It was the best of times – A Blog Azeroth Shared Topic

The Shared Blog topic over at Blog Azeroth this week is as follows:

I know we heard the word “Throwback” many times around the net, but as part of World of warcraft expansions. I want to know what is the best expansion in game that really highlights a lot of your accomplishments in game especially that the new upcoming expansion is coming its nice to look back it could be the one when you started playing with your main character, getting a cool mount, being in a great guild, or your very first screenshot in game if you still have it or being in PvP battlegrounds or Arenas, even your raiding experiences back in BC or PRE-BC, Cataclysm, etc. You can be creative how you want to do this it could be storyline, poem, screenshots up to you it is pretty much a throwback experiences you can share to everyone.

Suggested by Amerence.

For me this has to be a toss up between the original game and Wrath.

When I first started playing, it wasn’t long before I found myself in a hardcore guild fighting for and indeed winning server firsts on everything from Vael onwards all the way to Naxxramas mark 1. Despite there being over 40 of us, despite there being a fair number of giant egos and quite a few times when I would have liked to kill at least one person in the guild, there was also a sense of pride in our guildtag. We played on a PvP server and it was more often than not a case of attack one and get swarmed by the rest of the guild.

Also of course there was the newness factor, I’d never ever played anything multi player besides first person shooters across a LAN with friends so suddenly raiding with 39 other people from across Europe including Russians from Vladivostok who would get up early to raid before work felt amazing.

Getting my Benediction as the second Priest on our then server and of course getting the only C’thun kill  (no one else killed him until the Burning Crusade) naturally rank high on my list of things achieved in the days before “achievements” but it was the silly things which stand out more. The long drawn out fights between Southshore and Tarren Mill, getting rank on my little Warlock before she was level 60 when the pvp system first came out and of course later on, same server Alterac valleys. The conversations in Priest chat, like the one which put me off eating seaweed for a very long time and doing things like drunken LBRS runs with 3 dpsers all desperately trying to beat each other by pulling as much as possible and no tank these are the things which stand out.

Selling the clothes off my back to buy my first mini pet because I hadn’t found the auction house and 40 silver was a lot of money back then, to me at least. Not to mention many of my favourite outfits are based around gear which has been available since the start, the Devout set, the Wildheart set and the Robes of the Guardian Saint are three examples which quickly spring to mind.

Wrath didn’t have the newness factor but it had several elements I enjoyed. First up a proper end boss, demons really aren’t my thing and the Sunwell didn’t exactly have the happiest of memories for me. Then there was Ulduar, quite possibly my favourite raiding instance of the entire game. As with the original game I was raiding at a fairly high end level and enjoyed completing for things like server firsts and also ticking off what were then hard achievements. When we got A Tribute to Insanityit felt like killing C’thun all over again especially given that we usually wiped to stupid on something. It also brought me my favorite 5 man of all time, the Halls of Reflection. Call me weird if you want, but I rather like being chased through frozen halls by a man with a very large sword (and based on what I found when I went and read WoW fan fiction with the  mature filter turned off) I’m apparently not alone.

There was the nakedness bug

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and Gnomes in the fish feasts. I got my one and only legendary, although I have to admit the lack of RP was slightly disappointing even though some of my guild kindly tried to improvise for me. There were flying carpets and real story telling. The Wrathgate chain for example still makes me teary eyed.

Ultimately though, there has been one constant to my journey across Azeroth.

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Mr Harpy and given that he’s currently in the process of leveling warrior number 3, this shot of us snuggling on a beach in Silverpine way back when our adventure was just starting seemed appropriate. I’ve enjoyed the vast majority of my time spent exploring this strange new world and am looking forward to everything that this new expansion brings.

Melted

Those of you who are long term readers are probably well aware of my hatred of Lord Ahune and his refusal to cough up pets or scythes on characters who could use it (I may have whined about it a few times).

WoWScrnShot_070513_215424

However this year turned out to be different and not because RNG happened to favour me. I’d had a bad day, which needless to say in my line of work can happen fairly frequently. I’d been soaked to the skin twice, slavered on by a rather large dog (although that was probably one of the best bits), seen the paper mountain on my desk multiply by five and managed to hurt my leg quite badly. I was tired and possibly quite irritable. I suspect I logged expecting more of the same but instead I discovered a dwarfish Godmother in the shape of my new GM.

So this is basically a Thank You! Not only for opening up your guild to an ever so slightly grumpy Night elf who is overly fond of pvp but a terrible loser (which is a lethal combination where random battlegrounds are concerned… it’s ever so lucky I can’t type and fight at the same time and perhaps even more lucky that fighting wins out over typing) as well as her even grumpier pet Gnome but also for my Frigid Frostling.

As it turns out Alterac Valley is his home away from home.

One troll and her dog

Meet Erizulie, troll hunter. She’s fond of bitter cactus cider, all sorts of animals except scorpids which are obviously some sort of demon in disguise and skinning things (particularly scorpids).

I also take back every bad thing I’ve ever said about Durotar. I’d forgotten how pretty the Valley of Trials can be. So she was created with two aims in mind. Firstly joining the awesomeness that is a guild called “Single Abstract Noun” and secondly leveling to lv 40ish.  Why lv 40? well because happily sitting in the shade of a certain keep is a dog called Spot.

The plan is simple as all plans should be. Reach a level to tame him, sneak into Theramore and steal their puppy from right out under their noses.

Now the hard part is going to be finding time to put this evil plan into action. My WoW time is a bit limited at the moment and when I am playing its mainly PvPing on my main or leveling my druid. However I’ve wanted that dog for a long time. I mean its obvious they callously stole it from Mulgore in the first place so its about time some nice troll came along and liberated it.

I’ve also created Tattiebogle the Undead Priest with some strange ideas about RP in mind. A Tattiebogle is both a scarecrow and one of the most amazing sounding words ever created. Operation save Spot is however the main focus of the time I (fingers crossed) will be spending on Argent Dawn.

Now I’ve blogged about them, I’m going to have to find the time to level them. I hope.

The joys of flat pack furniture

My computer is finally installed in its new home, only 3 weeks after we moved in. Which no doubt makes us sound like the most inefficient people in the world. However I do have an excuse. After University we went travelling and packed up the contents of our flat/lives into a series of boxes and divided said boxes between our parents. Once we returned with yet more stuff we moved into a tiny living space and just left all the boxes stored away in other people’s houses. Of course now we have a fairly large house, both sets of parents are jumping for joy at the thought of getting a bedroom each back but the fetching and sorting of stuff is taking a while, a considerable while in fact. The process isn’t helped by the fact that most of my possessions are books which I keep having to read to decide what I should do with them. The fact that I decided to sort all the books alphabetically by author, with fiction downstairs and non fiction/poetry/plays upstairs isn’t exactly helping the process either. I suspect we will be properly and completely moved in around June.

The other factor which has slowed us down somewhat has been my new pet hate, flat pack furniture. Apart from being evil incarnate with rough instructions which look more like the scribbles of a crazed axe murderer than a practical guide to building a bookcase not to mention either too many screws or not enough, words can not describe my loathing. Having played a (minor) part in building 9 bookcases, 3 tables and 2 desks I never ever want to see another box of the stuff. One seemingly obvious word of warning on the subject though, if you decide to make an item in the sitting room even though its designated to live in the office, make sure that once built it will fit through the door and up the stairs. Especially if you have stupid twisty stairs that look awesome until trying to manhandle furniture up them.  Having to make a desk once is bad enough, having to make it twice is ……..

Finally on the subject of WoW. I was woken up this morning by the Gnomeling ranting about a post Ghostcrawler made on the US tanking forums so I suspect I might have to wait until we are completely and tidily moved in before mentioning his subscription and the renewing thereof. So my plan is to rescue one of my old Horde druids lurking safely on a PvE server (when playing solo, I’m a coward) and finish leveling her. I still havent done all the horde WotLK quests yet so that would be a good opportunity to do so before Cataclysm hits. There are also a couple of other things I want to do before the next expansion goes live, reputations on a variety of characters  and a bit more alt leveling so I have more options available.

Reading over my last post, I can’t help wondering who I’m trying to convince though. I  do miss raiding but I’ve missed out on completing the last raid instance of every expansion so I guess it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise this time around. Vanilla, half way through original Naxx our GM/Main Tank who had taken gear priority left us for a marginally better guild which basically was the end of that. The Burning Crusade, I saw one boss in the Sunwell before having enough of the atmosphere of bitter hatred going on and this time I’ve managed one wing..ah well  maybe in Cataclysm.

Not with a bang but a whimper.

On Thursday we achieved a Tribute to Insanity, something which as a guild I never thought we were capable of (too many people fond of trying to tank the Faction Champions). By Friday morning it seems as if the guild is pretty much on the way out. Already the rats are leaping from the sinking ship in search of greener pastures and Icecrown seems impossible. Why you might ask… a simple forum post in which our GM stated that she wants to play a bit less. I suppose its one way of finding out which people are interested in a community and which are just after shiny purples.

Obviously things are not yet written in stone, but the prognosis doesn’t seem particularly good. Which leaves me in a strange mood, on the one hand I’m angry because my raiding has been brought to an abrupt halt and I had no control over it. Yes, I could look for another guild but finding one which wants both a priest and a warrior would be tricky if not impossible. Then there is the fact that over Christmas we have family commitments to keep and then in January we are moving house meaning that trialling for a new guild even if we could sweet talk our way into one as a package would be hard. Then on the other side of the coin is a sense of relief. If the guild had continued its fairly hardcore raiding, we would have been letting people down when January arrived and we had to disappear whilst we moved (our raiding roster was fairly tight and my boyfriend is/was the maintank). Not to mention the fact that I find the game less and less enthralling these days.

On a slightly more interesting note, here is a video of our heroic Anub’arak kill.

We use 2 tanks (both warriors), one on the boss and one tanking all the adds in an unhittable block set. 6 healers, basically 1 per mark plus one full time on the tanks (in the video two of them are holy paladins who have the tanks beaconed as well). As a disc priest I got the exciting job of taking one mark plus keeping shields on the rogues to make sure they stay alive as our strategy relied fairly heavily on tricks.

But it seems to borrow (and paraphrase)  T.S Eliot’s words,

This is the way the guild ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

At least we got to end on a high I suppose.


Tentacles vanquished, again

Its been an interesting week. We went from this

yogg04to

yogg01to

yogg02(have to love NPCs who whisper abuse)

to

yogg03

I’m the sleeping white puppy at the front cuddled up with the spring rabbit (dinner). All in all, its a completely awesome fight, especially when all the pieces fall into place and people stop taking it in turns to do stupid things randomly. A slight feeling of sadness though, two weeks worth of raids and thats all the easily accessable bosses down plus one fragment thingie to summon the final one. Was hoping the new content would last slightly longer than that, but got hardmodes, alts and the tournament to play around with so won’t be getting bored just yet.

Flying Solo

We gquit this morning. I still have mixed feelings about it, but given the amount of drama, some of it loot related, I got to the stage where I dreaded reading the forums in the morning. I think part of the problem was the guild wanted to be all things to all people. Which as we all know never works, then there were all the asides during forum discussions where people never quite named who they were attacking or exactly what their issue was with, which left a faint bad taste in my mouth because at the back of my mind, I couldnt help thinking, “is that aimed at me” but even if it wasn’t and im fairly sure most of it wasn’t, I still found it dreadful because it was aimed at someone in the guild. For example three separate people have all used the “door is thataway” (paraphrased slightly due to language differences, actually more than slightly but you get the jist) line in forum posts recently and as someone who actually likes debate and discussion on the forums, I find that so hard to accept, especially in a guild which prides itself on its maturity and friendly community.

So why the mixed feelings? Well, it basically stems from the fact that I tried fairly hard with the guild. I tried to be an active member both on the forums and ingame, in short I tried to do everything right yet all we got in return was the feeling that people thought we were being the unfair ones. For example, Lylia who had being tanking a lot felt he was getting mixed signals about the speed of runs, there are the body pulling camp (mostly ex-hardcore raiders who are edging forward or doing sleep emotes) and then there are the ones who wanted to go slower, so he made a forum post asking for clarification and explaining why its frustating (hoping that both camps would discuss it and come to mutual agreement so he knew what the majority wanted) and then the thread gets a “FFS” post from a Council member which pretty much ends any ability to discuss the topic (and I’m sorry, but if you are an officer/council, you can’t turn that hat off at will, it just doesnt work like that).
Now what? Not sure, but I know I don’t want to join another guild for the forseeable future. I want to level my alts, do some pvp and possibly do some PuGs (because that way, if they annoy me or upset me I can walk without feeling anything) plus I know there won’t be any drama filled forum threads waiting for me in the morning.
On a side note, I’m sure some people will assume we quit because we are “loot-whores” or because we want hardcore raids, they are wrong. Its not about loot, its not about server firsts, we were happy with the ability to raid 2 hours a night when we felt like it. In fact most of it can be attributed to the forums, it appears the pen is indeed mightier than the [foam sword].

What raiding does to people.

I was doing my usual blog reading and I happened onto Unbearable HoT. The latest post there made me relive everything that led to me quiting my raiding guild and even the server that housed said guild.

Obviously I wasnt a tank, but I was both a founding member and an Officer for most of my time there (from raiding Karazhan to killing Illidan). Everything started out great, there werent many of us but we all enjoyed playing together, helping each other out and just chatting about stuff.

Then we progressed into 25 mans and the trouble started. Im sure anyone who has ever formed a guild will sympathise, but the weeding out of players, finding out who can avoid the fire and who is guarenteed to be dancing in it as their health ticks down was stressful. We lost good players who despite saying they understood what we were doing would only put up with so much as the 5th trial healer in row alt f4ed from a raid. Tempers on all sides got frayed, guildchat started to be full of people whining about stuff, complaining about our loot distribution and bitching about our lack of progress.

Just as everything seemed hopeless, that the naysayers on the forum were right and we were destinied to be just another Kara guild who disbanded after a few weeks, we suddently started to make progress and fast progress at that. Magtheridon died, quickly followed by most of tk and ssc and the negative stuff in guildchat died down. People started to bond, to have fun again.

Unfortunately that didnt last. We hit Lady Vashj and Kael at the same time as 2 other guilds from our server, and we hit a brick wall. People couldnt kite, people were pulling aggro on Capurnian… everything that could go wrong did and to make matters worse, our spies in the 2 other camps kept telling us how great everything was going for them. So naturally all the poisonous stuff we thought we had left behind resurfaced, people whispering plain old nasty stuff to those they felt were letting the side down, people whispering the officers every 2 seconds to complain about something.

Again stress levels rose and tempers frayed. I admit I almost lost it when one of our paladins needed me to explain in great detail what blessing of freedom was and where he could find it in his spell book. I mean, how can you get to lv 70 as a paladin on a pvp server and not know that.

Somehow, with much emoness, yelling and general hatefulness, telling ourselves it would all be ok on the flipside we struggled through those fights. We burnt out and/or kicked around 4 tanks in the process, lost the paladin who didnt know what freedom was and got ourselves some casters who could kite.

In officerchat, just after the Kael kill when all the glee had burnt itself out, we discussed how much better things were going to be now. After all, the first fights in the Black Temple and Mount Hjyal are easy right.

Our main problems were tanks, low activity from the best geared ones who had a tendancy to only show up for farm raids, not necessarily the stuff we needed them on. Our tanks were also one of the biggest causes of conflict in raidchat, they felt their status as tanks allowed them to freely critiscise the performance of everyone else and thus managed to create more drama than everyone else added together.

Then we had the lazy people, the ones who are friends with all the right people so kicking them was hard, but they consistently were late, unprepared and didnt have consumables/food buffs and in some cases repair money.

We also had some bad officers, who werent willing to lead raids, werent willing to enforce discipline and spend more time causing problems in Officerchat than they did fixing them, usually being more vocal about how we should change the loot system so it was balanced in the officers favour. Its amazing how you think you know someone, then they become an officer and it turns out you were so wrong about everything.

My other big issue was “not all guildmates are created equal”. Ive always believed in fair play, if you introduce a dkp penalty for causing stupid wipes, than that penalty applies to everyone from the GM to the trials. Those penalties should also be in the guild rules, not just produced when the 14th wipe occurs and the guy responsible is someone who most of the officers find annoying. Our Gm’s failure to see this, was always a bone of contention between us.

All this combined as we progressed through MH and BT. I felt i didnt want to log, i didnt want to raid because every single raid that didnt go perfectly turned into a rantfest. I still have nightmares about Teron, where 70 percent of the raid turned inward and almost ate each other. But on the other hand, whilst raids were made so unpleasant for me, and whilst i tried to make people stop fighting i wasnt backupped by the raidleader/guildleader who was often responsible for some of the worst incorrect blame apportioning, i was also given a guilt trip everytime i didnt log for raids. It wasnt that they couldnt kill boss X without me, it wasnt that we were short of healers, it just happened. Sure its great to be loved, but at the end of the day, this is meant to be fun, and listening to 24 people who individually I like for the most part, ripping each other up because of tiny mistakes in an online game

Raiding basically became an unpleasant, unpaid job, akin to teaching kindergarten to a bunch of hormonal teenagers.

The final straw for me basically came when the Sunwell came out. During the farm period before hand, i managed to distract myself with alts, only doing the odd raid when i was actually needed or i felt like it. But then came the patch and as one of only 2 resto shamans, i was “needed” 6 nights a week.I was actually looking forward to it, for me the best part of raiding is always the new content and to be honest i had managed to shove all the negative stuff out of my mind. Well that didnt last long, 30 minutes into the first raid in fact it all came flooding back as the namecalling resurfaced. The raidleader asking why hes “raiding and wasting his time with 24 complete and utter retards” when 1 person accidently pulled in an instance hes been in for a whole 30 minutes got us off to a good start. There was silence for a few seconds and then the angry rebuttals began, from that point onwards people were tense, spending more time whispering each other than paying attention.

I lasted a few days longer, but the writing was on the wall. I didnt enjoy it anymore, i felt i didnt know the people i had been playing with for months.I was on tenderhooks the whole time, waiting for the next row i might have to try and defuse. People told me to ignore it, play on your combat log they said, then you wont see the fact that half the guild hates the other half. But i didnt have to see it to know it, i had people whispering me to say that X was bullying them or that Y should be kicked because hes a moron.As an officer, i couldnt ignore it.

So I quit. It was hard at first, especially whilst we remained on the same server. The whispers were quite something, especially from the GM who it seemed i had personally let down, spat in the face of and other such things.

Maybe im just unlucky or i have too high a standard, but all my guild experiences have been interesting to say the least. In fact looking back, this was perhaps my most boring brush with being a raider.

The Explorer’s League

I was reading over my post on the Fire Festival and it got me thinking. Ive been complaining about all the abandoned zones and my guild have been complaining about nothing to do… So now the “Where in the World is Amaryllis and her Alts” competition was born.

The rules are simple, I post a screenshot of one of my characters somewhere in the World of Warcraft and the first person to post a screenshot of themselves in the same location wins a prize.

So far its going down well. But now Ive actually come to looking for weird and wonderful locations that will keep them guessing, its got hard. Most zones have easily recognisable textures, meaning that even if they dont know exactly where something is, they have a fairly narrow ballpark in which to search. Even some of what i thought were harder ones have taken them a mere matter of hours, not the weeks i was hoping for.

However, its serving its purpose, my guildmates have something to do and im having great fun trying to come up with sneaky locations that will at least take a day or two to solve.

How not to recruit

So im minding my own business mining on my paladin when out of the blue i receive a whisper,
“Spec”.
Out of curiousity I politely answer,
“Holy” and wait.
A few seconds later i get asked
“Plus Heal”.
“2200″
“Man you would want a more progressed guild”.

I cant say i have much faith in a guild that recruits by whoing unguilded randoms and asking them such polite and well thoughtout questions. Who knows though, maybe they will end up being our servers next Illidan slaughters.

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