Sunday, May 28, 2006

WoW Journal - 29-May-2006

I spent a very nice weekend in World of Warcraft, fun, and for the first time since long with the impression that my characters were advancing again. This is mainly due to the new guild. Not that the new guild is nicer, or the players are in any way more competent. It is mostly an effect of the new guild being bigger, and in a bigger alliance with another guild. During prime time the two allied guilds this weekend had over 60 players online, which makes finding a group very easy. There were even groups running in parallel to a big raid! Sometimes bigger *is* better.

Actually there are two effects at work there. One is simply the guild chat as a replacement for the lacking looking-for-group functionality of WoW. But as many people pointed out in my post about group xp vs. solo xp, the group xp has an invisible factor in it where "competence" or "reliability" or as I'd rather call it, "trust" is rewarded. For example I was in a pickup group, where shortly after a wipe I got disconnected from the server. Took me two or three minutes to get back online. By that time one other group member had left the group, and one had hearthstoned out, assuming that I had quit because of the wipe. In a guild group the players would have had more trust in me and waited 3 minutes.

Perversely my network of trusted players to group with has grown because of me leaving my old guild. As the old guild was set up more as a community, where players with all sorts of different guild tags can remain member even after they quit that guild, I'm still part of the old network, plus I gained the new network of the new guild and guild alliance. I think such a transverse community could work very well. A group of friends with a chat channel and a website, distributed over many different guilds, and being able to gather groups using many different guild chats. So everybody in the group knows at least somebody else in that group, creating trust, but the network stretches much further than a single guild would allow. Maybe the only fault of my old guild was to try to do both the transverse network and the classical guild setup at the same time, creating problems of mixed loyalties and goals.

So this weekend I mainly played my priest and got a lot of things achieved, and saw a lot of new content. I participated in part two of the MC raid I already reported about. Having gone until Shazzrah in the first raid, part two saw us killing both Sulfuron and Golemagg on the first try. As I had never seen these bosses before, that was interesting. We had less success with Majordomo, wiping four or five times on him before giving up. I'm not quite sure where the problem is, I think that fight requires even more coordination between the 40 players than the other MC bosses.

With all these MC raids my faction with the Hydraxian Waterlords is now honored, and I started with the quest series that will give me the water to extinguish the runes in MC, to summon Majordomo and Ragnaros. I killed the elementals in the Plaguelands and Silithus, with the small problem that I didn't read well the description of the quest for the Plaguelands, and ran around a while not finding the discordant elementals. Doh! You need to use the quest item from your inventory to turn a normal water elemental into a discordant elemental, before killing it.

Next I joined a raid to UBRS, mainly with people from my new guild. That went very well, we cleared out the whole place in a bit over 2 hours. That gave me both the eyes of the Emberseer for the Hydraxian Waterlords quest series, and Drakki's blood for the Onyxia key. Another successful dungeon trip was me helping guild mates to do Warlords Command in LBRS, where I got a very nice staff with +25 int from the final boss, Wyrmthalak. So while I still had some dungeon trips this weekend that didn't succeed, my rate of successful dungeons to abandoned attempts has gone way up, compared to my guildless pickup group period.

And that was all I was shooting for. I don't mind if the DKP system of the guild alliance means I'll probably never get any item unless everybody else already has it, or that we wipe on Majordomo, or that we are unable to tackle Onyxia. I'm happy that I am in a network where I can visit MC one day, Scholo the next, and LBRS or UBRS the day after. The raid dungeons just enter into the circuit of other high-level dungeons, creating more variety of things to do.

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