Don’t Ask your Guild about Shadowlands

(No story spoilers)

I missed writing. But between raiding, orchestra practice, and the esports job, something had to give and it was blogging. Though with the current states of affairs going on in the world right now, I find myself with a little more time than usual. Dusted off the site and applied some paint to give it some more life. I’m going to need to dive deeper into the rest of the archives though to see if anything broke.

How about you? How’ve you all been? Take care of yourselves (and each other) out there.

Shadowlands

If you’re like any other guild and you ask them their thoughts on Shadowlands, I guarantee you the consensus you’re going to receive is that it is literally going to be the worst WoW expansion ever. Some of the reasons include:

  • Covenants are going to make everything so imbalanced.
  • Literally every class is going to be overpowered.
  • There is clearly no testing going on.
  • There is a mission table (still).
  • Rogues exist (still).

I’m telling you, Shadowlands is going to be the best expansion (for Holy Priests)! As I was huffing around beta, I jumped into a dungeon queue. Bless that 2 minute healing queue which is both a blessing and a curse. If you ever want to feel pressure, it’s setting up your keybinds via the default system UI, dragging spells out of your spellbook, and configuring talents whilst keeping your party alive.

Everyone’s been all over Discipline in this expansion and Holy Priests are like that forgotten lip balm you have tucked in your drawer somewhere. Prayer of Mending is instant cast. Casting Circle of Healing can reduce the cast time of your next Prayer of Healing (via talent Prayer Circle). The resurrect cloak from Legion has returned in some fashion. Power Word: Shield can be spammed again across the party. I can access Power Infusion (take a number, stand in line)! I am quite delighted with where the class is at right now. Are we going to be throughput monsters in Shadowlands? That’ll most likely be a hard no. Holy was always designed to be above average to good at everything but I know we’ll never excel at one thing.

There is no way I can contain my giddyness. There is going to be a boss somewhere that involves some kind of soak mechanic or else the raid is going to wipe. Obviously, it’s going to go to some Ice Blocking Mage or a Bubbling Paladin first. But there will come a time when the raid leader will say, “Matticus, we’re out of options. You know what to do.” and I will gladly take a dive in the name of progression!

Seriously though, it does seem like my guild has a giant, dark cloud looming over them. I wish I could snap them out of it but I don’t know how. My worry is that they’ll be so demoralized to the point where they want to quit the game. Then what am I going to do? I’d have to go look for another guild to raid with again :(. I understand how seemingly inflexible covenants can be but to Blizzard’s credit, they’ve actually come out and said they’re prepared to allow for ease of use for switching if the system is deemed unsalvageable. I can’t remember the last time the dev team openly saying something like that about a new system they’re shipping with an expansion. So in a way, the acknowledgement is a step in some direction.

Other news

  • We cleared Mythic N’zoth (316 pulls).
  • Reached Platinum 1 in Valorant.
  • My vibrato technique continues to be non-existent.
  • I haven’t cut my hair since January.

Highmaul Day!

What an exhausting week. Running heroics, challenge modes, recruitment, and preparing for Highmaul took quite a toll. Given the option between raid launching after a week into the expansion or after two weeks, I think I would’ve preferred the former. The issue with taking the time to gear up is that everyone plays and levels at different rates. Inevitably, no matter what I do or how many runs I attempt to do, there’ll always be players who feel left out.

Anyway, I won’t have to worry about dealing with five mans anymore. I’m looking forward to raid. We’re opening with a large raid size of 34 players. Once we feel ready for Mythic, that number is going to drop by almost half.

World bosses

How are we going to handle world bosses? I’m sure this is another question GMs are struggling with. We have no definitive time frames on respawn timers or their frequency. Is it once a week? Several times a week? Fifteen minutes? We don’t know. My current approach right now is to take world bosses off the schedule and encourage players to get into groups and run it on their own until we get a firm idea of when they appear. I’m not going to sacrifice a raid night waiting for a spawn when it could better off spent diving into Highmaul.

Returning guilds

Have you noticed this? I’ve seen characters coming online and recruiting for guild names I had thought since retired since the days of Burning Crusade. I never expected to see them again. This expansion has been a real jolt to the community, it seems. We’ll see how many of them end up sticking around, however. I suspect the opening month will really dictate how many guilds are pretenders and how many are contenders. I think the reality of raiding and the logistics will hit home for many leaders again and they realize why it was they ended up quitting in the first place. But with all the difficulty changes and the flexible raiding options, maybe it might not be so bad for them.

To all the guilds entering Highmaul this week, best of luck!

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Alliance First Level 100!

Elapsed time, 10 hours and 5 minutes. The servers opened up at 11:45 PM Pacific a few minutes early. Turned in all my dailies and started my pre-planned route on the way to level 100. At around 9:50 AM the next day (Thursday morning), I turned in my final quest and hit level 100. All in all, my run took me around 10 hours and 5 minutes. My personal best on beta was 9 hours and 33 minutes but you factor in the periodic disconnects and you can see it adds up. Being on a PvP server and being ahead of the curve means almost no one tries to gank you. All the higher level players know and we have a gentleman’s agreement that if you go after an opposing player, it actually slows everyone down for levelling so we don’t tend to go against each other. After that, I tried to stay up for a few hours longer by running a dungeon and completing my Apexis Crystal dailies. Holy heck, it feels as if my body just started weaving in and out of consciousness. There were times I snapped back to reality while healing and noticed my group was a little further ahead in the dungeon. Took a herculean amount of effort just to try to stay focused. After that, I queued up more work orders and garrison missions and went to bed for a few hours.

I was up for about 30 consecutive hours. I’m naturally an early riser so I was awake at 6 AM on the Wednesday. That’s when I did my shopping and cleared out as many other errands as I could. Met up with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while for dinner and just made an effort to try to relax myself before the game launched. Later that night, I tried taking a nap but I was at that weird sleeping state where you’re partially asleep but still slightly awake and aware of everything. At about 10 PM, I gave up.

Why didn’t you take your time to level to 100 and enjoy the sights and scenes?

I did that during the beta. The final builds of the game were at a point where I could just quest at my own leisurely place and really immerse myself in the lore. I knew when game day rolled around though, it would be a mad rush to 100 and I didn’t want to get myself caught with the flood of players. You just have to beat the curve.

How’d you do it?

Many players out there relied on energy drinks or caffeine to get them through it. I bought myself a fruit platter and had two jugs of water beside me plus a few snacks to munch on. Things got a little dicey around 6:30 AM because I was starting to get hungry and I was running out of hard food to eat. I knew that I would receive breadcrumb quests that sent me over to the next zones so I timed my bathroom breaks with that. During RP sessions in game, I’d pull nearby random mobs for bits of extra experience or start disenchanting items to keep my bag space clear. Most of my experience came with practice on beta servers where I had my routes all figured out.

Why not server first?

When I was the only level 94 in Gorgrond, I ran into a Horde level 95 Shadow Priest. I remember early on in the day a few rollbacks were issued out to players on EU servers for abusing and exploiting the turtle quest turn in on Timeless Isle. Or maybe I was beat out with a player who had a Darkmoon Faire buff. I’m not sure, but I certainly gave in my best effort and loaded up with experience potions on the way up. I’ll certainly settle for Alliance first though.

I am so excited for this expansion. No real dailies to do, for one! No quests to grind out or anything. Lots more exploration! More world PvP action (one of the benefits of being 100 is I get to dish out payback on players who annoyed me over the years).

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Introducing the Guild Masters!

Say hello to the Guild Masters.

Today I wanted to take a moment to announce the start of a new blog project. The idea came about after browsing through the Warcraft Guild and Leadership forums. Ran into questions and problems that guild leaders and officers were struggling with.

And you know what I realized?

There is no single place for guild leaders and officers to ask questions or gain support for common issues.

How should a guild leader handle drama?

How does an officer say no?

How do you “raid lead”?

What elements constitute a solid guild website?

Thus, the Guild Masters formed.

I’m hoping to expand a bit beyond that though. I’ve played League of Legends, Heroes of the Storm, and Counterstrike: Global Offensive. All of those games involve elements of leadership but it’s not quite the same as leading in WoW. Eventually, I’d like to expand and incorporate those elements but for now, I’m going to focus on the MMO side of things.

If you’re interested, shoot me an email or hit me up on Twitter (@matticus) or add me to your battletag (Matticus#1773).

Conquest turns 7 years old this month. When I started, I didn’t really have that many resources available. I don’t remember the leadership forum having been created yet. I relied on mistakes observed in other guilds. I asked for advice and pointers from the few friends I had who were officers and leaders of their own guilds. I made my own share of screw ups along the way.

As a result, I laid down the ground work for the site back in April and started sketching out what I wanted it to be. It’s a site that’s targeted for newly promoted and minted leaders who might know what they’ve gotten themselves into. I’ve asked a few trusted and driven individuals to provide their own insight. But I’m determined to provide some help and assistance with the Ask A GM section. It’s been up for a month now so do check it out and let me know what you think (or want to see more of).

The small community back then gave me the confidence and skills into what I am today and I want to give back.

Here’s a small sample of posts that are up that’ll benefit you:

If you’re stuck with problems or want some advice, contact us and check out the forums! Guaranteed we’ve had similar experiences in the past.

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Half a Year Later, Relieved at no Chat in Hearthstone

That certainly took a while to reach.

Yes, I’ve managed to accomplish one of my goals for Hearthstone: Reaching Legendary status. Now I can relax some and experiment with other decks and classes before the next great hunter nerf. The deck I used was the one I linked to in my last post for Hunters. I can now begin focusing on trying my hand at tournaments. I was quite surprised to see that Legend players make up a really small percentage of the population. I guess that makes sense with around 20 million players but how many of them engage in the ladder, I wonder? I’m not a fan of the tournament mode where players are asked to bring 3 different classes but that’s the way it is. I’m experimenting right now on my Shaman, Priest, and Druid decks trying to decide which of them to use and which styles to play.

Anyway, my journey to being a Legend wasn’t quite the best experience. You’ll recall not too long ago about Blizzard’s decision to effectively silence and mute players preventing them from chatting with each other in the game.

Never have I been more glad for that decision. There’s plenty of sore losers out there who can’t seem to get over it and want to make themselves feel better by taking a parting shot at an opponent. I’ve been added after matches multiple times via the Battle Net friends list. Every time, I wonder if it’s going to be someone who actually wants to say good game or that’s a sweet deck, would you like to practice more?

Every time, I am constantly reminded of my own naivety. Players out there don’t seem to care about good sportsmanship. They’re bitter after a loss and just want to take it out on their opponents. I can understand that but it doesn’t mean I agree with it.

legend-rank2

First of all, I’m not actually sorry. Second, I am not a gentleman of African descent. And my scrub ass actually ascended to rank 2. The thing is, I would’ve expected this reaction no matter what deck I use.

legend-stuff

Like, what is it with the desire to send off one parting shot at your opponent? Adding them to your list, sending one well fired insult, and then removing them before they even get a chance to respond? It’s disappointing really. Incidents like these really magnify what the community is like because it’s the only serious exposure we get. When we as players square off against others who respond that negatively, it can be incredibly discouraging to other players who want to get involved in the game and take it more competitively.

Now, to be fair, I had the option to not accept the initial Battle tag request. That is definitely on me. It’s still a shame though that the only kinds of players willing to take the effort to add others are the types who we don’t really want to interact with in the community to begin with. I don’t have a a solution or any ideas how to even begin to resolve it. Perhaps if there was an in-game report button in the corner, it would be convenient enough to access and report the individual. I know the Battle Net chat frames have a reporting option for harassment.

What’s the point? To encourage better behaviour from players. Learned that from Riot’s playbook. Perhaps impose a penalty that gradually escalates based on reports received and examined. Unlike League of Legends, there’s no way to really gauge a player’s moves in games as being harassing or trolling or feeding since this is a 1 on 1 game. Perhaps what I should do is put my own cards where my mouth is and add opponents after every game and say GG instead. Sadly, I don’t think even that move will be received well at all.

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