Mists of Pandaria: Raid Preparation

I posted before about my leveling experience. The leveling actually went very well, and I hit 90 before half my guild. Little did I know that the leveling – which I had expected to provide me with the greatest challenge time wise – would be the least of my worries before raids opened this week.

After hitting 90, I had made IRL plans. I went back to work on Friday. I went out with friends for drinks. I had events to do all day on Saturday and Sunday thanks to MTG. I didn’t have to go to these events, and maybe I should have chosen to spend my time differently, but so I did. I never missed a day of rep dailies, and I farmed heroics Friday evening and Sunday evening – but then I started to get worried.

There were just so many things to do prior to raid, and I despaired of ever keeping them all straight.

The Never Ending To-Do List

The list really didn’t hit me until I started to get myself prepped for raid and realized what a massive time sink all of these daily activities represent. Is this even the whole list? Here’s a rough copy of my Friday to-do list (as opposed to the one I wrote Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday…. oh yes, I have them all here, written in a pad.)

One time tasks:

  • Quests: unlock Klaxxi paragons, start Black Prince, unlock Vale of Eternal Blossoms
  • Fly my two 85 alts out to their farms and start them a-farmin’ every day
  • Level Jewelcrafting
  • Level Blacksmithing
  • Level Cooking (optional I suppose since I can let others in guild level it for me)
  • Farm heroics and gear out two entire gear sets
  • Obtain 2x brewfest trinkets
  • Use JP (and VP) gear available to fill in any gear problems
  • Gem and enchant and reforge appropriately
  • Get pots (I opted for 100 for week 1 raids)
  • Get flasks (I’ll need 12 per week)
  • Get 300 stat food (I’ll start with 3 stacks)
  • Repeat all of the above for my tank set
  • Sha of Anger for boots (added later)

Daily activities:

  • Klaxxi dailies
  • Golden Lotus dailies (2 sets)
  • Tiller rep (which is not precisely raid-required, but Tiller rep levels up your farm, allowing me to grow more food, which I need for raids)
  • Log onto both my alts and manage their farms
  • JC research
  •  Fish for shrimp. (added later)

Wow. Well. That certainly looked like a lot to do before Wednesday.

Mostly I worried about gearing up.

Heroics haven’t been kind to me RNG wise. I built a spreadsheet for my tank and DPS sets so I knew what I was looking for, and it still had a lot of red marks on it where gear is plain old missing. I realize there’s little to no excuse this evening to show up in suboptimal gear, so I’m really angry with myself, because I enjoy the pressure of playing in a competitive guild and I wanted badly to live up to the expectations that I have of my fellow raiders & they have of me.

(For the spreadsheet, I’m not going to link it on the blog because I don’t want people to look at my gear list and think that I’ve recommended optimal gear– you can email me at anafielle@gmail if you want a look at it.)

I should be fine. Not everyone has every single piece they wanted, and I have alternate choices, but I was still irked that so many things I wanted have yet to drop for me. For a contrasting story, my ret paladin BFF and SW app Pliers is a full time law student now, so he certainly couldn’t take off “work” like I did and level straight from launch time. But that didn’t stop him. I swear to god, I saw him for the first time on Friday at 85 and… less than 24 hours later he was 90 and decked out in heroic gear. I grats’d him and complimented his gear, and learned that apparently a single evening of farming with a friendly tank got him the most of it.

In unrelated news, Pliers and I are no longer on speaking terms.

…. But while I was gearing, I was also doing dailies!

The MOP launch was pretty smooth, but their dailies could definitely use a QA pass. The statue quest for Golden Lotus is broken. The “put out fires” quest for Golden Lotus is also broken. The prisoners quest for Klaxxi is not broken, but it’s almost worse in my opinion because technically it’s completable– just incredibly annoying, with only 4 working cages and a 6 minute respawn timer. Some of the drop rates could use some fixing as well.

I do understand that sometimes quests are broken upon launch and overall I maintain my opinion that MOP was a pretty damn smooth launch! But I was personally very frustrated when I flew out to my second set of Golden Lotus dailies yesterday and found myself confronted, for the second day running, with a broken quest.

Hmm. General chat was full of whining about the bugged dailes. They were definitely bugged on my server. But… were they bugged on every server?

Maybe I could CRZ somewhere with a fire quest? I know Blizzard blue-posted that they fixed CRZ/daily exploits, however I’d heard it was possible to go get on another server with the exact same quest and do it there. So I pulled up my Battlenet friends list and RealID’d Logan (my second favorite Leetsauced drinking buddy) and strong armed him into inviting both me and a SW guildmate onto Nerzhul.

I was still unable to put out my fires. Fortunately I didn’t need to, because I had access to all five of their 2nd stage Golden Lotus dailies.

Whoa. I thought this was fixed!

And yes… I did them all. I felt dirty. Part of me wondered if I could go to server after server and do more. Part of me wants to head back over to Nerzhul tonight.

Blizzard, we’ve been reporting this for a week now! I’m sorry, I know that servers are complicated, and I know players have a tendency to underestimate just how much work goes into identifying and plugging what looks to us like a very simple issue. However, this isn’t just about fishing rep – anything that affects Golden Lotus raid rep is bad news with the progression race on.

And we all have to get consumables… So many consumables…

MOP has a big focus on food and consumables. They’ve taken away (optimal) feasts and cauldrons. They’ve given us farmville, tons of ingrediants, and a heavily expanded cooking selection for the expansion. Pandas got a food racial. One of the dungeons is a brewery. MOP is all about farming. I’m finding it less annoying than I anticipated. I’m actually enjoying parts of it! I like tending my crops for raid food a lot more than I thought I would! I don’t mind that MOP has introduced me to new and interesting things.

What I do have a problem with is the 300 stat food.

It would be a lot easier to stomach this if the farm really helped with it, and I had visions of eventually growing the expensive mats I needed, but nope. The veggies are stupid easy. The meat, fish, and token ingredients are the annoying part. I could go on into detail, but instead you should click here and read this thread.

I guess I don’t mind that I’ll have to bring my own food to raid, it sort of fits with the MOP theme. But the mats are really punishing. I’m wondering if Blizzard realized precisely how expensive they’ve made it either in time or in gold to stock up on food for progression. They know raiders count boss difficulty in wipes. I think I’ll be counting mine in food consumed.

Upping the output of each “craft” to a full stack of 20 rather than 5 would go a long way towards solving the problem, in my opinion. We’d still have to farm for those rarer materials, but the weekly time commitment wouldn’t be quite as annoying. Somehow I doubt the cost will get lowered… but a girl can always hope.

Progression Time!

To be honest, throughout all this stress I am reminded of how happy I am that I am seeing this expansion launch with Something Wicked, and with no other guild.

I recall my last expansion launch- it was pretty much the nail in the coffin when it came to my dissatisfaction with my old, more casual guild. I was frustrated beyond belief with the way that my desire to prepare was seen as being overly pushy with people who wanted to enjoy the content at their own pace. They were not wrong; I was being pushy, and I was totally in the wrong place! There are ten thousand friendly guilds out there, many of them raiding guilds, where people can take the content easily and prioritize however they’d like to enjoy the content. I’ve seen a couple of snarky comments on twitter about people who are already 90 and I just have to say: seriously? This is how I want to play!

When I show up to raid this evening, it’s a very nice feeling to trust that my other buddies will show up in as close to 463 as possible, fully enchanted and gemmed, and with a couple stacks of potions, flasks, and 300 stat food in each of our bags. I think that isn’t true for a lot of guilds, and it takes a ton of work and time (as I’ve complained), but the end result is well worth it. Well, ideally. I just hope they’ll trust me to be prepared the same way, especially now that I’ve written a whole blog post whining about how difficult all of it was.

So as much trouble as the farming as been, and as much QQ as I’ve done, I know at 9 PM tonight when we pull that first new “progression” boss that it’ll all have been worth it.

I’m so excited!

Let’s hope I still feel the same way a couple months down the line, staring yet again at the shrimp I have to go fish up for that week’s stack of progression food…..

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11 Responses to Mists of Pandaria: Raid Preparation

  1. Nooska says:

    What klaxxi daily with prisoners are you referring to? (I can’t remember one from beta OR live that required clicking cages)

    Dailies are bugged though – mostly I think the selection is bugged – I saw it on beta where the same dailies got stuck (on Klaxxi) and I’ve seen it again on live (with Klaxxi).

    • anafielle says:

      You know, I’m totally wrong because it does not involve freeing prisoners at all. I have no clue why I called it the prisoner quest. It is called “Free from Her Clutches” and involves freeing hatchlings from little wicker cages.
      http://www.wowhead.com/quest=31494

      I’m also told that the bug originates when a druid opens the cage in flight form. That cage is then subsequently bugged until the server resets – which explains why some cages were bugged and some were not.

      • Nooska says:

        Interestingly enough, I’ve not had that one yet at all. Same happened today with Golden Lotus, dailes I didn’t knew existed, what a nice surprise after grinding them on the beta too :)

  2. Helistar says:

    The difference from “normal” food and top-level is utterly insignificant in term of stats, but enormous in term of ingredients. There’s no way on earth I’ll use that food, and anyone who complains will be kindly requested to provide me with statistical data from combat logs showing that the stat difference mattered. I already know they will fail :)

    • Pliers says:

      Ever had a sub 1% wipe? The additional stats from the food on an entire raid would come out to about .3%, or 1-2 million damage.

      Everyone using 275 food instead of 300 food is about the same loss as me unequipping a ring and leaving that slot empty, something I doubt you’d be okay with in a raid.

    • anafielle says:

      I disagree completely, but that is a topic for another post. :) The way my raid team does things, we use the best food available for relevant progression.

    • Moshne says:

      It amounts to roughly 2000 DPS over your entire raid. If that is insignificant to you, that is fine, but you should at least do the math before mocking it.

  3. Saif says:

    I did the exact same thing – changing guilds has been the best thing, playing with people who’re just really passionate about gearing and preparing for raids the first week has been exhilarating.

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  5. How much are you holding your raid back? How long are 489 items going to be relevant to raid progression, and how many valor items can you buy during that window of time? I feel like there is a pretty narrow range of groups for which this stuff rationally matters: the really progressive groups are going to be done with normal gearing before they can buy more than a couple valor items (and they don’t need those items anyway), and the more casual groups can progress without the benefit of valor items because they don’t have the “all possible homework is mandatory” mindset. Unfortunately, perception draws more players into the vortex than are really affected. That said, there should definitely be something to spend valor on without daily grinds. It could be food and flasks (maybe), or the upgrade system could have been available at launch, or maybe a few slots of valor gear could have been ungated (so raiders can spend their valor without doing dailies, but someone who wants to build a full set of 489 gear without raiding has to get rep). Having a valor sink without a rep requirement would have gone a long way towards relieving players of the feeling that they’re being “forced” into doing dailies at the maximum rate.

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