Weekend wanderings

I played quite a bit this last weekend. Mostly I finished leveling my rogue, the first melee spec I have ever max leveled. In the process, I had a lot of time to think, because honestly I have found the combat rogue rotation to be pretty much automatic, with the interesting parts coming only when you have to execute some fancy defensive moves.

On the rogue, I have to admit leveling was kind of fun. I only died once, and that was when I wasn’t paying attention and wandered too close to a horde settlement in Hillsbrad Foothills as I was on my way to Western Plaguelands. It’s been a while since I leveled a new alt, so maybe every class is very easy to level these days, but I found the rogue had no problems at any stage of leveling. (I did have him decked out in full heirloom gear.) The only times I felt like I had to plan any attacks were when I needed to deal with groups. I don’t really have the hang of rogue AoE yet, it seems clunky and ineffective to me, but then I am used to a hunter so I am spoiled there. I do like the rogue stealth thing, though, it is a very fun mechanic. When I can’t use it — like when I was dragging the tadpole sled in Blasted Lands, I find I feel very vulnerable. I haven’t tried any spec other than combat yet, so I will probably try the others just to see about them. Combat is going away in Legion, but I have not really paid enough attention to know if it is a significant spec change or more of just a name change. It doesn’t matter to me, I will certainly not be expert enough playing a rogue by then that I will be bothered by having to learn new talents and rotations.

I wish that was the case with my hunters. Maybe I should try and look at hunter changes the way I look at rogue changes. Hmmmmmm……nope, can’t make it work for me.

One of the things I noticed while I was leveling was that it seemed like Blizz has gone back and removed some of the traditional annoyances from many of the quests and zones. I remember, for example, many times needing to kill or collect X number of things, and lo and behold only X-2 of them would spawn, even if no one else was on the same quest at that time. So you had to sit and wait for respawns. I didn’t run into any of that this time. Also drop rates for some of the collection type quests seem to have improved, for example the drop rate of those beads in one of the early Winterspring quests. I can remember spending an hour or more killing what seemed like hundreds of those stupid bear creatures trying to get 10 beads to drop, wiping out the population of them and having to wait for respawns, but this time I got the quest done in about 10 minutes. I like that some of the behind the scenes work Blizz does is maintenance and quality of life upgrades to old zones and quests.

The other thing that struck me about the leveling process was how invested you have to be now in an alt if you want it viable after it is leveled. I am not even talking about making the alt raid ready, I am just talking about making it useful for  professions, or even as your relaxing go-to alt when you just want to have some non-goal oriented fun. There are a lot of hoops you have to jump through to just play in a zone now. This trend I think started in Mists with the patches that added mini-zones (the islands), when every character had to complete certain scenarios in order to even see the content. In fact, it even happened with Pandaria itself, you could not get there unless you completed the opening scenario, it was not like the rest of Azeroth where your alt could go anywhere even if it would get its ass kicked in some zones.

Come to think of it, in some limited ways this mechanic was also part of Cata, in that some new zones were only available from a very short quest, even if that quest was the command board that opened up transportation to, for example, Deepholm.

In WoD, though, Blizz really upped the cover charge for alts getting into the game, mainly with the whole garrison structure, but also with the rather extensive quest line to get access to Tanaan. It just seems like maintaining alts has become very cumbersome indeed. I know when my rogue got to 90, I just felt depressed at the prospect not of leveling to 100 but of setting up the whole garrison structure yet again.

I still think WoD might have gotten a better rep with players — even given all its other shortcomings — if Blizz had somehow made garrisons account wide from the start. Of course, that is toothpaste that will not go back in the tube, but hopefully it was a lesson they have taken to heart. I would love to see alts be more viable as fun auxiliary play in Legion, without the need to grind away at them even after they have leveled. Unfortunately, it is looking like Blizz is doubling down on alt grinding, what with quests to obtain each new profession recipe, and with artifact weapons. In fact, the other thing I did this weekend was to delete two of my level 90 alts — brewmaster monk and a shammie — not only because I did not want to go through the whole garrison building routine with them, but also because I know I will never be able to get them their professions and artifact weapons in Legion, they will just get further and further behind.

It’s a shame that Blizz has made the investment in alts so expensive. It’s a play style many people enjoy, but one that is becoming harder and harder to engage in.

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.

3 Responses to Weekend wanderings

  1. Wowzers, that’s a huge topic!
    I think that there are some work arounds to ease the pain. The Elixir for a 300% XP buff can get you two levels at least if you stack quests to turn in. I’ve an Alt right now that has five of them. Pet Battling is another. If your sole goal is to get an alt to 100, it doesn’t have to have too many hurdles.
    But you are talking about a lot of things. I don’t know if, somehow, our heirlooms will go to 110: I doubt they will early in the expansion. I like the heirlooms more for the fluid upgrading of the gear than the xp — I am not power oriented (like for a dungeon or raid) like I would be a main so I am not lusting after a quest reward with an alt.
    I am very shy about my alts that I leveled and didn’t learn how to play. Still, with the tri-spec options and the scaling regions I might have some hope, especially if my class hall offers a temporary body guard for a quest.
    I read a wonderful thing. If you buy the next expansion now (pre-order) then you get the 100 boost. If you try the boost on a new toon, they have a custom starting series to let you “test drive” the class and if you don’t like it, you can opt out of the boost and try a different class/spec/faction/race.
    Professions? There is so much that we don’t know except it is “more immersive” or some such jive. On my initial jaunt into an expansion, I stress my secondary professions like fishing and cooking so my main has whatever buff or style-point foods right away.
    I can dream and hope and wish upon a star that they make crafted gear start at level 101 that is boffo strong and viable thru upgraded to stick with that gear all the way to end game raiding.

    • Fiannor says:

      I don’t really mind the actual leveling, think it is kind of fun actually, and using the heirlooms makes it go really fast for me. I did do the elixir when I got to level 90. The part that I call a hurdle is that once you get an alt to 100, you still have a LOT to do to make them playable or even useful — establish the garrison, wait for the right vendor to pop so you can buy the 6.2 recipes, run the quest line just to get access to Tanaan, etc. If your alt is a JC it is even worse getting the gem recipes, you have to run raids, dungeons and Brawler’s Guild. And from what we know, this set of barriers will be even higher in Legion, because all professions will be like JC for getting recipes, and there will also be more or less never-ending quest lines for the alt’s artifact weapon (and there are no other weapon choices available for alts, they must get the artifact or use one from WoD).

      Like you, I like the idea of tri-speccing in Legion, but I think in practice it will be out of the reach of most players to do. This is because now every spec, even for pure damage dealers, has different secondary stats (and thus may need different gear), and will require a separate artifact weapon (with its own quest line and set of upgrades). It will be just too time consuming for most casual players to even aspire to. For most people, once they start on a particular spec they will be stuck with it for the duration of Legion, I think.

  2. Casually Odd says:

    “The other thing that struck me about the leveling process was how invested you have to be now in an alt if you want it viable after it is leveled. I am not even talking about making the alt raid ready, I am just talking about making it useful for professions, or even as your relaxing go-to alt when you just want to have some non-goal oriented fun. There are a lot of hoops you have to jump through to just play in a zone now. This trend I think started in Mists with the patches that added mini-zones (the islands), when every character had to complete certain scenarios in order to even see the content. In fact, it even happened with Pandaria itself, you could not get there unless you completed the opening scenario, it was not like the rest of Azeroth where your alt could go anywhere even if it would get its ass kicked in some zones.”

    This paragraph and the two that follow are dead-on, as a solid alt person. You really do have to work at catching up on things if you want an alt to be useful. Not all of it is hard, but it often very time consuming and kind of draining. They have tried to make work arounds in MoP – with the rep bonuses you could buy that were account wide and such, but still, if you wanted an alt to have a full farm or all of the crafting recipes, you had to do the full grind again.

    I’m kind of ignoring two other topics in your post (class changes and the grind weapon) – if I acknowledge them then I may have to address them. And if I address them it may really highlight how much the game and I are departing and what that means for me.

    That is unrelated to my absence from blogging and commenting, but it isn’t helping me get back in during my down time.

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