Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Things learned yesterday

Yes, I know, zomg, two posts on one day. This should be a quickie, like the other one, though.

So, things I learned yesterday:
  • No, you will not participate in a heroic 30 minutes before raid time. No, there is nothing in particular you would have had to do in that time, but, you know how it goes, you get CoS, and then you come out of it 5 minutes before raid time. Which would be perfectly fine for a "regular" (that sounds so unintentionally demeaning) raider. But you're a raid leader now. Things are different. You need to relax and unwind before a raid, so you can be focused on the spot when the lights go on.
  • No, after the raid you will not agree to run the level 70 alts of two of your guildies through a dungeon, no matter how much you like them. Especially not if you're fully expecting to run a random heroic when your favourite druid gets home that day. It'll leave you with 5 hours straight of tanking/leading in dungeons, which is, with all due love for the game, taxing.
  • No, you are not the only tank in the guild. Relax. Heroic 5-mans do not require your attendance to be saved from the evil LFD. There are others who can (and do!) take that badge up (curiously, you ended up DPSing on that first run you impulsively joined, which was fun, but...). Run when you want to run, not when you "have to".
  • In short: learn to say "no".

Realisation strikes .. with a hammer

Ever wondered what those pretty bugs you occasionally see around the Argent Coliseum are supposed to be there for? I did! So did my favourite druid (attention - new forest! Update your pathmarks). Every time we'd be there and one of these creatures would cross the area only to disappear under one of the buildings, we'd exchange curious remarks in chat or on Vent. What are they? Why aren't they even targetable?

There I was yesterday, running The Room of the Crusader. It was going very smoothly, we got to the last boss without incidents. One of our raiders had to AFK briefly, I was done outlining the tactics (and people who know the fight better than me were done correcting my mistakes - thank you guys!), so we were all just standing around for a few minutes, mentally preparing for the fight ahead. I was gazing around the cave. My eyes stopped on one of the scarabs, non-aggressive at that point. "Hmm," I thought, "he looks remarkably like..."

And then my mind wandered back to maybe 10 minutes earlier.

The Lich King yells: The Nerubians built an empire beneath the frozen wastes of Northrend. An empire that you so foolishly built your structures upon. MY EMPIRE.

Structures. Coliseum. Passive bug here ... non-targetable bug there ... oh ... OH!

Subtle, Blizzard, very subtle. Consider my hat taken off to you.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Faction Champions is not PvP

Yesterday, our spunky little guild had a crack at Lord Jaraxxus and then at the infamous Faction Champions in the equally infamous Trial of the Crusader raid. To clarify: some (few) of us had done those fights before, some others (very few) had even been in the unfortunate situation to farm them. Of those 9 (yep, nine) who were in there yesterday, the majority (including myself) had not seen those before. But, boy, have we read about them! Well, about Faction Champions.

Respected bloggers foamed at their mouths, raid leaders everywhere ended up shouting at their members to quit whining and focus, the waves of rage rose high and strong. It was nerfed and subsequently overgeared, yet probably remains as the most hated encounter in recent WoW history. Maybe in all of WoW's history. And now lil' Rem here has finally participated in it. We even beat it, despite being only 9 people (and, boy, if on any fight that makes a particularly large difference, this is the one), after several attempts during which we polished our tactics.

After we were done, a guild mate asked me if I see now why people call it a PvP-style fight. We had a little discussion about it before, an utterly friendly discussion as I shall immediately add, where I claimed most problems people have with it stem from mislabelling it as PvP and then getting all worked up about it instead of just taking the encounter as it is and focusing on it. I shall further add that I am hereby in no way dissing said guild mate - she's lovely and competent - this is merely about perception and interpretation.

What shall I say .. yes, I do see why people call it a PvP-style fight. Because those models look just like player models and use the same skills player characters have at their disposal, that's why. It's not a PvP fight (obviously) nor a PvP-style fight at all. Sorry. Okay, okay, I'll be fair, there is one good reason why people tend to call it PvP-style: it utilizes many tactical elements usually observed in PvP (particularly Arenas). Lockdown, kiting, dispels, focus fire, defensive/reactive crowd control. They all appear in PvE as well though. So, what's really different?

Actually, really different is that the traditional PvE rules of the holy trinity are ignored. You know, tanks gather stuff up, DPS burns stuff down, healers heal tanks and DPS. The simple fact that in the Faction Champions opponents may just start chasing your healer while there's very little your tank can do about it makes people call it PvP-style. But that's not enough, by far not enough, and the reason is quite simple. This is not what constitutes the difference between PvE and PvP. And no, I am not going for the cheap out of syntactically claiming that you're not playing against other players. The come back to that is to call it "PvP-style" instead of "PvP". No, the point is that the Champions do not emulate player behaviour in its most crucial aspect - adaptation and reaction.

Remember, in the second paragraph, I wrote that we got them down "after several attempts during which we polished our tactics"? This is it, basically. Over the course of those attempts, we analysed the problem and improved our approach to solving it. At the same time, the Champions made no adjustments to counter our changing tactics. Their approach remained entirely static, modified only by RNG. We were confronted by a set of rules, and once we figured out its weakness and honed our execution, we cracked it. This is PvE, absolutely and utterly, regardless of the fact that we may have used different skills in different ways to those we are usually utilising.

You have to react and adapt in both PvE and PvP, but in the case of the former, your opposition does not react and adapt beyond defined rules and RNG influence. And this is why Faction Champions is not a PvP-style encounter.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Thought for the day: proof by authority

In the best tradition of KiaSA

If your argument loses weight when omitting the "5 years" part, it wasn't a good argument to begin with.

Monday, 8 March 2010

And it all worked out pretty well

Dear reader. You may remember this justified angsty post from September last year. After that post it actually took me almost another month to start working, and yet another month to really pull myself together - or finally panic enough - and get into the writing frenzy which was needed at that point. I made it, I handed in my thesis in time (on 28.12.) and as of last Friday I am in possession of a certificate that boldly states that I've been awarded an academical degree. Wheeee!

Huge, huge, infinite thanks to Alqua and Colt for all the moral support and motivation they provided when it was most needed. And it was needed more than you can imagine. I can't thank you enough. Also, without further elaboration on this point, really big thanks to my parents, for everything.

So, why have I not been blogging more recently? Again, I am not sorry. The limiting factor, once again, is time. I am currently shifting mine between the following things:
  • Work - the one I'm still in until the end of the month and still have more than a few tasks to finish for before I can walk off into the sunset.
  • Job search - my future, wonderful employment. It's going to be wonderful, I'm sure! Anyway, finding it and getting into it does require some additional investment. Lots, in fact.
  • Pushing Enthusiasm forward - our little and ambitious guild has blossomed over the last couple of weeks. Growth and development, however, require lots of attention, and it'll take a while before things settle into patterns and we can shift into "low maintenance mode".
  • Actually playing WoW - quite a fun thing to do. Really.
  • Researching on WoW - I like to know stuff. About my own role, and about others' roles as well. Especially since I'm kind of trying to grow into the position of a raid leader, it's really useful to know what's actually going on during those encounters. And crucial to have at least a basic understanding of all classes. Trying, trying.
  • Domestic tasks, social contacts - everything human beings tend to do in addition to the sleep/work/hobby trinity.
  • Blogging. Oh yes...

So, without any malice or disinterest on my part, blogging just ends up being the thing easiest pushed off the priority table. But I'll try, I'll do my best. As of now, I have a pretty specific topic on my mind I want to write about at length. Stay tuned!