Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Odds & Ends

Last night was an interesting night for me. I finally broke down and took my Warlock, Emprius, into the random LFD (aka PuGland) for the first time. To be honest, I have not touched him since the patch dropped. I had been so focused on running Ruhtra through stuff that I felt my alts needed some PuGland love too! So I logged on around midnight local time and checked on the guild and then hit the LFG system. I spent my time waiting making some of the special cloth. I am trying to stockpile some for the guild and so when I get the extra mats, I just make the trip over to Dragonblight and hit all three at once. So I had just finished my last cloth conversion when I got my notice of group. I accepted and ended up in H FoS. Yeah nothing like being rusty and landing in the new instances. Well, the group I was with geared very similar with only one person being a little higher of an overall gear level and everyone seemed to be decent as we greeted each other.

So we started out and managed to clear the instance in what I would consider a decent amount of time for a group that was geared at the appropriate level for this run. We did have a few deaths along the way, but no one was really aggrevated or upset. We actually spent more time laughing about some of the randomness of how we died. We downed the first boss (and sorry but I cannot remember the guy's name) and I got the caster sword! Now I have to stop here a moment and complain! I run this stuff with Ruhtra often and have gotten a big fat goose egg in regards to gear. I go in there for the first time ever on heroic and get the best caster sword available to me pre-raiding?!? Is it a sign that I should devote myself wholy to the dark side? (Queue evil maniacal laughter!) Anyway, moving on! We progressed through and finished the instance and also completed H PoS as well. We called there because it was late and we all have jobs that required us to be semiconscious.

That was the highlight of my night. I was finishing up the run and chit-chating in guild at the same time (and yes I can multi-task!) when I noticed one of our fresher 80's was being pretty hard on theirself for the DPS they were putting out. Now this person, when on, is one of the more quiet guild members but is always polite and considerate of others. Really, the prototype for what all guild members should be, so I asked them what was wrong. Short end, they got in a PuG who voted to kick them for low DPS. I was kind of angered by this since I have carried a lot of bad players through stuff and never vote to kick anyone (even when they should be booted, I just do not vote). So I pulled up their armory and gave them a couple tips on what they could do to improve their overall performance and told them to forget about the loser PuG and assured them that I would make sure and run with them anytime they needed. I even offered to dust off the healing gear and rain down some Holy Light for them.

I said all of that to get to my next point, which is that I have had a change of heart. You see, yesterday, Honor's Code had a post up that was talking about the availability of geared raiders currently in the random PuGs and how this was effecting the PuGs. Some people agreed with what he was saying and others did not. I at first agreed with what was said; however, after speaking with my own guild member last night, I have really rethought my attitude. I think there is a valid point that because so many of us are running for a specific piece of gear or to round out our off-spec gear that we expect all members of the random PuG to perform to our level. However, I think that we have a responsibility (and yes this is a social statement) to those who are not geared to go at a pace which makes them comfortable. I am the first one to push any group to move faster because I like the challenge of pushing myself, but if this is causing someone to not enjoy the game or perhaps start thinking negatively about their own abilities then perhaps we could slow down a little for them?

Secondly, if you are degrading someone openly for being terrible, then I challenge you to instead send them a whisper and offer them some suggestions in a positive way to improve their overall play. Some people really are so new to the game that they do not understand some of what we consider the basics and by taking a brief minute to offer a few pointers such as hit cap or def cap we stand the chance of improving the game overall as a whole. Now, if the person responds with a negative comment and acts like they know everything, then by all means kick them to the curb. I just think that we could all come down off of our high horses and not make the rest of the folks around us feel so uncomfortable.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Change Is In The Air!

So, I hope that the changes to the layout here at Holy Shock has not scared you away. I have been wanting to make some changes to the layout for some time now. I was going to hold off until the first of the year, but I figured that I had some extra time tonight and took advantage of this. A couple things I wanted to point everyone to is the changes to my bloger list. It is going to grow something fierce. I had tried for a very long time to keep it down to a few blogs only. Sort of a highlight of the blogs that I feel provide some good content that is useful. The only problem is that I have found so many good bloggers lately that my list that I stored for my favorites at work and at home have gotten out of control. So I am merging those two lists into the current group of bloggers that I follow. I also changed the list name to focus on blogs about gaming as there are so many of us who do play other games (I know hard to believe huh?). Along with that, I am keeping my list for blogs that are not focused on WoW or gaming and will add more to that list as time goes on as well.

I also wanted to point out the nice video that I have up on my blog (right above the posts). It was made by my friend and guildie and shows the progress that we have had as a guild. This is actually the second video he has done and hopefully some day down the road we will get some more (hint hint hint)! It is also a shameless promotion of our guild as we are going to very soon start openly recruiting new members. I warned you that it was shameless!

The final change, which is not showing up this week, is going to be just once a week, I am going to highlight another blogger by linking their post. This will not really be anything earth shaking or new, but more focused on who I felt really provided me with some solid information or something that I found to be funny.

Well, that is pretty much it for me. I hope everyone is enjoying the holidays and because I cannot say it at work, Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

LFG, Like It Or Hate It? That Is The Question!

Alright, so I have spent a couple of days in PuGland! I pretty much hate that place in general. So what about the new LFG system with cross realm PuGs? Well, I am somewhat up in the air. It definitely gets you into a lot of runs much quicker. It has provided a way to gather all the vendor gear in a matter of hours. You meet some really nice folks and for the most part everyone is really nice. People even apologize when they make a mistake. So everyone knows me and knows that I am a pessimist by nature and in order for me to live up to everyone's expectations I am now going to explain why I do not like the new system!

My biggest issue, so far, has been with the actual grouping up of people. I pretty much have stopped healing on my Paladin because the stress is not worth it. I have always said that I love the tanks we have. They are, for the most part, well rounded in their play style. They watch their healer's mana and manage agro with a degree of skill that I could only hope to find in PuGs. However, in PuGland (my new name for the LFG system) you get these tanks who want to run everything in under 20 minutes. Now this is fine and wonderful I suppose, except if you have no skill. My very first PuGland group was for the new instances. I ended up with three Death Knights and one Mage. The Mage was really good. One of the Death Knights was extremely polite but undergeared or did know how to break 800 DPS, and the other two Death Knights were "special". The tank was trying to blaze a trail, but the only problem was they were not able to hold agro. I took such a pounding I was afraid I ran in there wearing my prot gear. The other Death Knight, while geared well and putting out massive DPS, paid no attention to the agro that they were creating. Now, I like to think of myself as a more elite healer (yes I said it and I will not shy away from it), but these two Death Knights made me work harder than I did in PuG ToCr runs. I chalked it up to just bad luck.

My second PuGland experience was in random mode. I figured might as well grab my frost emblems and see how that goes. I ended up in a H UK run. Easy right? No where near easy. I had the tank who was on speed! I am used to fast tanks, Scrawny (our resident Warrior tank) runs at a break neck speed but is aware of the rest of the group. When he first learned to tank in BC he was moved as if his bony ass was on fire! He never stayed in one spot, which made me have to chase after him to heal him. Yeah those were the days! So I said all that to certify my credentials of running with tanks on speed. However, this tank not only wanted to on speed, but I think he had some bad LSD or something too. He would run after things that were not even there. He held agro well enough, but I honestly think he may have been blinded during this run. I am not talking chain pulling either. I am talking running through a mob, hitting his Thunder Shock ability and then running into some small narrow corner out of my line of site. The entire group would move to be able to see and he would run the mob straight through us. It was the single worst H UK experience I have ever had, bar none. It may be the worst healing experience I have ever had. We ended the run and I quickly left the group and solemly resolved myself to stay DPS in PuGland.

How about you all? What experiences have you had in PuGland? Are they brutal or are they great?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Balance

So today I wanted to talk about something that is WoW related and not WoW related. Please do not stop reading just because I said this. I actually think that it is an important topic that we all need to think about every now and then. Recently I have seen a disturbing trend within our blogging community. It seems like a lot of us are losing our balance. No, I am not talking about stumbling drunk from the consumption of too much adult beverages (as one friend puts it), but I am referring to our balance in our daily every day lives. We saw the first signs of this way back when a well known blogger made it very public that he was dealing with some very real life issues regarding neglecting his family because of spending so much time in the game. It has continued on over the months but here recently we have seen a few more well known (and perhaps not so well known) bloggers decide to step away from WoW (and blogging in some cases) because they had lost the balance in their life.

I know that here recently I have made mention several times of going through some personal stuff which has kept me away from blogging as much as I would like. Some of it has been simply needing to run some errands or do some chores and some of it has been more serious matters. In the end, it all boiled down to balance. Sure I could stick my head in the sand and ignore the things that needed to be done, but that would lead me into even greater issues I am sure. Instead, a long time ago (probably unknown to many) I created a simple balance chart. If I feel I am spending too much time doing something, I can make a quick check against it and say nope, that fits in here or damn what in the world was I thinking (?)! Actually, let me show you exactly how my list looks today (simply as an example):

  • Health - Have to be well in order to be of any use to anyone else.
  • Family - Above all else, my family is important.
  • Work - This was a toss up, but without solid income you would not be able to pursue much else.
  • Friends - I try to be there for my friends whether it is moving furniture or being a shoulder to cry on.
  • Home - The place where you live deserves a spot on your list. If your roof is collapsing, then you best get off your butt and at least dial a roofer.
  • Recreation - This is the stuff you find relaxing. Throw a lot of different things in here including sports, movies, television, games, and even blogging.
That is pretty simple but it is what I follow. I know I mentioned this earlier, but I will say it again here. We have seen some pretty good bloggers decide to give up playing WoW and some that have even stopped blogging altogether. It is not an easy task to find balance in our lives; however, you have to at least try to. I am fortunate in that my wife plays WoW and because of this fact, we can spend time together playing our alts or wreaking havoc in battlegrounds. Sadly we do not get to do enough of this because her schedule constantly changes and I went from normal wake up in the morning and work to waking up in the afternoon and working till late night. Often times I arrive home to see her heading to bed. I know it sounds like a good life right? Well, let's add in my son, who I am not kidding on this, his first words were "zug zug"! Yes, you may play a little too often if your child's first words are related to any video game. Now that he is older, my wife will sometimes allow him to take control of her character and he runs her all around Dalaran (although he spends a lot of time running into walls). Our guild is familiar with our son since he is extremely loud and loves to talk with Edyion in vent (ask if you do not believe me). If he is being roudy, I will sometimes calm him down with a nice WoW Machinima. For some reason he loves "The Lament of the Highborne" on the WoW media tab.
So why all this personal talk? Well, because I feel that too many people become too burried in this game. Yes, it is an escape of sorts from the real world where we sit at our desks, stand in lines, run cash registers, manage departments, organize large events, ect. The problem often is that as human beings we are easily addicted to things. I like to call them crutches. Instead of facing our problems and dealing with them, we are content to get by one more day with whatever our fix may be. I really started thinking alot about this over the last few days since my good buddy Fish has decided to stop playing WoW. You can go check out his post, but the short end of it is that he lost the balance in his life. He does not blame this solely on WoW, but he does point to how much time it has taken up of his life and the things that he could be doing, such as cleaning the house, going to the gym, and practicing his wrestling finisher! (You will have to get him to tell you about that some time.)
I just think that all of us need to make sure that we are living healthy well balanced lives. Ask yourself when was the last time you considered going out with friends as actually going out with friends and not logging into vent to prepare for the epic raid? I know the one area of my life I have been most guilty in is losing touch with my friends that I grew up with. Now I lost touch with many of them long before WoW came into the picture. Some I lost touch with after I got married, and then there were the ones who never played WoW or quit playing WoW that I did lose touch with because WoW was taking up more time. I have cut back some from the game and have decided that I do have some areas of my life that do need more focus on than others, but I refuse to simply reshuffle the deck and throw something else out of balance. I think the big take away from those who decide to give up a game, smoking, alcohol, or anything else that is addictive in nature, is not the fact that they have given it up, but the fact that they know they are out of balance. For the things which can shorten your life, definitely stepping away from it is a good thing, but I would challenge those who have gotten theirselves in a habit (habit equals addiction in nice terms by the way) to not simply push it away but rather learn from what got you there and balance your life out. Am I saying that if you stop playing a video game that you are wrong? Absolutely not, especially if it has had a negative impact on the quality of your life, but do not stop playing one game and replace it with another. Instead take some time and really think about the situation and rebalance your life so that you can live happy with yourself and your decision.
I wish the best of luck for everyone who has made the decision to make these changes as they are often not easy to make and truly take some time to decide upon. Fish, buddy, best of luck in staying away from WoW. Lord knows you are going to need to be strong considering how much we talk about it. I am glad you are going to continue to blog and like many other people have said in your comments, I will miss your take on WoW, but look forward to hearing about your thoughts on other games, especially since I am way too cheap to go out and waste more money on games like Warhammer. Oh and while you may not have been the most coordinated raider out there, you definitely always made it fun, even if it made you mad and angry enough to punch a baby!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

3.3??

I was sitting here tonight doing some deep thinking and working up one of those deep posts that I do maybe once every year, but then I decided I was way over my quota for the year so I thought I would simply ask, what is it in the new patch that you love/hate and why?

(Seeings as I am at work and everything will be old and used by the time I get home and eventually log on.)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Update

Hey all! Do not worry, I have not forgotten that I have a blog where useful information and rants can be placed. I have just been pretty busy both in real life and in the game itself and unfortunately that has not allowed me to spend as much time on the blogs as I would like. So expect some more periods of time where there is nothing, but do not worry I am alive and kicking!