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Changing Mains: Pros and Cons

September 20, 2010

Cataclysm is coming, the World of Warcraft is in for a shake-up. But despite all of Deathwing’s disturbances, the cities and zones of WoW aren’t the only things that are changing. Many people choose the release of a new expansion to evaluate their play style and often change mains, as it’s a chance to start anew, without being set back too far from the rest of the population of WoW (e.g. in terms of gear).

First of all, let us define what is meant by a person’s main. From WoWWiki:

main is a player’s primary player character. Sometimes this is the first character the player created and played, but often it is not. Generally it is the character that sees the most play time and investment of resources—and often is the highest level, or best geared—out of any other active characters on the player’s account.

So why would you want to change your mains?

The Good:

It gives you a chance to try something new. Playing one class for so long means that, despite how much you may love that class, it has the potential to grow stale eventually. By switching mains you bring a fresh, new style to your gameplay, which could even make your play time more enjoyable. This is usually the main reason why people change mains, because they’ve become bored with their current play style and want to try something different.

You increase your ‘WoW knowledge’. By having a specific character as a main, you spend a lot of time intimately learning its strengths and weaknesses, what situations it excels in, what scenarios it is lacking in. By switching mains, you further broaden your WoW knowledge, by thoroughly knowing more than just one class. In addition, if you’re changing roles, you get to experience a completely new side of fights. In the past you may have been a ranged DPSer, just sitting back and pew-pew’ing from afar, but now that you’re changing to a healer you’ll have to focus more on your team mates and their health rather than the boss’s.

If you do decided to change mains, having a previous main makes it a lot easier to start a new one. Compared to someone starting completely from scratch, your new main (whether already a high level or just starting out) will have it easy when you start. This makes the leveling process a whole lot easier, with items like heirlooms that make the leveling faster, or even just copious amounts of money that makes life a little bit easier at the earlier levels.

Finally, if you have decided to change mains, the release of a new expansion is the best time to do it. Everyone will be subject to the leveling process and having to start gearing up their characters again, so you’ll be affected much less if you start a completely new character now rather than in to a progressed expansion. Even if you’re just changing your main to an already-80 but lesser geared alt, the gear difference no longer matters with the release of a new expansion.

The Bad:

Bear in mind that changing mains is never an easy thing to do, and there are a significant number of disadvantages alongside all the advantages.

First of all, especially if you’re starting a completely new class, you may feel a bit out of your depth. For the most part, unless you’ve played that specific class in the past, you won’t know how to fully utilise the character to its maximum potential. Some things that you used to be able to do on your old main with ease may now seem a lot harder. Don’t worry, it’s all part of learning the new role. It may feel ‘clumsy’ at first, but your skills with that class will improve over time! If you’re feeling especially worried about how you’re playing, go check out some blogs related to that class – they can be a huge help when starting something new. But remember, you don’t need to start with guns blazing at 100% efficiency. It takes time, but as long as you’re having fun there should be no problem.

The other main drawback is that you lose all your hard-earned achievements. This is one that can hurt. Remember all those long hours you spend grinding rep just to get your “Ambassador” title? Or those hard-fought, hard-mode battles you persevered through to get your Frostbrood Vanquisher? Or even that 16,000g you forked out for your Traveller’s Tundra Mammoth? Yeah, you’ll still have all of those, but not for use on your new main. (Unless, of course, you go back and do it all again with the new character.) If you’re starting a completely new character, you’ll be starting with no achievements, no mounts, no mini-pets. And even if you are promoting an alt to your main, chances are they’re probably not as well ‘stocked’ in terms of achievements of mounts as your past main was.

Before deciding to change your main, weigh up the pros and cons. Decide if this is really something you want to do, because of all the advantages but despite all the drawbacks. If you decide that you do really want to go through with it, the release Cataclysm is one of the best times to do it. And remember, if you don’t like your new main and feel a sense of longing for your old one, you can always go back!

Finding the Right Guild for You

September 14, 2010

Note: This is one of two articles reposted from my old blog Moonglade, because I thought they were useful and/or interesting and shouldn’t be left to rot unseen.

If you’re at all interested in the social aspects that WoW has to offer, you’ll probably want to be a part of a guild. But there are so many guilds out there, how do you find one that suits your needs?

What do you want to do?

The first step in finding a guild that is right for you is to figure out what you want to get out of that guild. Do you want to be a hardcore raider, pushing progression as fast as you can? Do you want to be a raider, but still be able to have a flexible time schedule? Do you want to be a part of a friendly group of people, where running instances are just an added bonus? Or do you want to join a guild that does little to no PvE content, but has a major focus on PvP?

These are the most important questions you should be asking yourself before looking for a guild. Unless you do this, you won’t know what to look for, guild-wise, and won’t be able to find one which really suits your play style.

Are you in a compatible time zone?

This is a very important component of finding the appropriate guild for you. This is particularly so in a raiding guild. You don’t want to apply to a guild that suits your play style well, then come home from school/work one day to find that the ICC raid started two hours previously, and there are no more raid spots left. (As well as this, if you can’t commit to scheduled raid times of a guild that raids regularly, you’re probably not going to last very long in that guild.)

Even if you’re in a casual guild and more interested in the social aspects of being in a guild, time zones are still a factor. You don’t want to log in and find out that there’s only you and one other person online, in a guild of 100 people. In both situations, finding out when raid times (or ‘peak’ times) are key in order to find the guild that really suits you.

Research.

Following on from the above point, there’s more that you should learn about your potential new guild before you apply. If you’re interested in progression, don’t just look at where they are now (although that is important), look at their progression in the past as well. Have they been a forerunner in progression for a long time? Or, this can apply to any type of guild, what’s their reputation like? Is the guild notorious for having prominent members that ninja items? Do they treat other people with respect, or do they just troll them on the forums? All of this is important if you want to find a guild that suits you.

Researching can be as simple as messaging a few of the guild members in-game and asking them questions about their guild, how it’s run, their opinions of it, and other questions along those lines. People will often share this information with you, especially if you say that you’re interested in applying. If multiple members respond in a negative or derogatory fashion, this also gives you an insight in to what the guild may be like. Alternatively, you could browse around the official realm forums. Check out what kind of comments are posted in reply to guild recruitment threads (if they are present), or see if there are any posts in reference to members of that guild. However, remember that these are the official forums – they do tend to attract people who think that they can get away with anything because of their anonymity on the internet. Try to read these threads from an unbiased viewpoint, and draw your own conclusions accordingly.

Submit a proper application.

Unless you’ve run instances, or interacted in general, with guild members before, this is your first impression to them. Take the time to submit a well thought out and well written application. Don’t forget to read any forum stickies or other information to applicants before applying, and make sure to use the appropriate template if it is provided. In addition, answer all the questions they ask fully – no one-word answers (where applicable, you don’t need to write an essay if they ask your race and class). They’re asking these questions for a reason. They’d much rather hear a paragraph about why you want to apply to this guild, rather than a line saying, “I want to raid.” And remember, spelling and grammar do count!

Be patient!

You’re not going to find a guild that really suits your in 5 minutes. (Well, not unless you’re really lucky.) If you take the time and effort to find information that will point you to the guild that is best for you, it will pay off.

Another part of being patient: sometimes it can take guilds a while to process your application. If they don’t respond immediately, just wait a while. However, if no action has been taken after a week, a simple whisper in-game to the guild leader or an officer, simply reminding them that you have applied and have no heard back from them yet, might help your cause. It may be that they were too busy and simply forgot!

Finally, always remember to remain courteous and considerate when finding and applying for a guild. While it is important that you find a guild that suits your needs, remember that they are taking you in to their already established community. Just because you want to raid doesn’t mean that every progression-focused guild will take you because of your “super l33t dps”.

The Value of Achievements

September 14, 2010

Note: This is one of two articles reposted from my old blog Moonglade, because I thought they were useful and/or interesting and shouldn’t be left to rot unseen.

Are you getting bored, waiting for Cataclysm to arrive? Feeling burnt out from raiding, or tired of levelling that alt? One of the things that you could do to further develop your character is to work on some more achievements, building up your point total. But what do achievements really tell you?

Achievement Points:

On Boize, I have just over 7600 achievement points (with very little play time since the start of 2010). That’s not an amazing amount (not like some certain people), but it’s still a decent total.

But what do achievement points really tell you?

In terms of the points themselves, they’re only really important if you focus on achievements across the board. i.e. You try to complete different achievements from all the different brackets. That’s similar to what I do myself. I work on various achievements from all over the place. One day I might do a bit of Battleground PvP for a few achievements, the next I might go collect a few more mounts or mini-pets. Then the next night I might go run some old world instances. Heck, I even rarely (very rarely) partake in arena matches.

But if you’re not gaining achievements on all fronts then achievement points don’t really tell you a lot on their own. Someone who is a hardcore raider may have completed all the ICC hard modes, and have the same amount of achievement points as someone who only plays solo.
Essentially, with the way that achievement points are currently configured, they’re just simply something to be collected without any real benefits, akin to mini-pets.

However, while achievement points may not have much worth, the achievements themselves can be useful.

Achievements:

The main benefit, in my experience, of achievements is in relation to instancing.

Before achievements, if you wanted to find out if someone had run an instance before or had knowledge of a specific fight, you either had to ask them (and then trust their answer), or see if they had any gear from that particular fight/instance. However, now with achievements, you are able to see if someone has completed an instance, or a specific fight within an instance, as well as when they completed it.

Although this does not still definitively tell if someone fully knows a fight, or will be able to pull their weight (i.e. they were “carried” through it before), it does help a lot more if you’re looking for guilds, guild applicants, or people to fill up a PuG.

There are still ways to work around this though. Often people will still say, “Oh, this is my alt, but I’ve done it on my main.” Unfortunately there is no way to tell if a person is trying to get in to a group with no knowledge of the fight, or if they are telling the truth. Another way people get around the system is by using a program/addon that shows any achievement they link as completed, as well as having editable completion dates. For example, I’ve seen a level 14 character that linked the [Scarab Lord] achievement, completed in 2020. Something slightly amiss there… But if other people are using the program/addon more subtly, it can be difficult if not impossible to detect unless you go and access their armoury on-line.

Overall though, it’s easier to find people who know the fights for instances.

However, there is another side to this benefit. It can sometimes be very hard for someone who is trying to complete content for the first time to get a group. I’m unsure what the situation is like on different servers, but on Dath’Remar almost every person leading a PuG will say “LFM for Heroic Instance X, pst with achievement.” If you don’t have the achievement, you won’t be let in.

The best way to work around this is to join a guild that runs the type of content you want to run (if you’re not in one already), so you aren’t subjected to PuG screening. However, if your guild doesn’t raid, and you want to stay in it and still raid, you may just have to deal with the hardship and keep looking until you find a group that will let you join, even if you don’t have the achievements.

Statistics:

Depending on what you use statistics to view, they can either have very useful or completely irrelevant information (although the same can be said about achievements as well).

In terms of your own statistics, you are generally going to use them to see how much of something you have done, whether it’s the amount of fish you’ve fished up, the total amount of money you would have accumulated had you not spent it all, or how many times you’ve died in Alterac Valley. This is all for your own personal gain, although it can be a good base for friendly competition with guildies or friends, e.g. too compare the total amount of fish caught between two reel-happy characters.

Focusing on the instancing scenario, statistics can also be used to find out information about people, helping you recruit for a guild or fill up a PuG with more experienced members, assuming that you take the time to look them up. Unfortunately, unlike achievements, you cannot view another person’s statistics in-game.

If you do choose to look up someone on the armoury (especially easy if you have an Armoury application on your phone), you can view their statistics to see things such as how many times they’ve downed a specific boss. This can give you even more of an idea as to their experience levels, as the more times you kill something, the more likely you are to know the fight.

However, always bear in mind that this information does not give clean-cut answers. Someone with 5 Lich King kills recorded may have died in the first seconds every time, while another person who has only killed him once may know the fight thoroughly, having read strats and watched videos in relation to the boss.

Additionally, this doesn’t provide you with any information as to what role someone was playing in each specific boss fight. Someone may know the role of a ranged DPS thoroughly, but have no idea what to do if they’re called on to tank.

So, while achievements, especially achievement points, and statistics are mainly used for simple collection reasons (this includes all the irrelevant, ‘useless’ facts), achievements and statistics can also provide you with some useful information for people, especially in relation to instancing (raids or otherwise).

Introducing: GloomLion

September 14, 2010

Goblin Death Knight

Hello, and welcome to The Green Rune! (Or just TGR for short.)

I’m GloomLion, a soon-to-be Goblin Death Knight on the Dath’Remar (Oceanic) server.

I have created this blog in order to share my own experiences from the World of Warcraft with the extensive WoW community, as well as providing my own personal learning experiences, insight into the Death Knight class, information on in-game world events, and general social situations that we all find ourselves involved in in this game. For more information about me, visit my about page.

Some of you may know me as Boize, a Balance Druid from the Dath’Remar server, or from my previous blog, Moonglade. Unfortunately due to circumstances I had to discontinue that blog, but have now set up shop (again) with this new blog. So be sure to subscribe to the RSS feed, and follow me on twitter (@GloomLion) too!

I hope you enjoy your stay!

GloomLion

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