Third 90 and more to come I suspect

My Druid ding’ed 90 in WoW last week, which makes a tally of three level ninety characters: a Death Knight, a Warrior, and a Druid.

Next will be my slowly leveling Shaman who is now level 71 (the toon in the top left if the image below) and a long time lost Shadow Priest who is level 82 (bottom left character).

In my character list I also have a handful of 85s and then each class smattered down to a lowbie Monk at level 13. I do not really want to repeat the 85-90 grind so many more times, but the leveling path in Pandaria is so fixed there is little choice. Perhaps I could level by only queuing in Dungeons and just farm my way through the Pandaria starting area for materials to sell. That will only be moderately dull as well but will ensure my lowbies have the ability to increase their professions.

The Wrath of the Lich King content on the baby Shaman is sensational by comparison to 4x more Pandaria zones and a Cataclysm story.

Mortigen, Raze, nagarj, Arkham, Aurac and Yeirah head shots

If I cannot raid regularly in 5.4 due to work & life, then I might as well start working on these alts. Getting through the levels is something I can do whilst also being interrupted, and it is not “hard” content to do. Continue reading

Who’s that new Monk?

After a bit of mucking about I’ve followed the horde of wow players in Mists and created a new Monk, as my distraction and newbie toon. After a few posts about names I followed at least some of my own advice and called the Monk Tetsuho, which is an ancient Japanese firearm (or could mean silly Australian for all I know).

The plan is when I’m capped or frustrated beyond reckoning with the main, this little monk will get some play. I’m in no rush.

One alt down, four to go

I’m on a leveling mission: Get each of my toons to the highest level possible before the expansion.

I recently ding’ed 85 on my Warlock – Arkham, which is the second character I ever rolled in World of Warcraft. Now I move onto the remaining four: Priest, Mage, Rogue, and Shaman. For leveling I am using only dps style, and only infrequently doing the 5-man dungeons. As while I know the Dungeons are fantastic for gear and XP, I cannot commit to playing very long due to kiddlet interruptions. I don’t want to be that guy, who goes AFK for ages and needs to be kicked from the team.

As far as the Warlock goes the updates for the class in Mists of Pandaria look very appealing from a cosmetic perspective. It is tempting to fusk around and see if they still play as ruthlessly as they did in The Burning Crusade.

Next highest character is the Shadow Priest at level 81, which I created toward the end of TBC and has almost (a brief journey into Ulduar) always been an alt for Alchemy and Herbalism. Yeirah, you’re up. Get to the face-melting.

Clarified some Main and Alt thoughts

The feedback on my help-im-frustrated-by-mains-and-alts post was really good. Well great actually, as it had a range of side, which both challenged what I thought about the issues, and also supported many of the doubts I had – which is to say that nothing in that topic is straight forward.

I’d really like to know if I’m off my rocker on this issue.

Well I wasn’t incorrect, but I wasn’t 100% perfect either.

A some key points of differentiation on the issue were:

  • Longevity of the raider within the team. Some even said 10 vs 25s were different, and while I disagree I can see that it may make a difference. Churn within the team is exacerbated when somebody switches.
  • Attitude and level of cohesion within the team, which really tempered the level of support vs the impact.
  • The reason for the switch, being Gear greed, Need of the team, burnout, or preference. This was key for basically everyone, a player who witches for gear only was pretty much reviled by the information I found, and I support that view too. The other areas are gray, especially if you have a raider doing something that they’d not prefer for the goals of the raid.
  • Another key point was consistency. Applying a rule without bias was important to a large number of players, and I can understand why. Nobody want to feel that they are on the detrimental side of an exception. We all like to be special, unless it is to our disadvantage, but most people are happy if the dice come out in their favour.

As part of the post I also went digging on my own and found a large number of articles that helped. The short version of the outcome is that I’m now more confident that my overall approach is good, but also humbled a bit in terms of approach. I took the stance of being a neutral guildmaster, rather than a people person (I’m not an overly emotional people person by nature). I think I missed the emotional impact that this discussion could have on the team, especially the guys pondering a switch. I suspected that there would be impact, but not the degree of impact I saw.

I’ve promised to be typing up the official version of the policy this week (what an idiot I am for creating my own deadline), and it will be largely as drafted, but with tempered delivery. The clarifications I had to think about in response to the post really were the items that might have helped some of the discussion, if only I’d had 6 brains to draw from in the beginning.

Some of the sources I went to read are listed below. Now this list is not all articles devoted to the actual topic, it also contains perspectives on Alt-ism, and why it is good and bad. Often a good point is well made in parallel:

Wow ‘eh? Of course I’d have you re-read the my post and the discussion after it too, as there were some damn fine raiders who spoke up, but these links are good.

Thanks to Isisxotic, Jez,  Leit, Karegina, and Rakk.

Help! I’m frustrated by Mains and Alts

There is some background drama in my guild at the moment, which centers on the topic of rewarding Alts vs Mains in progression raiding: Should there be a penalty for switching mains, what about regular alts, and how do you handle loot in these scenarios?

Without naming folks I’d like to get some feedback from people who read this blog (as you’re clearly an intelligent bunch of high spec people).

I’m pretty open about having a more relaxed attitude toward my personal progress, but I take the policies of the guild very seriously. Heck, I’m the GM I should take it bloody seriously. I think a guild needs guidelines to protect against the people who would abuse the system, and sometimes that causes some angst to the players who would never dream of being selfish.

I said this in 2008: Often the feel of a discussion about progression can hurt feelings, or call out those with strongly held beliefs.

Yep, it sometimes sucks, but its the way of things. We have laws for the same reasons. A guild needs to protect the many, through consistency. I’ve seen more than enough dickheads in guilds in the past, and thankfully they are now all ex-guildies. The set we have now in Insidious are pretty solid people.

What is happening now is that we have a few raiders who wish to switch to different roles or different characters within the raid team. It raises potential drama as until now we’ve never created a policy that stipulated how that occurred or what the affect was.

A player joins a team, and selects a role (meaning a Class and Spec choice) in a team and should stick to it. Sometimes that role might be a Tank, Dps, Healer, whatever. There are also times when the player needs to switch spec for some reason. All good, that is normal. The actual reason for the change is basically irrelevant to me.

This so so that the team can learn to be cohesive, progress well, and be rewarded. Gear and entertainment are essentially why people are Raiding, so the team should do everything to make that happen.

But what happens when a member wishes to switch either character or spec?

I don’t mean for a fight, or even for a single run, I mean what happens when the Druid Tank wishes to become a Death Knight Tank (eg. a change of Character with the same role)? If that is allowed, is that new DK also OK to grab Plate Dps gear before the Warrior Tank? What about all the leather Agi gear, trinkets, and other items that druid has taken which is “lost” to the rest of the team.

Or when a main Dps decides they wish to Heal? What do you do when that really nice Staff drops and two healers both want it – one has been waiting as healer for months, and the other started healing last week.

After many years playing my gut tells me that switching mains causes drama and disruption within the team. The affect might be small, but it is there. It could also be large, messy, dramatic, and a total pain in the arse.

What happens when the player has to play the old-main because the raid can’t fit the new main selection, or they need the old role because now they need to recruit? Do they gear gear as a main or alt?

I believe that there should be a period where the player is de-prioritised for loot. In affect I think that any character that the player brings to the raid should be treated as an Alt for loot distribution while the team adjusts.

This is so:

  • The switch over to a new Main is discouraged. The carrot is the new character or role, the stick is that they have to give something up too.
  • The other raiders are not competing straight away for loot against the new Main.
  • If the player decides they don’t like the new role after all and change again, they have not taken gear away from another player.
  • If the player has to play the old role, they do not take loot which they won’t use in the long term either.
  • other players can know and see directly what is a Main vs an Alt.
  • when the raid leader decides, the interim penalty period is dropped and the person is now a Main.
  • That period might be a day or a year depending on all sorts of things like gear ilevel, participation, attitude, competing roles, flexibility, competency, etc. I suggested the period be flexible so that we have choice.

The counterpoint view to this is that people should be able to switch characters and roles as they wish at any time, and they everyone can be trusted. I’ve been told that there is actually no problem here at all. Having a policy is not needed, and that it is insulting to some people within the team as it seems I don’t trust my raiders. Thus this post was born.

And that counterpoint is partially right. I don’t trust that we won’t have drama, and therefore I want a policy. Make it a rule that applies equally, and there can be no favorites.

To me the idea of no rule is just chaos, and serves people who have many alts more than it serves focused players. I think it will lead to wasted loot and drama very quickly.

I see the new Main as being almost the same as a new player joining the team. There is a time where you’re not sure how everything will share out, so having some protection in place for the people who have been consistent is important.

What are your thoughts?

Please post, comment, etc as I’d really like to know if I’m off my rocker on this issue.

Raze – the Dungeon Warrior

After capping out on Valor points on Mortigen primarily by running the ZA/ZG instances over and over, I decided it was past time to continue to level something else. I turned to my Warrior, recently renamed to Raze.

Raze - Warrior at level 82 in random drops

Raze wearing random drops. Fist weapon as a Tank? Hell yeah.

After a quick review of gear I decided that a small expenditure of Justice points and some new AH green gear will see it well resourced to finish the late level 70s. It worked so frigg’n well that I passed through to 80 without really noticing.

Being a Tank at 70s to 80 was much better than I remembered. All the instances were still very quick to queue up for, and it didn’t take much to remind me of the strats for Wrath normal dungeons. For the most part the dungeons were the same speed as when we did them as over-geared 80s.

As ping’ing 80 was so exciting, I jumped straight into a few Cataclysm dungeons and found that they were harder, but still ok. I was surprised as I recalled the 80-85 normals to be a total wipe fest, and it was totally the opposite as a Warrior Tank.

Three runs later I had 4 upgrades for my Tanking gear. Booya. Pinging the Warrior through normals will be a great fun distraction I’m adding to my week once Mortigen has his weekly Valor cap. Bring on the beautiful rested xp, the awesome range of Warrior control cooldowns, and some mean dps in tank spec. The Warrior is now 82, and I’ve got to discover the entrances to the next set of dungeons so I don’t just keep killing the same two sets of bosses over and over.

Insane alt-a-holic rules

There are some things I’ve been doing with Alts that will drive me insane eventually.

Having one DK character active was a tad dull, so I added a Priest as another. Then I found that my second choice of toon was interesting for a short time, but not fun overall, so I added a Druid instead. Then decided to add a lowbie alt Hunter to be silly on; and then was impressed by a Tank I saw and added my old Pally.

But having seen a DK, Druid, and Pally tank, I felt like I was missing out on having a Warrior, so pondering starting a Warrior. But my Shaman also has ok gear as heirlooms, and the Mage will get some play soon.

So Death Knight, + Priest, + Druid, +Paladin, + Hunter, + Warlock, + pondering a Warrior or Shaman, + Mage afterward…

Yes, I’m an Alt-a-holic again. So now I need a rule set for what to play. Continue reading

How to have a casual Alt character?

Been struggling with which toon to play other than my Death Knight, and circling around the problem of so little reward for so little time spent. Adding an alt as a casual toon will mean even less time playing the already casual Death Knight; which will slow the even further his advancement. But I really feel the need for an alternate to always doing melee tank or dps all the time. Just a quick break on another toon now and then is what I’m after.

So what are good strategies for gearing a casual alt? Continue reading

The Erosion is getting worse

My toon called Erosion was an Undead Rogue. He was bad and I loved the fact he was built for the purpose of killing Topper McNabb. But that is history and we all know that (a) Erosion gets worse of over time, and (b) I love a good experiment.

So to make Erosion worse I’ve re-rolled the character name as a Dwarf Hunter.

Erosion - Wearing shirts is for pansies

Erosion - Wearing shirts is for pansies

I’ve always bitched about hunters. A lot. Its not that I didn’t like them per-say, but I always found that 40% of the bad players were Hunters (I know that they now all re-rolled Death Knight, but hey).

But I have a confession…I rolled one. [ insert dramatic music ] Well I’ve rolled them before, but this one is potentially different. Usually this means getting 3 levels of Huntery goodness and deciding that I hate it and stopping. Sometimes I get near level 8 and think it might be ok, and once I got to level 10 and then couldn’t be farked.

This time though I’ve reached over level 10 and tamed a pet. By god that makes a difference.

Anyone who thought the Death Knight was easy had better re-roll Hunter and see what a click-to-kill experience farming is like. A typical combat goes like this:

  1. Target mob with left click
  2. press 1 to start macro for Hunter’s Mark and PetAttack
  3. press 2 for Concussive shot
  4. press 3 for Arcane shot
  5. let the autoshots flood by
  6. loot

It could not be easier than that! If I fart around with a cast sequence macro, and use tab targeting I’m sure I can get this down to something that a Drinking Water Duck can do.

The worst part fo all this: its fun.

Continue reading