Fin

This is the final entry in this blog.  @Marathal is no more, and won’t be back.  I did not think all that I had said in the previous posting was controversial, but apparently touched a nerve on a lot of people.  I never intended it to create the fight it did between people.  But in the end I saw what some people truly felt once I had deactivated the account.  I still do have a personal Twitter, and I have a few people that I know and respect on there.

FIN_finale_ny

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No, it is not all right

Something happened last night.  Millions of players made a last ditch effort to get the ahead of the curve achievement for killing normal Garrosh and to get the mount.  I am certain many did get it, either they were in a guild group and got it finally after a year, or they had an opportunity to get in with a friend, or they used Open Raid or the in game group finder to find a pick up group, or they paid upwards of 50,000 gold or more to get it.  Many did get it, but many more did not.  And that is not right.  There are people that have been working on Siege for almost a year that have been there every week, slowly downing the bosses first in LFR, then Flex and then Normal.  They are the players worthy of having the title and achievement.  I am not saying that those that got it sooner deserve it less, or that you should get it because you logged in one the 3rd Monday of a certain month.  I am saying that many did put in the work, many did try their best week after week, and in the end they did not get it.  Could they have farmed the AH for months and just paid a group to carry them?  Certainly, but does that make the mount more special to those that have had it for months?  It is a collection of pixels that many wont even use after a time.

I was fortunate, I had a friend invite me to a group several weeks in a row and I got mine a month ago, but I do not feel right wearing the title or using the mount, so later today, to show support of those that worked so hard but did not finally get it, I will be taking off the title, and taking the mount off my action bar, never to be used again.  I do not think it is right or fair to all those that worked so hard.

If you want to keep pushing people to move forward, sometimes you have to give them a reason to want to go back.

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Is the Beta revealing too much.

A comment was made in reference to new players starting to play WoW and that if the information was not easily available in the game it was bad design. Or something to that effect.

And it got me wondering. Are we finding out too much about what is coming from those fortunate enough to get an invite that also produce the guides that we gravitate to for hidden secrets or tips about what we are supposed to do. When I started, about all I knew was how to look up quests from 6 months of doing so for my wife as she leveled her first character. It was all unknown and it took time to figure out.

Now we have a fairly good grasp on not only what changes may come to the way we play our class but we have folks that have plotted out the fastest route to complete all of the quests, people that have done research on rare creatures in the world, and I am sure there are videos spelling out exactly what we need to do in not only the dungeons but also the initial raids.

There is no exploring the unknown any more. By the time the expansion launches anyone with a general idea how to look for the information will know where to go, who has published guides for what features, what locations we need to look for quest items. And it is actually a bit disheartening that so much of the first 6 months we will play is already known. So I am backing away from looking at things and talking about it. I am going in with what little knowledge I got when I spent an hour on the PTR which in hindsight is now kind of a let down because I am just going to breeze through it with thousands of others.

Maybe it is time for a hard look at how the beta is handled.

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Shadow Priests, are we that hard to figure out how to fix?

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That pretty welled summed up the Wrath Shadow Priest.  A fairly decent DPS class, that could in a pinch toss out some heals to save the day, and go right back to melting a bosses face.  We kept the healers mana capped off, and we were fun to play.  Things change and we cannot keep absolutely the same or the class becomes boring and stagnant.  I get it.  In Cataclysm, some things were adjusted, mana became more of a one shot big burst return we could hit to top off healers and ourselves, we even had a decent 8 minute cool down health topper.  In Mists things were adjusted a pinch, some healing was redirected into up front damage dealing spells in our level 90 talent choices.  But many cried foul, that we were falling behind in DPS ranks.  I are a DPS class, why should I fall behind the Mage or Warlock, I am getting benched for “Pure” classes, get rid of the hybrid tax.

I call bull shite. Maybe if you are playing at that extreme high level where a difference in 1k DPS means one person is chosen over another, but for the majority of those that play, we had a spot if we wanted, because while we may not have been the top 3, we certainly were competitive, and that little extra healing we brought to the table made the difference in choosing to 3 heal or 2.  We are a Utility class, a jack of all trades, we have a high survivability rate, a class easy to play, but difficult to master.

Now looking ahead they have stripped more healing away, made it more DPS, because I guess they think we want to be that.  Perhaps to the very vocal minority that plays to the top levels the desire is there.  But for me it is becoming a tipping point, where the Core purpose of playing Shadow is being stripped away expansion after expansion, to where the phrase,

Warlocks? Drain life, Shadow priests? Re-roll Warlock, see previous.

If I wanted to play a full on DPS class I would play a Warlock.  And if anything Blizzard should look at the data for how popular they are to play, because the numbers have been there in such a way that those people playing multiple characters have jumped ship and gone to them, because they can be higher on a meter.  I am not one of them.  I picked a class to play over 5 years ago, when I neared level 75 started playing Shadow, and have never looked back.  5 years of devoting myself to one primary character, because I loved the utility, loved the feel to the class.  But now it feels different, something is missing.  Yes I only spent a short time in the PTR, yes I realize that the way I am now will be different in a few months after getting gear appropriate to the class design goals.

But, what if the gear does not come.  What if the new design feels clunky and not fluid like it has been all these years for me, and it takes me much longer than others to keep up.  What then.  Do I ask people every day would you mind carrying me along for your Heroic Dungeon run?  Do I just focus on building my Garrison to allow my army of followers play the game for me?  That is not me.  I have always worked hard for every piece of gear, for every quest I have done, every achievement I have gotten, I have never asked to be carried through content.  And that is it in a nutshell.  If I am not able to be the person that can help, and instead is the one that needs help, then that is the tipping point for me.

The majority of my enjoyment in playing comes from being able to help people, not just give them things but to answer questions, to be able to jump in on a fight and help them past a hurdle.  I know this may be misconstrued, but I want Marathal to be a hero, I want him to be the best he can be, to be able to charge into a fight on his shadowy horse to help save the day.  And right now, I do not think he will be able to.  And that has me concerned.  Because for me there is no other level 90 to switch to, no other class I love as much as I do, and even my other Shadow Priests do not compare to him.  He is who I am, and it feels like they are stripping away the core of who he is to make him something completely different.

The patch will give me a few weeks to decide.  And I hope that the decision is easy to make.  The people keep me here in game because I can help them at times, in my own way, but if that is gone, then I fear so may be I too.

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where I try to decide what to do about Warlords

still more than a month away from the expansion and it would seem about 11 days from now the long anticipated patch 6.02 we have been desperately wanting.  I still don’t know what to do about Warlords, initially it seemed like just having 2 at max level would be fine for running a Garrison, where I could still play my one main and just have Alt #1 hang out and send guys out on missions.  Now it seems to be leading towards having many, and I do not know how I feel about this.  We all saw the fallout in Mists with having things for people to do on all of their toons, they did all of the rep dailies multiple times, they had armies logged in at Halfhill farming everyday. Yes there was always the Caveat “you don’t HAVE to do it on all of your characters” but do it people did.  I know people with 14 max levels, and by the time Warlords is complete I am sure they will have many more.  Myself?  I have actually deleted a few.  I do not play them, they are not even bank toons, so why even have them.  I am a 1 character player, I am sure I am not alone.

I have held off doing research on the expansion, and I am now getting a bad feeling that those people that have been in beta for 5 months now experiencing it all, will be right out the gate quickly breezing through zones and content all in a race to 100.  And I don’t know if I want to do that again.  I did it in Cata, I did it for MoP, and I find myself wondering why.  Why rush through every zone pushing forward to get things established, get those crafting patterns, unlock those daily quest hubs, go go go.  I see people just hitting 90 on their first, people just getting in to Pandaria, even people with characters that have yet to hit 85.  Why should the race to win and be first be the driving force behind the game, why can’t the experience of playing at your own speed be more enjoyable.

I don’t honestly know.  I will probably order our first expansion this weekend for one of our accounts.  Mine will be in a few weeks.  There is no rush for me, I really don’t need another level 90.

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Fooling myself.

quote-about-if-you-expect-the-world-to-be-fair-with-you-because-youre-fair-youre-fooling-yourself

Maybe that is the truth.

I have always liked talking about WoW.  Liked talking about my class, my guild, our server, the game in general.  Finding thousands of like minded souls on Twitter and Facebook was wonderful to me.  If I could, I would probably follow 10,000 people on Twitter, it does not matter to me if they follow me back or not.  I initially took all of Twitters suggestions on who to follow, and probably should have been more selective in who I did or did not.

I use to think that maybe, possibly, some of how I saw the game, how it was for me, would somehow find it’s way into the hallowed halls of Blizzard and that possibly someone would actually listen and perhaps think for a moment, “Wow, never looked at it that way”.  I have always tried my best to say that we all do not play the game in the same manner.  And maybe I was fooling myself.  It does not matter if I am having trouble playing, It does not matter if those I play with are struggling, all that matter is that there are people that play the game in the manner it is designed, be it 50%, 20%, 10% or even the 1%.  As long as some play it the way it is developed and the rest pay their monthly sub, then carry on.

It is not the same game I played when I started 5 years ago.  These are not the same people I played with 5 years ago.  Perhaps I am as guilty as those that call for a return to the old ways, in my desire to be able to do more.  I would love to have a $100,000 car or a Million dollar home, but I can’t.  So why should I feel that because I purchased a game and pay a monthly subscription that I should be allowed to do all parts of it.  A valid point was made, I should not be entitled to the same rewards as those that work at the toughest content.  And I somewhat agree, I should not be given, special mounts, or special titles, or special looking gear for not doing the content.  Those people are there many times a week for months on end working at it, and deserve to have all they have worked for.  And Blizzard is acknowledging that work by removing special mounts at a point, regardless if you have been working for a year to down a boss, which does not feel right somehow, if you have not done it by a certain time, you are out of luck.  And I am not really ok with that.

For me now, it is not about doing raids over and over for months on end to hope RNG shines favorably on me to grant me an upgrade to the gear I wear to move on to the next fight, the next higher level of difficulty, the next tier.  It has been about doing the fights with friends and downing internet dragons together.  In the past I would run dungeons and LFR over and over for months to collect enough Valor to buy a piece of gear so that I could jump in and feel like I was contributing to the group.  I think I have been fooling myself into believing that how I had shaped how I play to fit into the end game, was another way to play.  It occurs to me now that I am wrong.  Maybe it should be an

Exclusive Club

When they introduced LFR it opened up the possibility that I could raid more, I learned the fights and got some upgrades to bridge the gap and did some of the first raids on normal, and when I got stuck went back and learned more, got more Valor to buy more upgrades, and managed to complete the final tier with the guild by the end.  It felt right.  The first Tier of Mists I did the same, except that the next tier was released before we could finish, then the next raids, always rushing to keep up.  By the time Siege came out, I was burned out from the chase, and all of the new time sinks to get geared up through alternative means, Thunder Island, Timeless Isle.  The Legendary Cloak.  Getting back on that horse one more time to get into the fight was just not in me.  So for almost a year now, I head out to Timeless Isle, run up to Ordos, put myself in the group finder and cross my fingers. This Tuesday will be my 50th kill.  I have pretty much every possible drop off him, some I have gotten many times, by all accounts with what I am wearing I should be running heroic raids.  But I just can’t any more.

I gear myself up so that I can be powerful in the world.  If all I was ever able to acquire was green gear from questing, I would eventually give up and move on to another game.  WoW has done a great job in finding ways for people to get what they need to do more in the game, but when it comes to a point where you need to do the more first,

put-the-cart-before-the-horse

Put the gear drops needed to do the raid in front of the raid, then you will have more people actually willing to try, and for those at the highest level await the titles, and special mounts and other rewards.  Gear should not be a reward but a tool to achieve a reward.  So I am going to stop fooling myself into believing that anything I say or wish will bring about change.  And if I someday find myself at a point where I have nothing else to work on, then that will be the day I fill out my exit survey and fade to black.

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A reply to Anne Stickney

Rather than try to figure how to consolidate a reply into 140 characters, I thought this would be simpler.

There was a time that I would not mind running raid content over and over to learn the fights, and hope that some piece of gear would drop that I could use to help me do better in the raid, to learn a fight to down a boss, an endless cycle of gear up, kill things over and over a dozen or more times, rinse, repeat for the next tier.  I no longer have the time to spend focused on that one part of the game, I enjoy trying everything out, there is plenty to do, and the time commitment to do even a tenth of the content is enormous now.  They gave us a ton of things to work on in Mists, thinking that we would tackle things in our own time, unfortunately we hit everything at a full head of speed and this last year when we could have been working on things like the Tillers, or Nat Pagle.  But they made an error locking ways for us to upgrade our gear behind the reputations we needed.

Your question/answer, why do we need gear if we do not raid.  It is an, I don’t want to say argument, but more of a statement, that I have heard over and over for years.  We want the better gear because we want to be powerful, we want to be able to pull large groups and feel like a god.  I had mentioned to you that I gear up to raid, I do not raid to get gear.  ANd that’s true.  When I had the time and desire to work at fights for weeks on end, the gear was not all that important, because just through repetition you learned the fights, learned when to move, when to interrupt things, getting a piece of gear meant that the next time you fought this boss it would be a bit easier, and if you wanted to go back to a raid a tier prior it was easier to beat a fight that may have had you stumped.  I am an average player.  I work very hard at getting every upgrade I have ever gotten, it is a reward for me, and gives me an opportunity to sometimes step into a raid group, and not feel like I am causing it to fail because I have not done it 50+ times.

Many people I read every day say, Challenge mode gold is stupid easy, Proving grounds Silver+ is simple enough that a 5 year old could do it.  I have never gotten either, never finished one challenge mode at any level.  Because I am not the kind of player those parts of the game were designed for.  If I can do something I will, if I cannot, I go back and work on improving my gear to a point that I can defeat it.  The design of PG and CM’s is more skill over gear, and for me it makes it more difficult than I wish to even attempt, because if doing something for an hour or more makes me angry enough to just want to log out and not play, then that is a problem for me. So I just stay away from them.  If Warlords is more content appropriate for what the development team feels is the right level of difficulty then I will be doing less than I am now.  It comes down to what value does my time in game have.  Am I getting my $15 a month.  Being able to run out by myself to Timeless Isle for the weekly, or grouping up with someone in guild just hitting level 90 and destroying mobs of frogs, or getting them rep for the Emperor quickly because I have become a powerful character in game, has value beyond the content.  Being able to run over to help someone out having trouble, being able to go back to Black Temple to help 2 people get the achievement because they do not know their way around, going into ICC 25 heroic with 3 people and getting the crazy achievements we would never had tried back in the day, it all has value to myself and many others.

Part of the good design for World of Warcraft has been alternative means to become powerful, if we all had just blue gear from quests and dungeons until we raided then I think many would just stop playing, it may be fine for a period of time leveling to have to work hard to down a mob, but eventually, we want to be able to just breeze through what is in our way to get to where we want to go.  We want to be able to walk up and strike down that creature and anything with it in short order.

I don’t know if any of this makes any sense, just the ramblings of one average casual player that tries to do the best he can in “All” of the game.

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