Over the Hills and Far Away: Back to the blog

Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need…roads. — Dr. Emmett Brown

10 August 2010 – The last blog entry I posted

12 Jul 2010 – The last official raid I attended

It’s been interesting sitting back and reading the exploits of fellow bloggers and tweeps as they finish off the last stretch of this expansion. While some are continuing through the 4.0.1 patch, it is the signal for the bell lap on Wrath of the Lich King. This is part expansion recap and part words of encouragement for all raid leaders starting out in Cataclysm.

Blogs of Reflection

A short twenty-three months ago,this is where I stood. Looking out over Naxxaramas from above the alliance fortress nearby, I wondered what my first full expansion as raid leader would bring. Everyone was on even footing. It was like a new sports season. Everyone made their offseason moves and made adjustments that they think made them stand out this time around.

Our goal was to lead alliance progression and at the same time pick off a server first or two. I’m happy that we managed to do that through 90% of the expansion and held our ground as upstart guilds such as Imperative made their mark on both the server and US raiding scene. I would be fibbing if I said I wasn’t upset to be passed and finished out of first place, but all the credit goes to those guys. They stepped up and played their asses off to score a server first Heroic Lich King and high ranking US kill.

What advice can I give to raid leaders at the starting gate?

Set an expectation for when you want to start raiding. For us it was two weeks after release for WotLK. It will likely be similar for Cataclysm though this expansion is releasing late in the year and will butt up against the Christmas/New Years holiday nicely. We were able to complete Tier 7 content just before Christmas with a little over a month to do so. When setting the date, be sure to communicate what that date means.

Does it mean a loss of rank? How are players that pace their leveling and want to take in more of the content viewed against those that hammer out those 5 levels and get to max level in two days? The more you communicate these expectations/terms, the more fair it is to everyone involved. My terms have always been:

  • We’re starting on dd/mm
  • You won’t lose your rank, but we’re starting on that date. If I need to recruit to fill spots, I will.
  • Be ready! (Proper hit/exp caps, etc).
TL;DR: Communicate!
Census Taker

As a raid leader, it’s good to take a quick census of who is coming back for the expansion. No matter what you do, players will quit, players will move on, and some will just like to go full-casual and not raid. Ask for sure responses, and (here’s that word again) communicate that it’s ok if they don’t want to continue. An expansion transition is the easiest time for players to step away (and also the best). Rally those that return, and thank those that move on for the
Looking Ahead
Time will still tell if the changes to a single lockout system will severely impact 25 man raiding. The continual use of ideal circumstances to describe the splitting of a 25 man raid into two 10 mans baffles me. The chances of having 2 tanks and 3 healers for two ideal 10 mans when you’re short for a 25 man, are about 1 in 1000. As I’ve said before, as a 25 man guild, you can’t just kill your lockout on a Wednesday for the sake of raiding.
Nobody asked me, but the flexible raid lockouts not accommodating hard modes is not acceptable. If Wrath of the Lich King is any indication, your raid will outgrow the normal mode raid rather quickly (especially if we’re to believe the increased gear drops in Cataclysm). A raider being locked out of being able to catch-up on early hard modes is a little disappointing for me since we’re a guild that does go after hard modes.
The release schedule of raids is lengthy enough that you start farming/becoming gear saturated 2 months or more before the next tier is released. You know what they say…time will tell.
Some early thoughts on Cataclysm
I got into beta. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to copy my Shaman until 2 months after I got my invite. The enthusiasm I had to to level up and do some testing dropped more and more every time one of my character copies came back as failed. With the patch released  I finally got a chance to to heal a bit, and I’m pleasantly surprised.
The limits on my casting and large range of heals do not frighten me, they encourage me.
I’m all about taking on the most difficult job in the raid, and there’s no way I’ll be abandoning my Shaman any time soon. What I might be doing instead is getting height-reduction surgery to go Dwarf. Why? No reason in particular, it would be nice for a little change of view (and change in totems).
Us vs. Them
As usual, Resto Shamans will not be rebuilt, simply reloaded. While Ret Paladins under-go an almost complete class overhaul, those of us with the dark blue text sit by and continue to wield a balanced tool-kit with the ability to heal in a lot of different situations.
If you’ve followed my twitter feed at all over the past couple months you know that I talk a lot about two things: Sports and Movies. Those two things are probably my top two non-WoW activities and I sit in twitter/blog circles for each of them. Sometimes there is cross-over, but not very often. With Cataclysm coming soon, the WoW tweets will heat up and annoy my hockey friends as much as the hockey tweets annoy my wow friends (:D).
Movie-wise, I like to see everything as it comes out…as long as it’s good. The best movies I’ve seen in the past couple months:
1) Let Me In – Foreign films aren’t always better.
2) The Town – Affleck was the bomb in Phantoms, and in this(in front and behind the camera). Felt like Heat, and that’s a good thing.
3) Inception – Limited CG, Chris Nolan, mind bending (bend your mind more and add Primer to your Netflix queue).
4) The Social Network – Sorkin & Fincher deliver a quality character-driven drama.
5) Machete – Machete Kills. Machete Kills Again.
Let Me In, controversial pick as an awesome movie since everyone that saw the Swedish original immediately threw it under the bus. This skewed all the meta-critic/RT ratings which despite the early bias reviews, still rated very high. I saw both, they’re the same movie. If Let Me In was made first, it would be more celebrated for sure since it’s the best vampire story out there. It uses a lot of typical vampire themes but evokes some real emotions with a lot of poignant moments. See it, you won’t regret it.
Looking forward to Aronofsky’s Black Swan and Eastwood’s Hereafter.
Maybe I’ll start throwing some movie review blurbs in this spot…something to think about.
(Ed Note: Apologies for the extra dots, line breaks are giving me hell today).

3 Responses to Over the Hills and Far Away: Back to the blog

  1. Blacksen says:

    I was pleasantly surprised by The Town. I feel like I’m normally pretty critical of Ben Afflect as both an actor and a director, but The Town really nailed it. Clearly it wasn’t just “luck” that made his first two successes.

    Anyways, welcome back to the World of Warcraft. In regards to 10 and 25man raiding, I think it’s safe to say that 25man raiding is dead at this point. Imperative has been doing a 10man on the Beta the past 2 nights, and out of the 4 encounters we tested, 3 are significantly easier in the 10man setting. Philosophically, I think the “balance” between 10 and 25 has been abandoned.

    Each fight features some “splash” AoE with the same radius in 10 and 25man. One of these fights (the Golem council) has a room smaller than Blood Queen’s. Obviously, spreading out 10 people in that room is significantly easier than spreading 25.

  2. Stephanie says:

    well I hope you didnt waste your money on Hereafter because that was a HUGE let down on all fronts.

    Been a few months since I read your blog my dear, and i’m actually excited to start raiding again so you’ll write more. Thankfully I do not partake in Twitter or else i would’ve killed myself from your hockey talk.
    *shiftly looks around for elemental talk* Pewter I’m onto you next!

    • Borsk says:

      I did a “wait and see” on Hereafter (the trailer looked kind of bleh) and ended up being correct. It will pop up on HBO or Starz in a week or two probably.

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