Saturday, June 29, 2013

Casually acquiring Pandaria gear

Bugs are good even when they don't fly!

Flexible raiding coming in 5.4 in World of Warcraft, as mentioned in my last post, has given me more incentive to acquire some gear.  I finally reached the iLvl required for Looking for Raiding and went on my first raid.  I, with many others, contributed to a couple of wipes because we didn't know what we were doing, but most people were understanding and we were successful both times after the first wipe.  I didn't acquire any gear, which was a little frustrating since pretty much anything would have been an upgrade, but it is nice that Valor now gives you upgrades eventually.

I'll probably try to do LFR once a week before Flexible raiding starts.  It seemed relatively painless and it is nice that it is split in two halves so it can been done in an hour at a sitting.  If I get to the next iLvl threshold, I'll probably just do whichever raid I enjoy more.  I don't like doing random heroics and although I might try random scenarios again, LFR is much more anonymous and therefore less stressful.  I see this a big improvement compared to Cataclysm where you pretty much had to do Heroics if you wanted better gear.

As long as I'm getting both reputation and valor, I find most of the dailies fun and rewarding enough.  As I mentioned before, I think the Thunder Isle dailies take too long and are also inconvenient where they are located.  I did the treasure hunt once after watching a video, which was fun, but I don't have any inclination to do it again or strive to be great at it.  I am almost at honored with the Kirin Tor Offensive, so I'll probably do some of the quests one more time to get to honored, but I keep putting it off.

I always used fishing to feed my hunter pets (while I needed food for them), so it seemed easy enough to do the daily quests to get to exalted with the Anglers and get my bug mount that is in the picture above.  However, now that I'm exalted, I'm really not interested in doing them those dailies any more, I'd rather do the other lines where I still get reputation.  Similarly, I'm still doing the Tiller quest that help me achieve Best Friend status, but I've started ignoring the rest of them.  I also used dailies and farming to get August Celestial and Golden Lotus reputation to Revered and the double reputation tokens.  I've finished the Klaxxi quests to get all of the elders, the buffs are fun enough and have enough variety that getting the rest of the way to exalted and the scorpion mount should be pretty easy.

Now that I've reached many of my goals with Kanter, I'm hoping I can focus more on my priest, Kantra.  I'm almost at level 66 and once I get there, I'll be able to do the quests in the two zones I missed with Kanter (Valley of the Four Winds and Townlong Steppes).  I also figure I'll let Kantra do the Shado Pan dailies which will again provide some variety.

There is a lot to do as a casual player, but I don't see it keep my interest for too much longer.  However, the prospect of Flexible raiding has made me think maybe there will be more I will enjoy, and more I can do with people I enjoy playing with by the time I'm bored with what I'm doing now.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Flexible Raiding and the Casual MMO Player

So many factions, so little time.
As a self proclaimed casual MMO player who blogs, I feel like I need to join the many other bloggers who are writing about the Flexible Raiding that Blizzard has announced.  Personally, I see it as a great opportunity for players like me.

As I mentioned previously, I took about a year off of playing World of Warcraft.  Once I started back in December, I was, of course, way behind the gear curve.  I could try to focus on the Isle of Thunder and Heroics to get the gear to first join in LFR and then to get the gear I needed for raiding, but I'm really not interested in either the Isle of Thunder or Heroics.  I'd rather do what I want to do, in my casual way, and gradually get the gear I need to join people on a more casual basis.  

The problem right now is the only way to do that is to hope members of the guild are interested in running LFR.  As someone who isn't really interested in playing with random people, this isn't very appealing and, I suspect, it isn't very appealing to other members of our guild.

However, once Flexible Raiding starts, players like me and others who like to play World of Warcraft but either don't have the time to keep up with the gear curve or would rather mix in a few months of WoW with months focused on other games (or other activities) have a real option to play with our guild and/or our friends.  As long as the core group is interested in having a Flexible raid, they can raid only with those they want to and not have to leave a core team member out if someone else shows up who they'd like to play with.

I am really hopeful that Flexible Raiding will make playing MMOs a few months out of the year or infrequently a much more enjoyable way to play with your friends.  I'm sure Blizzard is hoping the same thing.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Settling in at Max Level

New friends in Pandaria.

I think I've settled down to a routine (for now) at level 90 in World of Warcraft.  

I finished the start of the Isle of Thunder so that I would get to the dailies and promptly decided the dailies took too long and weren't particularly fun.  Part of it is that there are too many of them.

So then I started to look at specific gear I could use to get so I could do LFR with the guild.  One of my rings is the lowest iLvl I have and I found that the Golden Lotus faction offers one at honored so I decided to start the quests there.  The dailies there aren't quite as relaxing as the Tiller ones that I enjoy but they are close and don't have the huge flight path or the annoyance of the Isle of Thunder Ones.

I will take one more trip (at least) to the Isle of Thunder since I have a Key to the Palace of Lei Shen and 3 of the 5 parts for The Crumbled Chamberlain.  I looked at some videos of the Troves of the Thunder King and I'll probably just get a potion for it mainly so I can experience it once.  I'll probably just leave the island alone after that since I like the other dailies better.

The announcement of the Flex Raids was welcome, too.  I like my guild but I know I'm never going to be good enough to do 10 mans with them.  I'm hoping they will set up a flexible raid night since that is something I should be able to participate in without being a drag.  That should be significantly more fun than LFR with the guild since we can have only guild members and friends along.

Finally, I am still doing the Tiller dailies and now have 3 Best Friends, a Yak, and some new furniture.  I also started doing the daily fishing pools until I get a special fish and then I go to the Anglers, turn it in, and then do the dailies there.  The Anglers are so much easier now that I'm level 90 and can fly.  I also hit revered with Klaxxi, so I got my reputation booster, but I don't plan to go for Exalted until I get other things done.  A scorpion mount would be fun, though.  I will be able to get my pants once I have the valor, but the Lotus ring will help me more and cost less valor.

So far, I'm enjoying the routine and hopefully I can look forward Flex Raiding in 5.4.  Once I have iLvl 560, I'll probably go back to doing more on my priest and I would like to have a max level miner, which would require leveling my warrior.  I may do a few random Scenarios but I think I'm just going to skip the Heroic dungeons.

As others have said, there is way too much to do, which is good, since I can pick and choose what I enjoy.  It's a game and it needs to be fun for me.

Sunday, June 2, 2013


Farmer Kanter

I've been able to play more the last few weeks, though most of it has been in small increments.  That has lead to two titles in the last two weeks, Farmer (as seen above) and Hordebreaker.  I'm not sure if this is a significant accomplishment since I play so infrequently or if it is more because of the large gap in time and these titles were relatively easy to obtain.  In any case, they were both goals and it was nice to get them done.

The next question is what to do next.  I am almost at revered with the Klaxxi, so I will definitely try to finish that soon.  I've now started the work orders on the Farm and that should help.  I also expect I will be working on another faction but I have no idea which one.  I'm interested in suggestions if anyone has one.

I started all three update quest chains, too, over the last few weeks (Operation Shieldwall, Isle of Thunder, and Escalation).  Escalation was relative short, though I only did the Scenarios required for the title.  I just started both of the other quest chains (enough to get the quest hubs in both of them) and I guess I'll keep working on the Isle of Thunder ones.

I have several different directions I'd like to go, but I know I don't have time to focus on all of them.  I enjoy the lore and both quest chains would provide background for what is happening.  Isle of Thunder has the added advantage of providing better gear.  One day last week the guild was doing a guild LFR.  I don't expect to really raid and I'm not sure I'm interested in a pug LFR with borderline gear, but I guild LFR would be fun.  Right now I'm at iLvl 152, so I guess I'll try to use Valor and Isle of Thunder to get me to the 160 I need to be at in order to participate (and hope they do it again).

The farm quests are an easy way to get Valor and I enjoy them even if they are repetitive.  The high flying kite was a nice surprise and does make the watering quest easier and they are quick and a nice thing to do while farming items for cooking.  My cooking is at 595 so it will be nice to get my last crop to get it to 600.  I'm not sure of the motivation for 'Best Friends' but it will be easy enough to do while I'm farming, so I'll probably get them as well.

I may try to do some more Scenarios but I am still skittish of pugs.  It is a way to learn more of the lore in a relatively short time and I believe the expectations tend to be less that for Heroics.  Heroics would get me gear faster, but I am more skittish about pugging those.  I'll probably just try a few scenarios if I happen to have an hour of time where I believe I can play uninterrupted (that isn't often).  Maybe I will go back to try to have one night a week where I can do that, but I'm ok with my short game time sessions for now.

I also started the Pandaria quests with my Priest.  As I mentioned previously, I left certain areas undone with the idea that I would do them with her.  I like the role of healing in concept and it is good to have the option to either DPS with her in Shadow or Heal in Holy specialization.  I also am accumulating quite a bit of cloth that I could use to level her tailoring, and I do like crafting as well.

Fishing is another area that I like to fill in with as a no-stress way to spend some time that can be interrupted at any minute.  That helps with three young children including one with Autism, since I never know when I might need to stop playing.

I came in to writing this post thinking I didn't know what I wanted to do, but I now that it is on paper (on the Internet?) I actually do have a pretty comfortable direction:  keep doing farming and quests so I can get the valor for some equipment upgrades.  When I have more time, I'll fill in with Isle of Thunder quests to get to iLvl 160 and then, depending on how they are going, I'll keep working on them until I get to a good stopping point or work on my Priest for either questing up to level 90, filling in the areas I haven't seen, and/or working on her tailoring.

There is a lot to do.  I still might stall and unsubscribe, but between having a gaming laptop now and having a lot of different things I can do in short periods of time, I'm pretty hopeful that I can keep playing and having fun.

And that is what it is about.  I hope you are all having fun with your game of choice!