Friday, February 4, 2011

Short Term Goals For New 85's

Spinks argues that a shift to shorter term goals may be endangering WoW's retention time.  What exactly are the short term goals for a new level 85 (such as myself)?
  • Finish Cataclysm Quest Zones: Depending on how you leveled, you probably have one or more Cataclysm zones worth of quests available.  If you haven't done Twilight Highlands (and possibly Uldum), there are probably gear upgrades to be had.  You might be able to snag rep rewards (and therefore additional gear), along with cash.  You might also have the chance to snag tradeskill materials - in particular, enchanters will find a fair number of quest rewards to disenchant. 

    (Personal Status: My main has about 90% of Hyjal and Twilight Highlands left to do, along with all of Deepholm.  It's worth noting that Deepholm has a questline that's an absolute requirement for access to one of the reputations.)

  • Work on Professions: You can typically expect to level your professions to either 475 or 500 for access to all your self-only perks.  Depending on your profession, you may produce gear that you can use during this process.  This is another place where Enchanters win, since they get to equip extremely minor upgrades and then disenchant them later for materials. 

    (Personal Status: 476 Tailoring, need 500 for Embroidery, 486 Enchanting, need 500 for disenchanting max level loot.) 

  • Daily Quests?  Surprisingly, there are relatively limited PVE dailies in Cataclysm.  There are some in Deepholm, some in Twilight Highlands, and all of two in Uldum.  (Hyjal will get new dailies in patch 4.1.)  There are also some profession dailies, but the rest of the bunch are specific to Tol Barad.

  • PVP: Speaking of TB, you might not be snagging an epic per win anymore, but it's still there and should still be good for some honor.  More on this topic when I get around to it. 

  • Dungeons: Love em or hate em, but it's definitely worth running each instance at least once for guaranteed quest reward loot.  You get more Justice Points for accepting the random luck of the draw, but you might prefer to run specific dungeons in search of certain gear.  (Also, two of the five random options for level 85's are lower level dungeons that drop inferior loot and, once patch 4.0.6 arrives, markedly worse JP.) 

    (Personal Status: Have yet to run the three level 85 dungeons.  My average ilvl is 320, so I've got a bit to go before I can unlock heroics.) 
Overall, the list looks a little bit shorter than the comparable list did in Wrath.  Then again, it doesn't look disproportionately so when you consider the smaller number of zones, especially if most players are going to roll up an alt sometime to check out the new leveling content.  

Should we be playing just for loot?
I get where Spinks is coming from on the gear reset - if we assume that we're going to get a gear wipe sometime around April (plus or minus a few months), that might impact your willingness to grind out all the best stuff.  Also, because of automated currency downgrades, individual players can hit a point prior to the patch where it is no longer worth doing random dailies because they will not be able to obtain sufficient numbers of the top tier currency before the patch resets it.  For those of us who are planning to spend Feburary 24th through March 30th (or possibly longer) in Telara, it probably makes sense to bank JP and honor to cash in when we get back to Azeroth.

That said, I'm not sure that this is a bad thing, even for Blizzard in the long term.  If you're having fun playing, it doesn't matter whether you're still going to be using the same gear in a few months.  If the only reason you're playing is to upgrade the arbitrary numbers on your character sheet, then yes, you've got less incentive to stick around.  If that's the case, though, I would argue that you're probably not having that much fun.  From Blizzard's perspective, it's not worth dragging one last $15 fee out of you if it means that you're hating the game by the time you finally quit and you end up staying away for months or years.  In that case, everyone might be just a little better off in the long run if you take a break and come back when there's new stuff to do.


  1. Don't discount TB so quickly. The initial island you can port to is a pure PvE area. The TB tokens can be used to purchase nice PvE gear. There are around 6 or so quests for each side.

    Then there is TB itself. If your side owns TB, you can get around ~6 dailies in there. You can do these while the TB battle is not going on and you will not be flagged for PvP.

  2. You can actually get a total of 18 dailies from Tol Barad -- the original 6 in the non-PvP camp that you can do regardless of possession, another 6 that open up as soon as you win TB that day, then 2 more sets of 3 if you win 2 more battles.

    It can take time and I certainly don't try to get all of those every day, but for insanely quick rep and some decent commendation gear, it's rather nice.

    I've had a lot of fun (and frustration) in TB this last week. I doubt it'll last forever, or even much beyond me getting what I want from the QM there, but for right now it's definitely a change of pace for me.

    Then again, being 85 is a change of pace for me. :D

    (It's also the source of my PVP frustration atm, because attacking TB is so damn hard, but that's not entirely on topic.)

  3. I'll try to explain why I think it's quicker to reach many of these goals this time around than it ever has been on previous expansions.

    1. Dungeon finder. If you want to run all of the dungeons once, you can easily just queue for them while you're finishing up the quests.

    2. Faction tabards which give extra rep for that faction in instances. You haven't mentioned rep grinding as a short term goal but if you had, it's never been easier. Even with the Deepholm rep, once you have unlocked the rep, you have the option of a tabard to wear as well as daily quests to improve rep. So combined with LFD it's never been faster to rep grind.

    Tol Barad rep, as Ysh notes, can also be done quite quickly since there are a LOT of dailies available.

    3. Linear questlines. I don't think everyone would feel it important to complete every quest, and as you noticed you can get to 85 quite quickly. If you did want to level another alt, you'd see that it can feel repetitive.

    So I think a combination of fewer zones (less to explore etc) and levels, faster more streamlined levelling, LFD, and rep tabards, and of course the guild perks which can also give up to 10% faster xp, rep, etc have made this all much quicker. And one of the medium term goals for regular players used to be levelling alts and getting them into heroics - that's also much much faster for the same reasons.

  4. @Spinks: Bear in mind that the TB rep grind does not end at exalted, because you need tokens to actually purchase stuff. That mostly balances out the rep options compared to Wrath; most characters could ignore at least one of the peripheral Wrath reps anyway.

    As to having a tabard option for the Hodir equivalent, it beats making every single character grind Hodir dailies for several weeks, which was the only option for the shoulder enchant for the first 6 month or so of Wrath.

  5. As an inscriber there is literally no reason to get my Therazane rep to exalted because I can get a better shoulder enchant from my prof. Hodir at least gave you a mount to go for.

  6. " it beats making every single character grind Hodir dailies for several weeks"

    This is what I mean about making all the goals short term. Did it ever REALLY matter if you had the top shoulder enchant, especially if you weren't much into endgame anyway?


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