Simple things

I spent my game play time over the weekend leveling my rogue. He is a notable alt for me because first of all he is a he, and second of all he is a melee damage dealer. I like him, he is kind of a happy-go-lucky type who doesn’t really stress about anything. In WoD, he was a combat rogue, and I opted to go with that spec’s morph — outlaw — in Legion. I have zero idea whether or not outlaw is one of the “respected” specs, honestly don’t care. Also, I am not especially skilled at dealing with the Roll the Bones mechanic, but I copied a weak aura from one of my in game friends, and that more or less provides me with light-up idiot buttons telling me whether to roll again or not. Basically, though, I just faceroll keys, and it seems to work out. I think I only died twice during the 100-110 leveling process.

I know all you really good rogues out there are now shaking your heads over my description of my rogue play. Sorry, I really do understand there is a lot more to playing a rogue than I just described, it’s just that this is my fun alt. I play him when I need that unexpected-day-off-from-work feeling. You know the one — that sheer delight when you find out you have an entirely free day to spend as you please, you are permitted to forget all your normal grown-up chores. I think lots of players have such an alt. In fact often it is a hunter, because they certainly are fun to play, even now, for things like leveling or world quests.

Anyway, leveling my rogue the last couple of days clarified a couple of thoughts about Legion. In no particular order:

  • Especially in the leveling process, Legion is a fun expansion. Zone scaling is one of the best design innovations the game has ever had. It allows you to customize your leveling experience and eliminates much of the boredom from leveling your third or fourth or fifth alt.
    • My only gripe — and this is all because of me being lazy — is that I can level from 100 to 110 in about 3.5 zone completions. I always tell myself I will go back and finish off that last partial zone and do the full one I missed, but so far I have not done so, except of course on my main. This tends to limit my world quest options for the alt, at least until I pick up some of the many flight paths I need.
    • I still don’t like the Suramar experience much, and it annoys me that, even though I get the whistle automatically at 110, I still have to go through that whole tedious Suramar intro set of quests, at least up through getting the mask disguise.
  • The profession slog is terrible, and each time I level an alt I resent it more and more. I don’t dislike the idea of having a profession quest line, but I do hate being pushed into specific end game content, such as dungeons, that I have no intent on pursuing with an alt. The “levels within levels” design stinks, too, and it makes me feel manipulated — “Spend more hours playing this game or you will never finish leveling your profession, BWAAAAHAHA!” And I really detest the whole RNG mechanism for advancing your profession. You should not have to be a raider or a mythic instance runner to have a well-developed profession. Blizz broke professions in Legion.
  • No matter how Ion Hazzikostas tries to spin the whole AP mess, it amounts to one gigantic expansion-long grind. And no matter how much he lectures us on how we shouldn’t bother our silly little heads with chasing after it, it remains a psychological dead weight, a virtual treadmill ever present in the game, taunting you no matter how many clothes you hang on it to try to ignore it.
    • I realized this when I figured out one of the reasons I was having such a good time leveling my rogue was that I didn’t care how much — if any — AP I was collecting for a weapon I would never be raiding with.
    • The AP catch-up mechanism for alts is decent, and I am glad Blizz implemented it. But it is also pernicious, in that it subtly sucks you into joining the AP grind for your alts.
    • It is tempting to say I should just not care about how much AP I gather for advancing my main’s weapon, too, but the fact remains that if you wish to raid with a regular team in Legion, you have to care about it. Even in guilds that do not push for certain gear levels or certain minimum damage numbers, the average of the team will inevitably increase as the expansion goes on, and if you write off AP grinding you will sooner or later begin to hold the team back. If you wish to raid in Legion, you must grind AP ceaselessly. 

Side note: I am having a hard time understanding the whole Watchersplaining about plans for AP in 7.2. I believe it goes something like this: “We know AP has become a grind for some players, so in 7.2 we are going to fix that by vastly increasing the amount needed for each additional trait beyond 34, as well as by making the weapon power increases less important. Also, we are going to cut the amount of AP earned for the quick group instances, but increase it for the long ones.”

I am at a loss as to how that does anything positive, I would think if anything it makes it more of a grind with less of a chance for ever getting anything useful out of it. I guarantee that the people who feel the need to grind AP now will not feel less of a need when it takes tens millions or even billions for each trait increase. Similarly, the people who are not currently driven to chase AP will feel even less of a need to do so in 7.2.

This may be a theoretical “improvement” because it lessens some gap between the people who have a lot of time to play and those who don’t, but it in no way gets at the base problem with AP, which is that it is a never-ending grind that weighs down the game. This is true, no matter how often or how emphatically Ion Hazzikostas tells us it is not so. We have come face-to-face with a Blizz “alternative fact”.

  • Class hall quest lines are tedious, over-long, and yield very little of value for an alt. If it is convenient to do parts of it for my rogue, I am doing it, but I am not going out of my way to finish it. I really do not care if I ever get that third relic slot.
  • Highmountain is my favorite zone. Stormheim is second. I definitely prefer more “natural” looking zones, not big on pink trees and green goopy rivers and hostile plant life and such.
  • The legendary mess is still a mess. I have almost zero hope of ever getting even one on an alt, mainly due to the exorbitant amount of time needed on each before the mythical “bad luck insurance” kicks in. But honestly, I find I do not care.

All in all, I think the reason I had so much fun leveling my rogue this weekend is that it was simple, and I tried to make sure it stayed that way. There was no pressure to do anything but gather quests, do them, and turn them in. And if I found I did not enjoy the quest, I abandoned it without a second thought. I refused to permit myself to feel pressure to develop a garrison class hall, or large amounts of AP for a weapon, or to gear up beyond what I could get as quest loot, or to quest in certain zones because they would pay off the most for professions, or to run instances as soon as I could. I just bopped around, doing what looked interesting to me and enjoying the best parts of Legion.

It was exhilarating. It was eye-opening. I learned some things about myself, about the value of not pursuing goals if they seem to be a burden. And I am going to try and apply some of this approach to my main, in an attempt to get back to the sheer fun and genius of this game.

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.

13 Responses to Simple things

  1. repgrind says:

    I did the same thing this weekend, getting my rogue from halfway through 106 to about a third of the way through 109. He bopped back and forth between three different zones, just doing whatever. Outlaw is a lot of fun for the carefree questing, most stuff I don’t even bother to roll the bones, I just shoot them between the eyes and run them through. Gonna get to 110 tonight so he’s ready for the world quest weekly bonus event. 🙂

    • Fiannor says:

      Yeah, I think I will have fun doing World Quests on my rogue. I macro-ed Pick Pocket into my Ambush opener and am having fun with that, too — a unique ability just for giggles, haven’t got much of real value from it so far. Sounds like you are having as much fun with yours as I am with mine, glad to hear it.

      • repgrind says:

        Pick Pocket/Ambush macro IMO is really the only reason to play a rogue. Quests that don’t allow me to start the battle in stealth anger me 🙂

  2. ScryersHecubus says:

    I really don’t mind the AP grind. We’re doing things that will give us attack power pretty much no matter what we do whether it’s questing, dungeons, or PVP’ing. It gives us a way to progress our character that’s independent of raid/mythic+ gear drops. If we put X amount of time in our characters, we’ll get more powerful independent of loot luck. Blizzard just allows us to grind as much AP as we want instead of gating everything. I suppose if they limited us to 500K AP/week people would be happier to not hold others in their raid back if they reached their weekly maximum? I think there’s a point where we shouldn’t expect Blizzard to save us from ourselves… If someone wants to max out their artifact early on that’s great for them. So long as Blizzard’s not tuning the raids around everyone having max level artifacts, any pressures to max out artifacts are coming from the player base on themselves.

    I do agree that gating professions behind mythic dungeon content and rng was a mistake. If they really want us to have to run content for professions, they should let out mains have all the professions (or at least alchemy/enchanting/gathering – they seem to be the big $$$ this go around). A lot of the professions don’t have much impact, so maybe the developers figured it wouldn’t be an issue?

    I’ve been fairly lucky on my alts re: legendaries. All of my max level toons (save for my human hunter – I’ve been playing horde) have a legendary. All from WQ caches.

    • Fiannor says:

      I think what you describe about AP is exactly how Blizz hopes people will approach it, and the changes they are making in 7.2 are designed to promote that. I am not really driven to “complete” artifact traits on my main, because as you say there is not a huge amount of noticeable difference between one level and the next once you get above the baseline 34. So someone getting the next trait a week or two or three before you do, does not put you significantly “behind” in terms of doing your part to support your raid team.

      But for me, there is just something that nibbles away at the back of my brain when I know, for example, that I have to earn 4 million AP for the next trait. With regular achievements, I can choose to do them or not, and if I choose not to, then I just forget about them. But I have no choice with artifact traits — it is like a massive endless achievement Blizz foists on me. So I suppose the part I really object to is the lack of choice in the matter, not the actual mechanics of the AP itself.

      You touched on one other good point — Legion has selected clear winners and losers in the profession lottery. If players were lucky enough that their main had one of the profession winners, they are making quite a lot of gold, but if their main had one of the losers, too bad. (Thinking here of LW or tailoring especially.) I don’t remember a previous expansion where the profession differences in terms of success were so pronounced. I like your suggestion about increasing the number of professions you can have — I would even settle for allowing us to change professions without having to lose all the legacy recipes and patterns we might have accumulated. As it is, it is fairly easy to change professions, but many of us are unwilling to lose some of those recipes we spent a long time collecting.

      Legendaries My usual bad luck is holding. I do have 2 on my main, but that is it. None on any alt, no others on my main that would allow me to switch them out, etc.

  3. Marathal says:

    I was looking for something to do these past few days. So I thought I would give PvP a try. When the expansion launched and I looked at the honor talents I thought it was like our PvE ones. I did not realize you get one every two levels. I ended up with 2 levels for every 3-4 battlegrounds. A nice amount of AP, and a few epics I disenchanted.

    • Fiannor says:

      I have not ventured into PvP at all this expansion. Usually I at least try a couple BGs, but have not done so in Legion. But I like the suggestion as a way to vary the game experience and also to gather some AP.

      • Marathal says:

        For wins I was getting AP tokens worth 125k. Even loses I think I was getting 50k ones. Plus with wins you get a goody bag. I got a stack of ore in one, 15 crystals for Enchanting in another, and the gear seems to be rising. Initially it was 840 ish drops. Last I saw at level 8-9 was an 855 helm. I still have better from World and LFR, but if they continue to go up in iLvL value, it is definitely worth jumping in for something different than doing the World quest circuit.

  4. Fizz says:

    I actually like the class hall quest lines.

    OK, the “Do 5 Blah Missions” is kinda weak but it feels half-epic doing all the different bits to unlock the 3rd relic slot. Dungeons, going to random places to get X or Y.

    Think Legion has a good amount of long / interesting quest lines.

    • Fiannor says:

      One of the really good things Blizz has done in Legion is provide a lot of content — there is something there for everyone. I don’t happen to like the class hall quest lines, but others such as yourself really do like them, and that approach to content choice is an excellent feature of this expansion.

  5. gnomecore says:

    I gave up on that Roll the Dice thing – I just get tired of constantly tracking those multiple buffs. You could go for the old good Slice and Dice talent – which replaces all this dice thing with a mere speed buff cast once in a while.

    • Fiannor says:

      Yeah, that is a good suggestion I may try. The thing that is bad about RtB is that if you don’t get one of the clear “good outcomes”, you waste Combo Points rerolling — Combo Points that might otherwise have been used to do actual damage. The other thing, of course, is that in fact there are very clear good outcomes and clear bad outcomes — this makes for an intriguing mechanic, but it can result in paying far more attention to managing the mechanic than to killing the boss or mob.

      This is not that big a deal for me, since it is unlikely I will ever raid as a rogue, but I can see it being an issue for others. I like the idea that Blizz is being creative with some class mechanics (I wish they would apply this amount of thought power to hunters), but RtB still seems like a work in progress. Then again, I am basically a face roller with my rogue, so what do I know?

      • gnomecore says:

        Yes, exactly my thoughts. If I spend more time looking at my panels than at the battlefield, it’s time to play with talents for me. Luckily Legion class design lets every spec to sum your basic rotation into simple 4-5 buttons or go for complex 10-spell juggling.

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