Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Is there really a need to raid more than twice a week?

I occasionally read recruitment threads of other guilds, partially out of curiosity, and partially to see if there's a nice recruitment layout I might want to use at a later date. Sometimes I'm surprised by what I find by what people offer or what they expect.

Particularly, I notice quite a few guilds still raid 3-4 nights a week, a pace I gave up as too demanding.

For most purposes, I don't understand raiding more than two nights a week anymore. It used to be a near necessary, especially with resets every week and no way to extend a lockout, but even then it seemed an awful lot of time to spend each week in a game. Just because I might spend 20 hours in a week playing a single video game, doesn't mean that I want to spend 20 hours a week every week playing a single video game (because you can't forget the time spent doing heroics, leveling alts, and playing the AH on top of raiding). Personally, I burn out.

At my raiding peak I'd run 25-mans three days a week and 10-mans two days a week, and that was just too much. I like WoW, but there are a lot of other forms of entertainment I enjoy besides WoW, such as other video/ computer games (played the new Dragon Age II DLC, woo!), D&D, anime, books, etc. When I'm playing WoW, I'm not doing any of those, and there's only so much time in the world.

At the time I started my two night a week 10-man raid guild, 10-man raiding was still the poor cousin of 25-man raiding and how the hell could anyone get anything done before reset with only two nights a week?

But we managed. We did wonderful things like clearing 11/12 Heroic ICC in a single three hour night so we could spend all of our second day on Heroic Lich King. (We rarely extended the lockout because people didn't like the idea of doing nothing but the Lich King all week.) We prided ourselves on efficiency. We still do.

We like that we've cleared the majority of Firelands bosses within our first three attempts. We like that we never spent more than three hours downing any of our six heroic T11 kills. We like that raids start on time and people come back on time from our scheduled breaks (if you're 2 minutes late it means you're last, people are doing /poke at you, and chances are everyone else was back on time).

Even though we like raiding, we like that we have good progression for minimal time investment. We lost a couple raid nights after 4.2 landed due to real life issues, but we're still 6/7 in Firelands, and hoping to down Rag in the near future.

One of our raiders, who really likes raiding, also raids on an alt in another two night a week group to get more of her raiding fix. When I mentioned that I was surprised she wasn't with a three or four night a week raid guild instead of us, she said that raiding more nights a week doesn't mean the guild's going to do more with the time that they have.

Skywall is not the most progressed server out there, so when I say we're in the running for server third kill of Rag it may not mean much depending on what your own server is like, but the thing is... the patch hasn't been out all that long! I don't know when Patch 4.3 is going to land, but if you figure it's at least three months betwen major patches there's still two months or more to work on Firelands.

It's not necessary to raid more than two nights a week anymore if you just want to see the content, not unless there's a drive to be the first at something, to brute force a boss kill, or you just really like raiding (and even then, you could do that on an alt like my guildie does). Two nights a week has even allowed us a fair amount of time for heroic kills. So if I was a prospective applicant looking for a new raid guild, where would I go?

Would I want to be in a guild that's 6/7 raiding two nights a week or 1/7 raiding four nights a week? (I've seen the recruitment ad for the latter. It's out there.)

We're not best in the world or best on the server, but we're doing all right and because of this I know that it's possible to do a lot with just two nights a week.

Yet when I look at other guilds advertising their raid nights, I'm quite shocked that a lot of them still raid 3-4 nights a week. And these aren't necessarily heroic guilds either. What does a 4 nights a week raid guild that has only downed Shannox do on its other nights? Are they raiding T11 still? Maybe some of those raid nights are retro raids?

I admit I don't understand and their ads don't help me to do so.

If a guild's struggling with content, adding more nights to the raid schedule probably isn't going to help them see it faster. More raid resets will, because that will give them more gear to compensate for any lack of skill. A guild that takes 50 attempts to kill a boss that takes another guild 5 isn't a better guild because they killed it first, and they may be burning out their members by doing so.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Molten Burnout

I was reading a post at Kurn's about how she was getting burned out by everything that needed to be done in order for a responsible PvE raider to max out their effort every week in terms of valor points, dailies, rep, etc.

It's a lot, and I'm at the point where I'm close to throwing my hands up and saying "Screw those Molten Front dailies, screw those heroics, I don't care if I need more gear." I only raid twice a week on my druid main because I want relatively low commitment gameplay, but the Molten Front material takes almost a month to fully unlock, and I've been slavishly doing all their dailies since 4.2 landed (even on the nights I would normally be off WoW) because a day I don't do is another day's delay to the end.

Worse, I'm doing this on two characters so my engineering paladin will be able to make the Flintlocke's Woodchucker scope for my guild's hunters.

And I think it's retarded that it's more time efficient (at the moment) to get valor points from heroics than raid boss kills.

Then, like Kurn, I have a holy paladin that's occasionally running with a second guild other than the one I lead, because it's nice to go to a raid and not have responsibility.

But all this is sucking up a huge amount of time.

Now that I've unlocked the Druids of the Talon on my druid and the Shadow Wardens on my paladin, the number of dailies I do each day on both my 85s has skyrocketed and I'm doing them everyday.

I suppose I don't have to, but I feel like I should to be a good raider on my main and to get the engy schematic for my guild's hunters on my alt (because I'm sure the first few engineers to get the schematic will be gouging on the AH).

The thing is... I know the rep will come with time. As we kill trash and bosses in Firelands I'll eventually get Avengers of Hyjal rep, so I can close my eyes and say there's no need to do trash runs. Yes, it would help get gear sooner, but I can at least pretend any gear upgrades are minor enough on my main that it won't make much of a difference.

The valor points will come with time as well. I'll still be raiding twice a week and we'll kill bosses.

Both rep and valor points will come while doing pre-planned scheduled events.

But the stupid Molten Front dailies... I think the reason I'm so annoyed by them is that they aren't a fun group activity and they're mostly the same thing day in, day out and they're taking up time when I'd otherwise be doing something else that is most likely not WoW.

Previous daily quest grinds didn't seem to be such a big deal.

The Netherwing dailies weren't for gear, so I never worried about missing a day in TBC. Hodir gave shoulder enchants in WotLK, but it was relatively easy to get the blue versions and even then there was perhaps a max of seven dailies and I only was working on one character at a time. The Argent Coliseum dailies didn't even give anything to raiders. They were mostly just for fun, city rep, and titles. Gear was only really needed by alts.

In Cata, Therazane and Dragonmaw were probably best known for having dailies, but they also had tabards so dailies weren't the only way to get gear and enchants. I could combine gaining rep with heroic runs so it felt very time efficient.

But the Molten Front gives competitive gear as well as the means to craft competitive gear. I just realized there's a neck unlocked a few days ago that's better than the one I'm wearing, and there's a relic I could use while I save valor points for my tier pieces. And of course no hunter is going to want to be without the Woodchucker.

I'm just not sure how much longer I can keep this up before I'm going to want to take a step back from the game. I think if there wasn't such a clear gating mechanism, with its own story, and with competitive rewards I'd take my time and play through the sequence leisurely, but since it's not, I feel compelled to burn through it.

And the worst part is... there's all this new craftable gear, but no new engineering helm. The engineer in me is sad.