Big Crits is a newly formed 25 man World of Warcraft raiding guild. And everything that happens in the guild raids is recorded and edited back for us to watch as online episodes: an inside look into the running of a raiding guild.
I thought the show would be like watching a cross between an instructional how-to video with the occasional argument recorded over vent thrown in. Deep down I didn’t really think that a guild under that kind of pressure and exposure would be able to function as a hardcore raiding guild and be successful. Is the priority the show or the raiding?
Excellent raiding, in my experience, is rarely accompanied by guild drama. And wouldn’t the guild drama be the part that makes the show interesting?
To make a long story short, watching the very first episode answered a lot of those doubts. And it’s fascinating to watch. I love the raiders. I love the web-cam style confessions. I’m already attached to the main cast (not everyone in the raid group has their own “talking head” moment to talk directly to the camera and their audience).
I really respect what these guys are doing. Nothing captures what it’s like to be part of a raiding guild as well as this series does. The chatter on vent that kicks immediately after the opening credits make me feel right at home – it sounds and feels like every pre-raid chatter I’ve ever heard. And is, of course, totally forgettable. There’s the subtle, awkward conversations that we’ve all heard before:
I mean this in the nicest way possible. But… Whornnie could you do more threat?
– Episode 3
I’m tempted to send a link to this series to some of my friends – the friends of mine who theoretically understand that I play World of Warcraft, but don’t really understand what that entails.
I went out for dinner with a bunch of people I’d never met. Strangely enough it came out in conversation that one of the guys at the table was taking his new girlfriend to his mate’s place the next day. And the boys were planning to play Dungeons and Dragons. What really disappointed me (and my expectations were very, very low) was this response:
“Oh my god. Don’t you have to dress up like a wizard or something?”
It’s one thing to vilify a game for being geeky or nerdy, but there’s no need to turn it into something it’s not. If you’re into Dungeons and Dragons of course you’re into cosplay. And in turn you must be into roleplaying. And World of Warcraft is the same again, right?
What I’m trying to say is that so many people have a black mark next to the words “World of Warcraft”. And yet they have absolutely no idea what it is, and what it isn’t. And still they go around, convinced, that they have it all figured out.
Anyway, back to Big Crits.
Even if I wanted to apply, talk to my web cam and be part of the show, I can’t. Not just because they’re Horde (really, what were you thinking Stoneybaby?). Not just because they raid my time 10am Saturday and Sunday (believe it or not, I can’t play WoW all weekend). I can’t apply because they have a Shadow Priest already. And he’s pretty damn smart:
… it’s not just people geeking out in front of their computers. There’s more to it. I think people are afraid of what they don’t understand.
– Furioso, Shadow Priest
Smart guy, huh?
Big Crit’s Discipline Priest, another one of the main cast members with her name in the titles, is Jadeice. Jadeice seems to be struggling a little bit. She’s well spoken and I have this feeling that she comes from a guild in which she was one of the core members of the team – someone who everyone could count on. We actually don’t know much about her yet, she’s only had a few talking moments.
Unfortunately Jadeice was that person. The member of the raid who just couldn’t seem to pick up Sindragosa’s Frost Tomb mechanic and, instead of getting away from the raid and standing in the clear upon impact, managed to wipe the raid by entombing everyone around her (See Episode 2, 6.30 minute mark and then Episode 3, 7 minute mark). In Vitare that person is Citadel (but we forgive him because you can’t really expect much from a Ret Pally, right?). I’ll bet there’s a special person who has that label in your guild too.
Jadeice was swapped out. And they got their first Sindragosa kill as a guild. Ouch.
I mean, I know it probably wasn’t just me… but… they one shot it. I don’t know.
– Jadeice, Discipline Priest
There’s nothing worse than feeling like you are the only person in the team who can’t seem to cope. I’m still convinced I’m the absolute worst person in my guild at dealing with the Lich King’s Defile. I offer to sit out that fight pretty much every week.
But my favourite cast member by far is their Holy Priest, Suzushiiro. This guy makes me laugh absolutely every time. He’s determined to top healing meters and just gets that little bit crazy when he covets loot. He’s always hilarious. Here’s Suzushiiro’s explanation of Sindragosa:
…if they cast too many spells they blow themselves the fuck up. As someone who likes to whore healing meters it’s kind of annoying.
She’s not going to fucking touch me with it in Phase 1 but in Phase 2, when she starts really doling out the damage, and I’ve got to really push that shit out and more importantly, when Prayer of Healing becomes really good so I can really pull ahead of everyone else on the healing meters … then she’s gonna start fucking me with Unchained Magic.
– Suzushiiro, Holy Priest
And I’m not going to spoil it, but 6 minutes into Episode One I almost spit my drink onto my keyboard.
[youtube tuxFNf4-fog Big Crits on Youtube, Episode 1]
What really worries me about Big Crit is that it follows some of the tricks you see in reality TV. Part of the fun in watching Survivor is hearing the individual competitors confess to the camera – in total privacy – then turn around and behave completely differently in front of their team mates. The show doesn’t go to air until all the decisions and votes have been cast so by that stage what they’ve confessed to the camera and to the audience can’t really get them into trouble.
But in Big Crits… eventually the raiders are going to have to eat their words as episodes go to air. Things that they say to the camera, after raid, might upset their guild members weeks later.
I can’t help but worry that the raiders will find themselves self-censoring, or not being 100% truthful simply because they don’t want to upset anyone. Stoneybaby is taking a different approach, complaining when his officers and raiders do something that he doesn’t like, but then confronting them about it before the episode goes to air. Even so, it’s a hard line to toe.
I have lots of other “favourite” moments from the first five episodes. What are yours?