How to have a casual Alt character?

Been struggling with which toon to play other than my Death Knight, and circling around the problem of so little reward for so little time spent. Adding an alt as a casual toon will mean even less time playing the already casual Death Knight; which will slow the even further his advancement. But I really feel the need for an alternate to always doing melee tank or dps all the time. Just a quick break on another toon now and then is what I’m after.

So what are good strategies for gearing a casual alt? Continue reading

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Badge trade-in value vs Content

So a Conquest badge can be downgraded to others, but that means they have a 1 to 1 value on the lower ilevel gear, so why would you? Getting a small upgrade from a 213 item that costs tokens that can buy 226 is rough. And sooner or later the patch 3.3 will be released and we’ll see Triumph badges instead of Conquest from heroic runs. The heroic badge gear is basically dead now, and it will become even more dead soon. That lower gear might actually still be usable though, which means you’re spending expensive badges to get lower gear.

For the casuals (like myself) this means that the time I spent grinding out Conquest badges is somewhat wasted when the Triumph badges replace them. I know this is a leg up for raiding, and it also facilitates content for more people – but I think its flawed at the moment.

It does not make total sense to me, as the effort involved in getting to a nice set of 226 gear in many gear locations is not a small task. You really have to work at it and run heroics a lot. Then when the switch to 3.3 happens the casuals go back to running the same content for slightly better gear. Opportune moments will see them in the new content now and then, but nothing changes really. Perhaps they might be well geared enough to then try ToC’s last few bosses, and some of the end of Ulduar. So casuals don’t actually see much in the way of new content, instead they spend longer in the same old runs. Any way you look at it the fast track to upgrades will involve grinding heoric 5 mans, and that content is not even close to new.

There has to be a better way to get more folks into the later content. I know it is not fair to just boost these players up too quickly, as it slaps the more serious players in the face, and sends a bad message. I also know that Blizzard wants us to keep playing, and a prime driver for playing is seeing new places, bosses, content, etc. Its a Catch-22, and I have no 100% solution.

The degree to which this makes sense to you as a player probably relates to where you are in the content. Folks already clearing Uld 25 and ToC 25 probably don’t care what happens to the old heroic runs, except the daily. Folks who don’t care what they run, or are leveling new toons are not affected either. The middle ground is where this takes affect, and they are a very hard area to design a challenge for, especially when everyone else can also make use of any perks/nurfs placed on these mid range players. You can’t offer too much without upsetting everything.

An idea would be if badges are more valuable as they get rarer, then perhaps the items that are purchasable with heroism, should also have a purchase value in the other badges too. In this way a badge of Conquest would buy a few Heroism, getting the lower items faster – and that seems to be the goal here: to get folks with average or low gear to the point where they can compete in the new content. eg, 1 Conquest buys 5 Heroism, 1 Triumph buys 5 Conquest. and so on as they are upgraded (so 1 Tri = 25 Hero, but do you really care if somebody has 25 H-badges quickly when you compare iLevel 213 to 232-245). This way the really old gear gets used quickly, but only for a short period of time, and the grind is still the same for the really nice badge reward items. Sustain the grind at the top end of the badge reward system, but make the lower end faster to gear through.

Consider that we we’re getting badges from 5 mans anyway now, so spending the time to get an item which takes 10-12 runs to get, should not matter if that is any type of badge. Its still a major upgrade for 10-12 runs of a basic instance, and possibly a minor upgrade too, but not to gear that is going to break the system by being devalued, as it is already devalued by the better gear. 

I’m torn between the view that this is making the gear too accessible, and the opinion that this will help reset the playing field.

What is the value of normal players? (rant)

I’d love to put some “uber-hardcore-1337” gamers into an exam and give them an essay topic:

Players that are not hardcore still add value to Warcraft. Discuss.

Most would not even get into the room, and those that did might suffer under the tyranny of pen and paper. 🙂 There is no way you’d give them a computer, as they’d just start logging in, or trolling the forums about it. But in all seriousness, the opinion and total subjectivity of what is normal performance, and who should get access to what content keeps coming up. The 3.2 token drop change only fueled the fire.

We’ve (the work wow’ers) chatted about this a while back at lunch, and they noted I’ve made some pretty extreme statements around performance expected from fellow guild-mates and other players, and I’ve sworn out loud many times when confronted by somebody that does not meet my standards. Shamefully. And then I probably don’t meet the standards of hardcore either. Probably the hardcore players would find my Priest a joke, and be hard on Mortigen’s progression. I’d be a token screen breather, and relegated to farming silver in the backwaters of Arathi Highlands.

From now onward (or until the next ass-hat drooler pug wipes us on simple trash in VH) I’ll try to ponder and absorb some thoughts on Normal players. And lets call them normal players, as calling them casual might be implying that they don’t really care or commit to gaming seriously.

So a few mantras and thought that I’ll keep foremost in my mind about normal players:

  • a normal player is an ok thing (repeat this while doing circular breathing)
  • they are more tolerant of the mistakes of others (in other words cool and relaxed)
  • they might make a few mistakes themselves (still learning or juggling RL too)
  • they are not elitist jerks, and might still have an interest in improving their game play
  • they are willing to sacrifice being on the cutting edge of content in favour of other life choices

Lastly why do I like them so much? Because I am one.

My real life takes precedence over WoW regularly. I kind of like the fact that I can geek it up and still have social skills, a full time job, and a solid relationship. But damn me, I really love WoW too. Death Knights are 100% solid fun (please don’t roll one, we’re full), and the small percentage of things that Warcraft does not do right is totally blown away by what it does right. Especially so for normal players.

So beyond proping up the financial side of WoW, and providing an ongoing whipping boy for hardcores, what do they provide to you?

Time poor? What tasks remain viable?

Having time to play wow is a luxury, and recently its been taxed significantly.

Life, relationships, and work are all consuming more energy at the moment, and while I don’t begrudge it specifically, I’d like to find a way to play effectively for short periods of time.

Which raises the question – What tasks or activities remain viable when you are casual? How best to play with time, to get more playtime?

Continue reading

casuals – not for hire

This post started as a sidetrack to a forum posted question from a guild-mate about the types of players our guild should be looking for to participate in 25 mans for progression, and what loot system is best for the guild.

We were talking about changing the loot system so that it was better for the regulars, but still usable for casuals and PuG players, who are currently needed for 25-man content. Its a bit random but you’ll get the gist.

The post got me thinking, and seriously considering two points, (a) what can casual players reasonable expect from end-game progression?, and (b) is the 25 man raid really a long term goal for me? But first the back-story…

Me: lastly why would a casual or a player who can only rarely raid be bothered in this system? The rewards are very highly skewed [edit: while talking about dkp vs other loot systems].

Guildie: Do you wish to have these players in a 25 man raid guild that is progressing strongly?

My answer was yes. Continue reading