Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A moment of clarity - how I finally turned my back to AT

Why am I doing this? I don’t enjoy it the slightest anymore!

The insight hit me like a rock as I was slowing down to land in the middle of a bunch of scourge, assembled on an ice field, waiting for their daily execution.

Yeah, by killing those creatures I could make some easy gold and make another faction admire Larísa a little bit more than they did before. I would get currency to get one more pet to forget to display. Looking at it briefly it seemed efficient enough – I’d get two quests done at the same time, since killing one scourge counted for both. The amount of gold and vanity loot I could make per hour was decent, not to say amazing.

It was just one thing. One little thing, but nevertheless important. The very thought of doing those quests another time was revolting. I was totally done with it.

Why had I even bothered to pick it up? Had I completely lost my mind?

From theory to action
I’ve been writing a few posts touching on this issue lately. Some readers have pointed out that I seemed to be on the verge of burnout from daily questing, suggesting that I’d look for a change. And after some therapeutic ranting at PPI, I’ve finally agreed with them. What is more important: I won’t let it stay as a thought experiment. Just as Gevlon preaches, I’m actually doing something about it.

I landed my bird on a safe spot. I felt that this was one of those blessed moments of clarity. There would be no more jousting. No more flying all over the world to kiss a frog and get a sword. No more scourge massacre. At least not for a long time, though I won’t say “never again”, since the itch may come back at some point. But for now being I refuse to spend another single minute on a grind I don’t enjoy. The decision was taken and it was such a relief.

I decided to immediately put Larísa to bed – it was not a raiding night and I just couldn’t come up with anything fun to keep her occupied. Now what? Suddenly I remembered something. Didn’t I roll a little druid a month ago? A blue-faced creature, with tattoos all over her face, currently sitting in Darnassus, collecting dust, waiting for her mistress to finish this tournament business?

The awakening
A few minutes later I found myself bravely attacking level 12 mobs in the deep forests of Darkshore. The loot was about as far from epic as you can come. I got copper instead of gold. I cheered at an offhand giving me +1 intellect, which I hoped would make my mana pool increase slightly. But what mattered more was that I needed to be on my toes all the time, as I was trying to figure out when to be a bear and when not to, when to root and when to heal myself, how I would make best use out of my mana or rage

Trust me; facing a rabid bear is far scarier than taking out defenceless scourge, if you’re not overpowered by higher level or better gear.

I became aware of things that had faded away from me during all those months spent in endgame. Like the huge aggro range of low level characters and what it’s like to make corpse runs when you’re questing and the graveyard is in the other end of the zone.

How had it happened that I had forgotten how fun this game can be – outside of the raids? This was an awakening. Admittedly the zone wasn’t as polished and artistically interesting as Northrend is and the quests were pretty simple, not sophisticated at all. No phasing, no movies, no vehicles. I was back to killing 20 boar, sorry, bears. But at least it was 20 bears I had never seen before and the spells and attacks were all brand new.

Once again I was a noob, slowly learning how to druid. To my astonishment I also looked at Darnassus with completely new eyes. It wasn’t just the deserted city where the lack of NPC:s to ask makes it annoyingly hard to find your way around. It had turned into my home town, a peaceful spot in the world, which I wanted to defend against the threat from the evil forces of the world.
It was a complete change of perspective, a brave new world to inhale, more than can just be explained by my change of height, from gnome size to nightelf.

The Deadmines project
Does this mean that Larísa has turned in to an altoholic, giving up raiding, giving up her struggles to reach worthy, and challenging end-game goals? No, absolutely no! My mage and her ability to raid will always be my main priority. But as the game has evolved in WotLK there isn’t the same need even for a dedicated raider to grind between the raid nights as there once was. It isn’t hard to get the gold you need to finance repairs and consumables. And the only rep grind that is required for maximising your gear is the Son of Hodir, which I’m done and over with since long. When I did this AT grind was rather done out of habit (“grinding is what you do when you don’t raid”) than out of desire.

So what’s next? What are my aims for my druid? Actually there aren’t many. I haven’t made any progression plan. I picked skinning and leatherworking as professions for now, not because I’ve made any deep analysis how it will fit into the team of my other characters, but because they’re new to me and seemed to be OK for a druid.

I don’t rush anything. For the first time in a long time I can honestly say that I’m not in any hurry whatsoever. I’m levelling alone, so there isn’t any “I should keep-up-with-the-others stress”. I don’t know if I’ll even reach 80. The only clear goal I have is to make an old dream of mine come true: to clear Deadmines properly, without any boosting, at the right level.

I don’t expect it to be all easy to find a willing party to join me in this mission once I’m in the DM level range. Who wants to spend hours wiping in an instance the proper way, when you can get boosted and get the loot and xp you want in just 10 minutes? Who wants to put up with a newbie druid, who never has tanked or healed anything in her life before and probably needs some direction? It’s as far from a free lunch as you can come.

But maybe there are a few likeminded people out there. People who have been hit with a moment of clarity and want to slip out from the burden of the daily grind. I hope so.


Darraxus said...

Alts can be a nice change from time to time. I have started the climb from 70-80 on my warlock recently after having leveled three other toons to 80. I was very gung-ho about the argent tournament, even getting the Crusader title. I have done the dailies maybe once in two weeks since. I actually dread them. They dont take long but I am just sick of them.

David said...

Welcome to Alt-ing! You know how much I enjoy trying out new characters and ways to play. Right now, while I raid Ulduar with my guild on my druid, I am leveling a priest (at 46) and a Shaman (at 74). Not to mention my 80 paladin and mage, and all my other alts.

Funny thing, I was just thinking maybe I should take my main over to the Argent tournament, and give it a spin, to try it at least once. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence!

I tried the oracles grind, but with only 3 daily quests a day, I don't feel its worth the time to get out there and repeat the quests over and over just to get an achievement and a trinket I have already outgeared. Same for Hodir, I did just enough to get honored and the lower level enchants - I am not going to grind dailys for the weeks needed to get exalted and the 5 extra spellpower. The time invested versus the gain is so low. I'd much rather level new characters than log on to only one and do the exact same thing every day.

Lucky you, new bear and cat forms are coming up for your new druid! Have fun!

Anonymous said...

I feel the same way you do about the Tournament dailies. I just... didn't want to. I think that I have done about one day's worth of complete dailies, and one quest here or there. And other than that... no go. I'm looking to get back into alting myself (surprise, surprise...) so I definitely understand where you're coming from. "Getting back to your roots" and be really refreshing.

And I applaud you for wanting to clear Deadmines properly. I don't think that I have ever run Deadmines with a full group at the correct level - before, I hadn't made friends and didn't even know what instances were and then after, because friends would always run me through to make it quicker. Perhaps I should make that a goal myself.

Anonymous said...

How long have you been playing? I ask because in terms of most, I'm still a new player. I've yet to get to the point where alts are more appealing that the grind.

I am impressed by the decision though, most people would just 'burn out' and decide that’s it, than realise what you have. That there is so much more to the game than the end game.
I hope it works out for you, especially with the early instances, I think at a low level they were so much more challenging than the high level ones.

Anonymous said...

I had the same sort of feeling about the AT. After I finished the undercity rep I was doing the dailies and I caught myself thinking, "Why am I doing this? It isn't very fun."

And I remembered that I really wanted to see the alliance quests in Wrath so instead of starting at level 1, I started a new death knight with the aim of levelling slowly through Outland, just pottering around.

And one of the most unlikely but fun things I find is herbing in low level zones. It's so peaceful. I'm riding around picking herbs, the zones are quiet, sometimes I find things I'd never seen before (I found a red dragon in Hillsbrad! Never knew that was there before.) Being on a different server, having no gold, and not knowing anyone is surprisingly relaxing.

Have fun with your druid, they're very cool!

Gevlon said...

I can proudly say that I've NEVER done anything in the AT, just check my sunreavers rep. Not a single quest.

My GF and me are working on a lowbie project, will be revealed soon, after a certain crazy rep grind is done. OK it won't be THAT crazy and will involve a dungeon we've never been in.

And it's not just gear and "being newbie". A lvl 20 monster is much stronger for a lvl 20 character than a lvl 79 for a lvl 79. These monsters were designed when Naxx was not just a gearing spot for braindead and were NOT nerfed since.

GL finding proper group for Deadmines. We just done Ragefire chasm. Much more challenge than any 5-man HC. These old instances are remnants from the pre-nerf ages.

Anonymous said...

trying out a completely new game style and doing it at a relaxed pace can be so much fun! its how I ended up with as many alts as I have :P

today - blizzard decided that they needed to fix our server right in the middle of the raid and it was taking forever for it to come up. so a bunch of guildies, including our raidleader decided that we should all roll level ones on a randomly picked server - gnomes or dwarfs only and then streak for hoger :) that little raid of ours, full of pigtailed gnome mages and dwarven hunters and priests was some of the most fun I had in weeks :P )

sometimes the little things, rediscovering the game from a different perspective can be so much more fun.

P.S. I'm so jealous - alliance quests in northrend somehow just feel so much more intimate, more relatable and they just pull you right into the story (well, most of them do :P ). Even though I'm otherwise a die hard hordie, I've been questing on my drae huntress a lot lately and I've been having a blast with them :)

Russell Abbott said...

Boy, how is it that I wake up thinking "I've got a great idea for a post" and then boom, I check here, and you've already done it better than I would have?

*shakes fist*

I've had a similar experience with the AT, though I got 3 factions to exalted so I could sell a couple of those pets on the horde side (for a tidy 8k profit). I do have some alts, but personally I've been going back to old Outland instances and seeing how much I can handle--I hit 70 only a month or so before wrath dropped, and I never did most of them.

I haven't found one I can't solo yet, though regular Botanica was pretty hard. The second boss in Magister's Terrace was no pushover either. But it's great fun to see all that content and backstory I missed back in the day (though now I am desperately curious about the Sunwell).

Gareld said...

Yeah, I'm finishing up my second city tonight and then I'm done with the tournament for a while. Wanted to do it for the achievments but I won't drive myself crazy

Wowmomma said...

After complaining for months about the number of rep grinds that had to be done in TBC, I've found myself pretty directionless in WotLK. It's strange to be online with my raiding toon and not really have anything to do. So yeah, I resorted to rolling a new toon too lol.

Larísa said...

@Darraxus: yeah, it’s strange how quickly I grew tired of them. After all I really liked the idea of adding some more swords and sorcery aspect to the game, jousting and knights and fairy tales and kissing frogs felt fun to begin with. But suddenly it just stopped and I couldn’t face it anymore.

@David: oh dear, that’s a lot of alts! Actually I think one reason why it feels nice to play an alt now is that it was so long since I last had a character at that level. It’s only my second alt and it’s quite long since I levelled my first one, which also was a gnome, so it’s been long since last time and being NE is brand new. But I guess that when you’ve levelled enough of characters that too will feel like a grind and doing dailies can actually feel more attractive.

Well, since I haven’t had any druid before I’m fine with the original shape, I haven’t grown tired of it yet. But the new ones certainly look cool enough to me.

@Holy Discipline: Yeah, I don’t think I did any instance at all before I was well passed 30 if I remember right. And I can’t say I did a ton of them as levelling up. So it really feels about time to do it for real.

@Rapidresponceunit: I’ve played since jan/feb 2007 and still feel a bit like a newbie. People who have played since beta are much more likely to be bored than I, most of them have levelled a bunch of characters, I only two. So I’m a bit lucky – I’ve still got a lot left of the game to discover.

@Spinksville: It’s so easy to get caught into the drill of grinding dailies or rep without thinking about it, isn’t it? I still have DK left to do, I just can’t make up my mind if I’ll do it on the alliance side or the horde side.

About AT I wouldn’t go as far as to not do it at all. The quests gave me a lot of entertainment to begin with. But suddenly I realized they’d stopped to be fun long ago and I hadn’t noticed.

I’ve got good hope to find a group for DM. I posted a question at the guild forum and there seem to be several players who have alts in the right bracket and are up for it. I’m not so sure it’s easy to pug it.

@Leah: That sounds really fun! It certainly helps if you can get some guildies to join. Going having fun raiding a nerfed Hogger isn’t as fun if you’re on your own I think.

I didn’t realize the horde quests are that much different from the alliance ones in Northrend. Perhaps if I’ll end up making a horde DK I’ll get the chance to see it. Guess grass is always greener on the other side.

@Russell Abbot: awww… write that post anyway! I’d like to see your take on it.
Soloing instances is another project. Don’t know if the outland ones are doable on my fire mage, I doubt it. But it would be fun to see how far up I could go. It will have to wait a bit now though until I’m done with my druiding.

@Gareld: having a break is probably fine. It isn’t as if they’re planning to remove the AT from the game, rather the opposite as far as I’ve understood it. There’s many months to go before we can start thinking about the next expansion, plenty of time to go…

@Wowmomma: yeah, we complained about the grinds and then we kept doing it even if we didn’t have to. Strange.

2nd Nin said...

:P I dunno if grinding is really gone, the volume of cash you can blow in a single raid is still silly compared and does take time to make back. The AT stuff is really nice and gives a reasonable amount of cash (and I am not handing in gnomergan for that extra easy 60g).

Alting however is a lot more fun than most raiding at the moment, though it does lead to the horrible problem of wanting multiple geared characters and going from being "I can link any achievement a pug wants" to "I can link my blue quest back". Look forward to the druid posts now though :).

Copernicus said...

I didn't mind the AT quests, except for the sword. Getting the sword is just a pain in the rear.

I did all five factions, but got a bit bored after that. Getting half the gold I was before really knocked it down my list. I've been using the time to mine and herb instead. It's much more relaxing to just fly around and gather things, even if I am getting less money out of it.

I already have several alts ranging from 33 to 78, besides my two 80s. I'm currently messing with my 48 mage, because during Children's Week I took my wife's mage in to do the PvP quests and had a blast. I may just turn the mage into a PvP character.

Dorgol said...

I'm still enjoying the AT somewhat. But then, I can solo all of it (even Threat) thanks to my class. If I had to find a group and wait for them to get there, it might be a little more annoying. As is, I can get the entire set done in 30 minutes (though I no longer bother with the sword quests).

I am close to finishing, though. I have the Argent Hippogryph plus 3 of the racial 400g + 5 Marks mounts. Once I have the other two mounts I'll sit back and consider my next goal (MUST. HAVE. TREE. PET. FOR. DRUID.)

It's always good to keep a clear idea of what your goal is for a particular action. For me, I don't do these dailies for the gold or rep - which is why I never bothered with the Goblin quests and I no longer do the sword quests.

Re: Alts and Deadmines.

I did Deadmines for the first time in Jan '05 - less than two months after release. All of a sudden I learned that I had "responsibilities" in a group. Healthstones were suddenly wanted by others. That Soulstone wasn't JUST for me. I understood the need for a healer... but what was this Tank people were talking about?

I later went in on my 1st alt (a warrior) and had one of the crowning moments in that character's carreer - I tanked the event AND we 4-manned it.

After that, the low level instanes became random distractions. I still love most of them (Gnomer can implode so far as I'm concerned), but like you noticed - groups for those are few and far between. My Paladin did several as I was leveling him up, but that was because I could provide heals or tanking :)

Daria said...

You might actually find a group for DM since it is still one of the more popular low level instances.
Even better if you can do so with your guild.
When I was leveling a shaman alt earlier this year, I had a hard time finding full groups. Usually I'd get an invite and after 30 mins or more the group would split up because we couldn't fill it.

I also had some moments of frustration, since getting to these lower level instances that are halfway across the world when you are level 20 and have no epic travel takes forever. You are always going to have those people in the group who won't move and expect you to travel all the way there to summon them. It once took me over an hour just waiting around on someone else from my group to get to RFD :(. They don't realize that you would get started much quicker if EVERYONE would just run there! Drives me bananas..

Perhaps your alt can carry you along until the next expansion or content patch comes out.

Daniel said...

About Deadmines.

I recommend you run the old instances in groups of 3 or 4 level appropriate characters. Running them with a full party is not much fun because you will simply overpower the nerfed content.

My wife, a friend, and I prefer to 3-man level appropriate instances *(Mana Tombs, at 65, is next om our list and we are looking forward to the challenge of the last boss.

Enjoy your druid!

Fitz said...

Larisa, I feel the same way about dailies. One of my three IRL friends in the game grinds rep and does a set of dailies (currently AT obviously) every day before work. For an hour.

So while he's very quick to have gold and rep rewards and such, I couldn't make myself add a one hour job to my daily life. So when I'm in the mood, I'll take the tons of gold from the AT and continue my slow progression through the 5 Champion grinds. Just do them maybe once or twice a week and they will retain part of that magic from the beginning, I think.

As for alts, I'm very possibly going into Utgarde Keep with my DK tank for the first time tonight. Having been a healer for the first 7-8 months of play, I'm really looking forward to this tanking challenge with an appropriate group! Good luck in VC and all other low level instances you find groups for.

Anonymous said...

Pre-WOTLK I was an Altaholic, 6 level 70's. My then Warrior was my main, and I looked at another warrior with awesome gear, my gear was ok, but then I thought geez if I stuck to just my warrior, maybe my gear would look as good. So I don't alt anymore, just concentrate on the Mage. Must...get all AT factions...can not resist. LOL!

Khaelie said...

I started a NElf Druid fairly recently and have managed to get her to 14. unfortunately i dont get to play her much because when guildies are looking for me, they always seem to find me. but it is fun to see the different starting quests and areas. i have leveled a drenaei and Nelf to 80, and i have a gnome & human both around level 60. with each of them, after i got through the starting areas, i tried going to different areas so i could see the different story lines. they have each had their own adventure in getting to where they are now and i have had the benefit of seeing most of the alliance questlines in the game, just not all on one toon.

i like to get away from the dailies from time to time as well. i will be doing the AT dailies for a while though because i do so love having the pets and i usually have one out. i made some cute little macros for them that make it even more fun to take them out and show them off. i can certainly understand the burnout though. i wanted to take hodir's spear and put it in his eye!

Anonymous said...

I hear you sister!

I only do dailies once per week.. maybe 1/2 hour.. best 1 hour... and I am already sick of them.

Sons of Hodir can shove their spear up their...

Wyrmrest accord can get blasted out of the skies for all I care.

A.T. is boring me silly... but more often than not it depends how my 1st joust goes. Good = continue, Bad = maybe I should do laps in Dalaran.

Then that said, the heroics and even Naxx are starting to take on that feeling... even though they are relatively new to me.

I guess that's why my mates & I now have a scheduled Old World night once per month... just to mix it up

Legolasninja said...

The whole daily quest concept feels like a great big conjob to get you to continue your subsciption. I mean, think about how many dailies you would miss out on if you did not log out for a month. It is so scary. So much time wasted. I could have been doing dailies!!!

See, it is twisted and wrong, so do not do them. Do not dance to Blizzard's flute.

Larísa said...

@2ndNin: oh, I guess I’m just feeling rich, being at 5 k gold at the moment. I guess I’ll come crawling back when we’ve wiped enough many times at the final bosses in Ulduar.
Luckily enough I don’t feel any immediate urge to deck out my druid in epics.

@Copernicus: Variation is the key. And I agree that gathering can be relaxing. At least if the mount is epic.

@Dorgol: The group q is the only thing that is ok with me. I’ve never had to wait much there. I usually don’t bother to announce for a group – I just go to the spot and usually there are some people around that you can join…
I don’t know why, but the pets and mounts aren’t pulling me enough to bother. Probably because they’re too easy to access to anyone.
And I think DM will be very educating!

@Daria: I’ve been asking a bit in my guild and it seems promising, so I’ve got good hopes to find a group. A group that certainly won’t expect to be summoned…

@Daniel: hm… You may be right, but remember that I’ve never ever tanked anything and is completely new to being a druid. So I only counts as a half player.

@Fitz: I may do them occasionally again eventually, but I think I need a long break to get back the magic into them.

@Higlatencylife: I’ve always stuck to my mage, but she’s raiding Ulduar and she’s fine. So I don’t feel bad about doing some alting finally.

@Khaelie: If you’re deeply into pet collecting I can understand that the AT is a must. But I’m not hooked enough.

@Gnomeaggedon: Sick of them doing them once a week… You don’t have much patience. But yeah, we all need variation. No matter of how often we play.

@Legolasninja: actually “missing” dailies don’t bother me. But I must admit that I’ve become a bit hooked on the seasonal stuff. I will “have to” log in during summer festival. Bah. I want to resist the flute!!!

Captain The First said...

I didn't really pick up the AT things until I had a character fresh at level 77... 3 levels of argent tournament dailies was well worth the limited time investment on the AT.

It's a solid way to get some extra xp... anything else is just gravy at that point.

Daniel said...

Don't sell yourself short; you are a full player.

You have played the game long enough to understand the basics and do a fine job as a tank the first time you tank an instance.

You will make plenty of mistakes for sure, and some will lead to deaths, but you will also learn what works and what does not work, and whether you believe you will like tanking.

You can always ask the group - once your party is 3 or 4 strong - whether they are willing to go undermanned. You can also look for a fourth or a fifth if it becomes clear you cannot do the content undermanned after a few pulls.

Good luck!

Drazmor said...

Alts are a nice way to cool off after some stressfull guild drama, or a bad day at work, especially if you're on a different server and totally isolated. The silences is a blessing. As for dailies, for some unknown reason, I have always loved doing dailies. I never grow tired of them. Ever.