After much questing involving Mogu, dragons, pandas and Klaxxi (don’t ask…) level 90 and the level cap has finally been reached. I could spend the next 5 episodes talking about the Pandarian zones, the dungeons, the fact that I can become a farmer (no, really, I can have my own farm) but I wont. Instead, I thought I would focus on what most people who play World of Warcraft are interested in, and what most people who are considering playing WoW are wondering about – the end game.
To put my thoughts into perspective, I suppose I should explain my previous experience with ‘life after the level cap’. Raiding was always my thing, and it was pretty much the only thing which used to keep me playing. From joining a casual raiding guild running Molten Core, I quickly progressed to a ‘Bleeding Edge’ guild where raiding and grinding was pretty much a full time job. Days were spent grinding materials and gold to help with guild repairs, and evenings were spent attempting to get those server first kills which, fantastically, we mostly did.
My focus was on seeing content which a lot of other people would never be able to, and there was an element of pride in belonging to the best guild on the server. A certain sense of satisfaction and – if I’m being honest – smugness was present in most of us. The gear that we had was unique, and other players would waste no time in inspecting us when we returned from a raid to see if we had any new items. If we did, they would link it in the general chat channel, where others would drool over it.
To get to this stage was a pretty clear cut path. Hit level cap, run dungeons for gear, apply to a raiding guild, get lucky and get accepted, then raid. Now however, it’s not quite as clear cut.
At level 90, a player has many choices they can make. While it is nice to have some choice, the different paths you can use to get yourself some shiny gear can feel a bit overwhelming, especially for new or returning players. And once you have the gear, you then have even more choices. Do you upgrade the gear with your valor points, or do you wait in case you get something else because you don’t want to waste your tokens.
As for the content, it’s a mixed bag. Heroic dungeons feel anything but heroic. They are so easy it’s almost embarrassing. I know that Blizzard have tried to address this with Challenge modes, but gear does not drop from the bosses in this mode, and so is pointless for those attempting to gear up. Valor gear is good, in fact some of it is great, but again it leaves a nasty taste in my mouth. It feels artificially restricted. Let me explain.
To get Valor gear, you are going to need two things – reputation with the faction which sells your gear, and the required valor points. Reputation is gained via daily quests which are a series of 6 or 7 quests which you can complete once per day which reward you with reputation. Valor points are gained from doing daily quests, running heroic dungeons using LFG, running scenarios etc. However, you are capped at 1000 valor points per week. Anything you earn after that is wasted.
Most decent valor gear requires revered reputation with the particular faction, and around 1750 valor points. This means, at best, you’re restricted to one item of valor gear every two weeks. This smacks at being cockblocked, and I hate it. I can get 2 items of valor gear each month. Wow… thanks a lot.
‘Looking for raid’ or LFG is another bug bear of mine. Essentially, it allows you to queue up and play a dumbed down version raids with 24 random people. I know it’s nice for people to be able to see the content, but I’m not sure it’s actually experiencing the content. I’ve tried LFR, and there was no challenge, no skill involved and frankly was a very empty experience.
I understand that some people have the ‘I pay the same amount of money to play as everyone else, I should be able to see all the content’ mentality but there is a big difference between seeing, and experiencing something. However, regardless of all this, World of Warcraft is still amazing fun. Sure, it’s moved more towards the casual side of gaming but at it’s core it’s totally addictive and you will never be short of something to do.
Jumping back into WoW, my aim was to see what had changed and then move on. The reality is much different though. I’ve once again become attached to my ‘toon, and logging on in an evening is something I always look forward too. World of Warcraft now caters for everyone, and if you have not taken the plunge into Azeroth before I highly suggest that you do. Now I must go however, as me and Bert have got some questing to do…
WoW Relapser Summary: End Game
- Overall Enjoyment Level: 8/10
- Addiction Level: 9/10
Stay tuned for a new series of RPGlapse as Al documents his attempt to find another MMO that hooks him as much as World of Warcraft did. You can catch up on RPGlapse: My World of Warcraft Relapse from the very beginning by clicking here.