Tuesday, March 5, 2013

A grand patch day for altoholics

It's Patch 5.2 day! I've updated the game via the launcher and I have a browser tab open to the Realm Status page, so I'll be ready to log in as soon as servers are back online (and I'm finished with my grading for the day, heh!).

I'm obviously not a raider, and I only have one toon geared enough to begin the 5.2 questing content, Wapsi, and she's on a bit of a vacation right now while I play my three caster girls. So why am I so excited about this patch?

I am an altoholic and an explorer. My "game" consists of creating and learning new characters, and exploring every little thing in the game with them. I suppose I have a short attention span and this is how I keep the game fresh. It's working, as I haven't come close to running out of things to do.

That said, this expansion thus far has placed one roadblock in my enjoyment of alts: the endgame rep grinds. I am more than happy to grind rep one time, to see the content and get the achievement. My enhancement shaman Wapsi did this, and got the commendations for all of the factions to make subsequent grinds easier.

It wasn't enough. I burned out hard on Golden Lotus by my third level 90 toon. Because this faction gates access to Shado-Pan and August Celestials, I can't even move to those latter factions with my new level 90s just to keep things fresh. Level 90s have no choice but to begin their endgame with conscription by the Golden Lotus. Add this to incredibly bad luck with drops in LFR, and these toons will languish for weeks without the gear to move into the 5.1 content.

The 5.1 factions are also gated by LFR and rep grinds, since you need sigils and rep with the Black Prince in order to progress his storyline so that your kills for Shieldwall/Dominance Offensive count towards getting Revered with him.

Feeling stuck on my level 90s for the above reasons, this past week I've mostly switched to working on a rep grind that I have not gotten tired of on my level 90s- Tillers. Once I recalled that I could farm motes and ore for my engineer and inscriptionist, I got excited about this faction again.

Another rep grind that I haven't minded doing repeatedly? The Klaaxi, simply because I can now reach revered with them simply by completing level 89-90 in Dread Wastes and sticking to the Klaaxi quests alone. This could also be the case with the Shado-Pan, as selecting the appropriate quests in Kun-Lai Summit and Townlong Steppes gets me about halfway to revered. But again, the damned Golden Lotus gating means I can't finish up the path to revered until I run around in the Valley hitting Mogu for two weeks.

It all boils down to this: WoW is a game I play for enjoyment, and my gaming time is limited. When I log in and see that my choices for progressing through content consist of running Golden Lotus quests that I have done umpteen times before, and spending two hours in LFR after which I will receive not one item upgrade for my efforts, I feel like I have not had a good playing experience. And I will quickly run out of motivation to play those toons, despite having greatly enjoyed them during the leveling process. I can always level more alts, but eventually the roadblock at endgame is going to dampen my desire to do that as well.

That all said: from what I have read so far, I think this new patch is going to solve a lot of the issues with the futile hamster wheel of endgame. I came to this conclusion this morning while I drank my coffee and read blog posts by The Grumpy Elf and Azuriel of In An Age. As soon as servers come back online today, I will be able to tackle Golden Lotus rep in four new ways (three of which will work for my new-ish level 90s):

Daily scenario: 325 rep
Daily heroic dungeon: 750 rep
Work orders on my Tillers farms: 2 each day for 400 rep @
Rare spawns on the new quest hub island: 1000 rep

I am now excited to log onto my newly 90 elemental shaman and run a scenario and dungeon, not just for the hope of gear upgrades, but so she can work on Golden Lotus rep. Or, she could just skip to Shado-Pan since she's closer to revered. Choices, yay! The Tillers work orders will be available soon enough, as all of my level 90s are working hard to open up their farms so they can collect crafting materials.

On to gearing up. First off, valor gear for all of the 5.0 factions has decreased in price by 50%, and that of the 5.1 factions decreased by 25%. Add to that additional valor rewards for running particular heroics and scenarios (the toughest ones it seems), and getting my ilevel up for LFR will be much, much easier.

Scenarios and heroics will now also award more justice points, which doesn't seem like it will help with much except obtaining the JP faction gear for transmogging (yes, that was already on my list for my shaman!).

I am very curious to see how quickly I can get my elemental shaman into LFR, my boomkin into the second tier of LFR, and my priest into the newly released LFR with these changes. One week? Two? Excitement!

I nearly wept tears of joy when I saw the transmog changes as reported on WoW Roleplay Gear. Swords, maces and axes are now interchangeable! Just this weekend my shaman found the Klaaxi Blade of the Poisoned Mind, a BoA caster sword, and of course shaman can't use swords. Will she be able to use this for transmog? I will be testing this out if Calyx gets a one-handed weapon at some point, because the Klaaxi sword is beautiful and I would really like to use it somehow!

And last but not least, so many class changes this patch, and some really exciting ones for the classes I play! For the first time since Mists dropped, shaman are getting some attention. For my elemental shaman, I am looking forward to:
   -Chain Lightning will now deal the same damage to subsequent targets as it does to the first
   -Elemental Mastery now has a 90 second cooldown (was 2 minutes)
   -Stone Bulwark Totem now absorbs 25% more damage
   -Glyph of Flame now causes the shaman to heal for 30% of the damage dealt by Flame Shock
   -Flame Shock duration has been increased by 25%
   -Lava Burst always deals a critical strike, and when cast on targets affected by Flame Shock, deals 50% more damage
   -Elemental Focus and Shamanism passive buffs give greater increases in spell damage and Lightning Bolt damage, respectively

I am really looking forward to seeing how all of these changes work out; if Calyx does a little more damage with her Lightning Bolts, and is a little less squishy, I will be ecstatic!

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