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Time is money, friend! July 3, 2009

Posted by rusquel in General.
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Grinding is a waste of time, and therefore money. QED.

Of course this is not news to anyone. But let me explain…

Having started a warrior and druid with the Refer-a-Friend bonus (300% exp) the Significant Other and I managed to power through to level 58 fairly quickly, at which point we promtply purchased the expansion packs, and re-rolled DKs. Fairly standard attitude for new players I imagine! Having since worked on those DKs for the last couple of months, our R-a-F bonus has expired (only lasts 90 days). Unfortunately it expired right in the midst of our pally grind – at least we got them to 21 before it ran out. We had completed the Draenei starting zones, and (for sentimentality reasons) I suggested Duskwood as the next target for leveling. It was either that or Ashenvale, and while Ashenvale is a fun place, I really enjoyed the story arcs and quests chains in Duskwood the first time around.

However, as anyone who’s levelled a human knows, Duskwood quests involve a lot of running to and fro from Darkshire to the Raven Hill Cemetary and back again. And again. And again…

Since we had stopped getting 300% experience, we had to trudge through each and every quest, fingers numb, eyes bleary. I was determined to get my Pally Pony and refused to sleep until I hit 30. Success arrived at about 2am, and all I could think was “Thank God I will be able to get a mount before Duskwood next time around!”

After that epic session, we decided to obtain another account, character transfer one of the pallies and continue with our R-a-F bonus. It was smooth sailing all the way to 48: Duskwood > Menethi l> Theramore > Dustwallow > Mudsprocket > Tanaris

And then we hit Un’Goro Crater. We both enjoyed this the first time round – a lush setting, hints of Jurassic Park, some classic pop culture references (Link’s sword, Chasing Amy). Plus basically every mob in the Crater needs to be killed for some quest. However, the RNG and drop rate for these quests is particularly brutal. Quest design in Old World is not particularly refined (compared to Outland/Northrend) but at least it is usually a good mix of:

  1. Kill X mobs
  2. Kill mobs until you retrieve X items
  3. Kill a named mob
  4. FedEx quests (talk to this NPC, give item to that NPC, breadcrumb quests, etc)

Of course, this is a gross generalisation, but it does hold true. Certain quest chains involve more #4 than the others (e.g. the Missing Diplomat quest chain) but generally in a zone you will get handed a good mix of all four of them. In Un’Goro Crater, though, the writers seem to have gotten lazy: the majority of the quests involve #2, and have a viciously low drop rate. Another con to #2 quests is that when partied, you’ll need to retrieve twice as many items as when playing solo.

This kind of grinding is mind-numbing and pointless. Often the mobs would drop nothing at all. At least if one of us skinned we could have filled countless bags with leather, but we’re not, and leather isn’t worth that much anyway, plus the only ‘settlement’ in Un’Goro lacks both an inn and a mailbox. I understand that quest variety is at a premium in a game that revolves mostly around combat and is essentially a grueling treadmill-like stat-grind from 1 to 80. But I don’t want to be constantly reminded of that with each unsuccessful kill that drops grey trash. I know the 50-58 grind is a particularly rough patch, but I think we’ll skip Un’Goro next time.

We had powered from 30 to 48 in one evening, then crawled from there to 53 in Un’Goro. As pallies the next logical zone would be EPL/WPL, but we are so sick of those zones after doing them as DKs. I think Winterspring will be tonight’s location. Fun, interesting, a pain in the ass to get to, but we’ll rep up with the neutral factions (‘time is money friend’).

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