Tobold's Blog
Sunday, September 18, 2016
Not very alt-friendly

As I wasn't playing every day, it took me until this weekend to hit the new level cap, 110, in World of Warcraft Legion. Now normally an expansion has about half a dozen zones, and getting to the level cap only takes the quest of about half of them. I basically finished Azsuna and Highmountain, doing all story-line quests there. Which normally would be great to then play an alt through the other half of the zones. But not so in Legion: To unlock world quests you need to be friendly in all zones, and that means playing the story line quests in all zones. Every alt you want to play and use for world quests will then also have to play all story line quests in all zones again. Uggggghhhhh!

As I mentioned previously, you can't use alts to just run missions, as you only get the resources for missions from playing. And without playing a lot, you can't even use your alt for crafting, because the crafting recipes are unlocked by leveling up and doing quests. There is no such thing as an "alt" in Legion, you just can have several main characters if you have endless amounts of time and don't mind the repetition.

I can certainly see why Blizzard would design the game like that. It forces people to play more if they want to use other characters, and more play means more subscription. But it kind of puts a damper on my usual "trade alts" strategy. Anyway, the way auction house prices are now I might be better off with gathering alts than with trade alts. Especially mining, which many people gave up due to it becoming obsolete with a Warlords of Draenor garrison mine, is now a huge money-maker. Felslate sells for 75+ gold on my server. I haven't really found good crafting recipes that make a lot of money, with the materials being so expensive.

Gathering professions have been a goldmine since launch day. I made 300K already from selling leather and scales only and that happens while questing, there is no need to "farm" stuff (not yet, at least).

I agree, alts are extremely penalized unless you invest a HUGE amount of time. I dinged 110 in few days after Legion came out and I still have lots of main quests and profession quests to do. I must say Legion is heavily "main" focused and that's a cool thing, in my opinion.

Another not-so-cool thing is the way artifact power works: you can't share it with another spec so if you dump 20K AP into your main spec... your 2nd specc will be at 0 AP. Blizzard said that some catchup mechanics/tricks will be added later, maybe they are planning something for alts too.

It's still early in my opinion, let's wait and see.
Re: Rugus and the artifact 2nd/3rd spec.

Artifact power has an exponentially increasing XP cost, and Artifact Knowledge increases your XP gain exponentially. Basically, over time, you get more and more AP to offset the increased costs. Even without that bump, because of the exponential nature, you can often catch a 2nd or 3rd Artifact on the same character to a couple levels behind your main artifact with little trouble.

My Paladin, for example, has a 19 Truth seeker, 16 Silver Hand, 14 Ashbringer. If I had chosen to ignore my offspecs, my Truthseeker would be 20, maybe halfway to 21.

The catchup mechanics already exist. Ensure you're researching Artifact Knowledge when it unlocks.

A beef of mine, though, is for such an important mechanic (Artifact Knowledge), Blizzard does a piss poor job of explaining why it's important.
Just a small note, you don't need to complete all story quests in a zone to get friendly with the faction. Completing the zone's quests will get you all the way to honored. If your goal is to just get friendly you could pretty easily do it before even hitting 110 by just focusing on the rep and leaving a zone uncomplete and moving on to the next one. It lets you pick and choose (to a degree) what you want to do to get there.
I already have a profession alt at 110 for the ilvl 815 leatherworking items. Played the alt only every couple days to make full use of rested bonus, doing mainly profession, class and order hall quests (including dungoen quests) and a couple here and there to get to 102/104 etc. At 110 I had to do a couple more quests in two zones for friendly and of course the start of Suramar.

If you just want the alt for professions it isn't really that much work.

Artifact is at level 13 without doing anything to push AP. One more Blood of Sargeras for the alchemy trinket and I am ilvl 810 for random heroics. I don't plan to do world quests on the alt or do anything more in Suramar. Artifact will stay at level 13 until knowledge ramps up in a couple weeks/months. 13 is enough for a 5men alt.

So I don't really find Legion alt-unfriendly, as long as you don't expect the alt to be as good as the main char.
Yeah, you can't even really START on your profession skills until level 110, and then you do a lot of quests all over the place. This makes the "army of alts" strategy useless. I have 3 characters I'm working on, and I see no sane reason to increase that number:

No. 1 Main (level 110) is a Paladin that I intend to raid with, as a healer. Has Alchemy and Herbalism.
N0. 2 Main (level 110) is a Shaman that I'll likely swap around with raiding with the Paladin, also a healer. Has Blacksmithing and Mining.
No. 3 (level 102)is a Monk that does Leatherworking and Skinning. No raiding.

Collecting herbs isn't so bad, they're all over. Ore? Ore's a pain because it's concentrated in odd places that are hard to get to, and the competition is intense due to the low spawn rate.

What I find is you can't be a completionist. Getting ALL the Demonsteel recipes for my Blacksmith is crazy expensive due to the rarity of Ore in general, and the amount of it you need. I have access to all the recipes... but can't buy them because of the cost.

Even then, you can't "Make what you want" as there is no way to alter the secondary stats on an item. You have to use the AH anyway as a "moderator" to convert (For example) the Haste/Mastery Legs you made for the Crit/Versatility legs you want. In all practicality? There is NO REASON to "Make gear because you want to use it." You make it to sell it, then buy what you want to use. This basically eliminates "Making gear for your friends so they can raid" as it won't be the gear they need, and you need to sell it for your own purposes.

Talarian: Yeah! my beef to! Artifact Knowledge mechanics are not explained at all! I can imaging some guy in our raiding group, in 4 months, having suck DPS and when asked about Artifact Research, he says "What? I have to research that?"
If the goal for an alt is to get world quests open as quickly as possible, you can get to friendly with the four zone related factions well before you have finished all the storyline quests in each zone. If you end up taking your time on leveling and have rested XP, you'll have no trouble reaching 110 despite changing zones without fully completing the storyline.
I think they did it right now. Alts are an abomination in MMO-RPGs a break from the "I roleplay a resto shaman" mindset, making the characters mere assets and tools. In EVE and in Garrison WoW, having n alts meant n times more income at the cost of more repetition.

I understand that some people want alts and I don't say they should be banned. But they definitely shouldn't be supported.
@Smokeman You are not supposed to make the item only once. The majority of crafted items get turned into obliterum which you use to upgrade the piece you want to keep.

The ideal path for crafting alts is to skim every zone. The quest chain for the professions tries to move you every 2 levels. You'll reach friendly will all those zones easily enough while doing that.
Yes, it's alt-unfriendly, exactly like the reputation not being shared across characters has always been alt-unfriendly. I guess they'll backpedal on this and provide "boosts", like the already in place artifact research (which has already been announced to have a reduced duration as the expansion advances).

What I disliked most is the complete U-turn on professions. In WoD they overdid the resource-producing par of the garrison, making gathering professions irrelevant. Now not only they removed the garrison, but also forced you to level alts to actually be able to gather efficiently with them. The net result is that the market is raw resource starved, making craft costs high and crafted items irrelevant. You can get ilvl 840-850 gear with world quests easily enough, while crafted items are 815 and have an enormous cost to upgrade them. Jewelcrafting was gutted in WoD and now they did the same with enchanting (and more or less inscription). It's almost like they want everyone to run Engineering which at least provides some utility.

I have alchemy/jewelcrafting and it's the first time I cannot be bothered to actually level them, since they provide nothing particularly useful. The time factor which was present in WoD with the daily cooldown on crafts was a much better idea for me......
I feel like people are jumping the gun on the alt friendly thing. I am a casual player. I don't play everyday and when I do play it's at most 2-3 hours at a time.

The past couple days I've noticed that I'm reaching the point where I'm starting to exhaust the content available to me. My main is in the 840s. My second and third artifact are at lvl 13. I'm reaching revered with all the factions except nightfallen. I can complete the withered scenario with ease. I'm very close to the 8000 rep mark to unlock the last 2 dungeons. I'm caught up on World Quests and just do the new ones and any gear/high value ones. My mission followers are steadily gaining ilvl and are all over 800 now.

Basically my main is slowly going into maintenance mode. Especially since the only raiding I plan on doing is LFR, by next week I imagine I'm going to begin leveling an alt. Legion is definitely front loaded with content, but eventually your main is going to reach a point where you won't need to be playing them all the time.

My next alt will probably be a Demon Hunter who has Skinning and Herbalism so I probably won't do every quest at first, nor rush her to max level. I eventually will do every quest on any other alts I level though, because you get around 60k gold from doing everything and many professions have recipes sold via the different factions.
dobablo said...

"@Smokeman You are not supposed to make the item only once. The majority of crafted items get turned into obliterum which you use to upgrade the piece you want to keep."

Oh, I get that that's the intent, it's just a massive misallocation of resources, something an actual "free market" would stomp all to hell. If you want to efficiently turn things to obliterum, you find the highest ROI for that purpose, which is, hands down, Ancient Health Pots. Of course, that puts a huge demand on Yseralline seeds, which drives up the price of those. You must continuously adapt.

For Demonsteel, you should make one, sell it to someone who wants that one, then use the gold to buy the one you want. It you're obliterating Demonsteel, you're flushing the hard to get mats down the toilet. Of course, the second one you make uses almost half the resources, so the best course of action then is to make multiples of the one you choose to specialize in. And sell them.

Unfortunately, the AH in WoW is so bad, it's basically impossible to determine demand (And appropriate pricing) for things like variants on Demonsteel. At the least, they need buy orders and reporting of actual sales. It can still be done, it's just harder so most people will just waste resources, making them more expensive.
Blizzard has been moving towards making professions require gameplay for a long time.

In WotLK, I could bring all my alts up to 75 or so and that would be enough to make entry level end-game gear. I had a huge factory.

In Cataclysm there were many good recipes behind the Twilight Highlands quests (especially on the horde side, you couldn't even talk to the recipe vendors, until you unlocked the place). Plus you needed to be a certain level to get max level crafting for the good recipes. Not max level, but I ditched certain alts because I wasn't going to level my 75s.

In MoP I wince at mentioning the profession rep grind lest I trigger someone. With Throne of Thunder and the new ingots, that required end-game quest content as well.

WoD was a bit of a departure, but you needed to progress your Garrison to make more building s to either boost your own professions, or get you into new professions. Thing was if you wanted to get the most out of professions, with daily cooldowns, etc you wanted profession buildings to match your own. And if you were a gatherer you wanted to live in Nagrand for Savage Blood and eventually in Tanaan Jungle for the chance of Felblight. You still wanted to fully play the game to get the most benefit. But there were tiers of crafting. Sort of.

I find Legion to be somewhat similar. Instead of insane rep grinds, or end-game content to even SEE a particular piece of gear, in Legion you are eased into it. You can make the low level (plate/leather/mail/cloth) gear on your alt for making obliterum on your main. Then you can quest/level your way into rank 1 & 2 for the 815 gear. If you only want to use it for yourself, don't kill yourself over it. But if you really want to be the most EFFICIENT crafter, you need to take those extra steps to get rank 3. So the insane rep grind isn't an entry level requirement, its a professional level one.

So this just feels like a progression over time. If I want to enter the crafting market, looks like I'll have to engage myself deeper into the game, even on my alt. Dang.
WoD wasn't perfect either. I could do everything in my garrison, no need to leave it. I had my private herbs + mining place to get the mats for my scribe/blacksmith profession. And to get the resources needed for your missions? You just picked them up. Pet battles? Yeah, can do those in your garrison too. So I just stayed in my garrison and left it once a week to raid. Getting the order resources through quests makes more sense. Now you have a reason to go out of your order hall.

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