Yesterday was a day full of achievements, both individual and team ones.
I started off the night with 3000 quests completed. The Seeker title is one of my favorite in the entire game, probably because it reminds me of one of my favorite book series.
I then wrapped up Borean Tundra’s quests – only three more zones to go!
I got pulled into a quick heroic with some guild-mates. We had a new-to-80 warrior tank, so of course we landed in Oculus (at least it wasn’t HoR). I tried out my new combat off-spec for the first time in an instance, and also grabbed the reins of the Ruby drake for the first time. It was interesting to go back to Combat after over a year of Mutilate. On the one hand, I was excited to use the fantastic burst abilities of Killing Spree, Blade Fury, and Adrenaline Rush. On the other hand, I missed the sound of my daggers furiously hitting the target, and the slightly more challenging rotation. I’ll be sticking with the daggers for now and will keep experimenting with Combat in heroics.
Last night was one of our first “progression” raids (by progression, I mean moving through content we haven’t seen before as a group. I know for the hardcore, telling them about our progression would result in a sneering laugh). The plan was to start on the Keepers in Ulduar, but of course the weekly raid ended up being Flame Leviathan so we dropped the raid extension and cleared our way through FL, XT, Kologarn and Auriya.
I’d seen Hodir before. He’s had the pleasure of shattering my frozen body quite a few times. Last night started off with a few wipes as people became comfortable with the mechanics. I felt like I was doing pretty well, and was feeling in the groove. Then of course, an achievement popped up on my screen, distracted me, and I got hit by a giant pile of ice. *sigh*
We eventually brought the giant to his knees, although it wasn’t flawless. It’s odd how those messy kills often feel more exhilarating than a clean shot.
A brief dance with Thorim ensued to get a look at the fight, and then we called it a night. Oh yes, we are l33t raidz0rs now. /giggle
After reading Tamarind’s blog post today, I had brilliant ideas reflecting on why different types of people find raiding fun and whatnot. Sadly, my words got in my way. You’ll have to settle for my rambling enthusiasm about this “progression” raiding thing that my guild is doing.
I’m thrilled to be doing some raiding again in a casual, social, yet focused way. When the 10:30 raid end time came last night we could have just called it quits, feeling bright and happy from our success on Hodir. Instead, we all decided to go see Thorim, knowing full well that it would be a wipe. That says a lot about the group, in my opinion.
The whole night was a blast, even when we falling face-first on the ice. We were able to laugh at our mistakes, and keep trying. It was a delightful mix of seriousness and silliness. It doesn’t matter that it was ”just” Ulduar – this is new content for us, and the fight mechanics are still challenging and exciting.
I’ve caught glimpses of this perfect blend of socializing and raiding before, but it kept getting torn away from me. I’m crossing my fingers that this will last awhile. I know that in general the difficulty is that everyone is at a slightly different spot on the spectrum of hardcore, and the tiniest differences in outlook can divide even the best teams. With this group, I know that we can be mature and agree upon a pace that will create a fun and successful environment for all of us. I do believe that “social raiding” can succeed, especially in today’s game. I also believe that Blizzard wants it to succeed.
WOW is a game like any other, and people at all levels of skill and time commitment should be able to play it in some shape or form. Basketball can be played by professionals, intramural sports teams, or even pick up groups. Each of these types of teams has a different level of commitment and skill required. I think that the ideal place for me is more of that intramural sports team level — there is still competitiveness and focus required, but after the game you go out to the bar* and celebrate, win or lose.
*I would love to go out to the bar with my guildies after a raid. Distance is unfortunately a huge barrier. Instead we’ll just have to raise a glass of our favorite beverage separately in our own homes (for some of us that even occurs during the raid).