Been quietly levelling my shammy, and she hit 90 late last week. Thought process:
- Guild needs a healer.
- They kinda count on me to heal, my preference for melee DPS aside.
- Disc is a train wreck at the moment. That rules out my healing main from Cata.
- Holy never felt like an archetypal healer… more a prototype healer. Identity issues.
- Druid healing is not fun. Besides, LW makes me miserable.
- We already have a pally healer.
- Shammy’s putting up decent numbers, has a lot of flexibility, and has an interesting toolbox.
- If I level as Ele then I can use the same gear for healing.
Ele was a competent levelling spec, more than powerful enough with the quest rewards. It handles well for endgame dailies*, and the new functionality where your mana is no longer drained to 0 when switching specs means switching to Resto at the start of a dungeon is no longer an exercise in frustration as the tank refuses to wait the 20-odd seconds for you to drink it back**.
Shammy’s pretty good in dungeons – a balanced mix of cooldowns, HoTs, maintenance and burst healing, with a slight weakness for heavy tank damage, because once those two charges of the Tidal Waves*** buff are down Greater Healing Wave feels like it takes forever to land.
Blizzard claims that once you hit 90 you shouldn’t need VP/JP gear to get into LFR. Great theory… except that it took me four fucking days to get the gear to get in. That’s not four nights… it’s four days at home all day, nothing but WoW, chain-running HCs. And even then I needed JP gear to replace two slots, and additionally got a crafted staff, a crafted trinket and Sha boots. Number of actual genuine upgrades received from HCs in four fucking days? Six. Six fucking items. Seven if you count a Wicked Witch’s Seal from the Horseman, which I don’t, since none of my other characters will get it. That mish-mash was good enough to finally get me into LFR at 10pm last night, combined with an agi helm that brought my ilvl up to ‘barely good enough’.
This is why people cheat the goddamn ilvl requirements. This is why Blizzard has already had to nerf the ilvl of PvP gear. And now, with PvP gear being easier to grind than valour – and not behind asinine rep grinds – they’ve gone and hotfixed the conquest cap.
There is no reward in playing like this.
The 50% valour of the ancients buff is a joke. It takes so long to cap valour, even on a character that has a literal 2 minute queue time, that by the time I’ve run enough instances to cap I have absolutely no interest in doing so on another character. The fact that we’re back to a daily run bonus for dungeons is ridiculous, and directly contradict the aforementioned valour of the ancients. The time investments required for dailies are way out of whack with the actual rewards for doing them.
Worse, without being able to think in terms of “okay, even if we aren’t doing well this week I’ll still be able to get something with valour“, our guild’s raiders are uncertain. Demoralised. We’re not the best that there is, and we need that little bit of a safety net. What we’re getting instead is a massive screw-you, with a side order of you aren’t good enough for our content if you can’t do it our way.
It isn’t fun to grind away at a goal and make no meaningful progress. It’s frustrating to spend an hour doing dailies for a faction, check back and then see that there’s still weeks left before you hit revered.
Worst of all, for someone like me, is knowing you’ll have to do this on every goddamned character.
No, I’m not inspired by the thought that, after spending weeks to get rep with these disparate factions, I’m going to have to waste half that amount of time per character on each of my alts just to get the patterns they need for crafting and access to some filler gear. Doubling rep on alts is not good enough.
What would I have done? First, made the rep gains from Golden Lotus meaningful, because 100 rep per quest just makes it explicit that they’re a goddamn gate on the factions that I’m actually interested in raising. Secondly, make the damn tabards give rep in dungeons, with the caveat that they can only be bought at Revered, bind to account, and don’t require any particular rep level to wear. The argument that “what character you’re on should matter” only holds water when you haven’t already made stupid grindy achievements and rewards accountwide in the first place, and that’s exactly what reputations are right now. Not to mention that they’re gating basic shit like valour gear. I can understand gating rewards that cost gold, but valour? That’s effectively a) gating us twice on cost and b) denying us the fruits of our fucking labour.
The Tillers are pretty much universally beloved, despite being completely useless for gear and effectively being a daily grind. Why? I have a couple of points in mind:
- They’re useless for gear, but they’re also not locking any gear away from us. They don’t feel like failing to do them is a punishment, which the gear factions eminently do.
- Progress is visible. Not only on the farming front; their quests give the sort of rep we’ve come to expect from doing quests or dailies.
- They have content that isn’t dailies.
Those last two points also apply to the Klaxxi, by the way.
What am I going to do? There are a couple of choices, and all of them suck:
- Switch to PvP. This was what I was on the verge of doing, and then someone had to go and fuck with Conquest again; not to mention that because of the aforementioned grindy as fuck PvE experience, PvP gearing has been and likely will still be hit with nerfs, because OMG raiders should gear from raids.
- Keep calm and carry on. I admit that I expected to be a lot angrier than I was when I sat down to write this, but then realised that it’s because I’m depressed. I’m demoralised, frustrated and overall not looking forward to logging in any more. Something’s got to change or I’ll just end up quitting permanently.
- Level alts. This is probably the best of a bad crop, but the amount of time it takes to level a character in Pandaria combined with the looming timesinks waiting at the cap just make this option feel completely meaningless.
- Quit until the next tier comes out. This probably means 6 months or so of not playing WoW at all. Voting with my wallet is what I’m currently leaning toward. It feels like amateur dramatics, though, and knowing Blizzard in all of their boneheaded glory they’ll probably do something equally stupid to gate the next tier, so it’d end up effectively being a soft version of a permanent quit. That might actually be the only way I’ll quit, though… I’ve enjoyed the game as long as I’ve played it, and even through melee-hating t11, firetastic t12 and the tedious t13 I’ve never considered quitting.
Expected rage and got whine. Huh. Maybe it’ll be better after we get a few raid bosses down, I don’t know. There aren’t even any MV runs on the calendar for this week, though.
* Chain lightning all the things!
** ‘Course, none of this applies if your tank decides to pull right off the bat before you get a chance to even switch…
*** Possibly not the actual name, I just remember it as “that Riptide/Chain Heal buff”