Friday, March 21, 2008

Know When To Say When

Think back to the first time you started up World of Warcraft, the cinematic telling the story of the race you are about to play as the camera pans in around until settling on you. You begin your adventure excitedly as you begin learning how to use the interface and interacting with the world around you. After a couple of minor quests, suddenly a burst of light surrounds you flashing upwards as a trumpeting sound announces that you’ve just attained a new level! The excitement courses through your veins as you become hooked.

As play progresses, you upgrade your gear, talents, and professions as you level. Each new item adding a little thrill of victory that pushes you ever onward, then you reach level 70. With sudden excitement at reaching this seemingly ever elusive goal, you look forward thinking “OK. Now what? Does it end here?" No. Blizzard has cunningly crafted and designed a world that quite frankly seems to only begin upon reaching level 70. So you push on.

Attaining level 70, you begin to pursue the reputation rewards and push through the many instances and quests to increase your reputation with various factions. Heroic instances beckon with the potential gear that can be dropped as well as purchased with the use of Badges of Justice. Karazhan tempts you like a succubus’ spell. And now the Sunwell looms on the horizon as the pinnacle of all we work for.

So when does this stop? When do we say enough is enough? For each person, the answer is different.

Currently I’ve been working on trying to get to Karazhan. I’ve spent months attempting to gear up in preparation for it and it hasn’t been easy. I’ve been told through others that one of my former guildmates said that I have done extremely well considering that I haven’t gotten into a raiding guild yet. I have to say that it was a nice compliment coming from this guy. He left our guild, Field of Honor, some time ago and joined a raiding guild. I’ve heard horror stories about what that has been like. He’s been in a couple of them now and they’ve professed to being about having fun; fun being defined as succeeding with no wipes and no problems at whatever they are doing.

If you watch the trade channel for guild recruiters, every single guild states they are fun-loving and looking to have a good time. Have you ever once seen a guild recruiter state “We are a cold, impersonal bunch looking for hardcore raiders capable of committing to raiding for 4+ hours/night, 7 days/week. Must be able to accept extreme criticism and not #*@! up”? Of course you haven’t!

[ed: By the way Blizzard, you really need to fix it so that the guild and looking for group channels are usable in Shattrath. That might help alleviate some of the traffic in the trade channel. Probably not, but it's a thought. :)]

I suppose that “fun-loving” and “good time” are subjective terms. Not many would say that wiping in an instance repeatedly for three hours is a good time. Repair bills become high and sometimes astronomical in nature for plate wearers. I have had a couple of times where wiping repeatedly was just fun because of the existing attitude of the group; we knew we probably wouldn’t get through, but the trying was what it was about anyway.

[ed: Ironically, last night another friend of mine, who happens to be in the same raiding guild as the friend mentioned above, told me she'd rather spend 3 hours dying in Karazhan with friends and laughing about it, than continue to put up with the crap she has to deal with in her current guild. Granted, she was very upset at the time she said it because of something that was going on.]

I have reached a point where very few upgrades exist for me through normal instances and quests. I have been looking at Karazhan for quite some time, but we do not have the appropriate number of people in my current guild that are ready for Karazhan. Actually, we don’t have enough of them ready for heroics either; the other avenue that exists for me to acquire upgrades.

So where do I go from here? My friend I mentioned above suggested that I join his guild. He warned me that they would dictate what spec I would play and when and where I could go. I don’t mind so much about the when and where, but what spec I play should be up to me. I’ve always believed that everyone should play as they see fit. Yes, there’s advice out there for the best overall spec for any particular healer, tank, and dps, but for heaven’s sake do what you want! How can you have fun otherwise?!

So why this post? Because I actually began to consider doing it. The thought occurred to me that I could join his guild for just long enough to get everything I wanted out of Karazhan. Right now, I want every piece of healing gear that I can get my hands on, plus tanking gear besides. I miss tanking and having the ability to switch when needed would be fantastic! Once gaining all that gear I can come back to the guild and assist the others in getting through Karazhan and moving forward from there. Makes sense right? No.

When does it stop? Once getting through Karazhan, I’m back in the same boat I am now. I could come back sure, but they would either be in the same place they are now or they would be into Karazhan and I would be ready for the next step looking for that next elusive upgrade. So when do I say when?

I know I won’t be happy in my friend’s raiding guild. It, like many others, sounds like you are there to do a job. It isn’t about the social aspect or about relaxing and killing some time. It’s about getting with others to finish something and move on. Thank you, I already have a job. Does that outweigh the desire to get the next set of gear? I don’t know. I do know that I’d rather go through Karazhan with friends I know, but are there enough of us to do so? I’m currently weighing my options and trying to “know when to say when.”

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