Mythic!

So, much to my suprise, and after worrying quite a bit, I’m actually rather excited about Mythic raiding. Not only did my raid team pleasantly surprise me by pretty much uniformly agreeing to the idea that we’d have to go 20-man, but the upcoming change has led to a series of discussions on the structure of the guild. Honestly, I think if we can pull this right, it will be incredibly beneficial in making us more efficient a team so we can push a little harder come progression time, which makes me all kinds of happy and excited.

Of course, one of the proposed changes involves role leads. And I think I might’ve sort of volunteered to help out as healing lead, which makes me incredibly nervous. It’s not that I don’t think I’d be a good fit. I mean, I know I have the knowledge to do it. I spend probably entirely more than I should reading up on other healing classes’ mechanics, so working out assignments and rotations shouldn’t be too much of an issue.  I’m slightly more concerned when it comes to the interpersonal aspect of it. I find being firm with people quite hard, and I tend to be paranoid about hurting other people’s feelings. Still, I really want to help and if this is the way I can, I’ll definitely give it a try. Plus, this gives me an excuse to set up a healing channel for the guild, which I’ve been wanting to do since day one.

Beyond how this affects our guild, though, I’ve been thinking a lot about how this might affect the healing game. Blizzard devs made a point to mention some of the more niche abilities and how they could go back to designing mechanics around these abilities now that you’re more or less guaranteed at least a member of each class in a Mythic raid, and this makes me hopeful that they’ll go back a bit on their homogenisation of the healing classes. While I think it was definitely necessary at the time, I miss having proper assignments. Obviously, it’s a delicate balance, since they still have to make every healer viable in Normal and Heroic in just about every comp without making the encounters trivial to heal if you’ve got every class available to you, but I’m optimistic that it could be pulled off.

And I’m simply excited to get to meet more people. 😀

The Lagging Strand

I’ve been having lag issues recently, and it terrifies me. Now, I’m fairly used to having stupid internet; for the first eight months or so of Mists, my internet decided to stop working once every few weeks. Usually, it happened just as I was beginning to think the problem had been fixed for good. Often, it would not only span a raid night or two, it actually went out right before raid, so that I couldn’t properly warn my raid team at the time. On the nights when I did have internet, I would often have quite a bit of lag. This wouldn’t be too awful (as long as lag is constant, it’s pretty easy to learn to deal and heal with it), though I did often need to move preemptively out of one-shot mechanics, lest I got smashed into itty bits before my screen realised it was happening.

I’m not sure how my raid team put up with me. In restrospect, I probably should’ve just quit. It wasn’t fair to them, but the hope that it would be the last time -that my ISP had really, actually fixed something that time- and how much I loved raiding with them, just got the better of me.

The problem did eventually get fixed, when me and a neighbour reported our internet going out on the same day, and the ISP finally figured out there was something broken somewhere. It was magical, suddenly sitting at 100ms no matter what content I was running. I realised that I didn’t actually suck at Iron Qon’s whirlwinds as much as I thought I did (though they’re still pretty far from being something I excel at), and that 200ms really did make that much of a difference. I stopped dying to Durumu’s beam, and to the smoke (since the only way to survive the beam when I was lagging was to run well ahead of it into the purple; if I miscalculated, I was pretty much dead). I was able to jump onto platforms on Ji’kun, knowing that my character would actually jump when I hit spacebar instead of just running off the ledge. Life was good.

But, recently, it started again. And it wasn’t the fun kind of lag, where everything is just happening 0.3 seconds after for you. It was the sucky kind of lag where everything’s slightly laggy for a couple of minutes and then your screen suddenly freezes for four seconds and you’re frantically spamming your ‘q’ key on the tank hoping that that Penance will actually go off before he dies. On Garrosh, which is where we’re at now, it’s particularly bad. The tanks take so much damage from adds that clutch heals are pretty important, and that’s the kind that is hardest to provide when you’re lagging. Predictable damage, I can handle just fine; I just need to be more proactive. But there’s nothing more frustrating than watching someone’s health slowly drop, knowing that casting a life saving shield on them is within your power, but only if your connection allows it.

Unsurprisingly, beyond how personally frustrating it is, it’s not very good for progression. I feel like I can claim at least 30% of the responsibility for not having yet killed Garrosh. I actually volunteered to sit out this week, partially because I needed to study, but mostly because I was terrified that the lag would flare up again and screw up our Garrosh kill. As they say, though, the world is not a wish granting factory, and our mage had to work and was late on our progression day, so I had to heal for about half the raid night. It was not pretty. And it was wasted time.

Thankfully, I’m pretty sure it’s not my internet this time around, since just turning off my computer for tennish minutes managed to fix it last week (after my horrible night ended with a painful DC that, thankfully, coincided with the arrival of our lovely mage). I’m pretty sure it’s an overheating problem, so I’m going to try and keep my computer turned off for a while before raid (I have the awful habit of keeping it on sleep mode), and hopefully it will resolve itself. But even if I have to do something like replace the fans or the computer or whatever it may be, at least I have a modicum of control over fixing the problem and that makes me feel a little bit better.

The Peculiar Plight of the Middle of the Road 10-Man

With this weekend’s Blizzcon we’ve learned lots of things about the upcoming expansion and while I’m mostly (so many orcs make me unhappy) really excited, there is one aspect of Warlords of Draenor that worries me: raid sizes. I suspect I’m not alone in this, heroic 25-man raid teams must be quite annoyed at having the difficult decision of which players to drop and heroic 10-man raiders must be looking with dread at the recruiting on steroids (or merging) that will allow them to continue raiding at their preferred level.

My guild falls into neither of these categories. Yes, we are a ten man and we do habitually raid heroic level content at the end of the tier. The problem is, it’s only at the end of the tier. Which means, unlike every other guild who is strictly a heroic raiding guild or a normal raiding guild, we have to figure out how much we value heroic raiding and whether it’s worth the effort of recruiting ten more players. And the big problem is we’re probably not all going to agree. I mean, I know which side of the fence I’m on. I spend mostly all the tier hoping we will get to do some heroic progression and it’s the most enjoyable content for me. I hate doing farm content and if WoD suddenly means two or more months of doing the same thing over and over again with no new challenge to look forward to, I will likely go insane.

But, then, I’m also not an officer. The onus of finding a solution that will allow us to do this heroic (mythic; one day I will get used to the term!) content will not fall on me. We’re a tiny guild. We have a bench of one. Of the people who are active on a regular basis, 100% of them are raiders. Of the people who poke their heads in occasionally, 90% of them are former raiders that had to quit for one reason or the other. If all of them came back, we’d still need to recruit seven to ten players to ensure having enough people to be able to do heroic content, not to mention a bench big enough to sustain that roster. It’s going to take quite a bit of effort, and if our GM decides it’s not really worth it, I could easily see why.

I also am not particularly averse to 25-man raiding, but I know a few of our members raid 10 man because they like it. Not everyone’s computer can take large raids. I know because mine barely does (one of the reasons I have not really actively pursued 25-man raiding before now).

There’s also the fact that the difficulty of tiers varies greatly. Tier 14, my guild was racing the patch to get their (alas, I was not yet a part of the team by this point) Sha kill. They got it on the last week and mustered just one heroic kill. With ToT, we had about three months to work on heroics. This tier? It’s looking around the same, perhaps a bit more, depending on when Blizz releases the new expansion. If every tier looked like tier 14, then we’d be able to happily remain normal raiders, but there’s no way to know.

Mostly, I’m just crossing my fingers that making this decision won’t turn into a drama bomb.