World of Warcraft: Gearing in 6.2.3 for the Super Casual (Like Me!)

Let’s say you just returned to World of Warcraft and just hit level 100 or had a supremely undergeared toon. There’s all this new content and it’s pretty overwhelming. What do you do? This guide is aimed at the Super Casual, who aren’t hardcore raiders, lack a guild and probably hate doing instances in fear of getting yelled at or kicked by obnoxious players (generally for low DPS and not knowing mechanics) and want to get some gear quickly.

Continue reading “World of Warcraft: Gearing in 6.2.3 for the Super Casual (Like Me!)”

World of Warcraft: Overall Mist of Pandaria Evaluation

With the expansion coming to a close, I wanted to look at the whole picture for Mist of Pandaria. While there may be a patch or two prior to the next expansion, it’s pretty much a lock that more than likely there will be no new major content patches as the Siege of Orgrimmar along with the ending of the Legendary Cape quest mark the major ending  story points for this expansion.

Continue reading “World of Warcraft: Overall Mist of Pandaria Evaluation”

World of Warcraft: Taking Another Break Until Patch 5.4

It’s that time again where I’m feeling the need to step away from World of Warcraft for a few weeks to get my life straightened out a little. But in reality I’m somewhat frustrated with the game. Most of what I do is LFR but it’s just a tedious grind at this point that lacks any substantial rewards. The loot system is particularly atrocious most of the time and pretty discouraging overall.

Continue reading “World of Warcraft: Taking Another Break Until Patch 5.4”

World of Warcraft: Random Thoughts, Stuff I’m Working On, etc.

This blog on World of Warcraft will be a hodge podge of random thoughts and things I’ve been working on recently. I’ll actually reverse the order and start with stuff I’ve been doing lately in the game. Although I started a small project for calculating the yield of farming enchants, I ended up being side tracked since I’ve been utterly focused on what I’m calling the “500 Club” or rather “getting my toons to a minimum of ilvl 500.” The thing I’ve discovered is that to really maximize each toon for a given week in terms of valor points and gear, you really require quite a bit of time. In my case, it takes roughly a day of dedicating myself to each toon. I’m not talking about a full 24 hours devoted to every little activity, but roughly a day of focus.

Continue reading “World of Warcraft: Random Thoughts, Stuff I’m Working On, etc.”

World of Warcraft: How I’m Spending My Runes/Charms, Valor Points and Pushing Forward

With 10 level 90s, I have to managed to gear them up pretty decently. Right now, my lowest geared toon is ilvl 487 (with my highest being 504). I’m almost complete in running each one through Throne of Thunder but the entire process is extremely time consuming. As a result, I’m forced to plan a bit in advance the runes I manage to pick up each week and Valor Points.

Continue reading “World of Warcraft: How I’m Spending My Runes/Charms, Valor Points and Pushing Forward”

World of Warcraft: Reputation/Valor Point Changes to Gear in Patch 5.4 and Ruminations

Some notes on the upcoming reputation/valor point change to gear is that pre-Throne of Thunder gear will cost Justice Points and cost between 1250-2250 points while having their reputation requirement removed. Shado-Pan Assault gear will have the reputation requirement for honored level gear reduced to friendly while the overall Valor Point cost will be reduced by roughly 34%. Justice Point (i.e. blue gear) will have their overall cost reduced by 75%. Lastly, Justice Point to Honor Point conversion will be increased from 500 Justice Points to 250 Honor Points.

So in looking over these changes, what does this all imply? The most obvious aspect is that moving older gear to a pure Justice Point system should motivate players to do more Heroics if they’re gearing up and struggling to hit the 460 mark for Mogu’shan Vaults/LFR as well as allow players who have bad luck streaks in pre-Throne of Thunder LFR to avoid wasting Valor Points and provide a farming mechanism to catch up. I think reverting the Justice Point cost to the original values for the gear feels a little high in that the Justice Points that do drop from Heroics are still pretty low overall. So I think it probably would be a massive waste trying to gear using that system compared to obtaining Valor for Throne of Thunder gear.

The removal of reputation feels irrelevant at this stage considering that rather than doing dailies, you’re farming boring heroics. I think they should just make older gear purchasable with gold at this stage since the time you’ll invest into trying to gear a single pre-Throne of Thunder epic just isn’t worth it.

Also, why even bother reducing the cost of current Justice Point gear when the crafted PVP items are at the same item level and can either be crafted or purchased for gold? There’s only a few exceptions like the trinket, necklace and rings. But if you’re going to farm Justice Points, you probably won’t even want to waste a single point on blue gear at this point. Again, Blizzard should really look more in depth at that whole system works because it’s painfully obvious that there hasn’t been much pontifications on this aspect.

Next, I find it funny that they reduced the reputation requirements for honored level gear with the Shado-Pan Assault but not friendly level gear. So you’re pretty much going to be locked down in terms of using spare valor until you have enough of an ilvl to do Throne of Thunder part 1. So what will happen with your current valor points? I certainly hope Blizzard doesn’t try to pull another downgrading of Valor Points. They tried in Patch 5.2 with resounding negative response. Even with the downgrade of cost for pre-Throne of Thunder epics to use Justice Points, I think a lot of people will end up resenting once again having all their hard work from dailies and LFR grinds away.

In my book, Blizzard has a lot of things backwards. There’s a few better ways for all of this to work. One is that you leave the reputation for older gear in place, but make it all gold based. At this stage in the game, I think Justice Points really are just an irrelevant currency except for Heirlooms. The currency conversion to Honor can stay the way it is in PTR but the thing here is that the goal ultimately is to get people geared up faster. Here’s the thing: sure Blizzard wants to keep Heroics relevant but you either have to increase the Justice Points dropped per boss or reduce the cost of older epics. The point is to avoid lengthy grinds so that people can get into the Siege of Orgrimmar faster.

You could also change older LFRs to be a Justice Point based system. However, that sounds stupid and you might as well do the same for Scenarios and Heroics as well in terms of the daily reward. Besides, if pre-Throne of Thunder LFRs just dropped Justice Points, then it’ll remove any incentive for people who are geared to continue running them. The nice thing about the current LFR system is that even if you don’t need gear anymore from them, you can run them to help cap Valor Points quicker. So I really hope that they don’t move in that direction.

Another idea is not to make the pre-Throne of Thunder gear Justice Point based and reduce the cost of Valor Points even further. I believe that the Golden Lotus dailies are going away completely, so newer players will miss out on 50 Valor Points per day just from a single faction. That still leaves a few factions but I think a lot of newer players/90s will have a very difficult time trying to access the Isle of Thunder since it’s been stated that the encounters are designed for ilvl 480 people. This is my preference overall and keeps everything pretty simple. I would just reduce the cost of the original factions’ gear down by 75% (right now they’re at 50%) and Dominance Offensive/Shieldwall to 50% (don’t get me started on the Sunreaver Onslaught; that faction and gear are absolutely pointless).

The other option if all Blizzard’s real intent is to try keeping Heroics relevant (which I think is stupid) is to keep the cost of Justice Points at the current Valor Point level. Meaning, the original factions will be at 50% cost (e.g. a ring would be 625 Justice Points) and Dominance Offensive/Shieldwall at 25% cost. Realistically, this probably is the best compromise between the two. By then I think most people won’t even give a shit about Justice Points nor Heroics except for Valor and more importantly I doubt that people who are well geared won’t even bother looking at older epics. The whole thing is for newer players/90s to move faster since they’ll be forced to play catch up no matter what.

Beyond that, if the changes go through as stated, what does that imply for players? First, I think you should use patch 5.3 as a leveling patch. If you’re an alt-a-holic like myself, really push whatever you have left to 90 asap. If you enjoy the gearing grind (or are a partial sado-masochist like myself) then you need to get on this asap. Gearing right now isn’t too bad but I think you want to start making sure that your toons who aim to enter Siege of Orgrimmar to hit their ilvl 480s right now. The new system to me looks horribly thought out and the math behind it is based off an accountant who snorted crack on a lunch break with the developers (that was partial sarcasm if you couldn’t tell). Honestly, the way the new system looks is a massive step backwards. I mean, why should you go backwards to Heroics just to obtain epics using Justice Points? The whole split currency system is an obnoxiously retarded idea and probably has complicated things for no good reason.

Yet you as the casual player probably don’t want to go through another pointless grind. You probably have done the Heroic route and found the drop rates or loot ninjas and possibly even the rude player just not worth dealing with. So you need to ensure you’re protected before you’re forced into the stupid funneling experience that Blizzard wants you to be in.

And I know that there’s players out there who complain, “Well, I have nothing to spend my Justice Points on!” Maybe the issue isn’t that there’s a lack of items to spend Justice Points on. Maybe the issue is that the split currency system simply is not well thought out and that they need to kill it with something far easier to manage.

Honestly, I miss the old Wrath of the Lich King days. Back then the vender gear cost gold and did require some reputation grind. But it wasn’t all that difficult. Just throw on a tabard, do some nice Heroics, then if you really needed the gear, you could buy it with gold. It was a nice, easy system, not some convoluted mess with all these currency conversion issues.

World of Warcraft: Some Cheap Tricks to Get Easy Stuff at Level 90

I consider myself a casual and lazy player. But not lazy as in “I just want to sit on my ass and be handed stuff while sleeping and eating pizza simultaneously.” Lazy as in “I want to play smart with doing minimal effort but maximizing what I can do with my time.” Sometimes, I feel that just banging your head needlessly against a boss or situation is not good use of your time. The whole idea of this post is how to play “smart lazy.”

Easy Key to the Palace of Lei Shen

The treasure room is one of my favorite areas since patch 5.2. Free gold and items. But how can you get a quick key? By far the easiest way to obtain a key is to find a rare mob on the Isle of Thunder. And the two easiest rares to locate are Goda and Lu-Ban. Goda is a turtle sitting in its shell inside a tree hollow close to the entrance of the palace of Lei Shen while Lu-Ban is a mogu type of humanoid forging items near one of the daily quest mini bosses. Because of their spawn points, you pretty much can check one or the other with relative ease. If one isn’t up, you can hop on over to check if the other one is up. There might be a few other rares that are simple to find, but these are pretty accessible.

Usually, once I find a rare, I’ll announce it in chat to try to get others to lend me a hand. Since these mobs can be looted by both alliance and horde, both can participate without worry of faction tagging. If you run multiple alts like myself, you can even just camp them. In my case, for my alts that haven’t completed the scenarios that unlock the entrance to the island (because my alts might be a little weak), I’ll have them camp right on the rocks near Goda. Then throughout the day, I’ll check up on them. Sometimes a chest spawns inside of the little tree hollow, which can also contain a Key to the Palace of Lei Shen.

Pet Battles for Lesser Charms of Good Fortune

Do you hate dailies but can’t figure out an easy method for Lesser Charms of Good Fortune? Do you want to pass time quickly and yet accomplish something? Are you sitting in an 20+ minute queue just reading trade chat in the Shrines? Well, you’re the primary target for Pet Battles!

Pet Battles have a chance to grant your level 90 Lesser Charms of Good Fortune, which these days can be pretty tedious to come by. If you’ve pretty much become sick of dailies and want a stress free method for getting these Charms, then Pet Battles are one of the easiest and fun ways to obtain them. The great thing about Pet Battles is that you can level up tons of pets, find new pets, especially rares and do it all over again. It might sound grindy, but it’s pretty easy.

For myself, I like building up a variety of pets so that I can plan to eventually handle most pet encounters. One of the better resources, I’ve found on the subject is from warcraftpets. Probably, the most handy resource from the site is their cheat sheet when it comes to the advantages/disadvantages of pets.

By having a variety of pets handy, you can ensure that you will have a constant stream of lesser tokens available as well as some other activity outside of grinding dailies. Also, try aiming for collecting rares while you’re at this. The idea again is a low stress activity to get a few low hanging fruit type of items while you’re waiting for something else.

Dailies for Easy Gold, Valor and Lesser Charms of Good Fortune

If you aren’t too burnt out from dailies, then they are probably the best method for earning gold in the game. Even if you have maximized your reputation, you can look at dailies as ways to earn gold, valor points and lesser charms. In the case of the Sunreavers, Golden Lotus and Tillers, you can get a few more rewards from completing your dailies. The trick is determining which dailies to do and which ones to avoid.

For instance, there’s a Tillers daily that requires you to speak with four people in town which takes approximately a minute. At most, you’ll have to burn 2 gold in return for roughly 18 gold (after the transaction). How much easier can that get? Imagine if you have 10-11 level 90 alts all parked at the farm. That’s a little over 180 gold just for talking to people for roughly 10 minutes!

The main thing for me is focusing on easy daily hubs that take little time but give a decent amount of rewards for your effort. The ones that fit this criteria are the Tillers (most of them), August Celestials (especially the ones at the Jade Temple and the Temple of the White Tiger), the Anglers and the Order of the Cloud Serpent. I find that you can do each of these hubs in roughly 10-20 minutes max. The others like the Golden Lotus, Klaxxi, Shado-Pan, Isle of Thunder and Dominance Offensive really depend on what the quest of the day is. Isle of Thunder, in my opinion, is mostly a waste of time because the work-to-reward ratio is horrible. Half of the Golden Lotus dailies are pretty much garbage and wastes of time. The first part is worth doing but the follow ups can either be frustratingly bad (like the little village) or pretty easy (such as the lake). Dominance Offensive are 75% decent and only the cave is practically useless. Finally, the Shado Pan is at most worthless except maybe 1 or 2. But most are pretty bad and a horrible waste of time.

That said, you still can earn around 800-1000+ gold/day for maximizing all of this. But if you have a good route that eliminates the time wasting ones, you probably can still get anywhere between 400-500 gold/day for an hour or two worth’s of work (with the most time consuming issue being the flight travel). That’s not that bad, especially if you’re having gold issues. And this is all guaranteed gold beyond the Charms and Valor rewards.

Maximizing Your Farm

I’m on my 8th alt with a maxed out farm. If I manage to gear up my guys and have more time, I would probably spend most of my time focused on the farm and maybe some dailies for gold. But once you have maxed out your farm on several level 90 toons, you can easily become an industrial powerhouse. Some things you can do are:

  • Planting all herb farms and focusing on obtaining golden lotus. I haven’t really checked golden lotus cost on the AH, but I found that even with one toon dedicating their farm to herbs, I’ll get around 5-6 golden lotus. So imagine having 8-10 toons just with all herbs. You can then do things like focusing on transmutation for all your green gems then selling that on the AH. Or even just selling the Golden Lotus on your AH straight out. But I wouldn’t use the herbs for inscription. If you have a druid, you’re far better off just running around the Jade Forest and Valley of the Four Winds finding herbs.
  • Planting all enchanting materials. This would probably be my #1 focus down the road. If you have an enchanter with the weapons and bracer enchants, you will realize just how much money you can make selling those on the AH. The problem is that coming up with enough materials (most notably Sha Crystals) can be a very difficult task. So the only way to compensate is through dedicating as much materials to hand off to your enchanter so that they can upgrade the materials back into Sha Crystals. If you have a lot of toons, you should be able to get enough materials for this purpose.
  • Planting all leather crafting materials. I really wouldn’t go this far. You really just need one dedicated resource if you have a leatherworker and you no longer are killing mobs and skinning them. Generally, I find that one farm provides enough materials to allow my leatherworker to do his daily. My suggestion as a strategy for a leatherworker is to focus on Spirits of Harmony and having a separate toon be dedicated for a leather crafting materials farm. That way, you can craft epics then sell them on the AH.
  • Planting ore crafting materials. This is something I wouldn’t do and I think it’s a complete waste of a farm. Valley of the Four Winds and Townlong Steppes provide a lot of mining spots. If you do have a blacksmith, you’re better off setting him up with Spirits of Harmony and mining.
  • Planting Windwool. I think just one farm is more than enough. You won’t need Spirits of Harmony for the most part since Imperial Silk is sufficient. You mostly just want to have enough materials to craft your daily. So this isn’t a good one to mass produce.
  • Banquet materials. This would be great for leveling up your cooking but beyond that, your only bet is to sell off excess materials on the AH. But I feel you’re far better off using your farm once your cooking is maxed out for other crafting materials.

My overall ideas here are to maximize on your toons proficiencies and future profits by getting enough materials to craft and produce anything you want. From there you can try selling the materials and/or crafted goods for a nice chunk of change.

Easy(ier) Sha Crystals

If you do not have the luxury of numerous alts who have maxed out farms and can help dedicate enchanting materials to your enchanter, then you can still obtain Sha Crystals through running older LFRs. Let’s say you have a fairly geared up toon with enchanting and you’re trying to get more gear from Throne of Thunder. Doing older LFRs will allow you to get more Valor Points, some gold and potentially help garner you epics. Now, although I do think that the drop rates get reduced for people who have decent gear, you still have the possibility of using Elder Charms of Good Fortune. So that makes getting the Key to the Palace of Lei Shen still relevant. From there, you can just reroll on each boss and use the epic you find for Sha Crystals.

At any rate, you might be asking yourself, “Hey none of this sounds particularly easy!” Yes, it does involve some degree of labor and time. But you can’t just sit around Orgrimmar waiting for things to drop in your lap. The vast majority of things that I’m proposing here is how to streamline your game play a little easier and hopefully drop some hints on ways to get items in a guaranteed manner once you hit 90 and possibly have numerous alts. BTW the pay off ultimately is pretty big so give it a shot.

World of Warcraft: Mage at 90 and Theories of Gold Spending

I hit level 90 on my mage a day ago and used my own guide to gear her up quick. I got pretty lucky in doing a Galleon group which drop some excellent starting boots, helping to take my ilvl to the minimum for entering Mogu’shan Vaults. After that, I farmed vaults using Elder Charms I obtained from the Treasure Room. In the end, I was just slightly off to get into Heart of Fear and I had a decision to make: spend gold to buy a trinket or just wait until the reset?

Here’s where my gold spending theory comes into play. I know there’s quite a few people who end up hoarding gold. However, I find hoarding gold to be useless if that’s all you do. Just like IRL, sometimes you need to spend gold as an investment because the returns in the end will outweigh any benefit to keeping it. In this case, waiting one day would mean less potential loot as well as missing out on valor points, gold and just spending more time in a linear progression mode.

The thing is that I could’ve waited that extra day, killed a rare on the Isle of Thunder and obtained more Elder Charms to farm a single item. But what if the item wouldn’t drop? It’s not even a great item so that time is wasted. Also, I might be wasting good Elder Charms on crap gear. I’d prefer to make use of those Charms for the best gear I can get at the moment.

In the end, I dunked 15k into a trinket, figuring that I’ll make it back in the near future no matter what. The game has numerous methods to make gold. You can easily get 800-1k gold/day just from doing dailies on a single toon. So it would only take two weeks to make it back. But now that my mage is in the rotation, that just gives me more opportunities in general.

At any rate, it’s nice having 8 level 90 toons. My next target is to get my rogue to 90. I might take a small break to focus on my 90s. Having that many 90s takes a lot of time to manage. But I’m finally enjoying Throne of Thunder (when the runs go right). It feels a lot smoother since I’m more familiar with the mechanics and fights now. Some fights still are a pain like Dark Animus, Durumu and Lei Shen to a degree. But overall it’s not bad. I’m finding though that melee is a lot more fun than ranged in these instances, mostly because a lot of fights have heavy moving mechanics. Either way, a lot more to do in the upcoming weeks..

World of Warcraft: Why LFR and “Welfare Epics” Will Stay

There’s been an incredible amount of heated debate on the World of Warcraft forums where two factions have essentially created two stances around terms of LFR and the notion of “welfare epics.” The issue here is that one group (also known as “casuals”) are the ones that, of course, want these items while the other group (also labeled as “hardcores”) want the end of LFR and the supposed hand-me-downs of gear to the casual groups. The bottom line is that LFR and the gear drops from LFR (nor those you can purchase from venders) are not going anywhere from Blizzard’s viewpoint. This blog will attempt to discuss why neither will be removed.

Quite possibly, one of the chief bread and butter products of World of Warcraft (and many other MMORPGs) are raids. Raids consist of large groups of people who form to take down bosses. They often times represent so-called “end game content” where people who have managed to successfully level up their toons have an option to participate in this form of content. A lot of time and effort go into developing the mechanics, graphics and environment of raids, where companies like Blizzard see as ways to continue to get players to participate in the game once they hit their maximum level for a given patch/expansion, since leveling stops. Instead of progression through leveling, the game becomes progression through raiding and is measured typically through the content that a player can down in these raiding bosses for a given period date.

Naturally, high end raiding is very competitive, where top guilds from around the world try to hit world first or server first for various categories. Other guilds might use raiding as a form of self-progression in demonstrating their abilities as well as seeing raiding as a form of a social event. At any rate, raid bosses in general are designed to offer a degree of challenge as the mechanics require a lot of coordination, patience and time allotment to successfully beat.

Part of raiding and progression involves receiving gear through downing a boss. The gear that drops is random and forces players to return to better their characters and remaining competitive. Thus, the idea of farming bosses plays a key role in how the game creates an artificial barrier in content consumption, which, of course, provides companies like Blizzard to stretch out content while developing new content and/or fixing existing content. Not to mention just sitting around and collecting hefty dues from people who do this form of a grind month-to-month.

Prior to LFR, you pretty much had to belong to a raiding guild in order to obtain gear and progress further into the game. Depending on your server, this process could be easy or incredibly difficult. Take low population servers as an example where people might have an impossible time finding the people with the ability and schedule to handle regular raiding.  While you can probably find good skilled players on any server, finding equally competent players on a low population server at a certain time might be frustrating, causing certain realms to perhaps have no progression whatsoever.

On top of that, because of the time and skill requirements for raiding, a lot of these guilds would create barriers to entry such as enforcing a certain level of skill, ability and history in order to participate. And even for those successful enough to join such a guild, there is no guarantee that they can participate in raids. Yet even more distressing can be guild drama where people might argue over loot, raid participation, people who have problems handling raid encounters, etc. In these cases, without the ability to progress oneself in some meaningful way, people would end up quitting, feeling that there is no real purpose in being able to experience new content or improving their characters somehow.

Enter LFR and “welfare epics.”

Since patch 4.3 LFR was introduced as a means to allow anyone to participate, using only a toon’s ilvl and the occasional progression status as requirements. It is the ultimate pugging tool, pooling from as many realms as possible to fill in a group algorithmically. At the same time, in order to allow for completion LFR was designed as an “easy” version for raiding as certain mechanics might be missing from a fight, hit points and damage lowered and making many encounters doable in 1-2 tries. The idea here is simple: given that random people are grouped together, attempt to minimize the frustration and allow a successful rate of moving forward given a certain level of effort.

Part of the idea here was to allow for people who normally could not raid or those who had various issues with raiding to move through content. Since a huge portion of the game is designed around raiding, it would only make sense for Blizzard to ensure that it could appeal to a broad enough audience that they are spending tremendous resources on.

Yet to sweeten the pot, Blizzard added reasonable gear drops that were slightly less powerful than their more difficult level counterparts. By doing this, Blizzard has worked a way in which to create an incentive for continuous raiding at the LFR level for this new audience. In short, getting people to play the game the company is spending resources on. People who wanted to fully gear their toons would still farm these LFR instances to get valor and pieces and that situation could easily take months as the rates for drops were set fairly low and mostly random.

To make matters more interesting and complex, with newer LFR instances coming out such as Heart of Fear, Terrace of Endless Spring and Throne of Thunder, we have minimal ilvl/gear requirements to enter on top of making previous raids (or sections) a prerequisite. Again, Blizzard sets up numerous barriers so that content isn’t consumed too quickly and creates a subliminal (or perhaps even not-so-subliminal) desire for people to continue pushing and paying for the game.

Hardcores though will complain about letting these so-called casuals receive similar rewards, something the hardcores believe  should be earned. Admittedly, I will say that there is some level of truth to the ideas behind what the intentions of the hardcore gamers might say. The problem though is that the design of World of Warcraft is, in truth, not a very good one in that you have a system that depends on the notion of farming. Progress in this game is like molasses and not very gratifying overall. It’s main requirements are time and patience for dealing with the grinding and that aspect is extremely controversial on an individual basis. I believe a lot of people do not want to devote their lives to a single game but still want to enjoy it on occasion. And even in this instance, the time and patience requirements are pretty stringent at best.

At any rate, I doubt that Blizzard will change this model of World of Warcraft as it’s one of the things that probably keeps the game alive, despite the engine starting to age badly. Yet in order for them to even maintain the non-hardcore audience, they pretty much would have to continue to cater towards a certain level of effort and time requirement so that people feel rewarded enough to continue playing. And that’s why neither LFR nor “welfare epics” won’t be going away in the near future.

 

World of Warcraft: Patch 5.3 Voidbinders/Item Upgrades Make A Comeback and Cutting Edge Gaming

Outside of the new game, Blizzard announced that the Voidbinders/Item Upgrade venders will make a comeback in patch 5.3. The chief difference will be the massive reduction in cost for both valor points and justice points upgrades. Valor upgrades will cost 250 per 4 item levels for a total of an 8 item level upgrade while Justice upgrades will cost 750 for 8 item levels.

While the general cost is still higher than I would like, this isn’t as unreasonable as the 750 valor points when this feature was originally released. I still think that 150 per 4 ilvls is better, but I don’t think 250 will kill the bank book as badly. If/when I re-join the game, I foresee this as being useful for weapon upgrades. If anything, usually what ends up hurting me the most in the game are finding better weapons. So the VP upgrade option is good for that purpose.

Which brings me up to my next point: cutting edge gaming. You can also call it “competitive gaming”. Another name is “progressive raiding.” The fact that the venders made such a quick comeback with an expected lower price for valor points emphasizes my issue that trying to be on the cutting edge, at least with World of Warcraft, is a complete waste of time.

This is evident with every expansion where your raiding gear essentially becomes meaningless since the greens offered by the newer zones tend to be better than your epic gear. Now, they have managed to improve this issue over time by having epic gear slowly being deprecated around the mid level in expansions. So there is an interesting issue coming up where LFRs, gearing and the possibilities of new expansions can present a controversial decision making process for casual players who see gearing and experiencing content as being a waste of time vs being able to participate at all in content (i.e. raids).

For myself as a casual player with tons of alts, my biggest concern is using my time effectively. This is the primary reason why I’m not into progressive raiding. At the same time, I don’t want to fall too far behind. So my theory is that the way the game is being set up, it’s best to do what I call raiding tier -1 self-progression. The idea is to not do current raids (at least with LFR) and focus on other aspects of the game using alts. In short, focus on leveling, improving reputations and older LFRs to play catch up on. The game seems far more mercify at this point in terms of catch up than it is on cutting edge.

Some benefits of doing (LFR) raiding tier -1 self-progression are:

  • Better drop rates
  • Not encountering all the frustrating bugs
  • Strategies being available on the web
  • More competent players or at least people who have better understanding of the mechanics than when it first started
  • Nerfs
  • Allowing better geared players to carry others

The one problem occurs when the game is near the next expansion. Since no new raiding tiers will be presented, you will end up being stuck with that tier. So obviously, you either have to accept being in that tier or move up. Honestly, this ends boiling down to the design of the expansion. If expansions only end up having 3 tiers of raiding, then it might just be better to do this for the first last two tiers then play the catch up game once you’ve geared up. But I wouldn’t want to do all the cutting edge stuff early on.