Monday, March 31, 2008

Byte: The Daily Grind

I have to admit, it's not as bad as I feared. The problem with any MMORPG is that when you hit the level cap, maintaining your interest is harder than when you have the goal of the next level-up. I've always preferred progressing characters up the level ladder to simply grinding gold or faction reputation, but Blizzard have done quite a good job with making the level cap end-game more interesting in recent patches.

The addition of daily repeatable quests hasn't been universally welcomed, but since I started trying them out after the Sunwell patch came out last week, I've made about 700 gold. Clearly, this is quite a stunning amount of money. Another few weeks of that, and I'll have my epic flying mount, which is a bit of a mouthwatering prospect, truth be told. At weekend, I unlocked a couple of daily quests for the Sha'tari Skyguard, which ups my daily gold potential for quest rewards beyond 100 gold a day. And this isn't even taking into account the money I can make in the auction house selling surplus armour and other items.

I did initially baulk at the thought of spending weeks doing the same quests again and again and again, but Blizzard have done something quite clever here: the quests themselves are quite fun to do (such as bombing raids using a flying mount, or wrangling Aether Rays in Blade's Edge Mountains) and generally take between five and fifteen minutes each to do. Getting 10 gold and a supply bag containing a random level 68 Green item for doing a survey quest in Nagrand, which can be done in about five minutes flat, is almost insultingly easy. It's the fastest money I've ever earned in WoW, and it's a lot more realistic to do on a daily basis than raid instances in the hope that you're going to get a nice drop you can flog for a fortune in the auction house. When you can make gold this quickly, it really does make me wonder why people would pay real money for gold. It's not exactly hard work, or particularly time consuming. I guess some people really can't be bothered to work for something, and have an instant gratification complex... but anyway.

So, I'm making a good amount of money for my main, while still having enough time left over to devote to my two main alts. My hunter's up to level 55 now, so is pretty much able to quest everywhere in Azeroth, and is tantalisingly close to Outland now. My Mage is also doing well, reaching her mid-30s, though here is where progress for her will slow, as I've got to make the decision of whether to go to Desolace or Stranglethorn Vale; neither of which are particularly appetising prospects. I ended up junking my Shaman, because unlike William Shatner, I don't appear to be suited to being a CONDUIT of the ancient forces of Nature... I didn't find Shamans as much fun to play as my Mage or Rogue, and I really don't have time to keep half a dozen alts on the go. My Priest is still stuck at level 24 as well, and I'd probably junk her as well, if it weren't for the fact that she's a pretty decently skilled tailor and has 100-or-so points in Enchanting. I switched my Hunter's professions from Skinning/Leatherworking to Mining/Jewelcrafting, as I've already got a high level Skinner/Leatherworker, so I might as well diversify. Besides, there's probably more money in Jewelcrafting, and certainly in Mining, as compared to Skinning.

I just hope that I can grind the money for my epic riding training before the new expansion pack comes out, because until that's out of the way, I'd much rather have the gold than the experience. I've given up on buying things from the auction house, firstly just to save the cash, but mainly because there's absolutely no point spending gold on new armour now, when Wrath of the Lich King comes out, all my current armour will be turned into vendor trash by the quest rewards. Still, the last couple of weeks represents the best fun I've had with WoW since, well... since The Burning Crusade came out a year ago. Long may it continue, because there's sod all else out on PC I want to play for the next few months...
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