Monday, June 27, 2011

Times I'm Thankful For My Guild

My guild looks like it will be ending its Tier 11 raids with the progression of 6/13 Heroic, which isn't too shabby at all. We've had our ups and downs, and chewed through a frightful number of healers at one point, but stabilized over the past month or two and downed multiple heroic bosses for the first time.

One thing I've liked is that people are serious about showing up. People post ahead of time whether or not they're going to be absent. We run a team of 12 and only very, very rarely have we had to cancel a raid even under the worst of circumstances.

I was not always in a guild like this.

Back in TBC, when I was in my first raiding guild, they were very lax with their team setup. People knew the raid times, but on the rare occasion they would actually raid earlier than scheduled (I was admittedly quite upset to have rushed home to raid only to discover they're started without me) and then they wanted to be fair about giving everyone an opportunity to raid. The problem was, they had trouble stopping recruiting and when you have two tanks, three healers, and twenty dps for Kara... well... you don't get to go very often.

It also meant that if a healer was absent we probably wouldn't go, and if a tank was absent we definitely did not go. There was no penalty for being absent. There was no reward to being present (other than you might get to go). There were no attendance rules at all really, so the dedicated raider would often be sat for someone who rarely showed up in the interests of giving everyone a chance to raid.

Those who are dedicated raiders can see the problem in this.

But for a casual raid guild, maybe it's not that bad a thing to trade off progression and a regular raid spot for the freedom of just showing up once in a while and still getting to go (maybe), but it's something I knew going forward that I've wanted to avoid.

And I've done a decent job. My second TBC guild valued me highly and I never sat, whether it was 10-man or 25. My first WotLK guild never benched me either, though occasionally I volunteered to sit. Both of those guilds were good about making raids happen until eventually their leaders couldn't take it anymore and quit.

My second WotLK guild and current Cata guild are the same, and it is my guild. I run it, and I do all I can to avoid the burnout of my predecessors while accomodating the schedule and raid style I want. We raid just two nights a week (then unprecedented on our server and quite rare in general when we started in ToC), just 10-mans, and with an eye on heroics.

I've seen more content in my little guild than in any of my previous ones, and I know it's due to the skill and dedication of my raiders.

This feeling of pride isn't something triggered by the upcoming patch 4.2, as one might think. Rather, something else happened recently.

In these final days of Tier 11 I volunteered to fill in for a casual raid guild's healing team on my paladin. I don't know this guild well, but their members have always been nice folks, so I was sure that running with them would be more pleasant than pugging. I was warned by their GM that they didn't have as many of their regular raiders anymore, and things might be kind of rough, but I said I was fine with that. I'm not someone who's going to nerd-rage because we wiped.

The guild ended up taking three non-guildies, including me, to fill the holes in their roster. We killed three bosses in two hours and called it a night. For a casual guild deprived of a full in-guild raid team it was acceptable, especially considering that they had to explain the fights from scratch for a couple people.

Knowing they were short-handed (and wanting to raid a bit more on my alt), I offered to fill in for them again, and their guild master extended invites to me via the in-game calendar for the next three raids.

I accepted, and now two of those three dates have passed. They didn't raid on either of them because not enough people have showed up.

If I was one of their guildies and that was my only opportunity to raid, I would be quite annoyed, but since I'm just filling in for fun on my alt, hearing that the raid has been canceled 20 minutes after start time didn't bother me, especially since I would have been online anyway.

Now, attendance is not mandatory in their guild, and it's one of their selling points in their recruitement ads, so it's not surprising that when content is stale not enough people show up. Personally, I could not live with that on my main. But I know people at my day job who play WoW and think it's ridiculous to set aside a set time every week to raid. They don't mind raiding itself, they don't mind going once in a while, but they don't like the commitment. For them, that kind of guild isn't a bad idea. Go if there are enough on, don't if there aren't.

The biggest thing to be thankful for in a guild is being with people who share the same commitment to raiding, leveling, PvP, whatever that focus might be. It doesn't matter if it's a high amount or a low amount as long as the commitment is the same. My guild is ranked #2 for 10-man progression on our server, but #72 on guild levels since we're still level 20. We might not be achievement hunters or fishers or crafters or activity maniacs, but we know what we like and we do it.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

I'd Tank... if I had a Third Spec

I queued for the Ahune fight the other night on both my 85s. My druid is currently off-specced into bear, which is my preference. (I spent most of T11 off-specced into resto, which I'm not nearly as happy playing as.) I was happy to jump in the queue as a tank and be rewarded with my instance within a few seconds. So was the one guildie I was grouped with.

This meant we had three puggers.

My guild is a small one consisting primarily of people with relaxed playing schedules, so guild-only 5-mans are uncommon. We mainly log on to raid, and anything else is happenstance. When I do 5-mans, I usually pug, and I'm fine with it. I think pugging makes me a better player due to the unpredictability of what I get.

Anyway. Ahune died. Loots dropped. All was happy in the world.

My guildie and I got on our alts. I queued as healer on my paladin. Guildie was dps. And we waited, and waited, and waited. And after 9 minutes (as a healer!) we finally got in.

Then the tank, who'd clearly never tanked Ahune before, got himself killed by trying to tank the boss (standing in bad stuff) and ignoring the adds which killed everyone else. The tank went off-line rather than face the embarrassment of a explanation on how the fight works.

Which meant we had to wait again.

And it occurred to me, that if I had a third spec... I would have tanked on Gillien.

Back in WotLK my paladin's dual specs were holy and prot. My holy spec pulled double duty for PvE and PvP, but the two specs were close enough that this was "okay" even if it wasn't ideal. Many times, in order to get the faster queue, I'd tank. It got to the point where I was tanking 5-mans more often than I was healing and I'd opt for waiting a couple minutes in the queue just to get a break from day-in-day out tanking on two 80s.

But in Cata, I found the difference between a reasonable arena spec and PvE holy spec were quite a bit different, with 7 of my talent points rearranged to give me access to a variety of talents not present at all in my PvE spec. They're good talents too. They've come in handy multiple times, whether helping my teammate burn someone down with Exorcism spam or getting an extra Word of Glory heal from Eternal Glory.

I use my PvE and PvP holy specs often enough that I don't want to sacrifice one for a prot tanking spec, but I don't mind tanking. I would have gladly tanked Ahune the other night, but I wasn't going to pay 100g in respecing forwards and back for the privilege.

It occured to me that Blizzard is trying to find ways to improve 5-man queues, to the point of offering additional rewards through the Call to Arms, and it makes me wonder if they've considered the potential tank population that just ran out of specs, seeing as all tank classes are hybrids.

I know they want specs to be of a lasting impact, to be meanful. I can understand why they wouldn't want a hunter to have BM PvE, MM PvE, MM PvP, and Survival PvE (which my guildie has said he would do in a heartbeat). To keep this on the topic of too few tanks running 5-mans, why not make the third spec a dedicated tanking spec? If it's not tanking, you can't have it.

I'm sure it would be annoying to implement something just for that consideration, but let's say the third spec can only be used for tanking and people take it for tanking. I can only see it increasing the number of tanks, since people who tank instances already aren't going to stop just because they freed up one of their dual specs, and people who would consider tanking but can't because they ran out of specs, might actually tank.

I don't know how large the "I ran out of specs population" is, but Blizzard, you have one here.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Still One Blizzcon Ticket Left!

My guild still has one Blizzcon ticket left! If interested, please contact me ASAP at . It's for sale at face value of $175. We have until June 10th to get your name registered in the database so you don't have to stand in line with us.

I'll go back to regular blogging after this. Promise. :)

Friday, June 3, 2011

Blizzcon Tickets?

I apologize for falling dorment again after the beginning of last month. May was very hectic for me for multiple reasons.

I would have liked a real post, but as it is, there's not much time to take care of my current business.

My friend and I bought extra Blizzcon tickets for friends, but it turns out that the extras weren't needed, which has left us stuck with $350 of paid tickets that we don't need.

But given how quickly the tickets sold out, we figure there must be plenty of people who are interested in going, but never had the chance. We'd return these tickets if we could, but since we can't we're offering them up for sale at the face value price of $175 each.

If you are interested, please e-mail me at . We would like to sell them ASAP, since the tickets become more complicated to sell after June 10th. (June 10th is the deadline to attach an attendee's e-mail address to a ticket, which would let them pick up their ticket without arriving with the credit card holder.)

And yes, this means I will be at Blizzcon this year.