This post is going to be all over the place, friendly warning. Things are meh in the Saya World for now and have been for the last week or two. My mind has been filled with thoughts on Flex Raiding, the guild hunt and all other manner of things and for some reason, I simply can’t get them all out in a cohesive, structured way. So finally, I’m saying eff it. I have a nice cup of coffee this morning – and here’s my unstructured update.
Random Rant #1: The Middle Ground, Labels and Flex Raiding
Just a couple days after my last post on raiding in MoP, Blizzard announced Flex Raiding and it completely caught me off-guard. I didn’t expect it and frankly, even though I expected to be excited about it I wasn’t too much so. Why? Because the problems I thought were plaguing the current raiding landscape weren’t being addressed by Flex Raiding.
I want to start out by saying that there is a huge middle ground between the extreme ends of the raiding spectrum. The super casual is the one style where hanging out with friends is priority and raiding is simply a means to it. Downing bosses is secondary and progression is largely on the backburner. The hardcore end of this is progression trumps all. Folks are swapped in and out for the optimal comp to downing a boss and achievements like server firsts and realm firsts are priority. And then, there is a middle ground : the semi-hardcore, semi-casual style. This is the style where the best of both worlds is taken on a limited time schedule. We still keep up on gear, and research our strats thoroughly – but do in on a tighter schedule. So no server firsts or anything, but bosses still die.
I feel this needs to be said: not all raiders are hardcore, not all raiders are elitists, and finally not all raiders feel like we need to be special snowflakes.
There is nothing ‘normal’ about the current version of normal modes. It demands more time, more coordination and is far less forgiving of mistakes. And this, to me, is the problem. It hits the semi-hardcore portion hard because it forces people to either up their game and time invested in it, or simply go the casual route and be content with less progression or simply not be raiding at all. Make no mistake, normal modes in their current incarnation need to die. But the answer to me then is to bring normal modes down to the right difficulty – not to add yet another difficulty and tier in the steps of gear progression.
It’s a well-known fact that LFR and normal modes fail miserably in introducing new players to raiding. I learned to raid back in Naxxramas which was I think, the perfect raid to learn in. It had interesting encounters but was not tuned so high that they were completely unforgiving. By the time Ulduar came out, I had already become familiar with my skill set and was ready for more. The issue is that there is no equivalent today. Mogu’shan Vaults et al. are still daunting for the new player. It can be argued that LFR actually goes backwards in teaching new players how to raid. And flex raiding? It might be spot on difficulty-wise, but its very nature is that is dynamic and flexible. That means that with a number of people each week, the encounters aren’t ever going to be the same.
What makes raiding fun for me is figuring out how to overcome a challenge with the same team. There’s a sense of cohesion, a sense of coordination and camaraderie that comes with working together week after week, knowing everyone strengths and weaknesses. I know that so-and-so has my back in a pinch. I know that I can trust my tank to to use his cooldowns well. These are the things that really bring out the fun part of raiding – not the loot. And by definition, if you’re going to be with a different number of people each week, possibly different people altogether, you don’t get to see this side of raiding.
Flex Raiding has many merits and I’m hoping that they will outweigh what I see as its inability to solve current problems. The biggest ones I see with it is that it needs a pre-made group, and it allows us to raid current content cross server with friends. It’s a great way to hang out with friends and can go a long way in building back some of the server community that has been eroded by LFR and LFD.
Random Rant# 2: The Guild Hunt Update
About a week or so ago, I finally got my latest profession up to the MoP level, and I considered getting back into raiding. It’s been three months since I stepped into a real raid, and yeah I’m still nervous about it. But I have to bite the bullet some time. Most of my healing confidence is back even if I can’t promise I’ll be less jaded about the hunt this time.
So, I plucked up my courage and wrote out a post for my server looking for a guild. I was as detailed as possible : 2 nights a week, not very hardcore, progression with fun etc. I ran the post by hubby and other friends before putting it up to make sure it gave the right message and would attract the right kinds of guilds.
Unfortunately, it only got one response and the team seemed to be more casual than what I was looking for. Semi-hardcore is a difficult line to walk and I couldn’t help wondering if some of this tier’s blunders made it even moreso. Many of the more promising prospects either have times that go too late for me on the east coast, or raid three days a week. That leaves me in a bit of a dilemma. As much as my WoW life is meh at the moment, my piano life is fantastic. And I want to keep the momentum up with it and not have too much my time eaten up with raiding.
I did come across a promising guild on the recruitment forum but they’re sadly on a different server and transferring isn’t much of an option. I mean, hey, I spent $55 three months ago to transfer to raid only to have it be the worst experience I’ve ever had. At this point it’s more about the principle then the actual cost, and as hubby so eloquently put it, “coughing up money for these things doesn’t necessarily guarantee a happy raid environement.” True enough. And I’m really otherwise very happy on my home server. Transferring to gamble on a raid team doesn’t seem terribly wise for me.
And thus, I end my rants for today.