Do I Really Need to Run 3 Raids a Week?

Do I Really Need to Run 3 Raids a Week?

If you haven’t checked it out yet, WoW Insider has started releasing a series of weekly Google Hangout videos. On the WoW Hangout, it’s a group of us WoW Insider folks talking about different topics on a week to week basis. This week, we talked about Flex raids.

One of the questions posed was “Do you think it’s going to be mandatory for players to run three sets of raids? Isn’t that extreme?” I wanted to expand on my answers.

It all comes down to what you want out of this game. Over the years, there’s been this mad rush to get your character as geared out as possible so that you can do all the harder and fun stuff. Flex adds a third potential raiding lockout that you and your raid group can take advantage of. I feel that a small percentage of people will actually do this and try to blitz through all three lockouts. However, we need to remember that Raid Finder and Flex will be gated on release day. I remember reading somewhere that Flex will be on a slightly faster timetable (Can’t source it, so I may be incorrect).

It’s not something you can simply queue into either like you would for Raid Finder.

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If you actually do choose to run three raids a week, you should be able to get the armor and gear you need for your character quickly. That’s three sets of “loot pools” to choose from. Eventually, you’ll reach an equilibrium where there’s no longer a purpose to running the Raid Finder. You’ll be bouncing between Flex and Normal. After that, you’ll (at minimum) have items that are at least equal to the Flex level of drops. Won’t need to run that anymore, either. Your time should then be freed up to running just the Normal a week.

At least, that’s under the generous assumption that the loot Gods are kind to you. Did you remember to make your monthly Murloc sacrifice to appease them?

I really think that once all of the raid lockouts are available, players in raid groups that are ahead of the curve won’t be running all three week. Don’t kill yourself running this.

Plus summer’s here!

As for me, once Matticus is done being all geared out, I won’t be bringing him into those side raids anymore. If anything, I’ll activate Saphfira (Elemental Shaman) and Denesia (Frost Mage). That’ll keep giving me a reason to run Flex raids on our off nights of raiding (Wednesday nights). It’s completely optional and it’s the perfect environment for players with alts or working on offspecs to get some practice in case we need to call upon them on the main raid. Until Flex comes out, my guild and friends are content with running parts 3 and 4 of ToT. Part 2 simply takes too long because there’s so much trash and snails. I’m not inclined to run part 1, either.

Some of our retired raiders have even expressed some interest in coming back just for that. It’s a lower stress environment and they know that the group we have has the capability to smash through it.

I’ve seen the projected map for the new Siege of Orgrimmar raid. It’s expected to contain 13 bosses. My worry is that we may not be able to get through all of that in a single night. If that happens, we’re going to need to split the run into a week 1 and week 2 deal where we can knock out as much as possible in the first day before coming back next week and cleaning up.

Here’s another blue post with more details about how the lockout will work.

“Will the lockout be similar to LFR where you can run it again (with only 1 chance per week for loot) or will it be like normal, where you can only kill a boss once per week?”

Right now, the idea is to have FR lockouts work very similarly to lockouts in LFR.
You will be able to repeat bosses, and that will actually still be somewhat rewarding, you’ll be able to use additional bonus rolls, earn Valor Points, and potentially loot some shinnies from trash…

There’s something unique about FRs though, I’ll explain it with an example:
Let’s say you join a 12man and kill the first boss, leave the raid, and join a 20man, you might have to repeat the first boss.

“Might”, so how does that work?
If everyone in the new 20man raid has already killed the first boss just like you did, then that boss will not spawn.
But even if only 1 of the players in that 20man has not killed the first boss, he will spawn again and everyone else will have to repeat the encounter.

Source

Yikes! Maybe the whole week 1/week 2 raiding thing won’t work as well as I thought! That’s assuming we bring in a new player the next week. Being able to farm the same bosses repeatedly for valor points? Hrm!

Are you thinking about running all three lockouts or are you content with just one or two? What plans do you have about your alts (if any)?

The Price of Popularity (or Healer, Heal Thyself)

The Price of Popularity (or Healer, Heal Thyself)

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This is a guest post by Sylly Syll who writes about the cons of being a sought after healer.

Certainly, negatives might not immediately leap to mind for a healer who has a lot of friends, is generally considered to be talented and capable, and is offered seemingly endless opportunities to do runs for which other classes have to sell their soul to get a spot. (WTB Healer PST). However, for me there have been some definite downsides to this situation since WOLK hit. Specifically, being constantly whispered by friends, guildies, and strangers to heal. “Please, please, PLEASE heal this run for me so Ican get the much coveted Epic Boots of Awesomeness”, I hear, leading to me running more instances than I’d ever dream of initiating on my own, which leaves me struggling often with the following three issues:

1. Poverty: Repair bills, raid and instance pots, buff foods, enchants, gems vs. no time to raise gold to offset costs leaves me perpetually scrounging for cash.  And, of course, even when I find the time to quest or farm, healers are faced with the daunting task of boring mobs to death.  No lightning-fast, face-ripping pew pew for us. Alas and alack, none at all.  Over the holidays I blew through well over 1000 gold sending toys and purely frivolous fun things to dozens of people who make me smile on my server.  It was without contest the best time I’ve ever had spending gold in WOW.  It lit me up like a Christmas tree.   And as great as that was, a couple of weeks ago when I was scraping by to get pots for a Naxx raid, I almost regretted spending that gold.  Best gold I ever spent, and I almost lamented having spent it.  That’s pretty gristly food for thought.

2. Healing burnout: On occasion I just want to sit on a mountaintop and take in the amazing art of the game, or putz around Dalaran checking out all the vendor goodies, or doing some other innocuous, ultimately unproductive activity.  Sometimes I just want to quest all by my lonesome, where the only death I could possibly be responsible for is my own.  From time to time I just feel like parking my carcass in a quiet corner of the world and carrying on a long conversation (typed or otherwise) with one of the friends I treasure in the game.  Because of the healer shortage, finding time for these things can be hard, which can leave me a little grouchy, a little snarky, a little closer to trading bark for feathers and doing the Chris Farley bop.

3. Guilt: When I log on and my guild message of the day is replaced instantaneously by a sea of purple text with friends saying "omg now we can run!" "SYLL! come heal x for us!!!" "Have you done the daily?" etc. etc. ad infinitum, I feel instantly guilty, whether I tell one or none of them yes, because ultimately I have to turn someone that I like down.

Of course, all three of these issues could be solved very easily and with finality in a number of ways.  I could give up the wait for dual specs, jump into a feathery owl suit, and leave it to others to heal me. Or maybe I could come up with a list of runs that I either needed or really enjoyed, and categorically refuse to run anything else.   I could turn off WOW and go clean my house.  No, not really.  That third one was just silly. But I’ve come up with a couple of solutions that are not so drastic as these to keep this tree blooming and happy, willing to spread the leafy goodness around.  They are not perfect or complete solutions, but for me they seem to be doing the trick.  Even though I’m resto, this druid needed some balance in her life. 

Here’s some places I found it.

1. Loosening up the bank vault:  I’m a terrific hoarder of mats. Leatherworking mats, enchanting mats, gear for 3 specs (even though the moon will fall out of the sky before I use my druid to tank), all KINDS of goodies find their way into my bank, or my bank toon’s bank, never again to see the light of day.  I’ve recently started to let these things make their way to the auction house or the vendor.  Sure, some guildie might need me to make something for them and I won’t have the mats immediately on hand.  This is a possibility.  But then he can farm the mats.  Or I can.  Or we can together.  Surely the world will not end if I auction some of the goods I’ve leveled a profession to make, right?

2. Providing the hook up:  To assuage some of my guilt over saying no to healing a run, I’ve been trying to hook up friends or guildies who might not have otherwise run together. So when someone asks me to heal heroic Old Kingdom, I might say to them, “You know that run is almost impossible with a resto druid in the group, right?  Let me see if my holy pally friend is busy.  Maybe he can go with you.”  Even if the hookup doesn’t happen, I still feel better for having actively tried to help, rather than just saying “no, kthxbye”.

3. One hand washes the other: I’ve recently, when asked to heal a run, let some of my friends know that I need to get some work of my own done, and asked them if they would mind helping to speed me through some dailies if I help to heal their instance.  This is definitely a win-win arrangement for all involved.

4. Where’s Syll?: I confess; I hide on alts.  DPS alts.  This doesn’t cut out on all of my invitations to heal, as many of my friends know who my alts are, but it does reduce the number of invites when I just don’t feel like being a productive member of society.

5. Offpeak hours: I have a pretty strange sleeping schedule, and often am wide awake at 4:00 a.m. 4:00 a.m. is a wonderful time in WOW. Nothing is camped. Quest mobs abound. Quiet scenery is there for me to soak up at will. I get a lot done at 4:00 a.m.

Although these strategies are not perfect, they’ve made me a much happier healer.  I have a comfortable amount of gold in my bank, I’m quite a bit happier to run the instances I do run, and I have a clear conscience about how I’m spending my time in WOW.  No one wants their game to become their work.  I know I don’t.  It is my disposition to be most happy in the support role that healers inhabit.  As a rule, I adore healing raids and instances.  But WOW is a huge game that offers opportunities for me to indulge many other aspects of my personality, as well.  I can be social or introspect, helpful or greedy, ambitious or a big lazy sloth.  It’s a relief to work out these balances.  It makes my healing stronger.

Image courtesy of barunpatro

The 6 Signs of Raiding Burnout

The 6 Signs of Raiding Burnout

We’re just a few weeks into a new expansion, so it feels a little strange to talk about burnout. However, Blizzard made a critical miscalculation when they worked on Wrath. They lavished most of their time and energy on quest and 5-person dungeon content–which is essentially single-view for many players. I know I certainly haven’t brought my alts through Northrend yet. However, they spent very little of their design energy on new raids. Naxxramas, which I never saw pre-Wrath, feels dated to me–it was already old the day I stepped in there. It’s something that was very cool for its time, and is fun even now, but just looks like Classic WoW. It’s like Eastern Plaguelands, part 2. For example, take a boss like Grobbulus. He looks like a butt with a face on it, or a face with a butt on it…or just a butt, with a gas mask. How can I help but be a little disappointed, especially when Blizzard is capable of creating a boss as beautiful as Malygos?

The fact that the new Naxx is tuned to be rather easy isn’t the biggest factor in how I feel about it. After all, I loved Karazhan–it was the unique mechanics and the enchanted-castle look of that place that kept me going back for more, not the difficulty level. The only two new raid instances, Obsidian Sanctum and the Eye of Eternity, are one-boss wonders. They’re cool and challenging, but there’s just not enough new bosses there to get the blood pumping.

I, for one, am very disappointed that Ulduar hasn’t hit yet. At the end of BC, I was on top of the world–Illidan and Archimonde fell for my guild right before the patch. Pre-Wrath, I got a little peek at Sunwell up to Felmyst. I had started to love raiding, and I wanted bigger challenges. . . like an entirely new instance full of beautiful, sad giants and lovely starscapes. I hope that’s Ulduar. If it had been me, I would have held Wrath entirely until at least one new full-length raid dungeon was ready.

Are you suffering from early burnout, dear reader? If one of the following six signs applies to you, you may want to see your nearest priest, who will probably prescribe a healthy diet of alt leveling and shameless achievement-chasing.

The 6 Signs of Early Burnout

1. The first time you ever saw one of the Naxxramas bosses, you said to yourself: “Not this guy again.” That, for me, was Heigan, who looks suspiciously like a lot of the trash mobs in Northrend. Hey! I think I killed that guy in Dragonblight. And Zul’Drak.

2. When your fellow raiders drop a train set, you wish that you could teleport them to Stranglethorn arena and kill them all. Choo choo? I hate you. Note to self: learn to PvP.

3. You’re tempted to send the Four Horseman a little note telling them how to better coordinate themselves for easier kills on overconfident adventurers. Note to the 4H: go for the healers, especially the druids. Wait no, scratch that . . .

4. When a boss dies, you run to get another beer–or in my case, Bailey’s–without bothering to see what he dropped. Purples, schmurples.

5. You and your friends have each incurred a repair bill of approximately 1589 gold this week because you’ve been trying for the Heroic dungeon achievements. After all, achievements are the real game, and all the leet players ride red proto drakes.

6. Tuesday is the high point of your week–not because it’s the start of the raid week, but because that’s the day your egg from the Oracles always hatches. I just got my baby Cobra–how did you do?

Avoiding Burnout

I have one of the heaviest raid schedules in WoW. Case in point:

Sunday: 4 PM – 9 PM (Carnage)
Monday: 7 PM – 10 PM (Sinful Intent Karazhan)
Tuesday: 6 PM – 9 PM (Carnage)
Wednesday: 7 PM – 10 PM (Sinful Intent)
Thursday: 6 PM – 9 PM (Carnage)
Friday: None
Saturday: None

That’s a good solid 17 hours of raiding per week. My recent midterm results were less than stellar. It doesn’t take a Gnomish scientist to figure out that WoW just might have a factor with that in some fashion. So I’m making the pledge right now that for every hour of raiding I do, I will match it with one hour of reading and/or studying.

My entire time on WoW is virtually spent raiding. I might do one or two five man dungeons in a week. PvP is no longer something I’m interested in for the moment (wretched AV fixes!). But I really enjoy raiding. I relish the thrill of taking down big giant voidwalkers and roasting the largest fish known to man (or dwarf). Raiding on a scale like this is very taxing. It’s important to balance this gaming life style with other activities to avoid burning out from WoW.

A few years ago, they broadcasted those Anti-Drug commercials. You know, the one where it shows a kid on TV saying something like “Friends: My Anti-Drug”. I think that should be applied to WoW to some extent. Otherwise, you will get burned out from the game and will no longer find it enjoyable. I play a little poker with my friends once a month or so. There’s nothing like a little get together with your high school friends and having a good time. Nothing in the world could beat that feeling of comradeship and entertaining experience (always stay in touch with friends, I say). I pre-ordered Hellgate London from EB Games. It seems like it’s going to be another Diablo-esque MMO with first person shooting elements involved.

If I’m not busy playing WoW, I’m keeping myself busy with online shooters. CS: Source, TF2, Call of Duty 2, DoD: Source are among the few games that I come back to when I’m not in WoW. Sometimes, nothing relieves frustration more then shooting Nazis. In the summer, I would always play games of pickup street hockey in the local lacrosse rink. Now that fall’s starting to set in and the weather is turning horrible, that option becomes less and less attractive.

What’s your Anti-Burnout?