Thoughts on not needing a Garrison

Way back when, it was said that you will not “Need” a Garrison to raid, you did not “Have to” have a Garrison.  And on the surface that is entirely correct. I have 3 characters in Draenor at various stages.

Marathal my main has bee through all of the leveling quests and zones and has a level 3 Garrison. It takes me around 20 minutes a day to tackle all of the gathering, follower missions, and profession business.

Darkmarathal is now level 93 almost 94.  I took him out to do just the minimum amount of questing to unlock the level 2 Garrison and profession buildings, especially since I had hundreds of herbs for him.  He is slowly leveling by means of the Mine and XP from follower missions when available, I also only take him out to Darkmoon fair once a month for the few quests that offer XP.

Bullgoesmeow is my level 90 DK, he completed everything up until the point you start the Garrison, and walked away.  It will be awhile before I get around to him, I have not figured out what to do yet.  I do see I can get some quests done, but finding them without guidance from the Garrison hub is a bit difficult.

I do see where it is entirely possible to play the expansion without, I can see that a more focused progression raider would really have not much need to have a Garrison, but I do believe that considering all we have learned so far, and the information on what is coming, you do really need to have one, “If” you want things to do.  Yes there is questing and running Dungeons and Raiding that you can  do without one.  You can quest out all of the zones, you can run bonus objectives, could work on rep with factions.  But there is a great deal of story line locked away behind the Garrison wall.

I wont say I 100% disagree with the statement made so long ago about them, but I do sense it was a bit misleading given how much focus has been placed on them.  In for a penny, in for a pound as the saying goes.  They are gambling on a feature, and I feel it is not going to pay off in the way they are hoping.  I just hope that any damage caused by it is not irreparable.

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Rambling Thoughts Tin Foil Cat edition

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What if Garrosh escaping to an alternate Draenor, was not an alternate timeline at all, what if a Singularity was created instead, and what we are seeing is the Singularity collapsing upon itself with the Garrison as the primary focal point.  As the expansion continues more and more of the denizens of this alternate universe either move in towards the Garrison or cease to exist.  Soon all of the World bosses will be there, soon we will not have to worry about travel to other areas, it will all collapse onto the Garrison.  We will become the focal point of the Singularity until we reach a point where it collapses upon itself.

When it was created by Garrosh his desire and will shaped everything, in killing him Thrall has started to unravel the framework that held it all together.  At some point we will have to escape or be forever lost.

All of this is shear speculation and not based on any lore or scientific fact, and strictly for amusement purposes only.

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If you make it accessible they will……….

Still complain about everything.

No matter what they do to the game, there will always be a person or group of people that takes exception to the change.  Not enough, to much, to easy, to hard, to grindy, not grindy enough.

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Some things they get right and all agree it is a good change, most of the time, however there are opinions all over,  Some want this, others that, and in an effort to make as much accessible to to everyone they either adjust, change completely, or create new ways to get as many people in to what ever as possible.

I had a list of examples, but I think we have an idea what I mean.  They have catered to us for at least 2 1/2 expansions that I can come up with examples for.  Is it any wonder considering that most of the player base has played for less than 6 years that the majority only knows a history of wanting something and getting it?

I think possibly that the design philosophy of making something as accessible as possibly is fine on the surface.  But look at the reality of say raiding;

If you want your Abrogator Stones you run LFR.  LFR also has eliminated the need to run Heroic Dungeons completely unless you want a goodie bag and some gold.

Then we have Normal raids, a step up from LFR.  Many that run Normal look down upon those running LFR.

The same can be said for Heroic, and Mythic, each subset looking down upon the other.   I do wonder if creating more and more versions of things, aside from being a headache to design, is splintering people further into their own groups all in the name of being able to say “Look!!!  See!!  Look at all the people raiding!!!”

It use to take a lot of time to get to the end.  When I started many were already at 80 and into the first raids.  It did not matter to me, I plugged away and learned my class, and enjoyed all there was to see.  I went at my own speed and had fun.  When Cata came out, I got caught up in the rush to cap, do everything as fast as it comes out, didn’t finish? Move to the next, and again in Mists.  Except in Mists it was not long in that I stopped.  There was just too much to do, people were going faster than I could, and it occurred to me that I was missing a lot.

So I tried a new approach for Warlords, yes I would get to cap and complete the zones in my own time, and it went very quickly.  But now I am looking to work on things out in the world and I cannot find them.  Ok, so I have these bases I made, perhaps there are quests there, hmmm, no, well maybe there are hubs for rep daily quests, ummm no?  Ok these bonus zones do offer rep, I can kill many many creatures, reminding me of working on Booty Bay rep.

No, in an effort to make things simpler and more accessible to everyone it is all lumped in to the Garrison, you never need to leave, you can do a great deal just sitting there.  Oh occasionally you will get a quest or a mission to go outside, but there is no reason to really, once you have access to LFR you don’t really need Dungeons, if you have Gladiator building you can get full PvP gear for spending an hour in Ashran.  The switch was thrown to far in the other direction.  What use to take time and some commitment, now is handed to you, and it is just making for a situation where we will only want more faster and simpler.  Is it any wonder many still clamor for flying?  Ghostcrawler once said to paraphrase, never underestimate a players desire to do the least amount of work for the greatest reward.

I honestly don’t know what the answer is to the problem I perceive, but catering to our every desire in an effort to get us all to experience a certain part of the game is flawed.  It pushes people that probably don’t even want to be there into doing activities they dislike.  And complain they will.

Maybe not being able to do everything is not such a bad thing, as long as you don’t keep dangling carrots in an effort to encourage people to do it.  Or by placing time limits on things making people feel like a lesser player because they could not achieve it in time.

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Real life

One overwhelming factor in our gaming lives is that Real Life happens.  Regardless of our age, things happen to all of us and those we play with every day.  Friends lose jobs, they may lose family members, they may even become overwhelmed with the whole scope of what is required to do just to play every day.  As we age, more and more, real life issues come up in our lives.

Yesterday I heard that someone I know on our server had lost a family member, he is one of the rare people you wished there were more of that played WoW, someone that was always out in front raiding with the best, a GM of a guild almost as old as WoW, and yet he never looked down on people, was always willing to sit and talk to anyone about problems they may have been having, even jumped in and helped our guild out one evening on normal content that we needed a tank for, even though he was well beyond Normal level difficulty and well into Heroics, he was patient, and understanding, and explained things in a manner that made a lot of sense, he was always one to tell you that you not to worry about having a bad night, you were doing good.  He did not care that we wiped many times, he understood that everyone needs to learn and find what works for them.  I do not know all of the specifics on other issues that were happening in their guild, but he stepped down as GM.  The #1 Horde raiding guild on our server has now stopped, and is a social guild, and I can understand completely, there are times in our lives when we look at our gaming hobby and all that is going on around us and just need to put it aside.  I know to well the pressures of running a large guild, there are many times every week where I want to step away from it all.

Furn, you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers, I wish there were more words to express condolences to you.  You are one of the great ones.  You will be missed.

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Mentors

Partially a longer reply to @alternativechats blog post on Guides and part separate post for me.

Mentors.

Like many I picked the Priest class as my first. My wife had her Warrior, she had friends in her guild with a Hunter, and a Paladin. And they needed a healer. From years of D&D my first thought was Priest.

I did ok. We all died a lot running dungeons that were level appropriate to them as level 60-70 and me only around 30. We 4 manned content made for 5. We didn’t know. It was content we wanted to do so we just went and did it.

Eventually they were level 80 and I was a world away from there so I started doing things on my own. Yes I soloed dungeons 10 levels below me in Holy spec. I have the “Did somebody order a knuckle sandwich” because I would beat on things with my fists, not even thinking i had a staff.

Did I mention we didn’t know anything?

Around level 70 or so I started reading WoW Insider and found the priest class column. Specifically I found this great writer Fox Van Allen who wrote the Shadow Priest column. It was like a light exploded in my head. Here was the information I needed. It was all so clear now. It all made sense. Because of the way he wrote about things, adding a bit of humor, and talked about the class with feeling set me on a path to being a decent player. I grasped it all, I made some mistakes along the way, cough, Talisman of Resurgence gear score, cough. But his weekly column was what drew me to the class, and gave me the confidence to try more, to be better.

I also found Kilee on Shadowpriest.coms guide. He was another great person. He did not just tell you, do this, this, and this in this order, he took the time to elaborate why he felt things worked a certain way. And he was also not critical if you could not get the feel for a certain combination. He once told me that for a regular player not full time pushing progression, that if you could master what felt intuitively right, you could do as well as someone that could do a specific circumstance rotation ok. Meaning, I would not be topping the meters doing what felt right to me, but that trying to do something foreign and uncomfortable would be worse. He always took the time to answer questions or offer advice no matter what your skill level was.

For both of these men that even though I am probably more than 10 years older, I considered them Mentors. They shared with me their knowledge in a way that made perfect sense. They did not speak to me in a “I am a top 10 worlds raider, do it this way, or you’re a scrub” attitude. We all cannot lay, or devote the time necessary to play, or play to a level that they do. So when we read guides spelling out raw stat weights, and complex rotations meant to be used with Mythic level Tier sets, or Best in Slot gear, and we see our results no where near we question why. Why are our results different. Why can’t I do the same.

Because we are not them.

We do not play exactly the same.

We struggle to learn how to do something one way, and do not live for constant change and reactionary playing. We want to play well, and we work at it. But we need people to tell us why it feels better to do things a certain way.

Someone once told me years ago that Shadow was an intuitive class to play. It had a flow, it was a lot of timing, knowing in advance when you needed to move, when to refresh early, when to gamble on making that long cast. It was not something you picked up and mashed buttons, really hard.

I have hopes that Blizzard Watch will bring back a Shadow columnist that talks to people about playing the class, not someone that copy pastes a guide and changes to stat weights.

It occurred to me reading the Godmothers blog this morning that I have been a bit lost without my two Mentors. And it really shows when looking at the history of my raiding. There is a noticeable drop off after losing their writing. I know people will say confidence comes from within. But some times being able to understand how to do something explained to you in a way that makes sense is the extra bit of knowledge we all need to develop that confidence in ourselves.

A special thank you to Fox Van Allen, and Kilee. You both helped me learn to be the player I became. Hopefully some day I will find him again. For now he is lost at sea, trying to find his way back.

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It is High School all over again

Today I want to talk about High School and how it corresponds with gaming social structure.  For purposes of this conversation I will be using terminology that I understand, for many, in other parts of the country/countries some terms may not correlate.  For purposes to shape this post, lets say the following structure is your last 6 years of schooling prior to heading off to college or university.

12th grade The Senior Class – Those that started in Vanilla WoW.

11th grade The Junior Class – The Burning Crusade Class.

10th grade – The Sophomore class – Those that started during Wrath of the Lich King.

9th grade – The Freshman Class – Those that started in Cataclysm.

8th grade – Those that started in Mists of Pandaria.

7th grade – Those that got their start in Warlords of Draenor.

There is no advantage to being a part of any one class as a whole, except for personal experiences, the “I can remember when we had to walk to the dungeon entrance, uphill, both ways, in the snow” being your Senior class, those folk that have been here from the beginning and in some cases beyond.  They don’t remember when Dirt was invented but they can recall when it was given a name.

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I am sure the majority of us recall High School, for some it was only a few years ago, or are still in school, for others like myself it was many many years ago.  That time in our lives when we think we know everything, we are almost an adult, we have the world ahead of us, we can do anything.  We have left elementary school and are now moving on to learning what we need to in order to set the course for the rest of our lives.  It is a scary place, definitely out of the comfort zone.  We may have some friends from growing up, kids we know from the neighborhood where we live.  It is a place of new beginnings, excitement, perils, new friends, making boy friends, girlfriends, school dances, sports, classes, all sorts of fantastic possibilities.  And we enter this new landscape of our lives as a blank page in a book that has only started to be written.

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Much like going off to college, it is an opportunity to become someone new.  In gaming, we have the opportunity to not only step out of our shells of insecurities but also to create different persona’s for different characters we play.  So we go through the years of school/playing, we make friends, we leave friends behind, we make enemies, we experience many things, trying to find that one thing that we can grab hold of and say “Yes, this thing, I love this”

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That feeling the first time we find a group of friends, or an aspect of gaming that speaks to us, says, yes, you belong here, you are one of us.

So how much more can the High School life relate to gaming;

The Varsity football team – Top Raiders, I could further say the top 10 world is more like Conference All-Stars
The Junior Varisty football team – your top server raiders

The Wrestling team – Your Arena PvP folk

Track and Field – Those that like Battlegrounds

The AV (Audio Visuals club) – Your Lore interested folk

Drama Club – Those that enjoy Role Play

I could probably identify a school sub group of any part of the MMO gaming experience.

 

So what does that all mean, well take all those groups and now place them in the Cafeteria.  The Football team all sits at the cool kids table, the Wrestling team sits together, etc.  We form groups of like minded individuals, we tend to congregate together and keep outsiders at bay by our presence and group size, people may be invited to become part of our group because they have some quality we like, but one does not just sit at the table uninvited.

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And so much like being in High School gaming is also.  Server transferring is much like moving to a new city and starting at a new school, you may know one or two people, it can be a jarring experience just like anyone that has ever had to pull up roots and start some place new.

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yep, I was one of them in High School, someone that really did not belong to any one group, I was friendly with everyone, and a friend to many.  I never tried to put myself above anyone or isolate myself to any one group of people, I knew a great many people in my small town High School, we had a graduating class of 112.  Very small compared to many other schools in my area.  We all knew each other, perhaps because of it we all treated each other with more respect since word traveled fast and if you acted badly towards someone you quickly found yourself with fewer friends.  I am sure there were cliche’s and groups that socialized together and did not interact with others not in their group.  Much like those that look down on others for not playing the game in the same manner that they and their like minded friends do.

What do I hope from writing all of this?  For even just 1 person to recall what it was/is like to be in High School, how they were treated or treated others, to look at how they act today in similar circumstances under a different guise, and say, yeah, I was picked on in school, I did not like it then, so why am I doing the same to others now that I am an adult, or damn, you’re right, I was a jerk back then, why am I still being one now.

When we start doing anything, starting a new school, moving to a new town, making all new friends, starting a new game, whatever.  We have a rare opportunity to recreate ourselves to be a better person.  I will thank Gloriaboboria for having the same thought as I did this morning when I started typing this up.

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But also remember to take time to be Excellent to yourself.  Be a better human being.  Don’t look down on someone not able to do things the same as you, don’t isolate yourself with groups of people and follow a herd mentality, degrading a person because the rest of the group finds it funny does not make it funny.  Surround yourself with great people, respect others for their accomplishments even if they do not show respect in return.  We all have one life, one chance to do it right.  Don’t mess it up at the expense of another.

 

 

 

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The $14.99 all you can eat buffet

Sorry if using a whole lot of food metaphors makes everyone hungry, and apologies for the food porn.  Going to be using a lot of food comparisons and I hope it makes sense to everyone.  This is part 1 of I don’t know how many subsequent posts.

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I am going to start by saying this is a representation of Blizzard.  An enormous buffet that we all pay $14.99 a month to eat all we want.  We can come here for hours, we can stay here for days, weeks, month, years.  The only requirement is to have an appetite and the desire to try all the food offered.

There are other rooms we have access to, the Sushi room (Hearthstone)

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that seems to be very popular right now, with it’s ala carte menu and optional special dishes you can purchase, the Pastry room (Diablo)

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with so many delicious dishes we loved growing up, for many it was a trip down memory lane but the sweets were not as good as we remembered, still good non the less, but not for everyone.  And the other rooms, some still being constructed.

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When Blizzard’s all you can eat buffet opened 10 years ago, it was a small place, out of the way, and they thought that it might do ok in it’s location.  But the foodies (Gamers) knew of the chefs, knew that what ever they might be cooking up would be awesome.  And so when they opened their location they were overwhelmed with a rush of people, so they cooked as fast as they could, some times the stove broke and people would be unhappy because their food was slow getting to the buffet, sometimes the lines to get in were long,

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but as time went on, they became better at handling the rush of people when the doors opened, they became a go to spot for millions of customers everyday.  And so they grew, they expanded their business to accommodate more and more people to a point 5 years in they were bursting at the seams.  Some thought was made that perhaps going back to the roots of the business, lets give the original menu a redo, maybe we will bring back a lot of the old customers that had gone off to try other buffet’s.  Some came back, but others left because it felt like the same food just served differently.

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So they opened a new location, a sit down restaurant, it was good.  The food was excellent the service was a bit off.  It took a lot of time to get the attention of a server to take your order, many weeks of doing things to get them to offer you the VIP menu of specialty dishes.  The decor was beautiful, the selections of food fantastic.

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But it lacked some thing.  There was something missing.  So we headed back to the original buffet, and look at what they have done, they have added new stations, more choices, more food.

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Some of us sit by the table near the hot appetizer bar (Garrisons).  We could venture to other parts of the place but we have some pretty good hot food right here, and the Prime rib station is all the way over there.  The Meat carving station (Ashran) is pretty good.  There is a long line for it, and they are trying different cuts of meat, some grab whats on the outer tables, while others go straight up the middle for the meat and potatoes.  Way over in the other wing of the restaurant is the wine tasting area (Mythic Raiding), you really need a select pallet to get in and enjoy the offerings, the fried shrimp and chicken buffet (LFR) is always busy, its decent food that can satisfy a hunger for a time, the Surf and Turf (Normal/Heroic raiding) is pretty popular, sometimes it takes a few weeks to get the right combination of spices (Classes) to make something that works for everyone.

I think you all are probably hungry now and see the correlations.  Blizzard is truly an all you can eat buffet, they give a great amount of decent product for a relatively small fee.  They are pretty much open 24/7 except for once a week when they need to clean.  Other chains have tried to open, offering similar food, some with a twist, but there is something to be said for our old favorite diner.

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It is not spit and polished like many new places, but it has charm and a comfortable feel to it.

What we as players need to realize is that just because we are at an all you can eat buffet, with unlimited choices, is we don’t need to eat everything, but also that we do need to be willing to try new foods.  We may love eating steak, but have we ever tried Mahi Mahi, or Shepherds Pie?  There is a great feast there for us, we should go try new things, and not gorge ourselves to where we become sick on one part.

Tomorrow I will be talking about where we choose to sit, and who to sit with

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