Gamers on the Street logs into U.S. servers to get the word from the front on what's going on in and around the World of Warcraft.
Some days, reader e-mails get more ... well, real than others. Not long after Gamers surveyed players on their New Year's resolutions, we received this e-mail from Drakthog of Moonrunner: "Yeah, I was the jerk who posted (in comments) about the Alliance not being able to chew gum and talk at the same time. I decided to put my money where my mouth is. I'm an officer in <The Pride> of Moonrunner, a casual guild with many members of different backgrounds -- military, civilian, hardcore, casual, old 70s, new 70s, old and young. Should you wish at any time to hop on Horde side and ask a few of my loyal friends and guildmates their point of view on anything, I'll volunteer them to speak to you, at length, on any topic you wish."
Talk about an offer you can't refuse! If you've ever seen Gamots (the Ben Urich of Gamers on the Street) at work on your server, you'll recognize that we'll talk to just about anybody – let alone a whole collection of anybodies with opinions a-plenty. So one night this past weekend, we popped into a chat channel with the members of <The Pride> to hear what they had to say about the state of post-modern raiding.
Moonrunner's <The Pride> looks a lot like many other youngish guilds on the streets of the Outland these days: on the smaller side, picking their way through 10-man content, slowly and thoughtfully building a diverse membership base with a goal of entering 25-man content in a low-key manner. In many ways, they're representative of the new wave of WoW players that wants to raid, that wants to see the end-game content – but on their own terms.
We cozied up to chat with a horde of <The Pride>'s Hordies, including:
Akiira, 70 orc warrior
Blackthurne, 46 undead priest
Brownsugar, 70 orc warrior
CappyMcAdams, 70 orc hunter (GM)
Demonblaze, 70 blood elf paladin
Drakthog, 70 orc warrior
Hunterzero, 70 troll hunter
Perverse, 70 blood elf paladin/Calesta, 70 blood elf rogue
Pillowpantz, 63 troll priest
Umbraslayer, 70 orc warrior
Gamers on the Street: So tell us about <The Pride>. How big are you, when were you formed, how long have you been together ...?
CappyMcAdams: 81 accounts total and probably have an active roster around 40 to 60 . The original guild formed in October 2005; we have been this group since November 2007.
2005 -- are you WoW-specific, then? Or have some folks who've been together since previously?
CappyMcAdams: For the moment, yes. My goal is to turn us to a bigger community once other games such as Age of Conan come out. A lot of us were in other guilds prior to this one.
Drakthog: Yeah, the core group here has been together for a while.
Akiira: I'm sticking to it for as long as I can.
What do you think the average age of the guild is?
Mostly working people? On together at night? Or spread out over day and night?
Drakthog: Pretty much all of that.
Cappymcadams: We have players on all day and night. Some work, some have sugar mommas like myself. LOL Our oldest member is upper 50s.
Drakthog: A few teens slip through the cracks occasionally. It's a lot like the old military. They lie about their age to get in -- and it's too late to get rid of them in the middle of a fight.
I got the impression you're in consolidation and growth mode right now -- a note on your web page that mentioned getting "back" to Gruul?
Cappymcadams: After the guild took a leadership change, we dropped down to around 90 members. It has been our goal to up our members and get back to raiding.
I hear you have 2 Kara groups running now. Any Zul'Aman yet?
Akiira: Three, actually. We'll be starting ZA next week, I believe? Can't wait to see the new content.
Cappymcadams: We have done ZA up to the first boss. We are in the process of getting a lot of our newer members the gear to make ZA a fun run instead of a death repair bill.
Drakthog: We did have one group do ZA when it first came out.
Does that include most of the active members, then? Or do you have a good number of folks who don't raid or are under the level cap?
Cappymcadams: We have members that fit about all areas: casual, raiders, PvPers ... we got them about all covered.
Drakthog: Yeah, I'd have to say most of the people don't stay under the cap for very long at all here.
Ok, so let's talk about where <The Pride> is in WoW right now and where you're headed. It looks like you're pretty much on the current trend of raiding in smaller groups like the 10-mans. Do you plan to keep that niche along with a side helping of PvP -- or is 25-man raiding in the future?
Cappymcadams: Now we are Kara-focused, getting new/old members the gear they need through Kara. After Kara, ZA will become the main focus to fill in the remaining gear gaps. From there, Gruul/Mag will become focus.
Drakthog: We also do a lot of PvP because it's fun as a group and fills out those blues gear slots for a lot of our DPS.
Cappymcadams: PvP is a focus, but more between individuals then the guild as a whole.
How do you see that fitting with the expansion? Where do you see <The Pride> when Wrath of the Lich King comes out?
Drakthog: I think <The Pride> has more than enough committed, loyal players to do very well in WotLK.
Cappymcadams: Well, WotLK isn't looking to be until 4th quarter of the year. We have plenty of time to get to see everything in a fun manner.
Umbraslayer: I will be getting it, that's for sure.
What about new games coming out before then? Anyone trying anything else on the side ... any betas ... anything upcoming any of you are planning to try?
Drakthog: Definitely Age of Conan. Nothing else has really caught my attention.
Umbraslayer: Call of Duty 4.
Akiira: Smash Brothers Brawl ... Might have to trade in my keyboard for a Wiimote for a while!
Hunterzero: CoD4 and Mass Effect.
Cappymcadams: I personally will be focusing on Age of Conan when it comes out.
Perverse: Yea, Ill be in AoC when it hits.
Blackthurne: Might give Warhammer a try.
Think Age of Conan will slow things down over here?
Drakthog: I doubt it, I'd like to see guildies on both games. I think we've got plenty of time to play both.
Cappymcadams: No, for the fact that I wish for us to become more then just a random guild on a MMO. We are pushing to be a community with many successful guilds in the games that are out.
Drakthog tells me you're a pretty diverse group. Do you think that makes it harder to hang together across games?
Cappymcadams: For a long time, I was part of a community that played SWG, EQ2, Vanguard. It was more then just a game. That's what I hope for this.
Drakthog: I don't think it would. We have a lot of married couples, a lot of tight in-game and out-of-game friendships. I think that's the strength that'll keep us going through other games as a team.
Perverse: The idea is to be a community of people, not of WoW characters.
Cappymcadams: You will always have the core people that play each game that interact more with each other then the rest. But on the other side, you will also have a great number of people that wish to dabble in all games and not focus so much on one.
So what do you think Blizzard is doing right as far as raid and end-game PvE these days? What's lighting your fires as far as PvE?
Umbraslayer: So far the only raid I have been in is Kara, and I like it.
Akiira: The Sunwell Plateau is something I'm really looking forward to. A new 5-man instance with heroic loot equivalent to Kara gear will be nice.
Brownsugar: I really like challenging myself and a group with raids/heroics to see if my skill matches my gear.
Pillowpantz: I like the holiday-themed items, then add like the Xmas hat and the Headless Horseman boss for Halloween.
Cappymcadams: Personally, the only thing I see Blizzard doing right with PvE is how fast they have been getting new stuff out recently. I wish they would go away from all the gimmick fights, though.
How so? What do you define as a "gimmick" fight?
Calesta: Prince, Netherspite.
Cappymcadams: Take Prince, for example. It's a gimmick fight. No matter how good your team is, a bad infernal drop ruins the fight. Take Magtheridon. No matter how good your healers and tanks are, if one person lags on a box click, you wipe. They add too much random chance to fights instead of relying on human skill to overcome.
Drakthog: Well they're adding new content like the Sunwell and ZA. Maybe their stuff is repetitive, but they try to keep it interesting. Unfortunately, it's content not very many in the game will ever see.
Do you think The Pride will see that content?
Drakthog: Hell, yeah we will.
What about the new dailies?
Drakthog: Dailies are a prot warrior's worst nightmare.
Umbraslayer: I love dailies. It's basically easy gold. I would like to see more.
Brownsugar: The dungeon dailies are great.
Cappymcadams: They are fun the first time. After playing "Simon Says" twelve times, it gets a little boring.
Pillowpantz: I haven't been doing the dailies much. It's too hard to find a group during the day or when I'm not at school. At night, I'd prefer to raid rather then do a daily.
Well, that's coming up soon when they raise the number of quests you can have in your log -- so looks like you'll get your wish!
Drakthog: Yeah, but the dungeon dailies don't pay enough gold for a warrior's repair bill.
Calesta: Dailies are just an added reward for another grind fest. We did all the five-mans 1,000 times, so after a while, it's just another grind. That said, if you're doing them anyway, it's nice.
Drakthog: Yeah, the regular five-mans are sprint-throughs for us now.
Calesta: We got to a point with non-heroics that we do things like four-DPS, one-healer runs, or letting a holy paladin tank, etc.
Umbraslayer: There isn't much call for a tank in five-mans anymore, when the guild can do it without.
Sounds like you'd gotten all the rep and keys and such before they made the rep requirements for keying easier. What's your take on that?
Drakthog: It was an absolutely horrible idea. You can't PuG a heroic anymore because you've got guys in greens insisting that they can do good enough.
Hunterzero: I like the rep. I was ticked when I did all the work to hit Revered with a faction and then BOOM! Honored gets you the key.
Brownsugar: I enjoyed it 'cause I got a late start on BC and needed help after I geared up to do heroics.
Cappymcadams: The keys becoming cheaper wasn't a bad thing. It made stuff more accessible for casual players. But they need to get away from the grind mechanics and back to fun.
Ok, I'll bite -- define "grind" and define "fun."
Cappymcadams: Fun is going to instances time and time again with groups to down bosses that aren't gonna be the same fight every time and getting rep on the side. A grind is forcing people to get rep just so they can maybe do an instance and get something different one time.
Demonblaze: I just wish they made is easier for healers to grind.
Calesta: A grind is 1,500 rep per run when you need 40,000 rep to get one item from one faction -- only to have to turn around and do it for five more factions. By the time you are successful at heroics, you have gear better than what drops anyway.
Cappymcadams: I will be 100% honest. I only started playing WoW 'cause my wife would play with me -- and as this being her first MMO, it's a great MMO to start with cause it is mindlessly easy.
So what do you think WotLK is bringing that will be a positive?
Umbraslayer: More instances.
Drakthog: Possibly the PvP zone. That's gonna be fun to try out with siege weapons. Other than that, its going to be BC with snow.
Calesta: Look how fast we got to this point with BC.
Akiira: A new tanking class. I'm glad to see they're mixing it up, too, letting death knights tank with two-handed weapons or dual-wielding.
Hunterzero: I'm stoked about rolling a death night and I think inscription is going to be cool.
Anybody with thoughts on the new AFK policy?
Drakthog: Love it.
Hunterzero: It's awesome.
Brownsugar: I love it.
Do you see an effect on player attitudes already on this server?
Drakthog: I've seen it start some fights.
Calesta: The AFK policy is a symptom of another problem. They changed it from a fun place to go get into some fights and kill people, to yet another grindfest for epics. The problem is, you have to have 90+ hours of PvP logged before you get enough resilience to be able to compete on a "closer-to-fair" level.
Hunterzero: I don't PvP much on this toon, but on my shammie I love to PvP, and AFKers ... well, kinda suck unless I'm killing them for free HK.
Cappymcadams: LOL The only comment on the AFKing policy I will make is in the form of a forum post. It's called "Define non-participation" and is on the WoW PvP forums. Blizzard is taking a dangerous step towards illegal with their conduct.
Drakthog: I enjoy PvP on a priest. It's irritating to go out there and do your best and lose because people are too impatient to spend one more month getting their gear.
Drakthog: Hang on, that one started a discussion in Vent.
LOL Bring it!
Hunterzero: Isn't that what Arena is for?
Cappymcadams: LOL Arena is a joke. It is just another daily quest for those who have the gear to make money. Team-selling is at an all-time high. When 1500-rated teams are facing people with full S3 gear including shoulders, there's something wrong.
Calesta: Those who don't have the gear get stomped.
Drakthog: My stance is that now so many AFKers have earned their gear by AKFing and not knowing how to play, I'd rather have lesser-geared players that know how to PvP rather than people who have rarely done the content, i.e. all the new MS warriors that popped up after arena gear came out on BG vendors.
How many teams does The Pride have? Any guild teams?
Akiira: I hold two teams for anyone who likes to compete casually in the Arenas.
Drakthog: We have quite a few guild teams. It's actually encouraged.
Calesta: We have a lot of 2v2, a lot of 3v3 and a couple 5v5, including a guild 5v5 where anyone who wants in can go.
Anyone have any burning thoughts to pass along before we wrap?
Calesta: They nerfed rogues' best PvP build. We hit like wet noodles again.
Akiira: Warriors should get epic unicorn mounts for free.
Umbraslayer: Yeah, they should lower the epic flying skills price and up the regular flying mounts speed.
Drakthog: I want to see Naga as a playable race.
Hunterzero: Get the new update out already and put the knockback back in for the inscription.
Cappymcadams: Just that Blizzard should look into taking away a lot of the CC and putting the game into the hands of the players.
Drakthog: Well, we're glad you got to finally talk to real Horde. So no more QQin' about us. We're as real as it gets. Feel free to come back any time.
Take care and have fun!
If you'd like to visit with Gamers on the Street about what's going on in your WoW life, drop us a line.