Foiled by the impatience boss

Looks like my WoW guild has splintered tonight, with typical bad timing for all involved, having seen the last phase of the final boss of the Warlords of Draenor expansion. Two more weeks and he would probably have fallen over! Gah.

Looks like it’s time for me to try a few new things and free myself up on Mondays and Wednesdays, which Kim will love. No idea what will take WoW’s place, but seeing as I started proper raiding in February 2007 and hadn’t stopped since, it’s going to feel weird at first. Looking forward to it really.


Experiment part 6

My WoW experiment in a more hardcore guild concluded after 20 months when I left the guild on Christmas Day. A whole lot of overlapping things made me come to my senses and realise I needed to get out before I began to resent raid nights and the efforts of the guild officers, and sour the wonderful WoW raiding experience forever. It had always disconcerted me that when 25 people would join the Ventrilo chat channel, it would just be totally silent (as it they had stage fright). The truth was that mostly they hadn’t formed many friendships and had little to say to each other. In over a year and a half, I barely got to know more than 3-4 people, which I find astounding for a game I played twice a week for 3 hours a go. Having been in other guilds that were not like that at all, I realised it was this guild that had the problem – or more specifically, I HAD A PROBLEM WITH IT.

Most frustrating for me was the fact that a few of the core members (excluding the guild leader) tended to whine a lot, blame others (or Blizzard) and had poor attitudes in general. I want to be with positive people who aren’t frothing or finger pointing in Healer Chat, or who start telling other players how to play their class “It’s pretty easy really, I just….” etc. When some long term players gradually left I found myself thinking – I’m now one of the longest term members, and I don’t even really like the other long termers much – yikes!

The guild leader was quite nice however the structure always seemed to bottleneck through her, and when she was flagging in enthusiasm, everything suffered – recruiting, the website, the positivity. I don’t think she ever quite realised that the high turnover of players might be partly because of the way the guild was run, or some of the people in it, driving others away. She tried so hard to keep things going that I have a huge respect for her tenacity, but it probably won’t be enough to save the guild in a 25 man format. I raided with some amazing players, but I left feeling like it was a bit souless in the end. So many of the stalwarts would not talk on the mike for whatever reason, so in the end people wouldn’t give much back in return. 

My old guild already has a 10 man raid team with spares in the wings, so I joined and got a 10 man spot in one of their teams. There is an immediate difference in maturity and in how they relate to each other, even if their progression is fairly poor. It is very reassuring. I’m not saying I will be there forever, but next time, before I commit to competitive raiding again, I want the guild structure and culture to be a lot better than what it was in my last guild. Sadly, you often have to join a guild to find this out.

Race to World First

Unless you’ve been living under a rock (hey I’ve always wanted to use that phrase even though it’s inappropriate in this case) the premiere of Race to World First was last weekend. Yeah I know it’s another WoW related film, but it is BY FAR THE BEST World of Warcraft –related documentary I’ve seen. Clocking in at 70 minutes for a $2.99 download, it follows the fortunes of U.S guild Blood Legion as they try and compete with those pesky European psychopaths in the quest to be the first team in the world to get to the end of Tier 11.


There are few huge surprises for a viewer who raids now, but it was pleasing that they included a bunch of footage of in-fighting which typifies a group of people under the pressure of being a world top 100 guild. The extensive interviews focused more on general longing to win “never give up, never give up” and motivation, rather than give away more secretive info about player poaching, financial incentives and gold buying which is common amongst guilds of this caliber. So, I was disappointed there was not more dirt dished out really.


Still, a very watchable movie which left me a little sad for those that didn’t quite make it. Apparently torrents are available for those cheapskates who want to deny the filmmakers a living.



Experiment part 5

I just had to post an update to last week’s story, as some guild drama apparently erupted over the weekend.


Unbeknownst to most, a small subgroup of elite raiders had a private channel where they would type out nasty insults about other players, their abilities or generally vent frustrations. I don’t know how long it had been going on for, but eventually the guild leader got a hold of some vitriolic screenshots of the chat channel and was horrified. She’s declined to pass on specifics (damn it!) J but it’s very nasty stuff that was quite a contrast to the tense jokey stuff we would hear people say. It’s always been competitive guild, but even terrific people were being trashed and undermined.


So, the Guild Leader told the Main Tank, his girlfriend the healer, the excellent raider leader and a few others to leave. They lost 3 of the 6 healers. I would love to know how this went down, as it would have been quite a difficult to do, but somehow they all bailed, taking various friends with them. Sensing a demise, or at least a big slowdown in raid progression, a fairly decent officer bailed also to join them, not knowing that he himself had been mercilessly trashed by the very people he was siding with. Oh dear.


So, what happens next? Some fairly civil forum posts, no dirty laundry and now a fair panic about reassembling a 25 man raid being 8 people short, and the hunt for a new Raid Leader. In a serious raiding guild, if you stop for even 2 weeks, people will jump ship which has a snowballing effect. So, the recruitment drive is on – let’s see what happens next.

Experiment part 4

Been a few months now and in between ditching Facebook for Google Plus and then mostly ditching that too, life chugs on. I pay for my domain so it seems a waste to throw pics into an app that will probably be gone soon anyhow.

Following along the social media self promotion trail (skip ahead if you like), I fleetingly achieved a longish term WoW goal last night to be ranked in the top 200 for my class worldwide in a boss fight. There are plenty of qualifiers around that, but I console myself knowing that it is fiercely contested and that even by this morning I found myself bumped off the top 200 list by overnight challengers. But, I still have the screenshots to prove it.

That’s me – Prosecco


There is little to say about the new guild except people seem less tolerant than before, now that we are doing all heroic Tier 12 content. The guild leader lady continues to be realistic and friendly to me personally, and the raid leader is terrific but pretty much defines the world puerile. The tanks and healers seem on edge…last night was particularly bad..“blow a fucking cooldown or something..stop turning your back to the boss…I dunno!“. Tense times. I have a couple of quiet friendships if you can call them that.  Amazingly I still enjoy it, if at times I want to strangle the annoying priest Bubbaloseven who thinks he’s hilariously funny, but is really just rude and non-constructive. Mostly it’s good, but sometimes I wonder if I’ll log in to raid next week and find the guild disbanded.

An old guild mate from 2007-2008 wrote me an email this week and asked whether I’d heard from the players we used to muck around with then. I listed them out one by one and was shocked to find that nearly all of them had stopped. I know exactly what that says about me, but I am unrepentant! Next post is non-WoW I promise.

Experiment part 3

I am quite aware that the people in the guild I recently joined as an experiment are mostly in their 20’s and the guild (text) chat and voice chat reflects this. Firstly, there is lots of it, which is comforting, and much of it is joking and one-upping. It’s boisterous Uni stuff without the political correctness of work, and I love the energy of it all. Putting on my cynical hat, it’s from people who haven’t played this game for 5+ straight years and have yet to be worn down with familiarity and the (at times) tedium of logging in most nights which I find myself falling into sometimes.

But there’s one thing which disturbs me about some of the chat. It’s how the women tolerate and even celebrate the sex talk, even though much of it is directed at them. It boils down to the talk that Sam and I had at work the other day about how I was shocked when a 29 year old female wrote “Eat a Dick” in chat. I thought about the women I grew up with, many of whom were feisty feminists and concluded that although many could swear like sailors, they wouldn’t use that phrase. Another made reference to golden showers and yet another talked about how she’d been raped by some in-game non player characters. And I started to think – is this typical for gals in their 20’s now? Or are they trying to fit into blokey game culture so bad that they have unravelled decades of feminist progress.

Then Sam at work set me straight – I had an inkling of it, but I needed reassurance. These women are post feminists. Women and men are the same now, or bloody close to it in their teens and twenties. They probably get as drunk as each other, commit as many crimes as each other, and compete as alpha’s to be the most filthy, most outrageous, most popular and most noticed. Blame Big Brother, blame Lady Gaga, blame Jersey Shore. It should be a triumphant moment for the young women of today that no male can cower them or make them feel ashamed or vulnerable (and maybe it is for them), but instead it makes me a little disappointed that they had to become like blokes to do it. It’s been preying on my mind all week, I’m glad I got that out…

Experiment part 2

Lets just say that this WoW week has been a humbling one – more about that later. On my Alt-experiment character, I join in on a Wednesday raid, and get whispered soon afterwards by the guild leader lady who is quite sweet in text chat, but comes across as tired and moody on voice comms. She wants me to drop out for someone else for the first boss – heroic 25 man Halfus, but then come back in for the rest of the night. I comply and stick around listening to tense tank cooldown talk on Vent, but they get it done in a couple of goes. The raid frames are going bananas so I bet the healers are screaming in agony on that fight.

I rejoin the group inside. All is nicer than I expected. People crack jokes a fair bit and the American guy in the raid with the dubious name of Thrusting is not only an awesome player (24k dps anyone?), but he is a nice fella too. They 1-shot Valiona, I check the damage meters and I have just edged out their other feral druid – whew. We sit in positions 15 and 16 out of the 17 dps. The other person disconnected during the fight. I have done 16k dps on a relatively stationary easy fight.

Ascendant Council is harder. I die a few times due to not getting onto my tornado in time, but I put it down to being the first time I have seen it. They kill it in 3 goes and I am watching and learning whilst dead on the floor. Someone takes pity and battle rezz’s me just before the end. I feel too embarrassed to bid on loot. I am not supposed to be eligible for any loot until I amass 2000 epgp points, which is the equivalent of coming to three full raid nights. We earn 30 points per 15 mins of raid time.

We finish with bad-boy Chogall. I had watched a kill video a few hours earlier so I had a basic idea what to do. I was asked to drop down to a separate voice channel…I expected to be told to drop out for someone else. Instead I am given the 1 minute summary of what to do as a melee dps. I am thrilled to be able to stay. I am very aware that a lot of people do a lot of amazing behind the scenes things and we 1 shot it. I am pretty much last on dps. I bid on the Tier 11 shoulders and then hearth out of the instance when they announce we are going to Blackwing Descent next. Someone makes the comment that if you win an item, you need to stick around. In disbelief I find that no ones wants the second set of shoulders. I embarrassingly have to fly back to Bastion of Twilight (taking 10 mins) because I haven’t completed the quest chain that opens up the portal. The raid is basically waiting on me at this point. Sigh. We finish Omnotron and end up because of server maintenance.

I am being carried.

A bit of an experiment

I read too many WoW blogs, I’m certain (yes, still). Bloggers, like Twitterers can be self promoting, obsessive and driven so it seems obvious why the raid progress of WoW bloggers seems to be well advanced compared to the average raiding guild. Even though I know this, it doesn’t make me any less envious or interested in how they achieve this success. So, this week, I transferred to a new realm and joined a 25 man Alliance raiding guild on a hastily levelled Alt as an experiment.

First up, I had to find a guild not incredibly hardcore, but still quite serious, and apply to join. I really can’t commit to a mandatory 3 days a week in addition to the 2 or so that I already raid. My wife would kill me, and it would burn me out, probably in that order. I found a guild that doesn’t insist on 100% attendance, and has no regular cat dps in their ranks (which is rarer than you might think), and who publishes their World of Logs reports, so I could check the performance of their cat when they did raid (Answer: not very good). Checkboxes ticked.

For me, the guild applicaion is the easy part. I wrote a wall of text that explained why I am so undergeared and unready, and yet showed confidence in decent performance to come. They probably didn’t read most of it, but seemed happy to have a talk with me. So many guild applications are lazy, that it takes little effort to stand out.
Then came the culture shock of a verbal “Vent” interview. Let’s just say it was like having a D and M with my younger sister. The guild leader was quite nice and made good sense, but she was spieling off on red cordial tangents, and funnily, she advised that I perhaps not listen in on their next raid because “it‘s going to be 25 man Al’Akir, and there might be a lot of yelling”. She was concerned I was playing an Alt – which is fair enough – it screams part timer / loot whore. They left it in my hands and said I was welcome to a Trial spot.

I ended up server transferring and joining them anyhow because it was only $50 and it promised to be interesting. They 2-shot 25 man Nefarian (final boss) the night before, so they have some serious talent onboard. Now I am the one that’s feeling the pressure. I get a guild invite. There is a lot of guild chat. It’s a nice feeling to see it.

So, I logon pretty tired at 7:30 one night (there are no signups or registrations), I get an invite, the EPGP counter starts to measure “time in raid” (20 points per 15 minutes) and I am summoned to Throne of the Tides. The first boss is heroic Halfus on 25 man. Gulp. They have 31 in the raid, and they ask for people who don’t need loot to volunteer to drop. Double gulp. I’m not feeling my best and chicken out and privately volunteer. I am moved to group 6. The Vent channel is maxxed out and non-raiders are told to get the fuck out to free up space. I drop. No one says anything to me. I speak to a solitary hunter in the same position out the front of the instance, and he seems to think it is normal. I sigh at the lack of people skills. I logoff and start playing on my other character.

The guild leader chats to me a few days later. She was going to bring me in AFTER the heroic Halfus, but I logged out. I sorta need to know all 12 of the fights, as they are clearing all the content. I find out she lives in Reservoir, not 2 kilometres from where I live. She sounds like she orders takeaway pizza a great deal. Her web presence shows long blonde dreadlocks and multiple facial piercings. I feel a bit old.


Before I forgot, I figured I should jot down a few things about Blizzcon. We hosted up to 10 WoW-player friends at our place a few weeks back for a 6 person sleepover, mainly to watch a live pay-per-view media stream from a gaming conference in Anaheim. Once we sorted out a few technical problems, and snuggled into a favourite beanbag or couch, I’d say it was quite a successful and fun couple of days.

If I could summarise I would say:

* No major or exciting WoW announcements.

* We drank a little more than we should and stayed up too late, making the early morning starts a killer.

* We barely left the house but for a dog-walk or so.

* The sessions started at 5am, and it was nana-nap time at 2pm.

* Oui had a birthday.

* We found out that all the women were exceptional Rock Band singers and I got 15 Rock Band PS3 trophies because of them. And some nice guitar and drum work.

* Sunday morning was a relaxed pajamas only affair and it felt like sleeping over my parents place all over again.

* Oui wanted to adopt Chloe and Fergus and take them home.

* Everyone loved the Costume contest and thought that Red Shirt Man was awesome.

Thankyou everyone for being such nice guests and making our lives as hosts so easy.

To finish off, I will include 2 short videos of instant internet hit Red Shirt Guy from the conference.

Red Shirt Guy hits back at his detractors.

Tonight I killed the Lich King in a 25 man raid

And shook like a leaf for 15 minutes afterwards. To be honest, I had been pursuing this outside my guild for the past 4-5 weeks because I knew with the coming Cataclysm expansion, not many people would ever want to do this tricky fight again at the 25 man level. Even at level 85.

I’m not sure what to say – I’m still on a high. I beat the end boss of World of Warcraft. I luckily got in with a good raid leader who had a number of solid players on alts from Epic Fail, and who filled the other half of the raid out with people who had the achievement or had done 11/12 of the ICC bosses before. I was second on damage for the fight, so I swear I wasn’t carried! 🙂

For some reason my achievement screenshotter didn’t activate – nor did the guild Achievement broadcast – so I didn’t get to show off in-guild. Lots of things are buggy right now in WoW. But I have the Kingslayer title now. I can relax a bit and enjoy Blizzcon.

I will now attempt to sleep.