Monday, August 20, 2012

Looking ahead to Pandaria

I won't be raiding this week due to in-laws sleeping on my couch about three feet from my computer (they don't like me yelling at the computer at 2AM while they're trying to sleep - they're funny that way), so outside of some transmog runs or LFR stuff after work, most of my gaming time will be playing Clash of Clans on my phone or Ocarina of Time on the Wii in the bedroom.

That's ok, though. With 5.0 less than a week away and the expansion launching in about a month, I'm finding it very hard to justify logging on right now. I'm too bored with Cataclysm and too excited about Mists to spend any time working on my side projects. Why grind rep when the daily cap is going away? Why farm UBRS for Blackblade of Shahram when AoE looting will make it easier and more lucrative next week? Why bother fine tuning my Mastery set when I probably won't even need it in a few days?

I think a few days off is never a bad thing. I'm already starting to reflect on the expansion, what went wrong on a more personal level and how I'd like to remedy that for Mist of Pandaria.

Consider these my "New Expansion Resolutions".

Taking it to the next level - I'm pretty happy with how Dragon Soul ended for me. For the first time in my WoW career, I'm actually done with a tier before it ended even if only by a lockout or two. After ending Firelands at 6/7H and ICC at 11/12H, it's pretty satisfying to just be done. There are still upgrades in there for me (I'm still using an LFR trinket and Firelands ring) and I still have achievements to do for the Meta, but my biggest goal was to beat the last boss and I can walk onto the shores of Pandaria knowing that I've done that.

That said, I know that I could have done better. Guild trouble ended up pushing me off of my server and into the opposite faction days after getting Heroic Blackhorn, and I ended up roaming around guildless for the better part of three months while people I know (and that I know aren't as good as I am) ended up moving on to kill Heroic Madness while the zone-wide nerf was still down at 15%. I'm also confident that we could have gotten Heroic Ragnaros down before DS was released if my guild at the time had not just given up. We were making progress, working out the kinks of phase two when . . . we just stopped.

My new guild is showing potential to push hard into Tier 14 and that's what I want to do. I don't want to make a habit of guild hopping, but I also don't want to spend another tier wiping to the attendance boss or carrying dead weight when I could be downing harder and more challenging content. I'll be the first one to admit that I'm not an all-star warlock that's ready to put in my app for Vodka or Premonition, but I'm also good enough to not need a 30% buff or nerf in order to beat content.

Documenting the journey - Occasionally, I'll go through my screenshot folder and let the memories of raiding Naxxramas or Ulduar float back into my head. I'll remember the conversations in vent as I stayed up until dawn talking with my guildmates about addons or making fun of my GM's terrible internet connection. I'll drift back to the days in ICC when we were working on our achievement drakes, not only with some of my best friends that I've ever had in this game, but also some of the most skilled players I've ever had the pleasure of raiding with. Watching our Warrior tank get two-shot by Heroic Lich King, screwing up my tank CD rotation on Sartharion 3D, giving the Druid a hard time about looting Auriya's crotch . . .

I want to take things a step further in Mists. Not only do I want to take more screenshots, but I'm also looking into picking up a copy of Fraps and recording our progression attempts. Maybe I'll make one of those hip musical kill videos all the kids are raving about these days. People still listen to Heart, right?

Focus - One of the things that I regret with Cataclysm was simply that I didn't spend enough time working on my main and instead ended up leveling or gearing up alts that never got any real play. Instead of capping my valor points every week, I was leveling yet another alt to 85. Instead of running dungeons for Chaos Orbs for crafting purposes, I was relearning how to heal as a Holy Paladin.

This time around, I'd like to be more dedicated to my Warlock, always capping my points and getting "those achievements" out of the way when they're easy rather than waiting until a year later when no one wants to help.

Money, money, money - Gold cap. I'm doing it. With the BMAH coming around and the possibility of the ZG Tiger making an appearance, I want to have the cash on hand to buy it when it shows up.  I got much better at understanding the WoW economy during Cataclysm and I'm already gearing up to make a killing off of the Monk/Pandaren invasion.

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