Third 90 and more to come I suspect

My Druid ding’ed 90 in WoW last week, which makes a tally of three level ninety characters: a Death Knight, a Warrior, and a Druid.

Next will be my slowly leveling Shaman who is now level 71 (the toon in the top left if the image below) and a long time lost Shadow Priest who is level 82 (bottom left character).

In my character list I also have a handful of 85s and then each class smattered down to a lowbie Monk at level 13. I do not really want to repeat the 85-90 grind so many more times, but the leveling path in Pandaria is so fixed there is little choice. Perhaps I could level by only queuing in Dungeons and just farm my way through the Pandaria starting area for materials to sell. That will only be moderately dull as well but will ensure my lowbies have the ability to increase their professions.

The Wrath of the Lich King content on the baby Shaman is sensational by comparison to 4x more Pandaria zones and a Cataclysm story.

Mortigen, Raze, nagarj, Arkham, Aurac and Yeirah head shots

If I cannot raid regularly in 5.4 due to work & life, then I might as well start working on these alts. Getting through the levels is something I can do whilst also being interrupted, and it is not “hard” content to do. Continue reading

Have you noticed the gap?

I noted when running around after work on Tuesday night that the buff for extra Valor was still on my character, yet the cap had been refreshed back to 0/1000.

Like a good little grinder I’d almost finished farming my 150×4 of the bloody barrens boring grind-fest, so I got my last 35 oil, and parked at the quest giver.The ugly troll gave me the quest as expected.

Unexpectedly turning in the quest got me 300 Valor not 200. The What? +50% Cool!

Apparently it also works on the Isle of Thunder and disappears if you change zones or change maps. Yes it appears a bug, and likely unintended. I can’t say I’ll panic and plan to do this just for an extra 100 Valor each week, but it was a surprise.

BarrensArtwork

wow p5.1 Valor Grinding Update by Ask Mr. Robot

You PvE folks don’t need more gear drops, just update the gear you have with Valor and Justice! Yay. Grinding instances and daily quests is not mandatory.

Mr Robot has an excellent summary with examples of how and how gear will soon be able to be upgrades with grind-able points. In Patch 5.1 for WoW you’ll get a +8 item level boost on any gear, costing 1500 points. That is pretty neat for a raider who is missing a key upgrade due to poor luck. It offers an alternative which was not available.

I have a niggling feeling though that it will make capping Valor/Justice each week so much more important. It was already very desirable, but now it feels even closer to a mandatory requirement.

Q. Where do you get the points?

A. Same places – boss kills, instances, and doing daily quests. Grinding instances and daily quests is not mandatory.

Q. Do we get more, or are the scales adjusted?

A. Nope, all is good in the ratios so I’m told. 25 points per boss kill is apparently what is needed.

Raiding and LFR offer between 40-50% max of the Valor, assuming that you are doing full clears. Not many guilds are doing full clears – so many raiders are not even close to max before they start doing Instances and daily quests.

Grinding instances and daily quests is not mandatory.

Q. Should I do progression, with wipes, long effort, etc or do Valor farming?

A. Both. You need to play more, or play more efficiently, or whatever – this is all about being given expanded options. Grinding instances and daily quests is not mandatory.

Q. How could the reward improve or valor system improve?

A. How about:

  • Increase the reward from the instances from 80 VP first and 40 every run afterward to 100 and 60 each extra run. Make it so more people run instances to get their Valor – it can’t hurt. It still makes it a hard slog to cap. Increasing the JP reward is a good idea too.
  • Reward both Valor and Justice from Scenarios, unless they are intended to be done once and then forgotten.
  • Reward more from boss kills in PvE, from 25 to 40-45. This means that it is still very unlikely that a character will cap valor just from PvE clearing.
  • Reward daily quest reward from 5 VP to 10 or 15 VP. This is for fools like me who are earning valor through daily quests a lot and are really bored with it.
  • The bonus for valor capping a character changes so that instead of one character getting to 1000 valor and the buff kicking in, the 1000 can be gained on any set of characters, then all get more. This means more people are using alts – which would be their choice.

Remember: Grinding instances and daily quests is not mandatory. Are you happy citizen?

Refs:

Numerious daily quests yesterday

Yesterday I did a heap of dailies in Warcraft – All the Golden Lotus, Klaxxi, Tillers, Shado-Pan, Fishing, Archaeology, and the {dragon flying mount guys}. It took the better part of my time online, and was not so bad. It was not my objective to do that many, but there queue times for 5 mans were long, and it worked out that way.

It didn’t suck as much as I thought it might. I think knowing that the task ahead was to grind that many is probably a big part of what puts me off, as thinking about tomorrow I have no intention of doing that many.

I raise this as there is flack about daily quests through out the wow community, and I’m on the fence on the overall issue. Pondering this I thought:

  • I like that there is no limit to the amount you can do, even if that means going back and doing dailies from old expansions. It’s your time, do whatever you like.
  • I dislike that I’m doing it for 5 valor points a quest. It seems too low.
  • I like that we get the coin-thingy which eventually allow extra loot rolls.
  • I dislike the gated release of Shado-pan and the other guys at Revered, as I think the idea is OK lore wise, but it should have been opened at honored. Getting to that faction sooner would have made a world of difference to my level of boredom in daily quests.
  • I dislike that the non-valor Rep rewards are all but useless compared to crafted gear, drops, and easily available alternatives. Essentially most of the rewards are not usable.
  • Soon (patch 5.1?) the Justice points will upgrade gear, as will the valor. Thankfully that will help me a lot, but I cannot see that as a justification for the low point rewards.
  • Players who play every day will get capped quickly, but then those players will get capped quickly anyway – so we have a barrier in place for the grinders who play daily, which also applied to the more casuals. I see both sides of this – limiting the grind rate help stretch content, but that also frustrates players. Tough call.
  • If I was given a choice there would be some way to enhance the rep gain per week. Perhaps a tabard as implemented in previous expansions is not “right”, but the grind to Exalted feels wrong at the moment too.
  • Daily quests are not “fun” enough by themselves to keep playing, I do them because of the valor and rep reward. That is a slightly depressing thing, and I wonder how much I will feel like playing if I ever get the required factions to Exalted.

I got a heap of valor points from the many quests, and thankfully some gold which helps cover the raiding costs and flippant purchases (like extra node detection goggles for my gathering alt). I also skipped a few of the quests available which only rewarded rep and gold with Vanity Factions – those factions that have no PvE advantage, but have mounts and tabards. Perhaps I should have included them for the sake of being a completionist, but honestly I don’t care for achievement points.

As a method of gearing my character a valor grind via daily quests is the longest and most banal method I can think of. Its an utterly poor way to garner gear – but casuals have very few other choices. So tomorrow is more – an unless I’m lucky enough to see a Sha of Anger group, it’ll be that until the cows come home.

As an aside – the Lore for many of the daily quests feels like things that an apprentice or scrub could do. Is this really the tasks that need the attention of a person who vanquished Deathwing, The Lich King, and all the other old gods? It’s an old snark, but still relevant when you pick-up your eleventh flower. The quest givers in Pandaria are no more or less lazy then elsewhere – asking for the dull tasks to be done by those who have something to prove.

Perhaps one day many expansions from now my character can return to Pandaria and visit farmer Yoon, and we’ll laugh as how much of his work I did for him. For now that guy pisses me off. Happy killing.

Dinged 90 and the race is just beginning

Mortigen dings 90 - huzzah

Well I dinged 90 a few days ago and even as the warm yellow glow of achievement left my character I began recalling the plan for the next stage.

  • Ring of Blood v.Panda for the weapon upgrade
  • Then BLacksmith skill to Max level to unlock the nice gear upgrades
  • Rep grind with the Klaxxi bugs, farmers, and all the others.

As far as activities at 90 the Mists expansion has gobsmacking amounts of activity. You can even get Valor points (yummy) from daily quests. Given the time I think I could do at least 50 productive advancing quests in a day. Shucks that’s got to be over 10 hours of dailies just there – and they all count an are productive!

Happy farming, grinding, and wow’ing it up.

Swift White Hawkstrider found

Having a few tank characters payed off today as I was able to grind MgT for the Swift White Hawkstrider Mount, this time it dropped. Booyah!

Diamon found the Swift Hawk Strider

It was my Pally Tank who killed Kael’thas to “find” the mount, but Mortigen the Death Knight who has the Orb of the Sindorei – which makes him look the part.

Or look really silly as a huge toon on a white chicken.

A defensive update on the patch

English: A line of M109A6 Paladin howitzers as...

Patch 5.0.4 brought us some changes, and its taking some players like me a while to understand and absorb them. I’m damned if I can fit 9 classes worth of changes in my head at once, so I’ve kept to just a few. My Death Knight main and a few of the toons that I tank with: DK, Warrior, and Paladin. I’ll get around to adding the Guardian Druid into that soon, and then also spec’ing the non-tanks like my Warlock and Hunter. I wonder if Hunters and Warlocks can pet tank / solo now.

One thing about the new Tanking model is that multi-mob tanking is much more viable, as long as the tank does not get stunned or overwhelmed. When either occur you are in deep trouble very quickly. DKs, Pally, and War all hurt when faces with 10+ mobs, and the old days of doing an instance in a single pull. Now if the mobs cannot hit your character for enough damage per second to chew through the shield, then your character will never get hurt at all. Generally that will never happen at level, and even (Level -10) needs to be considered. At (level-25) or less I think its the same old run and giggle mode, which is good. At level on normal mode all Tanks should be able to solo bosses like Slabhide with reasonable gear and use of cool-downs.

As a quick summary:

  • Death Knights – feel essentially the same as previous Blood spec did, and play very much like a dps character. Good solid fun.
  • Paladins – slow and steady damage, unkillable due to great cooldowns, highly controllable self heal. The cockroach is back.
  • Warriors – fast paced leaps, charges, and thunderclaps. High damage, lower survival. Best fun to be had by far.

Death Knight – overall nothing greatly changed, and everything did. The Blood style plays the same, and it is the other tanks who now are moved to an absorption/healing based actions (aka Active Mitigation). Essentially our world changed because we have moved from having a somewhat unique ability, to having just one of the best implementations of the soak/damage model. I liked it a a DK and like it on the others too. As dps the talents feel narrow.

I’m not sold on the concept of switching talent choices per fight, except to say that if a player can do that well they are a much greater asset to their raid than a player who specs once and never changes.

Paladin – I was newbie tanking in Outland back in the day, and loved the fact that mana was returned by getting hurt. Likewise now we get all sorts of resources back from being hurt. I’ve run a few old heroic 70 and 80 dungeons in solo mode to test the performance of the Tankadin, and while I think their overall damage is too low, the survivability is very strong.Cooldowns are needed for heavy damage spike fights and too many mobs can rip through the bubble very quickly.

Paladin’s strength is the control of when they can apply their heal, and the advantage of doing either a powerful shield strike or heal as a 3x holy power combo move. I found on bosses or big trash pulls that sometimes all I did was self heal, and the slow attrition of concentration and the AoE effects whittled down the creatures. The Paladin was never in trouble, but also never was near the DPS that the Warrior did.

Warrior – A Protection Warrior at the moment is crazy fun. They do as much damage as some lowbie dps and can head smash their way through mobs darn quickly. Having additional uses of charge via talents means that for now I grind quests as Prot. Never dying has many advantages. They are still a very agile tank, being able to move across the battle exceedingly quickly. Solo’ing was almost as easy as the others, but at times my health was dropping and it took special attention to snap it back up. Thankfully the cooldowns provide for some interesting power-ups, and I was also using Herbalism’s small heal and spare potions.

If I could somehow get a huge gear jump I think the Warrior would benefit strongly from a powerful set of items and correct re-forging. Parry and mitigation re-forging appear to make a large difference in the form discussions out there, and my Warrior feels like she wants to smash heads harder, but cannot just yet. The potential is certainly there.

But why have 3-4x tank characters?

Heroic Utguard Pinnacle (h-UP), Heroic Magister’s Terrace (h-MgT), and Normal Stonecore are all easily solo-able for all three classes, which means grinding for those elusive mounts is now easier as a character can be parked out the front of each to do each one each day with no travel time. Till the new world events this is what I’ll be spending free time on. I’m pondering adding the Druid to be parked in front of Molten Core, purely because the rare mats and drops from there still sell well.

In terms of comparison neither the Paladin or the Warrior can hold a torch to a Death Knight for solo’ing and damage. Some of that might be due to much better gear (ilevel 333 vs 378) and my familiarity with the DK class, but it seems the DK is slightly ahead for now. Warrior is probably a close second, but their healing is still not as exceptional or as controllable as the Death Knight. Things will be interesting at level 90 where we are meant to be playing, as I can see a Warrior becoming once again the powerhouse of Tanking. Having the only AoE taunt will be an exceptional ability, and as gear improves their block/soak mechanics will get stronger and stronger. A Paladin too might also be powerful again for the ancient reason they were awesome in the past, that they have so many cooldowns which increase survival. By comparison the DK cooldowns are just trivial. This is also good as I think there needs to be some separation between the tank styles and perhaps this is enough. Not sure as yet.

I’m looking forward to adding a Monk to the lineup too; 5x Tanks will be excellent.