Final Tally

Now that we are down to just hours before WoD launch, I thought it would be a good time to do some tallying and toting and enumerating, as a kind of farewell to Mists and a howdy to Draenor. Feel free to post comments about what you would add or subtract.

What I liked about Mists

— The art. The scenery and the details just blew me away when I first stepped into Pandaria. And — not to start any kind of flame war or anything — the sheer beauty of the land was greatly enhanced when I was able to fly and really take in the sweeping majesty of everything from the Himalayan-like mountains to the breathtaking waterfalls to the peaceful looking seashores. Even after two years, I take joy in just seeing all of it.

— The story line. I am probably the least-interested player you will find when it comes to lore, but I was drawn in to the Pandaren story and loved some of the mystical Eastern aspects of it. I also enjoyed the complexity of the motivations of some of the other races in Pandaria.

— The wide range of activities. Blizzard added things to appeal to a broad player base. Things like pet battles (I am not a fan but many people are, so that’s good), ways to earn valor other than raiding, Sunsong Ranch, flex raids, personal loot, tons of new mounts (darn shame many of them look completely ridiculous when they are ground-bound), scenarios,  challenge modes, cross realm raiding, guild gold-making from member activity, Proving Grounds. Probably more, but those are the ones that come to mind. Not all of them worked out once they were implemented, mind you, but I am just saying they were good innovative ideas.

— The Tillers. OK I know it was a very minor part of the expansion, but for some reason I loved running that whole quest and rep line on every one of my alts. I have no idea why I was not bored out of my skull by it.  After all I still refuse to do Archaeology because it is a mindless boring activity with no real rewards in my opinion, and realistically you could say the same about the Tillers line. But I always found the Tiller dailies and the ridiculous individual rep quests to be soothing and relaxing. Just last week I was still enjoying the dirt pile hunt on my last alt, trying to bribe Tina Mudclaw to spruce up my farm-house and Gina to give me a mailbox. *shrug* I chalk this one up to some weird personal mental quirk.

— Decent gear was available by means other than high-end raiding, but if you did do top level raiding you got somewhat better gear. This seemed to be a good compromise, even though some of the ways it was implemented turned out to be annoying and problematic.

What I did not like about Mists

 — The pendulum swings with regard to dailies. At the beginning the seemingly vast number of dailies was overwhelming. Also confusing and annoying, in that you had to grind out rep with one faction before you could even start on rep with another. Then — I suppose in response to player comments — when Timeless Isle was introduced, there were a maddeningly few number of dailies for that area (two I believe), and the idea of weeklies usually meant that Tuesday and Wednesday were crammed with players on Timeless, possibly contributing to the player rudeness I discuss later on in this post. Does not seem like Blizz ever reached a happy medium with dailies.

— Related to the above, the gating of valor-purchased gear behind faction rep. Given the annoyances of gaining rep, this just seemed like an unnecessary hurdle for purchased gear.

— Legendary cloak quest line. This is more of a love-hate thing for me. I loved the idea and the end result of the quest line. I loved the final cut scene where your character’s actions were recounted. I liked that you had to actually work at it to get it — grind out valor (although I was a tad annoyed that the week after I got my 6000 valor Blizz changed the requirement to 3000), get Black Prince rep, do some fairly challenging solo scenarios. But other parts seemed pointless and designed only to drag out the process and possibly discourage many from continuing. The PvP thing for example — all it did was completely piss off the entire player base: PvE players were annoyed that they had to do the BGs (and for Alliance especially, annoyed that actually winning was mostly an exercise in frustration), and PvP players were annoyed that all these non-geared clueless PvE players were ruining their BG time. The other main annoyance in the Legendary grind was the endless LFR grind, an environment that seemed to get more toxic as the expansion wore on.

— Random Number Generator (RNG) implementation. In spite of what Blizz said at one point, there just was never any noticeable bad luck insurance. I am not talking about the kind of bad luck that means not getting that particular piece of gear you want from a particular boss, I am talking about spectacular runs of consistent bad luck. I am talking about taking 10 weeks to get 12 Titan Runestones even running every boss that can drop one each week. I am talking about 7 straight weeks of running Ordos on 5 alts and using a seal every time, and getting zero gear drops (that’s 70 straight big fat RNG goose eggs for you mathephobics out there). I am talking about not being able to get 4 pieces of tier gear at any level on any alt for the entire expansion, until just last week. Such bad luck runs are dispiriting in themselves, but the feeling is usually compounded when you see others with extended good luck, getting their 12 runestones in 2 weeks, a couple of pieces of Ordos gear each week, etc. Really bad luck just makes you want to give up on the whole process, because you have no real hope that doing it one more time will be any more useful. Sorry Blizz, but if there is for example a one in 20 chance of getting a gear drop for a given boss, then if you don’t get it the first time, the next time you run your chances become 1 in 19, then 1 in 18, etc. until on your 20th run they are 1 in 1 chance. At least that way you know if you keep running it you WILL actually get the drop. It keeps your hopes up, keeps you coming back.

What I have noticed happening over the last two years

I make no claim as to cause and effect for these things — they may be a result of Mists implementations, they may not. Also, it’s entirely possible they are limited to my server, or they are a kind of “social RNG” run of bad luck on my part. I am only noting them as observations.

— LFR has become steadily more toxic and unpleasant. I have written about this before, so I will not dwell on it, but there seem to be more and more people who participate in it not to finish raids but instead to ruin the experience for everyone else. I have seen people who want only to make the rudest possible comments, expressing satisfaction only when they make someone else drop group. I have seen people who deliberately wipe the raid time after time. The list goes on and on. At any rate, it is to the point where I refused to get any more legendary cloaks on any alt, after 4 of them, because it meant running LFR and it just did not seem worth the aggravation.

— Pick-up flex (now Normal) and Normal (now Heroic) are trending the same way as LFR.

— Trade chat has gotten way worse in terms of not just trolls and spammers but real — and often misogynistic — hate speech. OK, I know trade chat has never been a very nice medium, but I notice an almost violent turn to it lately, players spewing vile epithets in place of the arrogant-but-mainly-harmless insults I used to see.

— Especially with Patch 6.x, guilds have become much less important to the game. They no longer have any significant perks for their members, and if you are willing to take your chances with the makeup of a group, guilds are no longer necessary even for raiding.

— On a personal level, I have become a better player. On my hunter mains, I find myself doing much better relative DPS than at the beginning of the expansion, being comfortable constantly moving around, getting more shots downrange, and being willing to take on whatever raid utility role we need. I feel like my raid awareness has improved significantly. On alts, I feel fairly competent on my Mistweaver as well as on my lock (one of the high points of the expansion was when I finished that ridiculously difficult Green Fire quest).

— I have become much more adept at making gold. Not that doing so is really a goal in the game for me, but it is nice to know that I do not have to pinch coppers to buy a few mats or do a few repairs. Also, I have every profession maxed among my alts, so there is very little I need to buy in the way of gems, enchants, or crafted gear. What I do not use for myself I can sell. It is a good feeling.

What I am looking forward to in WoD

— Leveling. It will be a nice break from the past year of grinding valor, gearing for raids, raiding, etc. Leveling is relaxing to me, at least for the first few alts, and I usually have fun with it.

— Garrisons. I realize I may eventually grow to hate them, but right now I am looking forward to all the new game aspects they will introduce.

— New raids, new world bosses, new art to explore.

— Seeing how my guild deals with the changes. Will we flourish or will we wither? Will we be able to assemble a viable raid team? Will we step out of our pre-xpac lethargy and become an active, fun guild again? Many possible outcomes.

— Blizz announcements for follow-on patches and the next xpac. While WoD will have my attention for a few months, I feel it is in the long run a very short-lived expansion, so I look forward to what Blizz has in store for long-range game development.

— Maybe finally getting to that one million gold magic number!

What I am not looking forward to in WoD

— Launch. I think tonight will be mostly just very frustrating, with server crashes, thousands of people all doing the same quests and trying to kill the same mobs, etc. And of course there will be the rude idiots who log on only to ruin the experience for others by parking their gigantic mounts on top of quest givers, etc. Blizz really needs in-game police officers on launch days to put a stop to such actions.

— Being forced to raid for most gear, especially on alts. Restrictions on crafted gear (only 3 pieces equipped!), absence of any means to purchase gear, and the fact that my guild rarely gets to the point where we can run anything but mains in our raids, means that I will either have ungeared alts or be forced into raid finder for groups. I think that effectively means that I will not play alts except as garrison keepers this expansion. Sad.

— The inevitable toxic argument in advance of 6.1 over flying vs. ground pounding for the expansion.

— Spending huge amounts of time building garrisons only to have them be useless come the next expansion.

— The inevitable QQ-ing within 6 months about how “There’s nothing to doooooooooooooo!” (like bored kids in the summer)

OK that’s it. Everyone have fun tonight — I’ll try to take enough breaks to post every couple of days as I progress. 

About Fiannor
I have a day job but escape by playing WoW. I love playing a hunter, and my Lake Wobegonian goal is to become "above average" at it.

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