Hard Core Brother: The Next Interview


Ethic: Let’s start off with getting a feel for where you are in WoW right now. Tell us a little bit about the guild you’re in and what they are trying to do at the moment.

Grim: I’ve been with Juggernaut since July of 2006 (Immortalis on Hellscream/Dalvengyr prior to that). There is only one challenge left for us in the current tier of content, and that is known as Yogg+0. Yogg-Saron is the final boss in Ulduar, and you have the option of utilizing up to four NPC’s to aid you in the fight against him, each one providing a special set of buffs to make you stronger, faster, more resilient, etc. Needless to say, using all four NPC’s makes you quite strong, and the fight is quite easy. Most guilds at our level of raiding have successfully defeated Yogg-Saron with only one NPC’s aid (Yogg+1). Yogg-Saron without the aid of any NPC’s, however, makes the encounter extremely difficult. Currently, only five guilds in the world have accomplished this feat. Sadly, the strategy we’re employing involves two tanks (warrior + deathknight), so I get to cheer them on from the sidelines until patch 3.2 rolls around.

Ethic: Where are they ranked in the United States? World?

Grim: According to http://www.wowprogress.com, we are currently #5 in the US, and #15 in the world.

Ethic: What accomplishments has the guild done that you would consider pretty amazing or special?

Grim: First, understand that Mal’Ganis is the top rated server in the world. It is home to several other very competitive, very good horde raiding guilds such as Aurora (now Vigil), Aftermath, and Elitist Jerks. Secondly, the “Algalon the Observer” encounter in Ulduar is only available after you’ve defeated the hard-mode version of Hodir, Thorim, Freya, and Mimiron (the four watchers that can later assist you with Yogg-Saron). More importantly, Algalon only sticks around for 1 hour per reset (week). We played well enough to have defeated Algalon on our 2nd reset (hour) of attempts on him, claiming the server-first achievement along with the title “the Celestial Defender”.

Ethic: What is your main character?

Grim: Grim, a level 80 Horde Paladin on Mal’Ganis.

Ethic: How long have you been playing WoW?

Grim: I’ve been playing since closed beta, in July 2004.

Ethic: How long, on average, do you play in a day?

Grim: During the week, about 6-6.5 hours per day, 14 on weekend days.

Ethic: Do you have any idea how many /played hours you have into WoW at this time?

Grim: 450+ days total across all 10 characters and a couple that I have deleted.

Ethic: How many characters do you currently have and what are their

Grim: Mal’Ganis Horde characters
Grim, 80 Blood Elf Paladin, 66 days
Grimx, 80 Undead Rogue, 240 days
Wrathscarab, 80 Tauren Druid, 12 days
Vormock, 80 Orc Warlock, 9 days
Lithanicus, 80 Blood Elf Priest, 20 days

Doomhammer Horde characters (they get transferred to Mal’Ganis when I decide I want to level them up)
Thaurn, 70 Tauren Warrior, 22 days
Dannoc, 70 Undead Mage, 32 days
Nazurogg, 70 Orc Hunter, 22 days
Leowon, 70 Blood Elf Paladin, 14 days
Javin, 65 Troll Shaman, 6 days

Ethic: Can you rank the classes in order of how much fun you have with them?

Grim: For the longest time, I have entirely avoided playing healers. A few months ago, I started healing on my druid and it turned out to be more fun than I thought it would be. I really enjoyed the raid healing game, and figured it’d be even more fun as a holy priest. I just recently finished levelling that and am having a lot of fun with it.

Prot/Ret Pally > Holy Priest > Resto Druid > Affliction Warlock > Combat Rogue.

Ethic: Of the characters you play regularly, list the main improvement you feel the class needs to be more fun.

Grim: One of the things that originally drew me to playing a protection paladin was how they were the masters of blocking. I felt that it set them apart from the other tank classes in a fun way. In WotLK, wearing any decent amount of block gear beyond heroics and early 10 man content puts you at a disadvantage. Bosses hit too hard and you don’t block enough damage to justify wearing block gear. If I gear for avoidance, I’m like a warrior without sunder armor, demoralizing shout, thunderclap, shockwave, or shortened taunt cooldowns through Vigilence. I also dont have as many “oh crap” cooldowns as Warrior/Druids/Deathknights. Why am I in the raid, again?

Blizzard is buffing block in 3.2 (doubling block value on items, and doubling the durations of on-use block abilities), but it isn’t their final solution. I look forward to both.

Ethic: If you could improve one thing about WoW, what would it be?

Grim: Right now? I’d really like for spec slots be purchasable like bank slots.

Ethic: Do any PvP? How do you feel about it?

Grim: I do not PvP. For a long time now, I’ve felt that PVP brings out the worst in people. Friends I hang out with in PvE content turn into completely different people in Arenas and BG’s, and it’s not fun to be around.

Ethic: What is your favorite part of WoW? Least favorite? Why?

Grim: It is and has always been the feeling of character progression (typically through gear and achievements). My least favorite part of WoW is when good friends quit playing it. I’d rather be in a bad Naxx25 PUG.

Ethic: What is your proudest accomplishment while playing WoW?

Grim: Individually, being the first to hit level 80 on Mal’Ganis. As a group, the server first Algalon. Most recently, I was able to acquire my original name, Grim.

Ethic: If you could add one thing to WoW, what would it be?

Grim: I’d love for there to be some way for people in a raid (but not in the instance) to be able to view the actions of your teammates in the instance.

Ethic: Do you repeat a lot of content? If so, how do you keep from getting bored?

Grim: I usually do Ulduar10/25 on Grim, and Naxx25/Ulduar10/Ulduar25 on an alt (or alts), depending on availability of groups. What keeps it interesting is doing it as a different role or a different character altogether. Tanking vs DPSing vs Healing all play drastically different from one another.

Ethic: What does the future hold for WoW? Any ideas where they are going, expansion-wise?

Grim: Blizzard hasn’t announced anything yet, and probably won’t until Blizzcon at the very earliest. However, we do have reason to believe that the next expansion will have to do with the Maelstrom between Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms. Raising the level cap to 90 is a safe assumption, and potentially Worgen and Goblins as playable races. As for which would be aligned with Horde/Alliance? I think each will have a questline that results in the player being able to choose.

Ethic: Blizzard seems to keep making it easier and easier to accomplish goals that you guys probably fought hard to get through. Add to that the fact that much of the unique gear you may have gotten in the past keeps becoming easier to get. Does any of this bother you?

Grim: No, nothing blizzard does to make the game better and more accessible for casual players bothers me at all. My alts benefit a great deal from said changes. Also, the majority of gear I acquire on Grim typically don’t get easier to obtain until I have access to a newer tier of gear.

Ethic: Tell me about your raiding activities.

Grim: Our raid schedule is 7:30 PM to 11:30 PM CST, Sunday-Thursday. Around 7:15 or so is when invites go out, and the raid forms as people make their way to the instance.

For content on farm status, our GM/RL, Sebudai, spends a ridiculous amount of time figuring out who would most likely “win” items should they drop, per boss. Between bosses, he’ll swap out people who don’t need loot, or who probably wouldn’t win loot, while still making sure all buffs/debuffs/roles are accounted for. When an item drops, an officer will announce it in raid chat and those interested send a tell with what they are upgrading from, along with whether or not the new item is considered “best in slot” (very important factor). That particular officer will consolidate the tells and discuss it with other officers, and come to an agreement/vote on who should get it.

During progression content, we carefully examine logs and fraps (video) and discover what a given bosses abilities/gimicks are, and decide the best way to handle each one. After each wipe, we carefully look at some/all of the deaths of players, and determine what needs to be done in order to avoid/compensate/alleviate. This information is typically discussed verbally and also consolidated into posts on our forums.

As time goes on, the WoW community injects this type of information into raid addons such as BigWigs and DeadlyBossMods. These addons provide warnings, announcements, and timer bars for the various aspects of fights. A lot of casual guilds depend on videos and addons such as these to learn fights. More and more often, encounters are thoroughly tested on the Public Test Realm and added to the addons prior to even going live.

At the end of the raid night, people will often discuss what worked well or what went wrong with one or more boss fights. A lot of strategic improvements stem from these conversations. People will also discuss/compare recent recruits (applicants) and see what they are doing right or wrong. This feedback is also placed in the forum thread for each applicant, which is ultimately used to determine if that applicant should or should not become a full member.

– Ethic

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I own this little MMO gaming blog but I hardly ever write on it any more. I'm more of a bloglord or something. Thankfully I have several minions to keep things rolling along.

14 thoughts on “Hard Core Brother: The Next Interview”

  1. Great post Ethic. Your brother’s comments give a great sneak peak into the mind of a hard core raider.

    It seems to me that your brother really enjoys his WOW hobby and that even now several years on he still gets a kick out of progressing in the game and tackling the hard stuff.

    The time commitment still jumps out though. Sixty hours a week is more than a full time job and I guess that doesn’t even include browsing forums and such. Lots of people devote lots of time to their hobbies but I cannot think of any that demands quite so much time.

  2. Yea, that was actually a pretty interesting interview. He seems to have a great attitude about WoW and raiding.

  3. Good interview, and good succinct answers. It sounds like what he and his guild does is a lot of fun, but far outside any time I would have to commit to a game.

    I think it would be pretty awesome if WoW implemented some in-game observer mode to let players tag a long in spirit on a raid they might never experience.

  4. Great interview. I’m a casual WoW raider, but if I had more time to devote to the game, I probably would.

    It’s refreshing to hear from someone like Grim, someone who is deeply committed to a single game. The World of Warcraft embodied in the descriptions of a lot of general MMO bloggers is a far different beast from what Grim, and I to a lesser extent, enjoy. Oftentimes these bloggers will do the solo/group quests in the new content, level to the new cap, and then drift away for lack of things to do. For Grim and I, the game picks up at the point in which a lot of casual players are letting their accounts lapse.

  5. I’m guessing he is a student or unemployed? His schedule is somewhat similar to what I use to run back when I was raiding in college, with Friday always being the off day. Good interview, I wonder how he feels about the game going from Nax40 difficulty to what it is today though.

  6. Great interview. :)

    Dedication is definitely part of the raider’s number one priorities, though I wonder what else Grim does in his spare time. :)

  7. Awesome interview, right in time for the release of the movie Second Skin. Does this have any connection to your feelings about the movie or gaming addiction?

    It is very interesting how players will forego any reality based activities for virtual. Much has been said and written about the draw of the virtual worlds. Players get dedicated to their game and their guilds progress, good traits. But at what point do they cross the line of healthy-play to unhealthy-play?

  8. I think that he is very atypical in that he has a laid back approach to casual players. Most of the hardcore of his level really ignore or even despise casuals, and self-segregate to the point where it’s almost a caste system.

    It is a lot of work though, my friend is a raider in FFXI, nowhere near that level but he spends a lot of time per week doing it, and i think it burns him out.

  9. That’s some crazy time management then, especially with an IT job (unless it’s something that does not require showing up for emergencies). Even if he works just 9-5 m-f, there’s still very little room between work and WoW for everything else, but without a wife/kids, very doable.

  10. I really don’t see why we seem to be hung up on his times and raiding schedule. 7:30 to 11:30 is four hours, five nights a week. We wouldn’t bat an eyelash about anyone who spends four hours, five nights a week watching movies or TV, reading, working on his car, going out for dinner and drinks, composing and working on songs or whatever else.

    20 hours a week (at least) is just fine to devote to any hobby activity. He’s hardcore because he seems well-grounded, devoted, informed and knowledgeable about what he does, but it’s not about the time spent. He has a routine, his schedule for his hobby, and he’s sticking to it. Much like I know many writers who religiously put in 3 hours of solid writing every night, and hikers/bikers who disappear on the weekends for 6-8 hours in the hills and trails around town.

    He’s not hardcore in a pejorative way. And certainly not because of how much time he spends.

  11. Julian, I agree he does not sound hardcore in a perjorative way. The thing is he is not playing 20 hours per week. He is playing 60 hours per week. He is playing 6 hours each day Monday through Friday and 14 hours on Saturday and on Sunday.

    If his job is 9 to 5 Mon – Fri then his play schedule may be 7 pm – 1 am each weekday and 10 am to midnight each day on the weekend. That is a lot of time to spend on any one activity be it writing, biking, gaming, whatever every week.

    In other words his time spent in a week:
    Commute 5 hours (assume: 1/2 hour to and from work)
    Eating 7 hours (this would include meal prep)
    Other 7 hours (all other activities)
    Working 40 hours
    Sleeping 49 hours (7 hours /night)
    WoW 60 hours

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