Caution – This Post starts off all fine and dandy, but rapidly turns into a rant of epic proportions. There is swearing. There is lots of swearing. If that offends you, unlucky, I’m a sailor. I’ll summarise the post for you here: People suck. There. Move on, read something else now. Take care.
You know, you have to take your hat off to Blizzard. If there’s a glaring problem in their game design they don’t mess around. You have to realise I came to WoW from Star Wars Galaxies and after suffering under Sony’s horrific mismanagement of that title I tend to lean back in my chair and laugh so hard I cough up a lung when I hear people moaning that Blizzard don’t respond to players’ concerns. Seriously, you have no clue how well looked after you are. Take one small example. I have a friend who came to WoW from Lord of the Rings Online. Apparently over there they have quest items sorted into their own bag so you never have to mess around finding them when you need them. Why, he asked, can’t Blizzard do something similar? I had to admit he had a point, as I scoured my bag for that damn Tualik Prayer Book I needed to get my current quest underway. Less than a month later Blizzard have the relevant quest item pop up ON SCREEN when you need it. You don’t even need to OPEN a bag, much less look in it. Quest item bag? Pfft, that’s so 2008 darlings! When Blizzard fix something it stays fixed.
The Dungeon Finder tool and badge reward system is a similar innovation, but this doesn’t just fix the one obvious problem (finding a group for an instance), it fixes problems you didn’t even know you had.
Blizzard’s current raid design is two-tier. The normal mode boss fights are simple enough that any cack-handed monkey can muddle their way through them with enough determination. The Heroic modes are where people go when they want an actual challenge. No seriously, they are. Put your ego aside, stop the bullshit hardcore vs casual argument for half a minute, take a step back and look at it again. Ulduar had some challenging normal mode fights with the Keepers and Yogg-Saron but Blizzard’s design philosophy was slightly different back then. Move on to Crusaders’ Coliseum and even a room full of monkeys could down The Twin Val’kyr if they stayed at it long enough. Try Coliseum on Hard Mode and things are slightly different. Normal mode is for everyone, Heroic Modes are for the top raiding guilds on your servers. Doesn’t mean only the top raiders are allowed to do them, but they’ll be the only ones completing them. You can probably count on the fingers of one hand the guilds on your server who’ve done Anub-arak in 25 man heroic mode and still have enough left over to order a round of beers. But who hasn’t done him on 10 man normal?
This isn’t one of those hardcore/social posts by the way, I couldn’t care less if you raid in 10 man or 25 man flavours. 10 man Anub’arak on heroic was tough, I’ve done it so trust me, I know. 25 man heroic Anub’Arak is an order of magnitude harder, and no, I’ve not killed him yet. It’s just the way Blizzard design their content after past experience taught them that it’s not good business sense to spend millions of dollars developing level 60 Naxxrammas when less than 2% of your player base have the gear necessary to step inside without getting brutally slaughtered on the first trash pack. They don’t spend vast sums of money developing content for the sole enjoyment of the raiding elite anymore. Now everyone can at least get to see where their subscription money went, raid it, beat it, have fun and come away with some loot. For the so-called raiding elite, there are the heroic versions, both in 10 and 25 man flavour.
But the core of this post is really about how you get the gear to compete at whatever level the current 10 and 25 man bar is set. Thankfully, Blizzard have finally realised the dream of ditching the old model of raid x, gear up, move on to y, gear up, move on to z, etc… This linear progression does still apply if you’re at the leading edge of raid content on your server because that’s what leading edge raiding is about. But let’s say you’re not. Let’s say you started playing three months ago and just got to level 80. Back in vanilla WoW there was a long, hard slog ahead of you before you could get to the level where you were in a position to be able to make a valid contribution to a 40 man raid. Despite their sworn aim to fix this, they actually made it harder in The Burning Crusade with the absurd attunement requirements to the various raid instances. Let’s say you’re raiding Black Temple and your top Resto Druid healer suddenly gets pregnant and decides to quit playing (yes Phaelia, I mean you). Or your Main Tank has a heart attack, or whatever. You lost a key member of your raid team and you need to find a replacement, pronto.
You can either poach someone from a competing raiding guild or scout some up and coming talent and get them geared up. But getting people geared up was as far from simple as common sense and decency are from the average page on the official forums. Let’s say a long-term guildmate who hadn’t played since Karazhan returns to the fold and would be a great asset to your raid with the benefit of some better gear. First, they couldn’t even step into Black Temple to raid with you and get the gear they needed to contribute without being attuned. And that meant they had to start a pain in the ass quest chain from Akama in Shadowmoon Valley that consisted of 10 quests, some of them group quests. Then you had to sacrifice multiple raid nights going back to Serpentshrine Cavern to kill Fathom-Lord Karathress to open up the next part of the attunement chain, followed by killing A’lar in Tempest Keep, then back to Serpentshrine Cavern again, then a swift jaunt to Mount Hyjal to slay Rage Winterchill, followed by a raid battle outside Black Temple itself before your new raider could even set foot in the place, and THEN they had to take their chances with the loot lottery to get to the level of gear necessary to not be a burden to the raid.
Blizzard took the first steps to fix this utter stupidity by slowly removing the attunement requirements, one step at a time until eventually any idiot could form a raid and waltz into Black Temple, and believe me, any idiot did. Sadly (or happily, depending on your point of view), any idiot didn’t usually have the gear required to survive the first trash pull. So Blizzard got around this by introducing the badge reward system, and it did fix the problem. You could get decent gear in the most critical slots purely by farming heroics and Karazahn for badges, and so that’s what people did. But it introduced its own problems in that as each new tier of content was released there was no corresponding tier of badge that came with it, you just needed greater and greater amounts of the same badges that always dropped in heroics. Remember those 40 badge offhands that every man and their tennis partners bought in early Wrath? Imagine that the tier 10 versions still cost badges of heroism, except they now cost 160 badges each and you’ve got some idea of what it meant. It meant doing Karazhan for about two months just to get a pair of pants.
Put all of that experience together and we end up where we are today, with last seasons’ badges dropping from regular heroics, allowing us to gear up in the kit required to start this seasons’ raid content. The hardcore are all wearing heroic versions of last seasons’ gear anyway, so they get a head start in the new content, and they’re happy. Everyone else not only gets a fast track to last seasons gear without having to do last seasons raids, but they get a reason to go back to clear all that old dungeon content they never got round to or could never get a group for. Everyone’s a winner. Well, almost everyone.
There’s still one glaring problem with the way things are, but it’s not something Blizzard are ever going to fix unless they start mailing full epic class sets to people as soon as they hit level 80 and despite what the retards in trade chat would have us believe, that hasn’t actually happened yet. The other solution would be to ban the accounts of all the whiny little failures at life who plague this game and leave our servers populated with only those who might concievably be able to pass themselves off as civilised human beings, but this would write off at least 40% of Blizzards subscription revenue so that’s not going to happen anytime soon either.
Yes, something got me pissed off, and I’m having trouble finding adequate words to describe just exactly how pissed off I am. I’m not sure even swearing would begin to cover it.
Last week I was doing a random daily heroic on my priest, Aluriel. 9% of these dungeon runs are the three new Icecrown 5 mans which are always interesting to tank or heal. 50% are swift, efficient, and utterly, utterly boring old dungeon runs. You throw a Shield on the 40K+ health tank, toss him a Renew every now and then and only stop to hit the Disenchant button when the loot window pops up. 40% of them are the old heroics but mildly entertaining as you do all of the above as well as decide whether or not to throw a Flash heal on the moron dps who think that their inability to control their own threat is somehow the tanks’ fault, or let them die in the vain hope that they might actually learn something from it. And this brings me swiftly on to the last 1%.
1% of the time, you end up zoning into a heroic with a tank who has 24k health unbuffed. And it’s here where you often meet the most repellent scum the human race has to offer. Nine times out of ten the healer will immediately drop the group, because… you know, healing someone at the appropriate level of gear for an instance is hard isn’t it? If that doesn’t happen, the dps will either leave or someone will initiate a vote to kick the tank from the group.
Let me just put this into some kind of perspective here. People would rather spend 15 minutes with the deserter debuff, then a further 20 minutes queuing as dps, then a further 30 minutes clearing the instance again for a grand total of at least an hour spent dicking around waiting for a tank you like (who you never met before and never will again) than spend 45 minutes going with the tank they currently have, simply because he or she isn’t covered in purples from head to foot, but is instead, and let’s be absolutely clear about this because it’s 100% fucking true, perfectly well geared for the level of content in which they find themselves.
How the fuck is this poor bastard supposed to get to the level where dps and healers are going to condescend to allow him to tank for them if everyone runs a mile rather than spend an extra fifteen fucking minutes taking things at the pace they were intended? “Oh noes, I want my badges without any effort at all!”
Quite aside from the whole “not being a failure at humanity” thing, you think there are so many tanks around in LFG you can afford to be choosy? You want to ensure this one never makes it into the tank pool after having her enthusiasm crushed by your being a selfish prick more concerned about shaving fifteen minutes off the next soulless badge farming session than being a decent fucking human being? It’s only Heroic Violet Hold for fucks’ sake! I tanked this with 24k health buffed when Gorn hit level 80! This tank’s got 24k unbuffed! She’s actually overgeared for the instance and you’re going to leave or have her kicked because she’s not overgeared enough? Fuck you. Not when I’m the fucking healer you don’t.
This Deathknight tank already got brownie points in my book simply by virtue of being a lolknight who was willing to tank. Her gear was fine, it was all gemmed and enchanted sensibly. She’d actually put a lot of gold, effort and research into gear that, with the speed of upgrading these days, she was going to tank with for maybe three days, and she was proud of her gear, as she had every damn right to be because she was putting in an effort! Can you remember ever doing that you soulless pricks who turn up in my heroics with 5/5 unenchanted, ungemmed Tier 9? Can any of you mouth-breathing window-lickers actually remember making an effort? Fine, drop the group and take your deserter buff, pieces of shit like you are along every five seconds when you already have a tank and healer.
At the rate of acquisition of Emblems of Triumph you can go through these days, this tank is going to take away an average of 5 badges per instance, at maybe an hour per instance taking into account breaks for toilet/refreshments between dungeons. 6 runs gets the first piece of tier 9 gear, and they’ll be picking up incremental upgrades in almost every instance they run, too. I know a friend who hit 80 on his paladin on Friday and by Sunday he had all five pieces of Turalyon’s Battleset. In two or three days time this tank is going to be just as faceless as all the other anonymous tanks you bump hips with.
And you know what the first thing she said was, when she zoned in to see us all standing there, in her broken English, right before the dps started a vote to kick her?
“Sorry for my bad english, I try to be good tank, we have fun, yes?”
And right there the hunter started the vote. Whoever you are, if you’re reading this, I sincerely and honestly hope you die in a fire before you get the chance to teach your life values to children. Two of the dps left the group when I refused to kick. That’s fine, I told them both “The tank stays or I leave” and they made their choice. Fuck them both, enjoy your deserter buff and queue time, pricks. You know something else? Healing was a challenge, but no more a challenge than trying to keep some fuckwit dps alive with no concept of personal threat control, and I do that on every other dungeon so what’s the difference? The tank maintained aggro on multiple mobs, never once let the healer come under threat, taunted off when the dps opened up too early with AoE, didn’t die and cleared the instance in the regular time. Then at the end, actually apologised again for her poor English and lousy tanking gear. Skilled, competent, talented, multilingual AND humble? I’m just sorry she wasn’t on my server.
Seriously folks, wake up and smell the coffee, and stop being such utter self-absorbed shits. And if you’re ever in a group with one of these cockmongers, don’t let them get away with it. Call them out for the complete shitbags they are. Do the decent thing. Please.