I suppose procrastinating on typing up my first game-related blog post isn’t too good of a sign, huh? Just started the blog and already slacking! This doesn’t bode well… Regardless! Here are my reflections on Children’s Week 2012, mainly with a focus on having obtained School of Hard Knocks and some recommendations for future pursuers of the achievement.
With the wrap-up of Children’s Week, it marked one of the few world events that I hadn’t originally planned on finishing but surprisingly did. Particularly, Children’s Week plays host to the notorious achievement, School of Hard Knocks. My feelings towards the player community are pretty cynical in general — an issue that I feel I’ll touch on many times throughout the course of this blog’s lifetime. In addition to my predisposed mentality of possibly having to “deal with rude people” while working on the achievement, I did myself the disfavor of researching too much into tips, other people’s’ experiences and opinions far before I even had a chance to attempt the achievement by myself. I wasn’t even sure if some posts were real or simply trolling to psych people like me out. This was one of the few times where I did a little too much homework where it really wasn’t even necessary. It’s sad, looking back on how I set my mind up, considering I don’t view myself as a terrible player — I’m decent at PVP and my characters are significantly well geared for current content. I’m not even one of those people who “dread PVP” — in fact, I rather like it most times than not. Strategy and ability-wise, I should not have been so concerned. What I dreaded was a potential of running into people with terrible attitudes that would make the achievement miserable. Right before the holiday hit live servers, I still felt pretty dismal about the situation, and my expectations of obtaining the achievement dwindled to near nothing.
I waited a couple of days after the holiday arrived to log on and try it out, for the sake of avoiding the madness of attempting to compete with even more people than necessary. (In my head, I imagined stampedes consisting of a crazy mixture of frustrated, jerk-faced, angry trolls!) I was ready and braced myself for the griefers and for being an annoyance to regular PVP players! But lo and behold! Within two hours, I obtained the achievement and couldn’t have proved all of my doubts more utterly wrong.
So what did I have in my favor?
Here are a few of the things I felt helped me reach all of the goals and/or made the experience every bit less painful.
- Efficiency. I farmed this on my achievement-oriented character, a rogue. To my advantage, I had several CC, escape, and speed boost tricks in my arsenal. However, after experiencing each objective, I felt I likely could have done the same on any of my characters (possibly even more survivability as one of my healers), but it would not have been as speedy a completion. I only wanted to grab all of the objectives, finish the achievement, and be done. The faster I could pick off single targets in my way of capturing a flag, the better.
- Resilience. Aside from being well geared from PVE, I had a few pieces of PVP gear I obtained through drops via Baradin Hold (ie: trinket, cape, and necklace) and anything I could purchase with Honor Points. This really was an important factor — with at least some resilience, I didn’t get steamrolled if the enemy team decided to suddenly focus-fire on me. Even more so did it give me a boost in the instances where I had to 1vs1 to knock out those chasing me while I ran to capture flags. I would definitely suggest spending some gold on even blue Vicious (377) gear just to stack up some resilience, especially if they are not too far expensive on a decent AH/Trade economy.
- Stubbornness. The other kind of resilience! I can’t emphasize enough how much that perseverance is key. I may complain and whine a lot, but when I get to the point where I really want something, I’ll grind forever to get it. During my tries to return the flag in Warsong Gulch, one particular hunter returned flags consecutively despite not working towards the achievement (had no orphan out). I was angry and proceeded to do all I could to focus-fire the EFC and click like a crazy person until it counted. If you’re frustrated, use your anger and frustration to fuel your fire for winning and obtaining the achievement. (Without leading you to be a douche to other players, of course.)
- Lots and lots of luck. Lady Luck was definitely on my side, allowing me to hit all of the objectives in one night and finishing the achievement. I was extremely lucky to have not run into half as many griefers as I imagined and was even fortunate to come upon players that were willing to help one another quickly meet objectives and simply be done — from both factions! It was an incredibly relief to not have any of the asshattery I braced myself for. I can only suspect and sympathize greatly that others may not have been so lucky and may have unfortunately been subject to real griefers and jerkwads.
Other Important Notes to Keep in Mind:
- Know your competition. It’s good to get an idea of who else is running for the achievement — for both sides, especially for the Battlegrounds with fewer people. You’ll know who all you’re competing against, since players of the same faction will likely have the mentality to compete against you as well. Some groups will attempt to coordinate, allowing X player to receive the objective first, Y next, and so on. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always hold up to the honor system, and some people will get the objective and leave the game without even helping the other players who still need the completion.
- Keep your orphan with you! This is incredibly, incredibly important. I can only imagine that too much time has been wasted and rage-faces have been made when people finally “complete” an objective, only to discover that they did so without having summoned their orphan to be alongside them. Any of the orphans available will work (I used the wolvar), and they must be re-summoned if you resurrect at a graveyard during battle. They cannot be summoned while moving or while you are in combat. If you mount up and speed away, sometimes they are lost behind and require a re-summon.
- Be patient and courteous. Sure, it’s hard to keep your wits if you’re frustrated while attempting this notorious feat. But it’s important to keep cool and show respect to everyone — it’s likely that nobody wants to be there any more than you do. If your game is going well, your patience will more than likely be rewarded and the opportunity will lend itself to you for capturing or returning flags and so forth. Your turn will show up eventually. Don’t give up.
I’ll go into a little more detail about my experience in each of the BGs, in case anyone else is curious about how my adventures may have differed or shared similarity to theirs. Just a note: I did this from an Alliance perspective, so the landmarks and features mentioned will be from that viewpoint, but the general concept should not be vastly different.
Return a Fallen Flag in Warsong Gulch: Completed in 1/1 Attempts
There were about 3-4 players (including me) on my team with orphans out. A shaman asked who needed the objective and whether or not anyone would let her get it but was met with a mostly dead silent team (besides the few that were joking/complaining about the inhumanity of bringing children into a war zone, etc.) When the clock started, I stuck close to the main group, and we headed mid-field. After our flag was taken, I kept with the main group to zone in on the EFC. One hunter in all pvp gear was obviously a regular player and wasn’t working on the achievement (no orphan). He repeatedly returned at least 4 consecutive flags. The shaman who had asked for an opportunity to return the flag left after a while, probably thinking they wouldn’t have a chance if the hunter kept hogging all flag returns. I stayed, and when the hunter went off to take the Horde flag himself, he no longer was on the offensive of taking down the EFC. It was an “aha!” moment, so I took the chance to get to the EFC quickly. Took him down, clicked the flag like crazy, and the objective was checked off the list. Hooray! Then I reminded myself that this one was probably one of the easier ones. Great…next!
Assault a Flag in Arathi Basin: Completed in 1/1 Attempts
AB is typically a pretty long battleground, and when I’m in a good pvp-ing mood, it’s my BG of choice. At the start, I knew everyone would probably rush to Stables, so I raced with one other (a ret paladin) to the Gold Mine. Unfortunately, nearly the entire Horde team had the same mentality and met me there, stomping all over my face. I resurrected back behind ST, re-summoned my orphan and noticed that a Horde had assaulted ST since nobody bothered to defend it. I raced there against only two others, clicked as fast as I could, and got the objective. I left the game after that because I wanted to work on a few of the other non-SoHK achievements for Children’s Week while waiting for the deserter debuff to drop, before attempting the two harder objectives.
Assault a Tower in Alterac Valley: Completed in 1/3 Attempts
AV is generally a hit or miss for me in terms of success. There wasn’t really a need to sprint out of the starting cave, but I made sure to stick with the group to avoid being singled out and picked off before I reached any of the towers. On my first try, I raced to Tower Point to see that several Alliance were gathered inside the tower at the flag, with orphans out. We waited for Horde to enter, and to my surprise nobody wanted to kill the Horde and even said and spammed emotes to not kill him. Unfortunately, a gnome mage was kill happy and ruined the fun, killing each Horde that tried to trade tower captures. The game ended pretty quickly, and I requeued. On my second try, I joined a losing game (about 120 reinforcements to 250) and there weren’t many towers left, as they were either completely destroyed already or were camped by a group of Hordes. I tried to sneak up to one of the groups at TP, but sadly they were not of the friendly click-trading type and ganked me. I got to the next tower, and found that Horde and Alliance were trading clicks on the flag. Unfortunately, the game was over pretty quick before I had a chance for clicking, so I requeued. They say third time’s the charm, and indeed it was. It was a fresh match, and I headed straight to TP again, only followed closely by a hunter. I activated Sprint and shot up the stairs (falling off once — I have issues with stairs…QQ! — and thought the hunter probably beat me to the top) but alas, I still beat him there and managed to click before he even got to the top. Hurrah, 3 objectives down…1 to go.
Capture the Flag in Eye of the Storm: Completed in 1/2 Attempts
Oh, EoTS. The most dreaded objective. I joined my first one mid-game, where we won within 2-3 minutes. I requeued, and got a new one with most of the team bringing orphans. Many people commented that it was also the last objective they needed for the achievement. Luckily, near all of my teammates worked together. We had about 1-2 cover BET and FRR, and the rest of waited for Horde to move towards the center. Within minutes, at least 3-4 teammates captured flags and got their objectives. They were all a friendly bunch, giving thanks in BG chat and all! [Insert tears of happiness here!] I realized that I was likely not going to get my achievement at all if I only remained on defense at one of the towers, so I moved towards the center to join in on the flag party. A priest took the flag next, but the Horde group got past the center and killed her pretty quickly before we could react (one of those moments I wished I were playing my resto druid instead.) The flag was dropped, but for some reason the Horde didn’t make a mad dive at it, and I was able to pick it up, hit Sprint, and continued running towards FRR. Then I realized I had a problem — my orphan wasn’t out! In the few seconds of thinking “oh crap!” I desperately tried to get far away to drop out of combat to summon my orphan. My wolvar pup finally came at my whistle, and I captured the flag and was met with not one, but two achievements! (Apparently I haven’t hardly played EoTS enough on my rogue as I thought I did…)
All in all, it was actually pretty fun and I even remember thinking to myself, “Pvping on this character is fun…not sure why I don’t do it more often!” I was hardly met with any of the griefing and bigotry that I expected from the player community. It was a really fantastic surprise that gives me optimism about meeting and interacting with other players in the future. A little bit removed from my big block of skepticism is always a good thing. It’s progress. I know that other players may never have gotten the achievement and were met with a much harder time trying to obtain it. Like I said, I feel lucky, and I only wish that everyone could have had as good an experience as I did. It was so much better than I could ever have imagined.
And to finally top it off, it’s one less world event on my way towards acquiring the lovely Violet Proto-Drake from What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been. Only Midsummer and bits of Brewfest left, and I really look forward to doing all of those, even with the immense amounts of traveling all over the place for the Fire Festival! :)