Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Gundersson: How I almost became a Huntard.

(This is the first post from special guest blogger, Gundersson. In it, he brings up a number of issues which I've been having recently as well)

Yeah, so survival got buffed. Big time. We went through Naxramas theother day and I came out as top DPS in the entire 10 man by a wide margin. I'm not used to this. I'm not that well geared and I wouldn't call myself the most experienced player you've met. Even if all the time I've wasted at work poring over specs, gear and shot rotations has paid off, it still doesn't account for the ridiculously large difference between myself and the next highest DPS on Recount.

At first I was kind of bemused. As a survival hunter, being on top of the DPS charts was novel and totally unexpected. I'd heard about the buffs to Explosive Shot so I never really put it down to personal skill. The first thing that did occur to me was that if I let it go to my head I could very easily turn into the kind of player I hate. I reminded myself that this wasn't some new and incredible personal accomplishment; this was simply a dev on the other side of the world making a mistake when it came to game balance. My own personal awesomeness had as much to do with this as the weather.

Nevertheless, by the time we downed Gluth, my Ego was sitting in the chair next to me and had helped itself to a six pack from the fridge. When we hit the pre-Thadius DPS coordination it snidely mentioned to me, that I might have to reign in my awesomeness so that the other team could catch up.

After the raid my wife asked me how it went. I gave her a sly wink, and without an iota of shame, mentioned that I was on top of Recount. I think she saw the signs then, but I guess she just didn't know how to tell me. We did a few Heroics, and I pugged a bit. I respecced and dropped all my 'useless' chain trapping talents, in fact anything that didn't give me more DPS. I found myself losing my temper with pugs a lot more quickly because well, they just weren't bringing 100%. Why should I bring my Exploding Shot of Ultimate Awesome DPS to THEIR pug if they're going to let us wipe and make me pay repair bills? Granted, pugs are utterly vile and generally deserve every bad thing said about them, but that's no reason to be an outright arse.

Now, understand, a big part of the reason I went Survival, was because I believed it offered a challenge and brought something more to a group than just another DPS generator. It would keep me honest, keep me hungry and constantly looking to improve. My trapping and extra crowd control were there to help out the group. It made me a team player as opposed to a competitor. When they added the replenishment buff it was just icing on the cake for me. That's what Survival did; it helped everybody in the group. I was quite accepting of the fact that I wasn't bringing the most DPS. As long as it wasn't holding the group back, I felt I would be more than making up for it by keeping the group alive in other ways.

Unfortunately in the current PvE-Endgame/AOEfest/Celebration of Mediocrity, most players scoff at the concept of crowd control, yell 'yuck' when you mention marking, and go glassy eyed when you say there should be something more than spamming one button over and over.

This is why I love my guild, because most of them aren't like that. So half way through a guild Heroic Nexus run, our tank asks me to trap something. We all know he doesn't have to ask me to trap. Most of the time, you can roll through there with your eyes closed, if you're with guildies. So he explained on Vent, that he asks people to CC to keep them in practice; keep them on their toes. This is 'A Good Thing(tm),' or at least I've always believed it to be.

Thus I found it odd that my first reaction was one of panic. 3 Months ago if a tank had asked me to trap I would have been overjoyed at the chance to break out my skills. Now however, I panicked, and felt a little annoyed. For one, I'd specced out of my trap skills so I could maximize DPS. Additionally, I couldn't remember the last time I'd trapped anything... how did this go again?

So the pull went off and I trapped. The next one didn't go so well and the mob got away. No worries really, it's just for fun, right? On the third I broke my own trap. At another later point I dotted a mob I was supposed to trap and forgot I could just overwrite the DOT. I was getting tense. Tension gave way to anger and anger gave way to.. uhm, petulance.

However, I was still on top of Total Damage Done and DPS on Recount. This made me feel better. I looked at that Recount window with my name at the top and my lip stopped trembling. It made the bad stuff go away. I was still a man.

That was when it hit me. All the signs were there. Obsession with my position on Recount, inability to trap or do anything useful other than DPS. The Ego had taken up residence in the spare room where it came home at 3am with hookers, smelling of booze and cigarette smoke. Very soon I'd start having the irresistible urge to roll 'need' onloot that I couldn't use and yell stuff like 'LAWL' and 'N00B'. It was a slippery slope. How long till I was trolling the Wow Forums and criticizing posters based on their specs and their gear?

First thing I did was close recount. I made a deal with myself not tolook at it again. I've since removed it from my system. I'll installit if I need to troubleshoot something. It's a tool, not an expression of my masculinity and value as a human being, and that's what I'm going to tell myself every day.

Second thing I did was go and get my beloved boar back from the stable. He'd been languishing there ever since I'd started running around with that damned stupid cat to try and squeeze a few more points of DPS onto the charts.

Lastly, I'm respeccing. Those trap talents are coming back. I for one cannot friggin wait till they nerf Survival again. Good and hard. Seriously. Swing that puppy for me GC, I want to feel it.


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