Pugged Groups: Looking for Ego?

Awkward Moments Raiding
NOTE: The Beta Key Contest will end on Friday, September 19th at 3 PST, 5 CST, 6 EST.  Go solve those riddles!

So you all know how I love the Other Raids feature.  Even with its tendency to show healers as needing a group when they don’t,  or randomly unlist your group, the feature is pretty great.  Thanks to Other Raids, I have gotten my ilvl up to 556, been able to clear 8/14 Normal SoO, and gotten a few achievements on the way.  All in all, I’d consider the feature a success.

But, even I will admit, the feature was a band-aid on a bigger issue.  Pugging, and the extreme difficulty it was without outside sources.  And with 6.0, Blizzard intends to put in place their real solution to the problem.

The Looking for Adventure tab in the Group Finder, it is called.  Within it, players can search through and find a group to their liking, and then apply.  Or they can create a group, and set certain criteria such as item level or voice comm.  So basically, a built-in OQ.  In theory, I think the idea is sound enough, but I have a few queries.

First things first, will you only be able to list groups, or can you list as an individual looking for a group?  One thing I’ve noticed in the current iteration of Other Raids, is that there will be dozens of people looking for raids, and only a few groups listed.  With this new LFA (that’s gonna be my acronym folks, you heard it here first!), will there be just a few groups forming, and dozens of people all rushing to get into those limited spots? Or will I be able to queue up as a healer, and just wait for the whispers to come in?

I kind of hope that the LFA will let you queue as an individual or as a group, but have them under separate tabs.  For example, someone looking for a group might list themselves under the Individual tab, then go and search for a raid in the Group tab.  And vice versa.  Also, as a sometimes raid leader, I like the fact that you can  pick from an array of different people, instead of just the people who apply.

My second question; will the requirements be abused?  Yes I know that you cannot put an ilvl higher than your own, and if you put a high ilvl, only people with that ilvl will see it.  But you can easily circumvent that by putting a low ilvl requirement, but in the description mention that you actually want x ilvl.  I can see lots of possible ways that this system could be abused.

Also, one of the specific requirements that you can choose are Proving Grounds level you wish your group member have achieved.  Personally, I disliked the Proving Grounds.  I didn’t feel like that was an adequate way to test your skill at a class.  I thought the time was too punishing, and the kiting/defensive cooldowns severely lacking.  I learned almost nothing about raid awareness, CCs, or group etiquette.  All I got from my experience was how to spam your abilities the best and how to complete some highly specialized and otherwise irrelevant tasks.  As a result, I barely did any of them.  I don’t really want that to become a requirement.  I didn’t enjoy them, and I didn’t think they were a good test of the skills necessary in a raid.  And I certainly don’t want ‘LF DPS, Need PG GOLD’ to become a new normal.

But unfortunately, this sort of elitist behavior is already common in the gaming community.  I don’t want to tell you how many times I see a flex with an ilvl 550+, or a normal demanding ilvl 570, the legendary cloak, and heroic experience.  You definitely don’t need that level of gear and experience to run that level of content.  But unfortunately, many groups now want that.  And with this new group finder, I worry that this will become even worse.

I guess what I am getting at here is that while the LFA will be a great feature, we could possibly be trading ease of access for elitism.  I absolutely love the idea of pugging, but left to its own devices, it can get way out of control.  We need some sort of incentive to bring along at gear level characters, not just massively over geared ones.
‘But Fussypants, can’t you just set up your own pugs?’ Yes, but I shouldn’t have to do so every time.  There should be groups with moderate requirements that I can join.  Not just groups with outrageous requirements that are way out of my range.  The nature of pugging is quick semi-formal groups to run content.  Not hardcore, elitist jerks that carry the one leader of the group.

All things in moderation, especially World of Warcraft pug requirements.

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! 😛 )

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!)

The Nature of Change

Blizzard has recently announced their intents for raiding in WoD, changing up the game again.  While you can find the whole post here, the main points are the changes in LFR loot, the addition of Group Finder, and multiple changes to Normal, Heroic, and the new Mythic raiding.  This article will focus mostly on the LFR and Group Finder changes, as this is the kind of raiding that Fussypants currently does.

The first big change is the removal of specific trinkets and set bonuses from LFR.  For the Normal and Hardcore raider, this is a positive change, as these raiders will no longer feel required to LFR raid to fill the gaps in their set pieces, or get that missing trinket.  However, for LFR raiders, this change is not so positive.  To many LFR raiders, this may seem to reduce LFR to a glorified dungeon.  But, isn’t that what it is supposed to be?

As it currently stands, LFR tries to do too many jobs.  It is a way to let non raiders see the lore, a gearing method for many players, a sight-seeing journey for some, and practice for normal and heroic raiding for others.  This all makes it very difficult to balance, both gear and difficulty wise.

With the introduction of Group Finder in WoD, LFR suddenly becomes redundant in many of its current jobs.  Thus, it make sense to turn LFR into more of a sight-seeing raid than a tier of its own.  As Fussypants has done already, many of the raiders who LFR raid for gear and because they don’t have the time for a raiding schedule, will naturally gravitate to the Group Finder function.  LFR will now have a specific job, and Group Finder will take the job of a raid for those who want to ‘raid’ raid with less time.

LFR will now also drop more rewards, allowing it effectively be the stepping stone between dungeons and Group Finder.  This will allow players such as Fussypants to move on to Group Finder raiding much faster than currently capable.

The second huge change is the addition of Group Finder.  From what has been stated at this point, Group Finder will be like OQueue, but Blizzard made and in-game.  This change is fantastic, as now many more people will use it than when it was in addon form.  This will open up the possibility of raiding to a far larger audience, and allow for many more pickup groups.

Also, for raiders like Fussypants, this will allow for more difficulties of raids.  As it currently stands, LFR raiders are generally at the final level of progression with the LFR.  But, with the new Group Finder, these raiders will be able to find groups to raid with at higher progression levels.  Raids that originally required you to be in a guild are now capable of being pugged.

The final big change is the addition of flex technologies to all raid types except for Mythic.  Group sizes won’t be set in stone, again making for easier pugging.  What once required dedicated guilds now will be more reachable by those not in raiding guilds.
With all these changes, it is also interesting to look at how the WoW players handle it.

Human nature is funny, in that we don’t like change, but we adapt to it very quickly.  Take for instance, the addition of LFR.  When the idea was first proposed, there was of course backlash from the WoW community.  People didn’t like the change, even though many of them ended up using the new feature.  And here we are, an expansion later, and LFR seems like it has always been there.  LFR became such an integral part of many players WoW experience, that is odd to think that the feature is only one expansion old.

This process happened again with the addition of Flexible raiding.  There was a good amount of outcry against the change, and yet only a few moments after it has been integrated, the system seems common place.

It will be very interesting to watch how quickly we the players adapt to the new raiding changes, despite our protests against them.  ’20 man raiding? That’s stupid!’ we may say now, and yet in half a year, this may seem like the most normal thing.

People need to calm down.  Change is neither bad nor good, and either way, we are going to adapt to it.  It is in human nature to do so.  It will be fascinating to see how quickly the WoW player base settles into these ‘radical’ new changes.  So don’t worry.  You will adapt in a shorter amount of time than you spend complaining.

This entire article was written by Fussypants (though it was probably hard to tell with her writing in third person and all)

You are not your #%$@ DPS

See that up there? It ain't that important.

See that up there? It ain’t that important.

This has been bothering me for a while now- people judge on your deeps/heals, and not on your personality.  This has always bugged me, but not until recently have I really been bothered by it.
The event that compacted the issue happened in a flex raid my guild was running.  We, and some random others, were running the first wing and generally having a good time of it.  Everyone was getting along, and there were many laughs to be had.
Important things to note however, were this.  I was consistently the top DPS (this isn’t bragging (much :P) as it is important to the story) and my guild mates were generally in the middle of the pack.
We got to Norushen, and had our first wipe.  I started to have extremely bad lag issues (3334 latency, woot!), so I had to restart WoW.  Alright, no skin off our backs, we dusted off and tried again.  And promptly wiped again.  I had died halfway through, so I now was trying to restart my computer to fix the issue.  This means I left the voice comm our guild was using too.
When my computer finally restarted, it was slow.  I got back on the voice comm, and was shocked to hear what had happened.  Apparently, the random others had turned against a few members of my guild, citing low dps as a reason to kick them.  One member had gotten kicked, but another in our guild had invited them back to the raid.  This was our flex raid after all.
Then, the randoms started slinging insults at various members of our guild.  The person was kicked again, and this time, our entire group left the randoms.  I was shocked at how quickly that escalated, and fully expected to log into WoW, having been kicked from the group.
But I wasn’t.
It turns out, that because of my high dps, the randoms had waited 15 minutes for me to come back online.  I was astounded by their patience, and then immediately upset.  Why couldn’t they have been that patient with my guildies?
And this is the issue.  People value your DPS over your attitude, or willingness to learn.  My guildies were friendly and nice (until they were attacked), but because they didn’t have the dps, they were given no patience.  I was mostly silent, but had relatively high dps, so they waited a FULL FIFTEEN MINUTES for me to get back.  Fifteen minutes!  And yet they couldn’t do it for my guildies!
It angers me, the things that take priority in peoples minds.  Yes dps is important, but just as much so as a positive attitude and a willingness to learn.  People need to be WAY more patient with lesser geared people, especially if those people are putting their all.
I mean, which would you rather have?  The sullen sour shaman who pulls 20% of the deeps, all while putting down the rest of the raid, or the helpful happy hunter, who many not have the best dps, but is doing the very best he can while being polite to others?
I know that if I hadn’t been a high dps, I would have been kicked too.  No one would have given me tips on how to improve, I would have just been shunted.  Because I would have been taking up their precious, precious time (/heavy sarcasm).
Patience is a virtue that I think everyone can work on.

Last Riddle:

If only once,
someone stepped up
and gave the man his pay.
He’ll gladly pay you Tuesday,
for a hamburger today.

When you figure out this one, email me the answer to the riddle AND THE TITLES OF THE OTHER POSTS IN THE ORDER WHICH YOU HIT THEM at thefussypants@hotmail.com .  Good luck!

New Focuses

Can anyone even see this alt text?

Flex Raiding with the Guild

I will admit, after I got my legendary on my mage, I struggled to find a new goal.  As I am an incredibly goal oriented person, this meant that I was barely logging on to my mage or paladin.  I had pretty much maxed out the gear I could get on my mage from LFR, had no transmog, mounts, or achievements I wanted to get.  I was logging only to do my dailies, and my runs for secrets on my pally.

Until I realized something.  The feature I’d used to get the Celestials, Other Raids, could be used to do anything from Ordos to Flex Raiding to Normal Raiding.

I queued up for Ordos, as I now had another outlet for gear upgrades.  I didn’t get anything, but now I had another reason to log on.

Then I realized something else.  I could queue up for a Flex Raid!  It was the day after our guild run, and we hadn’t been able to kill anything, so I was completely fresh.

I queue up, and quickly got invited into a group.  We had a fantastic time, one shotting the first two bosses.  They were extremely patient, and politely explained everything to me, the noob.  Eventually, I had to go, but the experience was invaluable as I learned a great deal about flexing.

I used to think that LFR was the best addition to the game, but I have changed my mind.  Other Raids and Flex Raiding is the new best.  The ease of signing up to a mutable raid instance, without an addon is pure gold.  Its like pugging 2.0, and I absolutely love it.

Now, with my new-found knowledge, I went into our next guild flex way more confident.  We managed to fill up way faster with the help of Other Raids, getting started 30 minutes earlier.  Then, in the raid, I was able to supply information and possible strats for the bosses I had done.  My guild got way farther than we had before, and in shorter time too.

The next challenge I gave myself was setting up my own flex raid.  With some of my guildies and my dad, we got a group together in 20 minutes.  This took place the day after the guild run, again, so we started on Norushen.  After a few wipes, we killed him, and then got the Sha (again after a few wipes).

So what I’m getting at, is I have a new goal.  It’s not finite, like the cloak, but it is most certainly a motivator.  I wanna complete a Flex Raid with my guild.  And I wanna get all the gear (hopefully an heirloom too!) I can from flex.  I wanna raid.

First Real Raid EVAH!

(Not actually the flex raid because Fussypants never takes screenshots when it's actually valuable)

(Not actually the flex raid because Fussypants never takes screenshots when it’s actually valuable)

Last Saturday, I did it.  I finally did it.  I raided.  Not LFR, but real flex guild raiding.
We struggled with having enough people almost the whole time, never had enough healers, and didn’t even manage to down the first boss.  And it was GLORIOUS!
The night started with the installing a voice communication system on my laptop.  I was super nervous about talking to other people, even though I knew everyone pretty well.  My fears were, of course, unfounded, and I soon grew to enjoy talking to the people in my guild instead of typing.  After troubleshooting for a little bit, and finding out that my head set was busted, I was all set to go.
We spent about an hour recruiting enough people for the raid, and then we were set.  I managed to get my dad to join, so he was raiding with us too!  We all queued up, and zoned in.   None of us (from the guild) had ever flex raided before, but everyone knew basically what needed to happen.  We had some issues with the trash before Immerseus, but soon found ourselves at the boss.
A quick pull later, and everyone wiped.  It was spectacular.  Happily, everyone was in high spirits, so we brushed ourselves off, and got up to try again. A few tactic changes later (thanks to an incredibly helpful draenei shaman), and we were at it again.  And we wiped.  We managed to get to the splitting phase, but we didn’t have the heals to cover all the blobs, or the dps to kill them all.
The night progressed, and we wiped many more time, but everyone remained in a good mood.  At one point, we had a party, and everyone pulled out their fun items.  All throughout, everyone was having a fantastic time.
But all things must come to an end, and after 3 hours, I had to go to bed.
I really loved the experience.  It was fun, not at all stressful, and suitably challenging.  For a first experience with raiding, I couldn’t have asked for a better one.  I loved hanging out with people and having a good time trying to figure out how to down the boss.  Even though I never saw Immerseus fall, I didn’t need to.  I had a fantastic time.  And I fully plan on raiding again next weekend!