Behind the Screenshot: Old God, New Tricks

20 March, 2010

Victory is won not in miles but in inches. Win a little now, hold your ground, win a little more.”–Louis L’Amour

I’ve always told the members of my raid that if you play well, play hard, and have fun doing it, your rank will reflect that hard work. Playing as a team and working towards that common goal pays off in itself. As soon as you get too caught up in how well other guilds are playing, you start to lose focus on what you’re doing: killing the boss in front of you. This is a philosophy you tend to be accustomed to in the cliche’d world of team sports, but it is just as true in WoW.

With the release of Wrath of the Lich King, our goal as a raid team was simple. We weren’t going to be satisfied playing at a level that would put us behind in content. We wanted to be out in front experiencing everything when it was relevant. If we were server 1st, Alliance 1st, or server 5th it didn’t matter, as long as we were staying at pace with the other top guilds on the server.

It wasn’t until Ulduar that we truly stepped to the front of Alliance progression, proving to ourselves that we could play at a high level.

Yogg-SaronClick for the original post.

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Borsked? The psyche of a player-coach.

19 February, 2010

The leader can never close the gap between himself and the group. If he does, he is no longer what he must be. He must walk a tightrope between the consent he must win and the control he must exert. –Vince Lombardi

The dynamic of a raid leading position in World of Warcraft is one that I believe is unique among all other team-based games.  Aside from handling loot (and it’s additional overhead, i.e. dkp) and coordinating your bench players, there are several plates spinning even before you reach a boss.  Everything from keeping the pace up through the trash to making sure everything is assigned and in order for the boss coming up soon.

The goal of the raid is to kill bosses, collect loot, progress through the content, and do it all while having a good time.

Re-read that sentence again and note the and. If one of the above tenets fails, then the goal cannot be completed.  You can’t kill bosses, progress, have a good time and not get any loot.  Take out one or many and the raid is not successful.

Sidebar: Wipe nights violate the above goal, but, obviously, are very important to progression focused raiding.  Wipe nights on new/harder bosses are the equivalent to practice in team sports.  You are working on strategy and fine tuning what you need to do to beat the upcoming opponent.  It doesn’t have immediate rewards and isn’t always all that fun, but the first kill on a hard boss always gives that little zing of invigoration that only a first kill can give.

Typically a team engaging in competition will have several coaches, captains (leaders on the field of play), and the remaining players.  Raiding’s twist is that everyone suits up to play.  The raid leader is the coach, the tanks and officers become captains, and the other players look to them for leadership and direction.  All still have an even stake, yet all are now participating equally.  A coach standing on the sidelines can call a play and give it to his Quarterback to run.  If it fails, the coach can find the reciever that ran the wrong route, grab his facemask and give him a stern, spit-laden talk on the sidelines.

But what if the coach was that receiver?  Well, he just got Borsked.

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Perfection. How Blizzard could have made Icecrown the best raid zone yet.

12 February, 2010

Despair, so delicious.

Icecrown Citadel is one of the most fun raid instances, if not the most fun raid instance Blizzard has designed.

It has everything.

Lore tie-ins, interesting trash that isn’t just 8 pack after 8 pack, and bosses that have truly great mechanics to deal with.  You can pick out some great moments in different encounters like dealing with ooze merging late in Rotface or the final Vampiric Bite and burn phase on Blood Queen.  Healing Dreamwalker to death and the Gunship Battle are also brand new, innovative mechanics.  Top to bottom, mechanically, a superb effort by Blizzard.

I often go back and forth with myself on this however.  Is it really great? Am I just happy to get some new content? Or is it really all that I think it is?  I can certainly say that tanks do not enjoy Icecrown as much as a healer or DPSer.  There are only a select few (maybe 4) that truly involve the tanks.  Too many give them nothing to do and could be tanked just fine if they DC’d (Blood Queen comes to mind).  Let’s take a look at the raiding features introduced in Icecrown and how they could be changed or maybe they’re good enough to stay as they are.

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