Raiding — feast or famine

Last night my guild dipped its toe back into the raiding pool. For a variety of reasons, we had stopped raiding in mid-March, so for me who hates to pug, that means other than LFR I just have not been raiding. It was tough to go cold turkey like that, and I think not raiding had a lot to do with my growing hatred of WoD.

I joined my current guild specifically because I liked the raid philosophy and the people on the core team, plus the raid leader really knows his stuff. I liked it so much that I was willing to raid on their West Coast time line even though I live on the East Coast. This makes for some late night raiding — typically midnight to 2 AM my time, but it was so much fun it was worth a little sleep loss.

So when we stopped raiding I really felt adrift. The game lost a lot of its fascination for me, and I started kind of half-heartedly looking for another guild, one with an active raid team I might have a chance of getting on. I don’t like changing guilds, I am a very loyal person not to mention a creature of habit, so really I was not trying very hard to find another raid team, it was more of nagging little thought in the back of my head.

As a consequence of not raiding, I have not paid much attention to continuing to gear up my main, because — why? I kept doing LFR and my shipyard for the ring, but if I missed a few days on the naval missions or a week on LFR tomes it was no big deal, because the ring is really a raid tool anyhow. And my inventory of health and agility potions, 125-stat food, and agi flasks was low, because again why did I need them? Certainly not for LFR or the odd world boss.

So yesterday, knowing we would be raiding later, I spent a couple of hours frantically preparing. It was probably comical to watch. I switched off among all my alts multiple times, transferring mats and crafted gear, allowing me to:

  • Replace my helm with a 6/6 crafted one. Of course first I had to go through several Leather Refurbishing Kits to get the right flavor of helm.
  • Upgrade and equip 3 pieces of Baleful gear. I would have done more, but I only had three pieces that came close to the secondary stats I need, and even those are not ideal.

    Side rant: This whole notion of random secondary stats really stinks. If I select Marksman as my loot spec, I should get only loot with ideal MM secondary stats. Even better, there should be a way to change the stats, like, oh, say reforging! Because as it stands now it doesn’t matter which spec I select as my loot spec, all secondary stats are totally random anyway, and there are so many flippin’ possible combos that the chances of getting the one ideal one is infinitesimally low. I have a total of 83 pieces of baleful gear on 4 characters, and not one piece is the ideal secondary set for that character. There is something very wrong about this.

  • Transmog my new gear, because, well, can’t show up to raid looking anything less than cool, right?
  • Craft and equip an Immaculate level gem for my one gem slot.
  • Make food, flasks, and pots.
  • Grind out my last rep for exalted with Hand of the Prophet so I could buy my Empowered Augment Rune.
  • Review IcyVeins and Fatboss videos and strategies for the first three bosses of HFC, in case there was anything different than for LFR.
  • Make some rapid targeting macros for the important adds in the fights and bound them to my “targeting” row of keys.
  • Review my talents and glyphs to make sure they were what I needed.
  • Update all my addons, especially DBM.

Whew! You would think I was planning the Invasion of Normandy. But at least I felt as prepared as I could be.

We had only 7 of our normal core raid team, so we pugged and wound up at 13. We only had one stinker in the pug group, a hunter who called us noobs and idiots for not having higher DPS after we one-shotted Iron Reaver. Unfortunately, he rage quit before the RL could kick him, so we were deprived of that small satisfaction. I was embarrassed on behalf of all hunters.

But it was a great night. We downed the first three bosses, only wiping once — on Kormrok. We had expected to have a lot more trouble being as we were out of practice and most of our gear levels were somewhere in the 690-ish area. Best of all, we had a lot of fun. We didn’t go any further because it was getting late, but I think it was such a success that we may at least start doing once a week scheduled raids.

Interestingly, as I was waiting for the raid to start, I got whispered by two different people asking if I would consider joining their guilds to raid. I knew both of them. One was a group my old guild co-raided with, and the other was someone I have run into in LFR and a few other places. I wonder if maybe some of the guilds are getting more energized now that WoD is on its way out and we have something new to look forward to.

I chatted with both of them and ended up asking if I could think about it and thanking them for the offer. I said I would let them know Monday. The co-raid group said they would be happy to take me on an alt — especially if that alt were my healer — but the other group wanted my main. Both groups raid twice a week.

A few days ago I probably would have jumped at the chance, but after last night I am not so eager. As I said, given even the slightest pretext, I will stay with whatever guild I am in, and now we are back into raiding, that is my pretext. Also, earlier this year I was raiding three nights a week with two different guilds, and I got pretty burned out, it was starting to feel like a job. If I am honest with myself, two nights a week is probably my max, and for now I am even happy with just one night a week. I would like to get more proficient on my healer, so the offer with my old co-raid group is tempting, but that would mean at least 3 raids per week, one on my main and two on my healer. Seems to be more than I want to take on at this point.

Anyway, I will think about it. (Maybe we will get to the point of doing alt runs again in my current guild, and that would allow me to play my healer more.)

Meanwhile, woohoo for us, we had a fun night of raiding again!

About Fiannor
I have a day job but escape by playing WoW. I love playing a hunter, and my Lake Wobegonian goal is to become "above average" at it.

7 Responses to Raiding — feast or famine

  1. Meushi says:

    My guild stopped raiding midway through Pandaland..
    I lost a lot of interest in the game..
    But tried to keep going..
    I had built many relationships with guildmates..
    And we still ran the off LFR or pugged..
    Then I stopped..
    I was asked to come back for WoD..
    We were going to build a raid group..
    So I foolishly did..
    The raid group never fleshed out..
    And I’ve been doing nothing ever since..
    I thought aboot joining another guild..
    But it would probably involve a new realm as well..
    As WoD comes to an end..
    With Blizz saying play our way..
    It’s the right way..
    I think I’m just done..
    It was a fun ride almost all the the way through..
    But the hunter changes are so drastic..
    That I don’t see the hunter spirit in it..
    I’ve enjoyed reading your ponderings..

    • Fiannor says:

      Sorry to hear you are done with the game, but I completely understand your reasons. WoD has been very hard on guilds and raid teams, and Legion does not look like it will reverse that trend. Some weeks ago, I asked myself if I could continue in the game if I no longer raided, and I thought I could, but it would involve getting very interested in things like achievements, collecting mounts and pets, etc. But after last night I realized how much I had missed raiding.

      If you still love the game, maybe an extended break will help. But if Blizz keeps taking away the things you have fun with, then you are wise to just move on.

  2. Raiding is fun, it is the social party if you ask me.
    Get some kills in, it will only get easier!

  3. Grumsta says:

    You have my favourite fight to come: the Council. Then it gets “interesting”.

    When raiding is good, it’s a great motivator to engage with the grind of the game. To do all the fishing for felblight, T2 for rep (got my Empowered Augment Rune on my Hunter yesterday: no more pulls without the buff for me now) or T2 for gear. There is a genuine purpose to it. An incentive as it has a measurable payback.

    Over the weekend I took my Miner around Pandaria to collect Ghost Iron and Trillium for mats for the last Panther mount. What a joy that was: iTunes on random play, flying around the countryside on the old route. I spent longer doing that than I did on my five mains doing Garrisonville and Galleonville, and I loved it. It didn’t seem a boring grind at all (even though strictly speaking it is). It must be the environment rather than the activity itself. And flying: I wouldn’t have done it if it involved trudging.

    I also revisited my Tillers farm to grow Trillium and later Golden Lotus. I had forgotten about the weeding, and watering, and tentacle wrestling, and all the other insane mechanics Blizz bolted in. It felt like a WoD raid at times. At least they didn’t put all that lot into Garrisonville: can you imagine….?

    You have been insanely unlucky with your Baleful gear I must say. During the course of getting two characters to Exhalted in T2 I’ve gone through a lot of gear until at least the key secondary stat dropped on a piece, then upgrade it to 695 and on it goes.

    Every piece I equipped was still better than what I had, even if it wasn’t “perfect”. As I reminded a fellow Hunter trying to gear up in T2: they all have higher agility, and the others are called secondary stats for a reason. That said, I do agree that once again the OTT RNG of this game leaves a sour taste when you should be chuffed at getting better gear. When the “right” stats do drop my reaction is typically “oh, FINALLY!”, rather than “wheeeeee!”. Utter fail by Blizz there.

    • Fiannor says:

      Yeah, not sure when we will get there. Our next scheduled raid night is a week from Thursday — all of our obstacles have not yet been removed, so we are getting back to a schedule very slowly. Still, I think it is about right for me in my present frame of mind.

      You are definitely right about raiding being an incentive to do other parts of the game. I regret that that is so, because I would like there to be incentives for alternate play styles, but it is the current state of the game.

      I think an easy fix to the horrible Baleful gear lottery would be to limit the versions possible based on your spec selection. (An easier fix would be to bring back reforging, but for some reason that is now a dirty word for Blizz.) So for example, MM hunters would only be able to get pieces with crit/multistrike combos. If you wanted a different set of combos, you could select BM or SV as your loot spec. There are currently just too many possible secondary stat combos for anyone to have a reasonable chance of getting their preferred version. This would not be so bad if secondary stats did not make a significant difference, but they do.

      And yes, the fun is pretty much gone when your only possible reaction to getting the right version of gear is to breathe a thankful sigh of relief rather than celebrate.

  4. Casually Odd says:

    It’s nice to read you having fun raiding again. While it isn’t my cup of tea to raid at that level, it really is heartening to see people finding fun in the game again. Good luck!

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