Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Player Types

As anyone who plays WoW knows, the world of Azeroth is full of characters!  Of course, said characters have all sorts of various personal temperaments, but here is a brief list of the player types I seem to encounter.

Mr/Ms. Efficient
This player is the one you want in your group when in instances.  They are the silent, but deadly type.  Not to be confused with the GO GO GO Dude (see next type), they may not be much for small talk, but do lend instance tips and strategies to those uninitiated.  Often, they wait to make sure everybody in the group is on the same page.  Not specific to any particular role.  If you get a Mr/Ms. Efficient in your group, get ready for a smooth run.

This is self-explanatory.  This is the player who (usually a tank from what I've witnessed), as soon as everyone gets into the instance, starts running off and pulls mobs, not allowing anyone a chance to buff.  He, or she, usually has a high gear score number, and doesn't take into account that not everyone in the party has a 5700 gs.  They say things like "let's clear this in 5 min.", and always goes straight for the main instance boss.  Wrath be to the party member who wants to defeat all the bosses for triumph emblems.  They are efficient of course, but probably too much so.

Mr/Ms. Social
This player is one you actually want to bother with (for me at least).  They are experienced instance runners and raiders, yet haven't forgotten that WoW is ultimately about making connections with other players.  They don't mind lending a hand when someone asks, and are able to lighten things up, even making (or trying to) small talk in instances.  While they may be experienced players, they are patient with other players, and don't call out players mistakes.  In an ideal world, instance and raid teams would be made up almost entirely of these players.  They also act as an ear if you feel like your in a rut with your toon, and are willing to give advice.

That Jerk
Ah...that jerk.  Another type that doesn't need explanation.  Probably a person who has self-esteem issues in real life, and takes it out on other pixels.  These players call out the mistakes of others with such phrases as "u suck noob", "lol huntard", among other encouraging words and phrases.  This player can literally ruin the WoW experience for players who let these jerks get into their heads (they've affected me, and I'm not the only one).  There's bound to be one in your party, and they either leave after bashing someone, or cause the party to fail. 

This is just s short list of player types that seem to populate Azeroth.  Of course, there are plenty of others, but the ones on the list seem to appear the most.

A Refreshing Break

A couple weeks ago a good friend of mine who doesn't play WoW (he tried the trial, didn't like it), suggested I take a break from the game after my ranting about it on a SATURDAY NIGHT playing billiards.  I was ranting about how I wasn't keeping up with the Joneses, especially with the Cataclysm expansion not too far off on the horizon.  He told me I shouldn't worry about that, as WoW is a game players can play at their own pace.  I took his advice about the break, and I did not log on at all during last week.  The first time in a couple months I took a day off, let alone week.  There was time for me to detox a little, as well as to put the game, and how I play in relation to it, in perspective.  I want to apologize in advance if this post seems a bit of a downer. 

When I logged back on over the past weekend, I didn't feel the frustration and sense of falling behind as I did before the break.  Instead of putting 4-5 hours of a weekend day into it, I put in less than one.  I logged in, ran a random, did a couple dailies, logged out.  I felt that was enough for me.  Sunday I logged less than an hour of playtime yet again.  For this session, I did several dailies (wasn't in the mood for a random), and logged out, repeated the same routine last night.  To my surprise, I felt content, which I wasn't feeling before the break, as I felt as if I wasn't making enough gold, or earning enough badges for gear upgrades, etc. 

The feeling was akin to when my toon was in the 75-80 level range.  I was in no rush to get to 80, going after some achievements, did stuff in the vanilla content.  To me, 80 was more of a destination than a goal.  In my mind, I'd hit it the level cap when I did.  Once I had hit 80, that mindset was erased, and replaced with one I didn't much care for.  When I logged in, no longer was I the mellow, fun, person that I bring into the game.  Instead, it was a negative alter ego; one who felt frustrated, left behind, lonely, and had no clue as to what the toon should be doing next.

During the hiatus, I was also honest with myself and how I play WoW.  If you read previous posts, I had mentioned how I'd like to try my hand at raiding before Cataclysm comes out, and the WoTLK content becomes irrelevant.  However, I realized that perhaps I wasn't meant to raid.  I realize WoW is a social driven game, and ultimately players need to work with others to accomplish certain tasks.  While I try to keep in contact with people on my friends list, and lend a hand to players who need one, I will always be a solo player.  I've PUG'ed instances numerous times, and I STILL feel nervous when waiting in que, afraid I'll be the "huntard" who screws things up, or has poor dps in relation to gear score, or makes "noob" mistakes.  If I feel that way toward 5-player instances that are easily cleared at this point, I'd probably have anxiety attacks if I tried PUG raiding! 

Putting things in perspective was necessary.

Friday, May 14, 2010

What's In a Pet's Name?

There seems to be a lot of hunters roaming the lands of Azeroth, with all kinds of companions.  Crabs, wolves, cats, crocolisks, dinosaurs and plenty other types of creaturs abound.  These pets have various names.  Some are simple, like Turtle for turtle (if the player doesn't rename the pet, it's named for the type of animal it is).  Other names range from the funny to borderline obscene.  Why do players who do name their pets name them as they do?  It's based on individual taste of course.  My pets have names that hold sentimental value.  I only have three pets currently.  They are:

Rascal: Wolf.  This is the pet I run with the most.  I named this one after my late dog in real life who we put down a couple years ago after having her for 16 years.  She was a trusty hiking partner, car passenger, and always greeted me when I returned home from school.  Though WoW Rascal is only a bunch of pixels, I feel like the real Rascal is adventuring with me in spirit.

KillerCat.  A starter hunter pet from Teldrassil.  My first pet.  Killer is the nickname for my cat in RL who, and not to provide gory details, likes to leave presents on our front door.  I usually find a mess on the front porch when I head out to work...  Killer in WoW though chases after game much  more imposing than mice or chipmunks.

Housatonic: Turtle.  I don't use Housatonic often, but it's pretty cool to roam around with a turtle trailing you.  Housatonic is named for the river that starts its journey in the Berkshires of MA, runs down through Connecticut to the Long Island Sound.  I spent many summers at the Housatonic boating, waterskiing, tubing, swimming, and louging under the sun by the river bank.  Those summer days were great... 

If any players come across this blog who are of the hunter class, what goes into naming your pets?

Is it Time to Change?

I'm pondering a guld change.  As I leveled my hunter, I was in several guilds. Most of them disbanded due to small size, lack of activity (which seem to go hand in hand), and of course, drama.  As I was levelling, I mainly enjoyed the social aspect of guilds; but now that I'm at 80, and am considering trying raiding before the Cataclysm expansion, I find myself at a crossroads.

The guild I'm in currently is small, consisting of only several players who have multiple alts.  I joined the guild because a coworker who plays is in it.  At the time, I still played solo for the most part, and had just hit 80.  My coworker was telling me how helpful and mature the guys in the guild were.  I figured I'd give them a try.  Of course, things can change over a period of a few months...

As it has been for awhile since I joined, it's really only the person I know in RL and myself who are on.  The guild leader has been on more often of late leveling an alt, but he was out of the game for awhile due to some computer issues, and wasn't sure if he was even going to return to the game.  I haven't seen some of the other members on for quite sometime now.  Needless to say, guild chat is either a lonely place, or a private chat for my friend and I.

My coworker was telling me about his wife on another server who raids, and how being in a guild, she has a reliable group of players instead of having to PUG, and who she seems to have  fun with while raiding.  A player on my friends list who is in another guild echoed the same thing about how it's easier to have guild mates to run with instead of spending time trying to get a raid group together.  That sort of got me to thinking.  Should I explore other options?  The players in my current guild are nice and helpful when they are on, but that is not very often.  I would like to experience the end game content with players who share my goals.  Unfortunately, I'm not getting that with the guild I am in.

Of course, this opens up the issue of finding a suitable guild.  For that, I don't know where to turn.  I'd like a guild that casually raids, with members who are mature and social.  I'm not looking for a hand-out guild, just one that can accommodate my type of playstyle, and not one that has strict raiding demands, etc.  For the reason I am not sure where my future in the game ultimate lies, I haven't jumped ship yet.  Perhaps I should try a PUG raid or two to see if raiding is even something I'd enjoy first.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Random Thought

After browsing though previous posts, I think I drank the gear Kool-Aid...

Enough said.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Feeling a Little Guilty

A quick background story...  It's the Culling of Stratholme instance, normal mode, via the LFG tool, four months ago. One of the party members is a druid from my server.  Much to the chagrin of the other party members, while clearing trash, he starts inquiring about my explorer tabard.  Once the instance is completed, he says he's going to add us to his friends list.  Okay. I add him as well.  I like adding people to my friends list for various reasons, though primarily social. 

I'm doing whatever I'm doing (probably a daily), when I get a whisper from him.  "Want to run VoA 25?"  At this point, I'm still in mostly blue gear with inappropriate stats.  Besides, from what I heard about getting a PUG raid together, just getting a party together can be time consuming.  Time which I didn't have.  I politely declined, and did so several more times.  One time he asked if I wanted to run heroic HoR.  Unfortunately, I can't because I have yet to complete the quest in PoS to unlock it (one day...one day).

The decline that sort of made me think of how I've been blowing this guy off came this past Saturday morning.  I just logged in for a few minutes to check auctions and do the cooking daily before I had breakfast.  As soon as I log in, I get a whisper "want to run normal ToC so I can farm a tanking weapon?".  I could have.  That instance isn't time consuming, and a trinket can possibly drop that I could use.  I just wanted to log in and out, and replied I was only going to be on for 5-10 minutes, which I was.

I felt a little guilty for blowing him off yet again. I also feel like I'm coming off as a jerk. Part of the problem is communication.  He probably assumed I had progressed from point A to B from when we ran CoS a few months back.  I should have been clear with him the first time he asked (which I eventually did), that I am still in the process of gearing up.  If a raid leader saw the gear I had back then, I probably would've been booted.  I also like to have some advance notice.  I admit I'm selfish with my time. Since my free time is spread out over various other hobbies and activities, I allocate time blocks to WoW, and try to keep my playtime confined to said blocks. 

Now I have to think of what I can do to appear helpful to said friend...

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Finally Went to Stratholme

I'm admitting this now.  The Culling of Stratholme (CoS) instance in the WoTLK expansion is one of, if not, my favorite instance of the Northrend ones.  Other players seem mixed on it, but I enjoy it.  First, the lore aspect. Out of the Northrend instances, this one probably tells a story the best (the end of Pit of Saron) isn't far behind.  As a disclaimer, I have not been to the Halls of Reflection yet.  The other reason I enjoy CoS is the simplicity of the layout.  You basically run back and forth before you follow Arthas around through town to face the main boss, Mal'Ganis.

What did this inspire me to do?  Why, go back to vanilla and solo Stratholme of course!  Part of it was just to see how this version of Stratholme looks.  I couldn't really see, it was dark!  Another reason was to experience a higher level vanilla instance, with the thin hope of a mount drop from Baron Rivendare, the final boss.

What was my take on vanilla Stratholme?  It took awhile for me to complete, but I enjoyed the atmosphere of it.  This version is supposed to look like a town that has seen better days, with it's former denizens roaming the streets as zombies and ghouls.  There's also a section where the Scarlet Crusade, those pesky zealots bent on taking out the undead, hold fort.  Running this instance solo as a decently geared 80 made this an easy run for me.  However, if I were to run it with my paladin at the appropriate level (which I hope to do), it would probably pose a bit of difficulty.  The mobs are plenty, and the bosses can provide some challenge to the uninitiated.

Overall, old Stratholme did not disappoint.  It ties in nicely with the lore, the settings fit the atmosphere, and I picked up some decent loot to AH or vendor.  I recommend running this one.

Nearly a Flawless PUG Run

Earlier today I put myself in the LFG que.  I wanted the two frost badges that would get me to the 50 I needed to upgrade my cloak.  I was farming saronite in Icecrown when the invite screen appeared.  After clicking yes, I wondered where I was going to go.  Loading screen comes up for Forge of Souls (FoS).  I thought to myself this run will either be awesome, or lousy.  I completed FoS on normal mode with an awesome group that basically carried me.  I had subsequent runs on normal mode that failed (wiping at last boss and people fleeing party).  Now I was going to run it not only on heroic, but as an improved (vastly is pushing it), hunter.

As I normally do, I greet the other players.  They all say "hi" back.  Who knew!  We start by clearing trash, when one of the two paladins in the party says this was his first time there.  I chimed in by saying it was my second.  Before we get to the first boss, one of the party members gave strategy.  She said the boss was easy.  We'll see.  We take the boss (Bronjahm) down, with one party member wiping.  It wasn't to much of a struggle, but I notice the dps numbers.  I realized this is just the group I enjoy.  One where the members communicate with each other, everyone knew their role, and the players aren't putting out crazy dps numbers; just enough to allow the instance to provide a challenge.

We clear more trash with no problem, and get to the final boss, the Devourer of Souls.  Once again, we were provided with a strategy.  While it wasn't a easy victory, we defeated it with all party members alive.  In fact, besides me (go figure) we didn't take much damage.  I give props to the healer for keeping the party member's health up. 

This was one of the better PUG runs I've experienced.  It was smooth, everyone seemed to play their role well, and the instance provided just enough of a challenge to keep me at least on my toes during the boss fights.  I felt a tad nervous when I saw the loading screen due to previous experiences, but after today, my heart won't race as much when I see the FoS loading screen.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Childrens' Week School of Hard Knocks

This week is Children's Week in WoW.  Children's Week is a world event where you accompany an orphan with you, earning achievements along the way.  You can get an orphan in vanilla content (Stormwind for alliance, Orgrimmar for horde), one in Shattrath City, and one in Dalaran.  The good news MOST of the achievements are easy, and when you complete the quests for each of the orphans, you earn three non-combat pets.  Except there's one problem, or should I say achievement.  One that has gotten in the way of many players getting the proto drake for completing all the holiday meta achievements.  It is the School of Hard Knocks achievement.

The objective of School of Hard Knocks is being to complete certain battleground goals with your orphan out.  For non-PvP players (I'm definitely one of them), this achievement is either a nightmare, or players don't even bother to try for it.  I've read stories in forums on how players on both the horde and alliance were working together to complete it.  I've read strategies players used, stories of how some players tried it anyway despite not enjoying PvP, but none of that makes me feel inspired to go after this achievement.

Players have suggested Blizzard either take out the achievement, or revise it so a player would need X honorable kills.  Ideally, as a non-PvP player (the only battleground I've been to outside of Wintergrasp was Warsong Gulch), I'd like to see this achievement taken out.  However, I could live with the X honorable kill suggestion.  I'd go to a BG for that, albeit reluctantly.