Thursday, August 26, 2010

Time is Money Friend (When it's Appropriate to Say No)

I'm one of those people who brings their true sense of self into WoW.  I don't use my avatar of pixels as an excuse to be rude, mean, or other otherwise a jerk to other players in the game.  In real life, I'm helpful (to a fault), and always try to see other peoples point of view.  In WoW, I'm not much different, but there are times when you have to put your foot down, and tell others that you WON'T help them.

I was doing dailies on the Argent Tournament grounds when another player whispered if I can help him.  It was his first time with the Argent quests, and I wasn't doing anything else outside of turning in my dailies, so I said yes.  We killed some scourge in Icecrown, then I showed him where in Grizzly Hills he had to go for the maiden quest (you have to kiss a bunch of frogs, one turns into a maiden, who gives you a sword to turn in).  Technically, I should have asked for some gold simply for the time, but I'm not really that kind of player, and he seemed like a kid, so I cut him some slack.

I get a whisper from him a couple days later, and I wish I took a screenshot.  I was doing dailies in Icecrown again, and he said he was waiting in LFG queue.  Out of curiosity, I asked if he was a tank or dps, considering he is a death knight.  He said dps and asked why.  I told him I also play a pally, and was considering tanking with it.  This is where I wanted would pull my hair out if I still had any.  The conversation went something like this:

Player: "I have a pally too.  It's level 8. Can you play it to level 15 and run deadmines?"
Me:     "Um.  No.  That's for you to do. I'm willing to run you through deadmines when you get there though."
Player: "Now or later."
Me:     "Later obviously."

Five minutes pass.  He logs out, then I get a whisper random whisper.  He said it's his pally, and if I could run him now.  My patience was pushed.  I tried to put it in context that this is obviously a kid I'm dealing with here, but the fact that he's a dk means not only does he have (or should), experience playing the game, but he should know better that other players can't drop what they are doing on a dime.  I politely told him no, logged out, and ate lunch.

So what lesson did I learn?  First, you give someone an inch, they'll try to take the proverbial mile.  Second, if I help a player like I did this one, I'm asking for a fee.  That time I helped him consumed about half an hour of my time.  Time I had intended to use to farm mats for my paladin's crafting skills. 

I put my foot down, and for the first time I believe, I didn't feel much guilt for it.

Magphloin Experiences Utgarde Keep for the First Time

My somewhat fearless pally ran Utgarde Keep for the first time tonight.  In fact, it was the first instance I ran him though since Sunken Temple way back when he was level 47.  It was quite the experience.  I've ran UK several times on my hunter, who was over geared for the instance, so it was a change not only to run it as a melee dps, but at the appropriate level.  In this case, level 71.  I waited a little in order to upgrade from the Outland gear I had, to some Northrend quest gear.  I wanted to laugh at times.  Others I wanted to cry, but overall, it was an experience that was worth it.

I didn't choose it at random.  I had selected it from the list of instances available to me.  After a shorter wait than what I had anticipated, I got pulled in.  I buff everyone in the party, and off we go.  We clear the vrykul at the beginning of the instance.  We get to the first boss, Prince Keleseth.  The mage in the party needed to get ready, but the tank ran in anyway.  It didn't matter, because we took him down rather easily.  So far, so good.  We take on more trash, and got to the second boss: Skarvald and Dalronn.  Not as easy.  The tank had trouble holding aggro, and Skarvald kept going after the warlock in the party.  We wipe a few times on him before everyone in the party, except the mage and myself, leaves.

Replacements quickly replenish the diminished ranks.  We take down Skarvald and Dalronn with little incident.  The new tank was saying he hadn't tanked in awhile.  Well, he was doing a good job.  Problems begin with a fury warrior. I don't name names usually, but I will this time.  Galairn, who I believe is also on my server.  He wanted the spell power chest piece that dropped from the boss fight.  He claimed it had more strength.  Needless, he DIDN'T get it.  More on this guy shortly.

Despite the bickering, we plow on with no issues.  Then we get to Ingvar the Plunderer, the final, and main boss of UK.  Being a melee dps, I had to pay attention more to his attacks than my hunter, who can stay close to the pillars and just fire away more or less.  We wiped on him.  We had few problems on the first phase of the fight.  Come second phase, a different story.  Most of us wiped, except the tank, and shaman I believe, who finished him off.  It was real close, but they did it.

More bickering between the party and Galairn.  He needed on the ax that dropped that had a strength bonus.  The other players wanted me to get it.  As soon as Galairn won the roll, he left the party.  Not shocking there.  He probably could use it.  The dps in the party, myself included, pulled between 700-1200 dps on the fights.  Galairn, mighty fury warrior...  200 dps or so. I wasn't shocked considering this was a player who wanted a spell power chest piece.  I wasn't too upset about losing it.  Besides, I have a BoA axe that I can use up until I hit 80 and start heroics.  I thanked the other players who wanted me to have the axe.  I took that as a sign that they felt I was holding my end of the bargain running this instance. That felt good after solo'ing for close to 25 levels and four months!

Overall, I'm glad I queued up, and remained persistent, determined to finish. It was a good gauge to see how well I'm playing my pally.  Depending on the fight, I was usually on, or close to top of the dps meters, but more importantly; I got to experience an instance at the level it was intended for.  As I mentioned in previous posts, my hunter didn't start running instances until close to 80.  Also, playing melee gave me a different perspective on boss fights (Ingvar in particular), than my hunter, where I just stand back and shoot away.  I've been thinking of tanking with my pally, so watching some of the boss mechanics in action was helpful.

Utgarde Keep was certainly the most difficult instance I've played yet on my pally, but I thought it was a success.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Where Did Outland Go?

My paladin, Magphloin, is getting real close to being able to get to Northrend.  While I hit the Outland content a couple months ago, I don't play Magphloin on a constant basis (once or twice a week), so it seems hard to believe that I'm nearly able to send him to Borean Tundra or Howling Fjord.  The leveling from between 59, (when I first sent him to Hellfire Penninsula) seemed to pass by quickly.  Almost too much so.  Probably part of it has to due with the fact I'm on constant rested XP bonus.  The XP bar has not hit purple the whole time questing in Outland.

So far, I've quested mostly in Hellfire, Zangarmarsh, did about 20 quests in Terrokar Forest.  and am currently questing in Nagrand, leaving the zones of Netherstorm, Blade's Edge Mountains, and Shadowmoon Valley untouched.  Unless I mix the zones up to quest in each one (I tend to grab a bunch of quests in one area and complete those), I could very well move to Northrend without even seeing those zones.  In addition, I have not done ONE Outland instance (tried ramps one night, but the party fell apart because a couple players were pulling too many mobs).

So I've been asking myself what I'm going to do.  On one hand, I feel like I'm going to bypass a bunch of content to get the Northrend.  On the other hand, the gold from from quest rewards is better in Northrend, and my pally needs to make some money. Magphloin is closing in on level 68.  Some players I know headed out to Northrend at that point, but to be honest, I'm in no rush with my paladin to 80. 

Monday, August 2, 2010

A Personal Confession (Social Anxiety and WoW)

I have mild social anxiety disorder.  I was diagnosed with it several years ago, but never took medication for it, because I don't really believe meds to be a solution, and the fact I can manage it (mostly).  If I go to a bar, and see the parking lot is full, and the bar is crowded through the windows, am I afraid to go in?  Certainly, but I force myself (sometimes my friend will force me), to walk through the doors.  Once I'm in, I enjoy myself, and forget the qualms I had seeing the parking lot.  There are other times when my social anxiety kicks in. For example, my friend who I went to high school with who was also my guitar instructor, invites me over to holiday cookouts.  Sometimes I go, and find I have a good time, despite feeling nervous, and trying to make excuses in my head to not go.  Other times I see all the people there, and don't bother to show because I don't want to seem socially awkward, and such, though I get along with everyone. For me, just showing up to a social function takes a lot of work and mental energy, even for family events.  There are people with social anxiety disorder who have it a lot worse than I do, but even a mild case of it makes things difficult sometimes.

What does this have to do with WoW?  I think the answer should be obvious.  WoW is designed, especially at level cap, to be a social game, working with other players to accomplish goals.  If you read some other posts, I prefer to play solo as often as possible.  Why?  The answer is simple.  I don't have to worry about looking like a fail player, or be the person that causes a wipe, or the person who has poor dps levels.  Even running heroics, which at this point are easy (except for HoR), I feel nervous going into them, despite the fact I've run most of them enough, and the fact that if I PUG them, I probably won't see the other players again.  To make matters worse, if I PUG (I'm dps), I have to wait 15 minutes most of the time.  I get nervous just waiting. That's 15 minutes to ask myself which instance will I get?  How will the group be?  I have a 5k gear score.  Will people think I suck if my dps is less than 3.5?  Often the nerves get the best of me, and I leave que, a part of me feeling relieved.

This kind of reached an apex this past weekend.  I left the guild I was in.  I had explained to a couple of the officers that my playstyle (not raiding), and the fact I cut back on my playing some, didn't make me a good fit for the guild at the moment.  One of the officers told me they like to have good people in the guild, even if they don't play or raid much, but if I'm in a guild, I want to be active and contribute outside of saying "grats", and a lame joke here or there.  If I'm not raiding, or helping other players as often as I feel I should, then the guild should have other players who can come in and provide that.  My toon is just dead weight.

One may ask what does leaving the guild have to do with SAD?  While I wasn't able to raid ICC with them (GS too low), I could have done other raids, such as VoA, or Ulduar when players were looking for a group.  I usually kept quiet.  A part of me wanted to join, but the negative thoughts crept into my head.  As a non-raider, I've never done a raid outside a weekly boss, or fighting some ICC trash.  Of course, I thought to myself if I join group, I'll have no clue what I'm doing, look like an idiot, and an incompetent player in front of the guildies, hence ruining my chance to do other raids. In my mind, I'd rather my toon have no name than a bad rep, just as in real life.

I've seriously considered quitting WoW of late.  The only reason I still play is to say hello to some people in my friends list, and it helps me keep in contact with former coworkers of mine (one of whom told me not to mind other people, but it is hard not too).  Other than that, there's very little incentive for me to continue to play if I have to rely on other people constantly to accomplish goals, or improve my character. 

I know a lot of this is in my head.  I'm at the point now where even if I do something new, I listen to other players tips, and quickly adapt to the situation.  However, I remember being a fresh 80, not really knowing my class, and stepping my toes into instances for the first time.  I remember all the negative comments I received and people being jerks to me.  People who obviously forgot what it was like to be a fresh 80.  I try to tell myself to forget all that, that I have some clue as to what I'm doing now, but the ghosts of those voices in party chat still run through my mind.

I understand some people may not be able to relate to what I just blogged.  The people who thrive on the social aspect of the game, and let any negative players roll off their shoulders.  However, there may be other players out there who suffer from SAD, and play WoW.  To those players, I want to say you are not alone.