Valor Morghulis

This is a post I wrote almost three months ago.  But I wasn’t very happy with it, and ended up letting it sit around as a draft.  Every few weeks I would come back to it hoping to edit it into something I was happy with, and every week I gave up and moved on to other projects.  Since there’s been little hard information about the final changes we’ll be seeing in 5.2, I forced myself to sit down and turn this blog post into something useful.

Mists has dramatically changed the way many of us approach our play time in World of Warcraft.  Between dailies, reputation grinds, charms, multiple LFRs, challenge modes, item upgrades, and everything else, the game at level 90 feels vastly different from the way it did upon reaching level 85 in Cataclysm.  In many ways, that’s a good thing. More content means you’ll rarely log on and realize you have nothing to do.

However, I want to look at something you won’t often see discussed on a theorycrafting blog: alternate characters, or “alts.”  Mists has the distinction of being the most alt-unfriendly expansion to date, which is unfortunate for those of us that like to level and raid on multiple characters.  And while Blizzard has done a number of things to help mitigate the problem, the central issue really hasn’t been addressed well enough.  And that issue is the rate of accrual of valor points.

First, let’s make it clear that I’m coming at this from the perspective of a player that prioritizes their main.  Each week, I’m going to do everything I feel that I need to in order to keep Theck “topped off” for raiding.  That primarily means that I’m capping valor on Theck every week.  Since I’m exalted with all of the relevant Mists factions, we can ignore them, but keep in mind that when I first wrote this article I was still doing Operation: Shieldwall dailies, and before that I was doing faction dailies to reach exalted reputation.  If I didn’t already have a bankroll of over 1400 Lesser Charms of Good Fortune, I might still be doing dailies to keep up with those.

Furthermore, I’m the sort of player that really enjoys playing alts.  Not just the process of leveling them through the content (in fact, that part has become increasingly tedious as quest progression has become more linear in Cataclysm and Mists), but gearing them and raiding on them.  In Cataclysm it was common for me to be participating in a weekly alt raid in addition to our normal weekly raids, and the occasional “ghetto alt” raid on other off-nights.  I really enjoy learning and mastering new classes, especially when it comes to raiding.

Both of those those factors color the way I experience and feel about the game.  And I’ll be the first to admit that what would make the game better for me isn’t necessarily what makes the game better for everyone else.  Nonetheless, I think it’s worth exploring the ramifications of the new valor point system on a player of my persuasion.

The “Valor Plateau”

In previous expansions, there was a distinct cycle to a player’s involvement throughout an expansion.  When a new raid tier or patch arrived, it generally added new stuff to do, and most importantly new reasons to care about valor points.  Generally, those reasons were valor point gear rewards, and for a long stretch of time that included tier items.  A patch might also introduce new reputations to grind, or new dailies to do (or both), or other new “stuff” like quest lines, pets, or what have you.

And the response of a raider was predictable: you’d log in and do a bunch of that stuff on your main character for a few weeks.  Valor accrual was the most important part of those activities – if you considered yourself a serious raider, you were making sure to cap your valor point income each week during that period to make sure you got your hands on that new gear as soon as possible.  If you weren’t already clearing enough raid bosses to cap each week, you were out there running heroics to make up the difference.

However, a month or two into the tier, the situation became totally different.  By that point, you had all of the valor gear you wanted, and it wasn’t as critical to reach the cap.  If you got there just from raiding, great; if not, all you missed out on was a little extra gold from selling bind-on-equip valor gear on the auction house.

I’m not sure that anyone’s coined a term to describe this effect.  Certainly, the game designers working on the game must have a technical term to describe this ebb-and-flow effect.  But I don’t know what it is, and for lack of a better term, I’ve taken to calling it the “valor plateau.”  The reasoning is pretty simple: there’s a certain valor threshold you need to reach to obtain all of the items you want, and after that point the importance of valor swiftly drops off.  If you plotted “valor spent on character power” against time, you’d see a line that increases steadily in the first month of a patch and then suddenly flattened off – hence a “plateau.”

The “valor plateau.” After a patch, there is an initial flurry of valor expenditure on character power, eventually tapering off to nothing.

This phenomenon is mirrored in the game in other ways.  Guilds push very hard to clear raid tiers early on, and strong guilds eventually get all of the bosses to a “farm” state, often reducing their raiding hours in response.  Players grind reputation with a faction to get to exalted, and then put them aside until the next rep grind presents itself.  There’s a distinct flurry of activity followed by a period of rest and respite.

But the new item upgrade system eliminates that cycle and replaces it with a constant player power treadmill.  There’s no longer a point at which valor becomes irrelevant until the next tier, because you can continue upgrading your gear to prepare for the next raid tier.  The system turns a temporary period of grinding into an eternal one.

And I don’t know if that’s a good thing, especially for players like me.  There’s a lot of value in that period of rest and respite, and perhaps that’s been overlooked by the developers.  Those periods let you recharge your batteries, take a break, and do something different.  For someone like me, that could mean leveling or gearing an alt.  Or it might just be extra time you can use to do other things – spending time with family, knocking out another game that you’ve been meaning to get to, doing some theorycrafting that you’ve been putting off, or any number of other things.  No matter what, it’s a break from the focused power grind that occurs following a patch – a reward of downtime for your early efforts.  And its an important part of preventing raider burnout.

Players will put up with a temporary grind because they know it’s temporary, especially when it coincides with things like new content which would be encouraging them to play more anyway.  But once it becomes an obligation, something they need to do every week in perpetuity, it stops being as tolerable.  It becomes something all of us have dreaded since we were kids: chores.  Want to keep your character at peak performance? Gotta keep doing your chores, kiddo.

Now, it’s not exactly hard to cap valor.  You get 640 points from a full clear of tier 14.  The remaining 360 points can be made up with 4 LFRs, or 4 daily heroics and a daily scenario, 72 dailies, or any permutation of the above that adds up to 360.  But that’s still on the order of 4 hours worth of effort in addition to whatever it takes you to clear T14.  For my guild, that’s about 8 hours (less, really, since a large chunk of that would be heroic progression).  So the expected time on Theck per week just based on valor alone is about 12 hours.

As you can imagine, that sort of cuts into the time for alts.  Four hours isn’t a huge time commitment, but it’s still 4 fewer hours I can be spending leveling, gearing, or raiding on an alt.  Four hours is an entire evening of alt raid, for example.  And that’s for me, a player who easily spends 20 hours a week or more on this game.  It only gets worse if you’re in a guild that raids more nights per week and/or clears fewer bosses.

But no matter what, it means that I play the game a little differently.  In prior expansions, I may have logged in on Theck for 10 minutes a day to handle auctions, and then gone off and done something else on an alt.  Now, I plan on spending an hour or more on Theck to knock out some valor points early in the week, which often precludes me from getting around to much else on an alt.

And woe unto you if you like to raid on two characters and want to cap valor on both.  For the first few months I was trying to cap valor on my warlock as well, to prepare her for alt raids together.  The Valor of the Ancients buff certainly helps with that, but even 50% increased valor gain isn’t enough to make it an easy process.  I was actually doing something rather tricky lately to try and optimize my time expenditure.

Rather than capping Valor on Theck first, I would cap valor on my warlock first by running five LFRs and a number of heroics, scenarios, and daily quests.  I make a mad dash to cap valor on the warlock between Tuesday and Friday.  Then, when I raided on Friday and Saturday nights with Theck, I got to take advantage of the 50% valor bonus and turn that 640 valor points into 960 valor points, which is easily enough to cap on top of the few dailies I end up doing in the course of a week.  But that only worked because our raid nights are so late in the week – if your raid nights are earlier or more scattered, you’re pretty much out of luck (though you might be able to reverse the process if all of your raid nights are early in the week).

You might think that I feel similarly about the reputation grinds in Mists, but in fact, I don’t.  While the initial grind was pretty rough, it was mostly because of the sheer number of Golden Lotus and Klaxxi dailies.  The Shado-Pan and August Celestial dailies were fine, and I think that if the Golden Lotus and Klaxxi dailies had been done similarly there wouldn’t have been much complaint at all.  Four quests a day per faction isn’t unreasonable, even if you’re doing all four of those factions.  But most importantly, all of those reputation grinds were temporary.  Now that I’m done with them, I get to sit back and relax – the plateau effect is still there.

And once you’re doing the grinds on an alt, they’re incredibly tolerable – you can now be  friendly with Shado-Pan and revered with Klaxxi just by questing an alt to 90.  I decided to do the Cloud Serpent grind on my warlock, and was surprised to find that I could go from Neutral to halfway through Revered in the very first day of questing.  It was surprisingly painless, and felt really good – I’d spent so much time doing those same quests on Theck, so it only felt right that I should be able to fast-forward through it on my alt.  All in all, apart from the Golden Lotus fiasco, I think they’ve got reputation in a pretty good place for alts.

Putting The “Or” Back In “Valor”

It’s clear from the discussion above that the extra time invested in your main comes at the cost of time to spend on alts.  If I have time to run 3 or 4 LFRs a week, and I need the valor, I’m going to be running them on Theck rather than an alt.  And there’s a limit to how many times you can stand running LFR a week too – I’m going to be far less likely to hop into LFR again on an alt even if I do have the time.  The same could be said of heroics, to some degree.  There’s a level of attrition with many of the types of content you can participate in for valor points – they’re fun the first few times, but get tiring once you’ve done them too many times a week.  The same might even be true of raiding, believe it or not!

But then, what, you may ask, is the solution?  How do you provide enough content to satisfy the players who want lots of content for their mains and give raiders the restful period of the valor plateau at the same time?  I don’t think there’s a simple answer to that question, but I do think there’s one thing that would help immensely: buff valor gains across the board.  Instead of 40 points for a raid boss, double it to 80.  Instead of 80 for the daily heroic, it could be 120-150.  80 instead of 40 for a daily scenario, and 10 instead of 5 for a daily quest.  Make valor capping easier and you give players the versatility to do the content they want without reducing the amount of content available.

I don’t think that valor capping needs to be hard.  Valor is a reward for doing stuff in-game, but it doesn’t need to take 12 hours a week just to cap it.  Nor does it need to be the vehicle that gets players out into the world.  Players who want to do the quest lines and dailies will do them anyway for the reputation and story rewards. Nothing shows that more clearly than the Operation: Shieldwall and Dominance Offensive quest lines in 5.1.  For the first time in… well… ever in WoW, I was looking forward to heading off to do dailies, because I knew that in addition to a few monotonous dailies I’d get another chunk of story.

In fact, I’d argue that the entire system could have been streamlined a bit, and each set of dailies could have been built around part of the story.  Instead of 5 meaningless dailies and one neat piece of story, I’d rather see the 5 dailies integrated into the story.  They did this somewhat with the first step of the Alliance quest line – we have a mine, and we need to clear it out so that the Alliance can harvest ore.  But I’d love to have seen it done with the other parts too.  On a day where you get a new story chunk, you automatically get the dailies associated with that story.  On other days, you might get quests you’ve already seen (“Hey, you were so helpful when we needed that cave cleared out the first time, would you mind going down there and cracking some more skulls so we can do some more digging?”).

But in any event, I’m getting sidetracked here.  The main point is that valor can flow a little more freely without having a huge effect on participation.  It’s certainly good that daily quests and other world activities give valor points, but that doesn’t mean valor income needs to be stingy to encourage people to do them.  It still boggles my mind that you cannot cap via a full clear of the current tier’s content, especially with 16 bosses.  Because even if I could cap valor just through raiding I would still be doing some dailies on Theck, either for achievements, reputation, or things like Ironpaw tokens and lesser charms.  And perhaps more importantly, faster valor income from dailies would be a huge benefit to players who don’t raid regularly.  I can’t imagine how painful it must be to cap valor primarily through dailies and scenarios.

I think you could make a good argument for lesser charms being more widely available too, for similar reasons.  Right now, these charms funnel you into doing dailies because it’s the only source (at least until 5.2 rewards them through pet battles, but as someone who hasn’t even bothered to try pet battles yet, that’s not really helpful to me).  Again, it seems counter to the goal of encouraging players to participate in the content they enjoy, though that design intent seems to have fallen by the wayside in a number of other ways in Mists as well.  But what would break if you could get some of your lesser charms through raiding, heroics, or scenarios?  In fact, it might even be a good way to add an incentive for 25-man raiding: give each boss a chance to drop 5-10 lesser charms, and make the drop rate or amount higher in the 25-man format.  The benefit of spending more time on organization and logistics is that you need to spend less time grinding out your 90 lesser charms per week.  (Note: remember, this was written before we knew about Thunderforged items).

Staving off Altageddon

In short: Mists has gone a long way to give us more content than ever, and while it’s great to have that much content, it has in almost all cases meant that players end up spending more time than in previous expansions to achieve the same goals.  It’s increased the amount of time you’re expected to spend preparing for raids, and subsequently reduced the flexibility in playing alts.

We know that the item upgrades system will be taking a break for 5.2.  But I sort of hope it doesn’t come back.  Or rather, not in its current form.  The constant valor-and-dailies treadmill hangs the constant threat of burnout over your raid team, and the item upgrade system is the taskmaster at the controls.  I think it’s a decent system if valor is easy to acquire, such that it only takes a reasonable time investment.  When it takes 12+ hours a week to cap on a single character, it’s just more trouble than it’s worth.

Note that I’m not even going to invoke the deadly “required” argument here, because that’s completely missing the point.  Nothing in this game is strictly required, and the definition of “required” ends up being different for different players.  You could spend days arguing over semantics without getting anywhere, and you’d have completely wasted your time doing so.  Because none of it changes the facts, and it’s irrefutable that it takes more time to prepare for raiding in Mists than it has in any previous expansion save vanilla WoW.

And that extra time spent isn’t, in general, a good thing in my mind.  It reduces the flexibility I have in how I choose to play the game, and gives me less time to do other things in-game that I do find fun.  And I think in terms of aggregate statistics, it will end up leading to higher burnout rates for raiders.  We may not see it yet, and I attribute part of that to the sheer quality of this raiding tier – it is an excellent tier of raiding all around, and my hat is off to the encounter design team for giving us the best tier of raiding since Ulduar.  But I’m not sure that great encounters are enough to counter-balance the lack of a rest/relax period between tiers of content.

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39 Responses to Valor Morghulis

1. Lakh says:

I started off trying to do my alts with similar dedication to my main. That worked ok for me while it was just my tankadin + warlock, but when I got my DK up to 90 too it all went downhill rapidly… by the time my hunter, shaman & warrior were there, I was at risk of driving myself batty.

So I found I had to start becoming very goal oriented. E.G. hunter wants a bow, so runs MV2 & Terrace every week, but nothing else.. lock is in (roughly) “bis lfr” gear by now, so either doesn’t get played or vp caps as quickly as possible. Still not sure how I feel about my kick-about & relax toons becoming quite that calculated, it takes an bit of an edge off the fun.

I didn’t mind the dailies either, with the possible exception of the Golden Lotus pre-req. I don’t mind doing Golden Lotus when that’s what I feel like, but by my 4th toon I’d also like to be able to skip them and grind shado-pan for coins instead (just for the variety). The 5.1 dailies are their best version of daily quests yet imo, the story quests along the way really added, I agree that even more linkage would help.

I like the upgrades system, I definitely want to see it come back, but I agree that it’s got to be possible to cap alts more easily. I’m reasonably happy with the current mains rate, although I wouldn’t say no to a “full normal/heroic raid clear = vp capped” balance point.. I think that’s the best balance point.

One change I’d like to see personally is to have the Valor of the Ancients boost stack multiple times. So if you do VP cap two toons, then you get 1*1.5*1.5 = 225% boost on the 3rd+, 337% on the fourth.. and they might want to cap it much beyond that cos you’re nearly at two LFRs to cap level by then. But giving a really easy time to someone who’s on to their fourth vp cap for the week probably isn’t horribly unbalancing.

Oh, and I found the same thing about capping a toon early too btw. Raiding tue/wed/thu it meant I capped my main before the weekend, then ran alts on the weekend.

2. Rodalpho says:

I completely agree about item upgrades. They should not return in their current form.

There are various ways they could be improved. You could upgrade via clicking on an item that could be sold on the auction house, and that item could be rewarded from 100% of boss kills in 25man, 40% of kills on 10man, and 25% in LFR. But… why? What purpose does it serve, if it’s not a valor points sink?

That system would work great for Thunderforged items, which are effectively upgraded. Item upgrades for valor points don’t need to return.

And lesser charms need to drop from daily dungeons and scenarios.

• I am too busy loving the title of this post to worry about valor upgrades anymore: thank you for a brilliant play on words!

3. Shanthi says:

———————————————————————————–
In fact, it might even be a good way to add an incentive for 25-man raiding: give each boss a chance to drop 5-10 lesser charms, and make the drop rate or amount higher in the 25-man format. The benefit of spending more time on organization and logistics is that you need to spend less time grinding out your 90 lesser charms per week. (Note: remember, this was written before we knew about Thunderforged items).
———————————————————————————–

I like this idea better than the “Thunderforged items solution.” That solution still seems inelegant, trying to compensate logistical/organizational difficulties with more ilevel (as a raid group) whereas your solution seems a lot closer to the compensation matching the struggles…time/hassle issues.

4. Nikolay says:

Great post. I’ve been thinking about this problem myself lately and have a few of my own ideas on how to make it better. (Not that it will do much, but it’s nice to dream!)

First, I think it’s a huge problem that Valor serves two very different purposes today:
1. Doing stuff outside of raiding helps you get into raids (or fills a few gaps in your gear if you are early in the raiding tier)
2. Killing bosses in raids helps you progress deeper into the raiding tier (giving a nice predictable boost to those players who are progressing more slowly)

I’d scrap the Justice Point system in its current form entirely as I feel like it’s not particularly useful – you can chain queue for scenarios/heroics and have a full set of gear pretty quickly. Instead, I’d split up the Valor currency into two halves based on the above: Re-purpose Justice to come from heroic clears (not boss kills), dailies, and LFR, have a weekly cap, and be used to buy ilvl 489 items (or maybe 483). Valor would then only come from boss kills in normal and heroic raids (crazy thought: you could get more points for heroic kills), and only be used to upgrade normal-mode-quality items or better.

It’s great that alts and new players have all of these avenues to gear up, and that the time spent is meaningful compared to Cataclysm’s instant-catchup model. I don’t think it makes a lot of sense for those players to use the item upgrade system as it’s not an efficient use of their points (except for on a weapon). With “New Valor” only coming from raid bosses, there is less of an onus to cap since you get it from doing something you were going to do anyway (unless you drop a raid from your rotation). This means that players can take a break from grinding “New Justice” after a while, but the “New Valor” they get from boss kills still helps with progression without imposing an additional time requirement.

I also would love to see a “rollover cap” for Valor (similar to what’s being done for Conquest fairly soon). The fact that there is a cap means that you need to hit it every week, or you are missing out on potential gear upgrades. It seems a bit arbitrary that it is based on a week of time, and always resets on Tuesday – for instance, my ability to play on Monday night often dictates whether I can get some serious valor on my alts. If you go on a week-long vacation you might miss out on an entire weekly-cap’s worth of valor, or have a hard time hitting the cap for two short weeks in a row. I think it’s a bit unfair that players in such situations can’t make up that valor if they do have enough extra time to play in the following weeks. Many of us veterans of the game have been playing since our high school or college years, and now have jobs and/or families. It would be great if we had more flexibility to fit our playtime to our life schedules, rather than the other way around.

Ultimately I am having more fun with the game now than I have with any prior expansion – it really has come a long way. I am more engaged with the game, spending more time online and socializing with my guild, but I’d prefer that time be spent on my alts instead of running heroics for valor on my main. Historically I would lose interest a few months after each patch (probably timed roughly with the valor plateau), and only log in for raid times. During that downtime I could have been playing on my alts, yet I usually wouldn’t. I’d argue that this expansion is both the most alt-friendly as well as alt-unfriendly, due to the advent of LFR. My guild has never been very reliable when it comes to alt raids, so in the past I didn’t have anywhere to progress my alts beyond heroics (or PvP), and I’d just get bored with them. LFR, while sometimes frustrating (Garalon), gives me something to work on at my own pace – I do them when I can, but not necessarily every week. Interestingly enough, my guild has now been able to put together an alt/casual raid for the first time in years, and I’m sure that the existence of LFR had something to do with it.

In the back of my mind I also know that the game will continue to evolve, and things will be different in 5.3, 5.4, 6.0, and beyond. I’m sure that Blizzard has gotten tons of feedback about the current systems and are evaluating how to make them better. The vast amount of changes in every content patch and expansion are often attempts at something new; not all of them work out, and are changed back (or to something better). MoP was a huge step forward from Cata, so even though I see some opportunities for improvement, I’m quite happy with it so far and am optimistic about the future.

• Lakh says:

Would definitely agree with your point about being the most alt-friendly as well as the most alt-unfriendly. Much like with your main, there’s nearly always something to do with an alt now too thanks to LFR et al.

I like the character-leapfrogging valor cap concept too.

5. Jasyla says:

I really enjoyed the item upgrades this tier. Previously I felt like valor was a bit of a waste that stopped being useful to me after a few weeks. Sure, there were some BoEs I could sell, but even that wasn’t too appealing. Item upgrades made me feel like Valor points were good for something.

However, I completely agree that it should be easier to get Valor. 16 raid bosses not being enough to cap is ridiculous, and the amount you get from dailies is negligible. I’d like to be able to cap without sinking time into things I don’t need or enjoy.

6. Thels says:

I really hate the Valor upgrade system. In addition to what’s mentioned, there are two serious disadvantages:

1) Because now there is no limit to the amount of Valor that will benefit you, those who farmed their 1000 valor from week 1 will always be ahead of those that didn’t (dinged 90 a few weeks later, missed a few weeks due to IRL issues, vacation, illness, whatever). This has been quite visible in PvP in like forever, but now affects PvE as well. It’s just never possible to really catch up to the people that spent their valor effectively from the first week of a new tier.

2) Offspecs suffer greatly, as any valor spent on offspec is valor that could’ve been spent on mainspec. No offspec items will be upgraded, unless that one item fits both specs. Considering raids are built around 1 person hopping between tank and dps and 1 person hopping between healer and dps, you always will have subpar DPS gear, much more so than ever before.

I’d be completely happy if the Valor upgrades never came back.

However, I did like the Justice upgrades! Since these aren’t on a weekly cap, you can always keep on farming them if need be, and those upgrades would help a newly dinged 90 a lot to get into HoF/ToES. With the Justice upgrades gone, newly dinged 90s need HC drops in nearly every slot to set foot in MSV LFR. Then they need MSV drops in over half their slots to set foot in HoF/ToES LFR. Then they need HoF/ToES drops in nearly every slot to set foot in ToT LFR. Having the Justice upgrades in there, it would be a lot easier to work yourself up to HoF/ToES LFR.

7. Jaymz says:

“Offspecs suffer greatly… No offspec items will be upgraded” — This x1000. As a person who plays 2 characters (and both specs on those characters) consistently in a raiding environment (Feral/Guardian Druid and Prot/Ret Paladin) the VP upgrade system has very much screwed me over. I can’t get my BiS Guardian trinket from Shieldwall because I can’t use the Valor on it. Let’s not even get started on a Prot paladin trying to win 2 of every RET gear piece (or just about), and if you share the items you’re so far over expertise cap that you might as well tank!

While I agree with Jasyla that we need a place to spend “extra” Valor, I don’t think the item upgrade system is the answer, not in it’s current form. However I don’t have any good solutions to satisfy both kinds of people (Single Spec vs Dual Spec).

8. Thels says:

I do kind of manage my way around that problem by placing Expertise gems in items that I only use for tanking, and Haste gems in items that I use for both tanking and DPSing. A few weeks ago I managed to have Hit/Exp less than 0.10% over cap for Prot and less than 0.25% over cap for Ret while the sets shared seven pieces. It’s still not ideal as I used Prot enchants in my Ret set. Still, that was better than using a lower ilvl item in my ret set.

And that’s with being really lucky that two sets use nearly the same itemization. If Haste wasn’t so awesome for Prot, or if I was raiding 25 mans and needed to gem Stamina, it would be a totally different picture.

Warrior and DKs can barely use any pieces in both sets. Holy Paladins and Mistweaver Monks are screwed over as the gear ain’t even remotely similar to their offspecs. Restoration Druids and Shamans are basically forced to use Balance and Elemental as their offspecs or be as screwed as Holy Paladins and Mistweaver Monks, and they probably have way too much Spirit, even more than we have too much Expertise.

9. Chimley says:

Great read. Hopefully a Blizzard rep will read it as well. Be nice to see their response.

10. ryderstep says:

On my realm 5 of the top 6 guilds have stopped raiding completely, the one who is still raiding got a really late start to the tier. Most of them have been active 3-5 years. I’m not sure if its as widespread as it is on our realm, but burnout is a real thing and I’m starting to feel it. In my guild we ran 3 alt runs and all of them are now canceled because people can’t put in enough time to maintain mains and Alts. It’s brutal. My biggest hurdle is doing enough dailies to get 3 coins every week and I’m effectively ignoring valor (we usually do a full clear.) IMO killing 16 bosses and doing 45 daily quests should cap your valor, beyond that and I’m just logging in because I care about keeping my raid spot, not because I want to log in.

11. Duncan says:

@ Theck: Is there an aggregate of time spent playing particular characters.

If we could find that, then you could clearly show amount of time spent per main/alt.

I agree with your overall sentiment, currently…if you want to remain focused on gearing your main, then you have to spend 12 hours/week…leaving little free-time to do anything else.

It amazes me that Blizzard doesn’t see this and either:
– Remove the weekly cap altogether (keeping the maximum)
– Make it a lot easier for you to cap

It simply smacks of desperation on their part to put an iron clamp down on the subscribers they have so far.

What get’s my goat, is that players would continue to pay their $15 & change w/o the caps. The regular Joes/Janes of WoW simply enjoy playing from time to time…don’t punish us by making Mist of Grindoria even harder. Or does the Dedicated “Hardcore” Raider make up a larger population of subs than we think? -Duncan • Donken says: “@ Theck: Is there an aggregate of time spent playing particular characters. If we could find that, then you could clearly show amount of time spent per main/alt.” This is true in theory but not practice. Because I have less time to spend on alts, I am (personally) more likely to ignore them completely. I do have a fixed amount of time that I play the game, but my actual play time has decreased this xpac because I’m not able to make what I consider a minimum time investment in alts. I would rather not play an alt at all than run it through 25-50% of LFR every other week, because they just won’t be viable in a normal mode raid unless I’m able to get an acceptable level of gear. Additionally I (again personally) don’t find DPS satisfying to play unless I can be at least moderately competitive, which means getting a certain baseline of gear. This has caused me to just play less total hours, mostly ignore alts, and focus on my main. • Duncan says: A thought. Perhaps one could crawl say Guild Ox and run across a character: http://www.guildox.com/wow/toon/us/Korgath/Dionys From there you can ascertain any alts. Then crawl both characters on the armory looking at their 25, 50, or 100 thousand Valor Point achievement progress. Such as: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/character/korgath/Dionys/achievement#168:a5537 Annnnnnnnnnnnnnd nvm. It’s account wide. Forgive the ignorance. I took a very long break from the game (first Tier of Cata, ’til about two months ago. Any other ideas on tracking toon involvement? – Boss Kills? – Dailies done? – LFR’s completed? • Judging by some comments Ive seen I’m sure the response to removing the weekly valor cap from a subset of the playerbase will be hating Blizzard for making them have to do all the dailies every day, dungeons and scenarios and all forms of raiding. That was the reason Shado-Pan and August Celestials were gated behind Golden Lotus, to stop people from being overwhelmed by stuff to do. • Theck says: I don’t think that removing the cap is a good solution. That will just exacerbate the problem. If there was no cap, I’d play Theck until there was literally nothing left to upgrade with Valor – everything would be 2/2, even my off-spec gear. That would be far worse for alts and for burning players out. Having a cap makes sense to me. But in my opinion, the cap should be relatively easy to hit. If it were up to me, a full clear of an entire raiding tier would definitely cap valor (really 10-11 bosses should be enough), and it should be similarly easy to do through heroic 5-mans (maybe 7-8 daily heroics to cap, so 120 VP for the daily and maybe 60-80 for each subsequent one). Daily quests can be gap-fillers, but even those should award at least 10 VP (100 dailies is still a decent time investment). • Duncan says: I said to keep the Maximum Cap, but remove the weekly entirely. This would both remove hoarding and at the same time, make a Valor reset (as was first suggested) much more palatable. All the while minimally exacerbating a player’s ability to chew through content, i.e. keep paying subscribers due to a lack of things to do. Remember that alt? It’s My Choice If a player chooses to get every piece of Faction Valor gear inside a month or go 2/2 in all his/her gear (even his off-spec), then that’s his/her call. I don’t like the idea of Blizzard metering out to me how I want to enjoy the game; especially given that reason. I played the game from mid-Vanilla to the beginning of Cataclysm, sometimes a lot and sometimes very little. Having the choice to control how I geared my toon was just that…my choice…a lot or a little, but we all still played (i.e. paid our monthly). Grindoria If a non-raiding player, using only Valor to upgrade his gear from the new faction in 5.2, he/she will need to spend 17.5 weeks (assuming that you start with zero valor and that you can reach honored reputation in a week of quests + dailies)…nearly 4.5 months. If you are raiding, the gear becomes less important, but going 2/2 with every raid drop is. At 1500 per item, that’s 22,500 Valor or 22+ weeks of grinding. Knock off 3 weeks if you hit 5.2 full. Nanny State? The thesis here is that Blizzard isn’t capping Valor for the common good, becoming our Nanny so we don’t play one toon ‘til our fingers bleed. They’re capping it so that they can continually squeeze the$15 & change out of us for as long as they can: a very flawed business model. Flawed in the sense that it’s clear Blizzard doesn’t understand their customers.
We both love our mains and our alts
As you said before and as I agree, I want to min/max my main as best I can, through whatever means I can…so let me do that. Then it’s on to my own crappy pally tank alt (why I’ve been stalking you since your posts on EJ).
Currently, there’s no way in hell, I’ll level my priest and begin the process of gearing. Using your own math, that’s 12 hours on my main, then 12 hours for both alts…and this strategy will stave off burnout?

Make it rain in here!
I like your idea of making it easier to cap and I don’t mind that it be singularly built for raiders. If you’re not raiding Normals/Heroics, then getting BiS is not a priority for you, so why should you have a vehicle outside of raiding that allows you to upgrade just as fast?

For another day
The fact that you’re pushed to do dailies over dungeons (please bring back tabards) has been a terrible idea from the beginning. Now people log in and no longer run together, as syncing up dailies with people who have just logged on is next to impossible. What use to be a great way to not only build a guild’s community, but to also help a new player out (with gear, tips on dps, healing, tanking while in the dungeon) is no more. Make dungeons worth more…a lot more.

That however, is another topic.

Keep up the great work T!

-Duncan
p.s. Wrote this off and on while I was at work, forgive the errors

• Theck says:

Yeah, I understood what you meant. I just disagree. Without a weekly cap, there is nothing preventing me from grinding 20k+ valor in one week to upgrade every single item I have to 2/2. And that sounds like a giant PITA. But if it were an option, I would be grinding valor on Theck instead of doing other things, because raiding on Theck comes before alts.

Is that my choice? Yes, but it’s a bit of a false choice in my mind. It makes the game less fun for me, because I have to choose between doing something fun (alts) or doing something boring (grinding 20k+ valor) to maximize my character for something else I find fun.

The cap does a good job of making sure that I can have the best of both worlds. I still have “chores” to do (cap valor), but it limits the painfulness to 1k valor instead of 20k.

I think your theory about using the valor cap to keep people subscribed is a stretch. I doubt very much that the valor cap has a significant effect on people who unsub. The vast majority of players don’t cap every week to begin with. Of the ones that do, the majority are raiders, who would be raiding every week with or without a cap.

• Duncan says:

Coming up for some air after the long weekend + catching up at work.

I must politely disagree with your false choice argument, it’s not at all false.

I choose whatever it is that I want to do with whatever free time I have. Generally my week (after work) is:
– Monday: Free, usually WoW if I have no dinner plans
– Tuesday: Raiding, then bed…maybe a daily if I can fit it in
– Wednesday: Regular dinner with friends, rarely WoW time
– Thursday: Raiding, then bed…see Tues.
– Friday: Out with friends, then WoW ’til I can’t see straight
– Weekends: A mix bag of errands, cooking, out-n-about, and WoW

I’m choosing (planning more like it) exactly what I do with any spare time I have and I do not need Blizzard to tell me that I can only devote so much time to my main before any other work on him/her is futile to his/her progression.

That dove-tails into my position that the cap is a gating mechanism.

As you said, you would (as would I) grind out the Valor I needed inside a week. Then it’s of to our Alt to do the same. Considering that you take time off for raiding + other social (or gaming) endeavors….you could easily upgrade your main and alt inside a month.

So now what?

With the cap in place, it keeps subscribers (like the ones who read up on how to improve their own playstyle from nifty people like yourself) from un’subing.

However, I believe it to be a Catch-22 for Blizzard.

Blizz, let me shiny up my toon in my own time-frame. Not one that’s pre-determined by some MBA analytics wanker at Blizzard in order to hold on to (see my iron claw remark) every subscriber they can.

The tabard/guild rep was awesome as it let me control how fast I wanted to gain reputation AND it made my guild much tighter. As players would wait online for this or that person to get on before burning through some heroics…now peeps are scattered, soloing dailies and occasionally partying up when other’s log in.

Besides Theck, while grinding tabard rep was chore-ish….it has not even come close to how chore-ish this expansion has become.

I simply can’t buy your argument that the cap does a “good job” of breaking things up. As another poster mentioned, and as you have mentioned…it’s a helluva lot of chores to cap your valor, 5 – 8 hours (of free time) per week? That’s just to cap your main, now add half that to cap your alt.

So your main + 1 alt takes up between 8 and 12 hours a week (and I think I’m being generous)…just to cap. That’s an awful lot of chores.

Let me bang out what I need to do on my main, so that I can then use him to:
– help others improve their own gameplay (see: 5-mans)
– improve my own raiding (capping valor also caps many guilds raiding output)
– just log in and have some fun…not worry about what I “have” to do in order to improve my character

No Mr. T, I don’t need a Nanny that tells me how much I can play.

Especially when said Nanny is not looking out for the betterment of myself, but the betterment of his/her pocketbook.

Thanks for taking the time out to respond, I’m sure you’re fairly busy yourself!

Looking forward to the next article.

All the best,

-Duncan

12. synapse1271 says:

First, you forgot about challenge modes with dailies, 55-80 depending on score, and a bonus 60 for the daily quest. LFRs can be a drastic waste of time. Daily Dungeons at 80 Per are convenient and rarely take too long.

But moreover, I think the solution is NOT doubling the rate of valor accrual, being able to cap in one day in just an hour or two is a huge part of the problem that Blizz created in Cataclysm. The Valor of the Ancient Buff makes capping valor actually feel worthwhile, but imagine capping Valor on alts with the double accrual, Run 4 LFRS – Capped, Run 4 Daily Dungeons – Capped – You’re going to find that the alt community has also run out of things to do.

I think the real issue here is that it is such a magnificent pain in the arse to cap valor for the first time each week. With the Valor of the Ancient Buff, alts feel quite rewarding, even doing dailies. I’m one of those players that grinds grinds grinds, I don’t think the problem is item upgrades, I love them, they keep your character evolving, I miss being able to spend time on the many many alts I have…but really the problem always comes back to…Getting that Valor of the Ancient Buff.
I really can’t say what a proper solution would be, with the current game design I would recommend a slight bonus to valor, maybe up to 100 for lfr and dungeon dailies, 80 for challenge modes, and 6-7 on daily quests.

I’m more inclined to argue against one of the changes that Blizz made between Cataclysm and MoP…..something they have oddly defended doing. Make the ‘Daily Dungeon’ back to 7 a week. They keep saying that ‘most’ people only did 1 a day anyways, and that they don’t want to fall back to the Cata ways…but tbh that small change would fix everything for the grind mentality players like myself. It doesn’t do anything to ruin the content or do less of it, it gives me more freedom to do more of what I want with it…and in this case it means my alts actually get to see more than the inner workings of Sunsong Ranch.

• How many alts do you have?

I’m raiding 5 hours a day in a hardcore guild and at 16/16hm. I also have 4 alts which are primary tanks. How many time do you think I should spend to do all of the dailies for all of my characters a day? It’s 30-45 minutes at least not counting LFR or random heroics which are long as hell because of people not going to play well often in random groups. Simple math shows you it’s 30 * 5 = 150 minutes a day at least for grinding rep without which you will miss some gear pieces or trinket or chance for add. roll.

I also have a full-time job which end at 7 PM. Main raid starts at 8 PM ends at 1 AM plus that 150 minutes or 2.5 hours = 3:30 AM. Is it ok by your opinion? In cataclysm 150 VP for each dungeon were absolutely wonderful – just cap and forget and do what you wanna do and with this system – if I just want to go sleep after main raid or have a hard day at work – I will spend tuesday night by stress-running dungeons with noobs – 24 / 1.5 = 16 dungeons (160 mins) for full cap if I didn’t touch alt character this week. In cataclysm 1000 / 150 = 7 dungeons (70 mins).

13. john randles says:

The only thing this valor system serves is blizz’s bank balance. They dont want you to cancel your subscription because you have nothing to do and no better gear to buy. They have brain washed you all into thinking a game you have already bought also requires you to “earn” the necessary items you need to play it. When was the last time you bought a pair of trainers and then had to go and work for the shop you bought them from for 1-2 yrs to “earn” the insoles and laces that you need to actually wear them? Dailies, Galleon, Valor cap, Conquest cap, Rating caps ……. ALL SUBSCRIPTION ORIENTATED GRINDS ….WAKE UP WOW HEADS!!!

• Duncan says:

John,

Given your own argument, this means that whenever I purchase any game, I should be able to open the ending cinematic at the get-go.

Each expansion is basically a *new game* with features, gear, items, vanity pets, mounts, etc…etc… that we all have to unlock (i.e. work towards).

What kind of game would any game be, if you were handed the product and allowed to play the last level?

My problem isn’t the grind, my problem is that it’s constructed as a last ditch effort by Blizzard to desperately hold on to (and squeeze as much as it can from) their current subscribers.

A business plan that’s worsening if you look at their long term trend.

Blizzard, remove the grind, your players will still stay and pay.

• Theck says:

By that logic, every RPG on a console has brainwashed its players into thinking that the players must “earn” the right to kill the final boss. The journey is part of what makes the game fun. We’re not complaining about the journey overall, just about some of the details of how it’s implemented.

Also, why are you bothering to troll a wow blog about theorycrafting? Your arguments really aren’t up to par for this crowd. Perhaps you should try an audience that has slightly lower standards, like the official forums.

14. Torrak says:

Liked the article a lot!

Item upgrades are my biggest problem. It’s exactly like you describe – I tolerate grinds only because I know they are temporary, and so I tolerate capping of valor only because I know it will plateau and soon I won’t have to do it. Item upgrades break this.

So, an idea: item upgrades are there so that we have something to spend valor on, right? What if instead of offering item upgrades, they allowed you to transfer valor between characters? You’d be free to play on your alt, *and* you’d have an ability to play on your main to help that alt, *and* it wouldn’t have felt like something you had to do either. Win-win-win?

15. Helistar says:

Well, as I already written, I’m happy of not being in a top-world guild. I hate the grind(*) and I stopped reputation/valor grinding very early on (1 week, to be exact).
It was simple logic: I won’t play a game which does not provide fun. Doing the same idiotic Golden Lotus quest is not fun. I won’t do them. End of story. The limit of our raiding does not come from 8-ilvl point upgrades, my gameplay will still be average even 8 ilvls later, and that will not be improved by running dailies.

(*) more details on this: the definition of “grind” is somewhat mode complex: a repetitive activity can be extremely relaxing and welcome at the end of the day. What is NOT relaxing is when this activity is a requirement for another one, basically forcing you to “grind” when you’re not in the mood for it. This is my major problem with the valor grind: valor is required for raiding, but you cannot easily fill it by raiding, so you’re forced into other activities you don’t care about (or you don’t have time for).

16. Aanvil says:

Valor points should provide a leg up for casual raiders so they can keep gearing up even if they aren’t successfully downing bosses and thus eventually have enough gear to down those bosses without requiring nerfs. That worked okay for the first tier of MoP, but the valor upgrade system now means that hard-core raiders gear is going to be that much better and create a larger spread at the start of the new tier rather than a smaller one. As the tier ends, casual raiders should be catching up, not falling further behind.

Additionally, valor points should provide an alternative way of gearing up off-specs and alts. Again, this is undermined by the valor upgrade system which “requires” raiders to spend time grinding on their mains before their alts and “requires” that they spend those valor points on their main spec.

On a personal note, I REALLY wish I could buy a shield with valor points. I have the worst luck getting shields to drop. And despite many normal mode boss kills, this tier’s general rarity of weapon drops has left several raiders in our guild using LFR weapons. Perhaps that would be an alternative use of the upgrade system.

So my proposal: use the upgrade vendor to allow you to upgrade blue, LFR and normal (not heroic) weapons and off-hands only. Then, bring back the system of BoE or BoA valor gear in minor slots like wrists and boots.

17. Thels says:

“What if instead of offering item upgrades, they allowed you to transfer valor between characters? You’d be free to play on your alt, *and* you’d have an ability to play on your main to help that alt, *and* it wouldn’t have felt like something you had to do either. Win-win-win?”

While this sounds good initially, there are a few major drawbacks to the problem:

First, the cap. Would this be per character or per account? If you cap it per character, then suddenly having more than one character is a huge benefit on how fast you can gear. If you cap it per account, you just took away a big reason for people to play alts in the first place. While they could earn 1000 valor per character, now they can only earn 1000 valor in total.

Second, unless there would also be a realistic limit to how much valor you could spend (like there was pre-5.1), it would mean your alts would never benefit from a single point of valor, since you’re sending that valor over to your main. This is already very visible between main and offspecs.

These problems could be circumvented slightly by capping the amount of valor that can be spent, rather than the amount of valor that can be earned. For example, making lesser charms BoA would work, because you can still only benefit from 90 lesser charms on your main, and if you want to max out your alt as well, you’d simply have to grind 180 lesser charms per week, like you already have to now, only you could grind all of them on one of your characters instead of having them split up.

Still, there are a few issues, such as the first daily Scenario/HC, the first time you run an LFR per week, the Valor cap bonus to alts, etc…

“Then, bring back the system of BoE or BoA valor gear in minor slots like wrists and boots.”

Like Valor itself being transferable, having Valor items be transferable from alts to mains would mean having an alt would suddenly help gear up your main.

18. Attack says:

Theck, is it faster to cap on your alt first then raiding main or vice versa?

For your alt, let’s say you do get 960 VP. You still need to do 45 dailies for your Pally. Dungeon queues too are much faster on a tank than on a dps.

I suppose though it would depend on your raiding schedule. If you can get a lot of raiding done between the Tuesday – Friday tier on a raiding main, then it may make sense to cap the VP, even if it does “waste” any later in the week VP and leave the weekend with the VP buff for your alt.

I would like a way to make lesser charms available through LFD perhaps (I prefer to do LFD) and in raid gear as a tank, you can chain pull in dungeons fairly easily, which takes advantage of vengeance scaling (normally low in 5 mans).

Otherwise, as you have pointed out, tier 15 came too soon. Like it’s a constant progression treadmill. There hasn’t been the time to sit back and enjoy 2-3 months of farm; it’s been a huge tier. Compounding the problem, next tier, people are going to want fully VP upgraded (likely brought in 5.3) thunderforged heroic bis items for T16.

Quite a few people I know have burned out. Other semi-hardcore guilds are no longer asking people to cap their valor. I think the 1-2 night/week guilds have been hit especially hard since the gear progression gap is now bigger than before and because of the sheer number of bosses this tier.

19. Vstrom says:

In WoW since BC, did pretty much all the raiding until MoP, completely stopped once i have been ‘required’ to go through an endless grind of dailies to even think about stepping into the second tier or raiding. goes without saying, my other alts have received very little love (have 8 90s which i had levelled to get new experience…) and i am now stuck in the toon which does the highest and easiest dps to get to see a bit of content… I am sorry, but they royally screwed this expansion: rather than getting more people to play, they got more people to DO things… and not in their interest. I seldom log weekly and I can guarantee you i had 6 toon with raiding achievements in the end of cata… did Heroic LK with 4 of them, during that expansion. I am really puzzled with the rationale behind this expansion… bring back attunements for content (if you want to gate it) but take away gear gating… this is artificially taking content away from players… my older guild got from raiding to pvp-ing due to the gating… i cannot find a raiding guild on my overpopulated server who would raid consistently and with my schedules… Something rotten in Pandaria…

20. Kaliy says:

Excellent post. You basically summed up everything I’ve been feeling in the past month – my solution to the sheer WORK I felt like I had to do was to just stop playing. I login for an hour before raids to make flasks, and then I raid. We’re on heroics and I’m at 498 ilvl, but I feel like I’m cheating my guild and being a bad member because I don’t get coins each week – but I just cannot bring myself to do it right now, on top of having to run dungeons after raiding AND doing PvP stuff, just to meet my caps. I hit my threshold, which is a shame, because I used to love just doing everything I saw in WoW (I even was raiding on 3 toons at one point). The lower rewards, however, make me feel exhausted these days, just doing basic content.

21. bryjoered says:

Wait wait, last I heard they were taking the upgrade npc’s out of the game no? I don’t like the upgrade system either. I do like how there are no tier items in the valor gear anymore, I actually feel accomplished have some tier items now, I stand out from the rest. Valor gear should NOT be gated behind reputation, which they are somewhat fixing as well. It actually takes a lot of time to cap valor, way more than in cataclysm. Clearing all of tier 14, even with flawless play, takes at the minimum 3 hours. Dungeons only award 80 for the first one and 60 for the second and subsequent runs each day. I capped valor when the expansion first arrived and I didn’t even have a job and it felt like I was playing constantly. Now, I pretty much just log to raid and we don’t do vaults, but generally clear 6 bosses a week and that is not even close to capping valor. We raid 3 times a week from 8-11 and I can tell you right now,
I could never be in one of those bleeding edge guilds, just raiding 12 hours a week is a HUGE time commitment to me. I like other games besides wow you know, maybe want to hang out with real people sometimes or watch tv. I probably dedicate near 15-20 hours a week playing this game and I love raiding, but the amount of time it takes up is mind boggling. The nature of raiding is that you can’t really miss either, maybe like once every blue moon, but especially as a main tank or a heals. From 8-11 Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, nothing short of a damned emergency can pull me away. This means rejecting my friends, family, doesn’t matter. This is the nature of the raider, if I feel this way I can’t even imagine how some of you guys in bleeding edge heroic guilds feel. What about these people that have been doing this for years? Or even since launch in 04? That’s almost a decade of basically working a job like schedule(It’s really fun don’t get me wrong) in a virtual world. It’s kind of scary for me to think about honestly.

22. Bemxuu says:

Being one of the poor fellows obliged to have few twinks, I understand you more than well. At the moment I am the person who both participates in main raids and makes catch-up raids for newbies and back-up players that didn’t make it to first 25 spots for whatever the reason, so I need a second geared character. Having both paladin and monk tanks is advantageous in a way: I can always swap, leaving one that fits new encounters best for main raid, but it’s such a pain to keep both of them at the front edge.
First, as you have mentioned, I have to cap valor. It is poured generously on my gear to improve it: the most hardly hit link in the chain cannot afford being weak. Since we raid weekdays, I don’t have time to build up that valor on any one of the characters. By the time I make it to cap, it’s already 1 or 2 days till’ reset, so I have to make those instance runs. I have a good recipe: I found few “brothers in misfortune” and we run Challenges. That repeatable challenge quest (and the challenge itself) can be done easily even with a wipe or two; they give about 150 valor in sum and are a breath of fresh air after having multiple pug runs (be it LFR or LFG). I actually thought of something like Valor buff lasting exactly one week rather than ’till next reset, but direct VP gain increase is fine as well: all the non-routine ways of getting them are exhausted anyway as you’ve seen all the dailies, all the dungeons and done your challenge runs.
Then there are dailies. One might say that having those Elder Charms is not obligatory, but they’re wrong: if every bit counts, then … erhm… every bit counts. Having and extra chance to get those tokens to help you reach 2/4 piece bonuses is nothing to sneeze at. So, 45 dailies per character per week is a minimum. As much as I liked the dailies and the storyline, they’re nothing but frustrating when you’re doing them so often.
But that’s not only that. I also have to grind for 300 stat food for each one of the characters. I actually enjoy doing it. After having all the noise in raids, pug runs, LFR and annoying dailies, having some peace on my farm is what I need, so I don’t complain here.

23. “But the new item upgrade system eliminates that cycle and replaces it with a constant player power treadmill. There’s no longer a point at which valor becomes irrelevant until the next tier, because you can continue upgrading your gear to prepare for the next raid tier. The system turns a temporary period of grinding into an eternal one.

And I don’t know if that’s a good thing, especially for players like me.”

My most immediate, gut reaction to the current setup is a visceral but utterly impotent sense of frustration. I’m still slowly working my way through reps and whatnot, but I’ve only got a couple of hours in the evening to HAVE FUN, which (SURPRISE) doesn’t always involve running the same heroics endlessly, or suffering through LFR, or doing the same dailies that I’ve already been doing DAILY. Because I want the game to stay fun, I don’t do these means of gaining valor when I don’t want to.

But that means that I will never, ever have enough valor. EVER. Months in, I’m STILL trying to accumulate enough valor to upgrade the gear that I haven’t (and suspect I likely won’t) get as drops from LFR. Actually, scratch that. Valor items are generally higher in level than the LFR stuff, so I’m technically still trying to accumulate enough valor to upgrade EVERYTHING.

When they introduced upgrading sheeyit with more valor, that made me laugh somewhat bitterly because I didn’t have enough valor to start with. I have upgraded one thing, and that’s my bow, simply because I have never seen the two bows or one gun that would be an improvement. Since no grind will get me a better weapon, I had no other options for it.

Because my RNG luck is bad, when I DO get drops in LFR, it’s been stuff I already have or have surpassed with valor items. When I combine my valor annoyances with the fact that I can run heroics or LFR until my face falls off and still not get what I want because LOLZ RNG, I just get cranky.

(Also, 5 valor per quest is a cheapass reward if you only have the time for one or two factions – if I need 1750 valor or so to purchase one item, that’s like 350 daily quests per item. THAT TAKES FOR-FREAKING-EVER, which forces you to run heroics and LFR if only to preserve what little sanity you have.)

24. Sucellus says:

I completely agree with everything you are saying about VPs. You mention your stockpile of coins which for fast progression raiders like yourself is probably quite good as you gear up more quickly from drops as you’re limited to 3 Elder coins a week. Less fast paced raiders use coins a lot more to gear up and end up (even after the huge grind at the start of MoP) having to earn 90 lesser coins a week just to get the 3 bonus rolls. I love the bonus roll system, it really helps slower paced guilds.

With regard to playing alts, it seems crazy to me that Lesser Coins are not BoA. There is literally no disadvantage to this and as there is a 3-per-week cap on the actually useful coins, can’t turn into a situation where players feel it is mandatory to earn a bajillion coins a week on all alts (if there was no turn-in cap). The VP cap is hard, but if you logon most days isn’t too terrible with daily heroics, but doing 45 dailies a week on your main for absolutely no reward other than coins (and I guess a few VPs) is just insane.

25. This is a great article that describes quite clearly the same experience I’ve been feeling this expansion. I’ve really started to feel the strain from the sheer volume of content and the lack of respite between content cycles. I used to love to play my alts and I’ve had to cut back sharply in order to maintain sanity. Blizzard has tough choices to make to keep all players happy and I hope they can find a better balance going forward.

Another outgrowth of the pressure is that raid groups like mine, which have always depended on alts of guild members and friends to get by when regulars can’t make it are finding it harder to get good fillers. For raid groups which run a deeper bench this isn’t a problem, but for those who run a straight 10 man group they’re more likely to have to rely on pugs to get by when someone can’t make it.