I started writing this post soon after I came home at the end of September but it didn’t really go anywhere. I know I owe a post about my vacation and I want to do that, but I have 1500 pictures to sort through as well as film to edit so it might be a while. 5.4 dropped while I was away and the first 4 bosses were killed by my guild. When I came home that Saturday I was unprepared to raid on Sunday due to the router being broken. I managed to get a substitute in time for the raid but I didn’t have the prep time I would have liked, and my feeling of being behind only persisted.
5.4 brought a few new things to Warcraft. There’s Timeless Isle, the new raid and the new raid difficulty – flex. I’ve been able to experience all of the above and there’s some good and bad. I had high hopes for 5.4 I admit and so far it’s not quite lived up to everything, but I suspect the problem isn’t the patch – it’s me.
I’ve been back almost two weeks now. Guild raiding is going well, we’re 6/14 but I haven’t been on any of the progression kills. Last night the raid started an hour late due to server errors on blizz’s part, I was on standby and expected 3-4 bosses dead. They killed all 6, I joked that maybe I should put myself on standby more often, as when I do things seem to die and die fast. Last sunday I went to eat, wasn’t gone long and the 2 new bosses died. It’s mad but if I’m perfectly candid, which I usually try not to be here as it’s too personal, I worry a bit that I might be holding them back. Last thursday we killed the first 3 bosses, almost got the 4th, in three hours, which at the time I thought was ok. My guild leader disagreed and said he’d expected all 4 to die in 2 hours, given that they killed 6 in 2 hours this week I guess I can’t roll my eyes at that anymore. Is that my fault? Those 3 bosses were all new to me last week which did make being the titular raid leader, for the evening, quite awkward. I just don’t know.
My friends guild isn’t finding Siege that easy and they are dropping down to flex quite often, much to their frustration. So really I have nothing to complain about. We’re doing well, the hardest thing is choosing between signups when we have a lot, and fitting them into 10 spots is hard. In Throne I had the advantage that I was a paladin, tanks in general could be quite overpowered and paladins even more so. That’s all changed now, no extra advantage, and maybe I’m just not good enough without it. Which brings me onto …
I have no-one to blame but myself here. I was looking forward to flex, I thought that it would be the answer to a lot of game issues that I had. However, what I hadn’t thought through was that flex takes time and organisation. I’ve always loathed LFR but the single advantage it has, the only advantage it has, is that it is always there. Now my free time is reversed from a lot of people, I have time during the day but not as much time in the evenings. Naturally flex is scheduled for the evenings and I can’t go most of the time, so whatever benefits I thought flex would bring, are pretty inaccessible to me.
Now I don’t care about gear, I just care about what gear lets me do. As a tank, if I’m not dying all the time, then I don’t need anymore gear. Better gear is always good, but everyone else should really be geared up before me. So not getting to go on my main is fine, yes the gear is upgrades, yes the T16 tier bonus would be nice, but it’s just gear so I’m not too bothered. Which brings me onto …
Alts with a slice of timeless
Timeless isle rains gear. I have only taken 2 characters there so far. My main which didn’t need any of the armor tokens, and my monk which needed everything. Between the 2 I have geared both of my monks specs (mistweaver and windwalker) with 496 in every slot that timeless offers. I have also geared my warrior (protection) with a complete set as well. I still have probably another full plate set, as well as lots of random other tokens. Should I want to gear up something non-leather or plate, then I’ll just take that alt and in no time I’ll have a full set. You do get some gear that isn’t for your armor type, but you get your armor type a lot more frequently.
Pre-5.4 I read the patch notes and my sort of favourite alt, my destro warlock, was getting nerfed heavily. There were lots of reports that everyone was abandoning destro and going with one of the other specs. Now I only like destro so if it was going to be gutted then I didn’t want to play it. 5.4 is the last major patch of the expansion, so there would be little point gearing a character to play just for that time (as when the new expansion drops everything will change again), if it was useless. Besides I can’t seriously play a dps character, I’m too intimidated by the meters. The only dps character I’ve ever truly loved was my kitty druid, and that’s because I tore up the meters on that. I matched or beat people with better gear than me, and I liked measuring up, it made me feel good. However, being last, sometimes by a tremendously long way, whether it’s because of gear or not, it’s not fun. So I decided to pick a different alt and I figured that I’d pick a healer, I did use to raid heal after all and healers are usually welcome in groups, and that I’d go with mistweaver as I do like my monk.
Well, turns out I’m useless at mistweaving. I have close to 500 ilevel on that spec now, in appropriate gear and my heals are just so small, as to be non-existent. Aoe healing is supposed to be something monks are quite good at, but I can’t do it at all, and then I’m oom and can’t land any kind of heal. So I need to pick a different alt but the problem is I only really like tanking. As I just mentioned above dps meters intimidate me, as I don’t like feeling rubbish, and healing is quite frankly boring. I gave it up as I wanted to smack the boss in the face, watching healthbars at the back was not fun for me. However, I did briefly play my monk as brewmaster in 5.0 and it did not go well. I constantly wanted to get my pally and do it properly, as inexperience and gear meant I couldn’t do on my monk, everything I could do on my pally.
Which leaves me with what? I would like to play an alt, so far Mists hasn’t really allowed it, but now there is a way to gear and play without LFR. Full set of timeless, a few heroic scenario pieces, and then a friendly flex group. The minimum my friends are demanding for flex is 500, I’m adding Proving Grounds: Silver to that, as you need some skill too. I would find time in the evenings occasionally for an alt flex run, just motivating me with gear won’t work, but well I need an alt I like first.
So I main a pally tank, which leaves brewmaster monk, protection warrior, guardian druid and blood death knight. My dk is still level 88 though the rest are 90, so that sort of rules it out temporarily at least. Plus my friend is an amazing dk, and even though my dk was my alt tank in cata I was never much good at the rune dance. I’ve never really played a warrior and the lack of self healing worries me, but then nothing self heals like a pally, well a dk comes close but the style is very different. I did tank as a druid back in Firelands and I didn’t like it, I never minded going emergency bear as a kitty but I was always a cat druid by preference. I have tanked a few dungeons this expansion as bear and was not impressed. I do have a soft spot for my druid and I wish that kitty hadn’t felt so similar but different and therefore so wrong, otherwise my alt choice would have been easy. That leaves brewmaster which I did a bit at the start of Mists, and was not inspired to continue with. Nothing measures up to a paladin.
Does this mean that I should just give up on alts? The practical part of me says that would be a good idea, alts take time and effort. I’m already worrying that my skills on my main are no longer enough, so how would I ever measure up on any alt? However, I want to be able to join in, story of my life, but I don’t like missing out on things. If I had an alt then I would be able to join in sometimes and I’d like that. I just don’t know what on earth to choose. My friend has lots of alts and he’s brilliant at every one he tries, I just want one that I’m semi-decent at but I think that might be too much to ask.
So what else do I think about the timeless isle? Aside from the fact that it rains gear. Well, I like it, I like it a lot actually. Grinding is something that I don’t mind doing, so grinding out coins, reputation, killing for drops etc. is a relaxing way to pass the time. I like that I don’t feel that there is anything that I absolutely have to do every week, well a celestial kill is a good idea, though I really must watch my loot spec as getting ret tier was a screamworthy moment. Anyway, I like that I can work at my own pace, I like that there’s lots of things to discover even though I read a guide or two, I like that it’s all just open and that we’re not funneled into achieving things in order.
If the timeless isle reminds me of anything in Warcraft it’s the Argent Tournament. Now that wrath content was a lot more regimented, with the tokens to buy things being achieved through dailies. However, there was a lot there, a lot more than a cursory glance would suggest, and it took many months to be able to stamp complete on it. I guess the Timeless Isle is a continuation of the Isle of Giants, where you just grinded out mobs for pet drops, and for bones, and for primal eggs. I still only have one mount from the primal egg, I should go back and try for the other two. I like content like this as it’s always there for you, and you can spend as much time or as little working on it, as and when you like. I will eventually, in all likelihood, get everything from these places just as I did at the Argent Tournament. Whether it’ll be in an expansions time, or even further ahead, is just testament to why this kind of content is best, it outlives it’s expansion and always provides people with something to do.
I am too hard on 5.4. Paladins and tanks in general got a nerf, and I liked being overpowered, it was fun feeling like I was contributing. Flex deserves more credit than I give it, if only my time was more conducive to it’s evening scheduling. I also really need to pick an alt, and level my last 4 characters to 90. The twilight of Mists has begun, so these tasks can’t wait for much longer.