Thoughts on Tail-End Expansion Raiding.
Hello, Gentle Readers and welcome back. For those of you that are not my regular readers, welcome! (Disclaimer aaaall the way at the bottom. Scroll down. Scroll waaaaay down. J )
We’re getting into that season again.
The normal and hard modes have been nerfed, the main toons have been as geared as they can be and it’s now time for the “casual debuff” to be upped as high as it can go.
It’s that dead zone between the push that hard-core raiding Guilds make at the start of every expansion (and where their gearing choices screw everyone else up – contrary to popular opinion, Stamina is NOT the best stat for Bears, no matter what that dude in that Guild is doing) and the time when everyone else finally catches up. I know the debuff is optional, but it’s a crutch that so many Guilds rely on now to see progression. It’s Blizzard’s way of “leveling the playing field” for those that don’t spend their lives raiding. Let’s be honest, though, when is enough raiding enough?
I really thought I wanted to raid more and knew my toons well enough to perform at what I thought was a reasonably competent level. I say this because I had NO idea what I was in for when I decided to spend a chunk of change and both server and faction transfer for an opportunity to raid with some theorycrafters and gamers that I look up to. Transferring servers to raid with a bunch of people I only knew over Twitter and through their blogs, while seeming like a good idea to start with was, in retrospect, not the brightest idea I’ve had.
The Guild I joined (Undying Resolution/Elune (US)) is light years ahead of the rest of my Guilds with respect to gearing and progression and it blows my mind. There was so much that I didn’t know I didn’t know. To say it was a rude awakening would be the understatement of the last decade. Going from Guilds where Raids were casual, jokey, fun experiences to a Guild where Raiding is taken as seriously as it is there was a huge wake-up call for me. These players that I transferred to Raid with are GOOD. I mean SCARY good. I mean freakishly frakking good. I mean they scare me, they’re so good. That and they’re deathly quiet in Vent until someone fucks up. It’s not what I’m used to, Raiding in silence, and it kinda freaks me out. @slowpoker aka Ponerya has been kind enough to help me tweak my gear and gemming to optimize my DPS and thank the Gods for her patience, man, and I’ve been working on the rotation but for some reason (and I’m inclined to believe it’s because I just frakking SUCK at my Destro ‘lock) I can’t touch her DPS. I mean I’m not even within a country mile of getting close to her DPS. It’s not an RNG thing, no way, I refuse to blame that, and I KNOW I’m trying, but the DPS numbers don’t show on the meters and it’s really frustrating for me and for the Guild Leaders who were kind enough to admit me in the first place. Undying Resolution has been really good to me, sparing their time to help me fix what’s broken with my play and helping me to become a slightly better warlock and I owe them a HUGE debt of gratitude for that, I just don’t want to drag them down, be the anchor, ya know? It’s unfortunate, but that’s sometimes how it plays out. There is no doubt in my mind I can take that Destro lock and be top DPS on either of my other two servers. No doubt at all, thanks to Undying Resolutions players and officers. They’ve made me a better player, no doubt, but they still scare the frak outta me…
On the other hand, there’s my other toons (Death Knight – Charlton/Scarlet Crusade, Shaman – Twofangs/Scarlet Crusade, Druid – Dreddnought/Mug’thol, Paladin – Palahitski/Mug’thol, Hunter – Ponfarr/Mug’thol, Death Knight – Kuiril/Mug’thol) and the only one getting any love is Dreddnought these days. What with seeing a new lady IRL and Saturdays designated as date nights, it means I’m letting down my Guild on Scarlet Crusade server because I’m not there to Raid with them because I’m out on dates and that’s a whole other kind of situation, because I like Raiding, but I also REALLY like my girlfriend, so guess who wins and who loses? Kind of a no-brainer. The rest of the toons languish, get paid very little attention, and there’s not a lot I can do but log onto another Tank toon.
As it currently stands, I raid 4 nights a week on Mug’thol, and try to raid 2 nights a week on Elune and one night a week on Scarlet Crusade. The nights I DO raid on Elune I raid from 8-11 and after that, thanks to an arrangement with the REALLY accommodating Guild Leaders on my other servers, I go from Raiding on Elune to Raiding on Mug’thol, swapping from DPS to Tank for a total of 6 hours worth of Raiding on Wednesdays and Thursdays. The rest of the Raiding I do is for achievements and hard modes typically on Mug’thol and those are 3 hours a night as well. There are scheduling conflicts, I ain’t gonna lie. It’s a pain in the ass when you can’t see scheduling conflicts and I have double booked myself on occasion, which sucks because then it comes down to the question of: Do I raid with the hard-core progression types and see content I haven’t seen before, or do I raid with Guildies I’ve known for almost two years? It’s when I come to crunch points like this that I wonder if it’s worth it.
Is it worth the time and effort to try to gear out toons for Raiding this late in the expansion when everyone is going for achievements and no real gear upgrades, per se, or is it more worth it to level other toons to 85 so that when Mists of Pandaria hits I’m ready to hit the ground running? I mean that’s 21 hours of Raiding a week that I try to do. That’s almost a FULL DAY of playing Warcraft, plugged in, staring at a glowing screen late into the night, getting up at 5:45AM each weekday for work (I ain’t lyin’ when I say that, people. I Raid from 8PM-2AM some nights and am up at 5:45AM the next morning, and I’m getting older, so it ain’t easy).
Should I call it quits on Raiding? I don’t know. I know I’d miss it, and I’d feel bad logging in and NOT raiding, but lately that’s all I seem to do. Log in just in time for Raids, log out shortly thereafter, go to sleep, go to work, Raid, repeat…it doesn’t seem like much of a life and here’s the kicker: I feel shitty if I try to skip out on a Raid even if I’m feeling like 10 pounds of shit in a 9 pound bag. It’s not like I owe money and Raiding is a way to work off my debt. It’s a frakking game that should be fun, but because of the schedule I have myself on, it’s becoming more like work than my work. That’s a real concern for me, because it’s crossed that line, but re-crossing it to the casual side is just not happening, not yet. Who knows? Maybe I’ll learn to throttle it back once Mists of Pandaria hits, but for some reason I doubt it. All I know how to do is muddle through. Put my head down, brace myself and keep pushing forwards until what needs to get done gets done. It’s no way to live, it really isn’t, and I KNOW better, but I just can’t break the habits.
There needs to be a therapy group for this…seriously…
Disclaimer: I am NOT a theory-crafter or number cruncher. I am NOT a professional. I am what some would call a casual player, others a dedicated player and still others (well, the non-Warcraft folk at any rate) a nerd/geek/gamer. I play the game because I, for the most part, enjoy it. If you came here thinking you’d get deep thoughts and insight into Blizzard’s game design, yeah…not happening. This blog is mainly about my thoughts on the game and my feelings (that fuzzy-wuzzy shit that some other types like to go on about) on the game and sometimes on life in general. This is a catch-all (no, not Pokémon, you idiot!) blog.