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Identity Crisis

February 14, 2014 2 comments

It happens all the time. You think you want something, you go after it, then you either A) realize your limitations B) realize you never wanted it after all or C) live happily after after.

In game, I’ve accepted A and B. In real life, I’ve scored C. Even though this is “stupid cupid” day, this post is not about my life’s happily ever after. You would all be gagging yourselves with a spoon at the end of that kind of post! But I think that because I’ve found happiness in life, I’ve been able to realize and accept my role in this game.

Since the beginning of Cataclysm, I’ve had a personal identity crisis in game. Unfortunately, being a guild leader, I led the guild down the same confusing “where the fuck are we going” path. When we were raiding T 14 and T15, I thought I wanted more. I thought I wanted to be a heroic raider. I thought I wanted MT to be known as a heroic raiding guild.

I bought into the malarkey that being  “casual” is “bad”. In Firelands I practically forced my raid team to go for heroic bosses. Shannox was easy enough. Majordomo wasn’t exactly a pushover but doable. Once we got them down, I wanted more. A lot more. The Raid Leader was very reluctant. Half the raid was all for it, the other half was not keen on wiping for 2 hours on a heroic boss when there was much loot to be had farming everything on normal.

So I had us form a “heroic-focused” group for Dragon Soul. Mavros came over from Broken to lead the group. Suddenly we went from a laid back fun raiding guild to a cold, serious “must kill everything no matter the cost” atmosphere. And the “cost” was good, likeable people that were not exactly heroic raiders. Mistakes were no longer tolerated, and players who didn’t perform at top level were suddenly kicked to the curb. We never kicked anyone out of the guild, but removing them from the group caused them to understandably leave the guild.

After riding the high of 8/8H in Cataclysm, the friction was palpable. We couldn’t even really celebrate killing heroic Deathwing because of how many in the guild felt slighted by one group’s progress. I was torn. I hated the atmosphere, but I loved being able to complete the final tier on heroic. So we plodded on. Our heroic kills opened a whole new door to recruiting. Players joined, knowing we were capable of being a heroic guild.

MOP hit, and we kept the Cataclysm momentum going. Slowly but surely, some players were getting left behind, despite trying to field 4 raid teams off the bat. The Team Moist dynamic has already been beaten to death. But it was my being originally part of that group, that I began to realize my limitations. My stress levels were suddenly through the roof. I couldn’t dedicate the time it took to farm rep, to max my toon with neverending dailies and the cesspool that is LFR. I’ve always known that I’ve had a slow-ish learning curve. And ultimately, it was the tornadoes that did me in. But realistically, I didn’t belong there.

In the buildup to “the breakup”, I was questioning my own place in the game and in the guild. I thought I wanted more out of the game, but I’d really don’t want to sacrifice sanity and fun for it. I’ve had a lot of “what was I thinking?” moments this xpac, and I don’t want to make the same mistakes again. I lost my game identity, and in the process, I lost MT’s identity as well.

I have come to the realization that I am a “casual” player. I am not a heroic player, and probably never will be. I have come to the realization that MT is, was and always will be a “casual” guild. I have accepted that nobody’s perfect, not even me. And you know what? I’m totally cool with that, because I”m having fun again! 🙂

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Categories: Confessions, Raiding, Random

Where Did Everybody Go?

June 11, 2013 Leave a comment

I wonder if there is any truth to the scenario in my head.

Picture, if you will, a Blizzard meeting with network engineers, finance people and a few developers in attendance. The topic of discussion is bringing in more revenue. The conversation goes something like this:

Blizzard Dude 1:  Hey, you know what would be fun? Let’s totally shake up a bunch of guilds, annihilate a few realms, cause all kinds of drama and chaos, and Profit!

Finance Dude 1: Totally! Let’s offer a big fat discount for character services and see how many rats desert their ship! We’ll earn more because the amount of players that will do it may not have otherwise used the service.

Blizzard Dude 2: CHAOS!!! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAH!!!

I’ve lived on Uldaman my entire wow life. Sure I’ve rolled a few random toons here and there. But Uldaman is where it’s at. Back in TBC it was a thriving little community. The population was good. Raid progress was decent. It’s always been kind of a real casual server. It has slowly started to decline, but with the recent discount that Blizzard threw at us, what was a slow decline has become a big fat server killer. It started in Cataclysm, when 10 and 25 man raids shared a lockout. This pretty much killed off most of the 25 man guilds. Uldaman had a few good ones. Immortalis, The Harlequins, Edge of Aggression, The Wrath of Medivh, Nexus… cracking the top 10 on the server was a feat. But the Harlequins after several years together splintered and fell apart. Immortalis, EOE and Nexus all transferred off. Uldaman has had 6 #1 guilds in the past 2 expansions. And we stuck it out.

Then the discount happened. The discount heard ’round the world. Three guilds up and left as a direct result of the discount. Just this year, 8 guilds have transferred off, with a total of roughly 1200 toons. Average about 5 alts per player, that’s still over two hundred players having jumped the Uldaman ship via guild transfers. This isn’t counting those that have left current guilds to greener pastures. At this time last year, the server population was 13,074. The population has currently dwindled to 4,644. Where has everyone gone?

It would appear that the most popular realms have been Thrall and Zul’jin. Why do players and guilds decide to make the transfer? “The server is dead” is not a reason. How does it hurt to be on a lower populated realm? Big guilds should not have the problems that smaller guilds do. The way I see it, the reasons for a transfer would be easier to recruit, and better economy. I’m not a big fan of que times, and I do just fine recruiting right where I am. I like being on a server where other players recognize us. We’re like Cheers. Becoming a household name on a server like Immo was, like Harlequins was… is a good thing. If we moved our merry band over to Zul’Jin for example, we’d be lost in a sea of big guilds. Our server ranking would hover between 60-80. I would think it’s a lot harder to recruit on server when there are so many other “better” guilds around.

(“better” of course is an extremely relative term here)

I think the majority of MT agrees. Nobody wants to spend $250 to transfer 10 toons (or more)  somewhere else. Nobody here cares about pugging raids. The flex option coming in 5.4 plus the ability to raid with battletag friends makes staying put much more attractive.

So those fools can shove off to those big fat bloated servers and good riddance. We’ll get some fresh faces here, and our little community will someday thrive once more.

Categories: Random

Labels, Semantics and the Overuse of it all.

May 13, 2013 1 comment

I’ve had my opinion on this long before a couple of WoW Insiders started bantering back and forth about it.

Let’s start with Casual vs Hardcore

(yes, I just went there)

Consulting our good friend dictionary.com:

cas·u·al

adjective

1.happening by chance; fortuitous: a casual meeting.
2.without definite or serious intention; careless or offhand; passing: a casual remark.
3.seeming or tending to be indifferent to what is happening; apathetic; unconcerned: a casual, nonchalant air.
4.appropriate for wear or use on informal occasions; not dressy: casual clothes; casual wear.

5.irregular; occasional: a casual visitor.

hard-core

adjective

1.unswervingly committed; uncompromising; dedicated: a hard-core segregationist.
2.pruriently explicit; graphically depicted: hard-core pornography.  
3.being so without apparent change or remedy; chronic: hard-core inflation; hard-core unemployment.

Out of these definitions, I would think (and I’m sure anyone can make any of these definitions apply), the third “casual” definition and the first “hardcore” definition would be the best ones to apply to game play, since I’m pretty sure pornography is not allowed in WoW (unless you go to the  goldshire inn on Moonguard… uhh… so I’ve heard).

Actually, let’s run with that. It makes this a much more interesting blog post. Let’s take the obvious raiding game out of it and look at RP. I’m not into RP in WoW, but there are players who are. And there are players who are on different ends of the RP spectrum. There are those that dabble in it, role play on occasion on their RP toons. Based on the above definition, these players may be defined as “casual” RP’ers. They may fit the 4th definition (occasional) or even the third definition (unconcerned). There is a player base that absolutely uses this mindset. Then you have the Goldshire Brothel on Moonguard. Everyone has heard of it. Some may even casually partake in the goings on there. But these folks are more dedicated. As well as pruriently explicit and graphically depicted.

Now let’s look at the raiding base. These two terms seem to take on much different meanings when it comes to raiding or PVE end game. And if you look at the actual definitions, one can see why a “casual” raider gets the negative connotations that players have given it. It’s not a huge leap to go from without definite or serious intention or seeming/intending to be indifferent to “bad”, or “lazy”. You can almost see the sneers when players describe other players as “casual.”

So the funny thing is, many of the players that often get labeled “casual” by the playerbase at large, are actually more “hardcore” by definition. There are a LOT of dedicated players in this game. I would say many players don’t feel indifferent or apathetic toward their game play at all, and resent being labelled “casual” and not getting the credit they deserve.

We can’t equate “casual” to “bad” and “hardcore” to “good”. It just doesn’t work that way. How are we defining “good” and “bad” anyway?

good

adjective, bet·ter, best.

1. morally excellent; virtuous; righteous; pious: a good man.
2. satisfactory in quality, quantity, or degree: a good teacher; good health.
3. of high quality; excellent.
4. right; proper; fit: It is good that you are here. His credentials are good.
5. well-behaved: a good child.
6.  kind, beneficent, or friendly: to do a good deed.
7. honorable or worthy; in good standing: a good name.
8. educated and refined: She has a good background.
9. financially sound or safe: His credit is good.
10. genuine; not counterfeit: a good quarter.

That’s just the top 10. There are 45 definitions of the word “good”.

bad

noun; adverb, adjective

1. not good in any manner or degree.
2. having a wicked or evil character; morally reprehensible: There is no such thing as a bad boy.
3. of poor or inferior quality; defective; deficient: a bad diamond; a bad spark plug.
4. inadequate or below standard; not satisfactory for use: bad heating; Living conditions in some areas are very bad.
5. inaccurate, incorrect, or faulty: a bad guess.
6. invalid, unsound, or false: a bad insurance claim; bad judgment.
7. causing or liable to cause sickness or ill health; injurious or harmful: Too much sugar is bad for your teeth.
8.suffering from sickness, ill health, pain, or injury; sick; ill: He felt bad from eating the green apples.
9.not healthy or in good physical condition; diseased, decayed, or physically weakened: A bad heart kept him out of the army.

36. Slang. outstandingly excellent; first-rate: He’s a bad man on drums, and the fans love him.

Again, I listed 10 definitions. There are 36 of them.  What does this mean? This means there is no meaning. Ask 100 people who play WoW to define “good” or define “bad” and you’ll get 100 different answers. Maybe half of them will use “casual” or “hardcore” to describe them. What is a good player? Is it someone who is “high quality”? Sure, that’s one way to define it. I think it’s vague enough that I can assume most will agree with this statement.  The definition of “High Quality” may also be somewhat universal in the World of Warcraft, but it doesn’t always equate to “good”.  And “good” isn’t always “high quality” in the broader gaming sense.

I think if I asked anyone in a battleground how they define “bad”, they may come back with the first definition verbatim. That’s probably a little harsh. Maybe the fourth definition would be closer to the truth. Inadequate or sub-standard are terms Raid Leaders use a lot. That’s not to say the player is really bad. Just there’s room for improvement. When I think of how “bad” is used in WoW, it feels more like players are attacking other players’ character and not necessarily their skill (or lack thereof).

Though I have to laugh. We see it in battlegrounds a lot, players calling other players “baddie” or “baddy”. I looked this term up too!

bad·die

noun

a villainous or criminal person.

So really, no players are “baddies”. The Baddie is Garrosh, Deathwing, Arthas, Kil’Jaden, Kel’Thuzad. Not us. We’re not evil.

So getting back to that whole casual vs hardcore vs good vs bad thing. I think it would be very fair to say that there are “hardcore” players that may not be good players. Likewise, there are casual players that are not bad players. Therefore, we cannot equate casual to bad or hardcore to good. Here are some examples of how to use these terms in WoW:

Example 1:  Whizzy is a player who doesn’t raid. He never liked raiding and was never really that good at it. He has mastered all the professions and plays the Auction House. He has made several million gold through AH buying and reselling.  He would be considered a hardcore player. Obviously, not on the raiding side, but on the “dude’s totally obsessed about making gold” side.

Example 2: Dizzy is a raider. He raids 3 nights a week. When he’s not raiding, he’s out farming mats, VP capping, daily capping, buying gear on the AH, running LFRs, studying his class, watching videos and analyzing logs. He theorycrafts, eked out every last bit of possible dps he could by min/maxing, etc. When we raid, he tops the meter for a bit, then dies. He can’t dodge tornadoes. He can’t get out of rockfalls. He stands under Garalon. He tops the meters in DPS and friendly fire. He’s a hardcore player because of his dedication and commitment. But he’s not very good because he tanks the floor.

And we can’t necessarily call someone one thing or another. In some cases, players can be both.

I’m going to pick on Myranda here, because I can and he loves the attention. I consider him a very good player. He kicked ass on his ret pally. He theorycrafts, he strives to be the best player he can possibly be. But while he’s been very loyal to the guild, he’s not a very dedicated raider. Yes, foo I can almost predict when you take your 6 months breaks! LOL. So if I were to slap a label on his ass, what would it be? A hardcore player, but casual raider. I can even say he’s a hardcore MT’er. But definitely a casual raider.

So if we’re going to be throwing labels around, what do we call MT? If I’m out recruiting, and I say MT is a casual raiding guild, what the hell does that even tell someone? 5 players looking at that post can interpret it 5 different ways. I’m a fan of telling it like it is. Take out the mystery, confusion, misconceptions of these labels. For anyone who’s recruiting for their guild, tell people who you are, and don’t fluff it with “casual”, “semi-hardcore”, “progression”. Don’t just say you’re active, social or fun. Say what you DO. Then let your audience draw more accurate conclusions.

I like to describe MT as “Business-Casual”. I’m not going to whip out the dictionary, and I’m not going to open this label to interpretation. I am going to give you an analogy. If someone invites you to an event where the dress code is “business casual”, you don’t dress up in tuxedos and evening gowns and deck  yourself out with the most expensive jewels. You also don’t just roll out of bed, don’t shower, throw some wrinkled clothes on from the hamper and think that’s acceptable. MT is a raiding guild and this is how we approach raiding. You’re not required to raid every day, theorycraft, VP cap, etc. But don’t just roll out of bed and show up half drunk. Unless your name is Kioja.

(sorry dude, couldn’t resist LOL)

See I pick on everyone here. I hope Giz doesn’t feel left out.

Categories: Random

Look for the Helpers

April 23, 2013 1 comment

 

Yesterday, I wrote about my personal feelings about the attacks in Boston last week. But I feel there’s a lot more to be said about what this means for our next generation.

When 9/11 happened, my little brother Travis was just 2 years old. The following year, I was staying with my dad in NYC and we visited Ground Zero. It was eerily quiet, and a sense of peace had settled over the zone. You could almost hear the spirits whispering. We read the plaques setup there. We had a moment of silence. Then Travis, a precocious 3 year old looked at my dad and said “Daddy is that where the airplanes were broken?” Tears filled my eyes as he paused, and finally responded “Yes, that’s where the airplanes were broken.”

My niece Olivia is 3 years old, the same age Travis was when he tried to comprehend the worst attack in U.S. history. Her daddy is in the army and often called to “go fight the bad guys”.

In the photos and videos of the Marathon, there were children standing around, cheering on the runners. Cheering on their parents, aunts, uncles and friends. Wide eyed and innocent. All of that gone in an instant. Instead of watching runners finish, they watched people die. They watched people get maimed. They witnessed a horror no human being, let alone a child, should ever witness.

What do you say to a child who just lost his leg? Who just lost her 8 year old brother? Who watched it happen on TV? The only thing we could do. We thought back to the comfort of our own childhood hero, and quoted Mister Rogers. “Look for the helpers.” Show them that there are good people in this world.

Shit like this just didn’t happen when I was growing up in the 80’s. Our worst tragedy was Mookie Wilson’s dribble down the first base line that went through Bill Buckner’s legs. My sister and I went to grade school without fear of being shot by another student or by a madman. We went to day care as small kids without fear of being blown up. We went to the movies without fear it would be our last. We cheered on runners at the finish line. We were truly innocent. It wasn’t until my teenage years into young adulthood that shit really went to hell. Places or dates you only have to say once and everyone knows what you’re talking about. Waco. The World Trade Center. Oklahoma City. Columbine.  Olympics. 9/11. Fort Hood. Colorado. Newtown. Boston.

Children today don’t know a world without violence. They have been deprived of innocence. Of that blissful naivete in believing that world really IS a good place. A peaceful place. And we are peaceful people. That has all changed.  For those at the movies in Colorado. For those who were playing Tag in the schoolyard at Sandy Hook Elementary. For those attending a daycare at a Federal Building in Oklahoma City. For those passing notes in the classrooms of Columbine. For those whose mama or daddy kissed them goodbye as they headed for work at the World Trade Center. For their friends and their classmates. For those cheering at the finish line.

What can you do? What can you say? Look for the helpers. And maybe, just maybe, we’ll be okay.

Categories: Random

Boston Strong

April 22, 2013 1 comment

 

I find writing very therapeutic. It helps me figure out what I’m feeling, when events so overwhelming hit so close to home. So here I am. Blogging again.

Monday April 15th, 2013

It was considered a holiday around Boston. We call it Patriots Day. We also call it Marathon Monday.  Yanni had to work anyway, but I got the day off. When Yanni isn’t around, the TV isn’t on. He’s a boob tuber. I’m not so much. That afternoon, I was frittering away on WoW. Suddenly, just after 3pm I got a text from my mother in Tucson.

“OMG explosions at the marathon! Are u ok??”

Immediately I flipped on the TV. Holy Fuck!  My mother should know better, I tend to avoid places of mass humanity. I worked in that area for years, dealing with marathon traffic. And I realized…OMG one of my friends still works there. The explosions went off right around her normal lunch break. Then I got another text from my friend Christine who is an anesthesiologist at Mass General Hospital.

“Are you watching the news?? Explosions in Copley Square. I tried calling Diane, no answer.” OMG please let her be OK. Please let her be OK.

I tried calling Diane. It rang about 10 times before it cut off into a busy signal. No voicemail. Then reports were coming in about an explosion/fire at the JFK library, which is right next to the UMass-Boston campus where I work. Now I appreciate holidays, but I was never more thankful that I was not on campus that day. We didn’t know what the fuck was going on. All we knew was terrorism just hit home. I texted Yanni, who was out working and not watching/listening to the news.

“Explosions at the Marathon finish line!”

“What??”

“I can’t get in touch with Diane. She’s at the Pru.”

Then his phone went nuts with calls and texts as did mine. I had to keep facebook up with updates letting people know I was ok and that I wasn’t working that day. The TV was on 24/7 at that point. I was home, watching it unfold. Watching the reports of an 8 year old child losing his life. I cried. Not just cried, howling cries, sobs wracking my body. My faith in humanity shattered. I sent Diane a text and posted on her facebook wall. “Please call or text me and let me know you’re OK!” She finally answered about an hour later.

“Safe home 2 booms then thousands running towards me thought it was a gun man.”

I let out a sigh of relief and cried again. I texted Christine and Yanni letting them know Diane was safe. I responded to concerned responses on her facebook wall. She’s safe.

Tuesday April 16, 2013

I woke up to my 6:30am alarm clock, and saw the text from the UMB emergency alert system. Campus was closed due to the investigation into the fire/explosion at the JFK library. The entire campus was swept. I stayed home glued to the TV. The fire appeared to be mechanical, but coincidentally it broke out right after the 2nd explosion on Boyleston St.

Wednesday April 17, 2013

Campus was re-opened so I went back to work for the first time in 4 days. State troopers and military personnel were roaming the subway stations, randomly checking bags. Their presence was comforting and nerve-wracking at the same time. At this point, we had no clue who had done this and why. The Bruins played that night against the Buffalo Sabres. While the game itself was nothing special, what happened before the game was an amazing sight. I flipped on the TV just as the pregame show was playing a montage to “Home”. And then the National Anthem. Rene Rancourt made his way onto the ice, clearly emotional. He wavered on the first bars of the Star Spangled Banner, then suddenly dropped his mic as the crowd strongly and emotionally thundered out the anthem a capella. I lost it. As I’m sure many around the city did.

Thursday April 18, 2013

President Obama made a day trip to lead a interfaith service. He didn’t stay very long, but his words were powerful. Authorities now also had a pretty good idea of who they were looking for, and released photos to the public looking for a break in the case. It happened late that night. At approximately 10:30pm, just as I was going to bed, the “suspects” were likely carrying out another attack at MIT when they ambushed MIT Police Officer Sean Collier right outside the Stata Center. They then carjacked an SUV right around the corner from my house and sped down the street and across the bridge into Watertown where the shootout and explosions happened in the middle of the night.

Friday April 19, 2013

Since I was asleep through the drama of what took place that night, I woke up at 6:30am to my alarm clock and saw 2 panicked texts from my mother timestamped 1:30am as well as a text from the UMB emergency alert system. Campus closed as a result of the MBTA shutdown. What? I scrolled through my mother’s texts.

“OMG cop killed on MIT campus. Bet ur glad ur not working there. Stay safe. Will be out there in a week. xoxo.” Really Ma? Even if I was still working there, I wouldn’t have been there at THAT hour!

“Why am i watchin news explosion and chase to watertown. Two suspects arrested in watertown FBI involved. Don’t know if related to bombs on Monday or the shooting of cop at MIT. OMG stay safe xoxo.”

I got out of bed and headed to the living room where Yanni was glued to the TV.

“umm Kimmy?”

“What the FUCK is going on?!”

“City of Cambridge on lockdown. We can’t leave the house. They’re in Watertown. the T is shut down.”

“Yeah I got the text from UMB, I’m not working today.”

As we watched in shock on TV the events that were unfolding down the street, we heard the sirens blaring down Western Ave as they zoom zoomed past my house and into Watertown. I wondered if my brother in law who is in the Army Reserve was called to duty. My sister had texted me earlier in the week letting me know they were ok. But I couldn’t move. I could only watch. Watched the gathering at the Watertown and Arsenal Mall down the street. Watched as they identified the MIT Officer who was killed in the line of duty. Watched as they searched the Cambridge apartment where they lived. I felt a small relief that they lived on the other side of Cambridge on the Somerville line. I live on the Cambridge/Watertown line. Yeah, small relief.

Friday night was a WoW raid night for me. Shortly after the raid started, the texts were pouring in again. I whirled around to the TV. Across the photo of his face was the magic word. CAPTURED. And I cried again. I was only healing trash at that point in the game. So I was kinda one-handed healing while the other hand quickly wiped away the tears.

They messed with the wrong fucking city. MY fucking city. I was angry. No. I was wicked pissed. Those cocky assholes thought they could just blend in, drop some bombs, kill and maim innocent people and not get caught? Well guess what. Suspect #1 got shot, blown up and run over. Suspect #2  ran, tried to hide and got his ass kicked. Boston shut everything the fuck down and went after him. With an entire city, region and and nation backing them up. I am damn proud of my city and of Boston’s Finest, for not resting, and not relenting until we were safe again.

Categories: Random
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