Friday, April 13, 2012

My Journey From Raiding to PvP

   I used to love raiding. Pre-BC, it was a thing I did to burn time along with some old friends. Three or four of us would be in the same room, running the raid. Well, they would run it. I was just along for the deeps. I didn't care about gear or progression. I just liked being a Hunter. My favorite raid was ZG. It was the only rep grind I obsessed over, much less finished, and the last fight had me in the kiting role, which really made me feel accomplished.

  AQ 40 killed it. MC was also a long slog, sure, but AQ had the added disadvantage of being further inaccessable to the player base. We tried combining the best players from 3 guilds, but in that respect, we were severely limited by class-stacking constraints.

  My third highest regret in the game was never setting foot in old Naxx.

  The first time I got back into raiding in Wrath, I was surprised to see that gearing up had turned into a badge grind, with only the helm and shoulders unavailable pre-raid. Easily enough, I ran ToC pugs for T9, ran heroics until sick of them (Volley spam was lame!), and soon enough had a 4k gearscore. I was brought into the raid (ICC, first wing, with buff) by my then-guild Eutopia. I did 4500+ DPS as SV, while properly dealing with blood beasts. For any who might not know, those are not typical numbers for a new raider of that gear score. I still had it. I switched to the ArPen MM build soon after getting 4pcT10, further increasing my DPS.

  We had a tough time in plague wing, but after figuring it out, we quickly downed the blood queen, and downed Sindy on our third try. Yeah, we had the buff and all, but really, I feel we earned all 11 we did.

  Patch 4.0 killed it. As soon as all the new game mechanics dropped, the whole team fell apart. Cataclysm was only a few weeks away, and I guess we as a team gave up on killing the LK. Though I've done the fight since then with various groups, there is no victory for me there.

  My second highest regret in the game is not killing the LK when it counted.

  I leveled and geared up my Hunter quickly in Cata, and finally leveled and geared up my much neglected Priest. I pugged as much as I could, trying to gain experience with the fights to relay to the others in Eutopia when the team reformed. Six silent months later, I finally left and started shopping around for a raid team.

  I had a lot to offer, with two well enough geared characters. I am an expert Hunter, and I constantly received high praise from pugs I was in, gaining a few friends from various guilds, and getting invites to many alt runs. I was a go-to guy that these friends would take before resorting to trade chat pugs.

  My only problem was that I couldn't commit to anything before 10PM, and at the time there were only two late night raids on Durotan. I turned down one of them, and was turned down by the other. I wish I could say it's water under the bridge, especially since some of my current guildmates are friends with and/or have alts in that guild, but I felt I was mistreated. I never twice attempt to curry the favor of the people who dismiss me in such a way. So I remained a pug player. I finished 11/12 again. I didn't care so much this time.

  Firelands was not pug-friendly, and I didn't kill Rag. I still loved raiding, though and had a fantastic time with some of the groups I was in.

  LFR killed it. I read the guides, watched the videos, and jumped right in. When the second wing opened up the next week, I did it again, and after a few hours I killed DW. What a cheap win. Half the raid carried the other. Tier tokens, trinkets, and fancy proc weapons dropped for us all, noobs in blue PvP gear, pros in full FL heroic, and all of us in between.

  What a socialist society WoW has become, where tier bonuses can be enjoyed by players who don't even participate in downing trash, who never switch targets, who can't be bothered to gem or enchant anything, who spend what few talents they have in such mind bogglingly terrible ways, who don't have a single glyph inscribed, who must be allergic to buff foods and flasks. The only PvE 4 piece bonus I've had was T10, but I earned it. Want 4p T11? Kill Nef. Want 4p T12? Kill Rag (again). Want 4p T13? Queue with as many good players as you can, and hope your rolls are lucky, cause you're in for the worst pug experiences possible since Faction Champs.

  I've pugged with so many good and bad pugs, that I know when to cut my losses. LFR is a good thing to cut, especially since I just don't raid anymore. I gave up. I have yet to set foot in DS proper. I have no motivation to. Why get T13? To look cool? I don't care about gear in that way. Gear serves a purpose, and my purpose changed.

  I do RBG's now. I jumped in to the end of last season (always a Johnny-come-lately), but took to it naturally. I still consider myself an expert Hunter, though there are new nuances to learn, and I've found PvP Priest healing to be the most challenging activity in my WoW experience so far.

  One of the aspects of PvP I especially like is how the gear progresses. Anyone who cares enough to grind honor can start on a level playing field with last season's best gear. This sets the non-participant types at a disadvantage, while still providing access to new players and alts. Sure, bad players can make random BG's hell sometimes, but the honor keeps rolling in regardless.  The conquest grind is also a fantastic personal gear progression that rewards players at a predictable rate, and in a controlled order. You win enough, and you progress faster.

  More importantly, I like the variety of experience in PvP. No fight ever goes exactly the same way again. It stays fresh, unless you're assigned to watch Stables, then it's kinda boring.

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