Sunday, November 18, 2007

What's a night elf to do?

After a nearly nine month hiatus, I have returned to the World of Warcraft. Mostly to keep myself occupied during the upcoming North Dakota winter, but also to reconnect with some friends I made in-game.

Things have changed a lot since I left at the end of January. Most of my guildies recently took time off, and those few that are still around have pretty much moved on. I can't say that I blame them; it'd be silly to expect them all to put their virtual lives on hold while waiting on me.

After waiting a couple of days for an guild invite to Warcraftier that never came (most of my friends join them after we dissolved our guild), I hooked up with Dynasty, which has some of my friends from my Molten Core raid. And although I'm starting to feel comfortable and accepted by their members, I still feel like I'm on the outside looking in.

In the 10 months since The Burning Crusade came out, most of them have had ample opportunity to farm rep., learn the strategies, gear up, and go raiding. I was gone, so I'm nowhere near they're at, and I have no ida what to do about it.

I only reached level 70 a couple of weeks ago. I need to spend several more weeks getting my reputation up so I can purchase alchemy recipes. I need better equipment. I don't have an elite flying mount (I got about 600 of the 5000 golod necessary to purchase one). And I want to wrap up as many quests in the 5-man dungeons as I can.

There lies the problem. I'm a non-raider in a raiding guild. In fact, since I returned, I've had interest from 3-4 raiding guilds for my services (all of which has some of my former guildies (The Wolves of Azeroth) or MC raid members (Ayedtt's Raiders). I can't find guildies to run 5-mans with me, cuz they're all raiding or running heroic 5-mans (which I might be able to do, but they aren't doing the ones I need). The worst part is, I'm a hunter, so players like me are a nickel a dozen (that's right, a nickel, not a dime)

I've tried using the Looking For Group tool, and I've had some success. I've managed to find a few good groups and complete some runs. But most of the time, my groups fall apart before we even get started because we can't find a healer and/or a tank, so I have to re-queue. In addition, I've had some problems joining the LookingForGroup channel manually, so I can't monitor the chat and find a group for more than three locations at a time (a limitation of the LFG tool). Finally, I can't join a group for an instance outside of my level range using the LFG tool, so I won't auto-join groups going to Slave Pens, or even Lower Blackrock Spire (still got a couple of pre-BC quests in there I want to finish out). I spoke to a GM about this issue, but he wasn't much help. I ask my guildies in Dynasty for help, but my requests are usually met with silence (not that they're purposely ignoring me, they just aren't interested in running something they've done a couple dozen times before, or are busy... yup, you guessed it... raiding).

It's almost enough to make me quit. Again. But that won't solve anything. I'd just fall further behind. I could try to convince my former guildies to come back, but I've never been a very pursuasive person, and I doubt they'd want to invest the time and money needed to get me out of pre-raid limbo.

The next expansion, The Wrath of the Lich King, might solve some of these issues, since it somewhat puts everyone on equal footing again, so we all start at the same point to try to get into the raids. But that's at least a year off.

I'm going to talk to some people, get some advice, figure out what to do next. Until then, I guess I just have to continue my work to get ready for raiding. Maybe finish leveling up my pally (he's 64 right now). Maybe do a little PvP. Maybe get my reps up so I can finish my work in alchemy. And continue to wait for those groups to form up.

Now I know how all these pro athletes feel when they come out of retirement to play with the big boys again.

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