Posts Tagged ‘WoW’

Hello people of the internets.  Yes, it’s been a ridiculously long time since I posted, around three weeks in fact.  I do apologize for that, but I do have what I consider to be a reasonable excuse.  During the last few weeks, I’ve taken a big step back from blogging, simply because everything essentially blew up, and I’m not a fan of third degree burns.

You all know what I’m talking about.  The Real ID war with blizzard has been all anyone has been able to talk about, and I felt that since every blogger in the WoW blog-o-sphere was all over the topic, I could probably leave it to them.

I just can’t bring myself to ignore the topic all-together though.  It would feel like a betrayal of the unwritten contract of bloger-dom.  Thus, I am going to speak of this matter ONCE and only once.  Here and now.  And, Blizz-willing, I’ll never speak of it again.

Clearly, I’m not a big fan of the changes, I just plain don’t like them.  I wasn’t too thrilled with Real ID in the first place, but I wasn’t up in arms over it.  Only one of my “Real” friends still plays WoW, and he’s just returned from a very long absence (like since BC).  It simply wasn’t a feature I thought I’d get much use out of.  And that was fine with me.

If people wanted to use Real ID- more power to them, it just wasn’t my thing.  BUT- things got a whole lot worse than that, as I’m sure everyone is aware.

When Blizzard announced the insanity that was the Facebooking of the public forums, practically every blogger out there exploded with rage.  I could tell you it was a bad idea, poorly thought out, just plain dumb, etc.  But you all have heard that a million times already, so I’m going to say something that some bloggers may consider blasphemous.

Look at the other side of the story.

I’ve just sat back and let all this craziness unfold in the last few weeks, and I feel that *maybe*, just maybe, I’ve become a little objective about the whole thing.

Let’s assume for just a minute that Blizzard actually had good intentions at heart.  Let’s say that at least a couple executives were in favour of the change simply because they wanted to clean up the forums.

I’m not saying that’s the real reason for Real ID, but it could have been a part of it.

I’m not gonna sit here and defend Blizzard though. I’m NOT in favour of the things they tried to do to our game, and I’m not sure I entirely believe their motives were pure (Hell- I know they weren’t).  But the point I’m trying to make here is this.

I feel like I’m posting after a fallout.  After some kind of catastrophic war, where I’m the guy who somehow survived and now has to go take a look at all the damage.  I feel like no one really won here.  And all this insanity is not a good feeling.

Something you should know about me- I hate drama.  I have enough of it in my ‘real’ life.  I don’t need to deal with it in a game I play as a hobby.  This whole thing, in my opinion, should never have happened.  People on both sides of the divide should be taking steps to ensure stuff like this just doesn’t happen.

I agree, that if we’re gonna choose our battles, this was a good one to pick, it was something a lot of people didn’t like.  BUT- next time guys, can we please keep the casualties to a minimum?  Let’s all maybe take a step back, turn off the nerd-rage, and breath for a couple of days.  I’m not just talking about players.  Blizzard should do the same.  They should really consider what they’re doing, before they cause another disaster like this one.  A lot of accounts have been canceled, a lot people don’t trust Blizzard anymore, and that’s a real shame in my opinion.

Hopefully Blizzard can make up some of the damage they caused with Cataclysm lead-up, and Starcraft II.  But there’s no guarantees there.

Stuff like this doesn’t always just go away.


There!  My ONE and only post about Real ID.  I’m done.  Seriously.  If there are comments I’ll respond, but that’s it.  I am NOT gonna let this thing eat up more than one post.

Let’s look forwards to the happy future!  Onwards!  To Cataclysm!  To raiding!  To… Stuff!

(Yes- Stuff gets a capital “s”- it’s just that important).


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The Point.

Well, despite my lofty plans of actually playing WoW today, it seems that Blizzard, in their infinite wisdom have decided to release patch 3.3.5!  Good news, yes?  If you enjoy not playing, then yes it is!  Maybe I’m picky… but especially since I actually had time to play just as the servers should have come up today, the delay is getting on my nerves.  So, what’s a poor guy to do when he can’t play WoW?  Why blog about it, of course!

The Battleground.

Last night I was going about my usual business, which recently has involved a lot of BGs, since I’m into a PvP phase once again, and am working crazily towards finally getting my DK into some kind of respectable PvP gear.  So, I found myself running about AB for a couple hours (AV was on Call to Arms, but I just hit random.  So of course I get the same BG five times in a row… isn’t that what random means?).  It was during what I remember being the first AB, that something really remarkable happened.

I joined the game and found those dastardly allies were up a  painful 1400-1000.  400 points in AB these days generally seems to be a “GG, let’s let them 5 cap us”, so my heart sank as I realized I’d  just entered a lost cause.

But for a pleasant change, that was not the case.  In fact, the team wasn’t giving up as I’d expected them to.  It seems what had happened was that almost 2/3 of the original raid had gotten tired of losing and dropped the BG (it had probably gone long enough to not have them take a debuff).  And We the fresh players had no intention of just joining a BG to lose.  So people worked together.

They teamed up, communicated (as Gnome points out is the way to go), and co-ordinated in ways I’ve only ever seen a premade work.   It  wasn’t long before we had the allies down 3-2 bases, and with a big push we threw them out of LM, securing  a 4-1.  As the cap on LM ticked, I was carefully watching my DBM meter, which was cheerfully informing me we had around 1 minute before the allies took the game.  “Just wait,” I kept telling myself.  “The fourth base will tip it our way.”

Sadly that wasn’t the case.  Even after reaching 4-1 bases, the allies still had just enough of a lead they were still going to win (they were up by around 50 points at this point).  I realized we were going  to lose.   Everyone did.  The allies were all backed into the Stables, and there were far too many to take out in the 30 seconds we had to go.  But there was no complaining.  We all knew we’d given it our all.  It was the kind of game you don’t  mind losing.  We were only down by a marginal 50 points, and we all knew that if we’d joined an even game we most certainly would have won.

The Comeback.

It was while I was counting down to defeat that something miraculous happened.  The win meter changed from blue to red, with only seconds to go.  DBM now wanted me to know that the Horde would take the BG in 45 seconds.

Cheers went up across Arathi Basin.  Apparently what had happened was that the allies had decided to pressure our bases (God knows why, they were going to win anyways, after all) and this had divided their forces.  Although they assaulted the mine and got the blacksmith, they’d lowered the defenses on the stables.  And some industrious player (I was too far away to see who) managed to cap Stables.

This put us at 2-0 bases.  Meaning the allies wouldn’t get points.  Meaning we would win.  In 30 seconds.

With literally 2 seconds to go, however, the allies capped a base.  This left us at 1-1, and with 10 seconds to go on the ally win meter, they took the game 1600-1590.

BUT- even though we’d lost, we lost in the most epic way imaginable.   We put our hearts and souls into it.  And I didn’t mind losing to the allies.  No one was insulting our side in /bg,  and there were very few complaints.  After all, we put up a hell of a fight.

The Raid.

Later that evening I ran around 6 boses of Molten Core, with two guildies (my internet died before we can finish… GG Flairn).  I healed my through what used to take 40 people, with two friends.  It was a ton of fun.  And we managed to see the pattern for Enchanting Weapon:  Spellpower drop.  The reason  we were running it was for our enchanter friend who wanted the pattern.  He told me that he’d been farming the pattern for YEARS.  It turns out it’s an uber-rare 1% drop rate, on a dungeon you can only run 52 times a year (read: raid).  Turns out it’s one of the few enchants that work on heirloom weapons, and subsequently it’s easily one of the most rare, and most in demand Old World enchants out there.  He said there were only 2 other people Horde-side on the realm who had it.

I don’t know how you folks might have felt, but helping an old friend become the third felt pretty damn epic.

The Point?

It was throughout these simple occurences, that I realized something I think a lot of players tend to forget.  WoW is a game.  We play it to have fun.  In the mass of end-game raiding and arenas, in the rush for MOAR EPICZ, I think a lot of us tend to mistake something stressful for something fun.  Don’t get me wrong, I love endgame everything as much as the next guy.  But I think if more people took the time to smell the roses, and really drink deep of all the amazingness of the game, they’d enjoy it a whole lot more.

Just my two cents.  But it’s something to think about.  Maybe I’m just late to the party, and people run into stuff like this all the time.  But I think sometimes players get lost in the rush of endgame, and forget the simple fun of working together to achieve something really cool.

After all, isn’t that the point?

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Woah.  That’s sort of all I’ve got to say right now.  If you’ve been following the Cognisance Council over the past week or two, then you know that I’ve been working on gearing my druid up for raiding.  That’s been my eventual goal at least.  But last Thursday, my guild was short a player for our regular ICC 25 run.  That’s right.  ICC 25.  Not even just ICC 10.  And just like that, I was whisked off into the hardest normal mode version of the latest content in the game.  Pretty crazy stuff.

Of course, before getting to a boss, a storm blew in and knocked out my wireless.  C’est la vie.  But the fact remains that my guild has, for whatever possibly misguided reason, recognized me as a raider.  That means that, if everything goes according to my loosely defined plan, I’ll take my first real steps into ICC next Tuesday evening.  With this whirlwind of PvE I’ve really not had time to do anything else.  Suddenly I’m mildly concerned that I need to rank up with three or four factions for enchants.  Suddenly getting Sons of Hodir all the way up seems really pressing.

Needless to say, I’ve been farming rep and random heroics like a mad-man.  I still need around 3 upgrades from random heroics, and I need to rank up with (I think) three more factions to get all the enchants I need.  With all this PvE craziness, I’ve decided to do up a post explaining just how to get raid ready.  And how to do it in a few days (which is what I’m trying to do… for better or for worse).

To start things off, this isn’t a comprehensive guide by any stretch.  It isn’t even really a guide, more of just some helpful tips to get you on your way.  If you’re looking for some really helpful guides, check out places like WoW.com.  For druids out there looking for gear, Shifting Perspectives (WoW.com’s druid column) has some great posts about gearing a new druid.  The resto version for my fellow trees can be found here.

Heroics, Heroics, Heroics.  If you need to get gear pre-raiding, heroics are the place to do it.  If you’re in a PvE guild (which makes life oh so much easier, trust me I’ve tried it without), ask around.  Usually people are more than happy to help a guildy out by running some quick instances.  Of course with the new LFG tool you can PuG anything relatively fast, but you’ll go even faster with guild-mates, especially if you’re a dps and don’t want long queues.  People you know will also pull all the bosses in an instance, instead of skipping to the last one for the two frost badges.  If you have no other option, PuG, but if your guild is willing, running with friends (even if you have to random one or two spots) makes life a hell of a lot easier.

Shop Around.  If you can, ask an experienced raider in your guild with your class/spec about what you should look for in gearing a new toon.  They can be extremely helpful and informative for people wanting to learn a new spec.  Even if you have a main raiding regularly, learning a new alt at 80 can be tricky without some help.

If you don’t have a veteran raider conveniently on tab, widen your search.  Hit up blogs and other resources for your class.  Generally speaking, most class-specific bloggers have some tips for gearing/ playing their class.  For instance, Mystic Chicanery has a great flow-chart basically explaining exactly how to gem up a new affliction warlock.  Even just googling the gear you’re struggling with will often bring up a solid list of opinions from the greater blog-o-sphere.  Post a question  on the forums (either official WoW ones or otherwise).  Use the community.  That’s what we’re here for.

Rep Up.  Although this seems kind of obvious (much like heroics), if you’re a totally fresh 80, work on running dailies to rep up with factions you need for enchants.  If you can spare badges, convert extra triumph to reputation from the vendors in Dalaran.  It might seem like a lot of work for a head, or shoulder enchant, but once you’ve got all your gear enchanted, it makes a huge difference.  It’s like the difference between running about without socketed gear, and finally breaking down and acquiring some gems.

Be Selective.  If you’re planning to raid with your guild, make sure you actually enjoy raiding with your guild.  Don’t run with a group of people you don’t have fun running with.  Whatever you end up raiding (10s, 25s, hard modes, etc.) it’s no fun if you don’t enjoy the people you’re with.  And this is a game (much as some of us tend to forget it).  Whatever you log in to do, always make sure you’re having fun.  That’s a big part of it.

Anyways, having read my brilliantly creative tips, go forth and pwn some bosses for me.  Seriously.  I’ll be here.  I’m waiting.  I want to see some dead Lich Kings with “Flairn” carved into their necks.  Just let me know.

Oh… and have fun!  That too.

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Although this is a couple weeks after the fact, over on the Blog Azeroth Forums, Nexdominus suggested a shared topic involving preparation for Cataclysm.

What are you doing if anything to get ready for cataclysm?

Although at the time, for whatever reason I never bothered putting together a shared topic post, I’ve decided to do so now, because very recently I’ve begun my preparations for Cataclysm.

Something you should know about me.  I hate leveling.  Like I really despise it.  It’s always been my least favourite part of the game.  But for some strange reason, I’ve recently felt compelled to roll the warlock alt I’ve been thinking about rolling for the past month or so.  I’m in the process of pimping out my level 9 god of warlockery (Shhh… don’t tell Gnomeaggedon) with heirlooms and I’ve decided to do something I’ve never really done before.

Actually take my time, and enjoy leveling.  Achibald, the new undead warlock (over on The Venture Co. US- my server of choice) is going to be my loremaster toon.  I’m going to run him through the old world, and just take in the sights.  After all, they’re going to be gone pretty soon.  I’m planning to just, really take my time, and breath in all the vanilla glory one last time before Cataclysm hits.

The reason he’s undead mostly because I’ve always really enjoyed that starting zone.  While when I first started playing I though “Ewww, how do people live with this?” I’ve since really begun to love it.  Maybe my Undead Death Knight was the inspiration, but something about that starter zone feels really cool to me.  There’s a great Left for Dead/ Resident Evil/ 28 Days Later/ feel to the whole place.

Basically the plan is to actually read quest text as often as possible, and to go through and complete Loremaster at level as much as possible.  I’d like to be able to hit Northrend and already have Loremaster of Eastern Kingdoms, Kalimdor, and Outland all wrapped up.  That would be pretty cool, I think.

A lot of people around the World of Warcraft are starting to work towards making Loremaster, simply because the quests are, in all likelihood, going to just go away, or not be available anymore.  And I want to experience all that great content as it was designed, at level.  Although I’m probably going to outlevel a lot of the zones and make that pretty impossible, I’m going to try anyways.

Besides that, I still really want to get my paws on an Invincible mount before the end of the expansion.  Downing 25 man hard LK might be a bit out of my range right now, but I’d like to see it happen sometime before the world goes and blows up on us.  After all, I’ve never been able to take down the big boss of an expansion before (I never hit max level back in BC and vanilla was before my time), and I’d love to see it happen.  Plus that undead horse is just sooo cool.

So anyways, that’s my plan as far as Cataclysm goes.  Experiencing all the old content at level.  I’m going to try to run every dungeon too.  It should be a blast.  I’ll make sure to keep you updated with any cool things I find while leveling my way up.  And thanks again to Nexdominus for giving me something to write about today, and probably a bunch of times in the future.  This should be fun.   And I can’t wait to finish everything off before the next expansion.

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Dance Healing

If you’ve been following this blog, you may have noticed (or just sort of guessed) that I’m not really raiding yet.  Although my PvE toon is certainly my restoration Druid- Flairn, I’m not really in any sort of gear to really begin raiding in earnest.  I just recently got my T9 bonus put together, but I’m still a ways from raiding ICC.

So, outside of the odd VoA run, weeklies (when I can get a group together for them) and the occasional gear up raid through ToC with my guild, I spend most of my time in heroics.  This means a whole whack of time spent putting up two HoTs on the tank and sort of zoning out watching the health bars.

Which brings up the question of- what do you do during this downtime?  Resto Druids are pretty unique in having this problem- most healers have to be almost constantly casting to keep up their heals.  Not so for trees.   We cast a couple spells and refresh them on occasion.

When I was leveling my druid, I spent a bit of time healing the odd instance.  All through Outland I carried around a pretty laughable healing set made up of the odd green and some quest rewards.  It was always 5 or so levels behind me, but it was enough that after I picked up dual spec, I could heal Outland 5-mans.  Before healing one of my first instances, a player who was pretty experienced with Restoration explained healing like this to me:

“Step #1- Put HoTs on the tank.  Step #2- /dance.”

I thought it was pretty funny, but after actually stepping into my first five mans, I discovered it was true.  This habit has carried all the way through to level 80 heroics, and during downtime I still fill the moments with dancing.  My guild has dubbed this habit “Dance Heals.”  While it could be argued that I should be dpsing in time not spent healing, my job is not to dps, and I’m fairly lazy.  I stay in tree form most of the time.  So, when I’m not healing I make use of the most amazing dance currently in the game.  Seeing reactions in party chat will often amuse me to no end.

So, while you’re out there running your daily heroic for some frost badges, just look out for the tree at the back twisting his way through his gearing up.  You might just have found yourself grouping with the World of Warcraft’s leading expert on dance heals (that’s probably not true.  I give credit to the guy who taught me to heal like that… although I never really asked for his main’s name).

So, I’m putting out the question to the blog-o-sphere.  What do you during down time?  Either while waiting for queues or (if you roll around as a tree) during time between heals, or even just pulls?  /dance?  Grab a coffee?  Or just crank up your iPod?

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In the World of Warcraft, tanks arte often portrayed and percieved as the “A Type” personalities of the game.  They’re the gun-ho, crazy people who, instead of staying back where it is safe- run screaming into the most dangerous parts of the world.  They are the adrenaline junkies.  The skydivers and roller-coaster nuts of WoW.

And in the WoW of today- the late-expansion play-style, where everyone is running about in T10, decked out in crazy ICC gear, tanks are almost under more pressure now than they are at the beginning of an expansion.  NOW, they have to deal with expectations.  Like being able to pretty much solo a heroic, or take huge hits like they’re love taps.  Some tanks can do this.  Some tanks live up to this expectation and excel under the pressure.  They are, quite literally, tanks.

I like to maintain that somewhere out there, there is a “Golden Tank”, the ultimate tank who is so good he doesn’t even need to be healed.  He just solos everything.  The tank who can run into a heroic, pull the whole instance, then grab a coffee while the dps AoE it down.  And my worry in this era of late-expansion playing, is that too many tanks try to live up to that unreasonable fantasy.

New tanks often bow to the pressure, and waltz into heroics, and actually TRY to pull the whole instance.  Even tanks that are grizzled veterans will sometimes bite off more than they can chew.  Is this a bad thing?  Well, when it wipes a raid… obviously- yes.  It’s bad to wipe.  Is it an unforgivable crime for which I would condemn a tank to an eternity in… I don’t know… the occulus?  No.  Of course not.  Tanks are human too.  But in the interest of preventing further wipes- I would like to put this out there to all the tanks, young and old, who find themselves occasionally doing stupid things.

Disclaimer: I do not play a tank.  I have tanked some low level randoms.  That’s it.  I am by no means an expert.  These tips are given through the eyes of a healer, and occasional dps only.  They do not reflect the best way to tank, and this is not a tanking guide.  More like tanking suggestions.

/end disclaimer

Tip #1–  When tanking, make sure everyone is ready before you pull.  There’s nothing we not-tanks hate more than having the tank glance at his health, see it is full, then run off into the pull, only to realize the healer and the mage were drinking, and the hunter was switching specs before the run.  Typing a quick “Ready?” into party/raid chat goes a long way towards common courtesy and keeping your party/raid/random/whatever happy.  People won’t complain or say “hurry up”.  They’ll thank you for being considerate.

Tip #2–  Pay attention!  Yes, as a tank your primary focus is keeping aggro off the squishies.  But if you find that the healer isn’t pulling his weight, or one of the dps is a fresh 80, take a deep breath, and  SLOW DOWN.  Seriously.  Pull one trash group at a time.  Give everyone a second between pulls.  Make sure everyone can handle it.  Nicely point out that the DK is dpsing in Frost Presence.  Although all classes and roles should pay attention, it’s especially up to the tank, who controls who pulls what, when.

Tip #3– Do NOT overpull.  This is my all-time biggest pet-peeve with tanks.  While gearing my druid to heal (I’m still in this process, just much further along), I once got a random Pit of Saron.  We reached the trash before the first boss, and the tank said this into party chat “Mount pulling.  Be ready with heals.”  I had no idea what this meant.  Mount pulling?  Huh?  Are the mobs on mounts?  The tank then mounted up and pulled every group of trash up to the boss.  Expecting me, the undergeared healer to heal through it, and the dps to AoE it down.

Take a moment and look at gear.  Notice that “Wow that healer isn’t raiding yet.  He’s in random heroic gear.  Maybe I should take it slower.”  And really, unless you are running with guildies, whose abilities you know inside, outside and backwards, you really shouldn’t ever be “mount pulling.”  You should pull in easy doses in a PuG.  Don’t expect everyone to be uber leet.

Back to my example tank- later on in the dungeon, at the point just before the ice tunnel leading up to the last boss, the tank ran up the steps leading to the tunnel.  Note that this was after I told him I wasn’t very geared, and asked nicely if he could take things a little slower.  He pulled all the groups on the hill he could pull, at once.  Never do this.  Never make a huge, ridiculous pull if you aren’t 342% sure your team can handle it.  And if the healer has already asked you to slow down… seriously?  Need I say more?

Tip #4–  My fourth and final word of advice for tanks from a resident Not-Tank.  Know your own limitations.  This goes for any class/role.  Know what you are capable off.  If you can’t handle showing off with enormous pulls- don’t.  Just step back, and take it easy.  People might not love going slowly, but I can guarantee they dislike repair bills even more.

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Switching things up a bit today, I’ve decided to shy away from my many complaints about heroics and focus on my Death Knight, and the fabulous world of PvP.  If you’ve spent any time whatsoever PvPing, then chances are you’ve spent more time than you’d care to admit running around in Battlegrounds.

If you’ve ever looked at your raid section of the Character tab while in a battleground, you’ve probably noticed the battleground leader crown next to a player’s name.  And even if you haven’t, you’ve probably noticed the battleground leader tag in the raid chat for the BG.  These players are the first to enter the battleground, and therefore are meant to “lead it”.

But how often do you actually see the battleground leader, leading?

Very rarely.

It’s a symptom of the ease with which one can now simply click “Random Battleground” that the old ways of pre-made BGs are slowly going down the drain.  It’s rare to see a group in battlegrounds really coordinate the way they were meant to while playing the game.

Battlegrounds are meant to be as much about strategy as they are about raw PvP skill.  It’s a game of tactics as well as skill.  That’s why premades are so successful.  You can hop in and simply demolish the unorganized competition.  In an ideal world, this should also be possible with a PuG.  The players should recognize the logic behind a uniform strategy followed by all members of the raid, and stick to the plan.

It’s a sure way to win.  Seriously.

But it’s all too rare these days to find the players designated as the leader actually think for a moment, and lay down a solid strategy, even in the opening moments of idleness before the round begins.  It’s not unusual to find a group of players running off without a single line of discussion in /bg.

Even more seldom, does the leader take charge in times of strife.  If the alliance (sorry to all the gnomes out there- I’m Horde forever) is pushing us back, or the Horde line is falling apart, it should fall to the leader to call in the ranks, form up, and make a comeback.  Often in battlegrounds, when the opposing team gets ahead, the players will give up, start arguing amongst themselves, and lose even more painfully.  Let me say something here:

You can always make a comeback.

It doesn’t matter how far behind you are.  Organization, tactics, strategy and some solid PvP can make a comeback from almost every situation.

It’s easy to see the logic behind having a designated leader in a battleground.  Any PvPer will tell you that when the raid is organized you win.  But there’s a major problem with this perfect, ideal world of PvP domination.

People don’t listen.

Even if the raid leader says something coherent, and puts out a perfectly good strategy, it’s rare to have more than a third of the BG actually follow it.  You usually get people with different plans confusing the whole thing, or people that are just there to get some achievement and don’t care about actually winning.

It’s the same in 10 or 25 man raids.  The raid leader takes charge and lets you down the boss.  If the raiders don’t listen, you wipe.  The boss gets to live to fight another day and you have to shell out a hefty repair bill.  If you ignore the leader of you battleground, you are much, much more likely to lose.  I know the battleground leaders don’t get to choose whether or not they lead, but I think that they should either take charge, or pass lead to someone else.  And if you’re ever in a battleground, do yourself a favour.  If someone puts out a strategy- stick to it.  You’ll probably win.

So, in my own, long-winded way- I’m putting out the question to the community.  How far do you think a battleground leader should take his/her responsibility?  Should they be held responsible to actually lead?  Or are players better off fending for themselves?

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