The Valor Dance: Dailies, Reputation, Upgrades, Trouble

Mists of Pandaria has brought us a bit of a roller coaster when it comes to our valor points and how we acquire and speed them. In Cataclysm, there were very few changes (just the move from 1 dungeon per day awarding valor to 7 per week) and we essentially just did a few heroic dungeons, killed a few raid bosses, and spent our points when we had enough. In MoP, however, the valor gear was gated behind reputation which was gated behind dailies. Valor being unspendable before doing enough dailies has been much lamented by the player base. Of course, since launch, each patch has brought a new curve ball in terms of valor. Continue to see the different valor changes so far, the problems with those changes, and what’s coming up in patch 5.3!

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Transfer Gold Cross Realm

Ever want to start a character on a new server but don’t want to do it without the power of your gold? Transfer to a different server but hampered by pesky limits on gold transfer limits? Something recently occurred to me, it may have been obvious to others, but I’d yet to hear about it. The new pet system in 5.2 is a perfect way to send gold between characters on different servers. Continue to see how and why this works.

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Valor Upgrades and Why I Hope They Stay Gone

Patch 5.1 brought forth a fantastic (or so I may have seemed at first) new feature – gear upgrades with points. This feature allowed a player to take their piece of gear (as long as it met item level requirements) and upgrade it up to 8 item levels with justice points for blues or valor points for epic pieces. This gave players the ability to continue to use their valor points long after they had already purchased or surpassed the valor gear available. In this way, players could keep gaining more power for their characters even if they have incredibly bad luck with drops. Heck, I’ve been able to upgrade my Raid Finder Sha Touched weapon to be nearly the item level of getting a normal drop and above the Mogu’Shan Vaults two-hander that I’ve had no luck on. So why, when I heard that patch 5.2 would remove the valor upgrade vendor, was I happy to hear about it? And why on earth would I hope they stay gone? (more…)

Daily Thoughts: Did MoP Really Kill Alts?

I’ve read a lot of posts since Mists of Pandaria was released that Blizzard killed players ability to have max level alts (multiple characters) and have to wonder what merit there is to those arguments. As a player who had leveled one of every class to max level I can safely say that I feel a similar burden of almost any altoholic. My goal is always to have my characters raid ready (at least entry-level raids) and took all of my 10 characters into raid finder at least once. So here we find ourselves in Pandaria, a land with endless adventure (or work as some call it) and an additional class. Blizzard removed the cap on daily quests and made reputation gains important, added pet battles, added challenge mode dungeons, put 3 raids in the first tier, added scenarios, added a farm (ridiculously addictive somehow) on top of what we already had. With so much to do, is there any time for alts? The answer that I’ve found: Maybe. (more…)

Daily Thoughts: Too Easy is Still Too Easy

I finally got a chance to get into the second half of Mogu’shan Vaults as looking for raid (along with the first few bosses on normal mode as well, but that’s for another time) and I found the bosses to be much more interesting. These encounters were such that completely ignoring the mechanics may result in death (unlike the first half) where I kept my finger near the “Raise Ally” skill to bring up a tank or healer that may have died – cause we’d need them alive to win.

The first boss I landed on was the last one. The group had wiped on that encounter previously though we had little trouble collecting our loot that time. It did at least give me the impression that everyone had to at least catch on to what was happening or the healers would have trouble keeping up. After getting into my next group and passed the first bit of trash, the actual first boss was a little tricky if the group isn’t paying attention. Half of the team was dead before the boss fell. The second boss, Elegon, is a titan defense machine those is a little unlike those we’ve encountered before. This was the only boss we wiped on. Most of the raid, maybe, fell to their deaths, or something. Otherwise, the fight was tough but manageable. It as well ended with the raid looking like it might fall over if there were a small gust of wind.

So, if these fights were of appropriate difficulty for a raid finder situation, then why is this post about things being too easy still? Because the first half is still, ridiculously, too easy. Sure, raids typically get progressively harder as you go down the bosses, but even raid finder bosses shouldn’t be as much of a set of pushovers as the first three were – particularly given the raid is still pretty new and people don’t know it yet. Maybe I’m mistaken, but I’d like to think that most gamers (of really any type) want some sort of challenge as part of their enjoyment. Instead, the first half of MV shows people it’s a place to go to get free epics then it’s a slap in the face when the second half makes them work for it a little. Although I’m hopeful that future raids don’t aren’t such a walk in the park (which may be insulting to the difficulty of walking through a park), I can’t quite understand why these particular bosses were balanced this way. Any ideas?

Daily Thoughts: When Does Accessible Become Too Easy

I participated something last night that made me wonder if perhaps making content accessible to the masses can have an adverse side effect of making that content far too easy. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those who hails back to the “harder” old days that let only an elite few actually see all of a raids bosses. I really like that there are normal modes to bosses that don’t require dozens of attempts to kill. I love the relative ease of blowing through a MoP heroic dungeon without much worry that I might be wiping to this boss for the next 45 minutes. I even enjoy the concept of the Looking for Raid feature. Particularly on nights where we’re short guildies online to do a normal raid or just so I can take an alt through the content without having to make a second raid / join a second raiding guild. So, keep in mind that I think it’s okay that the LFR bosses and trash pulls can be a low stress, easy-going, fun way to get some sub-par raiding gear. But after doing the first 3 bosses of Mogu’shan Vaults, perhaps we should consider that content that has been made so accessible that there’s no challenge left might not be worthwhile content after all. There may be some spoilers to raid content after the break, so be warned!

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Daily Thoughts: Mists of Pandaria First Impressions

I wanted to give a few days of being max level before attempting to post my commentary on the expansion. My opinion, however, has not changed since I reached level 86 to level 90 and to now. Mists of Pandaria is a solid upgrade and addition to World of Warcraft. If you read my last post, or feel like going to read it now, you’d have seen that I was indecisive regarding what character to make my ‘main’ for MoP. In the end, my Death Knight won out over the rest. I leveled from 85-86 as Unholy, but quickly switched to Frost. Howling Blast, hitting all targets for decent damage and applying dots, is simply one of the most superior AoE options available right now – particularly for questing, given the heavy movement that comes from running to and from mobs/nodes/etc. Questing was easily the most enjoyable that it has ever been to me, possibly with the exception of when I started playing back in The Burning Crusade. I wouldn’t think this is because TBC quests were better (they weren’t), but just for the new factor at the time. The zones were amazing. It’s been quite sometime since some visage in WoW made me think, “Damn, that’s pretty awesome looking.”

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What to Play in Mists of Pandaria?

With World of Warcraft’s latest expansion, Mists of Pandaria, only 3 days and 10 hours away (as of the time of this writing), I’m finding myself in a bit of a pickle – I’ve yet to choose a class and spec that I intend to play. For some, this choice may be simple. Perhaps you only have one character at the Cataclysm max level of 85, making it the most sensible choice to level. I’ve managed to get every class leveled to max which completely exacerbates my indecision. Should I stay on my Death Knight to keep dishing out the diseases and protecting my face with blood shields? Should I revert to my previous main and lay down some holy wrath or healing on my Paladin? Any other class is also an option, except my poor abandoned rogue. I don’t much care to pay for a server transfer to get him on the same server as my guild. Maybe I should make a list:

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