Greedy Goblin

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Gearing up for PvE without heroics

QQ heroics are hard! - I hear everywhere. No, they are not, just need skill. A more legitimate problem is that one does not have access to other good players and have to put up with LFD fodder. Sometimes it's just impatience. I've several times seen guildmembers asking for others, finding no one in 5 mins, going alone, then whining on /casual about the M&S in the group. Patience, discipline!

Our guild reached 180 players as more and more good players are fed up with hopelessly attempting to boost their "friends" who have too much real life to be able to assign enough playtime to grind out things like "not hitting the sheep" skill. If you are in such position, find a decent guild. You can transfer to us too, if you keep the rules.

But enough of social bashing and guild advertising, let's get to the point! How to gear up to raids without even touching heroics?

Ilvl 333 PvE gear is rewarded from Twilight Highlands quests and normal lvl 85 dungeons (Grim Batol, Halls of origination, Lost city of Tol'vir). If you have greens you get much more ilvl/hour doing these instances than trying to do heroics. These instances can be facerolled in like 45 minutes, even with drooling LFD fodder.

OK, let's say that you have mostly 333. However these 3 instances can provide more than 333 drops, they give reputation and justice points for being random. You have 60% chance getting them if you queue as random, you can instantly drop group if you get Stonecore or Vortex normal. Even if you consider waiting 15 mins complete waste, the time running one 85 normal is 55 mins/dungeon. It's not a complete waste, see below. Grim Batol gives 1.7K, Halls of origination full clear gives 1.8K, Lost city gives 1.1K rep to the faction belonging to the tabard you wear.

For reputation you can buy 333 on honored, 346 on revered and epics on exalted. For example a restoshaman (the spec I play and know) reputation give the following items:
  • head: 333, Wildhammer honored
  • neck: 359, Wildhammer exalted
  • shoulder: -
  • back: 346, Earthen ring revered
  • chest: 333: -
  • wrist: 333, Ramkahen honored
  • hands: 333, -
  • waist: 346, Ramkahen revered
  • legs: 346, Hyjal revered
  • feet: 359, Earthen ring exalted
  • ring: 346, Wildhammer revered
  • ring: 346, Therazan revered
  • trinket: 359, Baradin exalted
  • trinket: -
  • weapon: 346, Baradin revered
  • shield: -
  • relic: -
Considering that these normals are spammable, facerollable and do not need good team, the reputation/effort ratio is much better than in heroics. Please also note waiting time when calculating dungeon times. Tank and healer queues are almost instant, but as DD you have to wait a lot for heroics. For normals it's shorter as any hybrid with minimal gear can queue as tank or healer there.

Without any business experience, just by farming herbs, skins, ores one can easily get 500G/hour and spend this gold on BoE gear. Goldfarming can be done while waiting for dungeons, reducing dungeon time to its actual time: 45 mins. Let's add the list (italics) what can gold buy a restoshaman (raid drops omitted as in this phase of the game raiders will equip them):
  • head: 333, Wildhammer honored
  • neck: 359, Wildhammer exalted
  • shoulder: -
  • back: 346, Earthen ring revered
  • chest: 359, LW
  • wrist: 333, Ramkahen honored
  • hands: 333, -
  • waist: 359, LW
  • legs: 346, Hyjal revered
  • feet: 359, Earthen ring exalted
  • ring: 359, Dungeon random drop
  • ring: 346, Therazan revered
  • trinket: 359, Baradin exalted
  • trinket: 359, inscription
  • weapon: 346, Baradin revered
  • shield: 359 blacksmithing
  • relic: 346 inscription
Being random, they also provide 70 justice points. Heroics provide around 300 after the first one, 150/hour, for much more effort. From justice points you can buy offhand, waist, neck, head, hands, legs, shoulders, chest and shield item, ilvl 346. The above list misses head, shoulder and hands, with the cost of 5500 points. If you saved 4000 points from WotLK, you shall only run 20 normals to buy them all. If you are new, you can still buy 2 while reaching 2 exalted reputations.

So if someone spams random normal 85 instances and farms gold, he'll have 1-2 333, 7-9 epics, the rest 346 without ever setting foot in a heroic.

There is a psychological subject of the same topic: why people keep on whining how hard the heroics are instead of doing the obvious steps, either farm normals+gold, or run with 2 healers? Because both ways are "cheap", not gaining peer respect. One has to decide what he wants: peer respect or progress.
Someone is a moron on this link. Most probably not the 3K DPS guy, but the one who protects him and feel bad that he had to leave.


Squishalot said...

Who says that farming normals is 'cheap'? Considering that Cata normals are equally difficult and rewarding as Heroics in Wrath, normal farming seems an obvious solution.

Considering the number of 85s I've been getting in my normal dungeon groups I've queued up for, perhaps it's just EU players who refuse to run normals once they hit 85.

Kapitalizm said...

There are two points I think you left out.
1) The random normal can only be done once per day for 70 JP
2) While you may get 346/359 ilvl from reputation it may not be itemized properly for your spec/class

Hard ≠ Skill?
I went and looked up the definition of those two words.
Hard: Difficult to resolve, accomplish, or finish
Skill: great ability or proficiency; expertness that comes from training, practice, etc.
Synonyms: hard, difficult, arduous
"Difficult and hard are interchangeable in many instances. Difficult, however, is often preferable where the need for skill or ingenuity is implied"

Bigjimm said...

Gevlon, do you think that the long wait times for DPS have any influence on this? It takes some DPS 45 mins to get into a dungeon, and that seems like it could just make people mad, want to plow through an instance, and not bother with gear. (Granted, that's dumb...) I'm a tank, so I don't have this problem; maybe, however, some others do. Thoughts?

GL! /bow


Tal said...

Don't random normals only give the justice points for the first one every day?

Riptor said...

I get the basic idea of this gearing through normals but what would be the next step? Now during the holidays it takes probably 3-4 Days to gain all the stuff you mentioned. And then the Player is 346-359 geared but the M&S do still suck and if he can’t find a Guild that does heroics he will be stuck grinding, harvesting Herbs/Ore or level Archeology.

It’s true one can get very descent gear by doing Normals but if the Guild doesn’t have enough Tanks and Healers willing to go Heroics you can take you shiny Blues and Purples fishing or wielding the Spade of Doom on the various dig sites where they are absolutely useless.

But honestly, LFD is absolutely dreadful. We are currently short a couple of healers and thus have to queue LFD in order to get one. We average around 6 Healers per instance (votekick is a godsend) who either can’t keep up the pace or do things so stupid one is not really sure if they are serious or actively sabotaging the Run…

Grim said...

I don't know what hellhole you all are playing in, but I have absolutely no problems with LFD heroics.

Sure they were hardcore for the first couple of days, but now in my mix of HC, rep and pvp gear of avg ilvl ~340 I already feel like I severely outgear the HCs.
I figure that this is because the more skill based dungeons mean fewer gear checks. Which in turn means that only slightly outgearing the content (with intended gear being 333) allows you to break many mechanics.

Thus having a couple of morons in the group is again almost as dismissible as in Wrath. In the last couple of days I've been forced to take over tanking several times because the nominal tank dies in fire. But since bosses don't hit too hard, its perfectly possible to tank them in Arms spec if you are prepared for it (mostly skill and macro-wise, not just gear-wise). I suspect that other plates and druids can do that as well.

xenxu said...

I don't understand why rational people still play this game?

Wouldn't other games offer so many more benefits than this artificial cesspool of both gaming and humanity?

Competitive games offer so much more in the way of clear, objective self improvement, as well as more interesting gameplay and higher quality co-players, that it seems that any good from playing a game like WoW is totally overshadowed by true games like SC2, Halo, SC BW, etc. The "real" competitive video games.

chewy said...

"Artificial cesspool of gaming and humanity"

The best description of LFD I've ever heard. I realise you applied it to the whole game but it works better for me on LFD.

Squishalot said...

@ xenxu - you've obviously never played 4v4 custom games in SC2...

Tonus said...

It's kind of ironic, when players criticize others for being "elitists who are no better than me" while also begging Blizzard to nerf content so that they won't fail at it.

A blue made an excellent point in one of the whine topics- not only were WotLK heroics too undertuned, the LFD tool was not implemented until later, and by then players had much better gear and it made the heroics a cakewalk. While Cata heroics may be more difficult than LK heroics, within a couple of months players will be running them with ease and even lazy "casuals" will be getting carried through by bored raiders.

Players have no patience at all and want everything now now NOW. They complain that guild leveling is slow for their two-man guild. They complain that they can't keep up in PVP when they run their one weekly BG. They complain they have no gold as they spend their five hour play session sitting in Org chatting in /trade. In eight or nine months they will be complaining that there is nothing to do because their guild is level 25, they have all their epics, and there is nothing to buy off the AH.

It will probably be 18 months before the next expac, but people want to finish Cata today. I don't get it. Even a bit of patience pays off. Players complained and threatened to quit over the long queues and crowded zones during the first week. But just three weeks after release on Stormrage, the level 81 zones are much more manageable and there are often only a few other players doing the quests. And the queues? Gone.

After three expansions you would hope that at least some of them would pretend not to have ADD. But if they had any sense of perspective, they wouldn't be M&S I suppose.

Ribx said...

@ Xenxu

I've been asked several times why do I play an RPG with a monthly fee.

The answer is extremely simple: if some people are willing to pay for cigarettes to satisfy their need for nicotine, so am I, in regards to a videogame which provides me with a world of entertainment.

The short version is: WoW has content for both casuals (who should just do quests and nothing else, the way I see it...), and the hardcore/serious player (a.k.a. Carebear, like me and a tiny percentage of other people, most of which happen to be in the PuG).

We care because the theory that a videogame is just "a videogame" is about as logical as stating that "Poker is just Poker". Games, whether they're virtual or not, are a source of entertainment.

WoW is just like any other hobby. Sure, it makes your rearend a bit more flat in the long run, if you don't exercise. But other than that, it's perfectly acceptable.

Also, most casuals players I've met play on a daily basis. Whereas certain hardcore players might just log on once or twice per week to deal with AH stuff, and raids.

And about the topic at hand...
It's just like it's always been: getting gear from dungeons takes time, which is why, the way I see it, the loot rules are free for all.

I roll on DPS gear when I tank, and vice-versa. Hell, if I'm interested in healing gear on my shaman, as enhancement, I'll roll on it too.

And I only do this on purely random groups. The reasoning behind this is very simple.
I don't know these guys, and 90% of the time, some idiot who's done nothing but shit damage, or wipe us several times in the most idiotic fashion, gets his "loot". Clearly, if that gear ends up on my off-spec, I'm definitely putting it to better use than the M&S.

On the other hand, there are situations where I'll end up taking gear that could also land on actual good players. There's also a very good reason for that: it's a random dungeon with random people. I consider it a "roll the dice" situation. We can't bid for the loot like we do in the Guild... So I just take my chances with a virtual dice and let luck decide if I should take the piece for my off-spec or not.

As a rule of thumb, I don't trust anyone I haven't played with before, whether they're good players, or not. So I'm bound to roll on every item I might want to use, even if it's for an off-spec.

Hence: getting gear doesn't seem to be much of an issue.

If, on the other hand, you're a Rogue, and you really only need DD gear, then my advice is simple: do every quest in every 80-85 zone for the reputation gain, craft what you can, buy from AH, and get in a decent guild so you can get players to play with you.

That's about it.

Also: drop the dungeon elitism. If you always have the wonderful idea of being picky about the dungeon because "itz teh only 0ne wit lewt that I needz", then your queue times will be gigantic, you won't get the bonus gold, and it'll only feel worse when someone ninja's that one piece of gear that you had wanted for two weeks but never dropped.

Shintar said...

It's worth mentioning that the Tol Barad factions don't offer a rep-grinding tabard, so the only way to get access to those items is to do lots and lots of dailies.

xenxu said...


why would I, or why would I care? 4v4 custom is not real game, just like "Pickle drill" is not real baseball, or "3 point contest" is not real basketball.

also, you have no point there, try and make posts with points.


your point is valid that you gain entertainment out of WoW, but my point is that can you not gain even more entertainment, as well as additional values and benefits, from other games that are non-artificial.

Saying "it's worth it because it's fun" is the same logic that has people paying tons of money for Farmville or spending hours on end watching American Idol. Both are wastes and provide no benefit.

I played WoW from Beta 2 > end of Wrath, I know WoW can be fun :D.

There are just much better forms of this fun out there.

Anonymous said...

There needs to be a harder-than-the-rest normal dungeon that gives some 339 gear, but is a bit more difficult than the three you mentioned. Kind of like the ICC 5 mans were. Even on normal mode (at least when they first came out) they could be challenging and had better gear than the other normal dungeons like violet hold, DTK, etc. There's just too much of a gap between the current normal dungeons and heroics right now...there needs to be a few filler dungeons.

Spectral said...

Heroics aren't THAT difficult even with the LFD fodder. I've been healing them on my recently minted level 85 Paladin, and if I see that the group is going to be grossly incompetent, I just leave within a couple minutes and cut gems or do other gold making activity. It's not hard to tell if your group is awful in a quick hurry, and the heal queues are sufficiently short that it's not painful to simply get a new group. Even with an average ilevel in the low 330s, healing just isn't that difficult if people bother to CC things and not stand in fire.

I can't really see any benefit, for me, to farming regulars instead. I'd get far less JP, less rep, and ilevel 333 instead of ilevel 346 gear. Seems like a nonsensical waste of my limited playing time, and an option that should only be taken by those too incompetent to fill their role in a Heroic.

Ðesolate said...

If you use the right gear that the LFD-Tool requires nonheroes are cheap.

I had a discussion at the dungeons and raid forum with a M&S DK who said "QQ I´m getting kicked how shall I get gear?" He also said reputation grind and nonheros are not his playstyle and doesn´t make fun.

He had 1 casteritem (pvp crafted 339) 2 Tankitems (333) no enchants and no gems. Crappy talents also.

Others started defending and he startet to complain how evil the community is... ...since I´m not a friend of holding back and am trying not to hold back I got a 3 day forum-ban.

I told him a place where I am active and tell anyone how to play a dk. He said he tried it but I never saw him there.

But at least my list has a name more in it and now has 1385 M&S registered 4845 theoretically average players and 846 really good players. (cata+wotlk) (I scale myself average)

It got more M&S since wotlk I had 3-5% M&S then now I am at 20-30%.
I´m going to split the table for cata and wotlk to make the result more obvious.

Anonymous said...

The only resonable advice for people who think they cannot handle heroics should be "search a good guild" (just like you wrote in your post). Then, heroics should be fine and the rest of the post is useless/inefficient. And if the first advice isnt followed, getting gear has no benefit besides being better at helping out the m&s in your guild.

Lite said...

"QQ heroics are hard! - I hear everywhere. No, they are not, just need skill. "

Sigh. The very definition of something being hard/difficult is that it needs "skill" to overcome.

xenxu said...


that's exactly the kind of thing that makes WoW (and other mmo's) not worthwhile for competitive gaming. In a real game, it doesn't matter what that DK thinks or what he likes his playstyle to be: I simply beat him and move on to better players.

In good, competitive games, the debate occurs in-game, not on forums.

Cheers for trying to help him though.

Anonymous said...

Dinged 85, had the ilvl to go into heroics straight after buying 2 JP items, went straight into heroics. As this was on the tuesday everyone who was in heroics were decent players. Was ready for raids by the thursday. Heroics are far from hard, and are mostly very easy to outgear. Currently tanking on my feral alt in heroics in full dps gear with agi gems, sitting at 125k hp nothing really troubles me. If I tank on my dk, 160k hp in blues only, then it's so easy. Most classes can do 8k dps in greens, 11-13k in blues and 15k+ with epics. None of the heroics require this much dps and in most cases are trivialised by it.

Azuriel said...

Players have no patience at all and want everything now now NOW.

Err... yeah? If I had an hour or two a day to play video games I would prefer having fun in those 1-2 hours rather than fun two weeks after being miserable 1-2 hours a day. Any other behavior would, indeed, be irrational.

That aside, the QQ we are seeing is simply the result of Blizzard's bait and switch. The game's reward system is fundamentally different than the prior expansion. While you may value personal growth in your gaming experiences, I imagine most other people play for the sensation of success in accomplishing something tailored to their skill level. The skill level has be cranked up by several notches, and many players have simply been "priced" out of the market. This is not their fault per se, considering if Blizzard had made Wrath dungeons hard these players would have probably never started playing to begin with.

Townes said...

As Shintar posted, Tol Barad reputation shouldn't be listed in the article as something you can grind in regular instances. It may be worthwhile, but PvP isn't part of the gearing-up scheme described here.

Anonymous said...

"In good, competitive games, the debate occurs in-game, not on forums.
So you are saying, in good games, there is not a community outside of when actually playing the game?