A Word With Brigwyn Lee

Actual photo of Brigwyn.  Really!

Actual photo of Brigwyn. Really!

This is a special post from the annals of Slow Wolf.

This is a tale to be retold for generations… a tale of a time when Klinderas, myself being that same man, interviewed a legend.

That’s right, I interviewed someone.  I aimed high, too.

For the first interview to ever grace the archives of Slow Wolf, I have chosen a very special interviewee.  One that needs no real introduction.  A guest that has written a very successful blog, provided advice to thousands, and attain a level of bad-assery unknown to anyone but this guest’s rival: Chuck Norris.

May I welcome…

Brigwyn, from The Hunting Lodge!

Klinderas: Hiya Brigwyn! Thanks for taking the time to talk to me, especially since this is my first time interviewing someone.  How are you doing?

Brigwyn: I’m doing great! Thanks for asking!

Klinderas: That’s awesome to hear, and I hope it stays that way.  Since you haven’t been interviewed here on Slow Wolf before, why don’t you tell me a little bit of what makes Brigwyn….. errrm, Brigwyn.

Brigwyn: Hehe… What makes Brigwyn, Brigwyn eh? Hmm. I guess the easiest way to describe me as obsessive mixed with a bit of fun and caring.

When I decide to learn something I tend to be a bit obsessed with learning everything I can about it.

At the same time, it has to be fun. If you can’t have fun while playing this game it’ll get boring real quick.

Then there’s my caring side.. This is the part that drove me towards creating The Hunting Lodge. A site that the Min/Max Raiders as well as the Casual Player can find useful information to make their gaming more fun and less frustrating.

Sorry, get me started and I’ll just ramble on. lol

Klinderas:Hey, rambling is all good.  In a court, you ask a question, the witness can speak for however long they want.  Same deal here: you wanna talk, you go ahead and talk!

So you started the Lodge because you wanted to create a site “Min/Max Raiders as well as the Casual Player can find useful information to make their gaming more fun and less frustrating”.  If I may say so, you’re doing a great job so far.  But I’m curious: when exactly did it strike you to make the Lodge? How long have you been writing it? Who was your inspiration, if there was any?

Brigwyn: Hehe. Fair enough! I guess I’m guilty as charged.

Thanks for the kind words. I try.

But yes, the Lodge was created for all Hunter’s. It really started out during Burning Crusades. Most of the sites out there talked about how great Beast Mastery was, and if you wanted to Raid or be considered serious you should raid BM. The sites that promoted the Marksmanship or Survival spec (especially MM though) were derided as not giving correct information. This was what I didn’t like. I mean , it’s true that during these times MM wasn’t an optimal spec, and you only needed 1 good SV hunter per raid… And forget trying to express this opinion on the Official Forums.

So I thought, “Why not have a site that supports those that know BM is the best spec, but maybe choose to raid another one? Where can they get information?” Looking around there were some good blogs Stabilized Effort Scope by Rilgon (Marksmanship), Nightdrifter by Alumatine , and Mirshalak’s Lair (both Survival). Of course for BM Hunters we had BigRedKitty (now retired), Less QQ, More Pew Pew, The Aspect of The Hare and The Hunter’s Mark. But all of these sites had the same problem. They tended to have a single focus. Either each site targeted just the raiding Hunter or a supported a single class.

Some of you might know of the Lodge Forums (forums.brigwyn.com) others don’t. These were created at the request of Hunters on the Official WoW Forums as an alternative to Elitist Jerks and the WoW Forums. I had the blog going, but the constant QQ and complaints on the Official Forums left many wanting a safe haven. Somewhere new Hunters would feel safe and could ask questions about specs, gear, strategies without feeling judged, and at the same time a place where Elite Min/Max players could feel respected and would share their knowledge gained in the game without being trolled and having their advice confused by others that really didn’t know the game or the class.

So here we are almost 1 year later having helped at least 219,000 visitors and about 730 Forum Members.

Klinderas: Wow, that’s a lot of work for one person! Trying to come up with a site dedicated to a huge audience, trying to cater to the hardcore veterans and casuals/new people alike, not to mention forums!

Which begs the question: if the Lodge has been running for 1 year, how long have you been playing? Have you always been a hunter? And how much gaming experience have you had before playing World of Warcraft?

Brigwyn: Well, it hasn’t been the easiest hobby site that’s for sure. But then again it’s probably been one of the most fun. Believe it or not, it’s probably been more fun in some ways than playing WoW. I mean where else can you meet such interesting people from all around the world and make some really great friends. But enough being sappy.

Yep! I’ve been playing since about Christmas 2005. My main has pretty much always been a Hunter. I’ve had some different alts. I’ve played a Paladin to about level 30 once. But I just couldn’t focus on it, my Hunter was always calling me back. As for the other classes, I’ve played them all for the first 10 levels in their starting zones, but just didn’t enjoy it.

As I’ve said many times before, I’ve played some form of the Hunter class since a paper and dice version of D&D at age 13! Here it is 26 yrs later still playing games and enjoying every minute of it!

Klinderas: Well, I think we can safely say that you have a lot of experience with this type of thing, at least as far as WoW is concerned.

I guess you’ve seen WoW evolve from the 40 man raid to the standard of “bring the player, not the class.”
There is talk, however, that WoW content is way too easy nowadays.  Do you think it’s true? If so, why do you think it’s so easy?

Brigwyn: Experience? An interesting word right? I’m not the best and most experienced player out there, but I’d like to say that I’ve seen pretty much everything in WoW at the moment.

As for Raids.. it’s interesting to see the change. I’ve often said that Blizzard does really good 5 mans dungeons but struggles with anything larger. Now I’m sure many are going to say that the old 5mans were too long and too difficult, but all of that just added to the excitement and helped you develop your skills to be a better player. Trust me, if you played any of the original 5-mans at their level before the great 3..0 Boss Nerf you know what I’m talking about. This is where we started seeing the need for sites like EJ’s and spreadsheets. Developing these skills made you a valuable player. It didn’t mean you had to be a Jerk about it though, and this is the biggest problem.

But yeah, the Raids, were truly epic battles. Epic in fun, for sure. But also an epic pain. Having to finding 40 people capable of agreeing to a raid time could be a bit much. You almost always had to just fill in bodies and wipes were always blamed on them. This was fixed a little bit In BC. Finding 25 people was easier (and still is) but you could also find people field solid 10 man teams and see the same content..

Personally, I think Blizz did a great thing introducing Karazahn and Zul’Aman for 10mans. You had the epic feel of a 25/40 man raid but only had to get commitment from 10 people. I know the RP purist will say that killing one of the Old Gods, Titans, Dragons or other notable WoW personalities with only 5/10 men is not realistic. True, but it’s a Fantasy game!! And all Epic Fantasy Novels have small parties taking on super powerful deity like evil guys!! That’s what we all want right? So to me it’s better that we’re seeing these 10/25 man versions to help placate both types of players.

But for the ease of the game? I think they’ve made the straight end game too easy. What I mean by this is, Raiders want to Raid and see the new content, hence everyone flooding the PTR’s to see the content, develop strategies, and then clear the Raid within a week of release. They really don’t want to run over and over again unless it’s to get the gear. So for this it’s too easy..

So to the Raider yeah, it might be, but if you want to take up the challenge of the Achievements, now it has a greater level of difficulty. Enough so that some guilds give up and decide to stop raiding. This might be due to “boredom” but honestly I have to say if you can’t stick with it and get all the achievements, then how can you truly say you’ve beaten it? Beaten a boss? No doubt, but if two players have Champion of the Frozen Waste, but only one has The Immortal? I’d have to say that the one with Immortal was either extremely lucky, or they managed to have an uber group that could pull it off. I’m sure others will disagree.

In the end, I think Blizz did a good job. They’ve made it easy enough for new players but at the same time, have an element of difficulty for Raiders.

My fear is that Raiders will continue to get bored with the content and then leave for something else. And as much as I hate to say it, these Raiders are what gives the game it’s buzz and excitement. These are our “Cool kids” the one’s we all want to be like. If they leave, I’m sure others will eventually follow.

Klinderas: I know what you’re talking about when you talk about the old 5 mans.  I’m a TBC baby myself, so I grew up on that stuff.

So, the difficulty of current content(or lack thereof, for some people) aside, there’s new stuff coming out: Ulduar.  I don’t know about you, but I’m going gaga for Ulduar right now.  I think it looks great, sounds great, smells great… but there’s a few questions that need answering: Will it give raiders the core challenge they are looking for? Or do you think Blizzard will continue to rely on the achievements to provide that challenge? And speaking of these achievements, do you think the rewards they give are equal to effort that people put into getting them? I’ve heard that that’s a big issue for Raiders these days.

Brigwyn: You know, I am interested in seeing what happens in Ulduar. Part of me even wishes that I didn’t delete my level 80 when I did, and maybe held out until this patch. So yeah, I am a bit “gaga for Ulduar.”

On thing I am especially impressed is how they(Blizzard) did the PTR testing this time. By announcing what they were looking for with each test and only opening up sections at a time, it kept those world firsts announcements out of the press it seemed. This alone will give the core Raiders something to shoot for besides Achievements.

As for the overall challenge, Blizzard has stated that they just don’t see the cost benefit in creating awesome raid content for these “Core Raiders.” That being said, I’m sure we’ll still have some sort of outcry about Blizz relying too much on Adds and Achievements instead of being creative and maybe changing the mechanics and raids for those hardcore elite.

As for the current Gearing/Reward system? I think Blizz is desperatly trying to find a way to minimize the effect of us Bloggers and Theorycrafters. Think about it. We’re the ones that mine the game to find and communicate items, shot rotations, macros, addons, anything that gives a player an edge in the game.

For example, look at the number of people that did the Arena just for the S3 War Axe and PvP Trinket in BC! Ask these same individuals if they like PvP and you’ll find a small percentage that really love PvP but others that felt it was just a means to an ends.

So now we see Epic loot that can be crafted, gotten for Marks or Tokens, as well as drops. True this makes it more accessible to the common player, but at the same time we lost something. We lost the awe factor.

What I mean is this. For anyone that’s played since Vanilla WoW or even BC, ask them about going to IronForge or Stormwind and seeing someone decked out in T3/4/5 or T6 gear the first time. These were the players that inspired us to play, level, then raid! We looked up to them and said, “Now that is cool, I want that!” But now players can get Epics with their professions. Running Easy Mode Raids, and farming Honor in BG’s.

It’s lost something. I think this is a valid point and the core of most “lolEpics”.

Klinderas: That all makes a lot of sense to me.  Especially the awe factor bit.

And although we could try talking PvE all day, there’s another half to this game, whether some people like it or not: PvP.

PvP tends to cause a lot of polarization; more often than not, people hate it or they love it.  I tend to be a fence sitter on this one, and enjoy both, but what do you think of PvP? Is it worth having in the game, or is it just another thing to get in the way of PvE balance? Is it worth Blizzard’s time and effort to make PvP so integrated with PvE(Wintergrasp, for example)? And do you think that making Battlegrounds an area for professional PvP play is a good idea or no, if you care?

Brigwyn: Hmm, PvP eh? You are trying to get me in trouble aren’t you! lol Just kidding.

Really thought I think PvP has a place in the game. The BG’s have a long history of providing a good diversion in the game and who doesn’t love a good duel every once in a while. Also, the game has World PvP. So you can’t just dismiss it as being irrelevant.

But the one I left out of course is Arena. This is one aspect of the game I have difficulty with reconciling and fitting within the game as a whole.. Don’t get me wrong, the Guburachi Arena in STV is a great example of what Arena could be. An area that you can go into and fight tooth and nail and come out victorious leaving bodies littering the ground is a great concept. The new Argent Tournament seems to be a great twist on this concept. It offers leveling, reputation, and honor with a thrill of competition.

But the current Arena system just doesn’t seem to fit into the rest of the game. Add to it, all the hype and blurring of gearing lines it does seem to add confusion and disruption to the PvE game. I guess that’s my biggest issue, is when you have to PvP in order to PvE? Does anyone else find that ironic?

Personally? I think that Arena is a ton of fun and has a place in the WoW Universe, but not as it is now. I personally, think it would be better off as a separate Realm you could level up in. But that’s me.

As for BG’s and things, it’s hard to reconcile the PvP Loot you gain without messing up the PvE dynamics. Personally, I think adding things like Honor, Titles, maybe even simple “Wanted: <Insert Name>” type bounties would be cool. But having Loot tied to it does force people to now have to consider doing PvP for the best gear and again I ask, “Does having to PvP for the best PvE gear make sense?”

Klinderas: Okay, you bring up a good point: why PvP to PvE? It’s a fair point, but this is where a lot of PvPers might chew you up.

Right now, Wintergrasp is a great form of World PvP, and there isn’t much people can say that is bad about it.  But the thing that has a lot of Arena players in a twist is that they have to do a raid to get gear, PvE like.  In a sense, that’s PvEing to PvP, isn’t it?

How do you think Blizzard might justify this seemingly one sided arrangement? And do you agree with it?

Brigwyn: Why should someone that is focused on their Arena rating, and can get gear based on their kills, tokens, honor be forced to level and run raids? It’s just as wrong as having someone that purely plays the PvE game being forced to do Arena or BG’s for gear. I truly believe Blizz made a mistake on this.

I understand that they really wanted to have something in the eSport. StarCraft and the original Warcraft games (Humans vs. Orcs for example) both were big BattleNet and esport games. From what I understand, these allow for sponsored events and teams which are big in Europe and Asia (I guess in the US also, but not so sure). These esports generate excitement about the game and also allow for team and product sponsorships.

However, a MMO doesn’t really allow for this. So getting sponsorship dollars means that they either have to include product placements in games and/or adds on the loader screens. Supposedly these would put off a chunk of their established player base. (this might be argued, I mean would anyone really leave if they had to buy Red Bull Agility Potion? Not likely in my opinion..) So to create this same level of excitement and ad revenue, Blizz needed an eSport with their flagship game. In comes Arena.

With Arena they now have a competitive eSport within the MMO genre. Players can compete, tournaments can be created, teams and leagues can form, and the next thing you know we now have a MMO eSport. Only thing is, this eSport is really a separate game based upon a MMORPG.

But what’s the easiest and cheapest way to get this going? Why not just add it to an existing game and we don’t have to create anything special for it until later. And that’s exactly what happened. At first it was just honor that could be turned in and bragging rights. The gear really wasn’t better than the current T3 gear so people didn’t care too much. But then they introduced the S3 gear and it was actually better than other gear. Also, much of the BG gear was a good starting epic until you got your T4 or better gear. (some arena gear lasted until you replaced it with the T6 pieces.) Now if I’m a hardcore raider I have to raid to get gear. But at the same time, if I want to have the best PvP gear, I need to raid and get the T6 gear. What?!? How does that make sense?

Well, it doesn’t unless you keep in mind their business model. Remember, they’re focusing on the Casual player. This is the same for the PvP as it is for the PvE player. The Casual player gets bored easily. They want something they can hop into, play for a little bit (30 minutes to 2 hrs) and hop out. So, if the Casual player doesn’t have a raid scheduled or it gets cancelled. They can keep the social/casual aspect of the game and at the same time, do something besides farming.

So it’s justifiable. I just don’t like it, and honestly think it’s a mistake. Too many players are now looking for the next great PvP or PvE game. When that happens, something that has the perfect mix of social fulfillment with PvP competition, I think you’ll see the PvPers leave. The same will happen for PvE. If you have a game that can run on older machines, offer a solid social environment, with solid PvE Raids/Questing you’ll probably see the PvEers begin to leave..

Feel free to disagree, and if you still want to chew on me, can you please start with my feet? I need my hands for work. lol

Klinderas: Hey, I don’t bite people unless I have a good question to bite them with!

My nibbles aside, I think I’ve badgered you enough.  I have one last question for you.

Gathering from your comment, “Part of me even wishes that I didn’t delete my level 80…”, you do actually delete the level 80 toons you’re bored with.  You do know that this level of bad-assery is almost the same level as Chuck Norris, right?

Which begs the question: are you, Brigwyn, in fact the Chuck Norris?

Brigwyn:Hehe. No problem. It’s not badgering. I’m still blown away you asked me to do this!

ROFLMAO! Is it really that hard to believe someone would delete their toon and restart? Considering the responses I’ve gotten, I guess it must be. And if you say that puts me on the same level as Chuck Norris, then I guess that makes me Bruce Lee (if you don’t get the reference, check IMDB. lol) Anyways, nah.. I’m not Chuck Norris, I’m just Brig.

Klinderas: Well, if you’re just Brig, let me say it has been a pleasure to interview you, and I had a lot of fun reading and responding to you.

But now, its your turn to be asked this (in)famous question: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Brigwyn: The pleasure has been all mine. I want to thank you and your readers for this opportunity.

As for last words, I guess I’d just have to reiterate something I said earlier. We all started playing this game to have fun. Don’t let Progression or Arena ruin that for you. Keep having fun even if that means starting over! 🙂

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8 comments

  1. Hey,
    Great Interview. Seemed like it was fun.
    This is my 1st time here but I like your style, I’ll be sure to return.

  2. very nice Interview.
    It’s nice to see mature and intelligent discussion taking place now and then.

    Oh and very excited about the new Talent feature you started. Just started a Hunter and any info is good info….well not really but yours is 🙂

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