Standing in Fire

"There are people who run from the fire, and there are people who run into it."

World of Warcraft: Looking for Group Documentary

I just finished watching the new documentary on the history of World of Warcraft. If you have any interest in Blizzrd, WoW or gaming in general, then you owe it to yourself to watch it. It is very well done, very heartfelt, and very open about the impact that WoW has had on the people that play it.

It got me thinking about why I play the game and my history with it. I started playing during the very first free 10 days trial that Blizzard offered, right at the end of Vanilla WoW. So, technically, I have been playing since the beginning. I started with a Druid, then a Warrior–two of the hardest classes to level at the time. The only problem was that I didn’t get it. Up till that point in time, I had only played games like Diablo II and Dungeon Siege. I played WoW like a single player game and didn’t get the MM aspect of an MMO.

I took a year off and then picked it back up. I tried to level both the Druid and the Warrior to no avail. So, after another break, I decided to roll an undead Warlock. I was still playing WoW like a single player game, but at least I got my lock to level 60. This was during The Burning Crusade, which I had not bought, so my warlock ended up stuck up in Winterspring since I didn’t know what to do next.

I finally bought TBC and tried a hunter. I had heard people talking about how much fun Beast Master was and wanted to try it out. I also wanted to try out the new races so I went alliance and leveled a Draenei hunter, my main for the next several expansions.

One day, something clicked and I finally got the whole MM part. I decided to join a guild. Actually, I decided to join the next guild that advertised in trade chat. I had no idea what I was doing…

Thankfully, the very next guild was one of the best on the server–The Red Dragons on Korialstrasz. The guild is long gone now, but it was a great home to begin with. They taught me what raiding was, dungeons, guilds, and everything that was a part of an MMORPG. I slowly worked my way up from lowly newbie that knew nothing to raid leader and top dps. In the end, the guild master went on leave and the guild fell apart. I decided to move on and joined a hardmode progression guild–Apotheosis on Eldre’Thalas.

I stayed with the guild for about six months before having to step down from raiding and eventually leaving the guild. My life was in a state of turmoil and I was having trouble juggling everything. We never got the server first we wanted, but I did have a good time and was there for several first kills. I also managed to consistently be top DPS on the Chimaeron fight.

Several years later and I am still playing. I have taken a few breaks, tried to quite a few times, but I am still here and eagerly waiting for the next expansion. I look back over the years and through all the changes and I have to ask myself why I am still playing. I’m not raiding right now, I don’t even know what class I’m going to play in WoD and yet I am still spending time in Azeroth. I think it is the community and the chance to be something bigger and greater than I am in my everyday life.

World of Warcraft gives me the chance to be a superhero and kill internet dragons with other people. I think, also, the history that I have in the game and the depth of the lore. I really feel that I am part of the universe that Blizzard has created. I love fantasy and WoW gives me the chance to live in a fantasy world. I can wield magic and be a paladin or I can run around with my pet and be a hunter or I can be sneaky and stab things in the back. But more then that, I walk beside lore characters, beside legends and help them protect a world that I have grown to love.

Now I’m Iron Man

I am now the proud owner of a new Sky Golem mount and am very happy with it. At 7,000 gold on the auction house, it wasn’t a bad deal. I really am not a big collector of mounts in the game, but, given the cost, I just couldn’t pass this one up.

What to play?

I caved…

After playing the beta and playing around in the 6.0.2 release, I caved and bought the new expansion. Now I just have to figure out what character to play.

I am a very promiscuous WoW player. Try a I want, I just can’t stick to one toon/class, I like to play the field. I have 10 level 90 toons and I enjoy playing them all. This got me into a lot of trouble in Mists.

In Mists, I was going to play my Druid and tank as a bear. When the 5.0 patch landed at the end of Cata it seemed like a lot of fun. The guild I was in at the time already had several tanks and I found it hard to start off tanking, but I got some time in and slowly started progressing.

I also levelled up my Warlock and wanted to try her out. I started out as Affliction and had a lot of fun.

The problem was that I felt guilty about leaving my Hunter behind. He was my main toon for a good part of Wrath and some of Cata. Although, I had also played my Paladin and Warrior in Wrath as well.

In fact, I was on several raid teams as a Holy Paladin and had a lot of fun single healing Dreamwalker in ICC.

My hunter was the toon on which I joined a hardmode progression guild and consistently got the highest DPS on the Chimaeron fight in Blackwing Descent. So I had a fair bit of loyalty, but I was also bored of playing him.

The new expansion, they have completely destroyed hunters and I have no desire to play one anymore. I know there are a ton of people out there devoted to the class, but I am basically done with it.

I am thinking of picking up a spec I have not really raided on yet. This leaves out my Death Knight, Druid, Hunter, Paladin (regardless of how much I enjoy Retribution), and Priest. And it leaves my Warlock, Rogue, Warrior, Monk, and Mage. I refuse to raid on a Shaman and would have to level one anyway.

So let’s break down what remains and see if we can come to any conclusions.

For Mages, I only really like Fire and, push come to shove, would rather play my Warlock. My Rogue is an option and I tried to raid on her in Cata, but was asked not to (and stupidly agreed). The problem with the Rogue is that I only really enjoy playing Assassination. I have played Combat, but I don’t like hitting the same key over and over again.

If I want to tank, I think I would pick the Warrior over the Monk. Although there is a lot more to do on the Monk, I am much more used to playing a Prot Warrior and really enjoy the spec. Plus, Fury ain’t too bad as a DPS spec.

So let’s talk about the Warlock. I did a fair amount of LFR in Mists on her and had a fair amount of fun. Who isn’t going to enjoy being the top DPS and beating legendary-equipped toons with an of the rack cloak? Destruction, though, is fairly routine now and Affliction is boring with no cool spell affects. This leaves Demonology, which I will probably try out once the expansion hits, but not yet.

To wrap this all up, I am not sure I am any closer to a decision than when I started. Ah well, I still have a month of so to make up my mind.

To WoD or Not to WoD

That is definitely the question I am contemplating right now. Given that I have just started a new job and am living in a new country and a new town, will I have the time to play? On the other hand, the game gives me a chance to zone out and recharge, something I definitely need right now.

I am currently playing the beta and am having fun. I have no idea what class I want to play, but hopefully I can figure that out. I am thinking I would like to tank again, but I don’t want to play Druid. I am thinking of playing either my DK or my Warrior. On the other hand, playing my rogue for an expansion might be a lot of fun.

The classes that I don’t want to play are my Warlock, Hunter, Druid, or Priest. That leaves me with the Paladin, Rogue, Death Knight, Warrior or Monk. Or maybe I will do an expansion on my Mage (shudder).

Marathon of Miserry

Did I mention that I tried quitting the game? No? Well, I did, for about a month or so. And… now I’m playing again. The one thing I did quit was my former guild and my role as Raid Team Lead.

The reason I decided to try and quit the game was I wanted time to work on some creative stuff. I wanted to work on my art and to have the time to be bored. I don’t really enjoy my job and I don’t think I am very good at it either. I am not the world’s best programmer and I am definitely not very good at testing software. I have trouble looking and thinking beyond what is directly listed in the story. I want to go back and do something artsy and change my career. So quitting the game was an attempt to give myself the time to get bored and start working on some stuff.

The second reason I left is that I am tired of raiding without a defined team. I have a lot of trouble with letting anyone raid. There was one guildie that simple can’t tank, but the guild rules state that he is guaranteed a spot on the team and there was nothing I could do about it. For me, this is what Raid Finder is for. A person that can’t perform at some minimum level should not be allowed to raid. It is a question of making it frustrating for the other 9 people just so you don’t hurt one person’s feelings.

As a result, I have moved many of my toons and joined a new guild. I have yet to raid, but hopefully that will come with some time.

Now that your up to date, let’s talk about what I did this weekend.

For the fun of it, I decided to level a new Warlock as Destruction–Miserry. She is level 50 and completely maxed out in both Tailoring and Enchanting (meaning that she has level 300 in both). I have definitely had a lot of fun leveling her up and Destruction is a pretty good leveling spec with very little downtime due to the insane mana regen.

I spent the first few levels–up to level 20–questing with my Imp and then changed to my Voidwalker once I couldn’t kill mobs before they reached me. With the Voidwalker, I macro’d petattack to my Immolate spell so my pet reached the mob before my spell did. So far, I is working incredibly well. I rarely take any damage and I never have to stop.

I also did a fair amount of leveling through dungeons with varying results. The biggest problem was tanks that felt they could pull and entire room and Monk healers that felt all they needed to do was Spinning Crane Kick in order to heal. Hint, it doesn’t work, especially when the tank pulls too much.

My goal is to level my new baby lock and start raiding on her. It will probably take a few more weeks to get to max level, but hopefully, I will have a fully geared, talented, and professioned toon by the end of the journey.

Playing with TradeSkillMaster

I decided to pick up a new addon, TradeSkillMaster, after seeing an article about it on Wow Insider. First impressions, I have no idea what I’m doing with it. It is definitely going to take some time to figure out how to use it. It is one of those addons that you need to go and read a tutorial.

In addition, I have started to sell a fair bit more on the AH. I am starting with Darkmoon cards and some enchants. So far, I’ve made about 8000 gold. No idea if I can sustain this. I’m hoping that being a little more disciplined in what I am selling will help. Instead of just selling whatever is in my bag, I want to try selling the same things over and over and trying to learn a few markets. My motivation for this is that I want to buy some Darkmoon Trinkets for my toons, so I need a fair bit more gold.

Can’t beat mechanics

Once a week, a bunch of us go into Firelands and try to get a few or my guildies a little closer to their legendary staffs. Lately, we have been finishing up all the achievements. This includes heroics. For the most part, we are able to down the boss. And then we get to Ragnaros; 6-7% and we’re all dead. Right now, it is Empower Sulfuras that is killing us. We just can’t get him into the roots on time to stun him.

Granted, we have only had a few attempts (4 or 5 max), but we’re all level 90 and should be able to just zerg it, right?!?

I have a love/hate relationship with mechanics based fights like this where winning comes down to control and not straight out dps. I find them to be the most rewarding fights to beat, but I also find them the most frustrating as I patiently wait for everyone to learn the dance.

We also got our first taste of Elegon this week; another mechanics based fight. Although there is a component of DPS to it due to the strict enrage timer, but you need to get each phase and each transition down before you can win. This past week, that meant getting through phase 1 with on 2 Protectors and phase 2 with 3 waves of sparks killed. We were able to accomplish our goal for phase 1, but not phase 2.

I just hope the frustration is worth the reward for both of these fights. At least Ragnaros we only need to kill a few times on heroic. Elegon we will need to kill every week. Hopefully practice does make perfect.

Finally picked a raiding toon

The last month has been a bit of a roller coaster when it comes to WoW. I have now levelled three toons to ninety, not because I necessarily wanted to, but because I couldn’t decide what to do.

I initially wanted to level my druid, Raineshadow, as a Guardian bear tank and try tanking for T14 raids. Except, at the time, it seemed that we had enough tanks and we had enough tanks that didn’t have DPS specs. We were also short healers. As a result, I respecced as Resto and healed a few dungeons. I hated it.

It has taken me a long time to realize something I already know, I don’t actually like healing. I did it in the last expansion because it guaranteed me a raid spot and because Discipline Priest was a fairly easy class to heal with, plus, you got to DPS. So, I had a decision to make, continue playing a role I didn’t enjoy or switch.

I decided to switch.

During all this, I was levelling my hunter, Traellus, to 90 as well and getting him geared for raiding. Problem is that I am in a guild where everyone seems to have a hunter. We went into MSV last night with 3 hunters in the raid. The last thing we need is another hunter.

The decision now was, “do I want to raid on my hunter and share loot or do I level yet another toon to 90 and raid on it?” I now have a level 90 warlock, Miiranda, that I will be raiding on (I am getting exceptionally good at power levelling). I still have a little bit of work to do to get her raid ready–her iLevel is a little low and she needs some enchants–but hopefully our guild will have another raiding lock next week.

And hopefully it will have a little happier raid lead as I go back to the role I enjoy the most, blowing things up.

Day 02 – Why you decided to start a blog

Why start anything? Okay, bad start, let’s try this again. To write. Yeah, I like that answer, let’s go with that.

I wanted to practice writing and needed something interesting to write about. I had another blog since 2002 where I wrote about tech stuff, but I really don’t have anything else to say over there and until I figure out what to do with it, this blog will help with the writing skills.

The nice thing about doing a World of Warcraft blog is that I am not restricted to a single style of writing. I can add some personality and try different types of writing. With a tech blog, that I was using mostly for professional reasons, I needed to stick to, well, professional writing. I couldn’t write a post from the point of view of my keyboard or mouse. With this blog, my toons get their own voices and personalities.

I also needed a topic that I was passionate about enough to keep me writing. Hopefully, with a subject as rich as WoW, that won’t be a problem.

Day 01 – Introduce yourself

In an attempt at getting this blog up and running, and along with the other kinds of writing I plan to do, I wanted to do the 20 Days of… WoW Blogging challenge. The first challenge is to introduce one’s self, so here goes.

I am me, nice to meet you. I like WoW.

In fact, I probably play far too much of it. I also like reading about WoW and watching videos of it. Hmm…, I gotta get a life ;-). I also want to see if I like writing about it. I also want to see if I like writing about it, and, by extension, see if I like writing. So here goes…

Other interests? Let’s see. Science fiction, action movies, creative things, ideas and information, and… Well, currently, that is one of the problems. I am not sure what else I am interested in. A life goal is to answer that question. But that is probably more than you wanted to know.

As for WoW, I have played every class up to level 85.

I set myself a challenge to level all 10 classes during Wrath of the Lich King, but there was just too much to do. With Cataclysm, and a lot less to do, I was able to complete my quest; ten classes to level 85. However, I will not be doing this in Mists, it is too much work and far too expensive.

Instead, I have decided to concentrate (in order) on just five characters: Traellus, my hunter; Nyea, my priest; Raineshadow, my druid; Kirune, my paladin; and Traedeth, my death knight. So expect posts for each class and posts from each toon as they make their way through Pandaria.

To close, let the journey begin. I am as eager as you to see how it goes. This is the first step.

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