Wednesday, March 25, 2015

So many ways to get shinies

I have been raiding as a ret paladin in WOW for the past month or so.  It has been a great time and my general liking for raiding is certainly increased by the experience of rapid gearing and power progression.  I joined a guild that was full of people with better gear than myself, by quite a lot, and I started out on the bottom of the meters looking somewhat incompetent.  Everyone knows that being undergeared means you can't do much damage and it isn't some kind of failure but somehow that isn't much consolation when you know that the raid would probably do better if they just dropped you entirely.

As is usually the case in such circumstances I geared up fast because everything that dropped that nobody else needed I could put to good use.  I was at 641 item level when I first started advertising for a new guild and now I am at 673.  This means, roughly speaking, that I am now doing 50% more raw damage and probably have similar gains in terms of toughness.  Over the course of three weeks that is a pretty astounding improvement.  It is two full tiers of content of progression, the equivalent of getting about 30 good drops in 21 days.  I have gone from bottom of the meters to the top, pushing out really good numbers on all the fights, which tracks quite closely my gear going from the worst by far to right at the top.  (My luck on getting all slots filled has been fantastic, it turns out.)

The gearing situation in Warlords Of Draenor is really different from previous expansions.  In the past I was used to most gearing paths being essentially mandatory, particularly for someone like myself trying to break into a guild with much better gear than myself.  I can do Looking for Raid and follow around a bunch of buffoons who stand in fire, are clueless about mechanics, and are generally awful.  Still get gear that way though!  I can do garrison invasions, buy apexis crystal gear, farm mats and gold for crafted gear, pvp, PUG raids, and even send my followers out to do raids for me.

I really like this huge range of possible activities.  There are lots more things in the game to do on top of all that of course but even just the list of things I was doing to get better raiding gear was huge and I couldn't possibly accomplish it all.  That, to me, is a really good sign.  No particular thing was mandatory - if I hate apexis grinding I never have to do it and that is true of everything.  I remember back in Burning Crusade 7 years or so ago how I basically had to grind pvp battlegrounds to get my raiding gear and that sucked in a big way.  Now I have many things I can do and they all have the chance to incrementally help me out but nothing is required.  There is a great feeling to being able to choose my activities and to being able to decide how I want to advance.

Now my gear is good enough that there is really not much left to do but raid.  I can still farm up money and let my followers hunt for gear and such but because of my rapid advancement I am running out of easy things to do that might help me.  It will be good, I think, to get to a point where all I really have to do is maintain my garrison daily stuff and do my actual raiding.

That follower raiding thing is kind of funny.  Right now I am at a point where my followers are raiding to get me 685 gear but my guild is only fighting bosses that drop 670.  Somehow the idea of my raiding being a sideshow to my dorks seems wrong!  There was even one raid night where my guild didn't kill anything but my dorks went to the same zone, killed a boss, and brought me back some loot.  I did not feel good about myself that day.

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