Where the view is always better.


Zero to Hero with Dark Days

About a week and a half ago, I entered a Firelands progression raid for the first time. I had been there before for trash farming (without much success other than getting my reputation to Honored with Avengers of Hyjal). At that point, I had come back after three months without playing, so I wasn’t sure about my raid awareness from being away for so long.

Incredibly, our ragtag group of ten members, most of whom had not raided together previously, were able to kill every single boss leading up to Fandral Staghelm. Five out of seven on our first raid night together? I’d say that’s pretty impressive. After some discussion at the end of the night, we decided to return the following day to try our hand at Staghelm and Ragnaros. We killed Staghelm on our second attempt after becoming familiar with the mechanics the previous night. Ragnaros? Well, we killed him on our eighth attempt. Firelands cleared in one week!

So let’s back up a bit. How was this possible? It’s all thanks to the leadership of an acquaintance, whom I met earlier in the expansion, in a newly formed guild called Dark Days. Previously, my guild Near Death had become stagnant for quite some time, after our guild leader (who was also a raid leader) disappeared, leaving much disarray in our rosters as well as our progression. After several months of piggybacking off several guilds’ progression raids (during which I got my Defender of a Shattered World title), I decided to take a leap of faith and change my guild for a permanent spot.

This wasn’t the first time I’ve had to deal with guild frustration. If you were a reader of this blog during Burning Crusade, you may remember my frustration with tier 5 content. One thing I’ve learned all these years is to stop becoming too attached to the guild I am in if it stifles my personal progression and enjoyment. On Friday, we went back to Firelands for my first 25-man raid since Black Temple. Of course it was chaotic, but it was also very nostalgic to think back to 25-man raiding in Outland.

Although we only managed to kill Beth’tilac and Shannox this time, it was a nice change of pace from the 10-man raiding we’ve all become accustomed to. The difficult part in transitioning into 25-man raiding is giving instructions to twice as many people, and we are still learning how to keep everyone under control in Ventrilo. However, having a raid leader who can push my progression limit is very rewarding; I’m happy with the transition that I’ve made.

I myself am surprised that I can still compete for the top DPS with an item level of only 366 when some others are already above 370. I’ve decided to take a break from Marksmanship for a bit and go Survival. It’s been serving me well.

Dark Days is recruiting experienced DPS classes of all types, though our highest priority are ranged casters. We are going to continue with 25-man raiding from here on. If you are on US-Eredar, Alliance side, or are looking to transfer a character, feel free to drop me a word (here or in-game), and I will send you to the person to speak with.

We’re already getting a lot of attention for our success, and we’ll try our best not to disappoint.


Stifling Progression or Sustaining Progress?

Within the first week of Cataclysm‘s release, bloggers and podcasters alike have been raising a topic that no one would have seen coming in the days of Burning Crusade and vanilla. It seems Blizzard now has a tendency to put a cap on one’s ability to move forward within the game, whether it be high-end dungeons or guild leveling.

Larísa at The Pink Pigtail Inn raised the issue of using Item Level to prevent players from entering high-end dungeons. I first noticed this when I hit level 80 on the hunter and yet was not able to use Random Dungeon to enter the Icecrown Citadel 5-man dungeons because my average Item Level was too low. While I understand Blizzard is using this to control the number of undergeared players from ruining others’ experience in high-end content, I believe the absolute Item Level threshold is somewhat unreasonable. A player’s skill cannot be judged by the Item Level he or she wears. An undergeared player may also have the most to gain from the rewards of these dungeons.

At the most recent All Things Azeroth podcast, Shade revisited the method of “gating” to one’s progression in dungeons and equated this to the current system of guild leveling and guild reputation. She estimated that for the most active guilds, players would reach exalted status at the same time that their guilds reach level 25, which amounts to over 4 months. Before we knew it, we were playing on Blizzard’s schedule instead of our own schedule.

One could speculate two ways as to why this is occurring. The first is that Blizzard wants to ensure that players go through as much content as possible before progressing instead of skipping around, giving way to content linearity. The second is that Blizzard is trying to sustain its player base instead of seeing people finishing as much content as possible in the least time possible, especially for those players who are accustomed to the becoming the “world firsts”, and then moving on to a different game. This is very possible in light of revelations that the subscriber base during Wrath never really moved much from the 11.5 million mark. New players roughly equaled outgoing players in the 25-month period of that expansion. I could even see this in the mass exodus of bloggers who had started writing in late 2008 only to quit the game by middle of the following year. Only on the eve of Cataclysm did the number finally break 12 million.

We may never know what is Blizzard’s true intention, but it is likely that these changes are here to stay until a newer system can take its place. Whether it is for better or for worse we have yet to find out.

Oh, and if you have not heard, Marksmanship has been dethroned; Survival is king now. We’ll talk hunters more another time.

Sometimes These Guilds Make Me Wonder

I normally don’t talk about guild matters because I’d rather leave that to Auzara, the Chick GM herself. However, there’s something happening at my server that really bothers me.

There’s a guild that I think recently split off. I’m not sure what the story is behind it, but they’re under new management now. This new guild dubs itself “[New Guild], the new [Old Guild]” and decides to claim to have cleared all the content that the old guild did, all the way up to Sunwell Plateau. Of course, other people called them on it when they were advertising on Trade chat with all those kills. A new guild is a new guild with a new identity. Why would you claim credit for those kills even if most of the members of the new guild belonged to the old guild? Screenshots were from the old guild as well. The point of a new a guild is to be able to change your image, and that’s not exactly the way you want to start off.

Another way you shouldn’t start off with a new guild: hijacking other guilds’ raid members. They went as far as trying to grab anyone they can find who wants to raid regularly but can’t because they are being held back in one way or another. Stealth-recruiting raid members from other guilds, wooing them with the temptation of killing Illidan and seeing Sunwell content. My argument? Who cares? We’re three months or less away from Wrath of the Lich King. Even if you see Sunwell, what’s the point? You’re going to start all over again on a new palette with the expansion. I don’t understand people who leave for a strictly raiding guild because you lose the camaraderie and eventually make raiding a bore if all you do is raid, raid, and raid.

As I look through their recruiting forums, I don’t really understand how they judge players. One person made an application that basically wrote one very generic answer for every three questions and is dubbed a “quality app” just because he has Hyjal/Black Temple experience judging by Scale of the Sands/Ashtongue Deathsworn reputation. Another person wrote a somewhat more informative and honest application, though somewhat lackluster, but made his point. The response he gets is that he’s not geared enough. I mean, I understand people doing gear checks, but isn’t it important to invest in someone if he has the potential to be good? Why judge him based on his gear and not also on his performance?

Hey, if they get to finish Sunwell before Wrath comes out, great for them. I’ve had my own eventful year in the game with my guild, and I’m not going to join them even if they beg me as they have to some people I know.