MMOs, old Guilds and Intense Nostalgia

Angry is one of those guilds where people tend to hang around.  The group of players hasn’t changed much in the past 7 years since I stopped raiding on their schedule.  At the start of every expansion a lot of people, myself included, return to dip their toes back in the WOW waters and see how the game feels.  Since my guild was done playing through the raid for the week I asked to tag along to the Angry raid and get some more practice on some of the bosses that my guild was stuck on and also practice my arcane rotation.

As the raid group began to fill I saw so many names that I remembered and started to reminisce about Throne of the Four Winds and Firelands some of my fondest memories in WOW.  I remembered our group playing with a quiet intensity pushing ourselves to complete boss encounters and raid achievements.  This was also my first year going to Blizzcon where several of my guildmates met up to see all of the new announcements for our game.  Being a member of this guild was a commitment which formed a bond between us that has persisted through the years.

The Guild Master of Angry is someone that I will always remember for grilling me via in game whispers for 4 hours before he would consider giving me a shot in his guild.  He had his doubts that I would stick around, rightfully so since my husband (boyfriend at the time) was in a competing guild on the same server.  I spent a lot of time convincing this guild that my intentions were sincere and that I had no interest in playing in my boyfriends guild due to how they treated the women that played there.  It took a while but I think I showed that I was in it for my guild and ended up playing with them for a year and a half through two tiers of raids.

The raid started and I jumped right in having much more confidence in my abilities than I did 8 years ago when I first joined Angry.  There was the familiar banter over our voice chat and the calm coordination that was typical for this group.  I chatted with a few people that I remembered about some current game related things and tried my best to tone down my raid leader muscles and let them run their team the way that they did.  I did my best to pay attention and play my role in this group.  I offered some insights since my guild had spent some time on the same bosses the night before.  I took note of what they did better and how they communicated and assigned tasks.  It was a well oiled machine of players that were comfortable with each other and trusted in each other’s ability something that I strive to build in my own guild.  We worked on two fights and were able to kill them successfully.

Once we were done for the night the high spirited chatter in our voice chat surged.  Everyone’s voices were a little bit clearer than I remembered, probably due in part to my muffled memory of that time and also due to advances in voice over IP technology.  I was hit with a wave of nostalgia remembering all of the good times as we chatted about who were the oldest members in the guild and how they came to be members, that time when someone left the guild only to return 18 hours later, and who had the most epic failures when it came to devastating mechanics.  I could have stayed up and listened to the stories all night.  Of course the reason that I don’t play with them now is a difference in schedules.  They end their night at about 1am my time which is a bit too late if I want to be able to function at work the next day.

I remember explaining the relationships that I formed in MMOs and how I wasn’t playing with strangers every night, I had grown to know these people over the years and we had built friendships with our common hobby being the anchor point that held us together.  This was of course back when the internet was a scary place, at least in the eyes of most parents, with predators lurking in every chat room.  It was a hard concept to grasp if you hadn’t experienced it but these people that I played games with and only ever spoke to over the internet were my friends!  We would spend hours together every night fighting monsters and exploring caves.  I’ve made some amazing friendships over the years and there are not many places that are steadfast but Angry is one of those places that will always feel like home.

Mage Consumables for Raiding in BFA

I’m playing a mage this expansion and I know that dealing damage is a much more competitive scene than how I typically play, which is healing.  As a group be are going to be maintaining the stance that you are not required to use the expensive raid consumables this first week.  The normal and heroic versions of Uldir will be out today and we plan to get through all of normal and some of heroic.  While we are not requiring consumables this week I do know that most of my group is competitive and will be using them anyway.  I want to be prepared and will be using my consumables if we are not able to kill a boss in one or two tries.  I may not be using all of the items that I bring in preparation but it is nice to have the option to if I want.

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If you are going use any consumables at all the best one to start with is a flask.  The great thing about flasks is they will last the entire one hour even if you die.  This is not the case with most of the other consumables which will only last through one death.  Knowing how many flasks you need is a simple calculation of how many hours you will be raiding.  A gain of 238 of our main stat is a huge increase and will definitely help make up for the lack of gear that I was able to get in the first few weeks of the expansion.

 

There are different levels of food consumables and depending on what your stronger secondary stat is you will want either crit or haste as a frost mage.  An easy way to find out your ideal stats is to do a quick sim in raidbots. This will tell you what type of food is best to use.  You can choose a food that will increase a single secondary stat by 41 or 55 points, and you can only use one food at a time.

 

Augment rune

Augment runes are an item that was first introduced in Warlords of Draenor and served as an additional consumable which you could get as a random drop in dungeons, reward from follower missions and can also be bought and sold on the Auction House.  During the first few weeks of a new raid tier the price of these will sky rocket.  Since these do not persist through death you could potentially be using a lot of these on new content.  I have some of these runes but plan to hold onto them until we have a strategy down for a boss and just need that extra damage to hold us over.

The final consumable that I would use would be one of the battle potions which grants great increase for a short period.  You always want to make sure that you are timing these potions effectively.  I’ll be using these along with my Icy Veins during our initial burn phase making sure to use it a couple seconds before the boss is engaged and then again when I have cool downs available.  You are able to squeeze two uses out of these potions if you time it correctly but they are expensive.

One thing that never seems to change with the game is that raiding is an expensive expensive.

Mythic dungeons and why your ilvl is never high enough

As someone who has spent the majority of the past couple years revisiting the Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King expansions of WoW I have come to appreciate the group finder tools in game and how far they have come over the life of the game.  Gone are the days where you would type in chat “/who priest” and whisper everyone that came up to come heal your dungeon group.  The current looking for group tool allows you to group for anything you want with it’s highly customization options and categories. I mostly use it for dungeon and world quests but you can find some role playing or transmog or other various farming groups.

We do have quite a large community group and guild currently, but sometimes we still need to pug someone for our dungeon groups.  “Pug” means that you are finding someone that you don’t know to come help your group complete a task and is often viewed as a gamble.  This person could be good or they could be awful, it’s really hard to tell.  There is a ton of information out there about your character and if someone has the patience to do the research they can find out a lot about how you play.  In game there is a quick and dirty way of selecting your hypothetical best option and that is by choosing someone with a high item level.

I’ve seen a lot of people on twitter pointing out that one week into the expansion there is a lot of unreasonable requirements for finding a Mythic dungeon group.  The next level down’s gear is a 325 item level and the mythic is 340.  There are lots of groups out there that will require someone with a 340 item level to just join the group.  “Why would someone with that high of an item level want to run a dungeon with this group?”  The answer is, most of the time that requirement is not met when people sign up to be considered.  As someone who forms a lot of groups and uses the group finder to find players to complete our party,  I will tell you that most of the time we are too impatient to wait.  Now there may be some people that are amendment about finding a super geared player, and they are out there but are they willing to wait for the perfectly geared person?  Probably not.

Applying to join these groups reminds me of a statistic that I heard somewhere surveying men who were applying to jobs.  They would go after jobs that they only met 40% of the criteria in the job description.  Having a more impressive resume (or item level) will definitely help you land that position both in a job or in a dungeon group.  So I urge you, be bold if your endeavors but also keep grinding that gear 😉  When all else fails, make your own group 😀

 

Companion apps are awesome

I am absolutely in love with the new World of Warcraft expansion Battle for Azeroth.  So that is where most of my free time is being spent.  Since I have other obligations such as work, I love having little ways to keep in touch with my in game characters throughout the day.

I’ve been using any app that’s available for mmos. It started with rift app and then the mobile AH in wow and then Legion companion app.  I’m a big lover of in game economies and always am looking for ways to make money in game.  The Mobile AH for wow was one of my favorite apps.  I fondly recall someone in one of my college classes having the money sound that the app makes go off.  It was one of those “yea, I know you’re a video game nerd” moments.

I just wanted to leave this image here as large and colorful as it is, since a tiny phone screen can not do this app design justice.  The detailing is beautiful and the menu is intuitive and takes from the basic design from the Legion app which I used extensively.  The app has a limited amount of things that you can do on it, one of which is sending your companions out on missions which you can only use it for as long as you have resources to do so.  I mainly use it to send out my followers on missions to assist with the rep grind.  I found that it was hard to keep up with resources on my alts when I was using the app in Legion.

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This app has some odd bugs.  Notice the green check marks?  This is supposed to mean that if you have a companion that counters a mobs abilities effectively.  What I’ve found is that sometimes if you select the companions that complete all the counters will sometimes give you a low success rate compared to some of the companions that do NOT counter the mobs.  Not sure what that’s about!?

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I both love the simplicity of this app but also wish that it included some additional features that the WoW armory app does.  I would love to have access to community and guild chat while on my phone and the ability to look at the items in my characters inventory, buy and sell on the AH. I know they got rid of this and have no plans to bring it back but I hope they reconsider!  I would also love to be able to craft since that’s mainly a task that I do when I’m not parked in front of my computer anyway.  Even if it was time gated I would be OK with that.  Maybe someday we’ll be able to play more of WoW on our phone or tablet.

 

Finding that Work/Life/Gaming balance

As we close out the first full week of the new World of Warcraft expansion I’m feeling accomplished.  I didn’t put in as many hours as some did but felt like I got a respectable amount done.  I played about 14 out of the first 30 hours that the game was out (don’t judge me).  Once we hit level cap, the hubs and I decided to do what all the hard core players were recommending which was to grind out all of the World Quests.  We did that the first night and that was all that we had time for.  Not wanting to spend 5 hours per day doing world quests, the second night we did minimal amount of world quests and began to explore the game.  I spent some time working through some of the story that I hadn’t finished yet, working on my professions, and doing some casual dungeon groups with our new community.  On Saturday, Sunday and Monday night I worked on the Mythic difficulty of the dungeons since those had some of the better gear rewards.  I was on track to complete them all when my high population server started to stutter.  We had a group and had completed one so far and were heading to the next zone when we got an error of “Instance Aborted”  and were sent back to where we came from.  I don’t recall this happening before and it may be the rose colored engineering goggles but I think this may be one of the worst wow expansions launches in recent history.  First we had a 6 hour period the first night where we couldn’t log on and now the server was having problems and preventing me from completing my last two mythic dungeons.  So sad 😦

On top of this being a busy week of exciting new video gaming, I also found myself extremely busy with work.  I’m part of a fairly fresh team and there is a lot that we want to do.  Anytime there is something that we want to do I add it to my list to work on.  Last week I was about to cross off 6 things from my list but ended up adding 10 more.  This is not the way you complete a to do list…There are a lot of technology challenges currently with the way things are set up and it creates a lot of roadblocks to automating tasks.  I’m a macro/automation junkie and I’m having a hard time when I need to manually do a task that will take me several hours if not several days.  On top of these challenges I’ve been slightly distracted at work last week, making sure that I bump my recruitment posts every hour.  I’m definitely not doing that this week since we seem to be in a great position with guild/community recruitment.  We have a general interest meeting next week that will give us a better idea as to number of players that actually want to do the large group content in the game.

The state of my house has been suffering a bit from last week’s video game binge.  We got take out for dinner more than usual, we almost exclusively used paper plates and the clean laundry has been living in a pile on the couch for the past few days.  At least I’ve been keeping on top of dishes, which I cannot neglect or we will soon have an ant problem.  My house is only moderately messy, thanks to my cleaning spree in preparation for the gaming that we planned to do.  Also my two year old need some more outdoor time this next weekend.  We normally go to the pool, but this past weekend it was cold and rainy and I think she got a little cabin fever from too much sitting around.  This weekend ACTIVITIES WILL BE HAD!  I’m making it a point to not be gaming while my daughter is awake during the week.  That few hours that we get to spend together during the day is precious and requires my full attention.

World of Lovecraft

We entered an underground cave where the fish-people had set up a military facility.  They patrolled back and forth as we waited patiently out of sight.  One by one, we jumped into the water and frantically swam as sharp fish teeth pierced our skin.  We were after the treasure and equipment the that was held by those running of the facility.  With sword in hand, we cut our way through our enemies.  It was a typical Tuesday night.

I was a healer and I was dam good at it.  So good, that when a newcomer came along and outperformed me, I took notice.  He had just joined the guild and I was watching him.  Watching him because I wanted to CRUSH him.  Did I mention I’m a bit competitive?  This is just what I needed to push me to be better.

Several years before I ever met my husband in person, we played a game called World of Warcraft.  We played together off and on as we would drive in and out of the game.  It was one of those online friends that you always got along with and was always down for a dungeon run.  It wasn’t until I was fresh off a long term relationship that meeting him ever occurred to me.  We had known each other for years and years but this was brand new experience for both of us.

Early into our courtship we sat down and played against each other in Halo. It started with me kicking his butt and as he got used to the controls…ended with me throwing the controller at his head. I HATE losing.  I love that he’s competitive but I also love that we now solely play cooperative games together.  Less things get broken this way.

It was a whirlwind romance of weekend visits, wine and video games.  He lived about an hour away from me and at this time I was a college student, working two jobs so we fit in time when we could.  Most Saturdays I would have to work a 7 hour shift and would come home to find him eating taco bell, pugging a raid on my computer.  I know that gaming is a major turn off for a lot of women, but for me it an absolute necessity in a partner.  The last thing I needed in my life was the guy I was with whining about how much time I spent on the computer.

Do you remember that newcomer that seriously put me in my place?  If you guess that I was talking about my future husband, you’re right!  Much later I’ll learn that he had just picked up the class that he was playing and that he barely knew what he was doing!  After 5 years of marriage we are still going strong.  Those that play together, stay together 🙂

WoW BFA Recruitment

Now is the time to put on your recruiting boots!  The very beginning of any game or game expansion is a great time to recruit players for your guild.  There are lots of people that are coming to a game for the first time or returning after an extended absence.  This all means that they need a social group!

A couple weeks ago I talked about how we were in the beginning stages of recruiting for our guild.  Now that the expansion has launched we are starting to get a flood of potential recruits.  Last time I made a big push to recruit, I did so mostly by seeking out those players that posted to the general forums saying that they were looking for a guild.  I would send each of them a private message that was personalized to respond to what they were looking for.  While this proved very effective in a new game, this method was getting very little responses in WoW.  For one, we were a brand spankin new guild as far as anyone was concerned.  We didn’t have any wowprogress history or any impressive boss kill logs, so the serious players didn’t even consider us since they were getting lots of messages from already established guilds.

I was frustrated that all my hours of finding the perfect recruits were proving unfruitful.  So I made a change and rethought of how we could improve our headcount and be able to step foot into the new raids for BFA and hopefully reduce my load of administrative duties outside of game.  I mean, I wanted to play the game too!  I decided for my own sanity that I needed to cast a wider net and started to spend less time talking to applicants during the first week of the expansion and steering them to the community.

Communities are a new feature which allows you to join a new social group without leaving your current guild or having to pay for a server transfer.  I could see wow eventually making this THE new social experience in the future.  For those long time wow vets, a community is basically a custom chat channel with a member list interface.  I like this idea so much that instead of building up the “guild” we were using the community as our new “guild”  It was so easy to use.  Instead of a potential player having to wait to get an invite from someone, they can just enter a join code and instantly be connected with everyone else that’s online.

Getting people to talk to you is half the battle, and having them join a social group just gives us opportunity to introduce people to our group’s culture.  It takes a lot of work to join a new guild in any of these games, so if I can get them to play with us even just a little bit they may like that experience and want to hang around because of it.  Right now we are getting to know our potential raiders and just having fun.