Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Baby Dragons

Cross-dressing rogue and I were discussing the new nature of Azeroth the other day, and I imagined three homunculus---one was the Artist, one was the General, and one was the Bean Counter. The artist says things like, "How can we make it fun again? How can we make it beautiful?" The General asks, "What can we MAKE THEM DO?" And the Bean Counter asks, "Ah yes, but what is it going to cost us?" These three interplay and I believe, if you sense that some decisions for the new expansion were arbitrary, 'throw them a bone' and some were "we better get this right or else," you're right. Remember, game designers are human, and have to counter their passions and motivations in a work environment just like the rest of us.

I know that's disappointing to hear.

But -- for me, I am in a pretty happy place in Azeroth. I have more to write about this (I always do, don't I?) but for now, I'll just share a beautiful shot of me and baby dragon:
No regrets.

Many players have been feeling the way Bear describes in his post, Color Me Unthrilled, and as always, it's not what he writes as the grand discussion he sparks in his posts. This is shameless poaching of another's content, but I share it in the name of spreading the good word. Two of Bear's commentators really hit the target for me, and I wanted to capture their ideas:

Smashogre says:
There are ways to gear up for the end game without involving yourself in the rep grinds. I geared geared up my hunter through the rep grinds, but looked to other ways to get my pally into LFR
1) Run heroic 5-man: If you are a tank or healer that can handle pugs, or have a group you can run with, this is by far the fastest way to gear up
2) Scenarios: Yes, the drop rate from the bags is about 10% . When all your slots are below 363, this is by far the most efficient way to gear up for the DPS only classes. Running 3 or more scenarios will probably get you gear faster than waiting for 1 dungeon que to pop and running the 5-man. The gear for hunters can also be better than the dungeon version
3) Battlegrounds: I don’t recommended for everybody. It is a way to fill in those slots you cant seem to ever get the gods of random chance to fill for you. If you enjoy or can tolerate it, try it. Don’t knock it until you try it. The new battlegrounds can be quite fun, and at this moment , BM hunters are pretty OP. The PvP stats are no longer part of the ilevel budget, so a 358 pvp gear comes close to the 363 PvE gear, while being superior to the 450 PvE world drops and dungeon quest blues
4) Sha of Anger: This world boss spawns almost every half hour, and a Tuesday doesn’t go by I cant find a pug to get all of my 90′s in. The first kill gets you a quest item for 476 boots. the regular drops are also very nice. NOTE: running Sha late in the week can be VERY frustrating, i recommend doing it as close to Tuesday as possible
5) Crafted Material: Yes, BS needs honored with Klaxxi, and Leatherworking and tailoring need honored with the Golden lotus. You can still buy them from somebody else. Inscribers have the 476 staffs with no rep required. Engineers have the BoP helm, and they can make a 450 trinket for anybody that is in almost everybody’s 10 best in slot list because you can select the sprockets that it uses . Both of those can be done without rep. Archaeology has 3 account bond items that are worthwhile, and all 3 can be used at 85, making them doubly useful since you can give them to alts once your main finds better stuff. also, once can get to honored with klaxxi without running a single daily , since just running the Dread waste quest will get you to Honored with them AND a set of 437 quest greens that will allow you to jump into heroics.
Here is my quick and easy way I leveled my pally to 461 and into LFR 5 days after I hit 90.
1) Start Dread Waste at 89- You get the 437 quest greens and 450 blues quest items, thus you will have the 435 needed to run heroics as soon as you hit 90
2) Run the The Arena of Annihilation scenario for the 450 weapon
3) Run scenarios and 5-mans as needed to get some of the slots upgraded to 363
4) If you can tolerate PvP, run a few battlegrounds, otherwise use your JP to upgrade those other slots
5) Kill the Sha, steal his Nikes, and perhaps even get lucky and get another purple
6) Kill any holiday boss (Headless horseman is up at the moment, 470 rings) until he drops your stuff
7) Run LFR for the EPIXXX!
Do dailies on YOUR time schedule, skip the days the quests seem bothersome. You can only buy a VP item every 2-3 WEEKS, the Klaxxi and Golden lotus have items available at honored, which one can get by running the dailies at most 4-5 times in that 21 day period if you just must have the VP stuff ASAP. I’m revered with 3 of the 4 VP rep grinds on my hunter, yet I wont be able to do anything with them for another 2 weeks since the valor cap is so low. Some of the quests can be quite fun and should be enjoyed, not treated like some evil thing you have to do.

Andrew says:
I felt like you do too, BBB, but time (and again, it’s been out less than a month?) has mellowed my outlook a bit. A couple of observations:
(1) Heroics are easy to access, and the gear from them is fine for accessing the first tier of raiding, if that’s what you want to do. Heroics *are* casual friendly, and people in queues have been much more tolerable than the last go around.
(2) LFR is actually a bit challenging right now, but people are willing to work at it, and there’s a lot of loot there too.
(3) at the end of the week, you can still only accrue 1000 VP, and this will limit the rate you can acquire this gear no matter what. Meanwhile, you are accruing VP *while running dailies now*. I get 5 VP just for giving a Tiller friend her favorite food! Pretty much no matter what we do, we are progressing.
(4) again, that gear really is not needful to get raid ready. By the end of the first week, when I could only access Klaxxi honored VP gear (a neck?) my lock had an ilvl average of 461. It’s totally doable.
(5) this content is supposed to last us at least until December, in all probability.
This all said, I think it was a mistake for them to gate 2 factions behind Golden Lotus. That decision actually took a lot of choice away at end game, making figuring out how to gear with your sparse VP less interesting, and also creating the unfun Golden Lotus bottle neck.
The bottle neck is much improved by grouping with another person though, and if you luck into more people and can help each other with drop quests, or be strategic about it, it approaches fun. Here’s the other thing: running 2 hubs of Golden Lotus quests gets you about as much VP as a heroic, and more if you have three hubs to do. Treat it like an opportunity for organized play in your guild, maybe?
I just hit revered with them yesterday on my lock. I cannot say I’m not relieved, and I won’t be going back for exalted anytime soon. At the same time, it’s not the end of the world – maybe 12 days? – which in the scope of how long this game lasts us and how often we play, not so much time. Much of the pressure I think comes from outside the game – we feel we need the gear, or we’ll be letting down our raid team – but that’s all coming from us (or, in unhealthy cases, from our raid team). But they aren’t lying when they say you don’t need it to raid. That’s a Cata mindset. In retrospect, all of Cata endgame was designed to facilitate the hardcore raider mindset, and you remember how that turned out! There was nothing to do BUT raid, heroics made random groups painful, and if you aren’t a raider, don’t you dare think about finding a nice set of shoulders, unless you want a BoE set some raider has put on AH for 26000 gold.
I will take Mists with its warts a thousand times over an expansion like Cata.
Apologies for all the text.


  1. Green Cloud Serpents are the very best! But I think I'll check back there every day still to see if I can race!

    Since I'm in no hurry to gear up past 450 and I had about enough of the Golden Lotus long respawns I'm giving them a rest for a while but all in all for me at least they really hit it out of the park on this, especially compared to Cata.

    1. Green is Mataoka's color...and I am do glad you get me Tome. I love the "take the long view" approach, but using another metaphor, hope this grand banquet we've been served doesn't spoil; it's already drawing flies in some of the items. But in all earnestness, I am really happy now. And that pet battling thing? Oh yeah...

  2. How funny, I have a green one too (well, it's growing - hopefully I'll be there soon!) - I must just think all my friends have awesome taste in colours.
    I do like Smashogre's comment :)

    1. His line, "Steal his Nikes" made me laugh out loud! That cracked me up!

      And Navi - hug --big, fat, American hug!


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