Tag Archives: firelands

The Expansion is Ending?

In Trade yesterday, someone mentioned that the expansion is ending. Someone replied, “what do you mean, ‘the expansion is ending?'”

Mists of Pandaria is around the virtual corner. Some guesses put it as soon as June, some as late as September, but regardless of when it comes, we’re wrapping up Cataclysm. We’re in the last tier of content, we’ve killed the Big Boss, and Blizzard has repeatedly confirmed there will not be a filler raid between now and MoP. Further, beta started this week. The door is closing.

I don’t do postmortem breakdowns. There are plenty of MUCH more qualified people doing that (specifically, Blizzard itself). I’d feel remiss, though; if I didn’t go back and ruminate a bit on what Cataclysm was for me and figure out how to wrap it up in proper style.

Story

I’m going to be honest, even if it’s a bit fangirl-ish: content-wise, I loved Cataclysm. My introduction to World of Warcraft lore took place in three parts, or more correctly, one story in the parts: War of the Ancients. Knowing that I would get to team up with and face off against the characters and dragons I’d read about put me on the edge of my seat for the expansion.

I enjoyed every raid. Really. Okay, I didn’t love Throne of the Four Winds, but I adored Blackwing Descent. It was everything I wanted the first raid to be. The fights were fun (okay, maybe being a moonkin on Atramedes when Lunar Shower still rocked made it a little more fun, but still) and everything felt fresh again. I needed fresh after months and months of Icecrown.

Although I took a several month break from the game and missed the introduction of Firelands, I’m glad I got the chance to see it. I never got to see Ragnaros in Molten Core, at least not when he was the Big Boss. I liked the environment and the fights, even if the instance and I had our disagreements. Plus:

I mean, even I can’t argue with that.

I grinned all the way through the 4.3 heroics, despite the fact that I don’t like the Tyrande’s voice acting (not because the acting was bad, but because I don’t feel like it fit the character). While seeing Deathwing meet his “end” was a little anticlimactic since I fought him in LFR before we ever got to him as a guild,  I still liked the encounters and the story.

My Raiding Experience

I started out on a great foot when the expansion began. I knew that I knew my class, and I proved it over and over again. Even when things got rocky and the guild I was in switched to 10-mans, I did pretty well in every role I was asked to fill (which often ended up being healing).

The only thing I wasn’t completely comfortable with was tanking, but this is where I have to give a shoutout to the awesome people of Ephemera who encouraged me to try and gave me  ample opportunity to practice. They were persistent and non-judgemental, and I love them for it.

After my several month break, I returned, ready to raid again. Things had been in a bit of an upheaval, and I ended up returning to my guild Chi Cerca Trova while I got my feet wet in Firelands. What a culture shock. I’d never taken a lengthy break from raiding like that, and it took me a while to get my bearings straight.

Even now, I don’t feel like I’m back to where I was. I struggle to see the numbers I want to see. I get irritated with myself for not performing the level I feel is acceptable. Right now I sit in a place of deep frustration, and if I can’t find a way out of it, Mists might see me taking on a new role or even a new class. Tastes Like Death…Knight? Tastes Like Holy Priest?

I intend to moonkin to the best of my ability until this expansion officially ends. Time (and beta) will determine where I go after that.

What to Do Now?

We’ve got 3-6 months before we’re standing in line at Gamestop to pick up our copies of Mists of Pandaria. It sounds like a long time, but in Warcraft time, it’s not really. What are you doing to pass the time until we’re rolling our monks?

These are the things I’m doing:

What are you doing to say goodbye to this expansion, and are you ready to step into Pandaria?
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The Collective Aha Moment & Two Reasons I Hate Firelands

The Collective A-Ha Moment

One of the most insightful comments I’ve seen came from Emmalise on a post I wrote last February. She talked about how she likes the teamwork aspect of raiding, how rewarding it is when 25 people all team up and get a boss fight. A week of wipes and frustration and let’s-try-this and what-about-that pays off when suddenly it all clicks. I call it the collective a-ha moment, and it’s an important part of why I raid, too.

For each player, there’s a different “epic” in the game. Maybe your epic is getting the best gear and flexing in the middle of Stormwind. Maybe it’s making such a name for yourself in PvP that the other team runs when they see your nameplate. For me, it’s raiding. It’s learning and progressing and coordinating. It’s the collective a-ha and the achievement (the kind you feel, not the kind that makes glowy swirls on your screen, though I like those too).

Why I Hate Firelands: Reason 1

I returned to Warcraft this past fall. I’d stopped playing in May-ish and missed pretty much everything from May to August. I rejoined my guild and found that they needed me almost right off the bat because of the difficulty of recruiting for 25-mans on our server. It took me a little while to get a grasp on my moonkin-ness again, but that was nothing compared to the Firelands learning curve.

By the time I came in, most of the place was on farm. They were working on Domo, I believe. I had never even seen the instance, and I had to follow the color-coded dots of my raid members to find the entrance.

To them, these bosses were thoughtless fights. They’d done them many, many times before, and it was old hat. For me, I was completely lost. I had read strats to prepare myself, had even watched a few videos, but until you actually do a boss fight, you don’t really get it.

The best way for me to learn a boss fight is to learn it as a new fight: to struggle through, figure out what works and what doesn’t while everyone else is doing the same thing. As it was, I was learning on my own, and I was like an awkward cheerleader in a dance line: always one step behind the rest. The whole thing was extremely frustrating, and I only kept coming because I knew it would get better over time. I still never fully grasped the nuances of a lot of the early fights in Firelands.

No one likes to feel like the slow one. No one likes to feel left behind. It’s not unfair that this was the way it was, but that doesn’t mean it felt great.

Reason #1: I missed out on the collective a-ha moments, and I felt awkward and out-of-place for most of the instance.

Why I Hate Firelands: Reason 2

Practically every caster in the guild was at some point in the progression of the legendary staff. There was a mage who was supposed to be getting it next, but he stopped coming, and suddenly I was being given the pieces for the first quest. This was, as I saw it, probably my only opportunity to ever see a legendary. I knew that on the totem pole of legendary staves, I was at the bottom, but I was hopeful nevertheless.

It took me a while to get all the Embers. My husband asked me to take Tuesdays off for a while to watch Biggest Loser with him, but I jumped on every time I could, and eventually got all of them.

I had basically bankrupted myself early in the expansion on two DMC:V’s for myself and my husband, and because I had stopped playing, I had never made the gold back. While I was collecting Embers, I was also diligently farming when I could for the gold to buy the items I would need for the staff.

I paid the 9k and completed the first quest and the next couple. I one-shotted the Nexus event in a moment I can only describe as freaking awesome. It came time for me to collect the foci from the raid.

We went in, and they were wearing down heroic Shannox while I ran around collecting shards. I got them, formed a focus, and I put it down, the spear hit it–and me. I never got healed and died right next to the charged focus. I asked for a rez, but my mic was broken and no one saw it in raid chat. By the time I got rezzed, the focus was gone, and the boss was dying. I was really upset.

But we moved on to Beth’tilac. I had read about this boss, but I had misread about the number of shards that drop. I collected three, but it took me so long that by the time I got up and put it on the web, Beth’tilac was coming down for the last time.

At that point, the raid gave up on me getting the rest of my foci, and wiped out the instance without looking back. I felt like an unimportant idiot. Mostly, I felt extremely disappointed.

The following Tuesday, Dragon Soul came out.

We went into Firelands last night to help other people do steps to get their staff. The race to get through Firelands as quickly as possible is not conducive to the step I’m on, and I’m not on anyone’s priority list for the staff.

Months ago I realized I wouldn’t ever see it completed, or at least not until late MoP when people get bored and I can maybe bribe them to help me. However, it’s still a disappointment, and going in there, especially to watch everyone else get their staff, is like salt in a wound.

Reason #2: Firelands reminds me of disappointment and failure.

Last night was not a fun night for me. I go because I’ve committed to raid and backing out because I’m a little butthurt would be lame. But I won’t like it.

And you can’t make me.


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