Remember back in the days of Burning Crusade, which was my peak of play, where my guild was made up of two core 10man groups for kara progression each week. We raided nearly 5-7 days a week just to try and get closer to prince and night bane every week. People were so excited and so amped up to go get new upgrades and to push themselves to do better! We did have badges of justice yes, but they didn't get you raid equiv gears. I remember getting to exalted Scryer only to realize that aldor would've gotten me 3 more sp! so i collected the turn ins to make the aldor exalted... from max hated... that took about my entire life... Not only did i do this though to help my guilds progression, but to better myself in the raiding environment and to keep myself as high up on the totem pole as i could, because when it came time for the vashj wall and KT, i wanted to be onto of the dps charts, as a shadow priest.
Instances were a whole different story. With no dungeon finder tool it took some time to find good heroic groups, and the heroics weren't always easy. We used a tactic called "Crowd Control" when having groups of mobs sizes 4 and higher. We would turn some of the mobs into sheeps, or even mind control them and fade n run the hell away before we died because MC took 1034103515390 aggro. Given the choice to have to run heroic arcatraz or heroic slabs again, well, it'd be fun and nostalgic yes, but most of all it gave you a sense of satisfaction about your work that you'd done in the instance. When i do a 15 minute run of The Siege At Nakuzan Whatever, i just am disappointed i didn't get loot. I enjoyed however finishing the dungeons back then.
I remember when heroic Magisters Terrace released. It was incredible how tough it was, especially the pvp encounter! I remember a core group of my 4 friends and I would run it every single day, even after we had acquired all the gear; just to say we could have it on farm. Each of these clears took AT LEAST an hour, depending on how many times the healer got cheap shotted in the pvp encounter and that hunter blew em up. Each encounter was also very fun and engaging, trying to get the right amount of orbs on the 2nd boss to up your dps without making your healer go insane trying to heal the dots on you. This was a really well made instance.
But back to raiding, attunement, as some of you may know, is the process of getting yourself ready to enter an instance through a quest chain or some other achievement chain. This also made you feel very good about walking into the instance. I remember hitting 70, playing the rocky theme song as i do when all my characters get to max level, and instantly equipping my Bringer of Death staff and heading over to Karazhan to pick up the attunement quests. They told me of the story of Kara and how i needed to go underground nearby to defeat spirits there. I did so and then proceeded to turn in the quests, finally having to acquire items from the instances i mentioned previously. However as i finally finished my attunement and was ready for Kara raiding, i felt great about it, knowing that the reason i was in the raid was because i had done something and worked towards it to achieve my goal, it wasn't simply handed to me on a Fel Iron platter. Then the same idea for SSC and TK, i had to kill prince and Gruul before being able to battle Loot Reaver and Al'ar, and even before i got to fight the Lurker Below, and Hydros the Unstable with his little water elemental friends. And to finally get Vashj and KT's Vial Remnants, practically gave me an orgasm. that was fucking hard. The night my guild downed Vashj after the warlock not kiting the strider correctly and people not knowing where to be when, made vent EXPLODE with happiness and the last 5 percent of the boss was counted down by everyone, in and out of instance that was rooting for the kill. That was a guild, That was progression, and That was a feeling of accomplishment. We just recently in my new guild got our first downing of the first 3 MV bosses, and as we finished them ppl were like well that took long enough, or sloppy but least we got loots!... such a different scenario from the ear shattering explosion of joy from BC.
And don't even get me started on Raid content and other raid items such as composition and story lines. To walk into Kara, i felt like i was really entering a place called Karazhan, i was fighting my way through the tower, nearing prince each and every night, and no one was going to stop me from killing him. I gained rep to increase my ring iLvl and further my characters equipment. After i had killed the prince malchezzar i entered Gruuls Lair, while it was a short instance of only 2 bosses, the first felt like a small militia was guarding their superior, while high king mulgar and his associates attempted to best us in the field of battle. We did not falter however, and slain the beasts accordingly. Once in Gruuls chambers, the enormous Ogre like creature screamed at his and shook the room so hard the roof started to collapse on us, damaging raid members everywhere. He got so angry as to throw us from near him and attempt to shatter combo the lot of us, i remember running away from my fellow raiders, only to realize one was coming towards me, frozen now, within 10 yrds, DBM range checker saying WTF, and then we wiped... But Gruul was one angry motherfucker, as opposed to the guardians of MV, who kind of just stand there and take a good lashing or two.
Small repreave from the raid, who remembers group composition and trying to put the shaman in the best place for blood lust, deciding whether or not your healer group or dps group would get the shadow priest, deciding if you should keep the paladin in the tanks group for the armor aura (forgive my forgetfulness) or to let him keep concentration aura up with the heals. and who remembers buffing 5 groups of people, WITH REAGENTS none the less! Whispering other members for forgotten buffs, that you tracked yourself, there was no 0/x icon in your top right telling you you were out of buffs. Every class had a role, every class was needed, if not in all situations at least in very pivotal ones. There's no specific need for a shadow priest anymore, no specific need for a shaman healer or enh shaman, as where enh shamans used to up the dps of all the melee by around 20%. There is no longer a need for 5 paladins to give all of the buffs, there is no longer a need for the tanks to hold aggro... ohh the aggro....
Aggro, was something that we used to watch very closely on Omen threat meter. Not only did it tell us if we were about to get wtfpwned by the boss, but it also told us how much DPS we would be able to do. People today have Hit cap, Expertise cap, Haste soft caps n the sorts, but who remembers Threat Cap? I remember being in a group as a shadow priest, spriest, destro lock, arcane mage, ele shammy, boom chicken , and we put out so much dps because of totems + mana back + huge dps at large mana costs in the arcane destro world, increased crit from the chicken and what not, that we always. ALWAYS. stayed at 115% threat, knowing that 120% threat would cause the target to rocket towards you and you would die. A good tank would allow the ENTIRE RAID to increase their dps. We would often have to resort to wanding the boss to keep ourselves below threat, and of course at the beginning of the fight "Waiting for the tank to get 5 sunders." I once knew of a Warlock, it makes me sad to forget his name, but he would Soulstone himself, dps the shit outa the boss and at 118% threat, after soul shattering, he would run into the melee and die. Rez himself back up, run out, cut himself, and dps yet again. STILL pull aggro, go die and get brezzed by the druid. Finally he would make it to the end of the fight. Which reminds me, B-rez used to be the soul reason to have a druid, aside from awesome hots. It was the one utility you didn't want to be without, now, just pick your class as most have one. These things though made raiding an experience, How many years has it been since Vashj was core content and i STILL remember where i stood during Vashj and who was assigned to heal myself and another dps waiting for the corrupted orbs. I remember Thaldred catching up to slow dps and 1 shotting them, oh the good memories.
This talk of aggro somehow brings up yet another point, one which rouges will remember most vividly, was the idea of Haste, Crit, Experties, Hit, Primary stat (int agi str stam), Armor Pen, Spell Pwr, Attk pwr, and probably am still forgetting one. But the idea of balancing these things was critical. A rogue with a billion haste was good, but as he gained haste, crit and attk pwr would become more helpful for him, so after a certain point, it was to stack the other stats (i didn't play a rogue so sorry if thats erroneous, but the general idea holds) and you did this through attaining offsets of gear, not by reforging. I would spend 10-15 minute intervals at dps dummies testing my dps to make sure my stats were optimal and to see where i could pick up the extra dps. Now a days we choose iLvl463 over iLvl450, must be an upgrade, higher iLvl of course! While in the days of BC my shadow priest used the ShadowWeive set until BT because it was so strong for priests. I used a green want that gave 50+ to shadow dmg, instead of the epics that dropped because it simply increased my dps. Optimization these days isn't real, you go for the iLvl upgrade and reforge.
And another thing about dps, I know this was unavoidable through the expansions as stats have to increase, they can't really remain static,but the meters in SSC TK BT and all of those, varried quite slightly. If a mage was doing 800 dps instead of 900 the raid leader asked why and why weren't they focusing. The difference between an 800 dps mage and a 850 dps mage would get them into the group. Now a days i see the meter go from 35k dps up to 70k dps, thats a doubling of difference, as where it used to be very minute in nature. This was unavoidable i know, but i will be making another post later on how i might try to fix such things.
Ill stop here for now, as I've realized i have to get to my physics lab in a few minutes and i have been typing too much. But i make this post not to simply be nostalgic, but to show all the current raiders and people saying "why do i has to do dailies to get gear? WTF?" that it used to not be thought of as an option, you did them. Day in and day out. Why? Cause i needed the gold to repair, i needed to get potions to chain chug and flasks and consumables and food when feasts weren't real. I didn't get gear out of dailies (though some i did), i needed the money to pay for my raid every night, and i did this at 60% speed on my flyer, not 150%, because i didn't have 5k for 280%. Try flying from Blades Edge to Skettis on a 60% flyer, then see how terrible dailies are.
For anyone saying how difficult gear is to get or how you "have to do things" to get the gear, you should be happy your able to better your dps, be happy you have a way to better your raid n progress, this is how it used to be! Its been a long time since I've met someone proud of their guild and proud to say they're on hard modes n such, i just hear ppl saying how "Easy" all the stuff that they're not having trouble with is. Everyone moves at their own pace, I remember people in Kara still, starting a new guild, when Sunwell came out, you did EVERY RAID every week, not just the current top teir.
Though i want to keep writing, perhaps later, i truly am late. Farewell for now, and remember that you don't play for loot, you play to better yourself, so if that means doing dailies, do them. if that means grinding up professions, do them. Be happy you have bettered yourself instead of loathing that you had to at all.
Until next time,
Satanick - Kil'Jaeden (originally Smolderthorn with Legendary Incompetence)