So what do you eat while you raid? And what about drink? I’ve created two polls in anticipation of an even bigger–and fun–”research” project I’ve got in the works with the folks over at DREAM Paragon. Participate in the poll now and read up the results and participate in some other fun things starting in the next day or two! It promises to be appetising… or at leastÂ IÂ hope it won’t give you a dodgy tummy…
And then I realised I’ve not done a raid-themed musical medley in ages. I’ve picked Elbow because I love them and there are some funny song titles that made me think about some of the quirky social outcomes and costs associated with the joys and perils of raiding.
First we have Grounds for Divorce. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told–when random non-gaming people discover I’m researching World of Warcraft–about a divorce or near-divorce caused by playing World of Warcraft. And the most frequent culprit is the “Oh he [sorry guys, it's usually a he] wouldn’t get up from the damn computer when she needed to get the kids to bed and she gave him an ultimatum:Â it’s us or the game.” Luckily most will choose their families over the game, but there have been some cases where the game gets identified (whether fairly or not) as the cause of marital or relationship problems and, sadly, its demise. Saying that WoW is the sole cause of a relationship failing is a problematic notion, but I think one can easily see how it might have been a contributing factor.
Next we have Lippy Kids. Ahh, those know-it-all kids in a PUG or on vent or TS during a raid; the ones who seem prone to losing their cool or posturing a bit too much. They tend to be afflicted with a bad case of superiority. Of course sometimes it’s warranted and their gaming skill and ability far exceeds the more relaxed raiding group they’ve found themselves entrenched with–and due to their youthful impatience, sticking it out with less able groups tends to bring out the Lippy in them. But other times they may be infected by that misguided sense of self-assurance about their skills that is neither warranted or demonstrated. Either which way, these misguided Lippy Kids tend to have the least patience for failure and the lowest capacity for self-awareness of their own inability to perform. I’d say they often have a higher rate of /gkicks and vote kicks, too. Ahh to be young and Lippy…
And to round up our trio, here we have The Bones of You. Yes, your bones. Piles of them. You’ve wiped 62 times tonight, haven’t you? And your bones lay there as a stark reminder of your repeated failure. Maybe if you plan it carefully enough you can re-die in the exact same spot.
We’ve got one poll wrapping up here and a new one to introduce.Â I also have my weekly musical medley to present. Thanks to Lerue for this challenge!
Polls: Nerfing of normal mode content and reflecting on the upcoming Firelands content
These are the results from my last poll:
Please select to which degree you agree or disagree with the following statement: The planned patch 4.2 nerfing of normal mode raids is suitable in light of the release of new content.
Somewhat agree. (22%)
Strongly agree. (16%)
Strongly disagree. (15%)
I’d say the response to the last poll was quite well dispersed, with only a modest majority ‘agreeing’ that the nerfing of normal mode raiding is suitable. I think this will always be how we respond to nerfing as it depends largely on where we are in the progress and what our guild’s priorities are. But is nerfing ‘good’ for the game or gameplay? Hard to say. Yes we need to keep things moving so more players can experience the new content, but just because you are in a more casually oriented guild it does not automatically mean that you want things to be ‘easier’.Â Nerfing truly is an inexact science and, like many elements of a complex, persistent gaming environment like WoW, it’s not going to be uniformly accepted or appreciated by all of its players.
Which brings us quite nicely to the new poll. What do we think about our own or our guild’s progress as we reflect on the conclusion of this phase of Cataclysm raiding content? For the elite/top ranked raiding guilds, tier 1 is old news. Those first kills are long gone and you’ve been farming the content for ages now, gearing up alts and wrapping up any last bits in preparation for the next race. Even hard core or high-end guilds are mostly done. Perhaps you’ve got just some achievements to bag or a boss kill that still eludes you. For the casual raiding guilds, completing all the content may be a ways away or not even a priority but you may still have some content you would have liked to finish before Firelands and the content nerf. So where are you and what (if anything) do you still need to get done?
Raid-themed musical medley: David Bowie
And finally here we have our weekly raid-themed musical medley ™! This one is based around David Bowie and the raid theme is ‘the life course of a boss kill’. We all start off learning a boss fight as absolute beginners, then we spend a lot of time dead (ergo ‘ashes to ashes’) , and finally… success! And we get to feel like heroes, even if it’s just for one day. And I’ve selected all live performances because raiding really is a live sport… And I had no idea so many David Bowie songs could have an affinity with elements of raiding. Go figure. If you know and love Bowie, enjoy. If you have not heard of him before, I hope you can appreciate a classic!
This week’s topics will cover some thoughts I’ve been having about what makes for an elite raiding guild and will wrap up with this week’s raid-themed musical medley.
What is an elite raiding guild?
If I’ve spoken to you about my research, you know that I’ve been speaking with raiders from all sorts of backgrounds and rankings. This is helping me document the most complete picture of what we are doing in the raiding community and how we like to pursue our love of raiding. In addition to casual, social, hard core, and high-level raiding guilds, I’ve also had a chance to speak to quite a few of what I call the ‘elite raiding guilds’ about their experiences. These experiences have been extremely rewarding and the next few blog posts will be about my time speaking to guilds like Inner Sanctum, For the Horde, and Ensidia. I also have a very long overdue post about the amazing interviews I did with Blood Legion and Premonition many moons ago.
So what makes an ‘elite raiding guild’ elite? Well this brings me to some interesting ideas about what and how we describe guilds in raiding. For example, a guild might be called social or casual while another could be called hard core or elite. These descriptive terms are often based on two factors: level of success and raiding schedule. One might also add in skill level, but that’s somewhat problematic as I’m finding variation in skill at different levels. But in the case of what we often refer to as elite raiding guilds, I’d say they generally fall within the top 50 or 100 of the world rankings (though these numbers seem arbitrary and are even contested by those who fall in the top rankings). But more than that I’d say that the designation of elite could relate to the pace of progression. If a raiding guild has successfully cleared all of the latest tier or heroic raiding content and has been comfortably farming the content for a significant period of time (like the past few months), I’d say that puts them in the area of elite, moreso than hard core. Another criteria for an elite raiding guild would be competitiveness. On some level these guilds are looking for top rankings in the world or their region. They gear up for this strategically and are often found on the public test realm (PTR) before new content comes out to give themselves an added advantage once the content goes live. If we look at the current pace of progression, for example, and consider the two least killed bosses–heroic Al’Akir and Ascendant Council–we’re only in the hundreds as far as guilds who have cleared all of the content. And I’d say that the number of those who are actually comfortably farming raid content is even smaller.
I think I’d be hard pressed to find someone who’d argue with me about the fact that guilds like Paragon, Method, Adept, Ensidia, vodka, and For the Horde are clear examples of elite raiding guilds. I think I could even safely say that every guild that cleared the content within, say, 2.5-3 months of release are elite raiding guilds. But does it have to stop there? Is it about the activities of these guilds? Their skill? Their mind set? Is it a title of distinction that we (or Blizzard’s achievements) bestow on the select few? I recall back in November/December when I did the raider personality test with Paragon that when I asked the raiders responding to identify what type of guild they were in, some members of known elite raiding guilds (Paragon, in particular) were a bit concerned about being able to verify if the raiders who reported they were in elite guilds were in fact in those guilds. Why do we need to verify it? Is there a kind of status or identity that we have associated with the term ‘elite’ that needs protecting or preserving for the deserving few?
And what about the elite raider him or herself? Do they only exist in elite raiding guilds? Haven’t we all got raiders in our guilds–even at the most casual levels–that just seem to significantly exceed the skill and mindset level of the rest of the team? Those guys who just seem to get the fights without even having to think about them very much or who never ever seem to make mistakes? I can say that from speaking with and observing raiders in casual/social guilds and even more so in the hard core or high-level guilds we definitely have ‘elite’ raiders in those guilds too. They just seem to have an innate ability to raid well. Their decision to remain with a lower ranked guild may have more to do with the social side of raiding than the performance side. They want to play with their friends or don’t want to let their raiding guild down.
So what makes an elite raider elite? Or an elite raiding guild elite? I’m not exactly sure but they are definitely questions that are on my mind! And you can imagine that this leads to a whole other level of questions about what it means to call a guild social? Casual? Focused? Hard core? High-level? Hybrid? We may never have a perfect definition, at least not one that will ever satisfy all raiders out there.
Raid-Themed Musical Medley: Grunge!
I am taking a slightly different approach to this week’s medley, but hey this is my idea so I get to make the rules, right? Anyway, it’s a grunge music themed medley! This medley was created for someone dear to me who is going through an extremely difficult time right now–you know who you are and I hope you enjoy these selections; I even got Pearl Jam in there!
First up we have the lords of grunge, Nirvana, covering a Meat Puppets’ song ‘Lake of Fire’. I believe the concept is quite self explanatory, particularly with Firelands coming! Just remember: lake of fire = bad.
Next up this song reminds me of those days and days of wipes during progress raiding: Soundgarden’s ‘Fell on Black Days’. We keep falling and falling, failing and failing… until something finally clicks and we get that pesky boss. What’s next?
And finally, to round us up, we have Pearl Jam’s ‘Alive’. This song immediately reminded me of that classic fight scenario where everyone is dead except for a single tank and healer. The boss is at less than 1% and manages to die from the remaining dots and whatever damage the tank and healer can do. Yes, mr. tank and ms. healer–’you’re still alive…’ Now go raise the dead.
Can you feel it? I can … a spectacular day where the air smells fresh, my flip flops are on, the birds are frolicking, and being outside just feels so much nicer than inside…. summer’s coming. We’ve had a pretty amazing spring so far in the UK at least, and if today is any indication, summer should be just as lovely. I for one have taken my laptop outside to sit in the grass while I type this…. Now I know that summer is only coming to us in the northern hemisphere… with winter about to hit the southern hemisphere, it could be an ideal time for staying inside and hugging our warm CPUs.
So how does summer weather impact us as a raiding community.. particularly considering Firelands is about to make a summery appearance. Can we even blame people who have holidays or want to spend time on the beach? Especially for those who live in seasonal, northern climates, we really should be outside enjoying ourselves. But this impacts progression quite acutely. No one wants to let their teammates down, but real life does happen and–I don’t think I’m making any shocking statement here–I think we don’t do our community any credit if we don’t let real life in sometimes… It just perpetuates some of those unfortunate stereotypes that get thrown around about gamers–that we never leave our computers or consoles.
So I’ll be watching and seeing how we fare throughÂ Firelands in the summer. Maybe we can set up our desktops outside…. let me know how that goes.
This Week’s Raid-Inspired Musical Medley: ABBA
I have to thank Olog from Bridgeburners for this week’s musical medley. I asked for some challenging suggestions and ABBA pushed my limits. I think I gave myself a pressure headache trying to figure this out! I have employed an abstract approach… thinking more about the daily life of a raider and what goes on *around* raiding to inspire the musical selections. A particular ‘shout out’ goes to those WoW raiding widows and widowers who often have to wait until around midnight to get their men/women back. They really do love you… and they say thank you for understanding their love of The Game.
First up is what I like to call the ‘Sat out Raider’s Lament’. This song the raider sings when he has been sat out. Apologies to those in countries that can’t view this. It’s ‘ABBA: Take a Chance on Me’. Listen to the lyrics to get the link…
Next up is a song for those raiding widows/widowers who have to wait until around midnight for their men/women to return to them after a long raid night. (ABBA, ‘Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)’)
And finally… this song is a nod to the raid progression race and the pain of loss experienced by the guys in 2nd place, 3rd place, and so on is palpable… the ‘Winner’ really does take it all…. Of course, this could also be the song the raid boss sings as he has to run back to find his corpse… (ABBA, ‘The Winner Takes it All’)
Happy Friday! Happy Bank Holiday (for us in the UK) and Memorial Day (for you Americans) weekend! I’ve got a short and sweet (for me at least) blog post today along with my latest raid-themed musical medley (this is where I pick two songs by one artist where the title or lyrics relate to something raid-ish). This week’s selection is thanks to Arx, actually, and a song he told me used to come to mind during a particular boss fight. If you have a musical medley challenge for me (just give me an artist), let me know. I’ll do my best!
So we weighed in with our thoughts on the new Dungeon Journal (DJ). The majority of respondents (65%) are not happy that new raid content is included in the DJ, with 20% finding it acceptable and a further 15% being unsure as to its actual impact on raiding. The results are below:
Are you happy with Blizzard’s current plan to release so much information on all new raiding content (heroics included) through its forthcoming dungeon journal system?
No. The less information on the top tier content the better. (65%)
Yes, it’s fine with me. It seems like a handy tool! (20%)
I don’t know. It seems a bit too soon to tell if the system will impact raiding negatively. (15%)
While I can’t actually verify this, I believe I draw higher level and elite raiders to my site based on where I typically place additional blogs (Paragon’s site) or information. It’s possible these results are skewed (and don’t represent the opinion of the wider raiding community) as a result of that. But it’s also possible that serious raiders in general (regardless of their raiding success and guild affiliation) would just prefer to discover content on their own or rely on the broader gaming community to help inform their raiding strategy. As I said in my earlier blog about this, for those raiders who are opposed to the DJ containing significant information about the new raiding content (particularly the heroic content), I have not run into a raider yet who is opposed to the overall concept of a DJ in and of itself; for them the issue is about the new content being in the DJ. This is also linked to the way that the PTR functions and impacts competitive gameplay, especially for the elite raiding guilds. And I’m not so sure the elite raiders like the PTR. They have to access it so they can be prepared for the race (like how a competitive alpine skiier might run practice runs of a downhill course in advance of a competition), but I get the impression quite a few of them would rather not be as involved in testing and hit the ground running with more polished content that’s been tested via other methods. Will Blizzard change its approach? No one can know, but the recent posting of job openings by Blizzard for a ‘raiding testers’ could be the signal of some changes down the road in relation to how we anticipate and plan for new content. Either way, patch 4.2 is a done deal and we’ll just have to see how our elite raiders ‘roll’ with the changes and what impact it will have on the progress race. I for one hope it won’t be too adverse as I know I love following the race as closely as possible and want it to be a solid, satisfying run for the raiders themselves.
Raid-themed musical medley!
And now, the raid-themed musical medley for your listening pleasure! I have ArxÂ (formerly known as Xaar) from Paragon to thank for getting me started on this. He said in a former guild they used to sing ‘Ring of Fire’ during the Archimonde fight due to the casting of Doomfire. Quite clever! I struggled to find my second song, but ‘Redemption’ reminded me of Freya and her tree… hopefully the lyrics will remind you too. I threw in a third because well it’s just an amazing Johnny Cash cover of an amazing NIN song.
Inspired by Archimonde, Mount Hyjal:
Freya’s song, Ulduar:
And finally, because this is my favourite Johnny Cash song (even though it’s a cover, he really masters the song!) and because ‘hurting’ is quite integral to the Beautiful Wipefest that can be progress raiding: