhood and she returned to that confused stream gladly rather than her years in the field. She shut her eyes, willing them away, only to feel the horror and agony of all those years in an instant.

The frozen winds of Northrend blasted her, the hopeless chill of the Lich King was there, alive, in her head and the faces of the dead, her brothers, her sisters, the dead, the dead, the dead, the dead who came back, her friends who came back from the grave and the Light was in her hands, burning them as they screamed and they screamed... and she was screaming with them, until they sent her back and...

She opened her eyes. Something was wrong. This kind of melancholy and introspection was not unusual for her, but not this complete preoccupation to the point of paralysis. Perhaps some time with Mother Amina would clear her mind. She would write a note to her and have it delivered in the morning, petitioning for some time with her.

But there was one more task left for her to do before the day was over and she hurried up the steps into the administrative offices. Erik, the middle-aged clerk with infinite patience if not stamina sat at the desk on the first floor and looked up from the line of small text he was following with a finger, exhaustion evident on his face.

"Your petition is waiting in your office," he said. Innana glanced up the stairs were only two lamps flickered and all the other doors were likely closed and locked for the night. The office had no windows facing the west and it seemed all the more gloomy for it.

"Why don't you go ahead," she said, "I'll lock up."

"Thank you," Erik did not argue, gathering his cloak from the peg behind him, "I'll be good to eat dinner with the family for once."

Innana smiled at him and went up to her office as the clerk shut the heavy door behind her, eliminating what little sunlight remained in the office. She walked up stairs and into her room, unbuckling her sword belt and carrying it in her hand. A figure sat in a chair in front of her desk, cloaked and hooded, turned into a silhouette by the flickering candle on her desk that Erik must have left.

"Excuse me for being late," Innana moved around the desk to her chair, "It has been a long day and I appreciate your patience. I'm Innana, and I was given your..."

The figure lifted its head - her head, Innana saw the woman, a girl, really, a pale, sickly, thin girl with sunken, haunted eyes as if from nights of sleeplessness and the caved-in cheeks of a starving child. Innana slowly lowered herself into her chair, laying her sword belt on the desk, staring into this cadaverous face.

"... your petition to handle." She finished quietly.

"You're the wrong one," the girl hissed as if to foil eavesdroppers. There was something in the way she spoke that sent a chill up Innana's spine. The light in the room faded, dulled, the candle flame blinked, tilting to one side as if in a draft though the room was still, and then it was still again.

"What manner of help, sister?" Innana asked gently. Something was very wrong here. The cloak was far too bulky for a woman so frail. Something about her seemed very familiar. Outside her office, the hallway creaked, just an old building making noises in the dark, but Innana felt her hand reaching for the sword before stopping herself.

The girl whimpered, turned to look over her shoulder, and then leaned forward, "It wasn't supposed to be you," her face shuddered with terror, "No, no, no. They said it would be someone else who is not you."

Innana felt goosebumps running up her forearms, there was a feeling of dread building in her that warned of danger, close by, part of her felt flush with heat, another part shivered, thee smell of charred flesh wafted through the room then it was gone. The girl put her hands up to her head, holding it, and whined in a high-pitched tone that set her teeth on edge.

"Who are you?" Innana stood up, the sword lay on the desk between them. She couldn't remember the last time she drew her weapon in combat, a year ago, maybe? Two?

Something flickered around the woman, like an invisible barrier that enveloped her and then it was gone. The sword appeared in Innana's hand, she didn't remember drawing it, as she backed away from the desk, "What are you?" She hissed.

There, again, the flickering, and then it was gone for good replaced with the odor of rotting flesh laced with the sharp chemical smell of an apothecary. The thin face melted, and a cadaver stood in its place, the bulky robe hanging limp off of the frame of bones. Sunken eyes and cheeks vanished replaced by a mad flickering in hollow sockets and tattered skin stretched over pale bone.

"A mother," the creature said, her voice no longer that sharp tone but a guttural, wet sound, "A mother in search of her daughter."

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Blizzard as a Political Entity

I've always claimed Blizzard was a Center-Right company with many policies and in-game examples of this stance, but the (most) recent talk of homophobia has me thinking about it again and I wanted to take a look at Blizzard as a Political entity and try to articulate my feelings from having played the game for a number of years.

Full disclosure - I consider myself a fairly progressive individual with very liberal opinions on gay rights, equality for women and minorities, social welfare and a complete separation of church and state. Also, before I get too far down the road with this, I want to set aside the expectation that because this is a "medieval" game, Blizzard gets a pass for doing anything because they're being authentic to an anachronistic setting.

Bullshit.

When you can introduce dragons, magic, motorcycles, planes and tentacle monsters, you divorce yourself from any expectation of representing reality in your playground. And typically, the point of representing an anachronistic culture through art is to illustrate the stark differences between where we are now to what was once the norm. Not to revel in the injustices of the past.

Racism
The most recent blind example of this are the Pygmies in Uldum. You have a squat race of brown people with turbans who speak gibberish and steal from the noble Tol'vir and we're tasked with knocking them around with comical hammers.

As an Indian of Arab descent, I was looking forward to seeing Arabian, African and Central-Asian culture in the game, but I wasn't expecting this.

There are plenty of other example - from cannibalistic Trolls who are influenced from Island culture to the apologist noble-native take on the Tauren, there is a complete lack of clarity or foresight in the design team of how the game appears outside of their bubble.

Homophobia
From the videos posted at BlizzCon last year to the lack of any openly gay characters in the game, to the above-linked history wherein a burgeoning Gay community received negative attention from Blizzard in their attempts to come together and it took public outrage for them to reverse their decisions, we see a company that thinks making gay-jokes is funny.

I'm not suggesting they're homophobic, but I am suggesting that they are insensitive to the way the world appears to gay and gay-friendly people.

Diversity
Of the people who sit on the panels at BlizzCon, how often do we see women or minorities, especially in the upper levels of the design team?

The diversity is just not there, and that's part of the reason why we see the Azeroth the way we do - it's a one-sided view of the world. Their quest-team (from what I could tell of the article posted in the WoW Magazine) is entire male, for example. What would you expect from a team that had no women working in it? I'm not suggesting men can't write well-rounded stories or women-positive quests, but the incentive isn't there especially in a team where no one else might be making an effort of it.

Take this one step further and you can point at all the plate-bikini armor sets, the festival sets that make women look like lingerie models, Achievements that require us to target women and give them Playboy bunny ears.

Torture

There are a number of quests where torture is successfully used to extract information from victims. True, this is a common fantasy trope, but it still leaves one feeling queasy when the target is begging for relief and yet we continue with the torture. So much so that the NPCs suggest this is beyond them and they ask the player to engage in this behavior, as if the developers are chortling at the prospect.

Especially at the time that Wrath came out, Torture was a vital topic of conversation as America itself was dealing with the problem of figuring out where the lines were between interrogation and torture. It was ill-timed, thoughtless, impulsive and unfortunate at best.

Conflict Resolution
Consider the fact that seldom, if ever, do you run into situations where you can reasonably resolve issues in the game. It always comes down to physical conflict. I'm not suggesting Raids involve a riddle contest, or a conversation thread that makes it possible to bypass a boss, I'm talking more in terms of quest design here, and the general theme of the game itself. War is a viable solution to all problems in the game.

Jaina and Thrall have often been the only voices of dissent in the entire setting, and while they might be the protagonists, their hopes are constantly dashed and the conflict continues.

I appreciate that the Horde vs. Alliance conflict is vital for Warcraft, and I'm okay with it, but the level of ridicule and impotence thrown at pacifism in the game is a little strange when you sit back and think on it. At any point politically, you might imagine there is some contingent of a population that is working on peace and appeasement and negotiation. We never see those elements in the game. At least with Cataclysm we're seeing some fall-out in South Shore and Barrens and maybe it's a move in the right direction.



Now.

I don't think anyone at Blizzard is explicitly racist, or sexist, or homophobic, or war-mongering, or pro-torture - but I do think nobody sat down, to look at the races, or the armor, or the quests and thought, "Is this insensitive or offensive to some significant sub-set of our audience?" And that's kind of the point.

When you have millions of people in your audience, you are going to offend someone, that's inevitable, I don't need a squeaky clean game with no possibility for freedom of expression - far from it - I enjoy and consume vast amounts of media that explores inequality.

But really, for a game of Warcraft's size and scope, with the size of their audience, what are they getting in return for the level of offensiveness in the game? Is the latent sexism and racism vital to their storytelling? Is it important to the arc of the expansion? Are these points that Blizzard needs to make and stand behind?

Or is it just a cheap joke for a bunch of guys to laugh about?

Monday, January 23, 2012

HOW TO: Solo Tank Madness Of Deathwing 10

My Paladin brothers and sisters, let us bow our heads and pray - for this is the battle in which we prove our prowess. Indeed, here we shine, and bear the brute force of our enemies on our shoulders alone, allowing our comrades to do the best of works - the culling of these enemies of life itself. Keep your shield close, your sword in hand, look the beast in the eye and know that the Light has given you all that is necessary, all that is best, to conquer even the Aspect of Death. Cloak yourself in truth, carry the shield of the righteous, cast your final judgment on the ender of worlds and know that this crusade has come at least to its end.

Ahem.

We've used this strategy a couple of times now and it is pretty damned fool-proof. Once you get the flow of the fight down, prepare for achievement spam. I'll assume you know the basic flow of the fight as you can learn from WoWPedia, WoWHead or any millions of other sites.

Composition
1 Tank (preferably a Paladin, but most classes can handle it)
2 Healers (we used a Discipline Priest and Paladin)
7 DPS (if you can get a DK to DPS you can make phase 2 very easy)

Glyphs
Prime: Truth, WoG, Shield
Major: Focus Shield, LoH

Un-glyph'd Divine Protection is very useful on Impales but Glyph'd DP can be very useful to deal with Bolt impact, Tetanus and other raid-wide magical damage, it's a matter of what's more important to you and what's killing you.

Phase 1
Platform Order: Green (Ysera) > Red (Alextrasza) > Yellow (Nozdormu) > Blue (Kalegos)

The order of kill is as follows on each platform:

Corruption > Bolt > Limb > Hemorrhage > Limb > Blistering Tentacle > Limb >  Blistering Tentacle > Limb

The DPS benchmark is to make sure your raid can kill the Corruption before the Elementium Bolt lands. This ensures that you should only ever get 1 Impale per platform. This is crucial. As a paladin you CAN survive two per platform but you shouldn't have to as if you're consistently getting 2 Impales, the last platform will be troublesome.

So. You start on a platform, you can ignore the limb more or less, spread out a bit so people aren't standing in a line behind one another, and nuke the Corruption as soon as it comes up. Here is how you survive all the Impales:

Platform 1 (Ysera): Dream
Platform 2 (Alextrasza): Ardent Defender + Divine Protection
Platform 3 (Nozdormu): Guardian of Ancient Kings + Divine Protection
Platform 4 (Kalegos): Ardent Defender + Divine Protection

Bolt will be coming out very soon after killing the Corruption, so swap and kill the Bolt, then begin on the limb. Keep the limb below 75% - preferably right about 80% - until Hemorrhage happens. Take it slow - this is the mana-regen part for your healers, if you're standing around waiting, it's fine, let your healers get the mana back up, this is crucial with 2 healers, as the Tentacles will burn through their mana pretty fast and you really don't want Blistering Tentacles and Hemorrhage at the same time.

Once Hemorrhage goes down, swap and burn the Limb. Jump platform, repeat.

On the third and fourth platforms, you will have to deal with  Blistering Tentacles as Alextrasza won't help you on those two - leave at least your top melee DPS who loose the most by swapping on the limb while the rest of the raid swaps and kills the Tentacles. We leave our Rogue on the limb. Ranged starts with the furthest Tentacles, melee on the nearest, and you should swap and help as well. I use Hammer here to splash some damage onto the Limb.

You might need to use Divine Guardian or other raid-wide CDs here, especially on the second set of Tentacles if the DPS is slow on getting them down and your stacks get high.

On the fourth platform you will also have to deal with the Bolt impact (as you'll easily kill it without the impact on the other 3 platforms thanks to Nozdormu). What's important here is that the Corruption is killed as early as possible before the Bolt lands, preferably with 5 seconds to go so you can all get well far away from the impact point to minimize damage from the crash. If you find yourself dying to this over and over, you can even use Heroism on the Corruption to get through this part. We have our DPS save all their CDs and Trinkets on the third Platform to use on the fourth Corruption and that's usually enough.

After that it's the same as third - Limb >  Blistering Tentacles > Limb >  Blistering Tentacles. This one can cut a bit close with the  Cataclysm timer.

Notice this whole time the only thing you've had to tank is the Corruption, survive the impales, and pick up the Hemorrhage for a couple of seconds before they evaporate thanks to  Kalegos' buff. There isn't a lot to tank and using two tanks is a massive waste. As you're tanking the fourth Corruption, you're likely to be closest to the impact point when it lands if your DPS is low - remember it is safe to use Divine Protection in that case. Don't be afraid to use it to save yourself as long as you're not tanking Hemorrhages or Corruptions.

This should never happen, but, IF YOU TAKE A SECOND IMPALE FOR ANY REASON, your only recourse is an immunity. Ardent Defender is part of your first-impale rotation, but you can use DivineShield or Blessing of Protection to survive it - hit the ability, taunt, wait for the debuff to run out, and cancel. You don't need to loose a melee to pull this off but the timing can be tricky. Remember you have 3 seconds to pull this off - plenty of time and GCDs.

Phase 2
The basic progression of this is to burn Deathwing, swap and kill the Elementium Fragments, burn some more, swap and burn the Elementium Horrors, burn some more, stop at 11%, deal with the second wave of adds, the second set of Terrors, then hit hero and burn to kill while ignoring all other adds.

The only thing you're needed for is to tank the Horrors. I pick both of them up right away and drag them into Nozdormu's slow-time puddle, our Frost DK taunts one off of me. The DPS jumps on that one and burn it super fast - Anti-magic Shell is more than enough to soak the few stacks of Tetanus. You on the other hand will have a lot of stacks of Tetanus by this time and will be chaining CDs to survive. I usually use Guardian of Ancient Kings here just as the first Terror Dies and keep a twitchy hand on LoH, AD, or anything else to survive the massive spikes of damage from the DoT. If you need to, you can have someone taunt off and kite the add for 2 seconds or so to let the DoT drop off but usually it isn't necessary. Play it safe, and you'll be fine.

The Horrors are really quite survivable - on the kill last week, I died to a Tetanus tick after the first set of adds died and our feral druid and DK tanked the second set of adds just fine - though we did use Heroism to burn the adds faster. Your only purpose in Phase 2 is to survive tanking one of the adds while DPS deal with the other.

Burn Deathwing to get him as close to 11% as you can, and stop. Deal with the second set of adds the same way and you're on the home stretch.

Once the second set of Horrors die, use Heroism if you didn't use it on the Horrors and just burn to kill. If a third set of Elementium Fragments spawn, ignore them and just keep burning. You can't survive the AoE damage sub 10% for every long with 2 healers.

Save Divine Guardian for when Deathwing hits about 6% health as the AoE damage spikes quite a bit at 5%. Chain Divine Guardian with other raid-wide CDs - we go DG, Discipline Barrier, Aura Mastery, our Boomkin starts to channel Tranquility and Deathwing is usually dead right about then. I throw in a Holy Radiance too because why the hell not. Remind everyone to use Dream if it's off cool-down at this point as well.

It's actually not a difficult fight to tank at all, despite my preamble. Once you get the order of kills and rhythm down, this strategy is very repeatable. The healing on the other hand is really intense and you will want to hug your healers the first couple of times through. But it is certainly not more difficult than 2-healing, Ragnaros I don't think.

Good luck!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Dragon Soul Nerfs

This feels familiar, doesn't it?

I'm glad we've killed Deathwing a couple of times by now, and have the fight down pat and dry at this point or I'd be really pissed as I was over Ragnaros. As it is, I'm just shrugging it off, as I don't really see the point in further tuning this content as it is, if you'll excuse the elitism for a moment, relatively easy compared to pre-nerf Firelands, but difficulty is a relative thing.

That said, Madness of Deathwing is no Ragnaros. And Madness of Deathwing is certainly no pre-nerf Nefarian. It's more on par with, I don't know, Cho'gall maybe, or Ascendant Council in terms of difficulty. Once you know what to do, the fight is entirely a breeze and the right setup lets you breeze through so much of the fight it's not even funny.

To be fair, we had a number of wipes on Madness. Spine took us a night. But ever since we killed these bosses, it hasn't been a problem and we more or less 2-healed the whole place except for Zon'ozz and Spine. If we do all normal modes next week, I imagine we can clear out the place in less than three hours. Though I think our Raid Lead might want to do Heroic Morchok and Heroic Yor'sahj.

I don't know. I don't know that we're particularly great and our gear was more or less at normal-Firelands level when we started this tier. We even missed about two weeks of progression when we didn't have people over the holidays. So are the nerfs necessary? Not for us, they aren't.

But I think they probably are necessary for the guilds that were stuck on Ultraxion or Lootship or Spine. Those fights do have relatively steep DPS requirements.

Are you having trouble 2-healing in the 5th minute when you're getting hit with 300k every second? Can you get one of the adds down before the Sapper spawns? Can you take the hits of fire throughout the fight without loosing people? Can your tanks taunt swap and chain CDs to survive phase 2? Is everyone able to dodge fire and cones at the same time? Do Bloods overwhelm you in the third plate phase over and over? Do you just need a bit of DPS to get over the hump on that 4th limb of Deathwing or to clear the last 2% in phae 2?

If yes, then this will help you get over that little bump and that's not a bad thing.

Maybe another two weeks of gear will help, maybe you need a different strategy or composition, or whatever, but I've been there going in on the same fight, night after night after night and not being able to kill something and feeling the frustration with making absolutely no progress. I remember two years ago (holy crap) that the 5% nerf helped us down Sindragosa when she was wiping us with sub 5% enrages or something crazy for two or three weeks in a row, and then the week the buff hit, we killed her. It stung a bit, but I was just glad to finally be on Lich King.

As it is, my expectation and my performance is based on completing at least all of normal content pre-nerf and as long as I can manage that, I'm happy. And we've more than managed that this time around. To everyone else who's waiting to get over that hump - I hope you're able to make the magic happen before the nerfs hit, but if not, I'm sure you'll have those shiny titles after January 31.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Long Time No See!

It's been a while since I wrote!

There are a couple of themes that are going around the blogs that I read lately that I'd love to respond to  but I don't really know how to. Either I'm not affected by them as strongly as the writers, or I feel like what I have to say is so private that I'd either e-mail the person directly or maybe just silent because I don't know the person well enough.

It's an odd time. Raids are quietly falling silent, people don't log in anymore, guilds are falling out of the game, or scaling back their commitments and I kind of see myself doing the same to some degree, but I still enjoy the game. I'm excited about arenas and pushing my team ranking up. I'm excited for whenever we start doing Heroic raids. I'm excited to farm Madness for more loots as we have a fairly repeatable and reliable strategy for killing him now.

I am absolutely loving being a paladin tank lately. We are the most imbalanced and over powered tank class in the game right now and I love it!

And yet, the game seems distant lately. I don't exactly know why. Some of it is the content being old, some of it is the anticipation I have for MoP, I'd rather play MoP than drag my heels in Cataclysm any longer, honestly, and part of it is wondering if I'm missing something when I read about other people dropping the raiding game or the game completely in some cases.

Why do I keep playing, then? People are leaving, apparently in droves based on forum posts and such, for Star Wars, and while I have some dim interest in the game, it's not enough for me to keep up two subscriptions at the same time. I might wind up playing it to fill in time anyway, but I'm not excited about it.

I tried RIFT and was burned by barely playing the game until I canceled it three months in. LOTRO was the only other game I played consistently but it has changed a lot, and for the worse I think, since it went F2P and the audience it has picked up since then. I miss the quiet, mature audience it had before then even if the game was far more populated after the transition. I don't know how it is now, I haven't played it in a long time. Besides, there was no end-game there to speak of.

Anyway. I keep playing WoW because my friends are playing, because I'm enjoying the game, the raiding is great, the PvP is fun, but I guess I just wish I had something to do with my alts other than the same things I'm doing with my main. I don't know. Maybe I'm just... not burned out, exactly, but bored?  I'm done with the leveling game. I love raiding, I love Arena, but the rest of the time I have to convince myself to log in.

MoP can't get here fast enough, or I'm going to have to play SW just to stay amused. Any SW guilds recruiting? :-P