Sunday, February 1, 2015

Minipost: Are Garrisons antisocial?

One of the biggest complaints about Garrisons is that though they are great, they are very antisocial. I've heard complaints about how everyone spends time in their Garrisons, when they used to bum around in the big cities (eg. outside the gates of Orgrimmar, or on the steps at Shrine).

"You can still do that," others said.  Which is true, but unless everyone is doing it, hanging around in an empty city is less productive, so you might as well just hang in your Garrison.

I think people underestimate the social aspect of Warspear.  And whatever the Alliance version is called.  Warspear is only a portal away from your Garrison, and there are always people there, hanging around the Auction House or waiting for an Ashran/BG/Arena/LFR queue to pop.  There are always lots of people in Warspear.  And it's a quick hearth back to the Garrison if you want to be OCD and get your missions as soon as they complete.  So if you want to, just hang there!

What I thought would be cool was a guild hangout - which would be another instance portal from the Garrison.  Unfortunately, from a technical point of view that would have to be an instance or something, and I can imagine it would cause more problems rather than solve any.  It would be kinda neat if you had a guild bank and bank there, repairs, Guild vendors and maybe it would be cool if we could have guild monuments or trophies for achievements we've done.  In reality though, would you need a place like that?  We have guild chat, so you don't really need to all hang out in one room - a lot of the time you don't really want to just hang around doing nothing anyway, well I certainly don't.  And if you wanted to all hang out and do something, you could form a raid and have everyone move to the leader's Garrison - something I have seen my guildies doing on multiple occasions. I think also that guildies want to see what other people on the server are talking about, and hanging around in a public place was good for that.

However, and I loathe to say it, that there is the general/trade chat, which you can see in your Garrison when you're in there.  I personally found that very similar to just hanging around on the steps of the Shrine.  So you can always find out what's going on in the world by reading that crap information.

It's nice how people are always dropping their Blingtrons outside the Garrison so everyone can click it.  People are still yearning for the interactions, and I don't really think that Garrisons have isolated us from everyone - there are ways to get out and about and be social, but now there's places we can just chill out and relax and do our little chores without worrying who you're going to bump into when you're still trying out the half-baked transmog.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Raiding - Trash farming? Since when have we gotten anything useful?

It's the end of the medical rotation year, so all our old trainees are leaving so last night I had a farewell dinner for them.  There was much amusement when I said that I had to leave at 8:15pm or so.

"Why do you have to go?  Aren't the kids in bed?"
One of my colleages gave me a sly look.  "I think she wants to go play World of Warcraft."
I gave him a rather direct glare, softened by a grin.  "Now how did you know?"
His mouth fell open in disbelief.  "You know, I was actually JOKING...!"
"Well," I replied.  "I wasn't."

So off I went home.  On the way home I got a phone call from Aimei, wondering where I was. I reassured him that I would be online to raid and he said that Una was not feeling well and might not raid.  My heart sank, thinking that Alca also would be busy looking after her so that would mean two people not able to raid, one being an amazing healer.

I got online, got myself settled and Alca and Una were in the raid but they wanted to leave early.  I did want them to stay, but if they left halfway through the raid I would be stuffed - I wouldn't be able to drag out replacements. Though, Bish said he was going to be late, so I could use him as a sub at 10.  But what about a DPS?

Dragonray was also having concerns about her gear and damage, and wanted to sit out. I knew Arelion was keen to raid and since he was tanking the weekends he would benefit a lot from seeing the fight and even rolling some gear, perhaps.  He was keen, in fact he was keen to be a sub most days of the week (except Wednesday) and was always ready on the standby in case we needed him.

Crooked also suddenly turned up a little late which threw the mix out even more especially when he said that he wouldn't mind sitting out because he wasn't feeling that well.  ARGH!

So, I made the tough decision, I made Alca and Una sit out (much to my distress, I would have liked to keep them), and Dragonray.  Bish made it online just after raid started and Crooked was made to stay to help heal (he was top heals on Kargath previously) and I got Arelion in.

Well.  Now this was interesting.

Tanks: Aimei, Snowcaller
Healers: Crooked, Navimie, Koda, Biship, Punchynok
DPS: Sevrus, Azadelta, Madcow, Fallnapart, Arelion, Kyjenn, Hwired, Discoisdead, Duckalot, Luxygaga, Cptsars, Kelthal, Lushen

I see 4 ranged.  And 9 melee.  That's just crap for tigers!

So our first attempt felt slow and poor Luxy was being eaten by tigers running THROUGH the flames to get to her... which was a bit crappy.  Also, we had a couple of times where some random people got sent up instead of Kelthal and the second time that people go up, it's always harder for me, there just seem to be more bombers and Bileslingers, but maybe that isn't the case, it just FEELS like that's the case.  Tigers were up for longer which was an issue since we had so few ranged.

I asked Crooked if he could DPS.  We probably didn't need 5 healers anyway.  He was a bit surprised, as he was the highest heals according to Skada (but according to Warcraft Logs he was the lowest - I don't understand these logs) but I said we needed ranged DPS more than we needed healing, and if I felt like we needed 5 healers again, I'd get Cptsars to heal so I could get rid of a melee.

And that second time it was much better.  I think the extra ranged helped.

The loot was very shiny.  Luxy got Treads of Sand and Blood, and Disco got Casque of the Iron Bomber.  There was a bit of fuss about the remaining loot, Champion's Medallion, which I'll mention a bit later.

There was one more item, Chestguard of the Roaring Crowd, but I hadn't made my mind up about it yet because I was thinking about that neckpiece.  And we were off clearing trash, which kept my mind very busy with healing and little time to be thinking about loot or whether I should be taking it. We made it to the stairs and there was no trash loot from the mobs - which was what happened last week.  I remember thinking "Trash farming? Yay for all this nonexistent trash drops and the big repair bill!" and just when I was about to open my mouth and complain about the lack of trash drops we had a shiny Milenah's Intricate Cloak drop.  Madcow snapped that one up.  And then when we were in the Twin Ogron's room, Hwired disconnected.  And there on the trash mob was a Gill's Glorious Windcloak.  I think I screamed that I wanted it.  Maybe a little too enthusiastically.  So we had to wait PATIENTLY until Hwired got back on so he could distribute loot.  It was around this time the healers started to discuss that cloak and the Champion's Medallion - I already had a Mythic Warforged one, Bish had a Mythic with a socket, and Koda had a heroic version.  So I tried to make her take but she refused.  Arelion also refused to take loot - I reassured him that nobody would think he didn't deserve any loot since he tanks on the Sunday and shows up to help with raids during the week, and he has a really high priority loot, but he dug his heels in and said no, because he didn't feel comfortable taking loot when it was his first time here and people had worked hard for the loot and he was a "ring in".  Kyjenn was also chatting to him a lot about it, encouraging him to take stuff but once Arelion has made up his mind he can be pretty stubborn about it.  I understand where he was coming from - if it had been me I would feel uncomfortable if it was my first time in the heroic raid group and I took a loot that others could have taken.

So after looking at that loot, I decided that I would take it, since Koda had a Heroic Warforged one and Bish had a heroic one (and I had a normal one). So that worked out very nicely for Koda and myself but not so nice for Bish.  He wasn't fussed though. Oh, and that Chestguard of the Roaring Crowd... since nobody took it, and it was the mythic version of my chest, I decided to take it.

But that wasn't the only trash drops, there was a mythic warforged Grips of Vicious Mauling that Kelthal grabbed as well!  So that was a good trash farm!

Twins was very hectic.  People were bad at dodging fire at first, but they improved as the night went on.  However, we were still well behind on damage I think and people were still dying despite healers best efforts. I was being an absolute ninny and somehow managed to die from charge 3 times.  Ugh. I think it was time to finish the raid!

One more night of Highmaul left!  Boy am I looking forward to it!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Raiding - Faster clears but more stuffups

I have seen a definite pattern to my gameplay.  I have found that when I have to be woken up to raid because I have inadvertently fallen asleep putting the kids to bed, I play like an absolute MORON. Especially when Aimei has to ring me to get on for raid.

I also thought I was doing well in terms of healing, but really, when it was not because of skill it was because of gear.  My poor healer buddies all had ilvls of 658 or so whilst I was up at 669.  And it's not that I have awesome gear.  It's they have really BAD gear!  When they catch up I will be probably be the healer carry!

So here's my raid highlights for the night.

  • Firstly, Shoushiro has made a comeback.  Now that his account is unbanned, he is playing again and there was a request for him to be able to come to heroic raid.  His ilvl is rather low, so I wasn't happy about that especially since he could do with some gear from heroic dungeons, normal Highmaul and LFR.  So I said he could come for the first 3 bosses but I wasn't pleased because there are others who would love to come to heroic raids and I don't let them. However, Shou was supposed to be part of our raid team anyway and we could use a rogue.  He rolled Throat-Ripper Gauntlets from Kargath and got Flenser's Hookring from the Butcher.  I had to DE a dagger later - made me wish I had brought him but rules are rules! 
  • Kargath was smooth as silk.  You expect that though if we're already doing Mythic. Shou was the only death but that wasn't unexpected. It takes time for the melee to figure out not to stand on the sides where ranged are standing (which is next to the fire poles).
  • Butcher was a bit hairy.  For some reason Cptsars had somehow migrated to the middle instead of being on a side and so he got every stack for the first 5 stacks.  It got sorted but we ended up a little behind on heals and then people started to drop off towards the end of the fight.
  • Brackenspore also went well, except Aimei dying, which we couldn't do much about since he had Necrotic Breath on him and was getting smacked by Brackenspore.
  • Tectus was where my dumbass playing showed me up.  I died TWICE, the first time from trying to run through Crystalline Barrage to get to the rest of the team, and the second time from trying to get around a mountain spike and got spiked in the butt and died.  Definitely NOT my finest moment.
  • Twin Ogron's was where Aza was having a moment. He died twice from being in the blaze. Though to be fair he was on the phone to work, and somehow managed to be in the wrong spec.  Maybe he got woken up just before raid as well.
  • Ko'ragh was at least a one shot but the melee took a beating - KyXyn and Disco were following a tank with Expel Magic: Arcane which is a death sentence, and Koda kinda forgot to tranq during shadow and Kyxyn died again from a combination of shadow and fire.
  • I thought we had a good chance for an Imperator kill but it wasn't to be, and we were taking more damage than before.  Mines were not as good as Monday either, and tanks also didn't get their debuff to run away fast enough and health was low in general.  I had woken up by then so I was being a little better with my placement of things like Efflo (trying to get two shifts from mine out of one Efflo) but mana was not great, not like it was on Monday.  Also, we had 3 extra DPS so that made the strain a little bit more as well.
  • I had to DE a lot of plate, especially boots.  I wish Yeti (on her pally) and Arelion had been there.
  • Koda and Bish got some good upgrades by the end of the night - at the end of last week she still had 3 blue items and she got the Champion's Medallion from Kargath, and then a heroic warforged Gill's Glorious Windcloak (I wanted it but she needed it more!) and then Mountainwalker's Boots.  She went from 658 to 666 by the end of the night!  Bish also walked out with 3 loots too - Crystal-Woven Bracers, Emblem of Caustic Healing and Destablised Sandals (I can't believe Blizzard spelt Destabilised WRONG) and also joined the 658 to 666 club.  He was wearing ilvl 610 blue boots.. OMG!!  Cptsars also walked out with 3 loots - Flenser's Hookring, Moss-woven Mailshirt and Phemos' Double Slasher.
So, still a fun night, but fraught with errors.  Tonight is Mythic night so let's see if we can get Kargath down without too many stuff ups and at least have a few goes on Twins!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Guildleader chores - The Draenor casualties and pressure of Mythic

The raid leader of another guild on my server was chatting to me the other day, and saying "What's going on with your guild?  So many people are leaving!"

People never believe me when I say to be patient and things settle down. It's as if they think I'm making it up when I say I have been in this guild at the start of EVERY EXPANSION and I watch people come and go.

Since raiding started, I saw Dragonray's Caelestrasz friends (Ravzz, Drauka and Daenerys) leave and join another guild. Brahski had a few friends who came back to game but got bored and have already stopped playing. Siness, Genesis and Sunny were fun to play with, I am sad that they aren't around, they seemed like decent people. Vaakis, who came back to game and moved his toons back into the guild, moved his druid out to a New Zealand guild so he could see a bit more end game - I can totally understand that (though he left his alts here in Frostwolves).  Souglyy and Vexil left for personal reasons, and the latest round of leavers are Roshii and Chosenx who are going to raid with their real life friends who have come back to the game.

Roshii leaving was sad, as he has been here since Cataclysm, but it was hardly surprising. He objected very strongly to EPGP and found the whole system unfair, the concept of "buying" your loot. He is not the only one who had those concerns, Aza said the same thing too.

Xyn said that he also thought that loot council was a better loot option than EPGP, however, in a casual guild, I think loot council doesn't work well and Xyn even agreed with that. It alienates the casual people who may feel like they are turning up just to ensure that the regulars get loot, and that's not exactly fun.  It would just encourage them to turn up LESS.

However, on a positive note, I think I'm finally seeing the group beginning to gel.  The raiders all know each other now, and there is more comraderie between them, and a little less tension. Raids are a little quiet but most people are trying to concentrate, I guess. But I'm happy with how it's all going! Heroic cleared and a mythic done - yes there's only one week left to go, but we can step into Blackrock Foundry and hopefully get a bit more momentum than we did when we were starting raiding in Highmaul.  Also, Sunday is going so well, and a really solid group of casuals are turning up (if only there were more healers!) and I am really pleased that it's going well. There are also a regular group of the mythic/heroic raiders who turn up to the raid as well, and that's great to see.  On Sunday I was a little late and there weren't enough healers and we had 4 druid healers, it was pretty funny. An overload of druids and hunters and no warlocks or rogues... guess what are the coolest classes to play!

I've been really impressed with Arelion and Bleidd's tanking.  The two have been communicating well and Arelion has been really calm and patient. I am hoping that we can squeeze Arelion into some heroic raids so he can gear up for the weekend and at least sub in for heroics, which would be really good.

If we can just keep the current numbers, we'll go OK.  We can still raid mythic with our current raid team setup, if we don't lose anymore people.  A lot of guilds are recruiting on the server, and our chances of picking up people if we drop below 20 are very very slim.  Siege, which made a comeback with the release of the expansion, has dropped below the numbers they need for mythic, and it's a vicious cycle once that starts - people want to do mythic, but can't, so they look for other guilds that can accommodate them but that only reduces the number of raiders further, and then now they'll need to recruit even MORE people... it's the slow spiral towards death for a raiding guild without the social cohesiveness. I look at our current crop of raiders and wonder if we were in that position how many of them would stay and how many would leave looking for greener pastures? I think I would lose somewhere from 3 to 5 raiders, but we could still do heroic.  I wonder how far we will get in the next raid?  There are only 3 days left of Highmaul before Blackrock Foundry comes, and I am excited!