Sunday, December 02, 2012

Raiding, Achievements, and Gold, WoW

It’s a Raid!

As I’ve blogged recently, I started playing World of Warcraft again in October after an absence of a little over two years. My intention was not, necessarily, to become a full on raider again, but yet I now find myself in a guild that is working toward the goal of becoming a “Raiding Guild”. The difference is, we’re also a social guild, and with the Guild Advancement feature introduced in the Cataclysm expansion, or focus is more on leveling the Guild than anything else.

When I first started playing again, in some ways, I was glad I was no longer in an active guild. The pressure was off to have to be logged in so often to be a part of guild activities, like dungeons and raids. I have to admit, however, that I’m looking forward to helping build a new guild almost from the ground up. As of the time of this blog, Worlds End is level 6 (of 25) with last night’s efforts in Ulduar contributing greatly to that (in fact, the Guild hit level 6 while we were inside the instance). I’ve been made an officer already and asked to help with organizing and researching the boss fights for raids. And most of all, I had a lot of fun.

Right now we’re actually doing lower level raids. First, because it’s decent practice for when we get to raids that are appropriate to our toon levels. Second, none of us has hit level 90 yet and some are closer than others, so it gives us a chance to bond as a guild and still do things as a guild without having to use “pick up groups”. And thirdly, several members are interested in a new (to me anyway) thing called “transmog” for gear sets, which essentially lets you transfer gear stats from a piece of gear that you may not like the look of to a piece that actually matches the set your toon is wearing. Not really my thing, but helping with that also gets me missing Achievements that I missed out on from a few years back.

Achievement Unlocked

Speaking of Achievements, it seems like there are tons of them added in Mists of Pandaria, which is to be expected. It just seems that the achievement pop up occurs for things that I wouldn’t have expected in previous expansions (like completing a simple quest chain). What’s more important to me are the achievements for old dungeons and raids that I either never attempted or never completed for various reasons. Last night we cleared most of Ulduar (a 10-man raid for which the completion always eluded my old guild). I got to venture into parts of that (very large) instance that I had never seen before. Next weekend, we’re planning a run on Icecrown Citadel to down the Lich King (a raid that I completely missed out on because it didn’t exist yet when I quit playing back in January 2010).

Other recent achievements for my toon include several of the MoP quest chain achievements as well as reaching max level (600) for the skill First Aid.

Ooo, Shiny!

One of the things that inspired me to start playing WoW again was my friend Sam’s blog posts about Star Trek Online. Specifically, he was writing quite often about something called the “Dilithium Exchange”, which apparently is similar to the Auction House in World of Warcraft. One of the side things I did in WoW was to put items in the Auction House for sale to other players (for in game gold, not real money, obviously). This venture could turn out to be very profitable at times and a great way to augment the gold earned in game for quests and looting. What I’ve noticed, though, is that Blizzard seems to have become more generous with the quest rewards and the amounts that “vendor trash” loot sells for to the vendors. I have found at least three things so far that were “vendor trash grey” but that sold for 100g. Typically vendor trash nets you a few silver or maybe a gold or two. That, along with some decent luck with selling things in the Auction House took my main toon from 2500 gold in mid-October to just over 10,000 gold as of this past week. In fact, I was even able to help out a guildie with a loan of 2500 gold and not sweat being able to make that up pretty quick. If only I could make money in the real world that fast.

I have to wonder if, perhaps, the seeming acceleration of gold rewards in game is a way for Blizzard to help combat the gold farmers that sell in game gold for real money. These unscrupulous folks use exploits like bots or just plain hack/steal people’s accounts to strip them of gear and gold so they can sell it to other players. Blizzard has always said that buying gold like that is a violation of terms and conditions and that you could lose your account and be banned if caught. It seems, though like they’ve been doing a little bit better at combating that. One of the reason the gold farmers even existed to begin with was because of some of the ways Blizzard doled out gold rewards rather slowly while also having very high costs for in game purchases (I remember when the basic riding skill, for example, plus the mount itself cost around 40g - these days it only costs around 5g). There is even a Guild Perk within the new Guild Advancement system that generates gold for the entire guild based on a percentage of what its members loot when questing.

All in all, I’m enjoying the new changes to the game and the new friendships being formed with the new guild I’ve joined. I’m still managing, for the most part, to limit my playing time to a few hours a week with the occasional weekend of splurging.

~ JC
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