Monday, November 30, 2009

We Are World Bank: Part II

Well hello there. Nice of you to drop by. It's not often that I see your type around these parts, but hey, I'm not one to complain...much. It's been a good long while since I've come back to this with the holiday and all, but I think the break was worth it. I ended up spending a few days with our tank and got him hooked on Dragon Age. Sue me, but that's in the past, let us look to the future. It would seem as if 3.3 is right on the horizon, some saying later today while others saying next week. I'm going to say next week, but I could be wrong, lord knows we need some new content now. We nine man regular ten man ToC just because we don't feel like filling spots from the LFG channel, and it makes things a little more interesting for us.

Regardless, not all that long ago I made a post comparing our guild to that of the World Bank. While the 25 man ToC last week ended up being a success with only two of us from Parabola, the comparison still fits in my eyes. So, let's look at some of the criticisms leveled against the World Bank and see how they match up to the criticisms leveled against my own guild.

Critics argue that the so-called free market reform policies—which the Bank advocates in many cases—in practice are often harmful to economic development if implemented badly, too quickly, in the wrong sequence, or in very weak, uncompetitive economies.

To answer this, one has to look at exactly what sort of reforms my guild advocates while stepping in to help others. Quite honestly, if we're stepping in to help, it's our show. We run the raid: use our strategies, we dole out the loot, don't talk on ventrilo unless you need to. We also advocate for the use of all possible consumables, and for the right to kick people from a raid if they are either a) annoying or b) dying repeatedly for no good reason. There's no real simple way about it, if we step in, you come into our world. Has this been detrimental to the development of certain guilds? Yes, I think it has. The guild that we run all of these 25 man shenanigans with is...casual at best, with a few people that really want to raid. When this all started a number of them hopped on board to the raid scene not knowing who we were and how we did things. I can honestly say that a number of those people never came back after the first raid. Probably because we're dicks. We ask people to do everything that they can, but sometimes that just means that you have to show up on time. The guild we run with has lost two GMs over this whole raiding thing. They are a casual guild, but they want to raid with us. For some, this is problematic because their casual mentality just doesn't meet up to our standards. No, we won't summon you. You fly like everyone else. Why are you wearing Flask of the North? Why don't you have a food buff when I just dropped a fish feast? You need to repair when I dropped a Jeeves on the last attempt. I know for a fact that a number of people in that guild really don't like us for what we've done to their guild. We've turned a number of the semi-hardcore people over there into real raiders, or at least, people that really want to raid, and they've become a bit...estranged from their former friends and family. It's like...once you go raider, you don't really go back. Have we hurt the guild? Yes, probably, but we've made them more competitive for it. I honestly don't think they would have seen any of ToC without us there leading the show.

A number of intellectuals in developing countries have argued that the World Bank is deeply implicated in contemporary modes of donor and NGO-driven imperialism and that its intellectual contribution functions, primarily, to seek to blame the poor for their condition.

We do blame the poor raiders for their condition. We do this all the time. Usually we do it on ventrilo while they're listening. Probably because we are dicks. Bladefist as a server has a very low population of decent Horde-side raiding guilds. As this content has all but dried up as of late, we are finding ourselves in need of decent raiders or PUGs to fill one or two spots here and there (which was the case last night). It is in our best interest to try and craft what talent there is into a viable raiding form, in the hopes that someday, they will be of use to us again. It's sort of like an investment. We put time into helping people along, and usually they want to run with us again when we need them, if we do. Everyone is happy. We pick and choose who we do, and do not want to take, sowing our seeds of raiding as we go, passing off tips here and there, blowing minds elsewhere. But honestly, when it comes right down to it, sometimes guilds are just bad. Players are just bad. When put in that situation, there's not a lot we can do. Say for example, there's this shaman in the 25 man raids that has, and will forever die in phase two Anub'arak because he doesn't run from the spiky underground pain of ugly death (it's a technical term). It's people like him that we point out every week and just say, "You know...this happens every time. We're done with you." They laugh it off and continue to do 2.2k DPS, but at the end of the night when the GM asks us how they did overall, some of us are quite quick to point out just who their terribad players are, and how we never want to see or hear from them again. Poor raiding guilds are poor because of their raiders, or the lack thereof. I make it a weekly habit to congratulate people with Legion Flames on their valorous, but ultimately unsuccessful, attempt to beat out the flames by standing in them for the duration of the debuff. Similarly, I also lavish undue amounts of praise on melee that refuse to break off to kill snobolds on the first boss. They are bad because they are bad. They are bad because they don't care, or don't want to listen. No we will not pop heroism/bloodlust during phase two Anub'arak. We will do it like we always do it. Deal with it.

While the World Bank represents 186 countries, it is run by a small number of economically powerful countries. These countries choose the leadership and senior management of the World Bank and as such, their interests are dominant within the bank.

We represent just about the only dedicated ten man presence Horde-side on Bladefist. We are a ten man guild. We've all got some of the best gear you can get aside from stepping into 25 man heroic ToC. What we say goes. Bottom line. If you don't like it, well, go raid someplace else. Good luck finding it on this server. Enough said.

Despite claiming goals of good governance and anti-corruption the World Bank requires sovereign immunity out of countries it deals with. Sovereign immunity waives a holder from all legal liability for their actions.

This sort of goes with the territory if you run with us. You do things our way, or you don't do them at all. While we're all about furthering other guilds, we only really look to take it as far as it will be of value to us. We're running the 25 man raids because we want gear that we wouldn't be able to get otherwise. There -is- something tangible in it for us. Usually though, there's something else that we can get out of it eventually, mostly reliable PUGs that we can call on in a pinch that are more than happy to jump on board with us for a night. But honestly, though, do we really care if what we do breaks up your guild? Probably not. The guild we run these with has turned over two GMs. Do we notice? Sure. Do we really care? Not really. It's not our fault. If people want to raid then they can raid. We don't force anyone to sign up. They do that all of their own free will. If by running with us you get your feelings hurt, well...too bad. Don't sign up again and wallow in your ilvl 200 BoE's. If you run with us, you waive your right to complain, bitch, whine, moan, whatever, because honestly, unless you've been there before, you'll probably end up lying face-down on the ground watching all of the pretty effects go off because you stood in the Legion Flames for too long while contributing absolutely nothing to the raid. Telling us that you're dead at this point will only get you laughed at on ventrilo. Probably because we are dicks.

Probably because we are dicks. Yeah, that just about sums us up.

Here's hoping for 3.3 before I grind my teeth down into bloody nubs.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Winding down. Gearing up.

Well, World Bank Part II is going to have to wait for a bit. As is stands right now a number of graduate-level issues have come up and they are impeding my ability to do a real analysis of the situation. Of course, that's not to say that I've no time for anything else.

On the contrary, time is exactly what I have right now. At least, in terms of what I do with World of Warcraft. I consider myself a raider as opposed to a PvP'er or a quester. Sure, I do a fair bit of both, come ask me sometime, I'll flash up my Seeker title and then PvP tank you to death in a duel. But you know, those aren't my real draws. Like I said, I come here to raid, to see the new content and push through it.

Sadly though, I do believe ToC is reaching the end of its raid cycle. Granted, that's not to say there isn't still much to do there, but I don't think we'll ever get all of the Faction Champions dead within one minute of each other. Regardless of what the achievement says, resilience will not fix it. Believe me, we've tried. As a guild we're always hoping for that flawless instance with nobody dying, know...I just don't see it happening anytime soon. We've got a few issues with people randomly dying for no reason in ToC. Now I'm not pointing fingers, I'm not blameless myself. Go ahead and come to an Ulduar 10 man with us some time. I think I spend more time on the floor there than just about anyone else, and it's usually for no good reason. Yogg's Faceless Horrors love me. I swear, I can't help it. It's gotten to the point on One Light in the Darkness where I take Divine Storm and Consecrate off of my bar and pray I don't get gibbed. But I digress, we've got some random deaths here and there, but they don't break the raid. We recover without a hitch and move on, but they still occur.

We've done all of the big content by now in terms of 10 man raiding, which is just about all we do: Algalon, Tribute to Insanity, One Light in the Darkness, Firefighter (never again will I get duped into doing this achievement without plenty of cash to back it up). Our ToC runs, both regular and heroic combine for night of raiding at best. Probably somewhere in the realm of three hours when we throw in a trip to Onyxia for her free badges and cash.

This has created something of a problem for us. Well, not really a problem, but moreso a malaise within our ranks. We are a raiding guild. That's what we consider ourselves to be, but we aren't raiding. We originally planned to raid three nights a week, three hours per night, but it's hard to keep up those standards when we blow through all of the instances in one of those nights. Sure, we still find things to keep us entertained, or at least keep us from falling off of our rockers completely. We've started to sell the 10 man Ulduar protodrake achievement, and it at least gives us something to do. We used to speed farm Naxxramas, but you know...the love is gone. It's almost too much work to get out there anymore. A number of us PvP just to blow off some steam, and another subset of us do a fair number of arenas...for better, for worse. Hell, one of our main tanks has started going through all of the Icecrown quests because he spent all of his time leveling in dungeons. Way to go, JP. Yes, Mal'Ganis is still alive, but he decided to take a break for a bit.

Regardless, we're really just filling time. We've tried to work on the Earth, Wind, and Fire achievement, but it's really hard to coordinate when the Horde on our server have about a one in ten chance of actually controlling Wintergrasp at any one time. It's insanely difficult to schedule a raid only to have the instance be closed for two hours. It's just not bloody convenient. Either way, we still log on every Tuesday and blow through our content for cash and badges, and maybe even that elusive piece of gear from the heroic mode. I think our moonkin has been looking for a belt for the past...thirteen weeks or so? Will it ever drop? I'm betting on the day that Icecrown Citadel opens, you know, just out of spite.

As a raiding guild we thrive on content. Without new content we stagnate and just get cranky. And for us, that's a really bad thing, seeing as that a number of us are already cranky enough. Well, maybe cranky isn't the word...try ateachother'sthroatsbecauseyouclearlydon'tknowhowtostickononetargetifyourlifedependedonitbecauseyouareasaboteurandyouaresabotagingourarenateamrating.

Yeah, I think that'll do nicely.

We'll get through it though, simply because the hint of Icecrown Citadel is right around the corner, or at least all of the PTR goodness is pointing that way. I've watched a few of the streams and I'm pretty excited about it. At least it'll give me something to do besides standing in the northern bank in Dalaran for hours at a time while I play Dragon Age: Origins on my other monitor.

Oh, and before I forget!

Crush of the Week: Our friggin' arena team. You know, we were doing pretty decently for our non-competitive comp, but then we just tanked it into the ground for a few matches and we all got a bit disappointed in ourselves, and each other. We'll give it another shot next week and see what we come up with. If that doesn't meet your personal standards, well, try this one on for size. While it's not WoW-related, it pretty much sums up how I feel about WoW from time to time.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

We Are World Bank: Part I

This will be something of a two-part post regarding my current thoughts on PUG raiding. This first part is more of an introductory exploration of the topic while the second part will delve deeper into the criticisms leveled against our type of PUG raiding.

While I enjoy the guild tag of Parabola, since setting up shop here on the Horde side of this server, I feel more and more as if we should just disband and rename ourselves as . Now, this witty bit of humor might pass over the head of more than a few people on our server, but I think the title is fitting, especially in light of just what we've been doing every Saturday for the past few weeks in these 25 man raids.

For those of you that follow this blog, you know where I stand on 25 man raids. For those of you that don't, well, let's just say that they make me cry like a baby...a hungry, angry baby. We're only ten people, and we can only carry another fifteen so far, but it's getting better. Oh thank god, it's getting better.

So, where does the World Bank come in? Let's take a look at the institution via a straight copy/paste from because...well...I'm incredibly lazy and I'm sure I'll have students coming in to harass me during my office hours here:

The World Bank is an international institution that provides leveraged loans to poorer countries for capital programs. The World Bank has a stated goal of reducing poverty.

Alright, let's see if we can break this down, do a little bit of comparative analysis, and see what we come up with. The suspense is killing me. I hope it lasts.

The World Bank is an international institution.

Is Parabola international as a guild? Sure enough. While we aren't pushing anywhere near the 186 members that make up the World Bank, we do have a few members that are, for all intents and purposes, international. One of our shaman is Canadian for sure. He buys his milk in plastic bags and he probably bathes in maple syrup. Not only that, he utilizes the typical Canadian "oo" and "eh" phonemic structures in just about every instance that they can be used. Our raid leader, while still a citizen of the United States, lives in Alaska, and that might as well be another country. Any place where it's light or dark for 22 hours at a time just isn't American. Also, he braves those terrible Alaskan traffic jams consisting of four dogsled pile-ups. We're international enough for a US-based server. Check.

The World Bank provides leveraged loans.

Does Parabola provide leveraged loans? We loan our ten players over to a casual-style family guild every Saturday for about three hours or so. While, yes, this does benefit us as well, it is a loan in every sense of the word. We carry the weight of the raid on both healing and DPS fronts. Hell, we even carry the tanking, too. We fill a good majority of the "required" spots for a raid, and let the other guild fill in as need be. As a guild, we have no intention of joining this other guild. We know exactly where we stand and where we want to be. We get used for a few hours and then are paid in kind via badges, patterns, and drops.

The World Bank provides said leveraged loans to poorer countries for capital programs.

If one accepts the fact that we a loaning our services out for these 25 man runs, I would also put forth that we are providing our services to individuals that are, for lack of a better term, quite poor. The Horde on Bladefist aren't exactly anything to write home about. I've seen plenty worse in my day, but then I've also seen a lot better. We're a middle of the road sort of server to begin with, but our Horde side doesn't exactly shine. That being the case, our crack 10 man group is something of one of the bright spots. We know what we're doing, and we know how to do it. We are the big fish, as it were. We lend our services to the poorer guilds. Now, while yes, I know we couldn't get access to the content on our own, but the point still stands: we're dragging a good number of lesser-geared individuals through these raids.

So, based on the goals set by the institution of the World Bank itself, I think the similarities are too hilarious to ignore. Stay tuned for the second installment where I will be looking into the criticisms leveled against the World Bank on an international scale and how those same criticisms have been leveled against Parabola as a guild in World of Warcraft.

Keep on crushin'.

Monday, November 9, 2009


Apologies, it's been a few days since my last post. Actually, it's been more like a week or so, but I've been distracted with real life things. I teach college English in my free time..."free time", and I find it more to be like 25 man raiding than actual teaching. You know, I hold their hand, tell them to show up to class on time, watch them not come prepared with the proper materials, have them stare blankly at me as I try to describe how an assignment is going to work...Yeah, just like those 25 man raids.

But I digress, my raid week has been over since oh...Thursday night or so. I don't count those Saturday 25 man things as raids because, well, I don't really try anymore. I just sort of show up and spin in a circle a few times while waving an axe around. I'm like that fifth-year senior in high school that you knew as a sophomore. I'm cool because I can buy cigarettes, but you dare not talk to me for fear of not being cool enough.

So, with the raid week over, or at least with it having been over, it gives me plenty of time to dink around with various aspects of PvP...namely finding new ways to completely demoralize people in Arathi Basin.

Crush of the week goes to Jax of the server Cenarius. Pro tip: if you're going to jump off of the road down to try and capture the mine in Arathi Basin, make sure you have a parachute cloak, or at least some way to heal yourself once you land in a rather quick fashion. While I don't know how much health you had when you did land, my Boba Fett wrist rockets + Berserking + Avenging Wrath were clearly enough to do you in with an 8.3k shot. Bottom line: it was my mine. You jumping off the cliff just saved me from having to close to melee range to finish the job. Make sure you always bring a gun to a Mexican knife fight.


Arathi Basin aside, I've been dabbling with the whole arena thing. Now, my teams aren't amazing, our comps are pretty much terrible. Retribution/Holy/Feral isn't exactly a game-breaking comp, but we're getting better. This last week we decided to switch it up a little bit so I delved deep into the protection tree while wearing full retribution PvP arena gear. Suffice it to say, I don't die all that often, but I just don't hit as hard as I used to...which is expected. I think it might work out in the long run, but we just need to work better at getting our communication down. Having that ranged silence in the form of Avenger's Shield is a really neat trick, and I get to scream "CAPTAIN AMERICA!!!!!!!!!!" on ventrilo and have it mean something for once. The SoC stack ticks are pretty sweet in terms of stopping rogues and mages from scampering off. I think so far I've killed at least four things while they're stealthed because of it. I call it my holy bleed effect. The Hand of Reckoning is decent, nice for popping multiple melee teams that try to clump us all together and Bladestorm us down. Remember kids, Bladestorm takes skill, no matter what everyone else tells you. I'll admit, though, I've had the most fun with Shield of Righteousness. Nothing makes me giggle more than hammering off a 5k shield slam on some bouncing rogue just to put them in their place.

I'll see how it pans out after some more matches tonight, see if I can give you a full run down on it. My sources say that at 2k+ this is the way to go, but at the moment, I don't think our comp has the necessary Mortal Strike effect to force healers dry. Damnable double healer teams.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Flask of the North killed raiding.

Well, on second thought, I suppose it could be worse. A Flask of the North is better than a flask on the nothing, isn't it? Maybe it's just me. Maybe it's just my own mentality toward this game. Maybe it's the fact that a good number of other individuals don't share my mentality toward this game. Or you know, maybe it's the fact that I carry flasks on me at all times. The real flasks. The expensive ones.

While the Flask of the North isn't the end all be all to raiding, I think it summarizes quite well my issue with most raids (read: 25 mans) that I end up doing in my free time. It went down something like this: We've been pulling this rag tag group of casuals that call themselves a guild through 25 man ToC. Hard stuff I know. There are some individuals in the raid that take it all quite seriously. I mean, they do their research, they eat some buff food, and they wear real flasks, but then...there are those like this guy. We had been wiping on Anub'arak for a good hour or so because the raid DPS was just so terrible that even if I could Titan Grip as a retribution paladin, there was just no way we could catch up. We were hitting Anub'arak's enrage timer over and over again, and things were starting to get a little strained. Our raid leader, out of spite, or maybe just to make a point ran his Big Brother buff mod through our guild chat. What was the result? At least half of the raid had neglected to flask up for the fight and at least another third had no buff food on. When this was brought to the attention of the raid over ventrilo, one man responded by saying, "That's shit, I've got my Flask of the North on."

Oh lord. Flask of the North. You go.

It's responses like that that just...completely blow my mind. For starters, Flask of the North doesn't even begin to match up against some of the standard raid-viable flasks, and then after that, you're going to argue about it? Now I understand that we're running some kind of charity bake sale by hauling most of this guild through ToC, but come on, welfare only does so much. At least help pay your taxes or something by bringing a real flask of you own.

What this comes down to for me is a sense of casual versus raider mentality. When I raid with my 10's guild, I expect everyone to be flasked and have buff food. I don't check, because I know we are all on the same page. We don't like wiping on the same thing over and over, and we sure as hell don't like to wipe on the same thing due to enrage timers or a general lack of DPS. We all know what to expect from each other--we expect each other to give a damn. Some of these people in the 25 man runs just aren't there mentally. It blows my mind, and I am constantly reminded of how much skill this game doesn't take to play and still be considered "decent" at it.

The 25 man runs are fun in the sense that I get to really open the floodgates and blow some mediocre DPS away with my 12k showings on Twin Valkyr or what have you, but's no fun to blow people away wipe after wipe because we can't break a shield. Two weeks ago the Twin Valkyr healed four times before enraging and destroying us all. It's just...terribly frustrating to me.

It's like herding cats.

If you want to play with the big boys, play like a big boy. We know your gear isn't the best. We know you might not know all the intricacies of the fights. We know you might die early on for no real reason. But please, at least look the part and make sure that when I mouse over you I see a real end-game flask on your character pane followed by a delicious well-fed buff.