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World of Warcraft

On Wings, Mice and Men

The weird title is my headache-addled brain’s attempt to give you an overview of this latest post. Its actually a convoluted attempt to marry a saying and a statement: the former about the plans of Mice and Men, and the latter about “winging” something.

Recently, my Guildies and I have been running Instances. A lot of the guys are dinging mid-70 and we were thinking of both gearing them and getting used to coordinated play.

Half of the Guild is made up of Rising Force Online veterans, so “coordinated play” should be second nature to us considering how unit-sized battles are common in that MMORPG (Chip War, anyone?). A third (actually half, too, but I’m only mentioning the active ones) is made up of WoW veterans from friends in the Rivendare and Bonechewer servers. When we mean “veterans” we mean the Tier-geared, Epically-Mounted, 10-man Heroic Raiding kind. And then there’s the ones who, although gamers themselves, do not fit in the first two categories. If ECO-WoW is to be a decent, respectable Guild, we have to learn to meld the differing philosophies and personalities into one cohesive command. I mean, there IS Arena to look forward to. Unless the Force calls too persistently.

So, we run the Instances. Its good exercise, and a nice source of good gear for the 70s. For us 80s, it also eases the tedium of the Daily Grind. You won’t know what I mean until you do two sets of Joust Quests everyday. With lag. And for kicks the AI asks you to get him a new sword from the damned frogs. Those goddamned frogs.


The RF vets aren’t much for details and number-crunching (except for one particular player; hi, John. /hug). This doesn’t mean we don’t plan or anything, its just that, lacking a comprehensive database like the one for WoW, we had to “wing” a lot of encounters and dungeons and quests. When you’re on the battlefields of Novus, you quickly learn that there is truth in the adage that no set battle plan survives contact with the enemy. So you do preparatory planning, but its all done in a general sort of way.

Also, what passes for “Instance” runs in RF are our notoriously insane Battle Dungeons where more often than not you get PUGs, so the planning is barely there. You know what you’ll encounter in a BD, but do you know what your unit is bringing to THAT BD? Are you even sure that the guy who claimed he’s a Soul Chandra isn’t really a Chronomancer in disguise?

But we do try to plan our runs. We make it a point to read up on the “announced” Instance. In fact, we in the “High Command” expect everyone to do that least bit of homework as to read up on what’s to expect in an Instance. The idea is you know your Avatar best, what it has, what it can do, how you play it. Then, during discussions, we’ll come up with the best role for you in the run. We love tailoring our runs around the team, not the other way around.

Run optimization, though advisable, can quickly degenerate into a… joust quest. Unless you’re Ryunaito, you probably don’t find joust quests all that fun. Just… necessary. And we want our Raids and Instances to be fun, right?

So maybe that explains why all our “planned” runs end up with much grief. Pre-Upgrade Onyxia was planned and look what happened there. Back when it was just me and Ryu who were high enough to even challenge Blackrock Depths, we planned that one and we had to abort. And what about all the stress we went through planning our first Raid with Magtheridon, only to realize RIGHT AT THE RAID PORTAL that half the team was ineligible to enter due to level constraints. Yeah, we didn’t see that particular caveat in the database, sorry. Dammit, I spent long minutes in the Inn of Honor Hold mapping out the strategy to the Guild only to realize the 7-man, already 3-persons short, would be a 3-man run instead.

Contrast that to the last few runs we did, which were all essentially out-of-the-blue, “for the lulz” even. That was what the first Magister’s Terrace run was about: “hey, Silvanus just dinged 80! Let’s go kill Kael’Thas Part II!!!”

That, too, what the first runs in Nexus and Utgarde Keep were, at least to me. “Hey, anyone want to run Nexus?” was heard after we decked the Headless Horseman for that final time. So, with me, Silvanus, Yronhand (late-70s Dwarf Prot Warrior), Igtenos (then a 77 NElf Rogue) and Ranna (our one and only Drae Shadow Priest), we went in without any real idea what the hell we were getting into. To give you an idea how brainless it was, we were alt-tabbing to look at WoW wiki right before we hit the bosses.

And what about Utgarde? I suppose Ryu planned it, since it was the first thing he told me over Guild Chat when I logged in. But it was supposed to be a run with Ranna. Unfortunately, Ria’s PC had slow net that evening. Instead, Ruciella (then a 68 Drae DK), one of our vets from Rivendare, joined us. She knew where to go and what to expect, and so did Ryu, but for me it was just about going around killing Vyrkul and Scourge. The boss encounters were, like, “so… what does that bastard do? Anything I need to be afraid of?”

Suffice to say, the runs were fun, challenging and in certain instances really exciting. Like with the, “uh… I think we’re lost; where do we go to again?”, in Nexus. Or the “wha; he turned Shadow?” moment with that other boss in Utgarde.

And they were also successful. Granted, the Nexus run had two 80s and the Utgarde had all three Guild 80s (and aren’t Hunters just aggro stealers?), but, regardless, it all went well. Compared to all the stress we went through with the planned runs like Onyxia, Direbrew and the Headless Horseman…

I’m sure the 80s-level Instances will require more planning. The encounters we’ve had with level 80 bosses like the Headless Horseman and Direbrew showed us we have a LONG way to go before we even casually attempt those things. But I think John (Yronhand) was right about not taking the runs too seriously. Too much planning can lead to too much thinking and much paranoia. Which is horrible when your Guild strategist (me, supposedly) is naturally as well as trained to be (IRL; its the work) paranoid. I’m the kind of guy who lays a base in Dawn of War to siege and doesn’t charge it without having three Earthshaker artillery out and the Baneblade, and that’s with the whole map under my control.

After all, there’s something to be said about the plans of Mice and Men. And sometimes, you just have to trust in the Light, trust in your Guildies, and have fun winging stuff like Runs.

Otherwise, it all becomes an Argent Tournament Joust.

Do you REALLY want your Instance runs to be like that?



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