If you’re working on Tillers rep, then there will be a time you need Raw Crab Meat. Now, the conventional wisdom of WoWhead is that it drops best from Rockshell Snapclaw, hermit-crab-like humanoids found underwater on a shelf southwest of Soggy’s Bottom.
It’s underwater. If you don’t have a potion you have to surface to breathe from time to time. If you’ve already done a certain quest in the zone, you get your Sea Legs buff, but if you haven’t, you don’t. A bit of a pain, really.
Just northwest of there is another spot, The Briny Muck, in which turtles, crabs, some Sauroks, and some big elementals hang out. The crabs are of interest, as they have almost as high a drop rate as the previously mentioned Snapclaws, plus there’s a spot you can go to that has a nearly constant supply of them.
In one direction is a crab that spawns pretty much as fast as you kill it. Turn around 180 degrees, and there’s another one that does the same thing. So it’s kill, turn, kill, turn, loot, kill, turn etc.
One of the Sauroks will occasionally aggro on you, and there’s one group that will avoid you as long as you don’t pull them, but aside from that, it’s all gravy.
Here’s a couple of screen grabs to help you situate yourself, complete with piles of bodies to illustrate the incredible spawn rate.
In a nutshell, these new recipes can be used to get you from skill level 1 to 500 by using Ghost Iron – I’m going to assume that in the next expansion, it will be the ore of the new lands, perpetually from 5.2 on out.
The good news of this is that you don’t have to go farming for copper, tin, iron, and so forth to get you through the lower levels.
But here’s the thing; can I see a show of hands of anyone that felt that farming or buying copper ore was any more difficult than farming or buying ghost iron? It’s not difficult. It’s not a problem. The greatest challenge it poses is for you to figure out what zone has what ores, which is just the sort of brain-dead activity that separates us from lower primates.
In short, this solves a problem that doesn’t exist.
It is strangely similar to how Blizzard solved “the leveling problem”. Instead of making it interesting, they made it trivial.
And GhostCrawler has the nerve to be surprised that his playerbase “optimizes for efficiency.”
The simplified leveling model solved a problem that didn’t exist. The new blacksmithing scheme does as well. And both are a monumental waste of time.
If they decide to trivialize the leveling or blacksmithing experience so that it’s just stupid simple to do, why not do something a lot less complicated? Just let people buy level 85 characters for fifty bucks (and kill the illicit market for said toons). Just let people pay a huge sum of gold for BS skill level 500 and stop clogging our zones with farmers.
They have a moral and philosophical objection to this sort of thing, but because of those peccadillos, they’ve wasted countless man-hours on something that nobody wants, instead of, oh, I don’t know, new content maybe?. Maybe finish up dance studio? Maybe get those updated models out there?
No, what they’ve decided to do is to give us ways to skip parts of the game without actually and factually doing the deed.
WoWderata is pretty much my favorite of the bunch, because beneath the silliness is a Zen that really applies to life in WoW, and elsewhere. But the overwhelming (for this blog) response to Walking on Eggshells highlights it as the one that resonated the most with others.
March was a dry month for me, as my system died the death of hard drives, so what I blogged most about was how sad WoW raiding was at 2fps, and so forth. The only real content published was a piece about my support and appreciation for a fellow blogger, though in retrospect it seems to be a group of words having an uncomfortable alliance rather than a finished piece of prose.
So, no best-of for this month, even though my sentiments for Apple Cider remain unchanged – just poorly expressed.
June was a quiet month, with only three posts in it. I did manage to get a good rant off, this time against the stupidity of robotic “hacker” signature recognition processes and the ridiculous cloak of secrecy that MMO companies place over how they recognize same.
Best of June, however, I give to my Diablo III Post-mortem, simply because it seems to have captured a lot of people’s attention, most which never commented, but which show up in search hits and page landings3. SOMEBODY was interested enough to look, at least.
Another relatively dry month, and mostly fluff. The exception was Illume’s Dead Glyph post, listing all those glyphs that would have no future. What we didn’t realize at the time was discontinued glyphs were mostly getting recycled by Blizz as new glyphs. What I’m saying is that the most significant post of the month was also very, very wrong.
I’m disappointed that the serious pieces didn’t get more play. Either I’ve got some issues in the writing, or got it wrong, or people just didn’t feel like adding anything to it. Still, even if they had gone off like gangbusters, my sentimental favorite is Jasra’s story, for many reasons. It moves her story forward. It fleshes her out a bit. I’m probably the only person on the planet that appreciates it, so, essentially, I am my own audience. Voices in the head, remember?
In second place, my sentimental favorite, Out of Retirement, in which Jasra steps out into the raiding world once again.
But my favorite by far is Our Dearest Blood, my tribute to Ratshag, one of the first bloggers I read, an inspiration to me, an inspiration for a lot of what exists on this blog, and a really great fellow. He still blogs, but now as a battle pet aficionado at press ‘5’ to capture.
Aaaand that’s a wrap for 2012. Here’s hoping for a great 2013.
Again; I’m a sucker for anyone that actually notices me! [↩]
Over the last few weeks or so there has been a lot of debate, most of it hostile and disrespectful, over, of all things, dailies. I really hate it when people use terms like “Skinner box” to short-cut the discussion, in the seeming belief that using labels to obscure meaning somehow gives them an advantage.
In a way, it does, in that it discourages participation from people that are not steeped in the science of psychology – or the shorthand pop psych that passes for it in gaming circles. Of course, this opens them up to an attack of bona fides, in which the adversary gets to pick which version of “Operant conditioning chamber” that will be used in the conversation. At which point it all breaks down into a bitter fight over selection of sources, a third-hand knife fight over which source is the most correct1, and at the end nothing is resolved or even discussed, which makes the owners (if that term can really be used) of the debate quite happy, since all they probably have anyway are bitter complaints, and if we resolve those then nobody’s happy!
So as not to be one of the guilty, here’s my summary: a “Skinner box” is basically an apparatus in which a creature is placed. It presents them with stimuli, and things to do, and a reward system. One example would be a box in which a rat is placed, with a pellet dispenser, a lever, a light, and a bell. When the light flashes, and the rat hits the lever, it gets a pellet. When the bell sounds, and it hits the lever, it gets no pellet. The rat is eventually trained to press the lever whenever the lights goes off, period. If you want to make it festive, apply a punishment when the bell sounds, but it’s not actually a requirement to use negative reinforcement in such a system.
My favorite story about Skinner devices is this, and it illustrates the concept admirably.
Six monkeys were placed in a with a bunch of bananas. Whenever one of the monkeys touched the bananas, though, the rest of the monkeys would get sprayed with a fire hose.
Eventually, the monkeys learned to keep each other away from the bananas.
One monkey was replaced with a new one. It naturally tried to get a banana, and it naturally got the hell beat out of it by the other monkeys.
One by one, the monkeys were replaced, until none of the original monkeys remained.
At that point, the fire hose was removed. It wasn’t needed. The monkeys would beat the hell out of any monkey that tried to get a banana.
At that point, the monkeys were replaced, one by one, again, until the second generation was completely replaced.
The six monkeys that remained would not let any monkey have a banana. There was no fire hose. There was no punishment. None of them had ever been hosed, not even once.
I imagine if you could talk to the monkeys, and ask them “why won’t you let anyone have a banana?”, they’d probably look around and go “Well, that’s how we’ve always done things around here.”
The contentious debate is all about whether we’re monkeys, really. I’m voting monkey.
A couple of days ago, I was pleased to let this sit where it was. All *I* had, after all, was complaints about the people making all the noise! And it’s really silly to complain about something that makes one feel oh so better about themselves, so silence seemed best.
Then GhostCrawler had to go and tweet this:
I would not have predicted that players would become so focused on efficiency. Not fun or improving themselves. Efficiency.
I caught myself laughing, because that’s exactly what Grimm’s been doing. Gear planning is simply that – planning one’s way through a series of events in the most efficient manner possible. A caveat is that he’s full aware of the irony of plotting one’s most direct route through a game, which is meant to be fun. But, it is ironic nevertheless.
Ghostcrawler’s tweet really brings it together, though. Remember as the expansion was coming together that a lot of noise was made about “fun”. We’re bringing you “fun dailies”. We are giving you “fun things to do”. That sort of talk.
But the design team failed to understand the stats they had from past expansions point towards the raiding monkeys making a beeline for two things: gear and tokens for more gear.
Ask around, see if you can find someone that did the Firelands dailies out of a sense of enjoyment. It should be easy. Those people will have lots of unused tokens. Because the rest of us monkeys stopped as soon as we had just enough to get that last bit of gear. This has been true for every dailies hub since the Shattered Sun Offensive. Ghostcrawler’s comment in this context makes no sense.
The problem with dailies in MoP is that they may have been designed for “fun” by a subset of the population, but they’re being drowned out by the raiding monkeys that feel obligated to run the dailies like a rat in a box, hitting the lever every time the light goes on. The whole game is filled with this sort of thing. Crafting cooldowns, the gardening minigame, and so forth. A lot of monkeys have good reason to see this as some sort of elaborate “skinner box” in which we’re just waiting for the right stimulus to get our daily pellet.
Many have tried to paint this in a sinister light. Making the monkeys play a game for a reward! Why, it would be scandalous, if true!
Now, I love a good conspiracy theory2. But I subscribe to the notion of “never attribute to malice what can be explained by stupidity and laziness.” And I think that applies here. Not necessarily the stupidity part3, but the “laziness” part has, indirectly, some bearing.
I realize that’s a loaded word, “laziness.” It implies that Blizz aren’t busting their humps to keep us monkeys happy. And we should know by now that that’s just not true. They work very hard, and very long, and very much.
But there is such a thing as “lazy game design” and that’s where I see dailies coming in.
Dailies serve no purpose but to fill a void, that void being the one in between content patches. The monkeys that rush to the top run out of things to do, log in to the forums, and grunt about how bored they are. After that happens a few dozen hundred hojillion times, Blizz gets the idea that the monkeys are bored, and figure that just about anything will shut them up.
The novel aspect of this in BC caught the loudest of monkeys by surprise, but by Shattered Sun Offensive time, they had wised up and were complaining that Blizz was throwing dailies at them to substitute for real content.
For once, the monkeys are probably right.
Take the Firelands hub as an example.
If you consider three weeks per faction, the Dailies route can buy you a couple of months, maybe a whole quarter, in which the monkeys are clicking away on the same old content. Maybe you throw in an RNG to make it a little more varied, but otherwise that’s about it. Basically it amounts to designing enough quests so that your players get around a dozen a day out of a pool of, say, twenty-five. If you multiply that by a month, you get twenty-five quests taking the place of close to 500 “new” quests, which is what it would take to see the same number of new quests per day for a month.
I’m oversimplifying, of course, but even in this simplified scenario, the math of dailies – from the developer’s resource perspective – are clear. All the time and personnel resources that would be needed for 500 new quests can be put into something else, and the project lead goes to bed thinking he’s pulled something off.
As any player will tell you, doing the same thing for thirty days is not, however, anywhere close to as enjoyable as actual new content. But the Dailies Lie is one that Blizz has learned to tell itself, and believe, officially, and it doesn’t seem to matter how much you think otherwise, they’re going to keep on saying things like “fun” and “dailies” in the same breath, and equating that to new content.
MoP was supposed to be different. There would be, literally, “hundreds” of dailies to do – all you had to do was choose WHICH ones to do! What they did not say was that it was actually:
12 Tillers dailies
12 Anglers dailies
12 August Celestials dailies
12 Klaxxi dailies
12 Shadow-pan dailies
12 Golden Lotus dailies
12 Cloud Serpent dailies
12 Lorewalker dailies
12 5.1 dailies
When I look at it this way, this hardly seems to be different from Cataclysm, only with different names for the factions, but the same deal nonetheless.
To be fair, there are a few differences.
Tabards don’t earn you faction points any more.
Upon hitting revered, you can buy a token to accelerate reputation for yourself and all your alts, for that faction.
Tokens are earned that get you a bonus roll in raids.
I think the Firelands quests finally revealed that the monkeys were wising up and daring someone to break out a firehose. We went as far as we needed to get what we wanted, and then we stopped playing, in droves, until the next patch. Blizz may claim that this is expected behavior, but they are bound to feel pressure from nervous CEOs and questions from The Board.
So they changed up the game a little, to try to reel us in and level out the valleys in the population charts.
The big hook here is the bonus roll, once you’ve spent all your VP and JP on gear and upgrades. The bonus roll come from Lesser Charms of Good Fortune, which you can only get from running dailies, often. If you’re not a raider, though, they’re less compelling. And I maintain that the raiding population is but a small segment of the population. I think that once the non-raiders5 top off their tanks, so to speak, we’ll see a drop-off again.
The classic “Skinner” scenario is very effective, but you have to choose the rewards wisely, or the monkey will just stop going for the banana. I don’t think dailies will really keep driving logins once the rewards peter out. They have a limited shelf life. Once we out-gear those rewards, we won’t even care about bonus rolls.
The real question is whether or not they can stretch things out long enough for the next patch, and the next, and so forth, to keep us occupied until a new reward can be brought out.
At which point, break out your firehoses – I’m going in.
While it is certainly not universal, a significant portion of the WoW player base has or has had alts, or are maybe contemplating one or more alts. I’m sure you understand we’re from the alt camp here at Casa de Grimmtooth, But I’m not going to judge someone just because having alts isn’t their cuppa tea.
Having an alt usually means having an alt that is lower level than your main, an alt that needs to come up through the ranks, either at a headlong pace (to get to max level) or at a slightly slower rate (just for the sake of the alt). In short, you’re going to go through some older content.
Even after The Shattering, going through old content can be pretty depressing. 90% of it feels cast-off, forgotten, unwanted and unloved. I’m sure there’s an RPer or lore nerd or three out there that will make an extra effort to enjoy each old zone to its fullest, but that’s the point – unless you go out of your way, you end up losing yourself in a whirlwind of under-tuned quests, buggy hubs, and quest chains that cut short because you outleveled them.
It’s hard to gauge the old world, since the endgame zones are more or less universally changed up. But Outland, Northrend, and the Cataclysmic lands all show the same symptoms. In BC, used to be you were in Netherstorm or Shadowmoon Valley before you popped 70 – now you’re lucky to hit Nagrand. In Northrend, you’ll likely hit 80 somewhere in Dragonblight. You’ll likely not see the Highlands, either, so forget the dwarven awesomeness. You’re off to Pandaria!
Blizz has turned the knobs for XP gained and XP rewarded almost all the way up so that those that wish to level in a hurry, can. That seems like some sort of distortion to everybody else, a punishment for playing below endgame levels. Every quest that goes gray before you can complete it, every NPC that bugs out because it was never fixed in Cata (where the bug was introduced), every involved quest chain that you just give up on because, really, you don’t need that amount of annoyance for XP you can get, oh, ANYWHERE. All of this sours the experience of anyone that had hopes of enjoying the lower levels of the game.
Blizzard has listened to the wrong people. They have heard the churning, puling cries of the forum posters and wrongfully considered them to be the valid opinion of everyone. Unfortunately they’ve listened to a group of people with a distorted view of the game in which the forums are the primary feature of the game and the game client is a method of fueling forum posts. I applaud Blizzard’s intent, but the execution was flawed because they figured that intelligent, reasonable people would come TO the forums if people like Ghostcrawler showed up to answer questions. Maybe they did. but they were driven away by the instant onslaught of the WoW equivalent to 4chan.
Accelerated XP is one of several bad ideas to come from that channel. Another is CRZ. These are to solve problems that didn’t exist. The problem was that there are people that just want a different character, all ready to go at max level or reasonably close, for raiding or PvP or whatever, without having to muck about with the leveling process. Blizzard’s response, based on feedback from the forums, was CRZ, heirlooms, accelerated XP earnings, increased XP rewards, and account-bound mounts and pets.
As a result, thousands of man-hours have been wasted on features that appease very few and annoy everyone else.
The EASIEST solution would be to make it possible to buy max-level toons for a price, equip ‘em with heirlooms, and leave everything else alone. Drop the XP gains, decrease the XP awards, shut down CRZ. Maybe make mounts and pets soulbound again, not account bound (though I sense much pushback on that). Make it possible to complete all of the quests from newbie zone to endgame zone within that race’s progression path.
Unfortunately, I doubt this will ever happen. I mentioned bugs, as an example. While leveling in Dustwallow, for example, I encountered several pretty severe bugs that were there when Cata came out. They’ve never been fixed. I’ve seen bugs mentioned in forums, asking when they’d be fixed, and the answer, “No idea, we’re busy with awesome new stuff.” Well, that’s software engineers for ya. They hate fixing bugs, and they love the shiny. Remember that next time a software developers tells you that his profession is a “craft” as well. A real artisan potter would never let go even a flower pot in the condition that Dustwallow Marsh is. That’s the difference between a craftsman and a factory worker.
Unfortunately, due to the noise level in the forums, the fact that that is the only way that Blizz really communicates with users, and the pressure to churn out new product, I suspect that the leveling experience will continue to be wretched and useless. It’ll get you from level 1 to 85 quickly enough, but you’ll hate every step of it because not only have you done it all before, but it seemed more interesting and challenging at the time. Now, it’s a joke.
I have over a dozen alts. Until Cata came along, I truly enjoyed leveling them. Last week, in Dustwallow, I was disgusted. Setting up rotations? Why bother, really? There’s no reason to be good at anything at the lower levels, now. They are, as the title says, mostly worthless. And that’s my entire case for buyable max-level toons. The lower levels come across more as punishment than entertainment.
That, more than anything else, I miss at the lower levels. I miss many things, but the actual sense of doing something meaningful and challenging, that’s gone. And I miss it.
In the “goblin” world, there are goblins, and there are those that write about goblins, and there are those of us that more or less peer in from the edges, bemused at how far one person will go to make a few gold pieces. I fancy myself in the latter, no illusions there, but I wonder where WpW Insider’s resident goblin journo places himself?
His topic of the day was something near to my heart, inscription as a money maker. As usual, he almost gets it right, or almost gets it wrong, but doesn’t really nail either.
Buy the Numbers
The first thing I want to tackle isn’t provably wrong – not yet, or at least not provable by me – but I want to shed some light on the statement that possibly was edited down for brevity.1
Assuming you can make a full deck for every 12 cards you produce (which is the ratio you see if you trade really well and/or produce a lot of cards), it’ll cost you 120 stacks of any herb but Fool’s Cap, or 75 stacks of Fool’s Cap. At 40g per stack of, for example, Green Tea Leaf, that’s 4800g per deck. Some decks can sell for over 20,000g.
What’s he talking about, Fool’s Cap requiring fewer stacks? Well, basically, what he’s saying here is that Fool’s Cap yields up more Misty Pigment than other herbs do. If he got his numbers from WoWHead, I do question them – WoWHead does not appear to purge old data that often, so the numbers up there could possibly include Beta data. Hard to say, since they’ve become less transparent by the day.2
However, I wrote a little addon that has been tracking all milling I do in real time. So far, the yields look like this.3
So, everything hovers around the .25-pigments-per-mill level, except for Fool’s Cap, which has yielded around .60. Yes, that’s more than double, which is in excess of WoWHead’s numbers. I have no idea whether this will hold, but I’ll be monitoring it. Right now, I don’t have enough samples from all herb types to make me comfortable publishing a link to the database, but before too long I will.
The upshot is, yeah, right now it’s worth it to buy Fool’s Cap for purposes of making Darkmoon cards. But now that Euripides has let the cat out of the bag, I expect there to be at least a window in which it will be priced beyond reason. Keep your eyes on the prices.
Don’t Believe it
Glyphs are a whole other beast. I’ve said a few times that this market isn’t worth pursuing, and to some extent, this still holds true. The main reason I’d advise against trying your hand at the glyph market is that everyone else disagrees with me, and that the profit per hour in this market is purely driven by competitors’ willingness to spend more time cancelling and relisting.
This shows some old-fashioned thinking on Euripides’ part. The “work harder not smarter” attitude works, if you have no other interest in this game than to sell things and make gold. I’ve other things to do. This is and has been a side-project, in which I attempted to determine if one could make money on the AH in an intelligent way. I’ve succeeded – if you disagree, it can only be on the matter as to what degree I’ve succeeded. However, since I started this exercise in Wrath, I’ve accumulated over 1,000,000 gold, so I think I’m on solid ground here.
Treat the enterprise as you would a retail outlet.
Maintain a working inventory of glyphs.
Cultivate a reliable, inexpensive source of materials.
Rotate stuff out when its price drops too far (as opposed to a forced reset, which is too labor-intensive) and shelve stuff that doesn’t sell at all.
Don’t worry about Euripides and the goblins.
#5 is the part that flies in the face of what Euripides said. He maintains that you have to undercut like a fiend. I don’t. I sold 5000 GP worth of glyphs last night. Does that sound like a good turnaround for an hour’s work? It does to me. I post ONCE per day. I still sell stuff. There are a variety of reasons, but the biggest reason is that the stuff that sells, will sell. Some “goblin” may undercut me, but if the glyph is a seller, then his glyphs WILL be bought, then mine are right there for the next buyer.
Don’t take the advice of trolls
I like angry letters, so when I have time to troll my esteemed competitors, I’ll go and post a "glyph wall" of 3 of each glyph for triple the materials cost. This is just expensive enough that it’s not worth them buying me out, and cuts the high end of the market (the 300g glyphs that cost 15g to make) out from under them. This can be fun, not unlike popping bubble wrap. I still get undercut within an hour, but since this doesn’t really drive demand up that much, I don’t end up selling anything more than I would have at the high prices. That’s generally when they’ll mail me letting me know this.
In the end, though, I can’t spend all day trolling — they just wait for me to have better things to do and then go back to their old ways.
I encounter a number of idiots like this on my server4 and I always get the last laugh, because while they’re all wrapped up in this little game of theirs, I just keep posting and selling. They were thick as fleas on a camel when the expansion posted, but they’re gone now, and I an still making bank. Laugh-a while you can, monkey-boy.
If you’re going to disregard my advice and try to get into the glyph market, the best advice I have for you is to make sure you have the most efficient possible setup, and undercut really frequently.
If you want to make money making glyphs, and you don’t want it to be your life, then disregard this advice and reflect on the article I linked above. Exercise patience and intelligence5 and you’ll not want for gold in days to come.
I’ve a couple more tweaks to make to see how far I can push this thing, but now that I’ve gotten my Million, it’s all become rather pointless. I’m not one of those one-percenters that digs the money just for being the money. My goal has been to provide a comfortable nest egg for ten toons on this server, and I’ve more than accomplished my goal. Anything else is just gravy.
As Eff the Ineffable completes its second Feng clear and contemplates the mystery that is Gara’jal and the Spirit World, I am also engaged in that lovely activity known, to be nice, as the Gear Plan.
Now, there is a bit of loosey-goosey-ness to what, exactly, is meant by those two words, but I choose to give it this general meaning (with lots of wiggle room): generally speaking, figuring what gear I need, and where to find it, for purposes of raiding. If you’re ambitious, part II of that is: what gear, and where to get it, to be fully decked in BiS, preparatory to being ready for Heroics or the next tier.
There are many tools for this. Ask Mr. Robot, for example, will produce lists of gear for you, suggest gems and enchants, and even take all that into account for the next piece. It’s also sometimes not entirely realistic, models and sims being what they are. WoWHead, for another, has a tool that will help you find upgrades.
What neither does very well is give you a big-picture way of understanding, which is where the Gear Plan comes in. As you research each piece, map out where you can find upgrades for it, and so forth, you can organize those findings in some coherent way.
My methods aren’t as accountable as those big sites are1, but the numbers I have found were derived from them, as well as others. When all is said and done, some things pop right out at you.
The above image is a chart derived from the stat weights of the gear that provides an improvement to my current gear2, as equipped. Basically it’s a map of how much improvement I can get from various sources. Everything from Golden Lotus and below can be considered solo content, things that can be done without much assist from anyone else.
Obviously, LFR has a LOT going for it. But you have to get to iLevel 460 first, so the two tiers below it are of interest.
The interesting thing is, Scenarios play a big part in the gearing progression, far bigger than you might think. There is generally one, maybe two, sets that come out of the little bag you get from running scenarios (and some faction quests). These sets generally have at least one variation that is best-in-slot for blue gear, and, in some cases, better than some epic gear (and 3-4 lesser variations).
Now, for myself, Scenarios play a bigger part than Heroics in the gearing equation. Jasra’s almost-finished gear plan3 shows a different picture:
In her case, Heroics have more upgrades than they do for me, so they are a bigger immediate payoff than Scenarios.
What you’re seeing here is a profile of two characters at different points on the gearing curve. In Jas’ case, she’s geared poorly enough that there are many upgrades in Heroics. As she gets more upgrades, I expect Heroics and Scenarios to change in weight, as she outlevels Heroics. In the same vein, Klaxxi rep will become less influential as I acquire more pieces from them.
I have yet to look into the 5.1 rewards and see if they bring anything new to the party.
I have yet to do gear plans for anyone else, but I would be very surprised if they strayed far from the profile I’m seeing on Jasra’s gear plan, so pretty much the best advice anyone can get here is: do Scenarios as soon as you can, as many times as you’re allowed to get gear, until you can do LFR. This is your best bet for the best gear.
Though one might suggest that neither is all that open, either. [↩]
To be fair, I got a couple of pieces from LFR last night and haven’t factored them in yet. Still, this serves as a good example. [↩]
A bit of controversy here: the weight of Crit over Mastery affects the final numbers. Depending on how you weight them, either Mastery rules over Crit (for shields), or Crit rules over Mastery (for strong heals). AMR leans towards the latter, but I think eventually they’re going to have to split the two into two sub-specializations, if that makes any sense. [↩]
Upon hitting level 90, there are a few choices open to one with regards to how to pass the time, day to day, in between raids.
Unbelievably, it’s easy to hit max level while still having two and a half zones left unexplored. So there’s that. Finish up those zones, tidy up a bit and get the explorer cheev, finish the quests and get the loremaster cheev.
Or, there are many achievements, collections, battle pet activities, and other bits of miscellany to attend to.
Or, there’s dailies.
In Vanilla, Blizz played with the idea of recurring quests such as that goblin in Feralas1 and the Winterspring grind2. Most of those could be repeated as many times a day as you wanted. BC brought about the actual idea of Dailies, capital D, but it wasn’t until patch 2.4 (Sunwell) that we saw dailies presented pretty much as we’d see them until MoP was released.
While there were a few must-haves out of that series of dailies (Woodchucker, anyone3?), in most cases it was vanity stuff4, or marginally better than you could get if you never ever set foot in a Heroic dungeon.
MoP has changed all of that, to the point that dailies are necessary. A lot of your JP and VP gear is tied into dailies, and if you want to perform at your best, you best figure out where your biggest bang is and start grinding it5.
In order to move things along, you pretty much have to max out your rep every day – for those that are only focused on one main, that probably means multiple rep grinds.
The dailies, and their hubs, are pretty familiar to the experienced WoW-head, but the sheer number of them is pretty daunting. Where to start and how do? That’s been a topic of concern for myself and Jasra for a while, since we’re pretty much at the pointy end of the stick.
Before having a good idea of my gear plan, I started out on Halfhill reasoning that everybody loves feasts. I found quickly that getting all the dailies done was pretty hopeless, if I wanted to even log in on another toon, so I scaled back a bit to Yoon’s daily vegetable and currying favor with Jogu. Jogu’s great. Jogu loves carrots. I have carrots. Every now and then he’d ask for wine. I love wine, too. BUT. Aside from a garden full of songbells, this vector doesn’t really add up for a hunter. After careful consideration, I finished up Kun’lai and got krakking on the Klaxxi.6.
This experience has served Jasra well, as she’s skipping all but the minimal Tiller stuff right now, and focusing instead on Golden Lotus, for the tailoring recipes, for starters. I’m afraid everything I’ve heard about those dailies is true. For a squishy like her, it’s horrible, and they seem to bring out the worst in people. I’ve seen few really horrible people on the Klaxxi circuit, but the GL dailies seem to encourage the absolute worst7. There will be much rejoicing when those are done.
All that aside, I’m not going to join the ranks of those that are complaining the most bitterly about being "forced" to do dailies. There is no point to it. With very few exceptions, all the JP and VP gear is outmatched by raid drops, and those exceptions don’t really stand out as any worse than we’ve experienced in the past.
The worse that happens if you don’t do dailies is that you either appear closer to the bottom of the charts until you get geared up the hard way, or your team picks someone over you, someone that didn’t mind the grind enough to stop them from doing them. Boo hoo, it IS a bit of a competition in that case.
What about the hardcore player? Couple of thoughts, here. (a) Hardcore players are going to do it, if it gets an edge. Period. Hardcore players that cop out over dailies, get replaced. Period. And, (b) Hardcore players complain about everything, so who cares?
I haven’t even seen the whole continent yet, so I have very little reason to complain, anyway, and 5.1 is on the horizon so I’m probably months away from being left with the option of "dailies, or nothing at all"8.
There is an elephant in the room. Those that hate dailies the most hate them for a very specific reason. Dailies are perceived by them as an attempt to stretch out current content in an artificial manner. They feel that time spent working up dailies would be better spent on new content. I personally agree in spirit that new content is better than dailies. I disagree with their assessment of how much effort is required to implement new content over dailies9. And I think Blizz has done the math, as well, which is why we get dailies in the first place. They have limited art asset generation capacity, and choose to focus it on the next content patch rather than marginally expand the current patch level.
There is a small, but vocal, contingent that will complain bitterly on the forums and claim to speak for all of us. The same applies to bloggers; we certainly don’t have a corner on the concept of analysis. Our reality is no better than the average forum rat’s, even if we manage to come across as less unhinged than the average forum troll10. We lose sight of the notion that there are few if any reasons for Blizzard to be doing the terrible things they’re accused of.
Blizz has access to one thing that we do not – the raw data showing actual playing habits of all 10M or so users over time. They’re not idiots. If they saw that a majority of players were engaging in xxx playstyle, they’d do what they could to pander to them and make their gaming experience even more enjoyable. And if they see a high correlation between the number of people that set foot in a raid with those that ran ZZZ dailies, then they’ll probably do something, there, too. The problem with statistical analysis in this case is that it takes time to accumulate data11, find the patterns, define the problem, and then – finally – define a solution, plan its implementation, do eet, and prepare for the next wave of complaints12.
For myself, I am unwilling to marginalize my performance so I’ll run the dailies to get the stuff to make it less painful for my RL. For Jas, we simply must get her geared up, the dailies are the best way to do it outside of Heroics, and off we go. It’s the cost of doing business. The rest of the game makes up for it.
For the record, I have, like, dozens of other games that I don’t play because of WoW, so is this really a bad thing? I think not. [↩]
We’ll start with artwork. Minimal new artwork is required for dailies. Lots of new artwork is required for new content (that’s kinda what new content is, by the way.). So right there, new content starts out at a disadvantage. And it never really recovers. [↩]