Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Lovin' the game and burned out at the same time

Strange emotional reaction to WoW over the past few days.

On the one hand, I'm having a great time. Some Kara, some ZA, lots of BG, a little fishing in hopes of Mr. Pinchy, a couple of random Heroics. Other than a short-lived spell of depression with WSG, it's been a very positive and fun time.

On the other hand, there's a little burn out going on.

I vunder vhere its coming from?

Edit: this post as originally written was a giant whiny rant. It's been boiled down to its essence, and is now a smallish whiny rant.
Edit to the edit: its still a long post, but seems more interesting than the first writing. Welcome to the insanity that is Amava's thought process.

I think the burnout stems from two places, both end-game raid oriented:

Consuming Your Will to Live

The first is consumables. For each raid, I use one of two types of agility food (Warp Burger or Grilled Mudfish), one type of +hit food (Spicy Hot Talbuk), two types of pet food (Kibler's Bits and Smoked Talbuk Venison), Superior Mana Oil, Flask of Relentless of Assault, Fel Mana Potions, Heavy Netherweave Bandages, projectiles (Mysterious Arrows), and Agility scrolls. The only thing I think I could be using, but I draw the line somewhere and don't actually do this, is Strength scrolls for my pet.

Of these mats, some I can farm for myself...

  • Fish for Mudfish in Nagrand. Generally 20 or 30 minutes for a stack. Sometimes this overlaps with the daily fishing quest

  • Kill Talbuks in Nagrand. About 20 minutes for a full stack. Typically overlaps with Nether Residue daily skinning quest

  • Kill Buzzards in Hellfire. About 15 minutes for a full stack. Sometimes the daily fishing quest is in near proximity to the buzzards. Also, you fly over them en route to Hellfire SSO dailies

  • Netherweave Cloth. Just pick this up as you go, not something you often need to specifically farm for, as its all over the place

  • Scrolls. Sometimes fishing yields scrolls, but this is too unreliable to be considered "farming"

  • Although not really farming, DE random greens you collect along the way for Arcane Dust.

Then there's materials to buy from other players, especially when you're the saddest type of panda out there, a non-herbalist :-(

  • Netherbloom for the Superior Mana Oil (with farmed Arcane Dust)

  • Fel Lotus, Terocones, and Mana Thistle for Flask of Relentless Assault

  • Nightmare Vine and Mana Thistle for Fel Mana Pots

Then you gotta purchase some stuff from NPCs

  • Imbued Vials - Lower City

  • Smoked Talbuk Venison - a different, albiet adjacent, vendor in LC

  • Hot Spices - yet a third, albiet also adjacent, vendor in LC

  • Mysterious Arrows - Aldor Rise

And lastly, now that you've got the mats, for us non-alchemist/enchanters, you need to talk to some crafters

  • Pick 1 of 3 enchanters you regularly hang out with who have recipe (which you gave to them, lol) for Superior Mana Oil

  • Visit the only alchemist you know who can make Flask of Relentless Assault. Oh, and btw, make sure you can catch him still in shatt city because it requires an alchemy lab

  • Visit the only alchemist you know (different than Flask guy) who can make Fel Mana Potion. Luckily, you can catch this guy right at the instance meeting stone, since no alchemy lab is needed

  • Talk to/trade with other fishermen who might have scrolls available. You did keep those +int and +sta scrolls you fished up to trade, didn't you?

Now, granted, a stack of buff food or pet food might last more than one night of raiding, but the potions and flasks especially, those need continuous replenishing.

Oh, and I didn't mention that for any of the things you bought, or any tips you provide to your friendly crafters, you also need to spend time earning gold so you can pay for them. Plus make sure you have 30 or 40 gold left over for repairs each night.

So Blizzard tells us we're suppose have all this "fun" preparing for the raid, before we're allowed to have FUN actually in the raid.

But that's not all, folks....

You've got friends, but not enough

I'm blessed to be part of a 10-person raid team that's filled with friendly, mature, helpful, patient people, with two additional substitute players who fit right in. We have a great time playing in karazhan together, and we're all very happy with the pace at which we've cleared through the instance.

We've been visiting Zul'Aman for two weeks now and the very first boss in there is showing us that we're not quite geared up enough. Repeat runs through Kara will help somewhat as we each have one or two pieces we still want out of there. Other than that, we've got to grind out badges galore to gear ourselves up, but most of the pieces we need cost 100 badges, which is reasonably attainable in about 1 month for our rate of raiding and heroic'ing. Meaning, ain't gonna be none too soon that badges provide enough improvement for us to be comfortable in ZA.

Only other option is to look at 25-man stuff like Gruuls or the newly nerfed Maggy. Gear-wise and skill-wise, we're ready, definitely for Gruuls and maybe for new Maggy.

BUT, Blizzard says we can't do that. Blizzard tells us that unless we take the personal responsibility to include/entertain 15 or 20 more players, we can't do this. Rather than Blizzard providing a path suitable for our style and ability to coordinate schedule and personalities, Blizzard is making sure that the 10 of us take the responsibility for keeping a bunch of other players paying their monthly fees.

What choice is there?

Why are we forced into these decisions or activities? I can see why Blizz puts the people requirements in there. Its their way of using their motivated customers to take over the burden of entertaining their other customers. Smart business decision. I don't like how it impacts me as one of the semi-motivated customers, but I can see why they do it.

What about the consumables? I'd be paying my monthly fee just to raid, its not like farming for mats or ensuring I have all my stuff before a raid causes me to pay more. Maybe it forces the economy to be more active? Could be, and through that I further participate in the entertainment of Blizzard's other customers.

I love raiding. The 7-9 hours of raid time I do each week is lots of fun, and because of the nice schedule and organization we have among the 10 of us, there is little wasted time. Our first pull goes off within 5 minutes of scheduled start time, and we go to bed when its bed time, and in the middle, we're efficiently progressing through content.

Why can't Blizzard allow us to enjoy that time, pay for that time, and have that time, without all the other time and activities they force us into?

Do I want to farm for mats for all these consumables? No.

Do I enjoy the giant number of details that I need to run through prior to a raid? No.

Do I like the concept of organizing 10 people's schedules, needs, desires, performance? Eh, not so much, but its bearable.

Does my o-ring pucker at the thought of trying to do the same thing for 25 people? You bet.

I can easily see that another few months of this will burn me out pretty easily. I feel like I'm a bit "lucky" in how I came late to WoW. Hopefully I'll be just cresting the burnout curve when the expansion pack hits.

But if I were part of WoW from the beginning? In all likelihood I'd be out the door by now due to the forced time sinks in the game that then possibly permit you to enjoy the parts that you actually like, assuming you can find two dozen others that want to do the same thing, and play the right type of toons.

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