Thursday, May 12, 2011

Raiding Bicycles

Or The post in which I search for normalcy.

So, since the last set of posts clearly did not do its job of restarting a normal blogging schedule, here is my next attempt. Some background information will be necessary as a lot has changed since The Elephant.

In the real life arena, Sen and I succeeded at house buying. Last weekend we moved most of our large furniture. And got the internet set up. That was super important. The cats love being in the new house where they can run around and look out a bunch of windows and just generally aren't cooped up in one room. Troy has taken a liking to sitting on my desk - usually in front of my computer screen. And as he's the fluffier of the two, he takes up the entire screen and I can't see anything.

I see this causing problems in future raids.

Speaking of raids, I was actually able to get my warlock "raid-ready". With the end of the spring semester came two weeks of not having to go to campus in order to get my work done - in turn leading to excessive hours spent in Azeroth.

The summer semester starts on Monday, so my time will start being limited again.

So, it's a good thing I joined a guild that has a relatively relaxed attendance policy.

That's right. I joined a new guild.

No, it's not Soulfire like I thought it might be. Which is a good thing, but that's a whole other story.

I not only left Memento, I left Hydraxis altogether.

It was, to me, kind of a big freaking deal. I've server-changed only one other time - and that was to leave a PVP server that I hated with a fiery passion. As fail as Hydraxis tended to be in the raiding department, I would never have left if it wasn't for a simple event hosted by Alas at Eff the Ineffable.

The Fishoree - as it went on my calendar - was a blast. I checked with Alas for what kind of classes the Eff team might need for raiding. I transferred my warlock a week later after making sure Takk, Mord, and Ann were all well aware of my intentions.

You see, Eff is an officer-less guild. You may remember from The Elephant what we were trying to make Memento before it fell apart. No officers - no Council - decisions made by the guild as a whole. Of course I was drawn to Eff like a moth to flame. It's everything I wanted Memento to become.

I've been trying to get back to a regular raid schedule with Eff. Takk made the transfer as well, so I have the best of both worlds - familiar faces and new friends.

So... the point of this post: raiding is not like riding a bicycle.

Once you've mastered the bicycle it essentially never changes. It's always two wheels connected in-line with a seat and some handlebars. Sometimes the front wheel is bigger, sometimes the back wheel is bigger, sometimes the tires are thicker, or the seat is different - whatever, you can still ride it. Because its a bicycle and your body remembers what to do with it.

Such is not the case with raiding. At least not for me.

Its true that the overall mechanics haven't changed - stand in good, stay out of bad, dps the bad guy at appropriate times - my body just does not remember what to do with them.

Without constant practice, you start to lose both the reaction time and the muscle memory associated with a raid situation. You know that when an angry yellow circle appears under your group it's time to gtfo - but it takes an extra second to reach for your movement controls and actually start to gtfo.

Furthermore, a warlock has several methods for moving and continuing to do damage. From the perspective of a Destruction Warlock, I have Conflagrate, Fel Flame, Corruption, and Bane of Doom. It doesn't make for the best dps, but it's better than nothing. But it only works if your brain processes fast enough to use these spells OR if your muscle memory is so good (or has had enough practice - repetition is the key to all things memory related) that you reach automatically for the movement spells while moving.

At the moment neither of these applies to me.

To an extent, the repetition necessary to achieve an appropriate level of muscle memory and reaction time can be fabricated. That's why they added training dummies, after all. They're good for more than just mastering your standing rotation - though they are excellent for that. You can also use them to judge your burst moments - if you unload everything at one time how much damage can you actually do? You can use them to judge your white damage, your dot damage, your moving damage. I'm sure other classes have discovered other uses for them as well.

Of course, to judge your moving damage on a training dummy YOU have to be the one doing all the moving. To face off against a moving target, I recommend Glop, Son of Glop. You have chase after Glop in order to be in range to do moving damage and you need to move continually while Glop is standing still in order to avoid mushroom damage. The only thing its lacking is puddles of good to stand in.

Still, nothing quite compares to a true raid environment. Eff farms on Tuesday nights and Progresses on Friday and Saturday. While it's been a great deal of fun, I don't think I've been able to show my best stuff. Frankly, I'm out of shape. So here's to hoping it won't be too long before I feel comfortable again in the raiding environment.

Raiding is not like riding a bicycle. But it's worth the effort.

1 comment:

  1. After a six month break, I find I'm terribly rusty at raiding. But that's okay, like you said - it's like riding a bike. I'm sure if I started doing it again for a few nights a week, the rust would come off, the reflexes would come back, and I'd get used to working with the flow of a raid group again.