Rhii is going to tell us about how grinding is farming, or is it farming is grinding, depending on your perspective.
This promoted the thought about how much the grind has changed from Vanilla through to WoLK.
One thing that needs to be clearly stated is that WoW has always been, and will probably always will be a game whose foundations are farming grinding.
The quests, raids, PvP, roleplaying etc are just the icing on the cold boring concrete tasting foundation that is farming grinding.
Vanilla was a grind. Raiders raided only 4 night per week, but played harder hours the other 3 days grinding the mats they needed to raid in the first place.
Grinding wasn’t just a “reward” for raiders, you had to grind for everything. Believe it or not, epic land mounts were EPIC! or at least the grind to acquire the cash was.
Most people took out loans just to buy their normal mounts because the grind would be easier with the mount thus it would be easier to repay the loan than to struggle away on foot and save up.
The Vanilla Reputation Grind
Reputation Grinding was one of the hardest and most tedious parts of the game. If you think grinding rep with the Timbermaw is a chore now, imagine what it was like when you were fighting 40 other people for kills and drops rather than the current 3 or 4!
Why do you think they allowed reputation gains raid wide? The only way to get the rep “efficiently” was to bring 39 mates with you.
1 kill = 1 rep, unless they are gray.. Then you get none!
The Vanilla XP Grind
No RAF, no Heirlooms, no uber TBC gear. It was hard going. It was hard to be OP against the mobs, many of the quest mobs were Elites.
The reason people would “gratz” you every time you got a level, no matter how minor, was because you had earned it. You had ground day and night, squeezed every last XP out of a zone.
The leveling guides were 1-60 in 21 days played… Now they are 1-80 in 5 days played.
The Vanilla Mats Grind
Mats… I mentioned mats before, but you need to put it in context. In Vanilla you had to grind out the mats. Every piece of stone or herb required its own click. Hell, you even had to take an extra action to put it in your backpack!
Mounts were slow and land bound. The land was large and the mobs were larger. It was hard work!
When TBC came out, people largely abandoned mat gathering in Azeroth and the prices went through the roof. But that didn’t matter, you could grind up the price of the old world mats in an hour, or grind the mats in a day.
A friend of mine wouldn’t leave Azeroth until he had finished leveling blacksmithing… He ground for weeks. Then got to Outland and broke down and cried at all the lost time.
The Burning Crusade
There were dramatic improvements in TBC as far as grinding was concerned. Blizzard had heard our cries and received our blood and tear covered subscriptions, so things changed.
The TBC Reputation Grind
Grinding rep became so much easier. The quests were dripping rep, you had to fight your way through the rep in the instances… but it wasn’t all peaches and cream.
If you played the rep gain wrong (ie. Honor Hold) you would complete all the quests but then be starved of the rep you needed to enter the instances that would gain you more rep.
To grind Aldor/Scryer rep you just needed to hand in cloth… Mmm the same cloth you needed for the crafting grind… And you needed piles for both. Unfortunately your fiends couldn’t spare any, they needed it for rep, and the rep vendors wouldn’t give it back to tailors cheap.
The TBC XP Grind
Grinding XP became quite easy… Actually stupidly easy. I remember I needed to go back to Azeroth to grind some runecloth. The mobs would take 5 hits to kill and award me 30xp. In Outland I 2 shot the mobs and they would give me 400 xp.
Nearly everyone hit 70 before clearing the zones of their quests. Most people used the last 3 zones they had to clear, to bank roll their flying mounts, once the XP stopped and the bonus gold began.
The TBC Mats Grind
Farming Mats was less of a grind. Our birds took us anywhere we needed to be, quickly and directly. We could drop in on a node, pluck it and escape before the wandering mobs discovered us.
Even grinding motes was fun. I had a ball blasting spirits for their motes of mana. The only time it became problem was when you had to tag 3 at once so you could beat off the competition.
That said, the mats requirements were huge. Anyone that ground out the mats for Spellfire and Spellstrike will tell you that many raids, instances and quests were missed to get that set… But then everyone knows it was OP!
The TBC Daily Grind
Then Blizzard did the 1st of its dirty deeds…
It introduced dailies…
Lots of dailies. Netherwing, Ogri’la, Fishing, Cooking, Sunwell and more
Still, they were kind of fun. I can’t say I have ever done a Netherwing daily… I couldn’t afford the time, but they weren’t essential. They were additional income sources and epeen quests.
They were non-essential for the average raider and non raider alike.
The TBC Badge Grind
Then the grind started the downward spiral into the hell we see today.
They introduced badges and the opportunity to grind them from heroics and later raids.
Their intentions were pure, introduce a currency that allowed late comers to gear up and experience Kara and beyond.
But they slipped and added one drop too much of sinister sauce.
Now it was grind or be damned!
Linking of armoury is not a new invention in WoLK, although at least back in TBC you could just quote your spellpower.
Everyone wanted Mechanar for the quick badges, no one want Shadow Lab… Too bad if you needed to run Shadow Lab, the badges were easier picking elsewhere.
Wrath of the Lich King
The WoLK Reputation Grind
When WoLK hit the stores we eagerly awaited the grind free rep gains, especially the new tabards which granted us the ability to choose our instance rep of choice.
The quests showered us with rep and there were rep dailies galore!
Of course if you couldn’t do regular dailies you were in a bit of trouble.
If you couldn’t thrust Hodir’s spear you were stuffed.
If you mainly raided rather than instanced, you would go insane.
The Daily Grind
If you could do dailies, then you were set for the life of the expansion. Cooking dailies, Fishing dailies, Instance dailies, Heroic dailies, PvP dailies, Reputation dailies, not to mention all the other crafting dailies.
Dailies were the order of the day… Screw you if you didn’t play daily of course.
Blizzard did make it easier with at least one daily grind, you can now shove Hodir’s spear where it fits and just buy your way to exalted via the AH.
Of course you may have to do dailies just to get the gold…
But then they introduced another daily grind, the Argent Tournament. At least for a while there you could grind out the objectives for 2 or 3 dailies at the same time… But that was never going to last…
No sense in learning lessons from Vanilla or even TBC and reducing the grind…
I haven’t even touched on grinding Achievements, which really came to the fore in WoLK, but they are definitely another grind, well they are if you set out to achieve them.
They are just another distracting grind to add to the list.
The WoLK Emblem Grind
Speaking of repeated mistakes, emblems are the new badges.
Admittedly you can earn them just about everywhere… I dare say you will earn them soon just for logging on… Well I hope so.
The problems that have repeated themselves are:
- Armory checks
- Widening gear gap
Armory checks really came to the fore near the end of TBC. People wanted badge runs and the only good badge run was a fast and trouble free badge run. Heroics or Kara, it didn’t matter, you better not need the badges if you want a group!
Things are no different in WoLK, unless you consider worse different.
Now you need Ulduar or ToC gear to do introductory instances. Now you need achievements for completely unnecessary things to be able to run.
Might as well ask:
LF1M, tank, must have Brew of the Month Achievement
for all it really matters.
If you need it, forget it. If you don’t need it, I have a raid spot warming for you now.
Bizarrely, I believe that the reason the flood of emblems was introduced is the one thing that is failing.
The objective is to reduce the gear gap between Ulduar geared toons and new to 80 toons.
The ePeening geared get more geared, while the crafted epic’d unwashed get left behind.
On top of that, every heroic instance has now become a daily. You must run multiple dailies every day if you want to have any hope of keeping up.
Is it any wonder that I hear and read every day of people abandoning their mains to play their alts, and one of the main reasons is to escape the daily grind.
Screw Emblems, give us loot tables.
The kind a Mage can summon… That would ensure our raid spot!
No seriously instead of emblem runs, let the instance bosses drop better loot… The loot they have gained off all those overgeared fallen adventurers.
Let the heroics drop their normal loot, plus a random piece of Naxx10 loot.. The whole loot table RNG on a heroic boss.
Let the x10 instances drop the x25 loot in a similar fashion. Normal x10 loot + 1 piece of x25. The x25 raids dropping loot from the higher x10 raid.
There is just as much reason to run the instances and raids, but we also get that immense joy of the surprise drop… We get RNG loot followed by a RNG roll… Screw purchasing epic loot!
Rhii falls to Grinding.
I was expecting a bit of a rebuttal from Rhii about my pessimistic “grind” perspective. I was expecting to read how one man’s grind is another’s enjoyable farming session.
However part way through her post the grind crept in, finishing with her informing us how much more she is enjoying her Alt.
So, I guess, in defense of the farmers, grinding can be fun and when it is I would term it as farming.
Grinding could be more fun for everyone… We could all be farmers rather than jaded grinders.
Maybe it’s about stepping back and trying to change our own perspective, find the patches of farming amongst the sea of grind. Turn our scowl around and make it a smile.
Maybe it’s about finding alternatives to the grind and with the release of Cataclysm next year and it’s resultant upheaval, maybe now is the time to farm an Alt.
Gnomer and Out!
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