Tsark writes the blues
5 November 2009 § 2 Comments
Nothing to do with the official Blizzard representative posting on the forums, of course. It’s just that… I’m being a bit frustrated with the game recently. In fact, mostly I’ve been frustrated with raiding – which has been my main interest in the game for most of my WoW time.
My raid group is awesome, and after a fairly intense period of drama in May-August, we have settled back and now are doing very well in terms of atmosphere. It’s not even that we are not getting anywhere: as I reported a couple of times before, we basically have managed to conquer all of the current content.
Part of the problem is, of course, that I don’t like Trial of the Crusader. Farming an instance we like is painful enough – farming one we don’t like is downright masochistic. At the same time, I adore Ulduar: I find it the perfect combination of trash and bosses, a great balance between normal modes and hard modes, nice lore and beautiful art. So, while I enjoy farming the Siege and Antechamber on alts, so that we can then switch to our mains for Algalon, that’s still not enough. Alt runs are fun, but can also be an additional source of frustration when you wipe on bosses that you should really one-shot. Part of the reason I bring a healer to these alt runs is precisely because I don’t want to weigh the raid group down with my learning curve, once again. Not all of our raiders have the option to do that, though – and many of them prefer to bring other alts. So sometimes alt runs are a bit of a mixed bag too.
I actually think the major source of my frustration is the fact that we’re right at the edge of our skill. We’ve done the top achievements (Algalon and Insanity), but we cannot repeat them consistently. The way they are set up is also very unforgiving. Up until that point, a bad week for a raid group would mostly mean taking more time and attempts to down the bosses than the week before. Starting with the Zul’Aman bear runs, Blizzard introduced other limitations: a time limit in the bear runs, a similar time limit with Algalon, and a no-wipe clause for the Insanity chest.
When we managed to complete a successful bear run, back in May ’08, we repeated that every single week afterwards, until we had the necessary 11 bears to cover our raid. We missed one run, in total, and if memory servers it was the run when we got to the Lynx boss with 11 mins to spare, only to have the tank disconnect from the game, while still being on vent. Something had happened to the internet routing, and he could not manage to connect again – and the worst part was that he was still on vent with us, so it was pretty agonising. However, after that, not a single hitch – we kept getting better and better, and the runs kept getting easier and easier as we improved our gear (from the 25-man we were running at the same time), and we learned the ins and outs of that run better.
Nothing even remotely similar happened with Insanity or Algalon. We managed to get Insanity at the beginning of October. For the following 3 weeks, we didn’t even manage to get Mad Skills – we were getting trounced by Faction Champions and (in lesser measure) Jaraxxus. We then managed to get one more Mad Skills last week, but that was it. This week, again, a bad combo of Faction Champs really kicked our butt (and the fact we had only Mind Blast as a healing debuff didn’t make our task any easier).
On the Algalon front, we killed him two weeks ago for the first time – on the last pull of the weekly hour. Last week we couldn’t manage to get the raiders for enough time to get the full hour on Algalon, and thus decided to take a week off from him. This week we went again, and we still had people dying to the same stuff as always: black holes, big banks, cosmic smashes… I can understand this case a bit more though: we only got him once, and we also need to expose two of our raiders to the encounter a bit more, as they weren’t there for the kill and, at least in one case, have missed some of our earlier attempts too.
That’s five cloaks we didn’t get, and five mounts, and 8 extra trophies – as well as two cloaks/rings from Algalon. It’s not even so much the loot though. I know full well that we’re going to get more loot in Icecrown (albeit the Insanity cloaks are still probably going to be competitive, given their ilvl), and most importantly, I always believed loot is a means, not an end – and I believe that most of the times I actually manage to act that way. But failing to achieve the same level of performance we managed at least once in the past still leaves a bitter taste in my mouth – and this bitterness plus the dislike of ToC is probably what is causing me to feel a bit less enthusiastic about raiding than I used to.
My biggest worry is that my raiding group think I’m somehow angry or frustrated with them: I am frustrated, but they have nothing to do with it. In fact, I’m trying (if anything) to speak less precisely because I don’t want this frustration to seep through and make my comments any more cutting than they need (or intend) to be.
So, being the practical person that I am, how do I get out of this funk? From a raid point of view, I think we all need to take a long, hard look at ourselves, and see how we can improve – especially on Faction Champs, which is really our biggest weakness (although today’s Anub’s attempts didn’t exactly fill me with confidence on our abilities there either). From a personal point of view, I’m spending more time on alts, even on a new alt on another realm (I wanted to try levelling a new character without the support and money of my current stable of alts – I’ll probably post something about my huntress soon). I’m also spending a bit more time outside of the game, to see if I really need to scale my involvement down a bit, or it’s just a passing phase. Icecrown Citadel sounds great, so I’m quite excited about that… and hopefully, that will also help.
I also have some plans for the blog, including my first ever RP post. In fact, I’m accumulating a long list of draft posts that I want to work on. Who knows, maybe this could be a good moment to really find out how well I write!