Friday, December 4, 2009

Time to Prepare - or Maybe Not?

Something has happened. The sleepiness has been replaced by something else. Excitement?

The community has spent a great part of this autumn grumbling over the ToC grind. Five bosses in four different modes was just too little content to keep us happy. Quite a few players have apparently gone further than just grumbling – they’ve cut down on their playing time. I’m absolutely certain that we’re not the only guild to struggle to fill the last few raid spots. And in the WoW blogosphere there has been a general slowdown, increased by the write-a-novel event in November, which pulled a few bloggers away from their ordinary posting schedule.

The changed atmosphere
This week however the atmosphere in the community has changed. The buzz is back. I think it has to do with the fact that MMO-champion stated that 3.3 WILL go alive in all its glory next week if nothing unexpected happens. And if Boubouille says something, he’s probably right, especially after his Cataclysm revelations, where he put his credibility at stake and came out as a winner. He’s basically a blue poster himself. And if this wasn’t enough, we’ve all seen our downloader getting to work, making us a promise about incoming fresh content.

It is as if someone had blown a whistle, signalling to the players that the break is soon to be over and the match is about to begin. Friends who haven’t played for months are suddenly coming online again, lightening up my friends list, which has been rather dark and deserted for a while now. Our guild has a flood of new recruitments incoming – I counted to six trialists in the last raid. We’ve even had to put players on the bench, woot!

Modern art boss
All this sudden excitement made me realize that it might be a good idea that I started to pay the Icecrown Citadel some attention. To be honest, apart from the gating system I have no idea at all about what to expect.

The only raid boss I’ve seen on a picture is a guy called Rotface, who looks like some bizarre painting by Pablo Picasso. The model differs quite a bit from the standard-monster-models we’ve become used to. It’s not a mechanical monster such as Void Reaver or XT, nor a lassic dragon breathing fire and wagging his tail. And he doesn’t resemble to any of the evil humans with super powers such as dear old Aran. No, Rotface is an unexpected crossover between modern art and fantasy. But I still haven’t got any idea about what this creature is up to. Not a clue. I don’t even know where to find him, more than that I probably should start looking somewhere in the Icecrown zone.

I don’t need to tell you that I haven’t put my foot into the PTRs. I just can’t see the point of playing all the content in advance, with the effect that the new instance will grow into a grind as soon more or less instantly as it has come alive. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that I’m fanatic about not seeing any spoilers; I don’t actively avoid reading about upcoming changes. But on the other hand I can’t be bothered to dig deeply into content that isn’t released yet.

My preparations
My preparations so far consist of that I’ve started to use my tailoring cooldowns the last couple of weeks, gathering some special cloth to have ready. Even though I haven’t checked it out, I’m pretty sure there will be new patterns incoming and probably the demand and prices on cloth will go up. I could as well stock up a bit.

This weekend I’ll see if I can find some basic information about the first encounters we’ll face. I can see the charm of entering encounters blind the first time, but it’s not up to me to decide. We’re expected to come prepared to our raids, and that includes knowing the strategies. So if there’s already some Tankspot video up on the new bosses, I’ll watch it at least once.

However I’m seriously considering NOT looking up anything about the new five-man instance. I remember a year ago, what a blast I had the first time I entered Hall of Stones, as I did this blindly in a party where no one had done the instance before. (Or if they had, they pretended they didn’t). When that dwarf started to walk away we didn’t have any idea about what it was up to. The glass floor, the stone army, everything came as sweet surprises, giving me moments of “oooh”. I’d like another run like that.

I can see why I shouldn’t waste my fellow raider’s time coming without previous knowledge to a new raid instance, but I really can’t see the same reason to diminish the experience of a five-man instance by knowing all the encounters in advance. Considering our gear level and the general nerf trend in WoW I can’t imagine that they will too hard to beat anyway.

I’ll make some cloth, learn the basics about the first raid bosses and have a quick look at the loot tables so I know what I want to bid on. I've kept an eye on the mage changes, and there doesn't seem to be anything that affects me dramatically, but I'll check out EJ when the patch has gone live after a few days, giving the think tank some time to work out the new theorycrafting.

That’s how far I’ll go in my preparations. And I promise to keep a few things, such as the five-man instance, as pleasant surprises, to keep the game fun for a longer time. After all Cataclysm isn't knocking on our door.

What about you? Are you prepared? And above all: are you excited?


Raddom said...

I feel that I will have to agree with you on the point that it really is nice to walk into an instance, or a raid, blindly. That surprise, that feeling of uncertainty really takes the enjoyment of the game to a whole new level.

drug said...

drug's preparation list:

-Prepare to replace nice, hard earned 258 loot with 264 loot, which is most probably very easy to get.

-Prepare to replace 245 25 man loot which has cost me DKP, blood sweat and tears with 251 gear (through a /roll!) from 10 man content, which is probably so easy I'll beat it by encouraging my cat to walk in circles on my keyboard.

-Prepare for an absolute shock, which is an instance that:
-- doesn't look like ToC
-- isn't one huge annoying room
-- has trash?!?

-Prepare for all my addons to break.

-Prepare to be annoyed by raiders without motivation to keep on working on TotGC 25 encounters.

-Prepare to be yelled at for not having read any tactics.

So whiny today. I kinda like it.

Tessy said...

I did most (all?) of the WotLK 5-instances blind with my shammy and it was a blast! Sure, they were pretty easy but still great fun. I'm definitly with you there in not going to read up on that instance before I go :-)

I would like to enter the raid instances blindly as well, but I will prepare if possible - I am usually a learner by doing anyways and even if I know a little of what to expect it is still a rush to see if for real those first times.

Leah said...

huh, I'm kinda with drug there...hmmm

well replacing loot doesn't bother me so much - its just means to an end after all, but majority's ability to completely erase tiers of content from their minds even though we've yet to finish them

I was so happy that we finaly went back to Ulduar to work on some hard modes and then a guildie had to spoil it all and grumble about how its obsolete, just becasue lolTOC gear is better :/ and he's not the only one - no wonder we keep stuttering on content...

/deep breath

/girds loins

other then that, I'm taking this lull before the storm as an opportunity to catch up on some solo things I wanted to do and detox from heroics since I anticipate spamming them endlessly until every eligible alt of mine has a pug of their own. (I love pugs. they are my third favorite breed of dogs :P )

Kromus said...

love raiding blindly, I also love not reading up on "typical" talent specilisations, espeically as a healer I found this fun to just run into lots of new places and new perspectives and be like "lets see what happens!".

can't wait for 3.3. Shame I can't raid at the moment, though.

You'll most likely see me on at 3 AM in the morning Larisa :D

My preperations is getting exalted with frostsabers before 3.3-- my personal goal, if you like :)!

Carra said...

Learning is fun but getting loot seems to be even more fun for a lot of people. So raid guides are followed to get to the looting part asap.

Larísa said...

@Raddom: yeah, it's just so extremely rarely it happens nowadays. I guess I have no one to blame but myself though.

@Drug: oh, yeah, the addon mess... that will be a pain before I get it sorted, and I'd better be mentally prepared for it.

The loot issue: I think I'm learned to deal with it, to not measure my progress and happiness in the game in how my gear realtes to other players who may have gotten better gear more easily. It doesn't bring me anywhere thinking that way. I collect experiences. Not purples.

@Tessy: so, another one for a blind 5-man party perhaps? :)

@Leah: I'm kind of lucky I think to be in a guild that still does Ulduear, regardless of loot. FL+4 last night, woot!

@Kromus: you still have time for the frostsaber... my only fear was that it would be gone in Cataclysm. And yay for night players!

@Carra: I don't mind looking at strategy guides before a raid, but I wouldn't mind going in blind first time either. I hope to be able to run the 5 man without preparations though. It would definitely be more interesting than just doing what you're supposed to do according to an expert.

zetter said...

Bring it on. I do regret my T9 going after I basically ran Heroics till my eyes bled to get my 4 set fast.
But on the plus side not more TOC. As one of our tanks put it bye bye TOC we wont miss you but will send you a postcard from icecrown!


WIshart said...

Their are few games that kept me busy for so long and I still get the pull to to go back sometimes, However this game has just become to casual. I miss exploring new areas with friends (I even went exploring with someone who had pink pigtails onces), most of my friends quit so I think I'm missing the familiarity of the game.

Larísa said...

@Zetter: wouldn't mind completing ToC hc to be honest. So I guess I'll try to go back again. I just hope I'll find someone likeminded.

@Wishart: Long time no see! Glad to see you're still popping buy the inn, although it's been 1.5-2 years since we played together... Oh what times it was! If you ever feel the urge to renew your subscription, please drop by Stormrage and say hi!