Tobold's Blog
Friday, April 11, 2008
Do you suffer from pre-expansion depression?

Wowinsider has a post discussing pre-expansion depression: a certain lowering of the spirits between the last content patch and the arrival of the next expansion. It certainly was there before TBC, and there is anecdotal evidence of it now that we got the last content patch 2.4. There will presumably be a 3.0 patch a month or so before Wrath of the Lich King, adding the new WotLK rules for everyone. But new content will only happen when the expansion comes out, which is presumably planned to happen before christmas, with a possible delay in early 2009 if things go wrong.

Mrs. Tobold, the most casual player I know well, is talking about stopping to play WoW. After she finally found the perfect class for her, druid, and finally leveled up all the way to 70, she finds there is nothing left to do for an ultra-casual player. She doesn't group, she doesn't PvP, so she is only planning to do a couple more level 70 quests (not repetitive dailies) and then stop when she runs out. As so often Mrs. Tobold has a firmer grasp of reality than Mr. Tobold, because I'm still busy doing what is essentially repetitive content.

My priest is raiding occasionally, but as I like the 10-man raids more than the 25-man raids, and I got all the gear I'll ever need for 10-mans, my so-called "character development" through gear pretty much stopped. That is why I ended up selling my badges of justice for 24 gold each instead of saving them for the new badge loot. I also got to revered with the Shattered Sun Offensive with my priest, which is all the reputation he needs as jewelcrafter. But it turned out that you only get a handful of spell haste epic gem recipes. All the other epic gem recipes require farming Mount Hyjal for reputation, and I'm not sure I'll ever get there. I wonder what Blizzard will do with those recipes when the expansion comes out. Require level 80 people to farm level 70 raids for them?

My warrior is stuck as well, because silly me wants to play him as tank, and Blizzard makes that so much harder than playing dps; I can't get tanking epic gear from PvP. And without epics I have problems getting into pickup heroic groups, which are unreasonably spoilt nowadays and basically all only want a free ride from a full epic tank. And as my guild is long on tanks and short on healers, I can't get epics from raiding either. So I'm mostly using the warrior for his fishing, cooking, and alchemy. If I find out that deathknights are acceptable tanks, I'll just retire the warrior in WotLK.

I'm still having lots of fun with my mage, but I'm at level 69-and-a-half, and not quite sure how life will be at 70. I'd love to do lots of normal and heroic dungeons, but that usually fails because the group can't find a healer and tank. I might try PvP with the mage, at least the PvP epic rewards are good for dps. And I'm in the process of crafting him a set of shadowcloth epic gear. I also plan to do SSO dailies with him, but I still need to check up to what level of reputation that makes sense. Although I could just continue doing dailies with him for the gold. I'm at 360 enchanting, and I'd love to get to 375, but I know that is extremely expensive. And not only that, I will *need* to run lots of dungeons for the reputation and drops to get recipes, otherwise the skill by itself is useless.

So while I'm not suffering from pre-expansion depression yet, I don't know if WoW will still be fun for all those months until Wrath of the Lich King comes out. Too bad WAR has been delayed, although in principal I support the decision to rather release a good game later than an unfinished game earlier. Not sure if Age of Conan will release on time in May, but I have a sneaking suspicion that I'll just play that for the free month or so, it doesn't appear to be my kind of game. So I'm toying with the idea to make Yet Another Alt, but it isn't as if I hadn't seen all the low-level content many times already. Maybe if I played Alliance? I don't know.

What are your plans? What do you plan to do between now and the release of Wrath of the Lich King, assuming that'll be at least 6 months in the future?
depression? nah, more like an afterglow. in the next 6 months i can look back and enjoy how the burning crusade impacted on WoW while beating the poor horde in the battlegrounds with my hunter and druid. my play time will slow down, partly because of real life (tm), but mostly so i can step into WoTLK feeling refreshed and excited without immediately burning out.
Since you have a lifetime sub to LOTRO, this might be a good time to take advantage of it, though I'm sure this has already occurred to you.
I don't suffer from the depression. In the last few weeks some of my vanilla-wow friends and fellow raiders hit my server again - leveling up their decaying old raid toons from 60 to 70 - meanwhile I and a few others of my old raidguild have left that guild because of really bad leadership and have formed a new guild. Still recruiting but we will make our way back to the 25-man raids again. Yesterday we cleared Karazhan in one session from attumen to the prince including all optionals (expect cellar bosses) in 165 mins.
I hope that in the next 14 days we have recruitet enough players to kick some butt in SSC, Maggi- and Gruul's Lair to equip our people so that we can hit MH and BT as soon as possible again. I hope to down Illidan before WotLK goes live.
I hit the "casual" content cap in Vanilla WoW long before Zul'Gurub was released. Fortunately I had chosen an RP server, so there was always something to do.
I'm actually having the opposite - I'm loving WoW right now, and playing more than I have in years. And I've got some updated comments on tanking Heroics, which I'm now apparently getting a bit of a reputation on my server for being good at (after complaining that they were bloody impossible just a few weeks ago). It's doable, you just need to learn a few rules.

I'll post/email 'em later.
The latest patch is a disappointment for me. The new raid instance is way beyone me, which leaves Magister's Terrace and a load of 'already getting boring' dailies. They provide plenty of money, but are not very exciting, especially when you are doing them on 2 different characters.
Magister's Terrace is ok, but my Alliance character has no interest in the loot that drops from there, whereas my Belf is interested, but doesn't have good enough gear to go there even Normal mode.

At least the money will come in useful.
I was wondering if anyone could tell me one thing about the new epic gems?

I was looking to get the +10 STR gems. Now i know you can buy the uncut epic gems with Heroic badges.

Although is the recipee to cut such a gem only in a raid instance? I thought they were on the vendors.
You've never played alliance? My first wow toon was horde. After my 50th run thru MC I thought that was a good number to retire on and quit for 8 months. Then came back and played Alliance for something new. After beating bwl, tbc came out and I did that until 70 but now retired again.

I will try AoC & see what it is like. I actually got an invite to AoC tech test so I'll view that soon. I'm in the Mythos beta which is like a new diablo 2, interesting. Other than that, not too many plans. I may come back to WoW about 2mths before the WotLK just to get back up to speed. Not sure if I will use my rogue or make a new toon for it.
I'm actually considering quitting WoW, at the very least until the expansion comes out. I thought 2.4 would revitalize my interest in it, but it didn't do a whole lot for me.

Hopefully with the expansion and after it, Blizzard will start to introduce some innovation into their game. It doesn't have to be something no one else has done before, but it does need to be something different. So far, WotLK looks like just more of the same ol' stuff with a new face.

If things don't change, I'll probably be gone for good. Right now I'm in the decision making process, but I'm really enjoying catching up on all those console RPGs I've been wanting to play for a while. ;)
Luckily this doesn't affect me. I only started playing a year ago and have yet to level a character to 70. I'm getting close with a 65 paladin but it will be a few months before I reach 70 at the rate I'm going. I'm anxious to try raiding so with all the dungeons out there I'm hoping to be busy for the time being. Mixing in a good amount of Guitar Hero helps too, I just beat Lou (the Devil) on medium.
You've never played alliance?

I never played Alliance past level 60. In the past I had at some occasions tried to start on freshly opened servers, and played a couple of Alliance characters there, most until about level 30, and one priest until 60. But when in the TBC beta I went with that priest to Hellfire Peninsula, I noticed that in TBC the Alliance quest are carbon copies of Horde quests, so there wasn't much interest.
Pre BC I had a Mage who was 60 for some time then decide to level up a Orc Warlock. I was lucky as I hit 60 about two weeks before TBC was released so I did not suffer any pre-release depression.
However, with Warlock at 70, mage at 66 .. I started a few alts and just cannot find it in me to run the leveling again (both alts in the 40’s).
Started playing LOTRO mid February… If it was not for my great guild (Brother of Honor on Drenden) and the fact I play with my Daughter (2nd account) I would have quit.

My fear is WoW may have lost it’s magic in some way. I wish if you hit 70 you could make alts start at 50 or 60. I cannot se leveling up a new alt after wrath 1 to 80.. no thank you. Bliz .. add a third faction (Demons!) new demon races and classes, capital cities. Add housing! Make crafting worth doing at low levels (crafted items should be better than any drop and equal to any quest reward for items at equal level).
whooo .. end rant.
Give LoTRO a shot again Tobold - there should be some new things for you to try out.
If the months leading up to WotLK are anything like the ones that led up to TBC, you should be able to experience some pretty fun PvP, since most people won't be bothering with raiding.

Aside from that, I'd suggest trying LotRO again, AoC, WAR open beta (sometime this summer), and/or Maple Story.

The last one was a joke.
I know players who hit exalted within a few days of the patch hitting.

Once you get whatever you want from normal or heroic MgT and you don't raid SP there really wasn't much to that patch essentially.

25-man raiders will be kept busy, but the rest of us? 25 dailies is *not* content.
The new content is getting a little old already. But I did finally come to a conclusion that should have been obvious - WotLK is THE opportunity for switching mains. Boss aoe damage and not being able to see the fight has made raiding with my rogue frustrating. But getting my mage raid-ready is a pain, too - reputations, crafting, and all that is very time consuming. But the minute the new expansion hits, all it takes to make that mage my main is to run him through the new content first.
So, if you want to try something new, now's your chance. There's enough time to work a new toon to 70 before the expansion, and you don't need to worry about reputations, as they'll likely be useless in the new area. I'm considering a human, as TBC taught me that a 10% rep bonus is the best racial in this game.
pre-expansion depression? Not at all. Honestly, every player who is not new to WoW should have known this was coming. I had my little bit of depression when TBC was launched and I'll not forget it anytime soon. In fact I've played through all of TBC with the next expansion in mind.
I focussed on getting new friends, developing a network of good players, getting a reputation as a raidleader and having fun. Nothing of that will be made worthless when WotLK hits live. Sure, my gear will be gone. But I had mostly fun getting it and avoided big raids with crushing schedules. I got myself a nice little T4 which is enough for everything except higher raids that I won't visit. And I got tons of badges of justice which I will trade for T6-like epics.
WoW is fun :)
I'm using the time between now and Season 4 to build my paladin's Retribution set.

After healing everything from Deadmines to Magtheridon and tanking everything from Deadmines to Kara, the change of pace is nice.

And if that gets boring, I have 3 other 70s that could use some attention. :)
They've added a load of content to LotRO in the last 12 months, and it would likely keep you entertained for a little while, at the very least.

They've added a handful of new instances and public dungeons, expanded and revised some regions, added housing, reputation, cosmetic clothing slots, expanded the PvMP, and given all the classes an overhaul and new skills.

The raiding is very casual friendly, with a few decent challenges for those that want them. I think Turbine should have tried to get a few more new raids and instances in over the past year, but the ones they have added have been good quality.

The Book 13 update is due in the next few weeks. It adds a massive new region to the game, aimed at players at or close to the level cap. It will also introduce fishing, which sounds like it will be at least a little more interesting than its WoW counterpart.

LotRO doesn't seem like a game that can sustain you for many months at a time in the same way that WoW can, mostly because Turbine shy away from grinds as a way to slow access to higher tiers of end-game content. However, I think you'll enjoy heading back to Middle-Earth from time to time to explore the latest additions, and with a life-time subscription there really is no excuse.

Also, the fist expansion, The Mines of Moria, arrives in the Autumn, and if that doesn't get you excited, then all hope is truly lost.
wow theres a lot of lotro luv floating around here. Good. But I didn't want to talk about that, I wanted to talk about depression. I definitely got depressed with Blizzard when instead of building on what they had done they annihilated the old to make way for the new. (in TBC) In other words they made the old content irrelevant and they leaked this info 6 months before the expansion came out, leaving us all in a treadmill of limbo where nothing we did had any point. Thats just cruel profiteering. I suspect they are doing the same thing with WOTLK .. making all the progress you make now become worthless the moment the expansion hits (other than leveling to lvl 70 I mean) Me no likey Blizzard and how they treat their players....but they do make fun games, I won't deny that.
I feel the lull. I'm in a good guild, making steady (if slow) progression on my main (we're about to enter SSC/TK) so that's a reasonable amount of entertainment ahead.

I'm sort of thankful for the lull, and appreciate in a way that it's happening as summer approaches so I can reduce the amount I play without feeling like I'm missing out on as much.

From an industry standpoint, it's interesting to me that Mythos is starting to build it's hype cycle to "Frothing" and is getting some pretty complimentary press. With WAR delayed, and WoW in pre-expansion lull, Mythos might be hitting at exactly the right time to attract some serious interest.
I think i'd call it pre-expansion apprehension. I think after the first expansion you have two competing camps. The people that want to catch up before the new expansion launches and the camp that is just kicking back because the incoming expansion makes all thier current work meaningless.

And I think both camps are really frustrated that the other sees it differently.

I'm just not excited about another massive mudflation. Not sure if I'll buy the next expansion or not. If I don't buy it within 2 weeks of launch I'll definitely never buy it. not ever gonna start any MMO behind the power curve again. too much frustration trying to catch up with my friends.
moar than depression i think is frustation, yer gear will go borked, yo are not going to see half the raideable instances of the game, Wow keep a dominating position inflated by asia gamers census, and most of the endgame is childlike pvp

crap gaem ffs

please jumpgate, Aoc or whatever giev me something interesting to grind
* Raid-only enchanting recipes: in WotLK, they will most likely be available via the new factions. Just look at this list and see how many of the recipes are available via an old-school 40-man T3 raid, OR through TBC rep.

* PvP for PvE tanking gear. S1 arena epics are now available through BG's, and roughly equivalent to D3 blues. Next season S2 will be deprecated to BG honor, and those are similar to Kara T4 epics. More stamina and resilience, less defense and dodge. So if you PvP now and save up your honor points, you can get a lot of S2 gear soon. Or you could play arena and slowly accumulate S4 gear, which will be vastly superior to Kara epics.

* New 70 mage: LFG for Magister's Terrace. That instance is notorious for wanting good CC, so if you can keep 1 target sheeped while kiting another, you should have no problem finding groups.

* Enchanting to 375: I would wait for 2 events: the opening of the badge vendor and the start of arena S4. On those days stand by the new equipment vendor and hawk your enchants. You should be able to get a lot of skillups as everyone needs to get their new gear enchanted. You might even make money doing so, if you have the mats on you and charge a markup.

* What I'm doing until WoTLK: saving honor and arena points, and making lots of money on the AH for the fun of it. Raiding twice a week with my casual guild (just starting TK now). Leveling an alt past 60 (2-boxing with my main to help powerlevel), and also playing with my wife -- both of us just dinged 45 last night while a friend [70 holy priest] ran us through ZF.

* Finally, since you have 2 accounts on 2 machines, have you ever considered 2-boxing, at least some of the daily quests? Double the money and rep in the same amount of player time. You could even move your mage to your wife's account if you didn't want to play her druid.
@ changed. thats a nice list but spending anything on anything at this time is inefficient. Come expansion even S4 gear will become subpar gear.

I think it says a lot that 6 to 9 months out from an expansion people start thinking that way and begin to horde thier money for the xpac
Supposedly, closed beta for the expansion has now begun.
Tobold, the jewelcrafting recipes will not be available until Sunwell Isle phase 4 and the alchemy lab is complete. The vendor who sells the purple gems will also sell all recipes except for the ones at the phase 1 quartermaster.

Clicky for the full list.

The period of Pre-Expansion depression is basically one giant field day for me. With people losing interest in raiding, they're going to be spending more time on alts, particularly twinks. And since I spend all my time twinking for 30-39, my guild and battlegroup is going to see a steady surge in activity from now till the expansion.
I just left WoW and went to Second Life, actually. I'll probably be back for WotLK and I'll stick around until I've burned through all the new content. But then I'll quit again.

It simply isn't fun for me to grind anything when there are other games and hobbies in the world to spend my time on.
Of course depression is too strong a word, but I have hit sort of the end of BC WoW for me. After about a week of doing the new dailies I just couldn't keep it up. It's too much, too repetitive and outside of stashing gold for WoTLK there just isn't much point any more.

I'm not quitting the game, but I am definitely loggin in less- probably 1-2 a week, mostly to play the AH knock out a few dailies and do some PVP for my second 70 who still needs some gear.

Frankly, this pattern kind of sucks- I really hope Blizzard stops raising the level cap. We need a true end game where further progression only happens through gear. Without that, there really i no reason to keep playing post level cap.

That being said, I will definitely be back in full force for WoTLK.
What I see is T6 equivalent gear for badges depression rather than pre-expansion depression. In my guild there's usually 20-30 sign ups for Karazhan regularly these days, where as hardly 15 people sign up for SSC/TK. We haven't been doing a 25man for nearly 3 weeks now, same goes for ZA.

Why wipe and pay for repair bills where you can get risk-free gear that's even better and you don't have to compete with other classes to get farming Karazhan weekly? Twice a week in some cases where people have Kara viable alts.
I'd say that patch 2.4 is about where I thought it would be - shortlived fun, but overall, a letdown - and agree with others that 'depression' is too strong a word.

If I had to pick a word about my attitude toward the patch 2.4 endgame?

While I can still jump in and find something to do in WoW, the 'pull' is definitely gone.
My lifetime subscription to hellgate: london is looking good honestly.
I hit the raiding/pvp block a month ago and decided that doing repetitive content was a waste of time. So now I'm back in LotRO and leveling my main character to 50 in anticipation of being able to explore the Mines of Moria later this year. When it comes to PvE story and lore, LotRO is hard to beat...especially if you're any sort of Tolkien geek like myself. :) For my PvP fix, I'm just waiting for AoC or War.

You have that lifetime sub, Tobold, you should consider revisiting LotRO.
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