Friday, October 23, 2009

Moving On

So, I'm closing down this blog.

I've kind of outgrown it and I think it's time to move on.

To Wordpress.

No, seriously. I love Google but I'm not all that impressed with Blogger any more.

If you're still into reading more of what I have to say, you can find me at See you there.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Farewell, General

It didn't take us 3 weeks, but downing Mimiron again was a bitch.

We're building up to 25s now. It's a slow process. We have 18 now. Or is it 19? Not quite enough for two teams.

Thanks to 3.2, we're running heroics like crazy. 6 or 7 of us already have their 4-piece Tier 8 bonuses thanks to badge T8.5 helms and chestpieces. So much for Herald of the Titans.

I guess what's important at this point is to get to Algalon. We'll work out the gearing later.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Requiem for a Fallen Hero

In 1983, when Sen. Ninoy Aquino was assassinated, I was 7 years old and didn't understand what it meant. I only knew that my parents were crying and that something very bad had happened.

When the People Power Revolution happened in 1986, I was 10 years old. I didn't understand it either. But my parents were adamant about being in the middle of a very large crowd of people, so I came with them in my bright yellow Ninoy T-shirt and khaki shorts and I prayed aloud with everyone around me, heedless of the danger.

I'm 34 years old now and I understand.

Pres. Corazon Aquino passed away last weekend. She was the housewife-turned-president whose call to action ousted a dictator and restored our freedom. She was Ninoy's widow and a powerful center of opposition to the Marcoses. She became our president - the first legitimately elected president following the dark days of martial law and the Marcos dictatorship.

The many luxuries I enjoy in my life - including the ability to play World of Warcraft - I owe directly to Tita Cory and her martyred husband.

For the freedom to do the things I love, for the freedom to write (badly) about them, for the freedom to choose my own path in life, I am forever grateful.

Sleep well, Tita Cory. We will always love you.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

A Picture Worth A Thousand Gold

Three weeks of furious raiding.

Over 1000 gold per person in repairs and consumables.

Two pieces of loot (one token).

And we're still not sure we can get him down again next week.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A Picture Post

Rage On is officially 8/14 in Ulduar as of last weekend; we downed Hodir and Freya on Sunday, and it looks as though the Iron Council is as good as dead in a few days.

As I'm swamped with work and rushing everything to prepare for an upcoming trip abroad, I'll just post some screenies that have been burning holes in my hard drive since last weekend.

There isn't much for a tank to do during the Loatheb fight, so I took a few screenshots. This one was my favorite. We ran two wings of Naxx to start gearing up Barrgrimm (our shiny new 80 warrior) and Liadon (our first recruit on Nagrand).

We defeated two Watchers, which frees them to aid us against Yogg-Saron; here they are watching over Sara.

Here we posed at Freya's Feet. We didn't take one for Hodir. Nobody likes Hodir.

And here are the screenies (well, kind of) to commemorate downing the Keepers.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Nerf QQ

Euripedes over at Critical QQ has a fairly strongly worded post about the upcoming change to the Emblems that drop from heroic 5-mans and raid instances. In case you haven't heard, the existing Emblems of Heroism and Valor will no longer drop; instead, we will be looting the new Emblems of Conquest. Emblems of Conquest can be traded in for Emblems of Valor or Heroism at a rate of 1:1, so we will still be able to purchase the existing Emblem rewards; of course this also means that we will be able to purchase the T8.5 items that are currently only available to Ulduar-25 raiders.

I'm not sitting on a fount of Emblems of Conquest myself. So far I have 6 on my main - 4 from FL+1 kills and 2 from a heroic VoA PUG. The soonest I imagine myself purchasing anything with them is 2 to 3 months from now. I simply have no access to more; unlike most other raiding Guilds, Rage On does not run 25-mans. We PUG anything larger than a 10-man raid.

So yeah, I'm looking forward to getting more Emblems of Conquest.

There's been a lot of talk about how much this move sucks; about how Blizzard is making it too easy for players to get good loot. It's led to a lot of QQ from players currently farming Ulduar about Blizzard cheapening their achievements. And like Euripedes, I wish they'd shut the hell up.

Nothing diminishes their achievements. Nothing.

As a raid leader going through challenging content, I'm actually happy to see this change coming in. I know my little raiding team is ahead of the pack. We're not attempting Yogg-Saron yet, but we're halfway into Ulduar. We have yet to kill a Watcher, but we're working on that. We're not a premier raiding Guild. We're a band of friends who likes raiding together, and we're actually good at what we do, for which we are rewarded amply by the game system.

Most players don't have even that.

Right now I have eleven - yes, just eleven - raiders. Two of them are married to each other. Another two are in a relationship IRL. If either of those couples takes a break from WoW or goes away for a weekend, we have to call off raiding until we can find replacements.

Usually such replacements are, at their best, Naxx-geared. Sometimes not even that. It's a given that they won't be delivering the same output as our regular raiders. Jizal, our lone Retribution Paladin, can put out 3.5k DPS on average. Last weekend we ran with a PUGged Ret Pally who brought 1.8k DPS to the table. Respectable, but not nearly enough what we need for Ulduar.

Because we only run 10-mans, and those on weekends alone, we also can't expect players hungry for new content to come on board. Also, because we're a close-knit community, we have to ensure that new players fit in with the rest of the group. The ability to get along with everyone in our Guild is more important than the level of one's contribution to the raid. We can help with performance issues. We can't help with personality issues.

The remedy is to borrow alts of friends or toons of people who have missed their Guild's scheduled runs - which we do as often as is needed. Again, we can't expect these guys to be geared, or to know how to play their class at a level appropriate for Ulduar.

Allowing these players and characters access to higher level gear gives them a chance to perform at the appropriate levels. It means that Ulduar-geared players can PUG an Emblem-geared player and expect him to deliver results. Better gear doesn't replace skill, of course, or experience - but it does help level the playing field.

I'm looking forward to patch 3.2. Like everyone not farming Ulduar-25, I'm hoping it'll deliver on its promise to make higher end content more accessible to players like me. That's a promise that Blizzard is bending over backwards to keep, and I honestly appreciate it.

Monday, June 22, 2009

First Weekend of Raids

We moved to Nagrand and changed our Guild name; we're no longer the Bank of NiHao (although that's still on Bloodhoof); we are now known as Rage On.

This was our first weekend of official raids on Nagrand. Here's what happened:

Saturday morning, 10 of us showed up and we stepped into Ulduar. We tried FL with 2 towers up, couldn't hack it, and took down one tower. Then we one-shot FL+1.

We killed Razorscale next and took a break from Ulduar to clear Vault of Archavon - our first time together as a Guild, and you can bet it's in our rotation now. I'd put up an Emalon kill screenshot as well but I forgot to take one.

Back to Ulduar, and we killed XT-002 and Kologarn in short order. Then we took a couple of tries at Auriaya, killing her on our third or fourth try. Hodir attempts next - 6 in total with not much to show for it. Then Ignis.

We attempted Ignis a total of 4 times (around the same number of times we wiped on his goddamn trash.) Then we called it a day.

Not enough people showed up Sunday morning, so we messed around and farmed instead. I left just before lunch as I had real life things to take care of. I went to my in-laws and spent a quiet afternoon in the company of family.

Driving back home, I got a text from Jizal (formerly Rizal) asking if I could log in. I was online within 15 minutes and got an invite into a Naxx run with a couple of PUGs from Happy Hour, a Guild we were looking at merging with when we were preparing to move to Nagrand. We cleared most of Naxxramas except for Kel'thuzad; unfortunately by that point in time 4 of us had to log off and we disbanded.

At 10:30 that evening I got another text from Jiz asking me to log in; there were 9 of us online and we would be clearing Naxxramas. I logged in and we proceeded to demolish the Eye of Eternity before heading to Naxx to kill Kel'thuzad. When he was dead, we moved back into Ulduar.

We killed Ignis on our fourth try. It took just over 6 minutes. It was 12:30 in the morning (2:30 am for poor Azmuth!) and we were all tired... but still high from a fresh boss kill.

We gave Iron Council a few tries before calling it a night.

Killing Ignis was the perfect way to cap our weekend of raiding. Most of us played too much WoW this past weekend - we'll get over it, I'm sure, but there's no way I want to make this level of time investment a regular thing. We raided for maybe 14 hours this past weekend. That's not healthy.

But it felt so good.

As Bladewisp (formerly Silverwisp) put it, "After the Ignis kill, I feel like a rock star."

We go after Hodir next weekend.