Braiiiiinnns. Also Happy New Year

Yes, I know it’s practically February. It’s hard to rush when you’re a zombie (unless you’re one of those newfangled ones). Anyway, I was away over Christmas and New Year — finally got back on my snowboard, and thankfully hadn’t completely forgotten the keyboard shortcuts and where to put the wheels.

A quick round up:

Before Christmas, work/social stuff was incredibly hectic and I didn’t make either of the two nights we raided Dragon Soul. So it was pleasing last week to finally experience some of it with real people, as opposed to the Turing test candidates in LFR. We were a bit rusty, and co-ordination problems and rogues wanting pickpockets slowed us down, so we actually only killed the first three bosses, but as the cobwebs were removed it seemed straightforward enough. I have done the first four in LFR a couple of times, and (based only on a DPS perspective) I think the difficulty levels are pretty well matched between LFR and “real” raiding — the extra co-ordination and control you have in a “proper” raid and which is lost in LFR is compensated for by the reduced difficulty. Of course it does mean that, if your group is paying attention, LFR is a touch processional, but that’s ok.

As ever, being a small guild can be tricky. Of course there’s the game-whose-name-must-not-be-mentioned turning heads and hearts, poachers (hands off our warlock!), different playstyles and goals to accommodate, the ever-present risk of a long-term player just running out of WoW-steam plus those tricky real-life issues like jobs eating into personal time and spouses accidentally leaving laptops on public transport (!). WTB reliable, fun and remunerative jobs with sensible and predictable hours for my guild (and myself) please.

Hour of Twilight
Well they listened. The 5mans seem (unless you end up in *that* group) 30 minutes-or-less-and-done affairs, there are a few fun mechanics, Illidan is campy enough that I don’t (yet) want to bludgeon him with a butter mallet and the loot tables appear balanced such that I’ll be running the damned things forever to fill out missing slots (*grumble*). Even with distinctly subpar DPS you can make it if people can move out of bad stuff. That said, I can’t decide whether it’s the change to holy paladin mechanics or the way healing works in these particular dungeons, but I am finding healing trickier. Once my shaman’s resto gear is ready, I might better be able to judge where the change lies.

I imagine that the forums are once again filled with people complaining that the new content is “faceroll” and “for the bads”, although I’ve not been to check. Certainly both the 5 mans and DS feel much more gently tuned than the Zandalaris and Firelands did at launch (with the caveat here that I’ve not done the back half of Dragon Soul, which I understandis something of a step-up in difficulty). It’s the ever-present tradeoff. During FL, only towards the end did I have more than one character I thought of as “raid ready” — Gwyddeon (bear) has tanked FL a couple of times and my DK or hunter could have filled a spot if need be (but weren’t ideally placed). The idea of running the troll instances on multiple characters really didn’t appeal that much, and it was only as I ran out of things to buy with VP on Ano that I really put effort in on the others.

Admittedly it was my first week back and I was a little like a desert wanderer at an oasis, but I’ve maxed VP on three characters so far this week and can see a number of my characters having fun in LFR in the next few weeks. The shorter run times, (apparent) relative lower difficulty and the novelty of the new means I’m quite looking forward to running the 5’s and the first half of LFR on as many characters as I can find time for. Quite a change — I wonder if that’s just me, or whether others are feeling the same way?

Another one made it to 85 — Neposlushnyj, a Enh/Resto shammygoat. I’ve not done much in the way of healing at max level yet as I prioritised gearing her enhancement set, but I’m finding enh fun, if occasionally a little strange. It’s nice to see fairly consistent DPS on singles and pairs of trashmobs (vs the RNG yoyo of retribution) but it is a little disconcerting to get to a boss fight and not have any cooldowns to press (other than wolves, which sound great but don’t appear to do all that much). AoE is great when it works, but can be a bit of a ‘mare if individuals die before I can spread flame shock with lava lash. It seems that the better the group’s DPS, the worse Nepo does at AoE :S. Otherwise she’s a lot of fun and I think I’ve finally managed to block out her silly wobbly-bum-walk. Meanwhile, other mothballed 85s are pushing their way out of semi-retirement and complaining that their mailboxes still smell :O

I like LFR as an additional thing I can do for fun and to maybe grab some loot1, but I’m not sure yet whether it’s ultimately going to be a good thing for the game as I like to play it. When people who are in relatively low-intensity guilds (like ours) who have never really cared overmuch about heroic modes kill Deathwing in the second week of the patch, I can easily see it affecting their desire to work through the same content on normal mode. It makes me wonder if WoW won’t echo the economic condition of the world in general here: the rich (hardmode/hardmode-aspirant guilds) get richer (more access to loot, set pieces etc) and the poor2 (less focused normal mode guilds) get poorer (struggle to motivate their raiders who have already seen the content on LFR and aren’t necessarily bothered about their epeens).

There have been a few departures from the blogging world recently that I’ve found… distressing. People who were funny, or amusingly bitchy, or informative, or informatively funny, or some combination thereof. New directive: from now on, if you’re going to stop blogging about wow,  please be one of the people I added to my feedreader aeons ago whose posts I barely skim. It won’t make any difference to you, but I’ll feel better.

Gah. Wordgasm — babble everywhere.

I’m off for a lie down and a post-prose cigarette. Adieu!

  1. ha ha, have you seen how many paladins and priests there are in the average LFR? []
  2. I’m not for a moment suggesting that there’s something “poor” about not being a hardmode raider. It just works for the analogy, ‘k? []

8 thoughts on “Braiiiiinnns. Also Happy New Year”

  1. The 5mans seem (unless you end up in *that* group) 30 minutes-or-less-and-done affairs […]

    This one line, or rather the fact that it’s actually considered a positive rather than a sign of deterioration is the single best indication of the divide of attitudes in gaming.

    1. See I think it *is* a positive.

      The reason being is that there are now, with the advent of LFR, several different unit-of-time options for play.

      If you’ve got a very short amount of time, you can do a couple of quests (dailies or otherwise), or maybe a little bit of PVP, or some general crafting and admin.

      If you’ve got 30 minutes or so, that’s enough time for one of the new dungeons, or to do a bunch of quests/decent chunk of PVP

      If you’ve got ~60 minutes (+/- 10) then you could take a look at LFR, or do a couple of dungeons etc etc

      If you’ve got 90 minutes+, then you’re getting into conventional raiding.

      When I think of 30 minute dungeons as part of a menu, they make a lot of sense.

  2. I will admit that I’m quite fond of the new Heroics. While the early Cataclysm dungeons were interesting, I rarely enjoyed spending an hour or more doing a single Heroic. They’re not horribly difficult (unless you’re very unlucky with your group), and yet aren’t quite the faceroll that Heroics were at the end of Wrath. I feel that they’re the perfect time for me as a player to spend in a Heroic. But that’s me of course, and everyone likes different things.

    Looking For Raid I enjoy on my alts who don’t get to do “real” raiding, and now and then (but not even every lockout) I may give it a try on my Warlock just to see if I can get my 4pc bonus a bit quicker. (Raiding with 5-6 people sharing one token in 10 man is not pretty!)

    I somehow look at the LFR experience as a glorified Heroic dungeon.. only with 20 more people ;) So far it’s not detracted from the feeling of accomplishment any time we kill bosses on normal, and the difference in difficulty is quite good. If anything LFR might provide someone with the basic understanding of a fight before doing the normal difficulty. We’ve had people join the guild and raid with us for the first time who’s only done LFR, and we then only have to explain the differences between LFR and normal.

    I can see the worry though that some players may not see the use in doing things on normal if they’ve completed everything on LFR. Fortunately I’m not one of them, and my guildies don’t seem to be either. (I hope it stays that way!)

    We’re having more issues with the whole attendancy due to people working evening shifts, and yes we did lose a few people to the game who must not be named.

    1. I know what you mean re: “glorified heroic”. I’ve a friend at work who reached max level on his first character not that long ago. I’m not sure if his guild have a regular raid team, but we were chatting today and he was saying that in LFR he’s fine, does well on the meters etc. When they’ve tried regular raiding it’s been… a bit messier, to say the least.

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