Saturday, June 26, 2010


Here's another installment of "Multiple One-Paragraph Ideas From Zarat Theatre".

I've gotten really stressed over raiding lately, and so I'm taking some impromptu mental health leave. I wish it hadn't come right as Nocturne was so close to Kingslayer, but I feel like if I go raiding one more time I'ma go on a Falling Down-esque murderous rampage. Man that was a good movie.

Blizzard should make their announcements about future developments somehow knowable in-game. I remember people being really upset when things are taken out of the game (black proto, for instance) without having a chance to get them, to which Blizzard oft replies, "Tough tits, we said as much in a blue post a month ago". I think it's a little weak to expect, nay, demand players visit mmo-champion or compulsively check the forums to see what game-altering shit is on the horizon. And no, the launcher doesn't count.

I don't want to harp too much on how the LK fight is disappointing from a story perspective, but here's how I would have done it. Beginning starts much the same, sans terrible dialogue we have to hear every goddamned time, but it gets different at the end. When you get him down to 10%, Ner'zhul's ghost rips out of Arthas' body, leaving him bloody and tattered. Everyone's all like, shit, only the Legion knows how to bind him without a human body. The king of all necromancers CCs everyone in place and casts his instant death spell, but before everyone dies, they are protected by all getting mysteriously frozen.

Then the GUARDIANS OF ULDUAR ride in on a helicopter, saving your asses. The Guardians are all about binding shit; it's what they do best. So you beat Ner'zhul up with them, and seal him back in the Frozen Throne with their help. Head back to Dalaran for debriefing and cocktails. Shit. Yes.

When will cross-realm mail get implemented? I hate leveling my ally alts knowing that I could be leveling 20% faster.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Ghandi Was Right

Now, I'm no fan of Mahatma Ghandi; after all, who is? But I can't deny the effectiveness of non-violent resistance to enact real change. But I was never really aware of it until today.

See, when you sign up for the random dungeon, you're there to kill the final boss, very efficient and business-like. But occasionally, you'll be assailed by some fool who wants achievements, and I'm not there to do achievements. If they happen, cool, but I'm not going out of my way, or worse, slowing things down to get them. So imagine my shock when I go to tank AN for the daily, only to discover that three members of the team are DEMANDING I do the Watch Him Die achievement.

They greet me by announcing they kicked their last tank "cause he was a n00b" (never a good sign in a pug) and they want me to do this super-easy achievement. Well, judging by the pile of corpses, I am none to enthused, and I've died many times on that very achievement before, so I say sorry, but that ain't my bag. They say nothing, and let me die on the first pull.

Wow, what classy gentlemen. They insist I drop group if I don't help them; I tell them to kick me (reasoning that I won't get the 15 min debuff that way), but they can't, since they kicked the last guy too. So here are the choices I'm staring down: A - leave and eat a 15 debuff for the benefit of some douchers who let me die, or B - stage a sit-in. I stayed in the group, refusing to tank. After 10 minutes, a train set, and some light trolling, they quit in frustration.

So not only do I shave 5 minutes off my waiting for group time, but I also get to run one of the shortest dungeons available. I experienced unmitigated victory over my fellow man; my will was done and theirs was thwarted. I fought the law, and I won. All thanks to Ghandi's teachings of passive non-violent protests.

By the way, can someone answer me why whenever someone leaves a group they think they're screwing you, as if you don't get put in front of the queue?

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Guild Spotlight: Raid Attendance

I originally intended to talk about different ways to run guilds here, but oh how the time flies. Anyway, let's kick off a new feature with talking about raid attendance.

I've often been annoyed to log on 15 minutes before raid time, wait around, only to discover that I'm not going at all that night, tough breaks, but you've been to the last two weeks', so give someone else a turn. Which is fine, I understand in a 10-man guild with more than 10 raiders, there's some inevitable rotation. What I don't like is logging on, forsaking an evening's schedule, to then not raid at all.

The system I came up with (read: shamelessly stole from other, more successful guilds) was a pre-determined attendance roster. Basically it works in two steps: raiding times are posted at least a week in advance, and raiders sign up.Then, a few days before that week's adventures, sign ups are closed and the officer(s) in charge hammer out who goes and who sits.

There's still going to be times when someone can't come; that's the pitfall of over recruiting. But at least people know where they stand, and can plan their time accordingly. My guild used this system in T9 content and it worked swimmingly; we've gotten lazy now, and it's a real shame.

But, a challenger appears! I call it the Golden Ten, or Twenty Five, if you're an asshole, system. Basically, there are two kinds of raiders in this guild: the Golden Ten, and the schlubs. The Golden Ten are the ten best raiders, and will be taken over anyone else; the logic is that with the same ten going every week, progression will be speedier, gear more concentrated, etc. If one or more of the Ten do not make it to raid on time, however, their spots are filled that night with schlubs. Guild leadership can change up the Golden Ten roster once a month, for any number of reasons (lack of attendance, poor performance, drama queen elimination).

Now, you'd expect me to defend the attendance roster system rabidly and be shaken with the elitism of the GT system, but I'm not. Nocturne has always been a good-natured guild, centered on fairness, low drama, and a friendly tone. For a guild more centered around progression and performance, GT is ideal. It is unfriendly to newcomers, true, but all the schlub needs is their "big break" and they can be assured a golden ticket as long as they keep their game in top form. They only thing GT requires to work is a core of people with very good attendance (one of AR's strengths is handling complex scheduling difficulties) and an impartial guild leadership. GT and loot council seem like good bedfellows, since they both need responsible leaders to make them work.

At any rate, those are two of my ideas on handling the common guild question, "Who comes to raid tonight?" Hope you enjoyed it.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Ulduar is Stupid

First off, Ulduar is my favorite raid instance in WotLK, maybe ever. It had originality, some surprises, a bombastic vehicle segment, and a boss whose corpse you used as a bridge. But Blizzard has their panties in a knot over the idea of telling an overarching story with their expansion through raiding, and to that end, Ulduar is stupid.

In Lord of the Rings (THE archtypical fantasy story) did Aragorn take a few days off from aiding the men of Rohan deal with their shit to go handle a recently discovered Balrog? No, and do you know why? Because that would be tangential, arbitrary, and totally pointless within the overall narrative. In a book with Tom Bombadill, that's saying a lot.

Shit like that was fine in Old World because there was no grand narrative. Every zone was, more or less, it's own self-contained story, so C'Thun's sudden and unheralded arrival wasn't interrupting any larger story than Silithus itself. In that world, shit like Ulduar is totally legit and awesome.

In Burning Crusade, they tried having a central story, and it worked for the most part, with Zul'Aman being the notable exception. Come to think of it, what's with all the awesome raids being unrelated to the story? Anyway, even the tangential dungeons like Karazahn and Mt. Hyjal had a relation to the Burning Legion, and were generally on topic, if not advancing anything forward.

Now Wrath: Sartherion, Malygos, and Ulduar all had pretty much fuck-all to do with anything remotely to do with the big ol' LK or his bidness. That would be fine if they were just trying to make NORTHREND: LAND OF MANY ADVENTURES AND DANGERS! But no, the story is clearly about the Lich King, and you can't just ignore him, especially in the middle of shit in 3.1.

This is not to say you can't have varied or unexpected raid dungeons, just that they have to be somehow tied to the larger narrative at work. Imagine in 4.2 (let's just say), Deathwing's right around the corner, but we got one more major patch to go. The new raid is... wait for it...

Thrall went to Karazahn upon becoming the new Guardian of Tirisfal, but has not been heard from since. The Alliance/Horde's list of allies runs thin, and they need the new Guardian's help to fight Deathwing, so they can wait no longer. Adventures journey through the flying-mount only entrance to a previously unseen part of the tower, to discover Thrall was unable to control his newfound demons. You punk new (NO MORE REHASHES, BLIZZARD) bosses, culminating in a fight with a possessed Thrall, and, finally, the ghost of Medivh himself. Shade of Aran even returns, this time as an ally in the final fight, to give his mad son a final rest.

OK, I am totally stoked on shit like that. It comes out of left field, uses previous canon as groundwork for new content, breaks up the expected enemies of the expansion, and still manages to relate to the fight against Deathwing. Plus it would actually give us a chance to get revenge on Medivh for that time he cheated at chess.