Monday, September 22, 2008

Keep the fun and focus with a fake enrage timer

A lot of players seem to be affected by the pre-expansion blues. Not all, but many of us, judging from the comments on my The World has changed post a while ago.

Where we used to fly forward, full of adrenaline, passion and fighting spirit, we now seem to be stuck in chewing gum or slowed downed by the chilling effect of a well placed frostbolt.
It’s boring and frustrating for all of us who are used to get our kicks by raiding.

Unless you want to have a break from the game, you must find new ways to challenge yourself.

I think we need to start to think like high jumpers. We can’t rely in Blizzard raising the difficulty for us by offering new instances. We need to challenge ourselves and try to break our own records.

One way to do this is to put up strict time limits for yourself and your party - to make a fake enrage timer. This is what this post is about. I suggest you to start to play against the stopwatch.
A new experience
The heroic instances nowadays aren’t really any challenge for many players, geared as we are, in badge items or PvP rewards if nothing else. But do it quick and dirty and I promise you’ll see it from a new side.

Being under time pressure you’ll limit your marking to the most necessary. You’ll keep cc:ing to a minimum. You won’t wait for full mana regain after every single pull. You’ll take more risks and play on the edge in order to break the record.

Recently I made Black Morass in 18 minutes and I had more fun there than I’ve had in a long time. It was full speed from the beginning to the end, except for the two forced-on-breaks after the bosses (very annoying).

If you rush the chances are bigger that you’ll make a tiny mistake and then get the opportunity to deal with the consequences and improvise.

Now, unfortunately, except for in Zul Aman, Blizzard hasn’t any special loot to award speedy players. So it’s up to you to motivate yourself:

  • Put yourself into the state of mind that there’s an enrage timer that you’re fighting. To your aid you’ve got the new Stopwatch feature that was introduced in the last patch. You get access to it by typing /sw. Let everyone in the party start it at the same time and make sure that you’ve got the same goal.
  • Be hard on yourself if you fail. And cheer if you succeed. The more seriously you take it, the more you put your heart into it, the more fun you’ll have.
  • Keep record of your achievements. I wish there was some kind of addon where you could keep track on how quick you’ve done an instance historically (maybe there is one I’ve just missed?). But a paper and pen isn’t a bad alternative. Take notes and put up golden goals for yourself.
  • Compete. If you’re really lucky you may find another five man-party to fight with. Who will clear the daily heroic instance in the shortest time? Or which party could make the most number of badges in 1 hour?

An exemple
I think most instances could be brought back to life using this technique.

Karazhan, for instance, is pretty dull after running it so many times, at least if you do it slowly and carefully, not taking any unnecessary risks. But let’s make an illusion. Imagine there’s a gnome-engineering experiment going on in a secret cellar below the animal bosses. In fact the whole place will explode in 2 hours unless you clear the place, turning the pretty nearby Stormwind into a ghosttown. You and your party are the last hope, you’ve got to clear the place quickly to stop the process.

Do you feel the pressure? Do you feel the pulse? Good. Switch on the stopwatch and enter. Let’s rock, let’s sweat, let’s conquer, let’s have fun. Just as we used to.


Anonymous said...

One of the most fun offnights I've ever had was when my guild (t5/t6 geared) pulled together two groups to go to Kara. We zoned in at the same time, and had a race! We were constantly popping into each other's room on vent and going "woohoo, just downed Aran! Who's in the lead NOW, huh?"

I think we finished Prince within 20 minutes of each other, and we had an absolute blast the entire time, because we set that challenge for ourselves.

Cynra said...

Every heroic run or raid run that features Badgers as a vast majority of the group is entitled to participate in the timers that we maintain on the forums. Those groups that do manage to make new records are listed on the forums by name and the time next to the instance(s) that they managed to successfully complete in record time. It's a wonderful fun way to make old instances more interesting -- especially if you're overgeared for said instances.

It's part of the reason why some of us continue to do bear mount runs in Zul'Aman; they're fun, challenging, and quickly completed if everything goes right!

krizzlybear said...

Due to me going on and on about my 17/0/43 UBER DPM talent build in guild chat, raid leader now tells me "If you ever go OOM on a boss fight, you're getting g-kicked."

It's hilarious, and keeps me on my toes. Almost did that on prince too.

Gevlon said...

Me and my GF are planning a similar action too for a long time, gathering players for it. The idea is: My GF want to tank it. As hunter. Everyone says impossible. We'll see.

Another plan: Aran killed by sheeps. Damage down him to 1%, dot him up so the dots kill him while we are sheeps.

krizzlybear said...

Alternative venue fights:

have the tank kite a boss to another area where you previously fought a boss. Easiest example of this is to walk maiden down to Moroes' dining room.

Chad S. said...


I haven't been to Kara in months, and this seems like a decent idea for giving it one last pass before Wrath.

Anonymous said...

In our guild we work on a three-week raiding cycle. We raid for two weeks, then have one week off so folks can PvP or play an alt or do whatever they need to. One fun thing we like to do on our off weeks is "beat the officers Kara." My officers and I form one Kara team and the rest of our guild forms one or more other teams. If they beat us, they each get an "officer slave" for a night of PvP or farming, or bade runs or whatever they need!

Larísa said...

@Musingsofraider: That sounds awesome! Competing in real time is even better than trying to beat a record

@Cynra: what a bright idea to keep the records not just for yourself, but open on the guild forum. Well worth copying!

@Krizzlybear: haha, that's a wonderful way to challenge yourself as well! I haven't yet that much confidence, but who knows, one day maybe? And to let Maiden get some fresh air, that sounds fun too. I kind of feel sorry for her every time I see her in her prison.

@Gevlon: haha, great ideas. Don't you just love it when the raid has wiped and the boss goes down anyway thanks to a dot? Has happened to me once. Not that it's something you would really strive for but still fun.

@Chad's: yes I think it is. Mind you though, I advice against pugging it. I've done a couple of pugs lately with the intention to do timer runs, and become greatly disappointed, not clearing it quick enough. I think you'd better do those things in companie with people you trust.

@Oriniwen: that was an awesome twist to the competition! Too let the officers become slaves if they loose the race! I just love it! I wonder if my officers will do it as well if I suggest it to them...