Non-Raid End-Game

I promise I’ll get that post up about shaman hybridism soon.

But first, after many days of spending time on the water away from WoW, I came back to the game and logged quite a few hours on Monday.  Leveling Troutwort the hunter from 80 to 82 because he’s technically the GM and isn’t even friendly with the guild, so I can’t buy the extra guild bank tab (how embarrassing) and then played Haydn the rogue going from 64 to 66. 

Back to the point of this post though, and that is following a discussion I had with a guildmate about end-game content, and more specifically end-game if you don’t raid. 

I am pretty much a non-raider.  I haven’t raided in Cataclysm, my raiding experience in BC was limited to Karazhan and Mag’s Lair.  In LK it was Naxx, ToC, and Icecrown Citadel.  In all cases it was usually long after these things were current content and so there were those that had better gear than content.  The only one that I was really on par with was ToC.  Anyways, no raiding yet in Cataclysm.

So I’m basically at that age-old discussion of what do you do for end-game if you aren’t into raiding?  As it currently is, I have three toons at level 85, I think three at level 82, and then some others like 80, 75, 66, and 27 or something like that.  When I log-in there are times I stare at this screen trying to decide who to play.  Almost always the three level 85s are ruled out from selection unless I need one of their professions for something.  Since I don’t participate in the raiding I don’t have raids to prepare for, gear isn’t important to me, and their professions are maxed, so there’s usually little desire to play those toons–what else is there to do?  None of the heroic dungeons really excite me, I think I previously posted that none of them feel really epic/fun to me.  Typically then I pick up a toon that isn’t 85 and level them.  For me, leveling provides a sense of progression and accomplishment that raiding and getting new gear doesn’t provide for me.  With new levels comes new spells or abilities, new talent points, more character development.  But with raiding, just comes new dresses to wear. 

The sense of accomplishment, for me, really drops off at 85.  Usually it’s finishing up a zone or a profession and then maybe some dungeons and heroics and that’s it.  There isn’t a draw for me to continue to do anything.  So I level the next toon.  I understand that downing raid bosses is an accomplishment for a raid group, and I love hearing about the cohesiveness and success.  But I can’t sit and do one thing for 4 hours or commit to that sort of schedule of twice a week–it’s just not me. 

So I start to think about what I did at 80 or even 70.  I had 4 toons to 70 before LK and 7 toons to 80 before Cata.  So what did I do with them all?  Grinding reputations or doing dailies was different.  For example:  reputations in both LK and BC gave patterns for crafters, I would decide which factions were most beneficial for my crafters and focus on them, even if I didn’t ever make the pattern, knowing that I had it felt like I was still accomplishing something.  Fishing and cooking dailies took me all around the world, though people complained about travel time, it got me the F out of Dalaran, so that if suddenly I was in Sholazar for fishing, I might as well do some Oracles/Frenzyheart dailies or if I had to go to Borean for fishing, I might as well stock up on fish or try for that turtle.  Sending me to Nagrand to cook some stew would sometimes find me doing some Kurenai rep or else defending the PvP zone in the middle.  Since I was there, I felt a reason to do other things.

Fishing dailies being limited to Stormwind or other capital cities are quick and easy fishing skill points, but if you ask me…BORING.  And the lack of a fishing bag that has anything new to offer since LK is really lame.  At least in BC I could get a croc pet and LK had the strand crawler and fishing poles, but really, nothing new for Cata?  Why isn’t there an 80+ only fishing daily?  It doesn’t make sense, they didn’t really make a new fishing daily, they just offered it to level 10s.

Daily quests in Cata also are sorta of…bleh.  The Argent tourney in LK was nice, again rewards of pets, jousting to gain reputations, it wasn’t that bad–mounts and prizes were cool.  Tol Barad has them as well…but the inability to fly there makes them annoying…I’m tired of being dismounted by stupid spiders. 

The Isle of Quel’Danas dailies while not always awesome, were good in one way, there was a whole server progression there.  It felt like you were contributing to something when you did those and when after a few days a new section of the isle opened up, it felt awesome.  That was a brilliant idea–it felt like I still was contributing and progressing in the game. 

Achievements added in 3.0 added some sort of accomplishment as well, but let’s be honest, most achievements are “worthless” since the points don’t give you anything.  A few titles are fun to get and those additions were nice, but again, not enough to keep me going. 

Okay, long post is long, so what DO I want??  I have no idea.  I guess if there was some sort of accomplishment that would still feel like my characters are progressing and improving without it just being gear, that would be awesome.  I’d like daily quests outside of capital cities.  I’d like PORTALS back to all the cities so that I didn’t feel like I only played in Stormwind anymore.  I really feel disconnected too because of the way the zones are now.  With the new 80-85 zones spread out, it’s not easy to just fly over that ridge to the next zone and do what I want there…no, it’s hearth (load-screen), then fly to portal (load-screen)…there’s too much load-screening and not enough continuity.  I want to be able to do an herbing lap around one zone, then be close enough to the next to just swoop into that zone too, without load-screens. 

One other thing that would help is if archaeology felt like progression too…instead of still finding VooDoo dolls at max level if the things you found improved and the chance of lesser things decreased at least it would give a sense of geting better.  Fishing for example allows you to catch better things as you improve your skill.  Aside from a few rare items in archaeology, it really does still feel like you’re doing the same at skill level 525 as you did at skill 100.  Hopefully there will be changes to this later.

I fear that Cataclysm really isn’t living up to all the excitement I had for it.  Challenging heroics are good, but god, I hear more people complain about dungeons than I hear people say they love them.  So maybe there need to be at least a few that people don’t cringe over? 

I know it’s hard to build a game that feels like you’re still progressing after you’ve hit 85 and that isn’t about gear.  I’m not saying I know the answer, but I think there have been things in the past that might be good ideas to bring back.  Perhaps not.  It might just be the crotchety old man in me desiring times past.  I just didn’t feel so blah about my toons at 80…and I can’t figure out why I do now. 

One other thing that would be AWESOME, is that once you complete a zone or storyline on one toon, the zone would be changed for the next.  Example:  I have put the world pillar together 3 times already.  Why the F do I have to keep doing it?  One time is cool, but the second time I come through, can’t the world pillar be put together already and now I work to defend new attacks or work on cleaning up the mess left behind?  That would feel better to me from a leveling stand-point.  Doesn’t have to be every zone, but ones with really dramatic storylines such as that seem sort of lame the next time you have to do it.

11 Responses to “Non-Raid End-Game”

  1. Ado Says:

    I think the new daily hubs in Hyjal will be kinda like the Isle of Quel’Danas with you contributing to get things opened or progressed.

    • Troutwort Says:

      That will be nice, I did really like that concept, it gave more of a sense of accomplishing something as a whole. I hope that’s the case!

  2. Analogue Says:

    You’ve got some really good points. It’s such a matter of perspective. I’m enjoying the end game way more than I did in BC or the first 2/3rds of Wrath, and it’s because of raiding; turns out I like it! But if I didn’t raid, sure, I could see getting burned out. In BC I pvped a lot because that was the content that was accessible to me. In Wrath I leveled alts and pugged raids. In Cataclysm, I’m raiding regularly and can use my alts to just go have fun. Archeology, fishing, leveling, achievements, seem more fun to me because I have a different end game goal than “just” those.

    • Troutwort Says:

      This is true. Now one other consideration that I thought of after my super long post is that I *could* raid. I think I’m fairly competent and managed to help on LK and survive to kill him. So I think I could raid if I did find it as enjoyable as others do, but it’s not really my thing. The thing is though there are people out there that can’t raid. Let’s face it we’ve all seen people tanking the floor in less than 30 seconds. So what is end-game for them??

      I only question end-game now because while I felt there were more activities and things were more physically accessable in past expansions, this expansion really seems to be very limiting–from access to the zones to daily quests and professions. The world feels a lot less cohesive than it used to–it’s too disconnected to fo from Deepholm to Vashir or Hyjal very smoothly.

  3. DarthRegis Says:

    I’ve been keeping busy with alts or PvP’ing. I know the Heroics are geared towards non-raiders “progressing”, but it still feels like the end-game is directed towards raiding.

    Not being able to raid with this expansion is making me feel a little “left behind”… or burnt out, or whatever. Heck, maybe it’s just the summer time blues?

    Regardless, some of the WoW-magic is gone – at least right now.

    • Troutwort Says:

      While I’m not happy to hear you’re also experiencing some WoW-magic disappearance, it makes me feel al ittle bit better about how I’ve been feeling. There’s just something about this expansion that makes me not into it…

      4.2 sounds like it might offer some promising changes though.

  4. ReversionLFM Says:

    A lot of interesting points and perspective. Since I do raid things have looked totally different. Grinding out that next pieced of gear or tweaking a spec is very meaningful. If I can get a few more points in some stat or get better with some ability then it makes the whole raid better. since I am running in 2 or sometimes 3 raids I have motivation to get alternates leveled and geared so we have lots or options for raid makeup.

    Of course this points out other issues with the end game. I agree about lame dailes. Wildhammer ones were not too bad but the got old. I hate hate having to do the whole freaking zone to get to the Therazane dailes… and since the best shoulder enchants are all there…and NOT BOA you have to grind that entire zone on every raiding character you have. Well… to heck with that. I can stand having one weak enchant on a few alts. At least with the ‘Hos’ you only had to grind the rep on one character.
    I don’t care for the TB ones either. Several of my alts could use the trinket there but… meh!

    And now to progress in 4.2 I have to take multiple alts back to Hyjal to do all the quests there… ARGH!

    It is interesting how the ‘end game’ of each expansion is different and how where I am personally at with my play style also changes them.

    Totally agree with the ‘hearth-portal’ thing. Disjointed as heck. There are still areas of the world I have not seen since Cata dropped and this end game is not showing them to me. I guess I need to level a few alts.

  5. wolfgangcat Says:

    I haven’t been playing as long as you and I’ve run out of things to do – can’t even imagine how much worse it is for someone playing for a while!

    No raiding for me, so I’m guessing Heroics – if I ever get there – will be my “end game.”

    I always seemed to be “busy” last expansion with tons of stuff to do, and was actually making a bit of progress in Heroics.

    But Cata….well, healing is a nightmare – not fun. Dailies? Got what I need and I won’t do the TB ones because I die too fast – not fun. Professions? Nothing useful to make at max level – not fun.

    Got a few alts to play with but same problem – once you hit 85 it seems like it’s “game over” for non-raiders.

    Since Cata, interesting stuff to do and the “fun” factor has disappeared somewhere. Hopefully it will come back….someday.

    • Troutwort Says:

      That is one good point too, I remember in BC when tailoring had specialties, for example, and you could make an epic 3 piece set plus other BoE epics that you could craft for yourself fairly cheaply. So you hit levle 70 and you could have a 3 piece crafted set (with bonuses) ready to go. It was pretty awesome. Now higher level craftable stuff focuses on PvP patterns and just a few items. I do miss having a feeling that craftable professions offered something. Right now I’m not even sure why I level tailoring.

  6. Greg Says:

    What to do at 85 if you’re not raiding?

    Three words.


    Come along with me and blow up the horde!

    • Troutwort Says:

      Greg, I am surprised given our history with PvP that you would even want to be anywhere NEAR me during PvP. Ha! 😛 You’ve seen how terribad I am.

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