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Back in the Saddle… Again

October 28, 2011

Dear Reader,

I’ve got two tangentially connected thoughts for our correspondence today, all self-absorbed to varying degrees (as many blogs are!).  I hope you can bear the spin of my Stubborn-centric universe and forgive an old bull for all his… well… bull (;

First and foremost, on Wednesday night, for the first time in just under a year, I downed an appropriate-level boss from the current patch.  Sure, the hardcore players out there may say “It’s been nerfed 30%, so it doesn’t really count,” but it does.  The repercussions are booming like Krakatoa after a spicy meal (but in a good way).  Shannox met a trap-filled doom on Wednesday night with my new guild on an attempt that was really about as perfect as one could ask for.

We’d pulled her maybe 15 or 20 times (overall, not in one night), and each attempt got a little cleaner.  I’d spoken to my wife about reforging for a bit more spirit (she loves her crit, in the true fashion of a patch 3 paladin, no matter what anyone else says), and her mana problems evaporated.  She told me that she knew going in the phase 3 that was the successful attempt because she still had 60% mana.

We’d been struggling a bit with the damage output of phase 3, but that was really the only issue we were having.  We’d had on our second pull (overall, not of the night) a phase 3 attempt, but our tank DC’d and we didn’t see how much damage went out as Shannox went wild all over the raid.  Last night, we had a 2% wipe (which immediately preceded the kill), so we were all feeling the fight, watching the traps, killing the dogs, etc etc.  For those in part-core guilds who are interested , the strat that worked for us was Rageface to death, Shannox to 40%, Riplimb to death, then bloodlust (err… heroism, now).  Most of the previous wipes were tank deaths in phase 3 where I was unable to get into second place (being the dog tank – which I must say is MUCH harder than main tanking Shannox), so we lost too much dps in the intervening bloodbath.

In that final attempt, I got (I think, at least I called for) a misdirect and tricks of the trade to get me up faster, but after calling for them I saw how well everyone was doing and knew I wouldn’t need them.  I didn’t.  Everyone survived without even a close call.  It was a thing of beauty.

Not having downed a boss since the Conclave of Wind a few weeks after the expansion hit, it felt good to be back in the saddle.  Whatever doubts I had about this guild, which I think were shared silently by my RL friends (at least via some of their “guild heroics are harder than pugs” stories), it’s become clear that this guild can be a successful current raid content guild.  I’ve heard that, while Shannox is easiest, most other bosses in there do not have a higher dps requirement, so I have high hopes of clearing Firelands someday, though whether it’s before 4.3 is doubtful.  All the same, it’s a success, and I’m glad to have shared it with my friends and new guild.

That creates a perfect segue to my next topic, which is about mammals and their children.  I don’t have them, and at this point I don’t want them (though I’m not so foolish to say never).  I used to get all my kid interaction through school teaching, but now my “kids” are so old that it’s not the same.  However, I’ve seen in my time one connected thought that was true for most teachers, most parents, and even most kids.  We want better for them.  We want our kids to enjoy life more than we have, have things easier than we do, and avoid the mistakes we’ve made.

I felt the same pang, recently.  As mentioned in a comment in my last post, our new RL friends have been playing Wow for a while, and recently the wife of the pair asked my wife how they could improve.  My wife wasn’t sure how to answer; it’s an extremely heavy question.  My wife and I used to love WoW almost unconditionally, but first I became a main tank of a raiding guild, then she became a serious dpser, and we both experienced the shift from having fun to doing math, crunching numbers, researching talents, gear, efficiency, and so forth.  It’s not to say that it wasn’t “Fun” at the time, but the longer it went on, the less fun it was, and the more Should Be‘s were felt.

We weren’t sure how to proceed.  We know WoW’s been ruined for us several times over (with many breaks as a result), and we definitely don’t want this to happen to our friends – we want better for them, you see.  We want them to avoid the pitfalls we’ve fallen into.  We showed them Ask Mr. Robot.  I’ve pointed out a few blogs for class-specific information.  All the same, I’m not sure this is the right road to venture down.

But back when I was in their place, I did.  I ventured down it.  I wanted to learn, and nothing really was going to stop me.  I had my buddy, the warrior tank, to teach me a lot of what I needed to know, but as they’re both dps, and not dps I’ve ever done (a rogue and a boomkin, though I did boomkin some of the Saurfang fights to moderate success.  It was easy back then, though), there’s little help I can give other than providing sources.

I had at one point, a low point over the past few weeks, when we were clearing trash in the Firelands again instead of taking shots at the boss, said to my wife that our friends getting better might cause problems with their guild, as I have no doubt that they could be far more successful than most of the players in said guild.  Now that Shannox’s dead, I’ll have to think some more on that, but since they were both there, as were the other top dpsers in the guild, that makes for a full raid team, so if we can maintain that, everything may be fine.

I remember outgrowing my first guild.  It wasn’t my first guild, which imploded due to drama, but my first guild of strangers, a place where I wasn’t first known and had earned my rank.  It’s well documented, so I won’t repeat the story here, but suffice it to say that it sucks.  It’s like breaking up with a person you’ve been with for a long time (another crappy thing I’ve had to do, though since she was in Spain and had emptied our bank account it was made a little easier for me.  More on that another time, perhaps sometime after never).  To put in so much passion, practice, and time only to realize “I can’t change them/him/her” is painful, and it can make you feel both foolish and vicious to break it off.

I didn’t want to put them in that position.  I also knew if they wanted to leave, that I’d be displaced, too, since I’m only in the guild in relation to them.  Since I’m getting along well with everyone there (barring the 15 (but actually 28) year old “main” tank, who I get along with just fine since I tease her a lot but who I think dislikes me to no end – more on that another time), I didn’t really want to go guild shopping again.  I’m getting perilously close to trying to go back to a previous guild, but I don’t know how that would be received, whether I’d really even be welcome, and nor do I want to be in a position to have to beg.

Luckily, perhaps WoW sun shined on this dog’s butt for a change.  This boss kill had bigger repercussions than just a few more epics (one of which was wasted on me – plate healing bracers which I will almost certainly never wear since my healing set is PvP – too bad, too; they were a nice piece.  As is the fate of the game, my wife had just bought the valor bracers off the AH, gemmed and enchanted them that very day.  Ah, WoW.  How you spite us).  The boss kill may mean, at least for now, some serenity, and maybe a home.

Sincerely,

Stubborn (and relieved)

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. October 29, 2011 6:56 am

    I hope that this boss kill will mean what you need it to, and that it will bring your guild to a position where they will continue to raid and keep going. If that is what you’re looking to do (and I get the impression that it is).

    I can well imagine how difficult it must be to find that guild that you really enjoy being in. I’m fairly lucky with mine and have been it for four years now. There are problems of course (which guild doesn’t have some), but on the whole I’m quite happy where I am. If I didn’t have this guild I’m not quite sure where I’d be in WoW – since to me the social experience and playing with friends is in large part what keeps me playing.

    Here’s to hoping things work out in a way that works for everyone 🙂

    • October 31, 2011 10:21 am

      Me too. I’m hoping that it acts as a kind of unifying element, since we have a lot of double-dip raiders who go elsewhere for their needs. Perhaps this will get them to come back and work with the team. I’ve never been in a guild more than about a year, so I’m certainly envious of your position. I’m hoping this guild works as long as it needs to with D3, SWtoR, and Secret World on the horizon.

  2. Imakulata permalink
    October 29, 2011 4:05 pm

    I think I understand why you’re worried about your friends wanting to learn new things in/about WoW but I don’t think you can and should protect them from their curiosity. It can be hard when they lose interest, move to another hobby and you will wonder when – and whether you’ll ever hear from them again – and I understand why you don’t want that to happen but in my experience, the more “hardcore” people usually stay with a hobby for longer time. (Also, you can stay in contact with them even if they’re not in the same country/general area, although it’s a bit harder if you only meet rarely.)

    Grats to your boss kill too.

    • October 31, 2011 10:24 am

      You’re quite right; I’m sure that they’ll do as they see fit regardless of my help or interference. Luckily, my new friends who I feel like I need to “protect” live in the same place I do, and we get together for other games and activities, so WoW isn’t the crux of our social universe. Still, I’m having this problem with my New York friends, who I now don’t live around, and who have moved away from an interest in WoW. Since I hardly ever see them, we try to find games we can come together to play, but we’ve played so many of them (and none of us are repeaters), that there’s very few left. Of course, I’m dealing with an enormous amount of restrictions about what we can play, but that could be a post topic in and of itself. Thanks for the comment!

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