Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The History of My Cataclysm - The T13 Phase

Check out: The T11 Phase, The Zul Phase and The Tier T12 Phase if you have an hour or so to kill.

T13 was a fantastic patch and a horrible one all at the same time.  And amazingly enough, all for the same reasons.  Nearly everything that was introduced raiding wise was both good and bad.  The thing is, there was not much else introduced that was actual content.

As I mentioned in the T12 phase post, the consumption of content is a major factor of determining how good a patch was.  Being PvP is PvP and the players make the content any patch is hard to judge as far as content goes if basing it on that.  PvP balance, yes, but not content.  The more people currently playing the better it gets, simple as that with player vs player so when talking content we are usually talking anything that is not player vs player.

So what do we look at for content consumption and what did T13 offer us in that department?  We look at quest hubs, which it had none, we look at raiding, which it had one medium sized raid and a new looking for system for raiding and we look at dungeons, which it had three of, along with new achievements.  We can also look at things that people could do solo, which is a huge part of content being the majority of the game is done solo and T13 had absolutely nothing for the non raider, non dungeon goer.

The biggest problem with T13, besides the amazing lack of content, was the looking for system.  It basically removed a huge step in the game for a great deal of players that were at the end game level.  Not to mention the seeds that it planted in the minds of many people that had never raided before have only just started to see growth and it is not good at all.

I had some serious reservations about the looking for raid before it was released and had a lot of questions and worries.  I was glad that first day when it came out that none of the things I was worried about seemed to be true.  The run was smooth, even if we did wipe a few times.  People were not coming and going like crazy.  Everyone seemed to participate and they all seemed at the very least to be trying to do well.  There was no loot drama, no cries over someone did not deserve something or the like.  Even if the raid leader was randomly appointed it seemed someone that was a decent person stepped up and explained everything to people that did not know what to do.  There was no go guy, there was no ninja puller, there were no people ignoring mechanics, we even bounced the ball back and forth, how amazing is that for a looking for raid.  This is what the looking for raid should be like and it was, that first day at least.

I had never in my life been so happy to admit I was wrong.  Everything I thought would be wrong with looking for raid was not.  It was probably the best random experience in my time playing the game.  I ran it on four characters that first day and can't say I had one complaint.  I loved being wrong.  (this train of thought will be continued later)

For the first time this expansion the guild was ready to go on day one of a release of a new raid and that prospect alone was exciting after having to wait so long to start in the previous two.  We went into dragon soul the week it came out and I would have been happy if we spent the entire day wiping on the first boss.  I was just glad to get in there with a full group of our regular team.

We did something we have never done as a guild before.  We one shot the first boss of a patch that had just come out.  We had never done that before even when there were easy bosses that started a tier of raiding.  We always wiped.  Could I contribute this to our guild raid group finally melding together well or was it that dragon souls first boss was a little undertuned.  Perhaps it was part of both.

We moved to the slime boss next and we repeated the actions we took with the first boss.  We killed it in one shot.  One thing I should mention however, we did wipe on the trash.  The green, red and yellow pack, well, we learned that one was a little bit of a problem and wiped on it.  But still we had no wipes on bosses.  New tier, week of release, two bosses down in two attempts.  I had never experienced this before in my life.  I wonder if this is what being in a top guild is like, never having to wipe?  At least never on normal.

Time for the third boss, could we go three for three, luck was on our side today it seemed.  At least it was when trash was not involved.  I had read to kill the eye first so that we what we attempted to do and we wiped.  I told everyone to spread out because if the flails all attack the same person it would kill them thinking that way we would not wipe the group.  Still wiped.  Tried it three more times and wiped three more times.  Jesus, how the hell can we one shot two bosses and can't kill a damn pack of trash.  Remember what I said about my guild being weird sometimes, well, this is one of those cases, we mess up on the stupidest stuff sometimes.

I decided that the guides were wrong, the flails were killing us, the eye was nothing.  I marked a kill order on flails and we downed all three first, then the eye and finished with the claw.  No problem, no more wipes on those.  Proof that a guide is just a guide, it is not a gospel.  You have to decide what is best for your group and for our group the eye did nothing, but those flails really loved to pick one person at a time to kill and take us out because it always seemed to kill the healers first.

Either way, raid time was running short, I had spent a fair deal explaining all the fights and we as a group spent a fair deal of time wiping on trash but at least we downed two bosses in one shot.  We only had time for one attempt on the ball boss and figured we would try for the 10 bounce thing and didn't quite survive.  Over all it was a good night for our small two hour raid time and our standing as a casual guild in my opinion.  I was glad to be getting into the new raid on day one and even more glad we were able too down two bosses on that first time in.

So the start of T13 seemed to be off to a great start.  The looking for raid was leaps and bounds better than I could have imagined on my best day and we started raiding on time and did okay.  I was excited about the game again, it felt as if everything was going well.

Even doing the three new heroics was a breeze, of course we did them in all guild groups being we all had at least one or two pieces we wanted to fill out.  It was nice to have some super easy heroics again.  After the original ones and the zuls I had forgot what fun it could be to just go in and kill a few things and collect my valor.

It was only when I ran them without guild that I noticed they were not as super easy as they were with guild.  They could still be an issue, but that was later, this is now, right at the start and the start seemed to be going well.

Yeap, without a doubt T13 was off to an astounding start.  Week one of release was great.  Week two, well that was another story all together.

I tried to do the looking for raid on my main as soon as I logged in and it seemed like I stepped into some alternate universe.  There were damage dealers doing 4K DPS, healers doing 3K HPS and tanks that could lose the boss to healing aggro.  There were people rolling on loot they already owned just to trade it later.  People complaining that someone did not deserve winning.  People bickering, no one explaining anything for those not there before, people calling others idiots for not understanding things, people not following mechanics because it is "only looking for raid".

What the hell happened between week one and week two?  I'll tell you what happened.  Lots of craftable 377 PvP gear and 378 gear from HoTs helped the masses get to item level 372 and get into the looking for raid.

Week one the only people that had a 372 item level at launch were actual raiders.  People that knew what they were doing and knew how to raid.  By week two all those people that should never step into a raid were now thinking they too were raiders and the looking for raid started to go down hill.  It would only be a matter of weeks before the looking for raid became everything bad I thought it would be and even worse.

Week two of raiding as a guild did not go as well either.  Neither tank was anywhere to be found so while I got to play on my hunter week one I was back to tanking again.  With no other viable tank option I switched and dragged along two other damage dealers.  I figured with our healing make up, a holy paladin, a holy priest and a restoration shaman I had the three best tank healing classes to try and heal it with me solo tanking.

It was not ideal to be solo tanking the second week of release but I was not about to call it a night on a raid without even trying something the second week after we had such a successful first.

The first pull I died on the first stomp as did a melee.  I explained how we would do it, I needed a second soaker.  The rogue with feint would share the first, the druid with barkskin would share the second and they would rotate.  They would need to heal the soaker as if they were tanks as well during the stomps.  After I spent a few minutes explaining what we would do we went at it a second time and had no problem what so ever.  It was a nice smooth kill and solo tanking it was no problem at all.

We also had to use a contorted way to do the slime boss.  With the extra DPS I figured we would try to down him as fast as possible being I was solo tanking it, just to make the healers life easier some.  So I picked two people to stay on the boss the whole time and sent less out for the slimes.  It was not much of a problem because the slimes were getting killed before they even reached the water last week with one damage dealer less.  So that one extra, plus one, stayed on the boss and the others were on slime duty.

We wiped twice on that while we worked out some cooldown rotations but we managed to get that down with one tank as well.  Not so bad so far if you ask me.  Two weeks, two bosses down each week, but both solo tanked the second week.  Again, I was enjoying it and started to enjoy it more when one of the tanks finally logged in, he had to work late.

I switched to my main and he came in to tank and one of the fill in damage dealers stepped out, as they knew they would need to if a tank showed up, they had no issue with it.   I always say as long as you explain it well beforehand people are usually okay with being asked to step out when they know they were only there to hold a spot for someone.  At least a non raider was able to get a few kills in.  So it was good for them.

We didn't down the ball boss on the second week either but it was no fault of our own.  The ball kept bugging out on us.  First try it landed on the ranged and stopped there.  Just floated above us and kept growing.  Second try when going into melee from ranged it changed direction for no reason, it did not hit anyone, just darted to the left.  We tried to save the attempt but lost two people in the process and were not able to down it with the lack of DPS.  Third try it landed on melee and would not move.  We were having no luck what so ever.  We ended the night with 4 failed attempts and only one of those 4 was us messing it up, the game messed up the other three attempts.

I won't go into our entire progression, just wanted to show the difference a week makes from the near perfect week one to the less than perfect week two.    It would be a sign of things to come as things just got progressively worse each week in LFR and progressively redundant doing the real raid unless we did things different on our own to spice it up.

As the weeks went on we downed the third boss, which still remains the boss we have wiped on most in all of T13, and I think that had more to do with the bad bounces and bugs than anything we did, and all others but we did not kill deathwing until the buff started and even that little buff really did help us.  We were the 16th on the server to beat him but for some reason it ranked us 20th on the server over all.  Might be because of all the guilds that past us to the 3rd and after bosses while we seemed to have some issues with it bugging for a few weeks which cause it to take us three weeks to down the third boss.  Makes me wonder if we did something that caused it to bug without even noticing it.  It is possible I guess being other people said that they saw those bugs but never as much as we were experiencing.

We had a great deal of fun, we were top 20 in getting nearly every achievement there, except for the two we are still missing as a guild, as well as top 10 in a few, and we had three full groups and a once a week looking for raid group going each week.  It became the most active raiding patch this expansion for us.

I was to the point at one time of running at least 7 characters through the looking for raid, both parts, each week.  I was in two of the three raid groups and sometimes all three and ran with the group looking for raid.  Thing were going real well, even when the guild drama reached maximum over flow it was no big deal and didn't bother me at all, there was too much good going on to even care.

The one person that started all that trouble back in T12 seemed to be putting the screws to his friends in the main group.  It was noticeable early on when we were wiping on the ball boss that second week.

The holy paladin, the same one that didn't want to extend lock outs because he said he needed gear, was tainted by looking for raid even called me a bad raid leader because of the wipes even if he did not say it that way.  His reasoning that we were just doing badly was that in looking for raid they just stack on the boss and have one person bounce the ball, and it was me making it so much harder than the fight really was by telling people to bounce the ball.  Hindsight being 20/20 I should have kicked him from the raid and even the guild knowing that attitude would only get worse.  Many raid leaders would have done just that but I didn't, it is not my style.

I explained it to him, but I did throw a sort of sideways shot at him while doing so.  I said that is only the way they do it in looking for raid because they know the average player is not smart enough to bounce a ball around.  So they lowered the damage of the ball so the second tank can bounce it alone.  In the real raid you are expected to be smart enough to know how to bound a ball from point A to point B, we are just having a few bugs with it.

In a way it was me saying that if he thought that was really how it was done he must be one of the people not smart enough to bounce a ball back and forth.

During that three weeks we got unlucky with the ball, other guilds, many even, passed us.  When we did pass it, that forth week, the rogue had some family issues so he was not able to be there.  The rogue was a friend of the trouble maker as you might have remembered from the last post if you read it.  That directly effects what happened next in the drama.

So that forth week raiding we downed the third boss and made it to the forth one.  We asked in guild if any rouges wanted to get the pick pocket to at least start the quest.  We did that every time we got there this whole patch, just so every 85 rogue had a chance.  Me and three others in the raid had 85 rogues and we all came in and did the pick pocket.  We then downed her as well in one shot and called it a night as our two hours were up.  So far we were doing pretty good even if the ball boss stalled us.  Three of the first four we one shot the first time we saw them.  That damn ball boss ruined our progression and was the only boss that took us more than one day of trying to down it.  We added one boss each week after that basically.

Fifth week was rogue drama week and getting closer to those five people leaving.  He came on the next day and was furious that we allowed other people to pick the pocket.  He said to me it was unfair that I did it with mine when I don't even play it.  I am sure the trouble starter put that one in his ear, telling him I only think of myself trying to make me look bad of course.

I told him that everyone can pick pocket it, but being he was our only raiding rogue he would get the gems.  I, and the others, just wanted to get the 397 daggers.  I saw nothing wrong with that.  And we continued that practice to this very day if someone hits 85 on a rogue we invite them to do the pickpocket if they want.  We even invited friends that are in other guilds so they did not need to pay to do it, they could come in our run and do it for free.  We would never charge anyone to do it, even if not in the guild, it is not right.  My opinion at least.

So next week what does the rogue do, pissed that we allowed other rogues to get the pick picking first he joins a pug on tuesday morning to try and get to hag and get the pickpocket.  Not sure if you remember, but just because dragon soul was easy it was not that easily pugged before they started the debuff, which he soon found out.  After hours and hours of wiping he only ended up with morchok down.

He sent me a mail saying to fill the first boss kill with someone else and then he will join the raid after that because we was saved to the first boss.

Knowing me what do you think I replied?

You decided to pug and are now locked so no, I will not fill your spot for only one boss just to kick someone after it, I will fill it for the entire run.  If they leave you can come in, but I will not kick them for you.  It would be unfair to invite someone just to kick them after one boss because you could not wait until raid time and tried to pug.  If you want you can come in and pick pocket the forth boss but you should have waited until raid time and raided with us for the raid you signed up for and not tried to pug when you had an obligation to the team.

I don't think I was out of line at all and it seemed as if he didn't think so either.  That night we went in and raided, we downed the first three no problem and we just had to get him into the group for the forth boss so he could do the pick pocket after we cleared trash.  I said in guild, we are on trash, start heading here.  He said, okay.  That was the last we heard of him.  We all said for him that we were ready for him in guild after we cleared the trash, me and my raid assistant both whispered him as did one of the healers.  We decided we would take a break and wait for him being he seemed AFK.  So I called for a 10 minute break while we waited for him.

15 minutes later he went offline, timed out most likely, so we stopped waiting for him And went on with the raid and killed hag without him getting the pickpocket.

The next morning was rage quit time for everyone.  He rage quit because I would not kick someone for him to come in after the first boss and, get this one, because I did not wait for him to come back.  Lets not forget that we finished our raid night and he still was not back yet.  So even if we waited the rest of the night he could not have gotten in.  He said we should have stopped there so he could have gotten in the next day.

So the rogue was gone.  The one that originally started it all was gone too, for the reasons I mentioned in the T12 post, and he made a huge deal about the guild they were going to was better than ours because they had more progression.  The mage that could not break 8K in T12 left too and a good, but never dependable and over inflated ego DK friend left as well.  The holy paladin, even if he did try to call me out in a raid because I told people to bounce the ball was the only one polite about it.  He mailed me and said that the other two were his closest friends in game and he wanted to go where they went and did not mean any offense but the other guild had better progression anyway.  I wished him well, told him I understood and said have a nice life basically.

So we had two open spots in our main raid team now, that of a healer and a damage dealer.  We picked up a healer that had not been raiding with us but had in the past from guild and made her a full time member of the main group and pulled in someone that had wanted to raid but we did not have a spot for them.

The week after, we passed the group up that they left us for, odd how when they were gone and they joined that other group they remained stuck at 6/8 and we moved from 5/8 to 7/8 that same night.  The week after we hit 7/8 we finished it, the guild they left us for, the better one, was still at 6/8.  We waited until the 20% buff before we ever stepped into heroics choosing to gear up some more clearing normals each week and we were still 1/8 H before they were 8/8 normal.  So much for them being a better progression guild than we were. 

And to think we took out sweet ass time, just like we normally do.  Hence the reason we did not even start to try heroics until the 20% buff came.  We wanted to keep clearing normals to get those missing pieces we needed for people and more importantly the deathwing weapons.  We finally had to give up and start heroics having never seen a maw, a staff or a bow drop.  We would have filled a 25 man raid with souldrinkers however and agility axes.  That was all that ever dropped.

I never said anything to anyone but somewhere deep in the back of my mind passing them so quickly made me extremely happy.  Even more so knowing that the person that started all this trouble made such a huge deal out of them being better than we were when he moved there. 

Perhaps the new guild realized why he was on our second team and was only a backup for that one as is.  Or realized how much trouble that rogue could be sometimes.  Or that the holy paladin will call them bad for not doing it as easily as it is done in the looking for raid.  Or the mage could only pull maybe 9K now that he was in 397 gear.  Or the DK would only show up for one raid a month and always say he knows more than anyone in the group because his main on another server has been 8/8 heroic since week two even if everyone knows he is full of crap.

Like I said, I sort of felt great when they failed so badly.  Am I a bad person because of that?  The guild ended up transferring off the server a little later saying the reason they were leaving was that they could not find any decent players on our server.  I think they found great players if you ask me, the found the perfect people to take from us to make us a better guild.

Over the expansion we lost a fair deal of very good players to more progressed groups.  Not like we are anything special.  We fall anywhere between 20th - 40th usually on the server at any given time so there are a lot of options that are much better than we are, but I think what makes our guild a good one is we do not care where we stand, we just care about the people in the group and having a good time raiding.  If someone is going to complain about wiping, we don't want them.  If someone thinks we are doing it wrong because looking for raid does it different, we don't want them.  If someone is going to demand a spot or gear, we don't want them.

We had a solid healer join the guild before we started heroics and they had done them, I think they were 6/8 heroic when they joined.  They knew we moved slower, at our own pace, and they knew we would rather help others than push progression, but it seemed like every time we did something they would say we are doing it wrong.  That is not the way my old guild did it, that is not the way it is supposed to be done, that is not the best way to do it.  We are clearing normal in an hour and a half, we are having fun, we are gearing up people, we are doing it the same way we have been doing it for weeks, if you don't like it, go back to your old guild.  Give advice, don't insult if we do it differently, there is a huge difference between the two.  Needless to say, they left.

We had a great damage dealer leave not so long ago because he wanted more progression.  He joined an 8/8 heroic guild and last I checked he is still 6/8 heroic, just like us.  Goes to show you, leaving just for progression is not always the best thing but sometimes for the guild you left it sure is.  The five that left us made us a better guild, the one that left us, I would have loved to have kept.  Funny part is, being I have been stuck tanking and healing and we are down two DPS for the last month or so, myself, and someone taking a break until mists, if that one big damage dealer had not left us for more progression, we would most likely have been 8/8 now too and so would he.

Thing is, even when that great player left we kept going, no big deal.  That is something this expansion taught me as a raid leader.  It taught me to not really care.  Don't like me?  Leave.  Don't like the loot rules? Leave.  Don't like our relaxed pace?  Leave.  I am not going to change rules to suit anyone.  I learned that from the holy paladin holding us back because he did not want to extend lock outs and me being afraid of losing him and trying to appease him.  I will never do that again.  Look at how much better we did after he left.  He quit playing after the guild he went to transferred off the server.  He paid to transfer with them and then quit.

With that all said, dragon soul was very good to my guild.  We went through it at a pace we were not used to.  We got stuck on the ball boss and the ship, but that was it.  Everything else was one new boss each week it seemed.  We were doing better in there than any raid we had ever done before and you know what, that not only became the cause of burnout for me, but caused me to lose interest in the game.  Makes me wonder, why press content when you will have nothing to do if you move too fast. 

Once you finish what you were aiming for it loses something, just like hard core raiders leave after heroic I can see casual raiders leaving after normal and everyone else leaving after looking for raid.  I think the only reason we kept raiding is because we waited so long to try heroics.  So while we never pressed heroics at all, we would do a few bosses on heroic and finish on normal, we still made a little progression here and there but very slowly and it extended the content for us.

Between the loot gods hating me and forcing me to continue to run LFR on my healers and my hunter and my druid because the polearm, the maw and the bow refused to ever drop, doing that a million times and normal a million times and but even progressing fairly reasonablely through heroics thanks to the 20%, and later more, buff, the raid became stale.  Not because of the raid itself but because of the looking for raid version and the people in it that made me actively hate the raid on a level of hate I had never reached in this game until that point.

It was not only because it was a bad raid so much but because it was too easy, too short, and too boring to be doing that often, like you would do a standard grind with random people.  There was nothing to do to add some excitement to it.  When I was doing 10s and 25s, back when we could do both, even if it was the same thing it felt different.  Doing LFR, normal and heroic did not feel different.  Not sure why but to me it always felt like more of the same and I was not enjoying it.

For as good as the looking for raid had started it ended up being worse than I could have even expected and that is saying a lot because I didn't expect anything good from it.  It also did the exact opposite of what I had hoped it would do.  I had hoped it would teach a new generation of players what raids were and give them a feeling how to do them.

As the holy paladin, an experienced raider with four years under their belt, said, you are doing it wrong, that is not how they do it in the looking for raid, proves.  They are teaching people the wrong way to raid.

Everything the raid leader would want of his raiders the looking for raid teaches people the wrong thing.  Follow mechanics, don't need to in looking for raid.  Move from bad stuff, don't need to in looking for raid.  Come gemmed, don't need to in looking for raid.  Come enchanted, don't need to in looking for raid.  Bring food, don't need to in looking for raid.  Bring flasks, don't need to in looking for raid.  Wear the correct gear, don't need to in looking for raid.  I can go on and on but I have already wasted too much time on that part, the key idea here is that the looking for raid taught people that exact opposite of everything I want from a raider.  It is creating raiders for the next generation, bad raiders.

The looking for raid is creating a new set of players that think wiping on bosses is a bad thing.  A whole slew of people that say, I never eat or have a flask on, only bad players need the boost.  People that think gems and enchants are optional.  That if you push it enough you can ignore any mechanic no matter what.

Looking for raid might very well have its place in the game but it is not a tool for raiding.  It is about as far from raiding as doing a fishing daily is.

It is also the number one reason why I think 4.3 put the second nail in the coffin of warcraft.  For a great deal of people raiding is end game, even if they have never once stepped into a raid.  For those people, the ones that have no interest in PvP, they look for other content, even if they don't actually do it.

Content could be dailies, dungeons, raids, or anything repeatable that feels like it is worth doing to them.  Being dungeons offer valor and there are always new things for valor, they are repeatable.  Quests are one time deals, but dailies can be good content.  As long as they have something worth aiming for like an item with marks or tokens, or reputation, there is some content there for the max level character that is not a PvPer.

Raiding however is a horse of a different color and was always locked off to the masses, it was something that could very well keep them playing week after week even if there was nothing to do with the hopes that one day they might get into a raid or fill in for someone in the guild that was missing.

They might even know they were not good enough and admit it, they might know they would need to be carried, but they still hang around and wait for it, that one moment when they can get in and see the raid.  Like I said, even if they had no intention of doing it, it is content there waiting for them some day should they want to reach out and do it.

Enter looking for raid when even the most lacking player in the game can see all raid content in 1 easy hour with little or no skill if they are willing to put up with some of the dreggs of the gaming community and blizzard has just given away the easy path to finishing the most compelling content they add each tier to the players that are not actually raiders.

Even non raiders stayed around for raiding.  Even if they will not admit it they would like to do it.  They would say I don't have the gear, I don't have the time, I don't know the fights, I don't have the skill, I am not sure I can do it but now the looking for raid cures all those problems in one fell swoop and that content that would keep them thinking, someday, is now done and there is nothing left for them to do and they too will leave the game hoping for the next patch with something to do to come sooner than later.

Like I said in the T12 part, they are allowing content to be consumed faster and faster and the most lasting content they had was raiding and that is now gone too.  It is part of the instant gratification crowds box of toys and when they are done playing with them they will want new toys and you can't really blame them for that. 

It puts blizzard in a very bad spot.  It makes people consume content even faster than they ever had before and it makes people want more of it faster.  They created an appetite they can not fill.  They should have left the carrot dangling, the raids that only a small percentage did, that kept people playing hoping that one day they can do it.  But with no content left to do being there were no quest hubs, no achievements to grind, no other new content, giving away the only thing you had left, the raid, as a freebie kill for anyone that enters it was that second nail in their coffin.

When only 1% raided only 1% would finish the raid and be asking for more.  When 5% raided it was 5% asking.  Now with them trying to push everyone into it those numbers of people asking for more will go up and they can not supply that type of content fast enough.  Letting the masses finish it just means that instead of having that 1% complaining there are not enough raids, it becomes 20% doing it.  Not a very smart business plan to let more of your players have less to do.  If raiding was left to the 1% that other 19% might still have something to aim for, to be playing for, instead of joining the 1% in complaining that there is nothing to do.

The best way to lose subscribers is to give them no reason to keep paying for a subscription.  It is well known many hard core raiders take breaks when they finish the content that interests them.  Now there will be many more doing the same because they are done on day 1.  Just think, two weeks into 4.3, as soon as the second half of LFR was out, you could have finished all the content they added, even if you were a horrible player.  They can't let people have nothing to do and expect them to keep paying to play a game that has nothing for them to do.

I ended up hating T13 but it did not start that way.  Even when looking for raid started to go downhill I could stand it to some extent.  But it was the more I did it the less I liked it and oddly enough the more I did the looking for raid the less I wanted to do the actual raid.  Having the ability to run it at any time meant I ran it a lot, a hell of a lot.  Because there was absolutely nothing else to do in the patch I would queue up for it just for something to do and it just caused me to be burnt out faster.

Due to the extreme lack of content and the ability for anyone to finish it too quickly at any skill level with a max level character I think the patch would have been much better if it were only two months long.  Even at that, it would have been pushing it.  For most players the game did not have anything to offer in T13 past the LFR which was finished instantly.  That is what I was talking about when I mentioned the second nail in the warcraft coffin.  Giving us content that is consumed way to quickly, even by people that have no skills to do it.

My T13 trip was filled with so much good, so quickly too, that it only burnt me out faster and made me look for something else to do because I was done with it all.  And that is a problem.  They need to release content much much faster and T13 has shown us a future that could be that blizzard will never be able to keep up with.  Keeping enough content out there worth doing.  It won't happen when you barely release 2 patches a year, and they can not even do that.

In the end, T13 left me to believe that the future of the game is very bleak.  Very bleak indeed.  Unless they find a way to seriously slow down the looking for raid content, as in releasing one new boss every two weeks or something, they will drive all their non raiders away just like they do the hard core ones that think as soon as they finish heroic they are done and unsubscribe.  For the non raiders finishing the looking for raid will become the same exact thing, unless you can offer them something additional to do.

It started out great, but T13 went on way too long.  What could have been a very good ending patch even with the lack of decent story behind it would have been a million times better if mists were released in may or earlier even.  It wasn't, and T13 went on too long and not only changed my opinion of T13 but the entire game.

With cataclysm all but done some will say there is only one place to go from here, up.  I disagree.  Just look at cross realm zones, they have new depths to sink to and they will do everything they can to sink to them. This expansion has left me feeling that if the servers shut down tomorrow I would not miss the game at all.  I am pretty sure that was not what they wanted cataclysm to leave its players feeling.

Deathwing took larger chunks out of the subscriber base than it did out of azeroth.  Working as intended?


  1. I can't believe you left the BEST part of patch 4.3 out of your doom-and-gloom summation of Tier 13 - transmogrification and void storage were huge developments for all players, be they primarily solo players or group players.

    I also think you seriously misunderstand the purpose of LFR. It wasn't developed for you. It wasn't developed for raiding guilds. It wasn't intended to be farmed for gear by raiding guids to prepare for DS Normal. It is *not* the raid equivalent of LFD. It was developed for non-raiders, people who aren't in raiding guilds, and people who cannot make the committment to raid schedules or who lack the skill to be part of a raiding guild/team - in other words 95% of the player base. It is purely to justify the huge budget and resource allocation that is given to raid development, and to increase subscription duration among non-raiders. Any burnout that raiders suffered from LFR is 100% self-imposed, and is not an indication of the direction of the game. DS Normal was tuned for raiders in iLevel 378 of course it was easy in 384 gear from LFR and with advance knowledge of how encounters were basically supposed to work.

    LFR is *supposed* to be easy. It's not for raiders.

    1. I had originally replyed to this and decided to delete it and start over because it sounded rude and that was not my intention. So lets go again.

      I did not mention transmog or void storage for two reasons.

      One, they are not content. They are functions. So yes, these functions were added during the patch but they will serve as much use for the rest of the game history. Content is something that is only focused on during that patch time.

      Two, being this is not a review of T13, it is about my personal experiences and how I felt about it the fact that I did not use either of these really is why there is no mention of them.

      As for your comment about LFR not being for raiders, I know that, I wrote that a long time ago to explain it to others that were raiders and crying about the bad players in them.

      Feel free to have a read.

      If you will notice in my experiences, I did not say the people you described should not be in them. I said griefers, loot whiners, go go people, boss pullers, AFKers, etc should not be in them. I did not say that the people that did not have time to play but wanted to raid should not be in them. I did not say people learning should not be in there. I said bad players with bad manners and bad social skills should not be in there.

      The way you are saying it is that only raiders expect people to do things correctly. Sorry, but I wholeheartedly disagree. Even non raiders should not be subjected to the crap that goes on in the LFR.

      Non-raiders deserve the same quality of game play that raiders do and you suggesting it is okay like it is now because that is who it is for is way out of line.

      Yes, only 5% of the player base is raiders, but the other 95% should be capable of doing LFR without having to deal with what it has become. That is what I was talking about. I was not complaining because non-raiders where in there, I was complaining because people that did not belong were in there. The jerks that ninja pull, the idiots that insult people for never having done it before, the people that refuse to explain anything, the ones that call everyone bad at the drop of a hate. The people that go in for free loot and only auto heal, the shadow priest that signs up as a healer just for a quick queue, things like that.

      If you think those people are the people that LFR are made off we are completely on two different ends of the spectrum.

      I think it is made for the people that want to raid but can't for whatever the reason might be. Those are the people it was made for and those people got drowned out by the unwashed masses that live to make everyone elses life hell.

      That is why I say LFR sucks. Not because someone that doesn't have time for a normal raid wants to see content, but because of the other 10 people around him calling him and everyone else names.

      I really think you totally missed everything I've said and just came to your own conclusion or stopped reading half want just to try and teach me "LFR is not for raiders" when I knew that many months ago.

      Now, with all that said, this is about MY experiences. I am only telling how I felt about it.

      You can disagree with what I felt because your experiences might have been different, but you can not say I am wrong. You do not know how I felt about it better than I know how I felt. A feeling is not right or wrong, it is just how you feel.

      As for the burn out, you are right but only in part. Yes, I did LFR too often because I made the choice to do it, that is my own fault. However, I did it because I was logged in and there was nothing else to do, that is blizzards fault. If they gave us some actual content in T13 that wasn't just 3 dungeons a medium sized raid and a LFR that was still too hard for the 95% you mention, I would not have done it.


    2. Now to sum it up, I will go back to LFR.

      Looking for raid is supposed to be easy, and it wasn't for 95% of the player base. Just run it a few times and you will see. If you filled it with just the people it was meant for. No better players just looking for something to do, it was too hard for them.

      So yes, looking for raid was supposed to be easy but it completely missed being easy enough for the target audience.

  2. Patch 4.3 allowed me to become a heroic raider. For that reason alone, it was great for me.

    I did HoTs to qualify for LFR. It didn't take very long really between gear drops and valor purchases.

    I did LFR and never really had problems with it. I studied the fights before I went it because I was expecting it to be harder than it was. The groups basically did the right things. Yes, there were people with low dps but that just pushed me to do better for the group. I got my 4pc and weapons and all the valor gear I needed.

    I got into a couple of 25 mans that our GM was trying to setup. It was a lot of fun and I got some upgrades. I remember that for our Madness kill (my first on normal) everyone died except the tank and he managed to take the last % off Madness for us to get the kill. It was epic. :)

    I filled in for two weeks with one other team as they were starting heroics. After running with them for 2 weeks, I got a permanent spot on the team. I never really did the Normal progression and just kind of skipped to Heroic progression.

    H Morchok wasn't much of a problem. H Ultra required us to gear up some more and swap out a couple players who couldn't do enough dps. H Yor was ok after everyone got used to what to do during the different phases (stack, spread out, healing restrictions, double adds, etc). H Zon was buggy but we got it after we adjusted our strategy a little bit. H Hagara was terrible for us... Lightning phase bugs and ice phase was deadly. We wiped like 90 times before we finally got her. Whenever we would bring in a replacement they would always question our strategy for lightning phase but we link it super fast. We line up everybody in preset positions around the cirlce and use two hunter pets to finish the last chain link. H Blackhorn was challenging but only about 50 wipes I think and it's still one of our sloppier kills each week. H spine was a wall for us because we started having a lot of trouble with attendance. We brought in some new people to fill in and they needed gear so we didn't extend any lockouts but we couldn't get the same 10 people two nights in a row to continue progression. We had gotten to the third plate but never had enough time to put in the wipes to get it all the way. After doing mostly Heroics, our normal Madness kills got really messy because we were doing too much dps and screwing up the mechanics... Then we had one of our healers leave and our rogue leave (he had just gotten his legendaries). The healer was very good and the rogue was fighting back and forth with our SV hunter for top DPS spot. So we recruited another healer and pulled in our GM on his rogue alt and downed H Spine and H Madness the weekend after the patch came out. They were good players but we were better off without them.

    We did a full clear the next weekend in one night and then I got carried for an achievement run on my DK the following night (I didn't even qualify for LFR...). So I'm done with DS now (got the DW mount and the achievement mount) and ready for the next expansion. It was good actually that I got a late start and the team I joined had also gotten a late start; it allowed us to fill the expansion.

    Of course, now when I go into LFR on my DK it's really annoying because there are no raiders in there anymore. But I never had much troubles before while I was running it weekly (I stopped once I had outgeared it and was mostly getting valor from the raid and then an HoT or two). I converted VP to CP and bought a full PvP set because I just had too much valor. Anyway, maybe I was just lucky with LFR runs.

    p.s. I had never raided as melee until running my DK... I have concluded that I hate melee... I need to try tanking but my DK will probably just be my miner/skinner.

    1. That does sound like an epic first kill. Congrats on one that I am sure you will never forget.

      I am right there with you, I hate melee with a passion but I do like tanking. It is different really. While in melee you are not a melee, if you know what I mean.

      Congrats on the achievement mount. I am still a few away from it. I'll probably go back and get them later. Been trying for holding hands forever and just can't get it. Oh well, it happens.

    2. Thanks.

      For Holding Hands, we had good success with lining up everyone in designated spots between the last two sections (we setup markers). The key was to get everyone lined up and then have the last person connect it at the end. We tried it earlier and couldn't do it but after all the nerfs, the healing requirements are much lower so it's a lot easier to keep people alive.

  3. To an extend I can see where MatthewG is coming from, though like you said your writing down your experiences and feelings about 4.3, nothing more, nothing less.

    For me personally, Transmog brought me back (more accurately: in combination with the SoR/giving away the current expansion for free - bit) because in and by itself I like being out in the open world and grind mobs etc. in it for nice looking Gear and rare drops (though as Alcaz Isle seems to get destroyed come-Jaina-goes-Neutral-like-Alliance-heroes-do-as-they-must-offer-Dailies-to-all there will be pretty little left to do, esp. with the Accountwide crap)

    Your analysis that (trying to) turn(ing) every capped player into the same content-consumption pattern as too many progressive Raiders have is a bad thing I share (no surprise there ;) )

    I don't really understand why they do it, either, if only because by now they should know that they simply are unable to churn out such content at a high-enough pace.

    It's really one of my pet frustrations with the game, it has so much going for it (smooth controls, likable enough world, runs on normal computers etc. etc.) yet their design decisions too often just make little sense and it doesn't live up to its true potential, even when improvements would be so easy to implement (e.g drop the level req. on Quests and non-PvP Professions already)

    Why I again play/subscribe for the time being? Same reason many people do imo (at least in my social circles): love for your character(s), and the time you put in them not 'going to waste' - though of course the Accountwide crap made that last part rather moot.

    1. I still feel more attached to my main hunter than I do any of my other hunters. Even if they all have the same achievements. Yes, things are shared now and maybe the new generation that comes in will not have the connection we do, but I think anyone that earned those achievements will be connected to the characters they earned them on to begin with. Could just be me however.

      I don't get why they are pushing people to consume he content as fast as possible and release it as slow as possible. Does not seem like a solid plan to me. Maybe when to a different school of business than I did.

    2. The connection is still there (to e.g. get my 10 Ambassador, I did all the available Quests Horde and Ally, including Drop quests and those involving hunting down 23-25 Elites in the Barrens; the fact I could solo them all post-Cata talent revamp was on the one hand fun but on the other hand sunk it down how unbalanced the game had become.) , it's more that the extra effort has gone to waste two ways:
      - the effort to get it on your characters beyond the first,


      - the relative 'value' of it esp. on non-cap characters having become nil, Sure it's vanity, but that's what Vanity rewards are for a large part about).

      Thought I'd clarify that :)