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Thursday Dec 2, 2021


Is there Anybody Out There?




It should not take me by surprise, as it happens every expansion I have ever played in World of Warcraft. But it does.


Each expansion of WoW has its ups and downs. During release, there is a huge excitement built up in the community. Lots of people logging in and available for group play, be it 5-man instances, Raids, group quests, you name it, people are there ready to tackle things together.


Inevitably there is a drop off in population after a while, as people are off to do the next shiny. A new game, burnout, having achieved what they had set out to do on their character, you name it. Reasons to not log in with the frequency and fervor that they had.


The Marrow

Being an altoholic, I suck the entire marrow out of each expansion, playing and replaying things over and over. It’s a strange thing that I never get bored, but the continual flow of dopamine from getting that next level, that next skillup, that next…whatever, just works for me.


And then it happens. I log into guild and Discord, and there is a ghost town where once there was life. It happens slowly, where Raid nights are not pushed, they are only happening -if- enough people log in to make it work. I have never gone after progression, so those that are interested head off to join up with others that do. Meanwhile, I am on to the next alt, working my way through each one to get to 70 and park them for later. Later means when I feel like it, and that is an awesome feeling.


I used to feel resentment towards people for leaving the game, pursuing another shiny. Even now it is still a small bitter pill to swallow when you hear your guildmates in discord playing something other than World of Warcraft. However, that is quickly replaced with “alrighty, on to my 63 Warrior who is sitting with a full bar and a half of rested xp”.


Still Thriving, But Still...

It is a palpable feeling when you get out into the world and start questing. There’s still lots of activity in the Lookingforgroup channel, but there is. definite skew towards the higher end things. Heroics and SSC/TK groups are forming. Guilds are downing Vash and now are working on getting her on farm. Guild recruitment is showing 8/8 for this Raid or 4/4 for that Raid, looking for a class or two to replace those dropping off the progression train. Fortunately, there are enough of us levelling alts that you can get into the lower end instances – Ramparts, Blood Furnace, Slave Pens and Underbog.


Lucky for me, I chose a High Population Alliance Server when creating my Classic account. It still maintains a healthy population all through Classic and The Burning Crusade so far. There is drop-off, but not nearly as much as what Shintar mentioned in their post “Blizzard Killed My Server”. Poor Shin. But they’re working through it and if you continue reading the follow up posts you'll see it for yourself.


A Guild of My Own

I have often thought about creating my own guild, to find others that are driven by the same things I am. Creating a stable of alts to enjoy many of the different facets of the game. There is a lot of draw to this for me, if you get enough people, you have groups who will consistently log in and have others in the same level ranges to group with. I feel that there would be more empathy present, as someone who wants to try something like tanking would be more at ease knowing that the players they’re grouped with are going through the same thing.


However, the same thoughts start to intrude on my daydreams about this. The hassle of organizing something, keeping it fresh and attractive so that people (being people) aren’t drawn away from the guild. Being online, which is really important for a guild leader, wouldn’t be an issue. I don’t know. Maybe.


Ah, daydreams I suppose. Crushed by laziness? Perhaps.


Wylset



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Thursday December 2, 2021


I'm Lucky, and I know it.





Throughout all of Covid I’ve considered myself fortunate. I’ve been blessed with going to work every day and feeling comfortable with the safety precautions my co-workers and I work under. I deal with the public on a constant basis. Fortunately most of the interactions are from a decent distance. At the beginning it was a scary time, trying to figure out how to be safe and still remain open to the public.


One thing that did not change was World of Warcraft. Being an online social presence in the game was just the same before the Pandemic as during. That, and my comfort in never having to have a physical presence to feel social with others helped greatly.



D&D

The only major change in gaming was my monthly Dungeons and Dragons sessions, but we investigated some online options and for the past year and a half we’ve been using Roll20 to continue our games. It’s actually increased our frequency, from one 8-hour Sunday a month to a weekly 3-hour session. As I said, I’m blessed.


A very common comment I hear from people is that how the Pandemic has been a terrible experience for them. I’m empathetic to their situation but when they ask how it has been for me, my usual response is that I’m doing fantastic, as I’ve been training for this most of my life. Ever since my parents gave me a Commodore Vic-20 for Christmas when I was 13, I’ve rarely been bored. Video games were always at the forefront of my entertainment, and this kicked it up an incredible notch. Spending money and time in a Video Arcade, or at a friend’s house playing on their game system or computer quickly became replaced with time on my own computer.


I’m lucky, and I know how lucky I actually am.


Wylset

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Tuesday November 23, 2021


Had a great day playing WoW on a recent Sunday. Sundays (as the Bangles put it) is my fun day. Where I don’t have to run day. Early to rise, do whatever chores I’ve assigned myself and then hop on the computer for some TBC Classic adventures.







Tief’s Good Day

After checking mails, I decided to get back on my level 67 Rogue, Tief. He’s been a lot of fun playing lately. Rogue has never been my best class to play, but once I get into the groove of a class, I start enjoying it and want to keep playing. You know you’re enjoying a character when he’s out of rested xp and you just keep playing.


Watching the Lookingforgroup channel, I saw that an Old Hillsbrad Normal group was looking for a dps. I joined and away we went. Being Tief’s first time in OHB, I had to do the escort quest before entering the instance, but a couple others did as well, so that worked well.


The run went very smoothly, I really dig on playing utility when the opportunity presents itself. I focus more on getting the group through the instance more than the just dps meters. Stunning mobs that are being aggravating. Blinding the mob that the tank didn’t pick up. Distracting a patrol to give the paladin tank time to drink before they wander off. Spell interrupts. Things that make a run more enjoyable for everyone, not just seeing big numbers on the damage meters.


At the end of the run, the group decided to tackle Black Morass next. Again, the run went very smoothly, and being Tief’s first run I was just happy to have opened both instances for future runs. Here’s where it started to become a Wylset day. The first drop was the Hourglass of the Unraveller, a pre-raid awesome trinket for rogues. Score! Next the final boss dropped Latro’s Shifting Sword, the off-hand that is one of the BIS for rogues. Score again! Tief also levelled to 68 while questing, so another boon.


Blort Starts Off Well

The day was off to a great start, and I kept my eye on the LFG channel. A Mechanar Normal group was looking for a DPS. I shot the leader a message asking if a 70 Hunter would be useful, ‘Sure’ was the reply. I hopped onto Blort and got the invite. There was already a hunter in the group, which was a bit concerning. I’d been hoping for a Mechanar run for a while, in order to get the Beast Lord set Helmet I was missing. I’d run Karazahn with my guild a couple weeks before and had the Skulker’s Greaves ready in the bank. I already had the 4-piece set bonus going on Blort so I wanted the helm in order to use those leggings as well as the bonus. The other hunter in the party already had that Helmet. Another stroke of good luck. Last boss, the Helm appears. Another Score! The Wylset Day keeps rocking along.


I did feel a twinge of guilt, however, as another guildy with one main character, his Hunter, had been trying for run after run to get his 4th piece. Sometimes you just cannot get things to drop. Sometimes, you can.


Raid Time

The guild was calling for the start of our Gruul’s & Magtheridon raid, I was a couple minutes late due to the Mechanar run, but I got into the run quickly as they were pulling the starting trash. We lined up against High King Mulgar, and the raid lead asked me and our other guild hunter to trade off on Kiggler. Worked out well, except I forgot to keep my pet with me. Both pets were quickly dispatched, a bad thing for a pair of Beast Mastery hunters. Mulgar was one-shotted and we went on to Gruul.


The people we pugged were very kind and helpful, and appreciative that our guild was organizing it. After Mulgar dropped, all the loot came up for rolls. Unfortunately, our lead assist hadn’t set it to Loot Master, but every single one of the 15 or so pug members passed instead of taking advantage of the mistake. That’s a sign of kindness right there. Awesome stuff.


A Bump In The Road

Gruul went down quite well with a one-shot, but I made quite a social faux-pas. A main rule during a raid is to turn off your mic in discord if you’re not calling the shots. I forgot my boom was down, and active, when our other hunter ran across me getting back to his spot for Gruul’s shatter. I said something like “Huntername, you tool”. Oops. After the run the Hunter sent me a whisper about it, and I apologized profusely, being a heat of the battle type thing. Still not sure how he felt about it but I do hope my explanation, and the fact that I’ve tried to be kind and considerate to him and his wife, helps sooth any stupidity I spewed. Magtheridon went down with 1 pull as well, nothing to note. No loot from neither Gruul nor Mags, but that’s ok, fun time had by all.


Blort now had his 5th Beast Lord piece, and I could swap in the Skulker’s Greaves. Gems and enchants, I was ready to go. When I examined Blort there was still one piece he was missing, a decent weapon. He’d had the Valanos' Longbow since he hit 70, and after quite a few Kara attempts, still had not improved on it. I’d been keeping an eye on the Auction House, with the Don Santos' Famous Hunting Rifle in mind. 800 gold was a bit out of my price range, as I have other Alts to keep in the manner they’re accustomed to. This day, however, Wylset’s luck continued. There were three of those rifles on the AH, each one was in the 400g range – less than half price. I snapped one up and slapped a +10 Adamantite Scope on it.


Ammunition. Drat. I had scored the drop for the Adamantite Arrow Maker on my engineer Slapnutz the Paladin a couple weeks ago and had been gleefully cranking out the Crates of Arrows for Blort. Thankfully I had also acquired the Adamantite Shell Machine pattern as well. Slapnutz switched over to Bullet production and had Blort ready with a dozen or so Crates in the mail. Timing, good planning or luck all combined on that to be able to provide the ammunition needed. All that was left was switching from the Worg Hide Quiver to the Smuggler's Ammo Pouch. It’s a rep item from The Consortium, requiring Honored. I checked and Blort was just over the Honored level by maybe 300 points. Wylset’s luck continued.


Blort’s Good Day Gets Better

Busy day, but since it was my day off on Monday, I decided to hit up LFG again, and saw a group looking for a hunter for Kara. I’d not run Blort with my guild that week, so off to Karazahn again. Great group, a guild just missing one dps. Joined the in Discord and listened to a gang that got along very well. Lots of fun banter, and they knew what they were doing so it worked out well. I held up my end and the run went smoothly. A common theme for the day. They were pleased that I was willing and able to get Misdirects on the tanks when called for, especially on Nightbane. My dps was pretty decent, all the new gear was working out quite well. I was able to pick up the Fiend Slayer boots from the Chess Event. Nice upgrade from my blue boots.


Here's where I had forgotten one of the most important pieces of WoW lore. If you really want something to drop from a boss, you have two choices. You can either be patient, run the instances over and over, and hope. Or, you can purchase something close, and sure enough, the WoW RNG gods will reward/punish you by dropping what you wanted the very next run.


So, of course, the Sunfury Bow of the Phoenix dropped off Prince Malchazar and I was the only Hunter. So much for Don Santos’ Hunting Rifle. Back to Arrows I go.


To sum up the day:


Tief got both his Hourglass of the Unraveller, his Latros’ Soothing Sword and a level to 68. Blort got his Beast Lord Helm which allowed him to wear the Skulker’s Greives. Next came the new rifle, which lasted about 3 hours until the end of the Karazahn run, when Blort picked up the Sunfury Bow of the Phoenix.


Everything came up Wylset that day.



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