Thursday, February 19, 2009

February 18, 2009

Hmmmm...I can't believe I haven't posted for over a week. Been very busy at work, preparing for the big changes next week. Also, WoW has been a roller coaster ride.

Guild Stuff

This week my guild has seen highs and lows. We came dangerously close to disbanding. The guild leader's passive aggressive move that I mentioned last week did have an effect. It got people talking...some angry, others just concerned. Without going into the nitty gritty details, suffice it to say that all ended well. In summary, we:
  • Chose not to merge with a raiding guild that none of us were familiar with.
  • Merged with a small casual raiding guild with which we have a long standing relationship. (My previous main was in their guild, so the relationship was strong.)
  • Lost a delusional member who thought he was the savior of our guild. Good riddance.
I think things are in a much better place now. I'm not sure that everyone is 100% happy yet. But, things will smooth out in time. And I personally love those who merged in. So, I'm definitely enjoying it a little more.

Guild #2

Meanwhile, Guild #2 has not faired so well. They did merge a couple weeks ago. And that merger was a flop. First, some of its original members jumped ship due to personality issues with the new members. Then the new members did not like how infrequently the guild raided. For example, this past Monday was a holiday and they were pissed that the day wasn't devoted to raiding. So, almost everyone that had merged in chose to leave to join...

wait for it...

....guild #3.

Yep, it's a small incestuous world. Although thousands of people surely play on my server, this makes me wonder if guild #3 is the only guild that regularly PuGs 25-mans. It can't be just a coincidence that the two guilds with whom I've formed a regular and semi-regular relationship are competing for members. I don't know of any other guilds that run 25-man PuGs. Is the raiding community really that small on my server? Of course, I realize there are several established and progressed raiding guilds that don't run PuGs, but I'm only referring to those that do. Is the community really that small?

Call me a pessimist, but I'm predicting that within a month I'll see a sharp decline in my ability to find PuGs for raids. I was banking on guild #2's ability to continue to raid regularly. I'm crossing my fingers in hopes that they'll be able to revive themselves.

Microphone Fixed

So I fixed my problem with my microphone. It ends up that the reason it wasn't working was that my husband had put a microphone into the actual mic jack behind the computer. So the one on my headset was not being recognized. Once I removed his mic, it all worked well.

Last night I spoke for the first time with guild #2. I'll bet they were really surprised to hear a female voice. I think they doubted that I was really a female, as we know many of the female toons are played by men.


No new equipment since my raiding has been limited this past week.

Friday, February 13, 2009

February 10th, 2009

Another Day Another Drama

Yesterday I wrote about the impending demise of my guild. It appears now that the demise my be delayed a little bit.

When I logged in last night everyone was discussing the disappearing act of our guild leader. The general tone: annoyance and suspicion. Annoyance that he was being passive aggressive and not talking to us. Suspicion that he might disband the guild and take all the contents of the GB. Of course the latter was not really that important in the scheme of things. It would have been a selfish move, but we would have gotten over it. The former, though, was the big thing. What was he up to? Why was he not giving us the courtesy of an explanation?

After an hour or two of whispers speculating on the state of affairs, the GL logged in. Greetings were sent out and returned. Then utter silence for what seemed like an eternity. Thank goodness I was in Naxx at the time with guild #2, so I was distracted. For the others, however, the silence must have been excruciating. I found out later that it wasn't actually complete silence. The GL was getting a private earful from one of the members.

Then suddenly, out of the blue, the GL started performing member management. Promoting some people, kicking some who haven't logged on in a long time, etc. Had there been no promotions, the kicking would have been disconcerting. I took that as a sign that he was intent on getting the guild back in shape. Then invitations to "events" started appearing on my calendar. Then the kicker -- he started chatting in guild chat, joking and reminiscing about the early days of the guild.

OK, I'm game. Let's give this one more try. Stay tuned. I'm sure this is not over. Issues do not get solved so quickly.

Meanwhile, Naxx last night was much better than Tuesday. Apparently, most of the people in guild #2 had worked out their differences. The main tank was not there, and there was a side comment about him that I didn't fully understand, but I assumed it meant he was still holding resentment against one of the new guild members. No worries, the core group was there and we did fairly well. We cleared all the way to Thaddius. We wiped on him a few times before calling it a night. It was late and people were tired, so they were missing their polarity changes, or forgetting which side was for which polarity.

Because no one else wanted it, I got a tier drop, which I traded in for a dps chest piece. Luckily, it doesn't count against my weekly main spec piece.

This is yet again another positive point about guild #2. They're really generous and fair. They let me take the tier piece because dual specs are coming soon, so I'll need it when I switch back and forth between holy and shadow. The more I think about it, the more I realize I will move to guild #2 if my guild disbands. Not only do I owe it to them, but they're also a good group of guys. I'm lucky to have found them. I'd definitely enjoy being in guild with them.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

February 11, 2009

How Long Do Guilds Last?

Well, it looks like my guild may be in its last days. I'm not surprised. Something changed drastically when the expansion hit. that I think about it, change was in the air before, but the expansion made it worse. The guild leader made a bold move last night - removing one of his toons to make a "statement". Unfortunately, he doesn't realize a couple things:
  • No one noticed when he left. He probably did so when no one else was around.
  • No one (except me) noticed that he was logged in last night. I'm the only one with that toon on my friends list. So, I saw when he logged in and off. But, since no one else has him on their friends list (why would they need to when he was in their guild list?), they never noticed his activity.
He thinks he's making a statement, but it's not being heard by anyone. And, when they do finally notice he left, they're not going to understand why. I just don't get it. Why is he being so passive aggressive? Why doesn't he just come out and discuss issues? What supposed statement is he making by pulling a toon out of the guild?

I suppose it was inevitable. Nothing lasts forever, not even a WoW guild. Especially with the tenuous bonds holding together a social/leveling guild made up of maybe 6-10 individuals, max. Our hey day, from my perspective, was a period ranging from 8 to 3 months ago. For those five months we all clicked. We were leveling our alts to 70. We were doing instances frequently. We were helping each other out on quests. We were leveling our professions. We were having fun in guild chat. It was everything you'd want out of a social guild.

Then the expansion hit. One player quit entirely. Another player's personal life changed (for the better), so she cut back her play time drastically. The rest of us took different paths with the expansion. As I've mentioned below a few times, I focused on reaching 80, doing heroics and raids. Others focused on leveling their Death Knights. Others focused on doing old world stuff to get achievements. Others focused on BGs. But, none of us did this all at the same time together. We lost our cohesion. We lost what made ours a special tight-knit guild.

Is there hope? Will we recover from this slump? Or should we step away now and remember the good times? Although I feel I'll miss the contact with my fellow guild members, let's be honest. I really don't know them. I only have the email addresses of two of them. And, like any other Internet friendship I've had, it will likely die quickly when all is said and done. So, if I put sentimentality aside, I tend to think I should cut my losses and bail.

But, if I do bail, where will I go? Do I want to be part of a raiding guild? The one I would consider joining just had a really really bad night the other night. They merged with another small guild this week and we tried to do a 10-man Naxx made up of old and new members the other night. Talk about clash of the Titans. Woah! That run fell apart with older members pissed off like no tomorrow. Would I want to join that guild now? If I do drop my guild tag, they will expect me to. And, theoretically, rightfully so. They have helped me tremendously in gearing up. When asked if I would join them I explained that I couldn't because I was an officer in a social (non-raiding) guild. So, if I am no longer part of that guild, do I still have that excuse not to join them? And, if I join another guild, they would have every right to be offended, wouldn't they?

Do I worry too much about others? Or are my concerns valid?

I guess I won't rush to leave the guild. I'm not in a hurry to join another, so there's no reason to lose the guild tag until I have to. And the side benefit of staying is the interaction with my guild mates. They are fun guys. I'll let the guild leader decide the fate of the guild. If and when he decides to disband it, at that point I'll deal with the question of what my next step is. Meanwhile, I'll stick around.

More to say, but I'm already an hour past time to leave the office. 10-man Naxx again tonight. My fingers are crossed hoping that guild #2 worked out their issues.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

February 9th, 2009

Mixed Emotions

Either I'm in a real funk lately, or I'm beginning to burn out on WoW. After spending over 8 hours in 25-man Naxx on Saturday (more below), I couldn't bring myself to log back into the server on Sunday. I didn't go completely without playing WoW -- I created and leveled a horde druid on another server. Some times I just enjoy the serene simplicity of lower level playing with a non-guilded toon. I got him to lvl 10 then called it quits and joined my husband in front of the TV. Yesterday I played the druid again until lvl 13. I logged into my bank alt on my main server...saw that some of my guildies were on...and had no desire to interact with them.

I've gone through this type of phase a couple times before. Everyone probably does. Time to step away for a bit of a break. We'll see if becomes more drastic than that.

Naxxramus (Heroic)
As I mentioned above, I spent nearly all of Saturday running 25-man Naxx. It was a guild #3 PuG, so I knew the core group was pretty good. But, they only made up about 10 of the spots. The rest were picked up, just like me. It made for a very long run.

First, it took over an hour to assemble 25 people. Then, throughout the run people dropped out, causing us to wait while we found replacements. Collectively, that waiting must have taken up more than an hour and a half extra time.

Second, because it was a PuG, many people did not know the fights. So, we wiped on almost all of them on the first try (except Loatheb, which we one-shotted!). Several repair runs and consumables consumed really put a dent in my pocket book. I guess that's the price of raiding 25-man PuGs.

One noteworthy thing is that I finally did the Heigan safety-dance successfully. I can't explain why, other than the fact that I just focused on moving, no healing at all during the dance. I was proud of myself.

I was having serious lag, freezing and disconnection issues at the beginning. So, I turned my video settings all the way down, which included minimizing the visible effects of spells. It helped tremendously, though I think it hurt me on the Grobbulus fight. On 10-man with Guild #2, the fight is fairly straight-forward for me now. On 25-man, I couldn't avoid gas clouds. I'm not sure if it's because of the added complexity of the 25-man version, or if it was that I couldn't see the clouds clearly enough because of the change in my video settings. This, I have to admit, contributed heavily to my decision not to return with them on Sunday night. We were going to pick up at Grobbulus. And I had no desire to spend another few hours, repair bills and consumables on a fight we appeared to be destined to fail at. Defeatist attitude? You betcha.

I saw the Military Quarter for the first time that day. We didn't get past the Instructor Razuvious encounter. I'll take part of the blame because I hadn't read up on the fight beforehand. But, the rest of the blame is shared by pretty much everyone. We had three priests, so we tried a rotation between us three of Mind Controlling the students, or whatever they're called. It wasn't pretty.

First wipe = someone stepped too close and aggroed everything in the room.
Second wipe = who knows chaos
Third wipe = we had a basic idea what we were doing, but execution was impossible.

Interesting thing about this fight -- they're asking priests to act like tanks, with taunting, etc. For me, that alone made it difficult. It's not how I'm used to playing. Additionally, none of us priests were on voice chat or vent, so there was no communication between the three of us.

I'm actually intimidated by this encounter, more so than by the Heigan Dance. At least with the dance, it's just about running to the right spot. In this encounter, the expectation is that I use skills I'm not accustomed to using.

Hopefully, it will go better on 10-man when I do it with guild #2.

Speaking of which...I think I'll go back on my regular server tonight so I can join guild #2 in a fresh run of Naxx.

Friday, February 6, 2009

February 5th, 2009

Last night was an odd one for me. I started off in a funky mood. Annoying discussions with a couple members of my staff at work had me in a bad mood. Also, the issues I'm going through with my guild, and the email I sent yesterday to my guild leader, added to my general discontent last night.

Culling of Stratholme (Heroic)
I logged in and after the "hellos" to my guild, I was invited to heal an Heroic Culling of Stratholme run. The person who invited me is a member of guild #2, so I figured it would probably go well. We lost our tank before we even started so at the last second we got a replacement...a DK. Without going into the ugly details, I'll just say it went badly. We did get the first mini-boss down, but couldn't get past the trash after that one. The DK was taking damage spikes that I couldn't keep up with. After my healing was criticized, I decided to gracefully bow out.

Of course, considering the mood I was already in, this didn't help at all. I began questioning my ability to heal. Raid healing is definitely different from 5-man instance healing. Have I gone soft? Spoiled by having other healers around to pick up the slack? Although I hate looking at meters, in the back of my mind is the fact that I'm usually the last on the list of healing (healer's list, that is) after a raid. Even though I have great gear on, am I still not a good healer?

Or is an undergeared DK just a difficult tank to heal, regardless off the skill of the healer?

The Naxx run got going an hour and a half later than I expected. So, we didn't have a lot of time to get through much. We downed Grobbulus, Gluth and Thaddius. I finally got the Achievement for the Construct Quarter since the only boss I hadn't completed previously was Grobbulus.

It was encouraging to be back in the raid environment again, getting compliments on my heals and all. But, two things fed my insecurities about my actual effectiveness.
  • The Shammy healer kept discussing healing assignments with the Druid healer. He never even acknowledged me. He's from a complete other guild and, of the three of us, is definitely the best geared and experienced in Naxx. So, yes, he was right to take the leadership role. But, I felt like his always addressing the Druid healer and not me was a snub. I felt like he was dismissing me because, in his eyes, I wasn't in their league. Unfortunately, healing meters supported this again. I was third...again! God I hate meters.
  • The healing meters, as I mentioned above, showed me behind on overall heals.

I hate feeling insecure about all this. I know they like me and want me to heal for them. But, I can't help wondering if I'm just not doing it as well as I could. Ugh!

Vault of Archavon
We went back to the Vault again. Quick 10-12 minute run. I got lost in Wintergrasp again. I can't figure out how I keep doing that. I had to hearth back and take the portal from Dalaran - thank goodness it was working!

Guild guild. I got myself really worked up yesterday, as I mentioned at the beginning. I know I shouldn't trust my thoughts on days when I'm in emotional stress. But, I can't help wondering what I should do about my guild. I'm finally going to write specifics, who cares if they figure out that this is my blog?

Here's the issue: I soared quickly to 80 because I was constantly invited to instances. When I hit 80 I continued on with heroics and raids. I quickly geared up and am now decked out in purples. I still have some gear goals to reach in heroics and 10-mans, so there's reason to continue to run them.

So, what's the problem? My guildmates are not progressing quickly at all. A few have reached 80, but they're not motivated to gear up for heroics or raids. They envy my equipment, but don't do what's necessary to get their own purples. This would be OK if they were clear that it didn't matter to them. But, they're not. They say they want to do heroics and raids, and yet they don't do anything to make that happen. Many (most?) of them are very passive. They wait until someone suggests something or invites them to run an instance. They don't actively make plans and then invite others along. I don't understand this.

Granted, as a healing priest it's easier for me to get into groups. But still, they could actively look for groups. Or ask guildies to go along. I feel bad because the guild leader often suggests a dungeon run...and then crickets chirp...not a response at all from the rest of the guild. It's so crazy to me.

So, recently the guild leader decided to address this issue by having us all download a guild calendar. That way people can make known their desire to go to a dungeon and invite others along. So...what's the first event put into the calendar? A lvl 60 raid. WTF? How in the *%&^ is that contributing to their character progression?

I'm stymied. Each day that passes I realize what I want out of the game has changed from what it was a few months ago. Back then I was happy to reach lvl 70 then switch to leveling alts. The end game to me was being lvl 70. I was intimidated by raids and heroics, so they were something "other people" did. That all changed with the expansion. My main was now my priest and, as I mentioned above, I got caught up in the wave of invites to dungeons and eventually raids. Now, I can't help but look forward to the next raiding opportunity. I love raids.

My guild does not.

What do I do?

Do I continue to stay in this guild, even though I know 90% of my time will be spent doing things without them?

Do I switch to a raiding guild? If I do that I will miss the interaction with my current guildmates. Is that short sighted? It's similar to what people often do when they start dating. They completely switch their priorities to focus on their new love interest. They stop doing things with their friends in favor of spending time with their new boyfriend. If/when that relationship ends, their relationship with their friends has changed. Friends and family are really what's important. Does that apply to guilds in WoW?

Should I consider my long term experience when considering this situation? Is there really a long term for me, though? I mean, at some point I'm going to stop playing the game. And I know myself really well. As soon as I quit, I'll just quit. No goodbyes, no lingering friendships. I'll just turn my back on that fad and move on to the next. So, do my relationships with my current guildmates matter, considering I know full well they'll end without ceremony some day?

Also, I've been ignoring my fitness regimen for a while now. I need to get back to it. That alone might be the catalyst for me quitting the game. So, maybe I should just think of the short term, as that might be all I actually have with this game.

So much to think about.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

February 4th, 2009

Lots of Stuff to Catch Up On
I haven't been blogging for a few weeks because of several factors. Oakland, work, etc. Lots has happened.

I've gone to Naxx and Obsidian Sanctum a few times recently.

I can't for the life of me get the Safety Dance in Heigan down. I read somewhere that you should not try to follow anyone else because of lag and reaction time. If you're waiting to follow someone, you're likely to be too late. So, just memorize the pattern and move. Oh...and also, as a healer, I need to be less concerned with keeping people healed than with moving during the dance. I'll try that.

I went back to Grobbulus for the 2nd time with guild #2. The group had already completed him the previous week, so they had a strategy that worked...which was to move him far enough to create gaps big enough for people go to into and blow up. I remembered not to dispel, prematurely blowing people up. But, we still didn't succeed. I suspect I wasn't at fault. There is one member of their guild that is just really bad at raid tactics. I think he carried much of the blame.

Oh my! Tons of fun! First time through I thought your polarity shifted every single time. So, I contributed to a wipe. Then I realized it was random. I paid attention to what Deadly Boss Mods was telling me and executed it flawlessly.

Obsidian Sanctum
We did both a 10 and a 25 man OS. I've got that one down to a science.

So, the conclusion is I'm not a complete idiot. I can actually get raid strategies down. So maybe I am a decent raider after all. I'll call myself a "good" raider as soon as I can get that darned Safety Dance down! :)

Gear Improvements
I've had a couple gear improvements since I last posted, most notably the Tier 7 chest piece. My stats have improved tremendously. Woo hoo!

Should I Feel Good or Guilty?
On Tuesday evening I logged in later than usual so I missed the start of guild #2's Naxx run. Soon after I arrived I heard they had been looking for me, so I sent a whisper to the raid leader letting him know I was available if they ended up needing me. His response was that the healer they were using in my place was not cutting it and that they'd swap him out for me after they finished with the boss they were about to start.

That made me feel good and guilty at the same time.

Good, because they consider me a very good healer and a default part of their group. (Yes, until a priest in their guild reaches 80, I know.). That was an ego boost.

Guilty, because the priest they dropped lost out on the chance to finish Naxx and he/she is saved to that ID for the rest of the week. Unless he steals the Raid ID, he's not able to go to Naxx again until next week. Poor guy. :( Yes it's only a game, but I know how I would feel if that happened to me.

Guild Stuff
Not much to say about my guild. If I say anything specific, my guildies will know this is me. Suffice it to say, there's an odd tension in the air. It boils down to us having a few passive aggressive people.