Rose Colored Reality

Fussypants on Mine Roof

Oldest screenshot I have (read: not that old)

Alright, raise your hand if you have joined into that LFG group where everyone is reminiscing about the ‘good ole days’ of WoW.  Raise your hand if you have started such conversations yourself before.  The runs where things such as vanilla shaman, talent trees, and BC raiding are spoken about with reverence.  This, my good friends, is called nostalgia.

With the approaching of the Warlords expansion, it seems nostalgia has become more prevalent.  Perhaps this is because WoD is made with the intent to remind players of the days of Burning Crusade.  Or perhaps this is because players are bored with nothing better to do.  Either way, we at Growing up in Azeroth have seen an increase in nostalgic conversations in the WoW community.

Fussypants – I’ve been running a ton of instances of both PvE and PvP at many different levels. I’ve been reading a variety of WoW related sites on the Internet.  And I have been talking with a bunch of other WoW players. Throughout all of this interaction, I have witnessed a ton of nostalgia in the Warcraft community.  Most of the times, it’s just a simple little ‘remember how this was in Wrath?’ but sometimes it’s an active ripping on the game as it currently is.

And I don’t get it.

By all accounts, I should be one of the more nostalgic players out there.  I started WoW in BC, the so-called ‘golden age’ of WoW.  I’ve played through all the changes and iterations of the game.  I grew up in this game, for heaven’s sake!  But I’m really, really not nostalgic.

The explanation I have in my head for this is I was pretty little when I started playing (all things being relative).  I frankly don’t remember much of what the game was like in BC and Wrath. But what I do remember wasn’t all that amazing.

I remember having to constantly buy arrows for my hunter.  I remember having engineering, and crafting over 200 bullets only to have to destroy them because I couldn’t sell or use them.  I remember melee as a hunter because I didn’t have the food to feed my pet and I was broke so I couldn’t buy arrows.  I remember the first time I got 1g, which was around level fifteen.  I remember spending hours to try to find where I needed to go for one quest.

The ‘golden old days’ weren’t all that golden.  For a noob such as me, they were downright painful.  Some of my favorite parts of the game from that time, fishing (I was little, ok??), creating and naming a character, and actually exploring the world haven’t changed at all.  But the parts that made the game frustrating have been streamlined or removed completely.  The game in infinitely better than it was back then.

The thing people really miss is being a noob to the game.  When even common things seemed cool, and when the entire world was new and unexplored.

But what’s ridiculous about that, is that when the game is changed making it new all over again, the players freak out.  ‘These changes are ruining the game! I miss how it was before!’ No, no you don’t.  Because you complained about those things when they were reality.  No one still wants to wait till level 40 and a crud-ton of gold for a basic mount.  No one wants to spam trade chat for hours, trying to get a group together to run dungeons.  It was only fun then because it was new.

And once it wasn’t new, it got annoying and tedious.  So it was changed, but the players wanted it back.  In my mind, nostalgia is a wicked catch 22.  Players want to be a noob again, but when their game is changed (thus making parts of it new again), they want it back the original way.  Never mind that the changes could make them a noob again for a short while. You can’t want the game to be entirely new all the time without changing it.  It’s impossible!

Maybe I’m missing the point.  Maybe, because I can’t remember much of my early years of WoW playing, I’m not getting this whole nostalgia thing.  Feel free to tell me if this is the case.  But I truly believe that the game is better now than it has ever been before, and that ultimately the game needs to continue radically changing.

Yotaan – I find it hard to argue with Fussypants.  Unlike her, I do have lots of good memories of earlier expansions.  It was tough to get groups together and you were limited to one spec back in BC.  I really remember an instance in Tanaris that was a lot of fun.  It was one of the troll ones that was outdoors.  After looking in chat for a healer and a tank without success and ending up with 5 DPS,we decided to go for it. So I healed as elemental and a enhancement shaman tanked!  The run great even though we didn’t even finish.  I don’t even think anyone got any decent loot.

But good memories are not nostalgic, they are just fond remembrances.  Just because that was a great run does not mean that we should go back to those times.  They were not “better days.”  In fact, I can tell you more stories of not having fun and frustrating gaming.

We must remember that change is inevitable, and only the foolish want things to stay the same. I say enjoy your memories of fun times, embrace the now, and expect it to be all different down the road.

First Real (I’m for Realz this time) Raid

Before I start this article, I owe you guys the readers an explanation.  Yotaan and I had kind of dropped off of the face of the Earth for the past couple weeks without any warning.  Unfortunately, our internet died for about a week (it was horrible! I had to go… outside….), and the week after that I went away to a camp and was unable to publish anything.  But don’t worry, we aren’t going to stop writing if we can help it.

This being said, we will be taking a quick break next week, as I will be going to another camp.  After that, we should be business as usual.  We thank you for reading, and hope you enjoy!

Ha! I actually got a screenshot from the actual raid!

Ha! I actually got a screenshot from the actual raid!

Ok, ok, I know.  I’ve run two other articles on this, all claiming to be my first real raiding experience.  But this time it’s for reals!  I have official joined a raid group with vent, and set times, and dedicated roles and EVERYTHING!  And I swear, I’ll stop using this title!

As many of you have probably figured out, I have always wanted to raid.  Actual raiding, not an occasional pickup group, or LFR til the end of times.  But due to timezone issues, lack of experience, and an unpredictable life schedule, I have never been able to get onto a raid group.  So, I turned to the twitters.

There is a guild on the twitters called Awkward Moments Guild that would host flex raids, and anyone was invited.  I was able to join a few, but because of the time, I wasn’t able to make many of the flexes.  Some time later, the guild decided to create another raid team, and opened invitations to anyone on the twitters.  I was intrigued.  The times worked for me, I knew the guild to be friendly, and I had a moderately geared horde priest.  So, I signed up.

Thus Team Third Wheel was born, and I became a member.  Our first raids were last Friday and Saturday, making those raid my official first real real REAL raids!  We ran flex up to Dark Shaman on Friday, and Normal Dark Shaman to Spoils on Saturday.

Organized raiding was everything I thought it would be, and at the same time incredibly different.

For starters, I totally pegged the friendly atmosphere with undertones of ‘lets-get-this-done’.  The jovial banter was enjoyable and funny, but we could quickly pull together to get stuff done.  I could tell that I was in a group with legitimately friendly and real people.  We all wanted to be there, and get the bosses, but there was no elitist jerk attitude.

However, the thing I totally did not guess was how successful we would be.  I thought that it would take us about as long as an LFR to get through the bosses.  It was the first time we had ever raided together, and I didn’t expect to get far.  But boy, was I wrong! We knocked out the first wing of flex in under an hour (fastest I have ever run it) and moved on to the second wing.  Then, on running normals (with a slightly different roster) we still knocked the bosses out incredibly fast.

Another thing I did not really think out fully was vent.  I sort of had this idea that people would just chat on vent and stuff, but in reality our vent was almost completely silent.  Most of the conversation went on in-game chat, with only raid leaders speaking.

This also brings me to another point I didn’t expect.  I am terrified of talking on vent.  I don’t know why, but I’m just really scared that I’ll do it wrong, or people will be annoyed with me, or people will make fun of my somewhat youthful voice.  It’s completely illogical, but man!  I don’t know if I will ever talk!

I am one of three healers for our group,  and I have to say, I’m not nearly as bad as I thought I would be.  I’m holding my own against the other healers,  even with lacking flex/normal experience.  My gear is not the best, and I’m missing some enchants (darn you expensive AH prices!), but I think I’m doing pretty good!  I was vaguely worried about being the weak link, but all of our healers are strong together.

To make a long story short, I’m absolutely stoked about this.  I’ve finally joined a real raiding group with people dedicated and friendly people.  We are getting bosses down and working really well as a brand new team!  I’m finally getting to do what I’ve wanted to do since Mists dropped.  I’m finally able to RAID!

(Yotaan is still terrified of raiding though! :P )

Addendum: Team Third Wheel is still recruiting!  If you are a horde side dps or tank who can raid Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 to 10 CST, we’d love to have you!  Contact @Kmbrei to sign up or for more details.  And yes, we do cross server raid (that’s what I do!)

Flying From Cloud Nine

WoWScrnShot_022414_201002

Flying.  The bane of Blizzard and the boon of players.  The game changer, and in some eyes, game wrecker.  Some see it as the best thing ever added to the game, while others think that flying is the death of WoW.  The issue of flying is one of many voices, many opinions, and many arguments.  And the changes in Warlords have done nothing but stir this stew of discontent.

The plan for Warlords of Draenor is to remove flying from the new content.  Not enable it at all.  And this change has made a lot of people angry.

Flying was, and still is a Pandora’s Box.  As many benefits as it offered, it also had many downsides.  And, like the Pandora’s Box, you can’t really get rid of flying without massive complaint.  Many people are attached to their flying mounts, and won’t give them up easily.  But is flying a horrible thing, or a wonderful thing?

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve read dozens of opinions on flying.  Some were well constructed arguments while others were angry rants (by the way, if you passive aggressively argue, I’m probably not going to agree with you, whatever side you are on.  Please say what you mean outright, don’t dance around it and hint at it).  But all voices were passionate.  After reading all that I could on the matter, and doing some in game research, I’ve come to my personal decision.

And it’s not the popular one.

I am of the mindset that no flying in WoD would be a good thing.  What is to follow is an in-depth analysis of why I chose the side I did.  I know a lot of people will disagree with me, and I am not at all trying to tell you your side is wrong.  I will simply attempt to give you another perspective.

I have been mining on my warrior, who was a measly level 46.  This meant that I was running through enemy zones, swimming alongside cliffs, and crossing continents to get where I needed to mine.  And I was doing it all on a ground mount.  Yes, I will definitely admit, it was slow.  It was very slow, and often deadly.  But it was a total adventure.

Have you ever swam up the river leading to the Western Plaguelands?  Or skirted the coast of Dustwallow Marsh to get to Tanaris?  Have you skulked by alliance troops in Loch Modan to get to the Badlands?  There is thrill in exploring, in running through the world to get somewhere.  There is a sense of excitement from discovering buildings or waterways or NPCs that you have never found before.  I learned so much about Azeroth and was able to appreciate all the work that went into it becoming a complete world just by traveling from zone to zone for mining.

And, the world seemed so much larger than it had before.  When you travel by foot, instead of soaring over obstacles, you really realize just how huge Azeroth is.  I felt like a total noob, and it was the most nostalgic I have ever felt for WoW (trust me, I remember BC and it wasn’t as great as people make it out to be).  This is going to sound ridiculous, but I had fun running on foot.

Now, I am absolutely aware that many people won’t feel the same way.  By ground? I’d rather wait till 60 and fly! Sure, it’s faster and far more efficient, but which would you rather be? Efficient or exploring? And that is the crux of the matter.

WoW has become so much of an efficiency test.  How fast can you get from point A to point B? How fast can you level from 1 to 90? How fast can you gear from questing gear to heroic SoO?  I hate to be the old geezer to say this, but slow down and smell the roses!  If you tear through everything so fast, how can you be sure you are experiencing everything? How can you know that you haven’t missed something important or interesting?

Players have become more and more obsessed with efficiency.  To a point, that is a legitimate desire, but only to a point.  At what level do we become too efficient for our own good?  I think that flying makes us too efficient for our own good, and specifically flying in current content.

In explanation, this means that I think it is too efficient to have flying in Draenor come WoD, but not Pandaria come WoD.  I think flying should only be disabled on the continent that is current.  So, Vanilla, BC, Wrath, Cataclysm, and soon to be Pandaria would have flying enabled, but Draenor would not.

Yes, this would make gathering ore and herbs and going from point A to point B slower.  But when it is current content, the ability to fly makes us too dang efficient.  For example, I can mine about two stacks of Ghost Iron Ore in about ten minutes on my flying mount.  Two stacks of Ghost Iron Ore would probably take closer to twenty minutes on my ground mount.  Thus, a character leveling in Pandaria has a large disadvantage to a maxed level character when it comes to mining (on top of not being able to one-shot mobs).

But in Warlords, this may not be the case.  The farming capabilities between a leveling character and maxed level character would be brought much closer.  As an added benefit, zones would look much more alive as max level characters would be on the ground instead of hovering far above.  World PvP would thrive again, and people might actually see more of the details in the world.

This has to change

This has to change

But before flying would be disabled, there is a few things that would need to change.  First of all, flight paths would actually have to take you directly to where you want to go, instead of meandering all around.  Secondly, all flying mounts would have to be able to be used on the ground (many changed by hovering above the ground), so that all of the dragons and whatnot we have collected could still be used.

Lastly, and most importantly, there will need to be more paths connected zones to zones.  More tunnels, bridges, and gates would have to interconnect the zones much better if we are to be forced to go on foot.  The mountains separating zones need to have at least two paths through.  Pandaria was particularly bad about this, so Draenor would have to be better.

Flying has become such an integral part of the game, that removing it now will be a long and arduous road.  Many complaints will be had, and many changes will have to be made, but I truly do believe that an Azeroth without flying would be a better Azeroth.

A Drought of Content

Spongebob Water Content

Behold, the amazing photo shop skills of Fussypants. Now with 150% more Spongebob!

It’s been a long, long time since there was new content.  To give you an idea, Patch 5.4 was released in September 10.  September.  And now its June.  Nine months of Siege of Orgrimmar.  Nine months of Timeless Isle (which by the way, is not as timeless as its name may imply).  Nine months of…. nothing.

And frankly, for the majority of players, nine months is way too long to wait for content.  Many players have completed their Siege of Orgrimmar difficulties and stopped running the raid.  Timeless Isle is only inhabited on Tuesdays, when everyone wants their weekly Celestials and Ordos runs.  Many more players have simply left the game entirely.  And WoD is not due for months.

For a subscription based game such as WoW, this is bad.  Very bad.  Like you are in the middle of a vast desert with no water bad.  Blizzard needs to give the players our precious water of content, or we will start dropping off like flies.

But not all of these metaphorical flies depend on this new water to survive.  Some of us find older water in the desert that some of the other flies do not look for.  Some players, my self included, are finding content new to us within the ten years of old content.  We are finding new things to do without needed more content spilled over us.

And, some other flies are just now starting to drink the waters of MoP, of Cataclysm, of Wrath, of the entire game.  Some of us are struggling to catch up.

But unfortunately, the majority of the flies are not interested in discovering older untapped waters.  They want new, and they want it now.  This is an absolutely valid opinion, but these flies need to remember that not all flies feel the same way.  Many players fed up with the lack of content are going out and complaining to Blizzard and to each other that everyone wants new content and that everyone will leave if they don’t get it.  These flies, these parasites are making a grave mistake.  They are generalizing the entire WoW player base to prove their point, and they frankly are wrong.

Remember, these players are also about as influential as flies.  Blizzard knows that they are upset, and can acknowledge the problem, but it really can’t go much faster without producing crappier content.  And when these players drone on endlessly, they start to be swatted away and ignored.  They become pests instead of aids.

If you are tired of the lack of content, then unsub until more comes out.  Go play Wildstar or something.  But please, don’t whine and complain and moan and tantrum that there is no content.  We all know that.  With this endless complaints and this endless negativity, you are turning the WoW community into a sour angry mob.  I completely understand your anger, but please. Little angry buzzing flies, go find your water somewhere else.

Transmog Time!

I have this mindset that once I make a new character that I intend to play with any regularity, I have to make a transmog set for that character. Have to. So, when I made Ranzine I realized that she too would need at least a couple possible sets made for later use.

Then I ran into a problem. Do you know how difficult it is to make a transmog set for undead characters? It’s insanely hard! Almost every decent looking set is completely ruined by undead knee bones. I had played around with a few sets, but they looked either boring or kinda crummy. Then I created this.

Ember Armor 3 ViewEmber Plate Set

Shoulders: Gladiator’s Plate Shoulders (warrior only)

Chest: Warmaul Breastplate

Shirt: Antiseptic-Soaked Dressing

Gloves: Warmaul Gloves

Belt: Warmaul Belt

Pants: Warmaul Legplates

Boots: Warmaul Greaves

Weapon: Felsteel Longblade

Shield: Garret Family Crest

I really love how this set turned out. In my mind, it really captures the spirit of an undead warrior, ragged but awesome!

 

After I had made my ember set, I decided to try my hand at a very classic set idea. The Scarlet Crusade. What I ended up with was not your typical Scarlet Crusade get up, but I really like it!

Scarlet Crusade Armor 2 ViewScarlet Crusade Set

Head: Formidable Circlet

Shoulders: Alabaster Plate Pauldrons

Chest: Grimscale Armor

Shirt: Red Workman’s Shirt

Tabard: Tabard of the Scarlet Crusade

Gloves: Rockwurm Plate Handguards

Belt: Boulderfist Belt

Pants: Greaves of the Martyr

Boots: Lavawalker Greaves

Weapon: Firebreather

Shield: Bloodforged Shield

 

After making all these sets for Ranzine, I realized that my disc priest did not have a transmog set picked out! I quickly corrected the error, and came up with these two!

Buckleboot Armor 3 ViewGolden Buckle Set

Head: Craftsman’s Monocle

Shoulders: Elegant Mantle

Chest: Elegant Tunic

Tabard: Tabard of the Shattered Sun

Bracers: Wraithcloth Bindings

Gloves: Black Mageweave Gloves

Belt: Akama’s Sash

Pants: Elegant Leggings

Boots: Quicksand Waders

Weapon: Matsuba’s Breadmaker

I actually based this entire set off of the boots. My only dislike with it is the amount of skin showing. I prefer my characters to be covered up, but I definitely think the tabard helps. Other than that, I really like this one!

 

I'm getting really good at this photoshop thingJourneymen’s Set

Shoulders: Rime-Rift Shoulders

Chest: Journeyman’s Robes

Gloves: Exiled Dabbler’s Gloves

Belt: Belt of Ominous Trembles

Boots: Toxic Tornado Treads

Weapon: Scepter of Creation

Off Hand: Shomi’s Fan

With this set, I was trying to take an older green item and mash it up with some of the newer gear. This one was my favorite of the cloth bunch and needless to say, I will be using it for transmog. As a plus the set is very easy to obtain.

 

I’m really happy with how all of these sets turned out. What do you guys think? What suggestions would you make to improve these looks?

 

They call me…. Tank?

Thunderclaps
I did it.  I queued up as a tank.  I tanked an entire dungeon.  And then I did another.  And another.

And I figured out the trick.

You see, it doesn’t matter at all how good your gear is, or how well you keep aggro.  No, tanking is all about knowing how to communicate with and manage people.

I’ll use my experiences as an example.  The first run I did was Deadmines.  I zoned in, grabbed my quest, and began to explain to the group that I was new to tanking, but before I could finish a dps pulled and I dashed off to get aggro.

The entire dungeon went like that.  Me frantically trying to keep up with this rather rude heirloomed monk and keep the aggro.  It was stressful, tense, and frankly crappy.  At the very end of the run, I asked the dude why he pulled like he did.  His response was noncommittal and brief before he left the group.  So, I was shaken and nervous to say the least.  That had to have been one of the worst experiences tanking I’ve ever had, and it sucked that it was my first one.

However, I could not wallow in self-pity.  I had promised to you blog readers and to the Internet that I, Fussypants the Holy Pally, was going to tank.  So I gave it another shot. This time I zoned into The Wailing Caverns.  The big difference from the first time though, was that I was able to get that first message off.  I was able to explain to the group that I was new and that I would probably be slow.  They were perfectly fine with it.  We ran the dungeon, and while it was still difficult for me, it was nowhere near the level of panic in the first dungeon.

The huge change between dungeon 1 and dungeon 2 was communication and management.  The first dungeon was terrible because I did not explain to the group my predicament.  I did not inform them of my need to go slower.  I had no management over the group.  The second dungeon was just the opposite, I communicated and could manage the situation pretty well.

Another big part of tanking, is realizing that you are the defacto leader.  You set the pace, you pick the route and the bosses hit, and you ultimately make any executive decisions for the group.  With my healer mindset it is very hard for me not to take the backseat and just follow.  For, as the tank, I am the leader.  I choose when to engage in every mob and I get to decide how fast or slow.  Knowing what I can handle, and more importantly, what the group can handle is key.  If I am going too slow the dps will start pulling.  But if I am going too fast I will lose aggro or my healer.  Balance is vital and as the leader you must maintain it

Going back to my dungeon runs, in the first one, I did not take leadership, and basically was not able to tank effectively.  But in the second run, I grabbed leadership and was able to control the run significantly better.

The last important part of tanking is rhythm.  This is the one part that I still struggle with, and I think will come with time.  As a tank, I found it important to maintain a certain speed with my attacks.  Okay, Charge in, spin the mobs so that their backs are facing the dps, Shield Slam, tab, Thunderclaps, start walking back to the next group while I spam my other abilities.  This was my ‘rotation’ of sorts, and once I figured it out, I was golden.  No, I am nowhere near perfect in execution, but I know what I should do and when.  As a tank, it’s important to know what your rhythm is, and if it will mesh with the group.

At this point, I’ve leveled from 24 to 34 purely by tanking.  I’ve figured out the basics and have gotten pretty fast and relatively good.  And most importantly, I’m having fun.  I love the flipping animations of undead females as I bounce from mob to mob.  I crave the exhilaration when I charge into a group, knowing full well that I’m not going to die.  I revel in the speeds at which I can run a dungeon.

So, this is your advice from a noob warrior tank.  You are the leader as a tank, so you must communicate, manage, and control the others in your group and the speed at which you go.  Do this, and the experience will be far less stressful, and much more fun!

Tanking the Future

Hello all! I'll be your tank for this dungeon

Hello all! I’ll be your tank for this dungeon

It seems I’ve done it again.  Only a few short months after leveling my druid to 90, I’ve embarked upon another leveling quest.  Ranzine, fierce undead protection warrior has risen from the grave to fight for the Dark Lady.

This is becoming somewhat of a problem.

But, Ranzine won’t become merely another healing alt (I mean, she is a warrior), no she is destined for much higher heights of greatness.  For, you see,  Ranzine will become my first real tanking character!

This whole fiasco started on Fussypants, way back in the day (it couldn’t have been more than a year ago, really.  Early MoP at the very earliest).  There is a little known fact that Fussypants, my somewhat famous holy paladin, was actually a prot pally.  Yup, I tank almost solely up to level 70 on her.  Then, something happened.  Something terrible, yet wonderful.  I discovered the wonders of healing.

And I never looked back.  That one spec selection has since birthed three separate healing alts, and a rather talented healer.  But wait, what about Fussypants’s tanking?

Well, that’s where the problem lies.  I am now too scared to try tanking again.   From what I now realize of my tanking exploits, I was bad.  I was really bad.  My rotation was made up of ‘glowy button! oooh! more glowy button!’ and my gear anything with the highest amount of +green numbers.  I’m pretty sure I walked around in a mixture of mail, plate, and leather.  And by that point, I knew what the difference was.

So, I kind of have this stigmatism that if I were to ever tank again, that I would suck.  That all those little mistakes would be called out and ridiculed, and that people would kick me from group and insult me.  And that terrifies me.  It’s utterly ridiculous; I face almost the same consequences on my healers, and yet I’ve never been nearly as frightened of healing.

This is where Ranzine comes in.  I’m going to try to level her exclusively through tanking, and whenever I hit max level, continue tanking.  This whole thing could blow up in my face, or I could really learn to love tanking again.  I’m going to do it.  No backing out, no switching to healing, just tanking.  And I’m going to stick with it, no matter how many groups I get kicked from.

In my mind, the best way to try something new, is to just throw yourself out there.  So that is what I’m going to do.

Addendum: So, if any of y’all have horde side characters on US realms, I’d love to come tanking with you.  Currently I’m level 24, so if anyone wants to dungeon crawl with me, I’d love to have you!  You can email me or leave a comment if you are interested.