Tag Archives: leveling

Good Game

1 Oct

I had always imagined that the first time that I cried around my boyfriend would be because of a particularly sad scene in a movie that we were watching or maybe because of a truly heartwarming gift that he would buy me for my birthday or for Christmas.

I never dreamt that the first time that I cried around my boyfriend would be because of World of Warcraft.

It happened last night, after I called to rant about how much I was frustrated with the leveling process, how I felt like my guild had backpedaled on their initial expectations on when they wanted us to be raid ready, how I hated the prospect of having to do a seemingly overwhelming amount of dailies to get ahead, how I felt like leveling had turned into a competition to see who could hit level 90 in the most unhealthy way possible, and how I felt like Blizzard was being hypocritical by saying that they wanted to make raiding more accessible to people, while still creating even more hoops for people to jump through in order to prove just that.

Once I got all of that out of my system, I grew quiet and stared up at the ceiling.  He waited patiently on the other end of the phone, thinking that I still had more to say.  My eyes began to dart around the room, making sure that I didn’t focus on one spot for too long, because I knew what would happen if I did.  I could feel my chin quivering and the emotional dam inside my head starting to break.  Don’t cry. Don’t cry.

“I don’t love raiding anymore,” I said through tears.

I know it sounds silly to cry over a computer game and I told the boyfriend as much.  But raiding is something that I have truly loved to do for a long time.  I have compared my relationship to World of Warcraft and more specifically raiding to being in a relationship with an actual person and having to say that I no longer loved the one thing that keeps me going and the one thing that keeps me playing hurt about as much as realizing that the person you have spent years of your life with you no longer love anymore. 

If I loved raiding, I would gladly take time off of work to be raid ready.  If I loved to raid, I wouldn’t mind using my last vacation day of the year to spend it leveling and doing dailies.  I wouldn’t mind losing sleep, or temporarily putting off plans, because I would be doing those things for something that I love to do.  But I don’t love the idea of it anymore, so those things are turning into an imposition and they are turning into things that I’m starting to resent having to do.

I think another reason that I broke down at the fact that I didn’t enjoy raiding anymore is because for a long time I have felt like raiding was the one thing that I was good at.  Especially now, since I came back to Magic.  I’m not that good at Magic yet.  When I don’t do well at a Magic tournament, I can at least walk away from it knowing that I’m a Savior of Azeroth or that my guild finished in the top 300 of the United States, or that I am a competent priest that people turn to for advice.  If I didn’t have my raiding anymore, then I would have nothing to console myself with.  I would be just another player who performed poorly at a Magic event.  I would have nothing that I could turn to and say “Well, I’m not very good at this, but at least I am good at this.”

At least that’s what I thought, anyway.  As I dried my tears, the Boyfriend began reminding me about all the things that I am good at and that I could be good at anything I put my mind to.  I could turn all of the passion that I had for World of Warcraft and for raiding and put it towards something else and most likely see the same results.  He told me how smart I am and how I don’t need raiding to feel good about myself or to feel competent and that if he thought that I was that type of person, he never would have started dating me to begin with. 

That made me feel a little bit better.  I know he’s right, too.  So with that said, I think I’m going to tell my guild that I’m not going to raid anymore and take the demotion down to the social rank in the guild, provided they let me stick around at all.  And if they don’t, I am sure I can find someone on Twitter or in the community with a guild that will take me in as a casual member.  I can see myself doing some PVP in the future or maybe a fun raid with friends who just need a warm body to fill a spot.  But I think it is safe to say that my time as a serious, progression minded raider is over. 

It’s funny.  I had a conversation with a couple of people on Twitter yesterday about a custom in Magic the Gathering where your opponent tries to shake your hand after the round is over and says “Good game.”  I had mentioned how I felt that the practice was sort of condescending, mostly because it always seems like the winner is the person who puts out their hand first and that of course they are going to think it was a good game because they won. 

Then a friend pointed out to me that “Good game” is not to be taken literally and that often times the person feels that you genuinely put up a good fight or played well and that it deserves to be said and complimented on.   I didn’t even think of it that way. 

So in the future, when I think back on my time spent raiding and that I walked away from it all, I won’t be afraid to pat myself on the back and say “Good game.”

And it was.

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Baggage

6 Nov

Since I’ve started playing World of Warcraft again, I have been spending quite a bit of time in Randoms.  I did them the first two weeks that I came back, so I could make sure that I was Valor Point capped, because I wasn’t raiding and had no other way to earn those points, otherwise.  I am doing them now that my priest is raiding, because I have recently dusted off my level 82 shaman and have been having an absolute blast healing with her in Randoms and leveling that way.

You start to pick up on trends or interesting personality types when you do a lot of Randoms.  You notice people who queue for one boss, usually for loot or to complete a quest, who then leave once said boss is defeated.  You notice the endless string of ret paladins and enhancement shaman, who seem to require more healing than the tank does and who are absolutely unapologetic about their recklessness.  You also notice a startling lack of confidence in the majority of tanks and even healers that you find yourself running with.

I’ve said it once before, but I look at Randoms like I do one night stands or even relationships.  They remind me of one night stands in the sense that most people tend to take part in them solely to get their immediate needs met, they usually remain very distant and try not to get too attached to others in the process, and they tend to leave once they get what they want.  You’re not proud of the fact that you do Randoms, but you do them anyway.  You understand that Randoms are often the fastest way to get what you want, without a lot of hassle.  You may prefer to do them with people that you know or you may not be too particular and you will settle for running them with strangers.  Just like a one night stand.

Where Randoms start to remind me of relationships is when you’re dealing with these players who seem to queue up for these types of runs with little or no confidence.  You have the healer teleport in and they usually say something along the lines of “I’m new at this. I’m really sorry to put you through this and you’re going to hate by the time this is over.”  That doesn’t make a very good impression.  You haven’t said anything to give this person the idea that they are terrible or that they’re going to be terrible and their confidence is already at their lowest point.  You think to yourself, “Who could have said something or done something to this person to make them feel this way?”  After inspecting their gear and talents, you realize that everything on that end looks fine.  So, what’s their issue?  The issue is that they have baggage, not unlike the kind you find from people that you may be attempting to have a relationship with.

The other day, I had a reasonably cute guy approach me on the bus and start talking to me.  His name was Chris and before Chris could even get into his attempt to try and woo me, he already started insulting himself and wondering why someone like me would ever be interested in someone like him.  I don’t think I’m that much of a catch (see, it’s contagious) and I did nothing but listen to him, with an open mind and an open heart and he was already convinced that I would never be interested in him and that he was making a terrible mistake.  I took a moment to ease his fears and to boost his confidence and that’s when Chris really started to open up to me.  Hours later, I had learned that the reason he was so self-conscious was because his last girlfriend of five years had basically hated everything about him and told him this on a regular basis.  She hated that he smoked cigarettes, she thought he was too skinny, she didn’t like that he wore glasses instead of contacts, etc.

So, even though I did nothing wrong and I said nothing to give Chris any indication that I wasn’t interested in him or that I thought he was unattractive, I was having to clean up the mess that someone else made.  I was having to re-assure him that I did think he was funny and cute and that I would like to have coffee again with him sometime.  I didn’t ask for any of this, but here I was having to undo the damage that someone else did.  That’s not very fair to me.  The same could be said for Randoms.  Because other people told that healer that they were crap and that they couldn’t heal, your group is stuck having to deal with the consequences of that.  You now have a healer who believes that they are awful and you will most likely spend the rest of your run having to talk them off a cliff and worrying that they are going to bail at the first sign of trouble because they are convinced that it is their fault.

This happens with tanks, too.  I was running Blackrock Caverns on my shaman and we wiped on some trash that was just before the last boss.  I think it was just a matter of a pat that we anticipated being nowhere near us getting closer than we realized.  Nobody was to blame, per se.  It happens.  The tank says, “It was me.  I’m sorry.  I’m going to go now.  I’m sure you’ll find a better tank.  Good luck.”  We didn’t say anything.  We didn’t assign blame.  We didn’t berate anyone for their mistake.  We just released and started to run back.  Yet, somehow, somewhere, this tank got the idea that we thought he was terrible and that we hated him for what happened.  This tank came with his own set of baggage that neither of us in the party were equipped to take off of his hands.  No amount of healing or DPS was going to make that situation better.  You could even say we were doomed from the start.

So, what can we do about this?  Easy.  Have a little patience.  I’m surprisingly mellow in Randoms.  I don’t queue for them, if I’m in a hurry.  I don’t worry about what my repair bills are going to look like.  I don’t worry about using my trinkets like I should be.  I just don’t think of those things.  I go into them with a positive attitude and I try to make the best of them, however I can.  If someone doesn’t know the fight, I try my best to explain it to them.  If someone is standing in bad, I ask them not to, sometimes repeatedly.  I really try and do everything I can in Randoms, before I lose my cool and say something stupid or before I port out without warning.  I do this because I remember that healer and that tank and others just like them.  I don’t want to be the one that gives them that complex, that makes them feel like they’re “less than.”  I think of things like that and I don’t think other people really do.

They don’t realize that there is a chance that the next group that tank queues up for and maybe even the group after that are going to have to clean up the mess that you made by tearing them a new one, when they may or may not have deserved it.  You can be honest without having to be mean.  If someone genuinely is performing poorly and you have tried to be as nice as you can be, then you are well within your rights to say something.  But, you’re not well within your rights to be an asshole.  One does not necessarily lead to another.  I can’t help but wonder if this is why running for Randoms has become the chore that it is now.  Maybe it was this snowball effect of people being quite unkind to one another, day in and day out which has led us to the current sad state of things.

Think about that the next time you have the urge to go off on someone who may or may not know any better and who is just trying to do the best that they can or the next time someone joins your group who doesn’t seem to have the most confidence in the world.  You may not have asked to be put in the situation of having to do the right thing, but you’re there now.  Try not to add any more bags to the inevitable amount of baggage which they or you are probably still carrying around.

Guest Post: Does Leveling Faster Make Leveling Better?

4 Apr

I recently wrote a guest post for the fabulous Jasyla over at Cannot Be Tamed and the article has offiically been posted.  Stop on by and check it out!  While you’re there, feel free to check out other blog posts that Jasyla herself has written and leave a comment or two while you’re at it.

Also, I am proud to announce that Episode 0 of the Double O Podcast has been uploaded!  You can listen to it at the link below and find out a bit more about us and what we covered on this particular episode.  Currently, we are in the process of trying to make the Double O Podcast available on iTunes and making it easier to download directly.

http://thedoubleopodcast.wordpress.com/2011/04/03/episode-0-comings-goings/

Ophelie and I had an absolute blast recording this and we appreciate the positive feedback that we have received so far.  We would like to thank the people who encouraged us to do this and Matticus, for being kind enough to host our audio files on his server and for talking us through some of the initial technical difficulties.

Please enjoy the guest post and the new podcast episode!

L2tank

29 Nov

This weekend was pretty exciting.  After my half day of mandatory overtime at work, I headed home to a marathon of Mumble interviews with at least four potential guild applicants.  All of them made the cut and I was later discussing with Kurn how fortunate we are to be able to attract such quality apps.  I think we have only had two that were questionable.  We only had to let down one of them and the other removed himself from the running, after choosing another guild on our server to be a part of.  Hopefully, that is something we can continue to say is the case.  Especially when we really are pushing to fill some much needed spots in our raid.

I managed to get my DK’s mining skill to a point where she could start gathering in Outland, so I headed over to the Dark Portal and prepared to step inside.  I noticed the typical introduction quest to Outland, provided by the appropriate faction leader outside the portal had changed.  He sent me around the Blasted Lands to kill various things and that led me to a brief, but enjoyable quest chain in the southwestern corner of the zone that centered around a Worgen settlement and a corrupted druid.  I was hoping there would be more new quests like that to distract me before I head to Outland, but I couldn’t find many more.

My main goal for my DK is to be able to tank with her.  I spent Wrath tanking on a paladin alt and it was fun, but paladin tanks are everywhere.  It was fun.  It could still be fun, but I wanted to try something new.  I have always had a secret appreciation for the death knight class and I always feel a little disappointed when I see players really dumb them down.  There are certain classes out there, such as hunters, that are a lot more complex than people give them credit for.  They could do so many great things and people would rather resort to keeping them simple and not really trying to dig into those classes, to see what hidden potential could be there.  In my experience, there are two kinds of death knights.  Bear in mind, these are much funnier over Vent/Mumble, when I can actually do the vocal impressions to go with these.

DK #1.  “I am a death knight, free from the grasp of Arthas Menethil and I have dedicated myself to the finer points of death knight tanking, which I assure you will keep me plenty interested and intrigued throughout this great expansion that we as a player base are fortunate to be a part of and experience.”

DK #2.  “I beat stuffs!”

Do you see the distinction?  Sadly, there are far too many of DK #2 floating around and I would hate myself a little bit if I didn’t at least try to make the most out of the class and give it a go at really understanding everything in front of me.  Regardless of whether it’s an alt or not.  I don’t set out to be bad at anything

So, I managed to get to level 60 and I decided that I was ready to try my hand at tanking things other than helboars and ravagers in Hellfire Peninsula and I threw my hat into the ring for a random dungeon, specifically Hellfire Ramparts.  As it happens, the queue popped right away and I was in.  The group consisted of myself, a frost mage, a moonkin, a healing priest (not sure which spec) and a rogue.  I began pulling slowly, carefully, so as not to be bad and because I remember how difficult that place can be on a regular setting, when you are the actual level to be there. 

The next thing I know, the moonkin starts pulling packs without me.  I stood idly by and politely asked him to let me do that.  I pull a few more groups and I think things are improving.  The moonkin starts pulling again.  I gently remind him that I am the tank and I would like to do that.  The moonkin then proceeds to tell me that I’m slow and that I should L2tank.  After downing the first boss in Ramparts, the moonkin races immediately to the door and starts pulling the mobs outside of it.  At that point, I decided we were officially done.  Three strikes and you are out.  I thanked everyone for their time and dropped group.

When did it become bad form to be considerate of your party, especially knowing you are a new tank and wanting to do the right thing and be careful?  When did the zerg strategy become the norm?  How did we get here?

At this point, I have a few choices.  I can either:

a) Wait until my guildies level alts that are at my level (which many of them are doing) and only do runs with them, with a mix of questing and other exploring thrown in. 

b) Quest my way to 70 and not participate in instances (as a tank, anyway) and then start tanking.  Maybe having better gear or newer abilities may help out and maybe groups will remember how difficult certain level Wrath dungeons can be at the appropriate level.

c) Quest my way to 80 and then start tanking in Cataclysm.  Knowing that Cataclysm will really be a refresher course on party etiquette, being a cautious and courteous tank should be welcome and maybe groups will be more understanding and appreciative of such qualities.

For now, I’m having a lovely time mining, questing and saving up the gold needed to buy mats to level my jewelcrafting, which is turning out to be more painful than I thought.  Why didn’t I just keep it simple and level blacksmithing, like any other decent plate wearer?  Why did I have to go and try to be different? 

L2profession?

Alt-ernative Lifestyle

26 Nov

One of the things I was really excited about, in regards to the Shattering was the new leveling experience and the addition of new quests and zones to explore.  It looked absolutely incredible and I was feeling excited about the possibility of creating a level 1 toon and seeing the new world. 

The problem is that when I started creating a bunch of different alts, I couldn’t find one that I liked.  I couldn’t find one that I could see myself taking from 1-60 (at least) and nothing seemed to keep my interest.  I already have plenty of level 80s (a druid, mage, rogue, paladin, priest and shaman) and the ones that are not level 80 are probably classes I didn’t have much interest in, to begin with.  I managed to get a prot warrior up to level 15 and I am enjoying the new lowbie questlines in Azshara, but it is starting to drag and I find my attention drifting elsewhere. 

I created a Gnome death knight (I know, I know) named Shortlived and I did the death knight starting quests, to pass some time.  I was more curious about how the new trees had shaped up, since I had attempted to roll a death knight several times and the bloated talent trees were always overwhelming to me.  It was fun and I got her to level 58 and ready to enter Outland.  I couldn’t decide if I should work on her professions before I go there or later on.  I decided to shake things up a bit and work on them first and I chose being jewelcrafting and mining.

Who knew that roaming around the world in circles, mining nodes and smelting could be so relaxing and so much fun?  Originally, I was thinking I would knock out some Explorer achievements while I was at it.  But I was surprised to learn that as a death knight, my maps were already fully exposed and I really didn’t need to discover anything.  That was a bit of a bummer.  I managed to get my mining to 125 before I went to sleep and I will probably work on that more this weekend, too.  I think I’ll start leveling the jewelcrafting after I get my mining skill up to speed for my trip to Outland.

This is something I can see myself doing until Cataclysm hits.  I still have a few more raids left on my priest, mostly to try and down Lich King with the guild and play with Halion a bit.  A 10 man for fun here and there.  I may not have the immediate urge to level an alt from scratch, but I’m enjoying where this death knight is going.  I’m having fun working on professions that I have never taken before and trying to learn the finer points of death knight tanking before I reach Outland.  I don’t see myself taking any of my other 80s to 85 right away, but that could change.  I think I just got a bit ahead of myself, in terms of the desire to level a new alt.  I guess you could say that my eyes got bigger than my stomach, sorta speak.

If only I could go home early today.  I just found out that a new team is literally monitoring my time usage today and they feel that we’re underperforming.  Of course we are, it’s the day after Thanksgiving!  We are stuffed and hungover (well, not me) and tired.  Half the office isn’t even here!  Lunch is certainly going to be fun, since half the restaurants in the area are closed.  I have no idea where I’m going to eat and I didn’t have any leftovers to bring. 

Black Friday, indeed!

Best Laid Plans

29 Sep

Today’s Phone Post is all about plans – including my plans for the Beta, my plans for re-rolling, and my trip to the West coast to visit some old friends and possibly some new ones as well (i.e. Lilitharien and the WoWInsider party).  Plus, I talk about how I really feel about the druid changes, which priest spell I absolutely adore right now and just what I’m going to do about the blog, in the future.  Take a listen!   

Identity Crisis

23 Sep

i·den·ti·ty cri·sis 

n.

A period of confusion concerning an individual’s sense of self and role in society, which occurs most frequently in the transition from one stage of life to the next. It is often expressed by isolation, negativism, extremism, and rebelliousness.

With the release of Cataclysm looming upon us, I find myself bombarded by questions.  Will my guild continue to remain a 25 man guild or will we break down into a few groups of 10?  Will I stay with this guild that I’m quite pleased with and that I have seen a lot with or give it all up for a more low key, personal experience with several friends who have tossed out the idea of forming their own guilds?  Do I want to keep levelling O on the beta or should I finally cave and make a premade level 85 to test out the Heroics with and other incoming new content? 

Which brings me to O.  Make no mistake about it – I am O.  It’s funny – before I played WoW, I used to LARP and somehow I ended up on an RP server (RPPVP, no less) and I never once considered O and I to be one in the same.  But the more I think about it, the more I realize that I have been through a lot of shit with this toon.  I was a 23 year old smut peddling redhead, living in my first apartment when I first started playing her – not to mention that O was a male, at first.  I had this weird issue with the female Tauren appearance and didn’t actually change her over until Blizzard released the paid gender changes, shortly after the release of WoTLK.

I have certainly come a long way since then.  I’m 27 now, with a loft apartment, deadlines and black hair.  Through it all, I’ve done all of these things with O.  She’s been there for everything.  Now I’m at a point where I can’t help but wonder if it’s time to move on and time to be something else, to reflect where I’m at now and where I’ve been – to take all those things I have learned and to put them to good use.  To really go forward with a clean slate and not be tied down by who I was or the things I’ve done or what I’ve seen or didn’t get to see.  It feels like it has run its course and like it might be time to move on.   

After three years, I’m contemplating changing my main.

I attempted a re-roll once before – to an elemental shaman.  I took a three month break from the game, somewhere between the end of ToGC and the debut of ICC, to get used to my new job that I had just started and to get some real life affairs in order.  I was burnt out from raiding and from coming off of two bad experiences with guilds I had tried to join and that ended up being nothing like I thought they would be.  I took a shaman alt I had laying around, threw some heirlooms at her and levelled quietly on another realm, just minding my own business and throwing lightning bolts at things.  It was nice, peaceful and involved absolutely no stress.  No farming for mats, no reading up on boss fights, no logging on to raid when I didn’t want to.  I was having fun again!

After healing my way through everything up to this point, I thought if I became a DPSer, I might re-discover my love for the game and it might inspire me to want to play more seriously again.  I joined a guild, run by some real life friends of mine and they gave me a chance to run with them and to see what I thought of how the other side lived.  I had fun, up to a point – but I didn’t like how I felt in a DPS role.  It brought out a very insecure, competitive side of me and I can honestly say that I never felt satisfied with my performance, the whole time I was doing it.  I never felt good enough.  I would literally spend hours splicing the logs and the meters, trying to find that elusive solution to how I could squeeze out that much more DPS or why that person did better than me or what have you. 

That made me realize that healing is something I’m sort of meant to do and the role I feel most confident playing and I should probably stick with that – so I did.  I went back to my niche and traversed my way through ICC and through previous instances I hadn’t fully scoured or explored yet.  Then the early details of Cataclysm were released and almost from the beginning, the outlook wasn’t good.  Respected authorities in the druid community were even showing open concern with the direction that our class and our various specs were headed to.  The general consensus was that we were headed towards a not so nice place.

Like others that were feeling discouraged by what we were reading and seeing, I began to quietly plan for the worst – the idea that druids would be changed beyond a point where I would recognize my class or where I would feel useful in that role anymore.  It started off being just something I debated from a character aspect.  I didn’t have a personal stake in it – it was all about the mechanics.  But the more I thought about it, the more I looked at the toon everytime I would enter the login screen, the more I started to feel disconnected.  Like that wasn’t me.  I don’t feel like that cow with the massive mace and the pigtails represents me anymore. 

I have a holy priest alt and strangely enough, my first max level toon ever was an Alliance priest – so it’s almost like going full circle here.  I have been really enjoying playing her and researching what it’s like to be a priest (thanks to sites like Miss MedicinaWorld of Matticus and of course, the fabulous Divine Aegis) and I’m more excited about the priest changes than the druid ones.  I think I spent a good fifteen minutes, the other day, just playing with Chakra and trying out all the neat effects that come along with it.  I didn’t have a moment’s hesitation, when it came to placing points into the talent trees on my priest.  The trees made sense and they flowed and I felt good about them.  I didn’t become a drooling, stuttering fool – like when I tried to fill out my talent trees on O.

I began joking about it casually with my guild and they were way too excited about the concept of me becoming a holy priest for good.  As in they want me to do it right now.  I’m not about to change mains, for the sake of a gimmick or for the sake of getting a potential HLK kill out of it (as glorious as that would be).  If I did it, I would really want to do it and do it right.  I want to spend hours reading up on it and practicing it and really knowing it.  I would want to make sure that I could still be an asset to my guild and that I would still have a raid spot and still be a competitive voice in whatever I do.  I wouldn’t do anything that could jeopardize any of those things.  The stars would have to all align for me to make that big step.

And then, what about this blog?  Most of my alts have O names and I have a few in mind for this toon, too.  I could always be extremely corny and remove Oestrus from my druid and slap it on my priest.  I still feel like I would want to be an O, if not the O that I have always been.  So I could in theory, still keep the site mostly the same.  I admit, I don’t know many people in the priest community – so it would sort of be like finding my footing in the blogosphere, all over again.  But I don’t see a lot of holy priest voices (or maybe I just haven’t found them), so I could maybe find a sturdy niche there.  And I wouldn’t have many leaves, with which to tell stories with, if I were a priest.  I would need a new gimmick or tagline, too.

Right now, it’s just something to daydream about or think of.  But it’s tempting – it’s very tempting.  Hm.  What to do, what to do…