Tobold's Blog
Sunday, January 18, 2015
WoW status report

My current "main" character, a fury warrior, reached level 100 this weekend. I had the resources to upgrade my garrison to level 3 and fill the new slots, but not yet to upgrade the buildings. You can get resources from rare spawns or treasures, but that is rather limited, so the main way to get the resources for your garrison is just waiting in real time. I have a level 2 lumber yard and a trading post, both of which produce resources, but still I'll have to wait quite a while until everything is level 3.

Other than the garrison I'm not really enchanted by the possible activities at the level cap. I still haven't done a single dungeon, which tells you how low my interest in group PvE is. And other than that there isn't much. I can do a daily slow grind for Apexis crystals, and get an epic after nearly 3 weeks. This and similar game design elements suggest to me that everything is designed with having in mind that the next expansion is 2 years away. Progress slowed to a crawl, I'm not all that interested.

My other two characters are level 95, because I had decided they both needed a level 2 lumber mill. The frost mage is fun to play, the shadow priest not so much. Sometimes I'm doing the same content with all three characters, like getting a specific follower, and the shadow priest definitively is weakest in solo combat. He is also the only one who is really waiting for cooldowns, doing ineffective Mind Flays while waiting for the decent spells to be active again. In comparison the other two classes constantly have their hotkeys light up to show yet another bonus spell / power they now can do instantly and without resource cost. Resource cost is a joke anyway for the spellcasters, I have never seen my mana bar other than 100% full on either caster. Anyway, both level 95 characters now also got their barracks to level 2, and the bodyguard certainly will help that shadow priest. The bodyguard is kind of overkill for the other two.

While I did the same quests in the first zone with all three characters (which you kind of have to for your garrison), after that there are enough quests for at least 2 different paths to level 100. By choosing different outpost buildings you get different quests, so there isn't too much overlap. While questing I also gather timber, treasures, and rare spawns, so there is a good deal of variety. Overall I'm having fun, but mostly with the leveling part. Not sure how long I will keep playing once all three characters are at the level cap.

The solo ascent for gear is glacial when compared to even small group. A single run through each dungeon on heroic will get you pretty close to 630 item level and by two weeks of LFR about half my gear was 640. Contrast to trying to do it solo, I'd at best get one 645 a week from follower missions (and it takes a while to do so reliably) and one piece every few weeks from Apexis crystals (but those only fill certain slots). It feels like the largest dichotomy between solo/group upgrading.

Was also not a fan of the achievement bars to the level 3 Garrison buildings. Thankfully you don't really need it with the trading post since it just improved rep gain, but the Lumber Mill one is huge.

As for max level content, your daily Apexis really is about it unless you want to grind rep somewhere. They are adding dailies back in with 6.1 but even those are semi group (b/c to max out acquisition you'd need to visit other player's garrisons or something). Or of course, PvP...

Scavenger ability of your followers is how you can earn a lot of garrison resources.

If you are really lazy, your followers will start bringing you item level 645 and Highmaul raid gear once you have upgraded the followers to item level 645.

But if you want to get geared, run LFR. It is easy, fast and almost never has any wipes. If you have Dwarven Bunker / War Mill, chances of you getting warforged gear are much higher.

Patch 6.1 will bring an improved heirloom system with upgrades all the way to level 100. Easier alt levelling.

Probably not too long after getting your characters to 100. There's a lack of things to do once you get there. I enjoy the garrison management mini-game but it's easy to overdo it and I think a lot of people have. We'll see what 6.1 will bring.

Really, the best thing would be to see a daily hub or two pop up somewhere. I can never figure out what's in their heads in Irvine when they go from too much of something to nothing at all.

I'm playing a decidedly unhurried game. I've been at 100 for some weeks now and still have most of Spires and Nagrand to do and am thankful for that. I'm also playing about three-four days a week which has been the secret to still having something of a list of things still undone. Given the lack of post-100 things it's not a terrible place to be.

PVE players; no PVP and not much interest in group PVE either although I usually manage an LFR run or two every week.
If you have no interest in group play at all your gear progress above ~610 comes from the garrison.

Build Dwarven Bunker, Inn and Salvage Yard to equip and expand your army. There are also a lot of followers that can be gained by solo play.

Other suggested solo activities: complete all quests, find all treasures, kill all rares, complete archeology, get all mounts via stables, farm Wildblood to sell, complete garrison achievements for every building (but this requires pvp). There is a lot to do.

That said, try to run the HC dungeons at least once. They are by far not as trivial as MoP dungeons and some of them are really fun. Iron Docks and Grimrail Depot are my favorite, fun fights in them.

Gearing to 630+ is very easy via dungeons. I was fully equipped after about 5 dungeons, now I save the satchels for the next toon. As a tank instant invite as always, tanking one or two random 5mans per day. The satchels always contain a 630 item that procs to the loot spec of the character opening it.
Build Dwarven Bunker, Inn and Salvage Yard

I don't understand the Inn part, I took Barracks instead. I already have 21 followers, so being allowed to use 25 is more useful than being allowed to hire new ones in the Inn.
The Inn lets you recruit a new follower every week, and you can decide one trait or ability s/he gets.

The higher missions require you to counter up to 6 abilities. Most traits/abilities are random when you get a follower so mayhaps you miss some. Or you can hire followers with epic mount = half the mission time. Send three of them on a 10 hour mission and it completes in 1h15min :-)

Also useful is level 3 Barracks which lets you have 25 active followers. Bodyguards from level 2 Barracks are very nice for solo play too.
Btw Barracks don't compete with Inn for plot.

But you are right, Inn might not be the best for a solo player not doing all the dungeon quests.
For what it's worth, I think the dungeons are all pretty well done. The biggest issue is that they quickly become obsolete because LFR is so faceroll easy for even better gear.

Other than that, I can't really argue that everything outside of raiding is extremely slow and grindy. I am highly disappointed in Blizzard's extreme dedication to raiding. They have so many other types of content, but have gone far out of their way to ensure none of them offer a fraction of the rewards that raiding does.
My recommendation would be to not go after what gives gear, but rather what you enjoy.

LFR has been taken even further into tourist mode. There is no challenge and it's almost impossible to fail. A stress-free way to see the raids, but not much gameplay (unless you challenge yourself to play flawlessly for internal reasons instead of being a prerequisite for success).

The Garrison Campaign gives you more story in the style of the Landfall quests from mists. An hour or two every week.

There are several areas of each zone with lvl 100 mobs (these give apexis shards). They can be fun to explore.

As noted, the point of the Inn isn't really to get even more followers, but rather to get ones with traits/abilities that you need.
One point about gearing you left out is the progression of gearing. Although it can take a couple of weeks to get nicer gear, through the exact same mechanisms can lower upgrades in the meantime:
- Dungeons. Normals give 615, Heroics give 630, Challenge Modes 640.
- Raids have 4 modes starting at LFR, which gives 640 gear and it goes from there.
- Crafting. You can bootstrap yourself with up to 3 pieces of crafted gear start at level 91. 630 weapons, 640 armor, with 2 upgrades.
- Apexis crystals. You can purchase gear for as little as 3000 crystals, and if you need to purchase several pieces of low level gear you can do so. Or save up the crystals for the two upgrades per piece. The dailies are best done in a group of friends or using the Premade finder, which basically is a mob of players killing mobs of mobs. It can be fun in a chaotic sort of way.
- Missions. You can get up to level 655 gear from your followers going on Garrison missions. 615, 630, 645 and Highmaul Treasure chests all give you progression. You just play the garrison mission game. With an Inn you can recruit a bunch of Epic Mount followers which can speed up the process. Dwarven Bunker and Salvage Yard for more follower upgrades.

There is stuff to do besides gear up:

There is the Garrison Campaign, a quest line that pops up often that extends the story.

Garrison Invasions which is sort of a scenario inside of your Garrison which can be done with 1-3 players that pops up pretty often.

Not exactly non-stop dailies but extra stuff to do between tending your buildings, doing building dailies, treasure hunting, archeology, fishing, resource gathering, etc.
It's funny how you notice the differences in your different classes. My DK was an invincible death god for groups, the pally is the same, only a little faster single-target, less on groups. And both of those were in tank spec. I don't know if DPS specs would be any faster, but probably not as survivable. Hunter kills things super fast and if paying attention can keep the pet alive to be almost invincible, but if she gets hit by anything, it's all over. The priest is... ugh. Holy is NOT viable for anything but heals and Shadow is pretty damn mediocre. The rogue is also weaker than tissue paper, and feels like she's hitting everything with a wiffle bat.

Also, @Ulrik - 'tourist mode' LFR depends on your tanks not being shit. Most of LFR is actually solo-tankable, we discovered recently, after the OT turned out to be a non-commmunicative drooling moron who just played like a DPSer. Fortunately, I do my DPS as a DK in Blood spec (just switch presence), so nothing's unsalvageable. But even then, our MT died like three times on the final boss, leaving me to solo tank most of it. DPS might've just been face-rolling, but shit was getting crazy for tanks/heals when key roles don't/can't pull their weight.
Bill: "- Missions. You can get up to level 655 gear from your followers going on Garrison missions."
Small correction, the gear depends on your own progress in Highmaul and jumps to the next difficulty once you have 15 or more kills in a certain difficulty.
So if you cleared heroic mode for three weeks your caches will net you mythic gear.
The apexis grind is a bit to dull for me. It is normally bottom of my list of priorities, but I keep my eye on it so that I can complete the achievements.

My typical week on my main probably involves 1/2 nights of LFR for the legendary chain, 1 night doing the weekly garrison storyline with invasions and random grinds (fishing or Apexis, depending on other priorities)
Unless you do some meta-games, such as pet battles, achievements hunt, fishing, ... the endgame is extremely lackuster in my opinion. Most of the time you will be just doing your daily garrison tasks.

Last week I reached a point where I was totally bored with the game. But I still had one thing to test, even if I was mentally not prepared: pet collecting + pet battles + pet questlines (up to Aki challenge and chelestial tournament).

Well, that opened a whole new worild for me. I love hunting for rare pets, battling and so on. It's a lot of fun and I could finally stop caring about gea iLevels.
Late to this post, but you are having the same basic reaction I did. Looked at the garrison endgame, shrugged, quit.

Would you feel you got your money's worth from it as a ~1 month single player game? I think I did. But I'm also including a few weeks where I progressively soloed three full expansions of raid content I'd never seen. Very fun, highly recommended if you are mostly enjoying leveling.

I guess my main conclusion is that I'm just not interested in doing group PVE with strangers anymore.
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