All for a hippo…?
Or why the sudden rush for E-Sports…
And no, it’s not because both have been used more often than is probably healthy…
The bane of discerning television viewers everywhere.
It’s cheap, frequently tawdry, and requires little to absolutely no effort on behalf of the programme makers to film and put together.
Think of Doctor Who vs Big Brother. Which do you think is the easier programme to make?
Without a doubt it’s BB. In fact they can churn out hour long programmes on a daily basis whenever it comes around each year. Ditto telly like I’m a Celebrity etc.
Cheap, quick to make, and low quality content utterly dependent on Joe Public to make it really worthwhile engaging with for anyone, never mind fans.
So what the hell does a vehicle for vapid, inane “celebrities” like Kim Kardashian (eurgh, I feel dirty for just typing that name), or absolutely unknown, exploited members of the public have to do with e-sports?
Well, think of the story content of any expansion in WoW. It requires a lot of writing, similar to an average episode of Dr Who. It needs thought, effort, content and work put into it. And lots of it.
Then take a look at Heroes of the Storm, or Overwatch. Where does the majority of the workload go in there? Environments, models, classes. Story? Nope, it gets mere lip-service in comparison to the amount of lore poured into a WoW Expansion.
Once you get past the initial sheen of a new map, all of the entertainment value in Heroes, Overwatch or WoW PvP comes entirely from the players. The “content” creation is entirely up to you, as a player, to provide everything for the other players. Being good or bad at the game is largely irrelevant. You just have to show up. Blizzard merely provide the vehicle for you to do that in.
Do you think Blizzard would prefer to keep doing lore heavy expansions, or just adding PvP arenas? Which would be quicker and easier?
No doubt that’s the reason why they much prefer PvP style content over PvE. PvP content is for all intents and purposes evergreen. It’ll last forever. Maps never age, and they can be played indefinitely. New content? A new map or two once every few months should be more than enough. Generous even.
And these players will pay for new maps, skins, models, hell anything you can throw at them! They’ll fork out hand over fist.
Written lore and story however?
One and it’s done, both in purchase and consumption. Takes ages to produce and gets consumed all too quickly.
So if it hadn’t hit you yet why Blizzard are heading more towards PvP/E-Sports content and games like Heroes and Overwatch?
Well, think of the bigger picture: Effort vs Reward.
Just don’t be too surprised to see Kim Kardashian’s butt as a new “sponsored” mount in Heroes of the Storm one day…
We’re now in the middle of the long night of no content, with an undefined dawn awaiting at some nebulous future point.
With potentially so long to go before Legion launches, possibly as long as another 8 months, for those that still want to play WoW, what is there to occupy your time?
What can you possibly do in a game where there’s been no visible content in over 6 months already, with a seemingly bigger barren desert stretching out in front of you as well?
What to do when, like me, your guild is all but dead, awaiting resurrection in Legion?
Well, this is where we start digging into different kinds of content, improving our gear to solo newer content, and grinding out the stuff we didn’t get time to do when the content that was there was fresh.
So let’s take a quick scoot through some examples of the above list, shall we?
I’m a collector. I love collecting things in game, regardless of what it is. If there’s a checklist of things to pick up in game, I love ticking off all the boxes in order to fulfil achievements, pick up bonus rewards or whatever.
The first and primary thing I love to collect are Mounts.
Mounts are a statement of what you’ve achieved in WoW, more than anything else. Some require patience, such as Ashes of A’lar, where the drop rate is so abominably low that you could feasibly go the remainder of the game’s lifetime and never see it drop, even running Tempest Keep on 11 different characters every week.
Some mounts require skill (PvP mounts, looking at you here!), some require friends, some need pure luck, others just cold hard cash, and yet others just need you to complete content or grind reputation.
But most will remark upon some kind of activity that you’ve carried out in order to acquire it.
Of course some you get just for collecting other mounts. I’m currently sitting at somewhere just shy of 210 mounts on my Paladin, and so I need about another 41 or so to pick up the newest added reward for the 250 mount mark, the Felfire Hawk.
So I generally will run older raids for the most prized mounts I still don’t have yet, such as Invincible from 25m Heroic Lick King, the aforementioned Ashes of A’lar from Tempest Keep, Mimiron’s Head from 25m Ulduar, the 2 dropped mounts from Firelands (I got the meta mount when it was still current content), 2 of the 3 dropped mounts from Dragon Soul etc etc.
I do have some prized mounts from older raids and instances that I’ve managed to pick up over the years, such as the Headless Horseman’s mount, the mount from Midnight in Karazhan, the Onyxia mount, all the useless (outside of the instance) mounts from AQ bar the black one, both Malygos mounts, both Sartharion mounts among many others.
But there are more yet to acquire…
These are easy enough, for the most part. This is one that requires patience, as collecting the pets that are available in the wild just requires you to nip around the various continents of WoW battling and capturing the pets you don’t yet have.
Some will require you to fulfil meta achievements, such as drops of other pets from raid bosses, or be lucky with garrison missions, some just need you to get really lucky with spawns (hello Unborn Val’kyr), and again, some will require simple cold hard cash (either IRL or ingame).
As for me, I’ve collected all of the wild pets you can get, bar 2 rare spawns in Draenor. I’m still working on some of the raid boss drops, either by doing old raids, or buying them on the BM/AH.
Once collected, there’s always the option of levelling them as well, or maybe doing the Celestial Tournament in Pandaria if you haven’t done that. I have, and got all 4 pets, and they’re so worth the effort.
There are the new Legendary pets to battle in Tanaan Jungle, all of which can reward other pets to boot…
This is one that I’m not really actively working on, but I do know some people that are as fervent about collecting toys as I am about Mounts & Pets.
Always bear in mind that there are some items that aren’t toys right now, but will become such in Legion.
Again, not another high on my list of priorities, mainly because I stick with a handful of titles I already have (my paladin is forever either Judge the Proven Defender or Crusader Judge).
However there are a couple of Titles I have that I’m quite proud of, that are actually quite hard to obtain.
Predator is one. This is obtained from killing a very rare challenge boss in Tanaan Jungle, Xemirkol, and is currently one of the titles I use on my Hunter.
Sar the Undying is another one I’m very fond of. Unobtainable now, sadly, but it was garnered by running a full 10 man raid team through Naxxramas without dying to any bosses, prior to 4.0.3 when it was removed from the game. Even then, it was quite the achievement to do. We never did get round to completing the 25 man version, the Immortal…
This one’s fairly self explanatory, and doesn’t need much going over. Simply have a look at the achievements you don’t have and set about clearing some of the easier ones to begin with.
I’m about 270 points short of 17,000 achievement points on my Hunter, so I’ve still a fair few to pick up, particularly PvP achievements, which I’ve got very few of.
Yep, the busy work at the end of the expansion for the 2nd time in a row. Gear obtained from the latest raid instance can be boosted by 5 item levels for 250 Valor Points. This can be done a maximum of twice per piece of gear, giving each piece a maximum of an extra 10 item levels. Overall this would/should boost your overall item level by about 10, giving you that little bit of extra oomph for other activities, regardless of whether you’re a raider or not.
Similarly Crystallised Fel can be obtained to upgrade your Legendary Ring (if you have it) by 3 item levels per time. This can be done until your ring’s iLevel maxes out at 795. Currently I’m at 753 with an Archimonde run still to be done this week.
Of course if you don’t want to run Archimonde each week, once you’re done with the Valor upgrades for your other gear, you can purchase the same Fel item from a vendor in Tanaan for a whopping 1250 Valor.
If you ask me, upgrading your other gear is a far better use of your Valor in the meantime, as 1250 Valor will fully upgrade 2½ pieces of gear. I’ll carry on with the Archi kills until they’re no longer viable methinks, and buy one now and then with any extra Valor I have, as I’m nearly fully upgraded with it anyway.
The rep grinds in Warlords were, as has been admitted by Blizzard, godawful. Simple, mindless, drawn-out rep grinds are lazy and uninspired, and the initial reps in WoD were exactly that. Mind you if grinding out reputation in this manner appeals, then you’re already likely to have gotten to exalted with the likes of the Frostwolf Orcs/Council of Exarchs or Arrakoa etc.
The reputations in 6.2 that were added to pad out the meta achievement for flying in Draenor were more palatable, but were gated behind dailies, so couldn’t be done in less than a few weeks.
Of course there are plenty of older reputations that you can grind out. This is one of the drawbacks about changing main characters like I did 6 months ago. I have nearly 50 exalted reps acquired on my Paladin, having played her as my main for nearly 7 years, but now I’m on my Hunter?
This makes acquiring related titles, such as The Beloved from the 60 reputation achievement that much harder to do.
Ideally the meta would count all the reps you have at exalted across your account, whilst obviously not counting any of the same reps twice. Easily solved by giving a Feat of Strength achievement for each and every exalted reputation on your account, and have the metas work off of those counts.
This is a massive one for me. As you’re probably aware I’m a huge lover of the transmog system not only in WoW, but also of similar systems in other games such as Wildstar, Elder Scrolls online etc.
Legion will of course bring a massive and very welcome overhaul of the transmog system, giving us a collection/wardrobe system similar to that seen in Wildstar. This will happily include Tabards and weapon enchants!
Of course you’re also going to have a starter wardrobe added at the very start of Legion/pre-patch, as you’ll be given access to all the quest rewards you’ve had the opportunity to gather over the years, even including the choices you didn’t take at the time!
If you haven’t already, I thoroughly recommend getting yourself setup with a full set of Hexweave bags to maximise your bag space ahead of Legion to allow for maximum transmog collecting potential. I did this a couple of days ago and got an extra 70 or so bag slots across my personal bags & bank slots. It cost about 12,000 gold, but it was most definitely worth it.
Even at that, 12,000 gold isn’t a massive outlay these days, especially if, like me, you’re looking to set about…
This is another target for me in Warlords, and one of the main things keeping me ticking over in the meantime – hitting the gold cap at least once.
Hitting the mythical cap is something I’ve wanted to do forever in WoW. As someone who entered Warlords with a grand total of 50,000g and thinking at the time that I was rich (bless), I’ve seen my gold total hit nearly 700k in the time between launch and now.
Currently I’m sitting at just over 500k, having made some investment in mounts to keep a hold of until later in the year in order to re-sell for hopefully a decent bit of profit. I’ve also spent quite a chunk of change over the past few days acquiring the remaining Heirloom items from vendors, and getting some stuff fully upgraded to 2/2 or up to 100. So I now have every Heirloom available for purchase in game, and only lacking the ones available from the Darkmoon Faire, or the Dread Pirate ring from the Fishing Contest.
1 million gold, you will be mine eventually…
This is one for me, as PvP is something I’ve not done a huge amount of in the past. Mainly this was down to me playing a Prot Paladin, and as such killing players wasn’t exactly something I was going to excel at, given my damage output potential in Prot Spec.
Sure I could have switched to Ret, and did from time to time, but that’s like writing with the wrong hand. Sure you can do it, and maybe it’ll even be legible, but it’s sure as hell not going to considered calligraphy now, is it?
That changed recently, as you’ll have read in my previous post, so no need to expound upon that further as you can go read that if you haven’t already.
Mind you that was carried out with a focus on acquiring a long-desired transmog set, so PvP for other reasons (gear, achievements, mounts etc) is something I’ve yet to do a lot of.
This is something I only tend to do if I’m extremely bored in WoW. However it is a great time waster and fills out the feckless days with aplomb.
Mind you there are shortcuts to levelling characters available on the Blizzard Store, now up to 100, but that’s £40 to level a character I’ll likely not play a lot of.
In fact my free 100 boost I got from pre-purchasing Legion is still sitting unused, awaiting the arrival of Gnome Hunters. I’m levelling a human hunter on and off. Actually my 2nd human hunter, my first is sitting at 92 and unplayed. Why not use the boost on that one instead?
Meh, it gives me something to do I suppose, and levelling another Hunter is never a bad thing 🙂
It’s especially nice to play through the opposite faction 1-60 experience a few times to pick up the background story on multiple paths. Of course once you get to Outland and beyond, the story tends to then mirror the experience of the other faction more significantly, and so becomes less worthwhile. Plus that, and waiting to use a boost at 60+ will also give you instantly maxed level…
Engineering on the Hunter was a very fast and easy experience to level to the Draenor maximum of 700.
It was so easy in fact, I actually wrote up a full 1-700 in less than 6½ minutes Engineering levelling guide!
I’ve struggled over the past few months since to decide which secondary profession I want to pick up. Should I pick up a gathering profession like Mining again, or go for a second production profession?
Given that Engineering isn’t really about producing stuff for profit more than it is about giving yourself small perks and abilities, such as a free Goblin Glider built into your cloak, I decided that another production profession was the order of the day.
I mulled over Leatherworking and Blacksmithing, but ultimately decided on Tailoring. Cloaks are always useful to sell at the start of any raid tier, and there’s always the evergreen sales of various capacity bags to keep the gold income ticking over.
Well that, and Magic Carpet mounts…
That’s a dozen things I’ve listed that you can while away the time on during the content lull until Legion eventually hits.
Even if you’re not a fan of some of the things listed, have maybe completed others, there should be something there that you can do ingame until Legion.
There’s always fun and content to be had for those willing to seek it out…
Yeah, I know. It shocked me too, trust me.
As you may or may not be aware, I’ve never been the world’s greatest lover of PvP in WoW. In fact I’m somewhat exclusively a PvE carebear for want of a better term.
I’ve shunned PvP in all of the nearly 8 years I’ve been playing off and on since vanilla, and I’ve never really been interested or motivated to partake in PvP, of either Organised or World flavours.
Certainly playing any PvP I had to, for achievements, mounts etc over the years on my Paladin was an exercise in restraint. Me restraining myself from putting my fist through my monitor whilst howling into the black void that would become my soul.
Anyway, having played my Hunter as a side character for several years (before finally making her my main), primarily for the pet collection aspect more than anything else, I’ve wanted one transmog for her over any other since Cataclysm.
The catch was, as you’ve probably already surmised, that it was a PvP armour set that could only be bought with Honor points. Bleurgh.
The set in question? The Ruthless Gladiator’s Pursuit.
And so it sat on the shelf, with me wistfully looking at it, softly and gently crying inwardly.
And then I decided over New Year’s to do something about it, despite the fact that I’d never PvP’d on the hunter before.
I found out that Hunters are to PvP what Paladins are to the colour pink.
Such a night and day difference in enjoyment levels! I played more than one battleground without losing patience. Hell I played more than one battleground without losing, period!
In fact I actually managed to more or less single-handedly win a couple of BG’s all by myself by racking up dozens of kills without dying and capturing more carts than anyone else on Silvershard Mines.
Yesterday was easily the most I have ever enjoyed playing PvP in WoW. Without any doubt. I played BG after BG, mostly winning, sometimes losing. But that was ok, because I was racking up Honor Points left right and center.
And after a day of hugely enjoyable PvP I was left with 2 things:
Firstly, an appreciation of how much fun PvP can actually be in World of Warcraft. Albeit a loosely organised one such as a queued battleground, but organised shenanigans such as rated/ranked BGs and Arenas are still beyond where I’m comfortable just yet.
And secondly, enough honor points to finally purchase:
I’m going to likely use the Heroic Dragon Soul crossbow, dropped by Warlord Zon’ozz, as the purple highlights on it match well with the overall transmog aesthetic.
Overall I’m very chuffed with both outcomes.
I’m really happy to finally have the transmog set I’ve been after for literally YEARS.
But also, PvP is quite likely something I’ll be doing a lot more of, maybe even enough of to get a full PvP set of gear. Although I seem to do just fine in my iLevel 713 PvE carebear set 😉