Thursday, April 29, 2010

Having fun is a lot of work

Phew. I'm tired kids, I'm tired. This has been quite a dramatic blogging week, eh? I started to feel kinda bad (tree goes grrr, then does a little tree guilt) after reading Beruthiel's comment on my post from Tuesday, along with Larisa's post today.

Let me say this. I don't think a 25 man raider can understand how strict 10 raiders have felt this entire expansion. So if our blog posts this week seem vindicated, well yeah, I would surmise that a lot of us feel that way. To us, this change seems to legitimize our choice to take a different (and as Beru stated, not better or worse, just different) path to raiding.

But I will also readily admit this. Strict 10 man raiders can't understand how a 25 man raider may feel about this changes. I understand that. Like I commented on my own post yesterday, of course a lot of these feelings of these changes depend on your own perspective. And perhaps in sharing your perspective, it may seem to others that you are putting down their perspective.

I'm not sure what I'm trying to say here. Maybe its that we're coming to this with our own perspectives and that not all voices championing one path are putting down the other path. Maybe it seems that way depending on the perspective you are reading it from. The voices from this discussion that I have actually been most intrigued by have been those of the 25 man raiders who think that this could improve 25 man raiding as well.

Quick side story. I was joking around with some fellow consultants the other day because a female colleague brought in some Luna bars. Do you know what Luna bars are?

Look on the top part of that bar there, where it says "nutrition bar for women". So one of the male consultants decided to try one, and we were joking around that his voice may go up or that his skin would get softer. But then we really looked at the ingredients in it and its not like there's estrogen in there. Besides your general list of vitamins and stuff there is calcium and folic acid, which yeah are important for women. But its not like calcium and folic acid aren't good for men.

Basically here's my hope for this change. Let's hope that the raid change will be like a Luna Bar. I think that the change will be more beneficial to 10 man raiders, but let's hope that it doesn't hurt, and is beneficial to 25 man raiders as well. Did I just make an analogy on the raiding changes to a Luna Bar? Um, yeah I did. /sigh

Anyways, as I was thinking these deep, deep thoughts yesterday, I also got to thinking about how much emotional investment this hobby takes. Personally, before I started playing this game, I went through about a 6 month phase where I was making a lot of jewelry with semi precious stones and sterling silver, as well as making a lot of purses, clutches, and pouches using various fabrics.

But that hobby never involved feelings of anger or sadness or drama that has sometimes come up playing this game. Though yes, it also didn't bring up all of the positive emotions that this game has brought either.

Have you really ever thought about how much emotional investment this hobby of ours invokes? Isn't it kind of crazy if you think about it? And I wonder if bloggers get more emotionally invested, or whether its just that we have a public outlet to display them.

Anyways, I used the Calvin and Hobbes cartoon above in this post because ultimately we are playing this game for fun. But sometimes it seems that we have to work so hard, to be so serious about protecting our having fun in this game. Or maybe its just that because we value this game so much, we are more emotionally invested to it? I don't know. /ponder


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Apparently we're a farm and an enigma

I've read posts and comments from number of 25 man raiders out there who are welcoming these raiding changes, but there are a lot who are also declaring the death of 25 mans.

Now I completely respect those who are sharing their views on how to keep 25 man raiding viable or worthwhile. I mean, a lot of my bloggy friends are 25 man raiders and I respect you for your choice to raid 25 mans. I just think that I should get the same level of respect for my choice and preference to raid 10 mans.

But there are also a lot of posts and comments from 25 man raiders that I just have to say are total pricks. It just seems that their entire argument rests on wanting to declare themselves "better than" 10 man raiders.

Hence my pic here to the left.

So on one of these posts, two comments cracked me up.

Honorshammer states "that 10 man Guilds are little more than farm teams for the 25 mans. New players come in, gear up, and snatched up by 25 mans almost immediately".

Treeboi comments that "10 man guilds always fall apart. The reason is that there are not enough geared backups to replace core players who cannot raid that night, for whatever the reason". He concludes with "10 man guilds tend to survive about 6 months, a year at most, before they completely stop raiding".

Really? Really?!?! Wow. Let me say this. I've been in The Left Claw now for over three years. Three years and 2 months to be exact. When I look at the folks who have left our guild in the last year, not a single raider has left for a 25 man guild. Not all 10 man guilds are farms for 25 man guilds.

Secondly, our guild has been raiding 10 mans for over two years. We started with Kara in March of 2008, and followed that up with every single raid that has been put out. We did ZA, we did Naxx, we did Ulduar, we did TOC, and we're doing ICC now. So not only have we "survived" for over a year, we've fucking thrived. Geez, now I'm irritated.

It seems that for most folks out there, their experience or understanding of 10 man raids are only that they are run within a 25 man guild, are pugs, or are much more casual guilds running with no interest in keeping up with progression. They just can't seem to fathom that there are strict 10 guilds who run 10 mans but do so with a more hardcore mindset. But you know what? We're out there. And we're proof that this model CAN and DOES work. So don't fucking tell me 10 man raiding guilds don't or can't exist. (F-bomb count so far: 2)

You guys may keep reading more posts around these raiding changes from me. Seriously, I feel that I have to put out there the perspective from the current strict 10 raider. I feel like right now its just me and Kae. If any of you know of other strict 10 raiders who have talked about this, please let me know. I'd love to get their thoughts.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

And I hardly ever do these kind of posts!

I know I mentioned that I hardly do posts commenting on game/patch notes or updates. Though I had to a couple weeks ago with the resto druid changes. And then now this! Raiding changes! For the most part I wouldn't feel the need to weigh in since others do it better than I. But because I don't think that there are that many voices from strict 10 raiders in our blogosphere, I'm going to put in my two cents.

Let me step back for a sec though. I actually had a post outline sitting in my gmail drafts from April 2. The subject? "How much difference does gear really make"? The crux of the post was wondering how much gear brings to the raiding table. Why was I curious? Well, when 25 man raiders ask "Why haven't you gotten Sindragosa down yet, we got her a month/weeks ago?", I was curious how their downing of 10 man Sindragosa a month ago compares to us, a strict 10 guild still working on Sindragosa.

Now I would argue that 25 man guilds not only have higher level gear, but given they are running both 25 and 10 mans, they are able to accumulate frost badges at a faster rate, also thus affording them access to better gear sooner. I guess I knew that the answer to my question couldn't really can't be quantified, but I was just curious how different a 10 man encounter is in 25 man gear.

Again, call me biased (remember I am a strict 10 raider) but there has to be some difference. So when someone tells me that they or someone else we knew downed the Lich King on 10 man (in a 25 man guild) in a "Haha, we are the awesome sauce and you are not" sort of way, my response once or twice has been (I kid you not) "Oh that's great, but do you know that I have a bloggy friend Kae who downed Lich King like 6 weeks ago and they are a strict 10 guild"?

I don't know if 25 man raiders can really appreciate what an incredible achievement that is, to down Lich King in strict 10 gear (again, remember accumulating frost badges from only one raid a week) even before 25 man raiders are doing it in their 10 man runs. Yeah, I'm a little bit of a fan-girl of Kae's guild, Vortex, as they are definitely at the pinnacle of strict 10 raiding when they are getting kills before 25 man guilds are doing it on 10 man. Go see some of Kae's thoughts around the raid changes.

Anyways, I thought it was funny I had a post of this subject drafted, then the raiding changes to Cataclysm info comes out. So a ton of other bloggers have already commented on this. A lot of folks are declaring this to be the death of 25 man raiding guilds. Really?

I thought Tam made an interesting point in asking

"but ultimately if something 'dies' because a viable alternative is offered, then that thing was meant to die. I mean, seriously, if people are ONLY raiding in 25mans because the loot is better then 25 man raiding is already dead".

I totally see his point. Honestly, I guess I am unsure then what truly motivates 25 man raiders. Why do they raid? Folks have mentioned the epic feel of raiding with 24 others and the accomplishment in bring 25 folks together. Then make the choice to continue doing so.

If you really believe that giving 10 man raids access to the same gear spells the death of 25 man raids, then was your motivation for running 25 mans truly just "epic feel"? Or was it better gear and the license to feel that you were "somehow better" than 10 man raiders? If you have to do 10 man raids in order to be able to run your 25 mans or exist as a 25 man guild, to me, there's something wrong there.

Dechion remarks:

"Once again, run what you want. I think they will be even more fun since it will truly be a choice to be there. If you truly run twenty-fives because you love them and prefer that challenge then this may well be your golden age. Unless you’re an asshat, but that kinda goes without saying."

Let's examine some other points. One lock out, where the 10 man raid bosses will drop 2 pieces of loot, whereas the 25 man raid bosses will drop 6 or so pieces. Perfectly reasonable. Same ilevel? Hooray! Will 10 man bosses finally also drop boe gear? We'll see.

Now being on the same lock out for 10 and 25 man in one week doesn't mean that a 25 man guild can't choose to do a 25 man run one week, then do 10 man runs the next week right? Could a guild run 25 mans for several weeks to get their 6 drops per boss, gear up their guild faster (more drops per raider), then go back to 10 mans with an intent for faster progression or a first kill on a boss in 10 man? It's going to be interesting to see how the whole tuning of the difficulty pans out. How will these raid changes affect the strict 10 progression designation/definition?

More around relative difficulty. I will definitely recognize that certain fights are more difficult with 24 other people when the size of the room isn't any larger. So yes, I can see how blood queen could be more difficult. But is there another side to this? How about encounters where raid dmg is shared by people (ex. green oozes in Putricide)? Isn't it easier in 25 mans for people to group together whereas in 10 mans, less people means more people could be spread out? Some encounters or pieces of encounters are easier on 25 mans than 10 mans.

Jess and I have talked multiple times about the level of individual responsibility in 10 mans vs 25 mans. We had a hell of a time with Sindragosa last week, partly because we have two folks disconnecting on and off. Argh! It was death for us. Or you have one person make one tiny misstep and it wipes the raid. I'm going to say that there is just less margin to carry dead weight in a 10 man vs a 25 man.

So what does it all mean for a guild like the Left Claw? Well, it doesn't change what we run since we are a strict 10 guild to begin with. I do think the raids may be a bit harder for us than we are used to now, which is fine if we are running for the best level gear. But yes, I am definitely intrigued by the prospect of us being able to continue to run our strict 10s while having access to the highest level of gear, while no longer being the red-headed step-child as Keeva describes so well.

Ok, um that was more than two cents worth of talky talky. Maybe more like ten.


Friday, April 23, 2010

A number of game firsts

Oh goodness, I'm drained kids, just drained. Last night was an exhausting night of firsts. Let's examine.

1. "The IQ of the raid has gone down"

We did 6 bosses last night in a raid setup that was a first for me. It was the first time in my raiding history that we ran in a guild makeup where I was the only female raider. Perhaps to some that isn't unusual, but for us, it is. There was clearly a noticeable and pronounced decline in intelligence, maturity, and general awesomeness.

2. Welcome Vyp!

Last night was the first night Ratshag's DK Vyp ran with us a bit in ICC. Now as I told him last night, when he first told me that he was looking at possibly bringing a DK over to run with us from time to time, my heart stopped. Why? Well because for a second I thought that he may be bringing over Maurice, the death nugget of looove. And I wondered how in the world I would be able to pay attention during raids in the company of the death nugget of looove. I would be too busy swooning or something. I mean, come on!

Anyways, I hope Vyp had a good time. One thing that Ratters saw that hasn't changed from two years ago when he ran with us in Kara is the fact that Jess and I still argue with each other a bit during raids. I'm sure it was comforting to Ratshag to see that really nothing has changed from back in the day.

3. Yay Putricide!

So we got down Blood Princes and Blood Queen maybe back in February? Early March? And we did Dreamwalker maybe a month ago. And we are so very close to getting Sindragosa. But for some reason, Putricide had become our Shade of Aran where we just couldn't get it right. Some weeks we didn't even want to deal with him so we'd just go on to work on Sindragosa.

But something just clicked last night, because we waltzed in and one shot him so incredibly easily like we'd done it a million times. Just as easily as we one shot Festergut and Rotface, which we've done forever now. It was crazy!

4. My first tears in this game

After we finished Putricide, Kalthan shared with us on vent that he would be quitting the game soon. He talked about why it was the right time in his life to do so, but how hard it was to leave because of the friendships he's made in this game. And as he was talking, and other guildies chimed in with words of support and encouragement, I shed my first tears due to this game.

I will definitely miss Kalthan and his trusty sidekick Kayles. Who will now flirt shamelessly with the ladies? Who will bicker back and forth with Shmoo? Who will stand by me to always grab any mobs that the tanks may have missed? Kal better try his darndest to come to West coast Clawcon, and if not the Mid-west Clawcon!

I wasn't surprised that people were incredibly supportive about his decision. While I am incredibly sad that he won't be playing anymore, I, like everyone else, completely understand and respect his decision. A number of people talked about being genuinely happy and excited for him as he starts this next chapter in his life.

I know that its a given that people come and go within the game, just like in life, friends come in and out of your life. But I think this is the first time for us that a long time guildie is permanently leaving the game. As Jess and I talked about last night, we all became friends because we raided together. But sometime ago, that turned into us raiding together BECAUSE we are friends.

Last night was definitely a good reminder of what we really mean when we say that we continue playing this game because of the people and the friendships we've built in this game. Sam said to me that while sometimes it can hit you how much time you spend in this game, you realize the value that you take from the social interactions. And it really isn't much different from spending a night chatting with friends on the phone, or at the bar, or in your living room. That Sammy... when he isn't busy sexually harassing the boys in our guild, he really does have some good insights to share!

I think Kal is around for one more raid week and perhaps a couple days after that. I am going to have to brainstorm stuff to do for him in game. Some appropriate Kal send off. Hmmm...


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Blog vs game vs real life selves

Blogging has been an interesting experience for me. I've been surprised at how long I've kept up with it, the number of people I've met through it, and generally how much I've enjoyed it. Though from very early on, I have been curious how I come across on the blog vs how I am in real life vs how I am in game.

I wondered this when my guildies and friends in game first started to read my blog back in the day. I think I asked some folks if I came across differently on the blog than I do in game. Similarly, those like Nicolause who read this blog before meeting me in game, I am curious if I am different in game than the perception he got on the blog.

I haven't regularly been on my toons in Single Abstract Noun in a while, but it was incredibly interesting to see how other bloggers you've read for a while interacted within guild chat. Some were just as you expected (whatever that means), whereas others gave you a different (not necessarily good, or bad, just different) impression than you got from their blog.

Blogging in a way is a very controlled medium. I mean, we generally think about what we choose to write and share here before we do it. Comparatively, I would guess that we don't think as much before saying or doing things in game or in real life.

So is it possible that people whose personalities I really like on their blogs, I may not mesh as well with in game or in real life? Sure. But I think its also important for me to remember that perhaps those folks whose personalities I don't necessarily like on their blogs... that that is just one side of them that they are presenting. Perhaps I would like them better in game or in real life.

I also think its important to remember that these WoW blogs we read are from the perspective of that one blogger. For every story they tell that involves people or events that transpired, its their perspective, their view, their opinion. And there is another side to it.

Even all the asshat stories I've shared here... while you long term readers may be more sympathetic to me and be more "on my side" (whatever that means), which I really love you guys for, recognize that there is another side to the story. You are only reading my personal take on it, my opinion. What I guess I'm basically saying is that don't assume every story that a blogger shares is 100% what transpired. Just remember you're reading their side of the story.

So between my blog self, in game self, and real life self, what is the real me? Well honestly, I think the real me is a compilation of all three. There are things I can do or say on the blog or in game that I would be more hesitant to do in real life. Conversely, there is a part of my real life personality that has never been shared on the blog or in-game.

I think I just made a huge circle, and I'm not exactly sure what my point is with this post. Perhaps its this... when you read someone's blog, you are getting their personal opinions and a view of their blog self. A self that may or may not necessarily coincide with their in-game self or their real life self.


Monday, April 19, 2010

More facebook madness and tree guilt

I mentioned in my Clawcon post last week that there has been an "orgy of facebooking" within the guild lately. Well, the orgy has gotten even bigger. Huge! I think pretty much every single one of our raiders is connected now.

So what does it mean? You find out more about people, you discover real names, and see pictures. But does it change how we interact or relate with each other? Well, sure there's the occasional hilarious and sexual innuendo laced Sammy comment. And sure, some folks' RL gear may have been somewhat unexpected, mainly because you just didn't know what to expect.

But the basis of our relationships were already previously set, as people who came together within a common hobby of the game. So no, I don't think the facebook orgy changed necessarily what we thought of each other. If anything, I think it can make us feel closer to each other. I'm wondering what kind of impact actually meeting people will have.

I need to pause here to publicly give kudos to Nkm for putting a pic up on his facebook profile. Hooray Nkm! He said that the public shaming on this blog was a good tactic. So thus I shall try to use the same angle to get Nicolause to do the same. A picture! In uniform! Using a cell phone camera! Doooo eeettt!

This leads me to the other half of this post topic. Tree guilt. So let's just say that someone hasn't been able to raid with you lately, or someone is doing something you don't like. It turns out that I've become pretty good with turning on the tree guilt. I'll say something like "OMG, this tree is so so sad". Then they get a mental image of our tree form graphic crying, and with a heart that is broken, they do what I say (/points at Nikolai). Tree guilt is especially powerful when it comes from a female tree.

Finally, we did a quick daily yesterday within the guild and to prepare myself for Cataclysm, I healed the instance in nightelf form. Weird. In a raid this past week I also said something about stacking on the tree since we may not be able to do it anymore! Sad.


Friday, April 16, 2010

Raid detention slips?

Being a raid leader is not an easy job. People liken it to herding cats. I'm sure every raid leader deals with misbehavior from time to time. Perhaps they should write out raid detention slips! Here are some real detention slips (from some funny kids) and who in our guild would be most likely to get them in a raid:

1. "Can it be that big" = Wutsie? Kal?

2. "Constant defiance" = Um, me or Vel

3. Superman = Hmmm... T-baby? Nkm?

4. "That's what she said" (similar tone to #1) = Sam

5. "All your base belongs to us" = Nico? Shmoo?

And not that I forgot them, but I really can't see Buns, Darc, Heidi, Boog, or Suzzy ever getting detention.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Clawcon 2010 Thoughts

Our guild is in the process of planning a guild meetup this summer. We had originally planned on doing it last summer, but it didn't quite come together. But this year its really happening! This July we are having Clawcon/Clawfest/Clawlapalooza in Bainbridge Island, Washington.

The latest estimate is that there will be at least 8 of us there, with as many as perhaps 11 folks. I think having 8+ people come is pretty good considering that we are a 10 man raiding guild! We'll even have a couple of crazy canucks drive down from Canada! My plan is to fly out to Seattle from O'Hare, where Sam will meet me so we can begin the craziness on the flight over.

There is going to be a lot of interesting things for us to discover and learn at Clawcon, including:

* Will we call each other by our real names or toon names?
* How much salad can Shmoo really eat?
* What kind of yummies will the boys cook for us? (I have declared that the girls are doing nothing this weekend!)
* What happens when you lock Sam and Nkm together in a room overnight?
* Will we need the medical services of our personal medic Nico?
* What will happen once Shmoo finds out what the M is Nkm really stands for?
* Will Kal flirt with all the ladies in person like he does in game?
* Will K give Jess as much crap in person as she does in game? (Probable)
* What happens when you bring guildies, most of whom have never met before, under one roof with an abundance of alcohol?

Hmmm, important questions to ponder. The whole bit about wondering what happens when you bring guildies under one roof for a weekend sounds like MTV's The Real World, Left Claw style. Will there be drama?

Jess joked that if things get weird or uncomfortable, we can all bring our headsets and put them on to pretend we are just talking to each other on vent. Haha. Though somehow I don't think that will be necessary. Sure, its hard to know if people will click in person, but I have a feeling that folks will get along just fine.

I'm actually very interested to see if we'll call each other by our real names or not. Even though I know the real names of many of these folks, I just don't think I will be able to call them by their real names. Perhaps others will use real names, but for me these familiar and recognizable voices on vent are in my mind tied to their toon names.

But it will be interesting to see how folks may be different in person than they are in game, or as they are perceived by others in game. People have mentioned to me that they are much more shy or outgoing in real life. I personally am much less bitchy and opinionated in real life. Er, maybe. Though in all seriousness, I am not as talkative in real life as I may be in game.

I do think that the online vehicle of the game allows people the anonymity or space to be different than they are in real life. Or perhaps people are even different in game without realizing it themselves! How will all of this play out in our get together? Hmmm. /ponder

Then there's the whole thing of knowing what each other looks like. Jess and I did the facebook thing over a year and a half ago and a lot of other guildies have followed suit. There has recently been a rash of facebooking (Sam calls it a facebook orgy) within the guild, perhaps to prepare us for Clawcon. I have to pause here to publicly call out Nkm for still failing the rest of us on Facebook.

Anyways, I think it's very interesting when you see what someone looks like when you've had no idea for so long, which will be even more interesting when we meet face to face. I mean you've established some level of a relationship with someone over a period of time. Even within strictly platonic relationships, how do physical appearances affect perceptions or the relationship itself? Do they? Hmmm.

The last thoughts I have around Clawcon are how things will be afterwards. Will hanging out for 4 days with each other make us a stronger guild? Yes, I can see the bonds becoming stronger. But will it make it harder if someone leaves the game or the guild? Yeah, I'm sure it will. Will having somewhat of a relationship outside the game make it harder if any issues come up within the game? Perhaps.

Damn, I've been philosophical and deep today. Lots of questions. At the end of the day though, I have no doubts that things will be an absolute riot (perhaps dangerously so) and that we will have a great time. Clawcon 2010 baby!


Monday, April 12, 2010

Does QQ make a difference?

Amidst all of this talk/drama around the tree form change, I've been irritated by a number of things (though seriously when am I NOT irritated?). So yes, I guess I feel that the trees who are going "OMG I will not buy Cataclysm! I will stop playing my resto druid!" may be overreacting a bit. Though if this is how they feel, and they feel this strong of an emotional attachment to their tree forms, I totally respect their right to feel this way.

But on the other hand, I am confused by those (including Blizzard) who says stuff like don't freak out about this, this is just preliminary preview information that could change. Um, hello? What did you expect would happen? You thought you could just put out this "little" snippet of incomplete information and expect us to just go, "Oh, let's sit quietly and wait for more information?". Did they really not expect us to react?

So this made me wonder, what is their purpose in putting this sort of information out? Why don't they just wait until things are more set in stone or closer to or in beta? Well, you know what I think the answer to this is? I DO think that they do these previews to gauge the temperature on player feedback. As much as they want to say that they don't design around public opinion or feedback, I do think this feedback makes a difference. If it didn't, why are they putting out these previews so early? If they didn't want or care about feedback, then they could wait to put out the information, player feedback be damned.

I'm tired of those (especially the non druids) who are saying we shouldn't be QQing or whining about these tree changes. If Blizz is going to put out these sort of previews, we have every right to react to them, both rationally or emotionally, even if things are still preliminary. And ultimately I think that rational and well put explanations for why we are against certain changes, or the concerns that we have, DO make a difference.


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Tree of Life... sometimes?

Ok, so you guys know that I very very rarely talk about patch/expansion notes or changes on this blog (and I never ever post on Sundays!). There are much smarter trees who do this much better than I could (/points at folks like Beru, Bell, Keeva, and Kae). I think the last time I talked about some patch changes was over a year ago on my pie post on 3.1. But the latest announcement on their planned changes to our class in Cataclysm was something I could not keep quiet on.

First of all, let's just look at the name of this blog. When I started this blog in September of '07, I didn't choose an incredibly original name, but it fit what I wanted to blog about, healing as a restoration druid. Thus this blog is called Tree of Life. NOT Metamorphosized Tree of Life, or Tree of Life... Randomly, or Tree of Life... every 3 minutes, or Tree of Life... sometimes. Tree of Life. So WTF, I have to change this blog's name now?

Seriously though, I read a bit of the huge druid changes forum thread here with some of Ghostcrawler's responses which are summarized nicely on this post .

So tell me, why do they not want us healing continuously in tree form? Why is it ok for bears, cats, and boomkins to continue to keep their forms? Healing forms are bad but tank/dps forms are ok? Boomkins and shadow priests switch out of their forms if they have to spot heal in a pinch. They can't heal in their main dps form. The point of a specific form is to perform that form's function, no? Isn't that what us druids are all about?

GC said in one response that:

"druids are balanced around healing in tree form, meaning they give up a lot of utility just to be as good as other healers".

What is this "utility" that other healing classes have while they are healing? Does he mean dps? Why is it such a big deal that we can't dps in our healing tree form unlike the other healing classes? I've healed with pallys, priests, and shammys. They are usually just as busy as I am healing during our raids. Aren't yours? So, what exactly does he mean by "utility" here? Someone smarter than me, enlighten me plz!

Also why do all the healing classes have to be identical? Both Beru and Bell posted good posts last week about us trees being able to tank heal, but not being able to do it as well as pallys. Why can't we just recognize that each healing class has their strengths and brings utility to the healing team? Why must we be identical? This whole "as good as other healers" gets me because I guess I feel that I can hold my own with any healing class in a 10 man or 25 man format (I don't regularly run 25 mans but I have in the past and done just fine). Yes, even with dress wearing pallys. And I don't feel like I'm missing some "utility" to do so.

Someone asked GC to respond to the fact that "There is a large difference between "controversial" and being close to unanimously hated". To which GC responded:

"You don't have any evidence of that though. Even within this thread, there are plenty of players who like the change. It's not like we design around public vote anyway".

Wow, just wow. Maybe it was just me, but I saw many more people within the thread who do not like this change. And I don't really often read the forums, but um does GC always post with such an arrogant asshat attitude?

And the whole talk about the minor glyph to keep tree form (which is just a bandaid fix BTW), even that seems uncertain:

"We might (*might*) consider a minor glyph that kept the visual of the old tree form in some fashion even when not using the Tree of Life cooldown".

Some of the other points GC made were around us getting no new spells. I haven't really had the bandwidth to be irritated by this because I'm too consumed by losing tree form to some yet to be determined cooldown mechanic. A poster asked "Other from the universal healing changes Resto Druids have absolutely NOTHING to relearn or spend time to master unlike the other healing class notes released". To which GC responded "Let me know how that Rejuv spamming with WG on cooldown works out for you at 85".

He continues:

"I just pulled a couple of heroic Icecrown parses at random from among the best guilds out there. Their druids had like 60% Rejuv and 25% Wildgrowth. I'm sure some of that remainder was LB or Swiftmend or something (like a certain hammer or mace), and maybe they even saved someone's life with one of those spells. But you're going to have a hard time convincing me that druids aren't too effective with just those two spells. That will change in Cataclysm.

My parses look nothing like 60% Rejuv and 25% Wildgrowth. Yes, Rejuv is my biggest heal at about 40-45%, followed by Lifebloom, Nourish, Regrowth, then Wildgrowth. So he seems to be saying that they are looking at high end 25 man raiders also needing to use more spells, which I already do now as a 10 man healer. But this comment concerns me a bit because I wonder if they look at our functions as a healer based on a 25 man raiding environment. And not just any 25 man raiding, but the best 25 man guilds in the world. I just question whether that is a real representative sample of the majority of the player base.

Now I guess (or am hoping?) that its not 100% certain that the cooldown to tree form would go through. And as Bell rightly points out, we don't know anything about the cooldown mechanic yet. I'm not going as far as saying I would not buy Cataclysm or not play my druid if this change goes through. I am still a resto druid through and through (and hello, this is my only level 80 toon remember?). But do I like the thought of my tree form being on any form of cooldown? Hell, no. Fuck, no (I promised my guild I was going to put a f-bomb in this post).

So how can we best let ourselves heard since GC says there is no evidence we don't like this change? Hmmm, well here's a start courtesy of Keeva:


Friday, April 9, 2010

Because I grew up in the 80s...

... and because its just awesome, Pixels by Patrick Jean:


WCG Ultimate Gamer 2 Casting Calls

About a year and a half ago, I blogged about having received an email invite to try out for a gaming reality show. Well, not sure if that show ever got off the ground, but looks like there is another gaming/reality show competition called Ultimate Gamer that is currently casting for its second season.

Now if you look at info on the first season of Ultimate Gamer, 5 of the 12 contestants were female. Two of these gals list WoW on their profiles, Chelsea and Amy. Amy is a member of the Frag Dolls, which I've mentioned previously here as well. Amy is also co-founder of Pandora's Mighty Soldiers (PMS CLAN), "the first, largest, and most competitive multiplatform all-female gaming organization and team".

The auditions in LA already happened this past Wednesday, but there are dates tomorrow, 4/10 in NYC, Chi-town, and Hotlanta. If you can't make any of these casting sessions, you can apply online by submitting a completed application and video interview by today, Friday 4/9. Again, more info here.


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Left Claw guild leadership thoughts

We're in a really good place in the guild right now, perhaps the best we've ever been. I feel that we're doing a decent job in terms of strict 10 progression while continuing to have fun and genuinely enjoying each others company in a drama free guild.

And get this, we're not recruiting! Awmigawd! I can't remember the last time we weren't short raiders. We used to often be short one or two folks and have to bring in friends but our raids have been full for a while now. I think we have the perfect number of raiders right now in that we're even one or two folks over on our Thursday night raids, our most popular nights. I feel really good with this as summer vacations and pre-Cataclysm lull roll around where I think more folks will be out now and then.

Kalthan mentioned to me the other day that he has been surprised with how little drama our guild has. I mean, we do have our moments of drama every now and then. But I can only really think of two big drama moments in the three years I've been in this guild. For the most part though, we're pretty drama free.

I do think that guild drama of some sort is inevitable from time to time because there are real people involved. Though most of what comes up in our guild, I would really hesitate to call it drama. It's much smaller than "drama". What's smaller than drama? Dram-ette?

I honestly can't say whether this is due to guild leadership or just plain dumb luck in the people that we're gathered together. Now I have never been a guild leader, and I have no interest in doing so. Jess said to me once that I would make a good guild leader, which made me spew my coffee halfway across the room. There is no freakin’ way I would make a good guild leader because I am too instinctive in showing how I feel. I say it how I see or feel it, and don’t cut enough corners.

Seriously, me as a guild leader? Scary. Just ask my guildies. I actually prefer the position where I'm in now, with Jess as the official GM but where I just tell Jess what to do. It's all the power with none of the responsibility! Hahaha.

I know that a lot of folks have blogged about guild leadership, but I think a lot of them have been from the perspective of the guild leaders themselves. How about a perspective from someone else? Some thoughts around what I think we do well or try to keep in mind:

1. Recognize when guild drama is brewing

How do you recognize drama so you can pre-empt it or address it before anything spills over? Be aware of little things, and be on the lookout for how people react to things. I do think we have an advantage in that most of us have been together for a long time. We know each other pretty well. So I can see when something may be bothering someone by their tone on vent or whether they are speaking too much or too little.

I think this is also where you use your officers. Jess likes to call us the consogliere, which is some mob term for the right hand man. I think sometimes folks may not want to go to the guild leader with every little thing that comes up. Folks may prefer to your officers with some things. I know that I get whispers a lot of times that Jess doesn't get.

2. Realize and understand individual personality differences

Some folks may do better by being upfront and cutting to the chase, others you may have to be a bit more gentle with. But I think the best guild leaders are folks who recognize people's personalities and know how best to approach someone. I think Jess is genuinely good at recognizing differences amongst guild members and tailoring the approach accordingly.

3. Know how to give constructive advice

This is something that can be difficult for a guild like ours, one that really started as a true casual guild that has grown over time into a semi casual but semi serious strict 10 raiding guild. How do you say things that might need to be said without hurting someone's feelings? Jess I think is pretty good at this (much better than I could be), and part of it I think is because of #2 above.

4. Care, but not too much

This one is hard. I think a guild leader has to care about the guild, whether that includes guild success or guild harmony, but beyond that I think the best guild leaders actually care about the individual guild members. They've built personal relationships with the guild members so that there is a mutual trust and respect.

Though there is another side to this. I think you have to be careful not to care or stress out too much. Its hard not to get too emotionally invested and to keep some measure of distance/objectivity. I guess some of this could be individual differences, because I just tend to let things roll off my back. If you're stressing out too much or if guild stuff is keeping you up at night, take a step back and maybe ask your officers for some help.

5. Admit when something isn't working and when its time to cut your losses

I think this may be the hardest lesson to keep in mind, and we clearly failed at it. Its easy to equate a /gquit or /gkick with failure when it really isn't always a failure. Guilds change, people change, and some people just aren't right for a guild. Sometimes its better for everyone involved to cut your losses and move on. While there has been some drama every time someone has left our guild, its immediately clear afterwards that it was the best for everyone involved.

So there are some Left Claw thoughts around guild leadership. Am I thus saying that Jess is a good GM? Um, uh, er... ok twist my arm. Jess isn't half bad. But only cuz I'm telling Jess what to do. =)


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Peeps and basketball

Hope everyone had a good Easter weekend. To me Easter isn't Easter without some Peeps of the marshmallow variety. Though these are some naughty peeps:

Haha, the peeps have on pasties and thongs.

I am actually recovering on two fronts. One, I'm recovering on a physical end because I came down with one of those 24 hour stomach flu type bugs which resulted in half a day of puking, then a day of achiness, feeling like someone beat the crap out of me. Not fun. Thus, I missed our guild's first look at Sindragosa but I heard we did well for a first look.

Secondly, I am recovering on an emotional end because fucking Duke (yes, FUCKING) won the national championship last night. Crazy to think that a year ago I was in Chapel Hill taking part in Carolina's national championship celebration, and here we are a year later and the evil fuckers Duke has won. /cry

If you think about a basketball team, I think there could be some similarities with roles in WoW. Ranged dps? Shooting guards. Melee dps? Forwards. Tanks? Centers. Healers? Point guards. Why? Because we're the smart ones, the vocal floor leaders who are running the show. =)


Thursday, April 1, 2010

To the glory of the tanks?

Let's just take this day to set things straight. While I have spent time on this blog and in game giving tanks crap and joking about their low intelligence, its time to come forward with how it really is... how I really feel... the truth.

Tanks are incredibly brilliant leaders, holding raids together with their amazing prowess and skill. Their talent and intelligence just radiates outward, inspiring the rest of the raid. All raid successes are clearly due to the tanks' extraordinary expertise of their tanking craft. Thus, tanks deserve the utmost consideration, respect, and veneration for their gallantry and artistry. All glory to the tanks!

Excuse me while I turn my head to try to keep my breakfast down. Geez, I couldn't even keep up this little April Fool's joke for more than a paragraph. In all actuality, just replace everything I wrote in that second paragraph with the word healers and there my friends, is the real truth.

Happy April Fools Day! :p