So I had the post about the great big return to Azeroth. While it wasn’t really nostalgia, as the goal was actually to do something new, it still represented a return to an old friend. I had a couple posts about the guild and things that remained the same, and then haven’t mentioned our adventures in World of Warcraft for… two weeks now.
Which, if you are a long time reader, might be taken as a sign that I stopped playing. I tend to just go quiet on games I stop playing unless there was some big, breaking event.
However, such has not been the case with WoW.
In fact, if you look at my Raptr profile, you will see that WoW has been far and away my most played game for the last two weeks. I log on every day and play a bit.
I just haven’t done anything really interesting.
We still haven’t formed a guild, remaining with Khaotica for all the level 25 boosts and bennies.
I ran my first character, Makawao through a number of zones, which has been fun enough. The zones, while clearly still focused on being solo story events in the post-Cataclysm model, are fun. I goggle a bit at how much effort must have gone into some of the locations or quests only to spend mere minutes in them at times. The Stonetalon Mountains seems especially full of such locations.
But I am not sure I need to write a zone guide about that. Maybe I could start tracking Blizzard’s seeming obsession with poop quests and balloons. Balloons especially seem to be a post-Cataclysm motif.
I have been quite keen on pet battles. I still have a full post in the works for that at some point. I think I need to go further with it than I have currently before I come to any conclusions. But I will say that the Pokemon-like “collect them all” is a big driver. I speak as somebody who, at one point, had literally caught them all in Pokemon.
I ended up getting too far out in front of my daughter with Makawao. It was fine for her to race ahead, but when I did it there are complaints. So I stopped when he hit 40 and go the epic mount skill.
The whole account-wide mounts thing made that interesting. And it will be more so when I get to flying mounts. I have more choices than I remember.
With Makawao on hold, I started working on an alt. I had rolled up a blood elf paladin, Banff, and decided to take him another path. I picked the protection spec with the idea of running him through all of the instances as a tank. I generally play the healer, falling back to DPS when somebody else in our regular group (usually Potshot) already has the role. But I rarely play the tank. Both Earl and Gaff insist on playing that role when they are around (which makes having them both around interesting at the rare times it happens), so I generally consider that somebody elses job. (By my calculations, I have been healing Gaff the tank off and on for nearly 20 years.)
So going tank is another aspect of the “do something new in Azeroth” plan.
But doing instances via Dungeon Finder has been… a change. More after the cut.
Ah, the Dungeon Finder.
It has not just been a change from the old days of the instance group, but it has felt like a big change from the early days of the Dungeon Finder.
When I first started doing Dungeon Finder back when it came out, I found the sub-level cap groups to be pretty decent. People chatted, asked what to do on occasion, and did not do that many really dumb things. Yes, there was always the almost stereotypical shield equipped protection warrior in the DPS role trying to taunt mobs off the tank to deal with. It was like that was a special role at one point, I swear, but even that wasn’t a big deal.
But things seem to have changed since then.
I don’t want to get on the Dungeon Finder or DPS hate horses, but it seems like the system is failing the players. People who join such groups as healers or tanks seem, more often than not, to know what they are doing. But how you get those skills isn’t clear. And for people who opt in for DPS… well, that does seem to be the choice for those who don’t know what to do.
And when you add on the goody bag daily random dungeon quest, the shortened versions of many dungeons post-Cataclysm, and the general reduction in difficulty across the board in that area and you get some really regrettable behavior that the system does not help you correct for. Sure, once in a while something goes awry that ends up in a wipe.
But for the most part a decent healer and tank combo can thwart almost all dumb DPS moves to the point that there is no reason they shouldn’t just run ahead and chain pull stuff. Certainly nothing bad happens when they do. We just handle it, the healer and I.
I count myself lucky that being a pally tank at this point makes holding aggro pretty easy, even with a mass of adds. So with lay hands, my own heals, potions, and that herbalism heal, along with a healer who is even half way decent, the situation is almost always saved. Even when DPS runs ahead and triggers all the bowls in Blackfathom Deeps right after you told the group one damn bowl at a time.
That was a double win because, not only did one DPS essentially pull a whole staged event down on us in one go, but another DPS decided he did not want to come with us and sat at the zone entrance, hitting “need” every single loot drop. And we couldn’t kick him because he was smart enough to engage the easy mobs at the start of the instance, because you cannot kick people who are in, or were recently in, combat.
The most epic healer and tank win however had to be a Wailing Caverns run when the DPS, as a group, decided they didn’t want to come to the final boss fight. Even after I asked several times, they all just sat at the entrance until the achievement hit, then left the group. You can see in this screen shot that the achievement has barely popped and they are out the door.
Fortunately the healer was good and pally aggro management was working well.
Of course, the flip side of all of this is that when you get DPS that knows what they are doing… the instance is barely a challenge at all. We had a rogue in Shadowfang Keep who joined part-way in after one DPS left because we were going “too slow” who absolutely killed. It was one of the few times I haven’t been close to, or at the top of, the damage charts in an instance.
Which makes me wonder if bad DPS is actually a good thing, since it makes the dungeons less of a face roll. I suppose I will see how that plays out at the higher levels.
Anyway, it has been an interesting experiment in the instances. I am tempted to propose a heal-tank challenge to see how far you could get doing instances with just two players while staying within the level range dictated by Dungeon Finder.
Meanwhile, I we carry on in Azeroth. It is still fun. I am still seeing some new things. It is still occupying the majority of my play time.
And, most of all, it is a comfortable place to be.