Archive for September, 2015

LFRWell, I’m back in WoW there has to be malarkey.

Is your guild friendly, respectful, cooperative and drama free? Invite me I can cure all of that. LF community, social raiding guild, over 18s only with voice chat.


For some people this message in trade chat is truly mystifying. That’s OK, it’s not for you. Some people struggled with terms: social raiding guild? What the hell is that? For others it’s the “I can cure all that”. Someone whispered me to say “Respectful is a good thing”, like friendly, cooperative and drama free weren’t. Or the guy in the conversation below, no criticism of them, they were probably a really nice guy, falling over their assumptions and unable to grasp the underlying premises…but no one said I was making it easy to recruit me. Quite the contrary.

conversationYes, I did say I was looking for a raiding guild…well more a guild that raids. That’s not just semantics, there is a very (for some too) subtle shift in emphasis. I didn’t say I wanted to raid.

“…[M]aybe sarcasm isn’t the best way to get recruited”? Or maybe it is is you’re very sarcastic, all the time, and want to be yourself and not have to pretend to be this positive, focused, task oriented guy. I have enough of those lies at work thank you.

I wanted to join a guild with some heroic progress, we’re into the expansion end game, many, many guilds have downed Archimonde on Mythic, so casual guilds are progressing nicely in Hellfire Citadel at this point. They’re always keeping an eye open for raiders. Not even good ones. So joining, not expecting a raid slot, but able to step up when the situation calls for it? That is not a big ask. I’m not hell bent on raiding. I may do some…I may pass.

There’s a more fundamental issue here too. A good raider is a good raider, is a good raider. My DPS on new progression fights is usually the highest. Why is that? It’s the same reason why I’m usually the last raider to die in many encounters and wipes. I’m more concerned with moving, doing my job, taking no damage, surviving than I am cheesing the metre. DPS does down bosses, big DPS downs bosses faster, but dead DPS contributes nothing. Most fights these days are phased: they have multiple phases. Doing amazing DPS in phase one and then dying in phase two is usually valueless. Staying alive until the final phase and laying down then – that counts. If you’re alive and putting down massive DPS in the final phase then you really are good. I’m only quite good, I understand mechanics, what is required of me (i.e. kill adds, make sure this mechanic is executed, if someone dies rez them, pop a cooldown and tank this mob for a few seconds until we can back into order) only sometimes can I get all my potential DPS down. It’s important to be realistic about your abilities and constantly strive to improve.

Loremaster of DraenorYou’ll see one person with no skill and great gear turn up week after week and not effect the outcome of fights either way. Some people with lower ilvls, or no legendary, a blue trinket or some massive gear handicap, and effect the outcome of fights for the better. Farm bosses just seem easier and progression bosses are taken closer to the edge. Gear doesn’t make a good raider, gear is an excuse for bad raiders. My DPS is second or such! No one is looking at the metre. Matey over here has a full set of LFR gear but they know that this boss ability wipes raids and neutralises it every time. That allows us to progress. You standing there nuking, honestly, especially in Warlords of Draenor, anyone can do that. You just can’t communicate that to some people. It’s like explaining to a scrub guild leader at the very start of a tier that if we’re going into this heroic raid we’ll soon have gear that renders LFR upgrades superfluous. So there is no point pressing heroic raiders to run LFR. Every little increase in ilvl does not matter.

Which is why the Flame of Anor‘s scrub Team Ruta did so “surprisingly” well. No gear, no raid leader shouting directions, no margin for error. Everyone had to know their job and do it well. No one was going to tell you to pick up or DPS that add, if it was your job you were ready, waiting and primed. If no one told you because they were busy, distracted, forgot or d/c-ed it made no difference, you were waiting for nobody to tell you you just did your job. With no raid leader, no expectations and no recriminations our well drilled, relaxed and focused raid team were excellent. Better than Team A. Heh. We could keep voice chat for what it’s designed: taking the piss out of our fellow raiders and laughter. Don’t judge: we cleared three raid tiers in one and caught up with the main raid team before the end of the tier. They only just beat us to a Ragnaros kill. Happy days, old glories!

So yeah, despite not wanting to find a tiny grow your own guild that’s exactly what I’ve done. The GM seems nice, so we’ll see. She said they were raiding on Friday so sign up if I wanted. I asked if it was OK if I didn’t and that was perfectly acceptable. I can join in with as much or as little as I want. You cannot say fairer than that. I signed up. So I will have to do some fight research and learn how to ‘lock again properly. My talents definitely need looking as and I have no clue again. A good player should be able to read that stuff and judge, but I never claimed to be good. Just committed. I don’t want to let anyone down and be the different between downing this boss and not.

AttumenAs I’m trying to farm my way to a WoW Token in a month (doing abysmally, I don’t have the focus or the knowledge to farm gold well) I am punting myself through LFR, which is always good for a giggle (a rant, rave and /ragequit). To be completely fair to Typhas-TwistingNether he was a good guy and wasn’t really saying what he said. Text, pfff…we might as well be tweeting each other in 140 characters for all the meaning we transmitted. However, “nobody wiped on Attumen” was a bold statement.

Flying is progressing…slowly. I have Loremaster of Draenor only need Securing, Treasure Master (2&3/3) and the three reps. Only. Despite the doubters and the snide remarks the LFGuild Trade message worked. I have warned them they’re in for a rough ride. I don’t know them well enough to tell them I have a blog which is a naked declaration of all my adventures and misdemeanour’s in Warcraft yet. I will though. Poor bastards don’t know what’s going to hit ’em. All he says causes scandal, I’ve heard it said that he’s the original of the vandal, He steals your words, Clears our mind…

fallingI admit it! I crumbled, I missed a game so I stated playing it again. I broke down and re-subbed to World of Warcraft. I put my hand in my pocket and coughed up for one months play time. Despite my misgivings about Blizzard and the WoW Token I’m going to see if I can scrape together 50, 000+ gold for next month. If I can’t I’m torn on how to proceed.

3GSIWH9KL5XZ1345233212615Draenor still is what it is. However, I have purpose and objectives that are entirely outside of my garrison. I’m enjoying playing again, I started off with no intention of re-subbing. Levelling my ultra low levels and I rolled a new warrior because I missed charging and hitting things with a huge two hander. This however was utterly unsatisfactory as I discovered I could not use the auction house or pet battle! Questing is all very well but when you can only toss in fishing and random mining nodes it can get old really quickly. I blame Qelric for running Timewalker dungeons and reminding me of the joy of 5 mans. I hatched the plan when I saw that completing Draenor Pathfinder to get flying would give me quite a lot of content to work on, plus I could level and farm all my chars to 100 ready for Legion and added to that the gold farming meta challenge of 50, 000 a month (alleged to be really easy). Plenty to do and justify the tenner this month has cost me.

garrison-horde-shipyardsPoor Fleety is too busy turning over garrison missions for gold to be heroic leaping and charging around the map questing (yet). Sakkara, my priest, is too squishy to clear out Firelands and the other Cata raids for phat lewts, so Fleety may get ago this week, Eowyn and Bethan are going to need to be at least 95 too. Then there is the newbie warrior and warlock for giggles. I also need to find a big social Horde guild on a high population server, because the little family sized guilds on low pop servers are not rocking my boat any more.

228cb7585c8fe233a3103377e2e488b3Have chars and Mumble server, will travel and find new (let’s call them) “friends” (even though I mean shallow internet acquaintances with weak bonds). Just socialising, chatting shit in /g or on mumble needs to make a comeback. My friends are too few and live too far away to see more than a handful of times a year (wait, can you hear violins?) so having some other gamer dofusses to talk to would be good in lieu of real friends (that was definitely violins that time!)

So there won’t be too much Draenor bashing (I can’t say the odd moan won’t creep in) but I will report on how I’m making my own game. There’ll be ranting about proper in game nonsense and screenshots that show how stooopid most of humanity seems to be and also fail to show me in a good light (yes, I do have one already and I’ve only been back for…what is it…five days). So count the days to 7.1 with me ladies, because I know perfectly well that I swore not to get sucked in again.

123593To be fair I haven’t been. Though I am rather cross with myself for, in my small way, bolstering Blizzard‘s subscription numbers. I love your game which is why I was so angry and bitterly disappointed in Draenor! So I am also disappointed with myself for just wanting to play some more of a title that has had me hooked for ten years. I’m in good company though right? I know Draenor is not perfect and that I need to work hard to find engaging activities that can hold my attention. Maybe that’s the true legacy of Draenor, making the die hard find their own game again. Perhaps I just need to get out my Tuscar epic rod and find my fishing mojo again. Perhaps it is long passed time, for someone who claims to love fishing (and does have multiple Sewer Rats), to fish up the turtle mount.


Wall of text: live with it.

Social media can be very hard when it isn’t simply a marketing channel. I follow interesting people. Sometimes they say, publicly, interesting things. Sometimes I respond and my remarks can be seen publicly. Two things arise from this.

Firstly, As the original opinion is voiced in a public space, I assume it’s OK for me to answer. I’d be embarrassed expressing an opinion on someone else’s private conversation without any knowledge of context.

Secondly, I am simply expressing an opinion or making a statement, as abstracted from context as the opinion or statement I’m responding to. A lot of social media is just that. I know some people do that to get attention and have the people they follow, celerities or whoever, respond to them. I have strong opinions and principles, I often express them boldly, this is who I am. I don’t want attention, I don’t want to get noticed.

Sometimes it is nice when the world notices you, but that is not why I exist, or what I’m here for. If I get noticed it will just be me, being me.

From time to time you come across people who seem as buffeted by this world as I, and many others, have been. I feel sympathy and compassion. I know from personal experience that if someone, who knows nothing about your past, or what you’re going through now expresses compassion and concern that is valuable. I may not show it a great, in fact I know I show it very little, because I trust a mere handful of you, handful is generous. However, I do feel compassion for anyone in distress, even people I do not like.

If I feel someone is in pain or distress, without know what the problem is, I want to help. I also realise, especially if the person is physically and emotionally distant from me, there is nothing I can do most of the time. It’s not about me, I do not want to be involved. I do just want to reach out, for what that is worth, and say I don’t judge, I feel compassion, you have my support. That is all I have but I offer it freely.

Freely, without obligation. I don’t want your thanks. I don’t want to open up a channel of communication. My sympathy and compassion is not a chisel to wedge a line into your life. I do know there are people who do this. I am not one of those. I’m wary of reading to much in any relationship form in any content, let alone online. I met up with guild members in real life and thought that I’d brought the relationship out of the game and into rela too. I was very wrong. I’m not going to have someone respond to a social media post and believe we’re mate.

I don’t know what I think about being asked to allow someone space in social media content. Have you ever wanted to unfollow some for their sake? So that you didn’t make them feel uncomfortable that you saw their status update and were tempted to respond? Have you ever been so confused, knowing it’s not about you, none of this is about you, but in however small a way you might be part of the problem. Have you ever felt symptomatic of everything that is wrong. I want argue with some people but just that act of trying to engage is to elevate my importance and to be another self obsessed ass.

I think that in this content there are two types of people in this world. The “What’s wrong with you?” camp. Actually they ask but they don’t care, if you did tell them they’d probably shrug and offer you some trite advice you didn’t want or ask for. Then there’s the “What’s wrong, have I done anything…?” camp that I’m in. I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed I continual blunder around treading on people feelings. I do care and prefer not to and if I see someone in pain I don’t think it’s a bad thing to reflect on my own words and behaviour and at least ask myself “Did I do that, have I played a part?” That’s not being self centred and self obsessed it’s being self reflective and understand you have an effect on those around you that isn’t always good.

As I’ve noted before it isn’t always my fault. Sometimes it is unquestionably, but not always. Sometimes concern, compassion and sympathy is what it is and not a tool, a device, a way in. I do like helping people if I can, I don’t want anything. If I do it’s to feel that personal satisfaction of being altruistic. Of course that isn’t true altruism, of course that doesn’t really exist. I’m human, but unlike many my rewards are the rewards of doing good and right and feeling I may have offset, in however small a way, all the bad stuff I’ve done.

It’s reasonable to be suspicious of a complete stranger reaching out with help. However, sometimes it is effectively altruistic. They don’t want anything from you. There are getting something out of it but it’s truly personal and psychologically. Some of us simply can’t avert our eyes and walk on the other side of the road. We have to cross over if we have to and at least offer to help. Even if my only motivation for wanting to help you was to feel a little better about myself is that really something to condemn me for. I don;t want anything from you other than you let me do anything I can. Even if that’s just express my sympathy and support. However, I know it’s not about me, I know sometimes all I can do is nothing and I just have to live with that. It isn’t about me.

Then I write a discretion on my blog and it is all about me. I’m not really talking about you though now am I? No, I’m talking about me and how I meditate and navigate this world, or try and fail. I you came here expecting to read about yourself and wonder what you’re supposed to do with this then answer is as obvious to you as it is to me. This isn’t about you, it;s about me. If everyone else has needs, expectations and motives that can be misunderstood so can I.

On Twitter recently I’ve been amused and musing at how people follow you and very quickly stop. I opined that perhaps it could be post a tweet on one subject gets you a follow and tweeting on any subject losses them immediately after. Perhaps we all need one account or ID to consolidate all the subjects we’re interested in and one account to tweet about all those things. Then instead of 40 followers I’d have 1200 maybe, 40 people following each of the ten accounts I’d tweet from.

Talking at someone, even if they occasionally do respond is not a relationship. It’s not even a dialogue. It certainly isn’t a friendship. This is relevant to this blog as it’s relevant within the social spaces of World of Warcraft as with any online social media space. I may have fallen in the trap of assuming that on line friends are friends (twice if you’ve read this blog). However, you do not need to remind me when I respond to your tweet that I am sitting in empty room on my own.

I don’t really like the Verve…and yes, I don’t think the meds are balanced yet.

And now I’m trying to tell you
About my life and my tongue is twisted
And more dead than alive and my feelings
They’ve always been betrayed
And I was born a little damaged man
And look what they made

flyingSomething is rotten at the heart in the state of BlizzardActivision. Greg Street, Ghostcrawler, a talented developer and superb communicator has gone and left a sizeable vacuum. It’s not as if I can’t understand Blizzard‘s frustration with it’s own community. You need only look to the recent irrational and, indeed, rabid response to the post from Lore, Josh Allen, about flying. It was a really good post about the challenges the devs faced putting flying into the game and the reasons for the delay. He said that the entire team was confident of finally getting it delivered for the predicted September 1st date, but if they encountered a major show-stopping bug then it’s possible there could be another delay.

screaming-kidThe savagery of the community reaction to Lore‘s post was absurd. However, given the history Blizzard has with it’s communications it not wholly surprising. Not that long ago someone thought it would be a good idea to casually announce ‘no flying in Draenor, no more flying ever’ as they left on a Friday night before a holiday weekend, almost as if they were turning off the lights, locking the office, sending the tweet.

I can almost imagine Lore and other community managers messaging each other things like: “OMG What did Chilton say in that interview?”; “Hazzikostas tried to pull it back but we’re in hot water again”; “Holinka tweeted again…I’ll look at it on Monday. I imagine social media is on fire again.” It doesn’t help anyone when your lead PvP developer, Jonathan Holinka, seems to the community to have two default tweet positions: “yeah whatever”; and: “there’s no pleasing you feckers.”

wow-merc-epl-716This is not the Blizzard I remember. Is Holinka simply being obtuse? Racials in PvP are so unbalanced most of the hardcore PvPers have re-rolled Alliance which has caused two interconnected problems. First queue times for battlegrounds have ballooned to unacceptable levels (up to four hours) and when you do finally get into one Horde are so disadvantaged (all the committed PvPers now being Alliance) that your chances of winning as Horde are crazy low. Blizzard’s response? Shorten queue times by re-balancing racials to give hardcore PvPers a realistic option to play either faction and win? No, simply allow Alliance players to queue as Horde so you can enter a battleground quicker. This is a perfect example of treating the symptom and not the cause.

Prelim_Warlords_of_Draenor_mapTo make matters worse there seems to be a desire within Blizzard to be opaque, obfuscate and hide what is actually going on. The community, quite understandably, has many questions that Blizzard are simply ignoring or wantonly not even acknowledging they’re aware of. It is widely accepted by many that they’ve given up on the Warlords of Draenor expansion and want to get it out of way and focus all their development efforts on the next expansion, Legion. Blizzard have never said as much and arguably they’re afraid to come right out and say that of a expansion that initially cost more and has seen a hike in subscription fees (in Europe anyway).

warlords-of-draenor-ss0021-fullAlternatively, Warlords of Draenor is exactly as Blizzard designed and intended. They don’t want to admit publicly, but less development, less content patch support during the expansion’s life cycle is the new World of Warcraft model. Blizzard didn’t intend to support the expansion in the way they have hitherto. Major content patches of the nature and size of previous expansions were never intended. Or perhaps something in the development process went terribly wrong leading to content being scrapped (Farahlon; the Ogre Continent; faction capitals) and not making it to the game. Or content couldn’t be made to work in the way it was intended (garrisons).

Flying was never intended for Draenor it is simply a sop to the community. It’s merely in lieu of new content, there are a few new treasures and rare items placed in areas only accessible by flying. It’s hardly major new content. What does this really mean and what are the implications for the next expansion?

schattenmondtal-18This is why what Blizzard intended to deliver and what their attitude is now towards Warlords of Draenor is important. This will truly predict what we can expect from Legion. Which is why Blizzard are playing their hand close to their chest. If they let us know and we don’t like it more people will leave without even giving Blizzard‘s new model and plan for World of Warcraft a chance. The decline in the popularity of MMOs in general and the shrinking of subscribers in World of Warcraft in particular could be forcing Blizzard‘s hand. They can as I argue in earlier posts wind up the franchise in favour of gaming models with a larger investment : return ratio. Or they can adapted and convert World of Warcraft into a radically different form.

What is certain is that Blizzard aren’t talking. They aren’t telling us how they plan to develop their MMO and how they plan to change that genre going forward. They’ve announced another expansion, but are there any after it? They announced another class, with two specs, but what other content can we reasonably expect? We’ve been told that we might get Class Orders but will we get one, two or four major content patches and if so, how much content will they actually contain relative to previous expansions?


How Blizzard communicates with it’s gamers surely has to change. Not simply how they talk to us and who becomes the spokespersons, but what they tell us and how honest they’re going to be. Blizzard can give us the truth about their plans about the future or they can just respond to community hysteria and give us flying hoping we’ll all go away happy for a while.

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