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Battlefield: Boredom

June 29, 2013
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I should probably point out, before I launch into this rant, that I have no inherently bad feelings about dailies.  At MoP’s launch, I actually had a lot of fun with some of the daily quests, especially the ones for the Anglers and the Tillers.  I enjoyed the majority of the Isle of Thunder dailies as well, even if they did get a bit lengthy once your server unlocked all the areas.  In general, I don’t mind doing dailies, but I also don’t often find them especially compelling or fun.  I think it’s probably not such a bad thing that Blizzard wants to give its players an incentive to log in and do something every day, but I’m not the sort of person who needs that incentive.  I can almost always find something I want to do in-game, and my tastes tend toward raiding, dungeons, working on alts, and so forth.  Repetitive quests aren’t high on the list for me.

Fortunately, we’re in the middle of an expansion in which Blizzard has done just about everything they can to ensure that we have multiple paths to achieve pretty much anything we want.  I’ve never bought into the idea that we are “required” to do anything at all in-game, and if I don’t enjoy one particular progression path, I just find another that suits me.

All that said … if someone asked me to design the most obnoxious daily quests I could think of, my answer probably wouldn’t look much different than the Battlefield: Barrens quests.

Escort yourselves, you jerk kodo.

Escort yourself, you jerk kodo.

The 5.3 Barrens “weekly” is grindy to an absolute extreme.  While the Valor Points reward is fantastic, and probably even proportionate to the amount of work that you do, it’s certainly not an enjoyable process.  We’re talking about getting 600 items over the course of a week, and – depending upon your skill and your character’s gear – you may be grinding those 600 items one mob at a time.  I made the mistake of doing this weekly quest on my mage, who had been level 90 for about 2 days at the time and was sporting a 455 iLevel.  It took a very long time.

I found that the mobs hit a fresh 90 pretty darn hard, but I stuck with it because the initial questline eventually rewards a pair of 502 boots.  In an irony that is not uncommon for WoW in this expansion, the only characters who need the loot provided by this quest (or by the random enchant Kor’kron items) are those who are relatively undergeared; and relatively undergeared characters are the only ones who are going to have difficulty getting through this questline.

Worse still, many of the zone objective actively discourage cooperation.  I really like the idea of the commanders and caravans, which remind me somewhat of the rifts and zone invasions in Rift that add a random and exciting element to what might be a slow-moving leveling experience.  In that sense, I hope Blizzard will continue to experiment with these zone events in the future – but with a different implementation.

Commanders work pretty well as-is, since their health scales based upon the number of people who are in combat with them, and everyone who participates in the fight is rewarded for their efforts.  Caravans are a different story.  When you defend a caravan, the loot that drops from the attacking mobs goes only to the first person who tags each mob.  While they usually only drop one item, if you escort a caravan from start to finish then you will probably fight between 10 and 15 mobs.

Having people spam instant-casts just to be able to hit a mob first seems to go against the general idea of caravans being a faction-specific group objective.  Realistically, these mobs probably shouldn’t drop loot at all – when I soloed caravans, I usually didn’t have time to loot along the way, so I’d end up flying back along the entire path of dead orcs to pick up my 15 lumber after the fact.  The items these mobs drop should be incorporated into the reward you get for successfully escorting a caravan to its destination.  (Of course, the items you get for commanders and caravans are more or less randomly determined, so it’s entirely possible that you may end up with 300 oil and 20 lumber if you’re only participating in the zone events and not also grinding specific mobs.)

As for the over-turned shipments, I imagine that these are a lot of fun on PvP realms where opposing factions can battle it out as everyone swarms to the area.  Even so, there must be a decent number of people who wait for another player to engage the opposing faction in a fight, and then try to loot as much of the cargo as they can without being noticed.  (Maybe that’s part of the fun?  Perhaps someone who plays on a PvP realm can weigh in, here.)  On PvE realms, this event is substantially less interesting, as it is basically a simple test of who can stand in the best strategic area to loot as many items as quickly as possible.

Despite a lot of potential for future experimentation with zone events, I’ve found Patch 5.3 to be the weakest overall in this expansion.  While the new scenarios have given us some idea of how “the Story” is progressing, there simply isn’t enough going on in the Barrens quests to keep them interesting.  We’ve also gone through yet another patch in which there has been no solution to address the difficulty of gearing a new 90 so that they can participate in current content … but that discussion, and more about the difficulty of alting in Pandaria, is another post for another day.

How are you enjoying Patch 5.3?  Have you regularly participated in the Battleground: Barrens quests and events?  Do you enjoy the new “zone event” style of questing/dailies?

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14 Comments leave one →
  1. June 29, 2013 9:47 am

    I get what they’re trying to do–really, I do. People complained about feeling obligated to do the same repetitive set of tasks every day, day in and day out, so they decided to try a new approach and make it a weekly thing. You can pick away at it a little bit today, then stop and come back a day or two later and pick at it some more…

    …but seriously, who does that? You resign yourself to the fact that it’s going to be a couple hours of weekly drudgery, you grab a drink and some munchies, and you chain yourself to a computer for a couple hours until it’s done. That’s not a game, that’s a job.

    “In an irony that is not uncommon for WoW in this expansion, the only characters who need the loot provided by this quest (or by the random enchant Kor’kron items) are those who are relatively undergeared; and relatively undergeared characters are the only ones who are going to have difficulty getting through this questline.”

    Also, THIS. I attempted it once on my newly-90 priest for the boots and for a belt upgrade, and it took FOREVER.

    • June 29, 2013 9:49 am

      “You can pick away at it a little bit today, then stop and come back a day or two later and pick at it some more…
      …but seriously, who does that?”

      Yes, EXACTLY! No one I know has the good sense to pace herself through something like this. It’s like a band-aid, you rip it off in one terrible motion and move on with your life.

  2. June 29, 2013 10:22 am

    The commanders and the escort quests are the way to go, really – I only do the individual pickup grinds for specific resource types if they’re close to done. And while it can be annoying not to get to look the individual attackers on the caravans, the end reward is the goal, as far as I’m concerned.

    The problem I see on both realms I play on is that near the end of the week cycle, it’s pretty hard getting enough people for a commander attack, and sometimes those caravans take an AWFUL long time to come about. Given that my lock’s raid days are Tuesday and Wednesday and just kiss easy loot goodbye. It actually takes the rest of the week to get two toons done all the way. Fortunately there’s a definable end for both; once the quest rewards no longer have upgrades for me, I can let them go and focus on other things.

    But, yeah. I guess Blizz got tired of people like me calling them out for substituting dailies in place of content and went “well, how about a WEEKLY instead, dorf boy?” Har de har.

    “Arguing with the DM ALWAYS gets results.”

    • June 29, 2013 10:31 am

      Definitely agree that a group and, ideally, commanders / escorts are the way to go … if you can. I’m on a low population realm, so there are times during the day when there might only be 1 other person around, if there’s anyone else at all. This would be one of the few places I’d actually love to have cross-realm zones implemented for max level content.

    • June 29, 2013 10:45 am

      Oh, it definitely depends on the time of week, here. Weekends are the worst.

  3. June 29, 2013 10:31 am

    My mage got Hordebreaker title, politely tipped her staff in ambassadorial respect to Vol’jin, and then promptly went off in search of her lost soul in the conflict. Not sure if she’ll be back. (Yes, I have to refer to myself in third person now because I think all the dailies, etc. made me a little crazy. Qualify: crazier.)

    • June 29, 2013 10:33 am

      Yeah, I’m done with them. My mage got her boots and so did any other alts who needed them. My main did the questline, but hasn’t bothered to do the weekly at all. I have plenty of other ways to get Valor.

  4. June 29, 2013 5:26 pm

    Interestingly I enjoy doing the weekly… Of sorts. I also just focus commanders and as a druid pick up a few here and there in flight form. I tend to do it as a group so its kinda fun in a mindless sort of way and the escort I often focus on keeping my stacks up for the end reward. I actually never remember to pick up all the stuff. I guess the valour points is the main thing I do it for bit I find it much more enjoyable than say… Golden lotus used to be.

    • July 1, 2013 4:36 am

      With a group, or even just with a second person, I don’t really mind the weekly at all. But, unfortunately, not everyone has that option. Oddly, I didn’t mind Golden Lotus as much as everyone else seems to have. They got pretty tedious, and I wasn’t about to do them on multiple characters, but I liked that there was a story going on.

  5. June 29, 2013 6:14 pm

    I got all factions exalted before the last patch and vowed I would never do it again. I understand the concept of dailies and I understand why people do them, but now I’ve done them. NEVER AGAIN.

    I haven’t even tried the barrens ones.

    I’m the same though, I enjoyed Halfhill and Anglers, but those Thunder dailies. Urrgh.Squishy mages are not ideal!

    • July 1, 2013 4:38 am

      Yeah, the Isle of Thunder dailies were also not great for undergeared toons or for most clothies. They have some of the same issues as the Barrens ones – mobs that hit pretty hard and are in a densely packed area.

  6. xianpoo permalink
    July 1, 2013 4:31 pm

    I know I’m probably…ok I’m sure…in the minority, but I have come to like this grind. Since the 1/2 off sale my server has pretty much died and left trolls or kids so downtime has definitely come up. Instead of just sitting there I’ll go down to the Barrens and just start killing stuff. Keeps my rotation in practice, and the latent stuff goes to some friends who have a PvP guild who has members who dabble in PvE now and then.

    What do I get besides rotation practice? Motes and lesser charms mainly. Definitely find this zone more doable than Isle of Thunder. After the first day there Xian came to me in a dream and ripped me a new one. You know your toon isn’t happy when that happens.

  7. syn permalink
    July 2, 2013 11:09 am

    My experience was completely the opposite. At first I started grinding some mobs, but I quickly decided that would take years and tried the caravans, someone else joined me on one and I invited them to a group, at which point we both got loot and there were no tagging issues. Couple of minutes later someone in zone chat asked if anybody was up to kill some commanders, I joined the group and we spent the next half hour or so killing one commander after another, they respawn very quickly and they drop a ton of the quest materials, it’s like 30 of one type, 10 of all the others or something. Anyway, all in all I barely spent an hour on this weekly quest and it was pretty fun, but I can see how it could be harder on lower population realms.

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