Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Daily Grind

Once upon a time in a land far far away, a little Draenei shaman was born. Her ebony skin glistened in the sunlight of Azuremyst, her blue hair fluttered behind her as she trotted along, gleefully smacking moths with her mace. It was the beginning of a many year grind, one that would engulf this little shaman's life whether she new it or not.

You see, I began as most MMORPG noobs tend to do. I had a spirit ring here, an agility mace there, a strength shield strapped to my back and the notion that the world was my playground. I valued gear by how much armor it had, had no clue how to earn a copper (the discovery of the auction house was a trip), and really didn't know how to go about leveling efficiently. Needless to say, times have changed my friends.

Throughout the Burning Crusade I remained more or less blissfully unaware of the heroic dungeon grind, and while I did on occasion do my Shattered Sun dailies, I never fully grasped or embraced the typical "OMG I need to get my dailies done!" mentality. I made a few sad attempts to work the auction house, mainly by trying to sell greens for what I'm sure were absurd prices (greens were my epics until I capped and learned what a real epic looked like), but outside of that I didn't feel a huge need for gold besides getting enough for my riding/flying training and a mount to go along with each upgrade. I knew nothing of grinding - be it for gear, reputation, or gold - outside of logging in daily to Ironforge only to while away my time trying to force myself to go out in the world and level.

Skip ahead many, many months. Wrath of the Lich King has launched and little Saz has somehow made it to level 80 in under a month (the trek from 1-70 took over 8 months total). She was introduced first to Naxxramas (yes, my first badge of the expansion was earned in a raid, not a heroic) and soon after was dragged through many heroics. In Burning Crusade heroics were a foreign creature, something to only be ran when one needed her Alchemy specialization. In Wrath? It was a way of life. Get together with guild mates, fly to dungeon A, work way around continent to dungeon Z. We did the heroic grind because that's what you did to help your guild gear up if you wanted to down more than just one little boss in Naxxramas. Dailies were still a foreign concept to me up until Trial of the Crusader came along with its Argent Tournament, though I did become rather religious about getting my cooking and fishing dailies done (the Salty obsession began here). During this time I became hooked on the grind. I began my raiding frenzy, started leveling up my druid (she was still semi old school...we still didn't have LFD and she only had the BoA shoulders since nothing else existed) which eventually led to an army of alts, and began my mount obsession. I learned that reputations are actually useful for something, aka mounts, and began to grind those out. I farmed for Baron's mount for weeks. Outside of raiding, the only time I was fully happy was when I was running in circles driving myself batshit insane over some reputation to get a new mount or what have you.

Skip ahead to present day.

To date I have only done Baradin Hold twice. Earlier this week I stepped into Bastion of Twilight for the first time and have yet to see Cho'gall. Raiding hardcore four times or more a week no longer happens, heroics are only completed when I feel like it (rarely), and the grind to find new recruits to fill the ranks of my guild is no more. Ladies and gentlemen, I have a lot of time on my hands now. A lot of time to do non-social grinds.

To someone such as myself - a severe lagger, an introvert, someone who sometimes can be horribly socially awkward - this is both a blessing and a curse. You see, I love me a good grind. As I said just a bit ago, I have always been happiest when running in circles driving myself mad at meeting some absurd goal. However, I am currently unhappy. Frustratingly unhappy.

For starters I came into Cataclysm late due to a myriad of reasons, thus putting myself months behind on the reputation grind. I've had to play catch up on getting all of my basic faction reputations up to exalted, and while doing so 4.2 has launched while this process has remained incomplete. I'm capping my dailies almost daily on my shaman, and I feel as if though I am making no headway. I'm still doing my Argent Tournament dailies in attempts to collect the last two mounts I'm missing and I hope to acquire the Argent Pony Bridle for the achievement. I've been doing my city cooking/fishing dailies in Stormwind/Ironforge/Darnassus in attempts of finishing off those achievements + collecting the last of the vendor cooking recipes. I've been doing that damn bird jousting daily out in Mount Hyjal to get me that second bird pet. After I'm done with that I head over and do my Molten Front dailies (I still have yet to open up one of the factions, thus I don't have all the dailies open yet >.<) despite the massive lag that comes with the zone. When all is said and done, I have only six dailies left to complete, so I do six of the twelve Tol Barad dailies since I'm still missing the horse mount. I feel as if I am making no headway through dailies. It's like trying to progress through quicksand. Don't get me wrong, I see the need for gated content for the longevity of the game and in keeping the long time players actively doing something, but for someone such as myself who is late to the game? It's overwhelming.

Did I mention I've been working on Archeology, running Molten Core on my shaman as well as on my druid if I think of it, while trying to figure out a way to wiggle into other older raids for rep? Yeah...

Ladies and gents, I am drowning in the grind.

Some could say "Well, you don't HAVE to do all your dailies or dig or run old raids." and they would be right, I don't have to. The fact of the matter is though, since I don't raid or role play or run a guild, what else is there to do? Level another alt? Well, even as easy as it is these days that in itself is still a grind. I'm already up to four level 85s, I have a hunter primed to make the five level jump to cap, and I've been working on a holy paladin. Honestly though, I want some personal progression for my shaman right now, and it seems the only way to do that is of course the anti-social grind.

Now, this is an MMORPG. I am fully aware that World of Warcraft is built on the grind and that without it, this game would have died many, many years ago. The reason behind this post is simply to express my frustration over the feeling of being overwhelmed by the grind presented in this expansion. I'm sure that the grinds presented in Cataclysm are a far cry from the horrific (albeit epic) quest lines of Vanilla WoW, they are by far much more mind numbing experience than some of the ones I recall from Wrath (recall that I was mostly oblivious to most of the attunement quests of Burning Crusade...I returned to that zone at 80 and did many of the key quests, but they were a far cry from the difficulty they were at level). I feel as if though I've been doing the daily grind so much and so thoroughly lately that I'm just...numb and unengaged.

Yes, numb and unengaged.

A year and a half ago I was able to fully submerse myself into WoW and the various activities it offered. I didn't mind the heroic dungeon grind because you could queue up all day long and get several dungeons completed and snag yourself a few pieces of gear in a day or two. Now queues are 20-30 minutes as a DPS, you spend an hour in one dungeon (less if the group is over geared and know what's going on, rarely the case in a PuG), and it takes forever to reap the reward if you've already manage to snag/craft/purchase 346 or better ilevel gear. If you want to gear up your alts while still keeping your main in the race for Valor Points, you best have copious amounts of free time on hand. I didn't mind the faction grind once they implemented tabards because if you didn't have the reputation, slap on a tabard and get heroic grinding. That hasn't changed much, but to force one's self through heroics or even the quicker regular dungeons just for simple faction reputation is just torture most days. "Just do the dailies" you may suggest. Remember that bit about me capping out on dailies? Yeah, sadly those are no longer an option thanks to the new Molten Front dailies.

I do love that Blizzard is trying to get us to make choices. It can often be frustrating to be pigeon holed into one way of doing things. I have to give them some respect for trying to get out of the "this is how things must be done" way of working things. On the opposite side of the coin though it almost seems to be a bit much. Sometimes it's fun to have a bit of wiggle room to go back and finish old reputation dailies, like say Ogri'la (okay, those are NOT fun quests, but I do need to get to them soon if I ever want to hit 50 exalted reputations). Grinding Argent Tournament dailies for a year + while trying to squeeze in every possible Cataclysm dailies in order to catch up from being months behind? Not so much. Blizzard has stated that it will not be raising the daily level cap because they want players to choose what to work on next. I say I don't have anything else going on and I'd choose at this point to potentially do more dailies.

Regardless, I am beginning to see the light through the rats nest of reputation grinds, alt leveling, and I wish I could say gear grinding, but that last point is still a dismal black hole of a time sink. Within a few weeks I should finally be finished with the AT dailies on my shaman, she should be just about finished with the city profession dailies (I'll be at the cooking dailies for a while yet though), and it should only be another week or two of half assed Tol Barad dailies before I get my mount and can be finished with them. I only have one more faction to finish via tabards through dungeons left on my shaman. I should be able to open up my first Molten Front faction within the week and I only have five more days left of bird jousting (if I ever have to look at a jousting stick in Azeroth again, I may have to stab my eyes out). I will get through this grind. I will I will I will! Until that day were I finally work my way out of this not-so-fun-even-for-me-grindy mess though, I shall be in unengaged zombie mode. Frustratingly, unengaged, numb, and bored zombie mode.

I need a way to make it all fresh again. I need a way to pop myself out of this apathetic funk. How do you, dear reader that has somehow made it all the way to the bottom of this post, make the daily grind fresh or at least tolerable for you?


  1. Saz~
    I understand where you are coming from. You really have 2 chices here, either A: take a break and try different games, or B: try a different playstyle for WoW. Neither choice will be easy I'm afraid. But when things get musty and stagnant it is definitely time for change. I changed up my whole point of view with Grimrhok. This was so things wouldnt be stagnant. You have long been a raider/instancer/ gatherer. As scary as it may seem, you may need to try out PvP for a change. You don't have to be good, just willing to learn. Start from the bottom as I did. You may be surprised.

  2. The sad thing is I'm actually more or less coming off of a rather lengthy break. I jumped in feet first and well, I'm so far behind I feel as if though I'm drowning and the amount of work to be done is way over my head. It's just my frustration of there being so much to do, and I can't control how quickly I do it.

    I've actually done *some* PvP as of late, but as a lagger that is even more frustrating. Not to mention headache inducing. My current issue with PvP though isn't so much the lag, as it is a certain addon. It's called KillTheHealer! and it puts a nice "kill me" sign on my head as restoration. Cast a riptide, instantly get six horde on you. Cast offensive spells? They ignore you. Worst borderline exploit addon right now imo, and it's absolutely killing the fun of PvP for me. Not to mention I'm under geared, so all the instant deaths due to that are just all the more frustrating. I've been contemplating dropping restoration for elemental until I get gear, but I simply hate that spec so much. I would so very much love to delve back into PvP, it would be a welcome change. Until Blizzard bans that damn addon though, I may be SoL in that department : /

    My thanks for your suggestions! <3

  3. Hey Saz-

    I would have to add some agreement to Mhorgrim's thoughts about PvP for these reasons.

    I switched mains from my druid to my BM hunter. Although level capped, he was poorly geared, never been in any raids, and heroics were not an option at the time.

    A guild mate suggested running TB battles and dailys, every day, to get decently geared for starters. Having never done any serious PvP, this was a shockwave for me. But it worked. In two weeks I was fully outfitted in bloodthirsty gear. Ten days later, exaulted, and a new battle ram. I filled the balance of dailys with rep stuff at the time.

    Now, it is all Molten Front, three vendors opened because I'm well enough geared for it, and battlegrounds to shake the grind dust off of me. The only reason I go back to TB is for the drake, which will come this week. After that, random bg's for conquest gear.

    Anyway, I really knew nothing about PvP battlegrounds when I started. It came to me soon enough though, and it would for you also. Just think of all those opposite faction killers running about as fire you don't stand in, or adds, and damage/kill as much as you desire.

    It really does clear out the grind dusting you've collected. Anyway, perhaps give it a shot. Who knows, until you try.

  4. @Saz~
    Hon, I use the Healersmustdie lol. But it doesn't always work! As a hint don't heal until you know you have a ton of support in hand, that last minute heal will still go in your favor. Remember, bubble yourself first, keep far away from melee and drop healz like crazy. If your DPs crew is doing it right they will burn everything in your way!

    Also, helaing not working for you? Try being a hunter for underastanding the DPS side. It may help if the puggers arent stupid. As a aside note, I drop grous quick if they arent supporting right.

  5. sorry for the spelling I'm pretty drunk tonight lol but you always got my vote!!!

  6. Also, no matter what, my time in the blog community hasbeen made much brighter by your presense. You have given plenty of fun, thoughtful posts for everyone to see. I know it's hard Saz, but always remember to have fun. WoW is a theme park. pick what you especially enjoy, yes enjoy and then run with it! If you ever have the inkling, drop on by Emerald Dream and look up Grimrhok, or if I'm not around, Mckaylee my RL wife. We are Dwarf folk now but always welcome friends!

  7. Haha you both are wonderful, you know that? I've done some PvP in my day, albeit not a lot. I've actually done a bit more feral PvP on my druid than the resto gig Saz, so it's not a completely foreign beast to me. I think most of my frustrations to that aspect of the game stems from WSG. WSG is the bane of my healer existence. Healing the flag carrier when the horde comes a' swarmin'? The second I refresh Earth Shield or splash him with a Rip Tide two bars of debuffs from DKs and Warlocks instantly appear. I can heal through a good bit of it, but then I'm oom and rather dead. Its failure with me is due in part to my gear issues, in part due to damn addon, and in part because of my short temper. If I could nab a few more nice PvE pieces to supplement my rather weak PvP set I may be better off. I will try very soon to dust off some of my PvP sass. I'm not much good at the objectives, but once I get in that groove there's not much that can take me down.

    Silly silly dwarf, drunk commenting on my blog are ya? I've been mulling over rolling a dwarf over by you for giggles most of this evening, but I'm not certain on the class yet! Once that and a name is decided on I'll have to at least drop by and say hello in person : )

  8. I doubt if my methods would be helpful, aside from playing something else for a while I usually start another alt. It works well in Cataclysm as there are so many new low level quests I haven't done. After a while I miss my Druid and go back.

    Lol, I would not be the one to recommend PvP. I told Sol as soon as someone hits me I stand there like a deer caught in headlights. If I could get over that reaction I would STILL stand there frozen because more often than not I'm sure that's when I'd get one of my all too frequent lag spike!

  9. Those lag spikes are a funny beast. Sometimes they cause my death, sometimes I swear they're the only reason why I live half the time. "Oh hai guys, I'm over here! Oh, my bad. I meant to say I'm over here! Never mind, I'm no long in range of you." *Snickers*

    For the longest time alts were my therapy. If I had enough of everyone's fuss, I'd go hide on an alt somewhere. Now that the lowest of my alts on Aggramar is 40 something and with RealID not having an invisible option, hiding away on something new is a bit tedious. I almost hate to wander away from the home server since I can't tote my beloved heirlooms along for the ride, not to mention I'm strange and feel a mountain of guilt when I lovingly create a new character somewhere, only to abandon it a short time later.

    Though, now that you've brought it up and that Mhorgrim has something along the lines of alts too, I may have a mini project in mind. Hmmm, I must mull some more *strokes chin*

    Brb plotting.

  10. Be like me don't do dailies everyday. Although, that just lengthens the time you are doing them because you dont do them everyday. But, somedays I just don't care. I help those little buggers everyday, surely they can live a day without my help. Maybe alternate dailies? Doooo Ogrila dailies one day (HA! /points and laughs), Molten Front the next, AT the next (or two in one day), you get the picture. Oh and run MC with me cus I don't like to do it alone ;)

    Oooor we could just transfer to a RP server. I think we would surprisingly fit in.

  11. I'm getting pretty close on some of those darn dailies, and you know how it goes when we get grinding "Just a little more...almost there...keep going, almost there!" So as batty as I'm getting, I can't stop! Can't mess up the routine >.<

    About Orgi-la...meeeeean lady! Those are dailies I've put off since BC for a reason. Damn ogres. Regardless of the sting, I'd be happy to run MC with you. All I need is like one more piece of tier, one more Blood of the Mountain, and a bit more reputation and I am DONE with that place. I actually skipped it last week. Thought about running it last night, but ended up doing failroics instead.

    Are we going to become billionaires before transferring? Because you know I couldn't leave any of my team behind!

    Yes, wall of text crits you for OVER 9000! (Hey, I gotta get my crits out somehow. I don't have guild forums to do it in anymore!)

  12. Heya Saz,
    Been playin the game so much on my alt army I am slow to catch up. If you do ever get ya a dwarf on Emerald Dream, pop in. I remade Mhorgrim into a crazy dwarf pally, but Grimrhok is my main hunter. We just had an awesome time on friday assaulting the gates of Orgrimmar. About 40 of the Clan showed up and we did our patrol march, then decided to take over the Crossroads. After that, we marched into the back door of Orgfrimmar. THAT dear girl was a battle royal. Sadly it was a stalemate, but it was such a huge blast lol. pop in when ya can, look us up!

  13. I'll have to find a moment very soon! I actually made up a baby Dwarven shaman the other night on Emerald Dream prior to heading off to bed, but I have yet to hit that button that starts it all. Sounds like you all had one heck of a battle! Sounds like a lot of fun to be honest. Keep poking at me, I shall stop by soon!

  14. Saz,
    This was my latest Blog post lol