Today I left my guild

Today I left my guild.

This decision has been months in the coming and yet, even now, I find myself struggling to type it out. There’s a mental block. A stubborn and insistent demand that maybe, if I don’t say anything about it, the issue will go away. But intellectually, I know this is not the case. I’ve been unhappy for months now, I cannot let fear of the unknown stop me. I am writing this out now, posting it for the whole wide internet to see not because I am angry and not because I want revenge, but because I need to get this off for my own sake. And I need to do it right.

Four years of faithful member and officership.

Over four years ago, I joined a brand new guild established on the idea of connecting the then WoW Insider, now Blizzard Watch fans. I was quickly made an officer, although back then, the guild didn’t have nearly as much structure as it does now. We were honestly more excited that the guild had even gotten off the ground than anything else.

The next year was a honeymoon period. The guild continued to grow and, with the help of the other officers (the corps was now being more established), I helped run social events and coordinate out of game communication. Everything was friendly and perfect and fun, and I know this is the image of the guild that is forever frozen in my mind. When the act of logging in could put an instant smile on my face.

An expansion came and went and eventually, our little guild decided to adventure into raiding. As is unavoidable, the switch from a purely social guild to a raiding social guild was a little bumpy and there was some hiccups along the path. But overall, the transition went incredibly smoothly and I finally got a chance to raid in an organized fashion for the first time. A bit later on and I found myself raid leading for the first time. Everything was fantastic.

Another expansion flew by, and our little guild started shifting again, this time in a direction I wasn’t so keen on. The leadership aspect, which I had always been a part of, started narrowing down to a few certain individuals calling the shots. Areas that used to fall under my responsibility were taken away from me, and I started hearing about big guild changes at the same time as the rest of the guild rather than ahead of time as seemed sensible for an officer.

When I brought up these frustrations, I was at first brushed off. Then, I was screamed at.

That should have been my warning.

But it wasn’t.

I told myself that I had so many other friends in the guild who made it worthwhile, so if I just played my cards right, everything would be ok. Tensions would smooth out. I would be able to talk to certain officers openly again. The honeymoon period would return.

In hindsight, I can see how ridiculous this all sounds, but at the time – and even a bit now – I was afraid of change. Afraid of leaving a guild full of all the people I knew in game. Afraid of the unknown world outside. Afraid of taking that leap. So, in my fear, I stayed, even as things worsened.

The trends which had bothered me before only increased. The size of our officer corps increased again, but the number of people making the decisions shrank. Social events, which used to be the bread and butter of our guild, fell off the wayside as I was the only officer making an effort to continue them. As a high school teenager with a life outside of the game, I just didn’t have time to run everything and no one else would step up. Instead, the focus became almost exclusively about raiding.

I do want to be clear here, I have no problems with hardcore raiding. If anything, the opposite is true, I loved the notion of going into Mythic and chasing that realm first. But what bothered me so much was how we were going about it. Our game plan was unclear and unrealistic. We wouldn’t do enough to proactively bring up low DPS or HPS numbers. And, the part that bothered me most, we were focusing on higher tiered progression raiding almost to the detriment of every other aspect of the guild.

As the weeks and then months went on, my concerns started to transform into something else: the inescapable feeling that I was not wanted. Whether this was perceived or real, I found I could not shake it. Slowly but surely, the game turned from an escape into something I would escape from. Chatting in guild became a chore. Keeping an upbeat attitude on voice chat became a challenge. And finally, raiding itself, one of my favorite parts about this game, became an absolute nightmare.

It got to the point where my guild-related stress was leaking into other aspects of my life, unrelated to video games. I got some pretty major awards recently, including being selected to be the speaker at my graduation, and I found I was so distracted by guild stuff that I couldn’t even enjoy that news. And this was something I’d been dreaming about since freshman year!

The final straw.

The final straw came Sunday evening. While in the middle of an Antorus raid, I happened to check my guild note. Rather than the cheerful ‘Fussypants!’ I had on almost all of my characters, I found something radically different.

‘Fussybitch’.

Someone had edited my note to say ‘Fussybitch’.

I do not know who changed it. I do not know why. But at that moment, I was shattered. In that instant, my guild had turned from a friendly, welcoming place, to one where I would spend the rest of my days wondering just who’d edited my guild note. Adding that onto my general stress and guild frustrations, it was too much. My guild was no longer home.

(I want to be clear here, throughout that time period where I was becoming more and more unhappy with my guild, I was very careful to remain as friendly and cheerful as I had ever been. Whenever I felt I was too upset or emotional to play, I would always log off and step away rather than bring that baggage into the guild as a whole. I am sure those who know me well probably could tell that I was upset, but I made sure to keep that out of the atmosphere. The note wasn’t inspired by that.)

For my own sanity, I can’t keep acting as if everything’s ok. I can’t keep ignoring the problem and hoping it will go away. I can’t keep making excuses, both for myself and others. I can’t keep this up.

So, for that reason, I left my guild today.

To those of you still in the guild who may be reading this, please don’t take this as me trying to get you to leave. What I wrote about here are entirely my own experiences, and they may well have nothing in common with yours. I am not trying to convince anyone other than myself that I made the right choice.

To those of you with whom I was a friend, I hope this is not the end. I truly, truly have enjoyed playing with you guys for these past couple of years, and it is because of you that I stayed around for so long. Please keep me on Battle.net, keep me on Twitter, keep me on Discord and don’t be afraid to reach out at any time. I understand if it is no longer feasible to stay friends but, regardless, I want you to know that I wish you the very best.

What comes now? Well, that, I’m not sure. This guild has been such a huge part of my World of Warcraft experience, that I’m having a hard time imagining the game without it. And additionally, with college coming up, I don’t know how much I will be able to play Warcraft. I want to keep playing, this game has been an enormous part of my life after all, but with this chapter ending, I do not know what the next one holds. I do intend to finish out this expansion strong, but after that, the future is unclear.

But one thing is clear. I am done being passive when I am hurt. I am done being silent when I am excluded. And I am done waiting for a better day to come tomorrow.

I am going to go find that day myself.

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A Call to Arms: Herald of the Titans

CALLING ALL ADVENTURERS, ULDUAR AWAITS!

Many moons ago, I used to lead runs for this little achievement called Herald of the Titans. It was great fun; I’d bring a group of at-level, at-gear players in to fight the awe inspiring Algalon, in pursuit of a pretty awesome title and Feat of Strength. I had retired these runs a while ago after getting dozens upon dozens of people their Algalon kill, but the time has come to once more venture into Ulduar. Back by popular demand, I am once more setting up runs for Herald of the Titans!

So what exactly is the Herald of the Titans achievement?

Designed to mimic the experience of Wrath-era raiding, Herald of the Titans is a Feat of Strength with some pretty stringent requirements. In order to earn the FoS, players must defeat Algalon the Observer in 10 man Ulduar:

  • At level 80
  • With armor item level 226 or below
  • With weapons item level 232 or below

Effectively, you have to recreate a character as it would have appeared in Wrath (although, you can bring a class that wouldn’t have existed during that time, they just have to follow the aforementioned guidelines). Your reward for completing the encounter as it was designed to be approached is a pretty spiffy title – Name, Herald of the Titans – as well as a shiny new Feat of Strength! Pretty nifty, huh?

This brings me to the Fussypants Herald of the Titans runs!  The preliminary deets are below.

Where: Nesingwary/Nazgrel/Vek’nilash US, Alliance Side
(You are not required to level your character on this realm cluster, but I would highly recommend doing so since I have stockpiled a great deal of foods, enchantments, and other raiding materials to use during our attempts)

When: TBD, depending on the availability of the team(s)

Who: YOU! I’m looking for anyone interested in achieving this Feat of Strength!

IMPORTANT NOTE: YOU DO NOT NEED TO HAVE A LEVEL 80, GEARED OUT CHARACTER AT THIS POINT IN TIME. I AM ONLY ASSEMBLING TEAMS RIGHT NOW.

Will you answer the call to defeat Algalon in the depths of the titan city of Ulduar? Please fill out the Google form and join this Discord so I can start to organize the groups!

If you have any questions, feel free to message me on Twitter @thefussypants, on Discord Fussypants#4821, or by email thefussypants(at)hotmail(dot)com.

2018 New Year’s Resolutions

It’s been a few days since the beginning of the year (ok, perhaps more than a few) but Yotaan and Fussypants still want to sit down and go through our New Year’s Resolutions for 2018. So, without further ado, our yearly update to the Goals tab above!


Fussypants: 2017, as I have previously written about, threw a giant wrench in both my writing and WoW playing time. Because of a million different factors, both in and out of my control, I just didn’t get to dedicate as much time as I would have liked to the game. As such, I didn’t really hit as many of the items on last year’s New Year Resolutions as I planed. Last year, I vowed to…

1) Write consistently and write for myself
On the whole, I did not do a very good job of this. The year before last, I had gone the other way with this type of goal, vowing to write ‘5 blog posts a month’, which was entirely too much and led to a lot of burn out. However, as it turns out, my reactionary goal to that one didn’t do much better. Instead of being too strict, the limit I set for myself this past year was too vague and unbinding. It wasn’t quantifiable, and as a result, it fell by the way side.

Going forward, I definitely need to make sure I’m setting realistic output goals for myself. I’m a pretty deadlines oriented person (as I suspect many people are); I need that hard due date in order to motivate. While the idea of ‘writing for myself’ is a very positive one, it didn’t light the fire under my proverbial butt to go and get typing.

All of this to say, I didn’t write enough this year. I did do a pretty solid job writing for myself, but a couple of blog posts every couple of months just doesn’t cut it, both by my own personal standards and for readers. I recognize that, and I apologize for that.

I will say, there is one exception to this: NaNoWriMo. During the month of November, I managed to get out a blog post almost every single day. It was a challenge, absolutely, but it was also one of the most rewarding things I’ve done in a while. I probably don’t need to go that crazy in the future, but I’ve proven that I can do it, so I should get closer.

2) Post more stories
Alrighty well, this one should probably be chalked up to another big fat X. While I’ve written a ton of stories behind the scenes, a grand total of 0 have been posted here on the blog. However, since this goal still did get me to flex my creative muscles, I don’t think it was all failure. Now I just need to work on editing so I can actually post some of the dozens of stories I’ve written!

3) Integrate my artistic side into the blog more
While I definitely didn’t go as far as I could have, I think I could rightfully say, I did bring a bit more of my artistic side into the blog (if only in the site redesign). However, I wouldn’t disagree that there’s absolutely more I can do, and going forward, this one is definitely going to be a personal goal. Who knows, maybe I’ll be able to tie together stories with some art!

4) Complete Suramar (and whatever max level story follows it)
I have completed the Suramar storyline on two, count ’em, two characters, so I’ll definitely be putting this one in the success category! While Suramar did have it’s moments of frustration (especially on the second time through), overall, I enjoyed the zone immensely. The story was so well done and the city felt like a living, breathing place. It’s just icing on the cake that Nightborne will be playable sometime soon!

5) Participate in more community building projects
This is another one of those where I didn’t get as involved as I would have liked, but I did do a little bit. Unfortunately, both the Running of the Gnomes and the Running of the Trolls occurred when I was either out of town or otherwise unable to play. Both those events were the ones I had in mind when I wrote out this resolution, so I’m a bit bummed that I couldn’t swing by to join them. That being said, I did do a few different things that I’d say did count as community involvement. For one, I participated in the Legion Fanzine (which you can go and preorder here by the way!) as well as joining the Perky Pugs Discord (another link for you!)

Now that we’ve gone through 2017, I think it’s high time we turn to the present year. 2018. On a more real-life level, this coming year is going to hold a lot of huge changes for me, and I don’t know where that will leave my video gaming. I definitely want to keep writing and keep playing, but I truly have no idea what the future will hold, or even where in the country I’ll be living in a year’s time. The goals I come up with might turn out to be unfeasible in 6 months, or I might knock them all out of the part. We shall see!

1) Write 4 blog posts every month
A toned down version of my 2016 resolution, I’m hoping that this will keep me writing but not burn me out. And hopefully, I’ll be able to get more out than just four on some months!

2) Post the stories for my WoW characters
A hold-over from last year, I still want to get some narrative type work out here on the blog, if only so I can point to a place when people ask about my OCs!

3) Re-open my art commission business!
For those who’ve done a bit of snooping around ye olde site, you might have noticed the new tabs up above! I am really, really hoping that I will be able to re-open my art commission business this year as it was both a great challenge and a nice source of income (especially considering I’m quickly approaching the biggest financial burden of my life, haha college debts).

4) Level a Horde-side character to max
Confession time, I have not played on the red side of things in a long while. There are both friends and lore on the Horde side, and I’d like to finally reconnect with that!

5) Help out with Violet Spellwing carry runs
Whether this means to run my own or help out with others, I really want to do my part in paying it forward and helping folks get their Ahead of the Curve mounts for Heroic Argus. What was once done for me, I want to do for others.


Yotaan: For me, writing is not second nature, or even third or fourth nature! I always admire Fussypant’s interest and enthusiasm to write. Unfortunately, my writing was scant in 2017. But how did I do with my goals?

1) Play on a PvP realm.  I miss the danger.  I will need to find the best one to level up.
This one did not happen at all! While Yotaan PvPed a bunch more, it was entirely in battlegrounds. I think I did not want to start a new character from scratch that was isolated from the rest of my toons. I did start Roy, a disc priest from level 1 in the past few months, but I wanted him in OtQ. Now, as a look to the future, this goal will be unachievable, as PVP and PVE realms, as distinct entities, are going away.

2) Try again to play with Fussypants more.
Definitely achieved this one! We have leveled demonhunters a bit and PvPed a bit. She keeps trying to get me to join her raids, but I just can’t do it. Every time I tried I get sweaty and anxious!

3) Get the Mount Parade achievement
When I set this goal Yotaan was at 153 out of 200 mounts. Goal achieved! (Actually, this is a bit of a cheat, Yotaan got the achievement just a week ago.) Currently at 205 mounts and climbing. This goal was great to have since Yotaan got help. Fussypants picked up a few for the family collection and the middle-child-who-shall-not-be-named-but-is-named-Shorts got a few old school mounts.

4) Figure out Pet Battles. It’s a thing, isn’t it?
I guess it is not a thing for me. Didn’t even open the Pets tab.

5) Really enjoy my time in and out of WoW.
This was a great goal to have and to continue to have. I can honestly say I achieved it. Recently, I had an injury that caused me to be at home for a few days. Because of the nature of the injury, I was able to play WoW. I played for HOURS and HOURS. I have not sat and video gamed for that much since I was a kid. You know what? I really enjoyed my time. WoW continues to surprise me with depth and variety. I continued on storylines. I explored nook and crannies I missed previously. I enjoyed old and new stuff (except pet battles) and was able to be fully distracted from my injury – a wonderful way to spend the days recovering.

So 2017 sped by quickly, what will happen in 2018? Like Fussypants, I really wonder what is in store for the blog. She will be embarking on new challenges and I suspect will be very busy. I still want to help and contribute but I do not want her to be overwhelmed. On to my goals!

1) Work on collections
Last year I was focused on mounts, but recently I have had more interest in gear appearances. I make sure to check the mog appearance of every gear any of my toons pick up. I want that pink typography of an appearance added to my collection to pop up! What is funny about the goal is that I have very little interest in mogging myself – Yotaan always looks like a clown in whatever he picks up!

2) Keep playing with Fussypants
While this may sound like a cop-out goal, it actually might be hard to achieve in the latter half of 2018. She will be someplace else in the country and will become, for the first time, a long distance playing partner.

3) Horde time
It has been too long. I bleed red. Time for moar Horde!

4) Get better at PvP
A long time friend of ours correctly pointed out to Pants that I am very below average in PvP. It’s time to fix that. Already started on this by playing Enhance on Yotaan seriously for the first time since I began playing. Elemental has been a poor PvP choices for years.

5) Have fun
Whether this is in or out of Wow, it is important to slow down and have a good time. Often we need a reminder of this and a goal can serve this purpose. (Right Pants?)

Let’s make 2018 a great one folks!

The Priest Campaign: Second Rate Paladins?

Off to save the priests! …or something like that

A pain-medication addled Pants once said “Priests are like lamer paladins”. While my love of the paladin class is pretty insurmountable, I probably wasn’t being completely fair in my assessment; even I have to admit that Discipline is pretty intriguing and Shadow’s class fantasy can’t be beat. And, I certainly didn’t want Blizzard to agree with me. Unfortunately, it seem like that is exactly what they did.

Over the weekend, I finally sat down and finished up the Priest Order Hall Campaign. I’ve done quite a few of the class hall campaigns now, but I have to say, this one ranked among the… least well done. And that’s putting it generously.

Firstly, there was the artifact quest chains. The Shadow quest chain was fine, I suppose, but having it take place in the same location as the holy paladin one (especially because I did the paladin one first) made it come off as a rehash. However, there was bits of good lore there so, overall, I thought it was the strongest of the three. The Holy quest chain was, quite frankly, forgettable. There was no ‘hoorah, I’m a priest, biyotches!‘ moment; it felt like a run of the mill side quest.

The Discipline quest though, hoo boy. I guess that series was my first warning sign of what was to come. Not only was it poorly done, it didn’t even seem to connect to priest lore in the slightest. Why am I going to the Nexus for a holy weapon? Isn’t the Scarlet Crusade involved in this one? The strange and ill-suited tie-ins to the balance between the Light and the Void, too, were thematically out of place with the rest of that strange, strange questline. The whole experience was just… discombobulated.

I liked the tunnel… that was pretty much it

Alright well, I have my weapons now, maybe it gets better from here? But no, no it doesn’t. What follows was a series of quests in which I flew all around kingdom come, gathering an army of generic and uninspiring “champions” that perhaps were big figures in priest lore, but I’d certainly never heard of them. Something about some void lady? Also, randomly saving a member of the Scarlet Crusade (I guess I finally got my crusade on). And murlocs?? There didn’t seem to be any clear motivation or end goal.

Somewhere in the middle of that mess, Velen pays a visit to the class hall and starts spouting words of wisdom. Now, I’m generally a big Velen fan, him being the leader of the draenei and all, but I don’t think he could have been more unhelpful if he tried. He literally shows up, tells us some run of the mill prophecy, and peaces out again, leaving poor Alonsus Faol to worry about the implications of the predictions. And worry he does, the man spends the rest of the campaign wringing his hands about it.

We haven’t even gotten to the good part yet. No, at this point, as lame as it is, I suppose the priest are still somewhat self sufficient. That very quickly goes out the window.

The Legion, who’s been hunting down our homebase, the Netherlight Temple, for millennia apparently, discover where the priests are hiding out and prepare to launch an all out assault. In anticipation of this, the priests mobilize… and go running straight to the paladins for help.

No, I’m not kidding. Our gung-go, shining moment of class fantasy involves us cowering behind our more heavily armored brothers and sisters in plate.

There’s a couple of rather demeaning quests in which you, the priest, are pretty much an ineffective bystander as the paladin class hall leaders debate if they even want to help out the priests, before deciding, yeah, we should maybe give those guys a hand. The paladins then devise the entire battle plan and effectively lead the charge, with the priest player character tailing behind like a younger sibling.

Don’t leave without me!

The final battle is going pretty well until, surprise, the demons cheat. But never fear, the paladins are here! One of the paladin class champions, Lothraxion, jumps out of nowhere, providing the crucial interrupt, and you quickly finish off the lead demon Balnazzar. Hooray, we’ve saved the day! But really you just hung in the back and cheered as the paladins saved the day!

What a big darned hero.

My favorite was when all the NPCs kept referring to me as a paladin, because the priests never do anything proactive, right? (I do believe this was a bug, but it’s been a long time since this launched and it hasn’t yet been fixed)

Having done that exact same scenario on both my paladin and my priest, I have to say, it’s a wildly different experience. Rather than creating an equal partnership between the two orders, it definitely feels like one comes in to carry the other. On the paladin side, that’s pretty awesome; you go in and get to save your defenseless allies who couldn’t otherwise do so. On the priest side, it’s incredibly belittling; you can’t even defend your own temple so you end up begging your friends for help. Even I, as a die-hard paladin player, can recognize that this was not the best way to go about it. As much as I find priests to be the more boring of the two classes, they deserved a better story than that.

My other big pet peeve was that the priest story pretty much seemed to be all Holy Light-based. There was lots of human and dwaren priest flavor, with a little bit of draenei thrown in there for good measure, and no one else’s. No Loa, no Anshe, no nothing other than plain ol’ light-Light. The campaign would have been a great place to delve into all the different flavors of the class, and that just did not happen. Missed opportunity in my opinion, and I even play a human priest!

Going hand in hand with that, the Shadow side of the priest lore was pretty sorely underdeveloped. There was a lot of emphasis on balance and whatnot, but while it was pretty clear what was going on Light-side, the Void-side of affairs was never fleshed out. How exactly does the Cult of the Forgotten Shadows operate? Are there different flavors of void users out there? I wanted to find more shades of grey but if anything, the priest campaign almost worked to convince me that balance is overrated and the Light should be unequivocally embraced.

I don’t know what happened with the priest class campaign. Did Blizzard run out of time? Did they have this grand idea that didn’t work so well in execution? Does Blizzard just hate priests? In any case, the result was pretty clear, even to me as someone who’s more of a tourist priest than anything; in an expansion based around class fantasy, priests got the short end of the stick.

But hey, priest gameplay is actually pretty solid, so there is that.

Where did all the furniture go?

NaNoWriMo Wrap Up

Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month.

One month. Twenty four blog posts. Over 20,000 words. And one writing challenge successfully completed.

I am proud to announce that after thirty days of hard work, I’ve completed the NaNoWriMo Writing Challenge ‘Pants-Style’! You can find all of the posts under the NaNoWriMo2017 tag here on the blog, but right now, I really want to talk about the journey.

I’ll be brutally honest; when I first started this challenge, I didn’t expect to finish. I predicted that I’d write for maybe a week before running out of inspiration. Or I’d get to my vacation in the middle of the month and lose all motivation. From previous experience, I know that I sometimes struggle with writers block when I set a quantity goal on writing, and I thought I would run into that for sure. But instead, I surprised even myself.

Once I started writing though, I kept coming up with more and more topics I wanted to address. It totally helped that Blizzcon came out right as I enacted this challenge as it gave me boatloads of new content to cover, but even without that, I still think I could have filled the month. I had forgotten, but there are so many factors in this game and the community surrounding the game that I want to talk about long form. Heck, I still have a list of blog ideas left over from the month!

The only thing I found myself short on was time. I won’t lie, quite a few of the posts you can now read were written in the small hours of the night. I was writing in between classes or working out paragraphs in my head at extracurriculars. The tight requirement (a post every day with only two breaks per week) combined with my already busy real-life schedule meant that almost every spare moment was spent writing or preparing to write. It was exhilarating!

Unfortunately, it was also unsustainable. As you can see by the fact that this post is coming out several days into December, I’m just too busy to write a blog post almost every single day for a period of time longer than a month. I’d have to give up sleep if that were the case. I may eventually reach a stage in my life where that is a realistic goal, but for now, the rapid-fire posting of November will probably be a once in a blue moon thing.

I have to say it – and usually I don’t say it – but I am so incredibly proud of what I accomplished. I wrote a blog post per day for a month, an entire month, and I didn’t cop out. I didn’t take the easy road, I didn’t quit when the going got tough, I didn’t shirk away. That is pretty gosh darn awesome! Being the perfectionist that I am, it’s not often that I come out of something feeling like I performed to the best of my ability. There’s usually always that little something that I felt I could have done better, or that one area that I slacked. But today, looking back on the month of November, I can truly say that I gave this my all. And that is all I could have ever wanted.

Now what do we do now? Well, write of course! I’ll probably settle back into a once or maybe twice a week posting schedule, depending on what’s happening in the World of Warcraft and the World of Pants. I want to get out some more narrative style stuff (one of the few goals I had during NaNoWriMo which did not occur) along with the editorial pieces I typically write. But really, I just want to keep doing this at a much more relaxed pace. After the sprint, it’s time for the leisurely jog.

Before I wrap up for today, I want to quickly highlight some of the best things that Yotaan and I posted over the crazy month of November. There’s been a ton of content in the past thirty days so, no doubt, some of this was probably lost in the flood. Here’s some of my favorite works!

Tin Foil Hat: Battle for Azeroth
My working theory on what Battle for Azeroth will hold. I still don’t buy it that we’re just going to be fighting each other the entire time!

Leveling Guide: Legion Invasions
A quick guide on how to effectively level up from 100-110! One of my guildies has already gotten an alt up by this method and he thoroughly endorses it!

Four Year Anniversary!
We celebrated our four year blogiversary!

I am a Rose: A Visual Story
A visual story out in Val’sharah… I won’t spoil any more.

Crazy Raid Tales: The Mysterious Monk
One of the crazier raiding tales I’ve collected over the years, involving a monk who may or may not be Batman (or the Joker).

 

And of course, the pieces written by my wonderful father!

Legion or How I Learned to Love PvP Again
A write-up on how Legion PvP has been treating Yotaan. (Check out my response post here!)

Better Long Term Legion Goals
Yotaan showing up my goals by posting his own Better Long Term Legion Goals.

Antorus First Impressions

Today was the day! With rosy cheeks and bright eyes, the raid teams of <of The Queue> descended upon Antorus the Burning Throne in a quest to save all of Azeroth (and also get some sweet, sweet loots). After a two hour raid night tonight, my team got through seven of the eleven bosses in normal difficulty, meaning that I’ve now seen a good chunk of the instance. Despite my lack of sleep (life has gotten very busy!), I absorbed a lot of information during those two hours of pulls!

The biggest thing I noticed right off the bat was that Blizzard definitely learned their lesson from Tomb; the first couple bosses of Antorus were much more in-line with the expected difficulty level. It wasn’t until Kin’garoth that my group wiped, and even there we only got stuck for a couple of pulls.

I will admit that my raid team is overgeared for this difficulty but this only goes to prove that, unlike Tomb, Antorus encounters can be outgeared. That was definitely a problem in Tomb – no matter how good your gear was, mechanics still had to be executed perfectly to avoid some sort of raid wipe mechanic. While I don’t think better gear should allow a group to totally roflstomp a zone, gear should definitely make an encounter easier and smooth over any minor mistakes. Antorus has done a much better job of balancing these two forces.

Partly due to my own bleary exhaustion and partly due to the fact that we tore through them so quickly, I honestly don’t remember a lot of the details from most of the bosses. The general impression that I got though, was definitely a raid with a lot of movement. As a holy paladin who’s built herself around Light of the Martyr instant casts, I was totally digging it! But, I can see more stationary classes not enjoying that as much.

One fight that did stick out to me though, was the Eonar fight. First of all, the room was absolutely gorgeous. Titan glowing technology everywhere mixed with plants and green, it was truly a beautiful room! Unfortunately, the fight itself felt… weird. There was a lot of running around to fight different groups of adds (presumably to stop them from attacking Eonar’s spirit or somesuch like that) and then, very suddenly, an achievement flashes up and we win. No boss, no final adds wave (that I could tell), just finish off this pack and we’re all done here. I suspect that this fight will be a lot more involved in Heroic because in Normal, it definitely felt very “LFR Desolate Host, but there’s actually no Desolate Host”. I honestly spent more time enjoying the scenery and tracking down the group than I did executing mechanics, and everyone’s health was totally fine.

Later on was Kin’garoth, who, as I’ve previously touched on, was definitely a step up from everything preceding him. Dubbed the Soup Boss by a sleep-deprived Pants, Kin’garoth featured not only a beam of death, but also balls of raid-wide AoE, an immunity phase, and two large adds which needed to be burned down as fast as possible. It definitely took us a pull or two to figure out that we needed to focus down the purple construct first as well as how to effectively avoid his almost instant kill zap. Once we got those two things down though, we were all set.

I did notice that there was a little big of awkward mechanics overlap (throwback to Fallen Avatar), but unlike the bosses in Tomb of Sargeras, we could actively control which mechanics overlapped by prioritizing a different add over another. I like that a lot; it gives teams the ability to tailor the fights to the mechanics they can better counter, making for a more engaging experience.

We got one quick pull in on Varimathras before the two hours was up, wiping at about 50% health and lots of mechanics still to work out (I’m looking at you, Misery), but I’m pretty confident that the team will be able to get him down at our second raid night of the week. Unfortunately, due to a metric ton of conflicts, I won’t be able to attend that raid so I’ve got a week to wait before I can jump back in. That just gives me plenty of time to get all excited again, right?

All in all, I’m super stoked for the new raid! Raiding is, by far, my favorite aspect of the game, and as much as I like having familiar fights down to a science, I also really love experiencing new ones! I have good feelings about my raid team’s progression in this tier, and I can’t wait to unlock that final cut scene for the first time (I always try to avoid spoiling it until I can see it myself). Bring on the Burning Throne!

Legion or How I Learned I’ll Never Love PvP (the way I Love PvE)

As you can see, my Honor Level is super high

Yotaan wrote up a post a couple of days ago about how the changes to PvP in Legion had rekindled a love for that style of gameplay. I have to agree with a lot of the points he made: PvP talents and the equalized gear really did make PvP both a lot more approachable and a lot more fun. However, my takeaway from our little jaunt into the battlefield was radically different than my father’s.

No matter how accessible and even the playing field may be, I don’t think PvP will ever be my jam.

That’s not to say that I don’t find the occasional battleground exciting. On the contrary, the PvP that I did with Yotaan and my guildie proved that I do still find enjoyment in the competitive person to person fight. I like going up against players of the enemy faction, capturing bases, and stealing flags. And, after years of raiding at a pretty high level, my reaction times are super fast so that’s not the issue.

The problem, for me, is I don’t feel the same pull of the rewards.

Legion PvP, at the casual level in which I participate, offers two big rewards that I am interested in. The first is the wealth of old gear appearances, purchased by Marks of Honor. The second is the artifact weapons locked behind Prestige levels, the sort of Paragon leveling of PvP. Of these two rewards, the first is definitely the more appealing (as the Marks of Honor are Bind on Account), but I will admit, I have solely run battlegrounds on my paladin in order to gain Prestige on only one character.

This gear though, for as much as a transmog junkie as I might be, isn’t enough of a pull. While I absolutely love dressing up my characters like barbie dolls, I also love earning new gear and becoming more powerful. I love progressing through increasingly difficult trials and I love the challenges of teamwork. In Random Battlegrounds, there is none of that. I suppose I could go and find a Rated Battleground team if I was really invested in that style of play, but the jump from Random to Rated Battlegrounds feels a lot steeper than the jump from LFR to, say, Normal raids. PvP is all about standings and competition against players, whereas PvE is about progression and competition against oneself and an encounter. Of the two, I find the latter much more rewarding.

Since that reward factor isn’t there, my engagement in PvP almost always comes in small fits and spurts. I get really into running battlegrounds for a couple of days, mostly to farm up a specific set or because I happened to join in a particularly engaging match, but then the excitement wears off and I move away. I’ll always be down for running battlegrounds with Yotaan, but I highly doubt that I’ll run very many without him by my side.

Swinging back a bit to something I’d touched on earlier, there is one aspect of Legion PvP that I do think went too far and that is the gear equalizing. While I am all on board for giving everyone relatively the same power level, I do wish we had some more control over the allocation of those stats. If I’m running a shockadin build on my holy paladin for some battlegrounds, it would be awesome to maybe trade out a few percentage points from mastery into haste so I can do higher DPS. Giving players a little more control over their stat allocation shouldn’t unbalance the playing field too much, but would allow players a bit more customization than we currently have in PvP.

Other than that one factor I mentioned though, I have to agree with Yotaan. Legion PvP is in a really good spot. It finally feels separated enough from PvE that neither realm is messing with the tuning of the other (something that has been the bane of raiders and I’m sure hardcore PvPers for many expansions). At the same time though, Legion PvP has a low entry barrier. Any ol’ schmoe, even some washed up Holy Paladin with a predisposition for pants, can join in without feeling horribly behind. I really hope that the trend started in Legion continues into Battle for Azeroth because it’s a great path for PvP.

It’s just probably never going to be mine.