Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Yes I'm still liking Pandaria!

There have been several threads in the Blizzard forums on whether the enjoyability of playing alts has changed in the latest expansion. In a nutshell, many players feel that the 85-90 content is too long and the endgame dailies are too grindy for running multiple times on alts. The recurring theme is that players have several alts stalled throughout the Pandaria content with little motivation to continue playing any expect their mains through endgame.

I guess I'm in the same place with my alts, but in contrast to posters in the forums, I don't feel like this is a problem. Instead, I feel like I have several options for what to play each evening when I log on, and when I get bored or frustrated with one toon, I can easily move onto another. For example, Wapsi, who I consider my main, has been played much less since she reached revered with Golden Lotus and Klaaxi. The reasons for this are twofold: first, I am a bit tired of running dailies on her, but since she doesn't raid, that's OK. Second, I feel like melee is very challenging in LFR right now, and this decreases my motivation to continue gearing Wapsi. Despite being decently geared, Wapsi's numbers in LFR are crap as I feel she spends more time running away from boss mechanics than actually hitting things. LFR feels like a chore to run on Wapsi, whereas I felt it was pretty enjoyable during the Dragon Soul content. I'm beginning to think that for a person of my skill level, Pandaria might be an expansion for playing ranged DPS or maybe even heals if can get my resto shaman leveled up.

Perhaps this is why I'm currently playing not one, but two mages Alliance-side. I just sent Fossegrimme into Pandaria and she is now almost level 86 in Jade Forest. I've enjoyed seeing the Alliance side of the expansion so far, although the first few quests were painful as I learned how to play a fire mage with the recent talent changes. Mages are SO SQUISHY, but once I worked Ice Barrier into my rotation Fosse's survivability improved a lot. I'm also really liking the new system for proccing instant Pyroblasts following two crits, the first of which is random and the second of which is guaranteed with Inferno Blast. The level of complexity is just right: I'm still learning to make things click, but I'm just proficient enough to stay alive and kill things reasonably quickly.

Iolae the night elf is my other Alliance mage on Feathermoon. In keeping with her role in an RP guild, she's doing a lot of questing and exploring in the night elf areas in Kalimdor, and working on her professions. I feel like I kind of stink at frost mage right now, freezing and ice lancing mobs is not easy in dungeons where other players are hitting everything and the bosses don't seem to be freeze-able. I imagine this will improve as Iolae levels and learns new skills however; looking at the endgame rotations on Icy Veins and Noxxic I see a lot of skills that I haven't learned yet.

The one thing I don't like about playing my Alliance mages right now is that they are SO POOR. Fossegrimme is making good gold in Pandaria, but Iolae spends it right away on transmog gear on the AH. I also brought Fosse's herbalism up so she can pick herbs in Pandaria, so hopefully that will bring in some cash. But I'm sorely tempted to transfer one of my Hordies over with a bunch of cash, but which one?

Because right now I really feel like playing my shadow priest. The rotation feels so much better than mage for some reason, she's not at all squishy, and I love playing an undead (thus I couldn't faction change her and use her to carry funds over to my Alliance toons). But right now Blatella sits in Krasarang Wilds because I have felt a bit obligated to play the above-listed toons. Is this a problem though? I don't think so. I LIKE having so many options for playing each evening, and I know that eventually, everyone will be at level 90 even if I am working on them until the next expansion. And if I get tired of leveling, hey, there's always farming, pet battles, loremaster, old dungeons and raids for transmog, etc etc. And that makes my $15/month worthwhile.

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