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The Queue: I win either way {WoW}

May 2nd 2011 11:27AM Capers. Capers and anchovies.

Breakfast Topic: Are you ready for more raiding content? {WoW}

Apr 30th 2011 9:33AM Hell yes, I am. I'd barely downed the first bosses of BWD and BoT in Jan before I decided to take a break to nail my thesis; with the new heroics giving you the gear to jump into the next tier, I want the next patch to hit as soon as possible. That way I'll be starting apace with a tier of raiding, rather than being carried through content that I'd seen (to wipe on, at least) before leaving. In other words, I skipped this tier for school; I want the next tier to start so I can get back into the game as an active, contributing member of the raid squad and not a burden.

Breakfast Topic: Have you ever taken time off from WoW? {WoW}

Apr 27th 2011 9:32AM Currently on one. Since starting playing I've fairly consistently been on a break from early spring through early summer for the exam seasons, when I was younger for college and now for final university exams. I've also taken time off when the game simply became dull; I skipped the majority of the TotC patch after full clearing the content (oneshot, no less) first reset everything was available. The guild I was in broke up shortly afterwards (they ran 2 x 10 mans, one of which was channeling Shiva, had OS3D when it was current and susbsequently Algalon - the other couldn't tie its shoelaces without help; drama ensued and I quit, simply not finding it enjoyable enough to justify finding a guild and reacquiring reputation with raidleaders and such (the non-tangible, your-guild-trusts-you kind).

I've never understood the idea of being bored in game but continuing to play. The friends I've made in game that I rightly call by that name are on Skype, Facebook, my mobile phone, and I talk to them right through the hiatuses I take. People talk about levelling alts because they are bored; if I don't want to play the game I cancel the subscription. I'd like to think I'm keeping up a good balance of it with the rest of my life in this way.

Breakfast Topic: Do you like the changes to classic holiday events? {WoW}

Apr 25th 2011 9:02AM Holidays in game have always seemed bizzarre to me, more so since the metas replaced gold and XP as the primary reward. There's always a certain extent in game to which everything is a grind that leads to another grind ad infinitum, but it's never more obvious than in the meta that you're collecting X McGuffins. It's just not enjoyable for me to do these things for their own sake when there's little plot or immersion beyond "hey look guys, it's Easter, everyone knows there are bunnies at Easter". You're more or less committing to several slog hours of your life to get a title that does not increase DPS, HPS, mitigation, or threat generation. At least before the XP and gold made it worth your time with, e.g. the elders and things like the firepoles for alt levelling. These days the Midsummer festival bonus equivalents are available from JP vendors, and the monetary rewards are paltry. Forget that.

The Queue: Gimme Sympathy {WoW}

Apr 23rd 2011 12:33PM I think the gold sink answer is closer to the mark here, although it was true last time I was raiding hardcore and having a lot of content on farm that repairs (not consumables, mind you) esssentially paid for themselves on a boss kill. A hunter guildmate ran the math in Ulduar when Mimiron (and later Firefighter, oh God the horror) was kicking our asses and found that we had to score a kill once every 5 tries on average for the gold reward to about equal the repairs incurred.

The answer about compartmentalisation doesn't really fly when you take into account that there are repair facilities in almost every settlement, at raid entrances, repair bots can be deployed, and that the reasons why you will take damage, i.e. to do quests or down bosses, all give gold over and above the repair cost you will incur.

Also, bear in mind it's something of a hangover from an era when fires needed wood, flint and tinder, pets ran away if not fed, hunters needed ammo, etc etc. A large part of repair was character immersion and involvement in the world at the level of maintenance and survival, which the game has moved away from.

Ready Check: Soothe the savaged nerves {WoW}

Apr 22nd 2011 4:25PM "The essential problem here is that frazzled nerves tend to be indicative of other things; the person might have trouble with a learning curve, might not react with the same speed as the rest of your raid, or, heck, might be struggling with feelings of inadequacy."

Right on. What wasn't mentioned in the article (which was otherwise excellent) is that nerves can be frayed by a disconnect between guild or officer ambition and the current abilities of the group, at which point the solution isn't in raid but entirely out of it.

Case in point: in the guild I was in at the start of cata, we had a mixed bag of officer attitudes and player progress. We had about ten players who burned through levelling right off the bat and were all 85 within six days of release, heroic geared (i.e. most of the then-agreed BiS drops were theirs, plus JP items) within the fortnight, running Baradin's for epics, grinding archeology for rings and trinkets (and finding them), farming mats and crafting epic gear. One of the officers was in this group, and about three weeks from then a balanced composition was viable as people caught up. We had a wipefest first night as people learned new specs, new abilities, new mechanics, even new classes in the raids but we quickly got the first two bosses down in BRD. Next week we had the third on notice.

Then, however, the rest of the guild caught up, which included players whose goals weren't really to raid at all, but in the interests of working toward running 25-man they were shanghaied into raiding and we wiped and wiped and wiped. Players who were previously excelling were getting frustrated, and the newcomers were scared and out of their depth - they had been pressured into raiding when they didn't want to. Everybody was tense. But the raidleaders held it together and they gained their nerve; progress resumed. Several offciers expressed a desire to have two 10 - man groups running.

Shortly after the new year, enough people were geared and active to raid 25 man, and so it was decreed by the GM that this would be our focus. One officer had been pleading not to go ahead, as again we had a new cohort of inexperienced and unwilling raiders, plus a few that were known as raid wipe liabilities. But the drive to get 25-man raiding, at any cost, held sway simply because the GM said so. The group couldn't even kill Magmaw, and at this point an officer physically quit mid-raid. Yes, it was because he was hugely stressed, but no smooth talk could plaster over a schizophrenic progress policy that created it. People had no idea if they were in a social guild or a hardcore guild, and this extended to the officers. The right hand did not know what the left hand was doing. So, to conclude this shaggy dog story, one way to beat stress in raids is to not cause it in the first place. Make sure that the group is motivated, and knows why they are there. Do not try and straddle two goals; have a clear leadership and goal.

Breakfast Topic: Do you have a favorite race? {WoW}

Apr 22nd 2011 8:36AM The blood elves. Their story is so much deeper, richer, and tragic than any other race; I got a real feeling of motivation and character from playing one that just doesn't come from any other faction. Their strength through adversity, their struggle to keep hold of their nobility through all the bad but necessary choices they had to make - I feel proud to be one after the events at the Sunwell. Nonetheless, the lore around Kael'thas does annoy me - you have a deep character who loves his people and heritage, making hard decisions to survive but always with virtuous intent - and then the development team decided to make of him a cardboard cut-out, undergoing an almost schizophrenic character change for the purposes of being a Big Bad. He deserved better, he deserved the creation of someone else to be seduced by the Betrayer, he deserved to be there when the Sunwell was relit for good. On which note, I'd like to close by saying they have the best battle cry of all time:


Class revamp breathes new life into alts {WoW}

Apr 16th 2011 4:51PM "This, of cours,e does beg the question of the inverse. If a redesign makes the class easier to pick up but turns off the long-term players, did we gain or lose something?"

Demands the question, doesn't beg it. "Begging the question" is drawing a conclusion via an argument that presupposes that very conclusion.

Breakfast Topic: What real-life skills has WoW helped you develop? {WoW}

Apr 15th 2011 8:40AM There are some elements of human nature that have been a lot more obvious in WoW because the timeframe is hyper-accelerated. I've seen any number of guild break-ups, people leaving and suchlike, as well as groups functioning well and getting results. I like to think this has made me better able to feel it "in the air" whether a group is going to succeed or fall apart.

Breakfast Topic: What do you listen to while you play WoW? {WoW}

Mar 26th 2011 9:50AM I listen to a lot of calm alternative or prog songs, like King Crimon's "Moonchild" as I PvP. My teammates usually listen to something pulsing like Pendulum, but I think healing is best done in a state of calm. First time they found out was when leaked into the chat channel after a brutal defence at the Lumber Mill.