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Posts with tag Grinding

Blizzard disables 'anti-exploit' experience cap mechanic

For a while now people have been complaining about a new system that caused experience gained by repeatedly killing the same mobs as they respawned to be reduced, saying it was too punitive. Now Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas has posted explaining that the mechanic, intended to combat exploits common to power leveling, has been disabled.

Watcher
This isn't intended to be an "anti-grind" mechanic. It's intended to be an "anti-exploit" mechanic that programmatically addresses power-leveling abuses, with the aim of letting us reward legitimate players more generously. In the past, we've often had little choice but to drastically reduce the experience awarded by certain respawning bosses or enemies that are locked in combat with other NPCs, because otherwise they'd be abused. That always felt bad to the regular player who was just passing through in the course of questing or exploration and got unexpectedly little or no experience for killing something. The goal was to come up with an approach that would be invisible to most players, but discourage sitting there and repeatedly farming the same mob for long stretches of time in order to gain experience. Alternatives like questing, dungeons, or PvP are all supposed to be more lucrative than that - WoW has never been a game in which mass-killing mobs for experience was the most efficient route.

That said, clearly this implementation is far too strict, and is triggering from a wide variety of normal activity. We're going to disable the functionality entirely and look into a much more narrowly targeted approach if and when we reintroduce it. Apologies for the inconvenience and the lack of response on the issue - we were working on understanding exactly where the algorithm was going awry, and now that we've done so, we'll be taking action in the near future.


So if you happen to enjoy grinding and don't mind it being somewhat less rewarding, while not wanting it to be almost completely so, this change should please you. Still, there probably should be a mechanic for combating power leveling abuses involving tagging mobs and then having a whole party or raid backing you up to kill what you tag, and I hope that when they do come up with an idea for it, it's a little less broadly implemented than this was.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Warlords of Draenor

5 ways to get rich off an agonizing grind

Skyshards are a bit like leprechauns: Some people never see them, and some -- usually the heavily inebriated souls awake at 2 am -- see them all the time. You need 10 for a Sky Crystal which brings Alani crashing out of her route around the Vale. Because that's the only way to get the Thundering Ruby Cloud Serpent, and because some of us are working on Mount Parade and will barf the next time we see the Argent Tournament, sometimes you just have to resign yourself to a long and boring grind. However, if you've got to kill thousands of mobs anyway, you might as well make the most out of it and improve your hourly genocidal "wages" with a few things:
  • Helpful Wikky's Whistle A rare drop off Major Nanners. While definitely the least helpful item on this list, the Whistle isn't expensive to use and doesn't use a trinket slot. Blow it, and a tiny hozen will appear. Talk to him, and he'll run off to forage for you while you kill mobs. Once you get to around 50, Wikky will reappear with a Bag of Helpful Things. Warning: He vanishes fairly quickly if you don't talk to him, so keep an eye on the emotes in your chat screen. He'll always announce his presence.
More past the cut!

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Economy

Speed up level and reputation gains today by stacking holiday buffs

If you're working on picking up levels or reputations on any characters, today there's a confluence of holidays that will help you along the way. But you'll have to act fast, since Pilgrim's Bounty and the 9th Anniversary event end today. Here's what you need to do to get the most out of your grinding:
  • The Pilgrim's Bounty Spirit of Sharing buff grants +10% reputation for an hour. Get it by going to any Pilgrim's Bounty table and chowing down on each type of food 5 times.
  • The Darkmoon Faire WHEE! buff grants +10% experience and reputation for up to an hour. Just visit the Faire and ride the carousel until the buff stacks up to an hour. Alternatively, you could use the Darkmoon Top Hat to get the same buff -- but bear in mind the two buffs won't stack.
  • Use your 9th Anniversary Celebration Package for +9% experience and reputation for an hour.
The downside, as you may have already guessed, is that these buffs are limited duration, and the Pilgrim's Bounty buff and Darkmoon buff (unless you use the top hat) both require you to visit places to get them. Still, an hour of bonuses isn't bad. Plus, these can stack with other excellent leveling buffs like the monk's Enlightenment daily buff, heirloom buffs, and the Guild Battle Standard buff. So hurry up and get leveling!

Filed under: News items

Casual content convenience

As someone who writes about World of Warcraft for a living, something I do a lot is read the Blue Trackers. These systems watch every blue post, and collect them all into one place for your convenience. Just occasionally, there'll be funny ones that catch my eye, like this one from Senior Community Rep Jonathan "Zarhym" Brown:

Zarhym
I disagree with everything you didn't say.

And on this occasion, the thread he was responding to actually got me thinking. You see, the OP was jokingly taking one of the arguments that people make, the predictable ones about how everything was better back in the day, and isolating a key component of that argument: convenience and time spent.

The TL;DR on the post is that the game is now too easy, because everything's too convenient. It's worth noting, again, that the OP is entirely joking. He specifically spells out that one "issue" with the game as it stands is that you no longer need to sit in Trade for 30 minutes to an hour or more to get tanks and healers for your dungeon runs. You can now sit in capital cities, or even quest, while you wait for the LFG tool to do all the work for you. Terrible, right?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Breakfast Topic: Has lore prevented you from enjoying content?

Breakfast Topic Has lore prevented you from enjoying content
From a purely game mechanics point of view, I should love Battlefield Barrens. One of my favorite things to do in Vanilla WoW was head out to the plaguelands and mindlessly grind scourgestones while I read guild chat or watched TV. Sometimes, you don't really want the dedicated direction of dailies or quests, you just wanted to get some progress done on your terms, when you feel like it. Battlefield Barrens, with the ability to grind resources to use for a single weekly quest or for currency for some decent gear and vanity items, would seem to be perfect for that.

But I can't go back to the Barrens, because I'm Alliance. When I go to the Barrens, I've heard from outside sources and little story snippets that I'm supposedly infiltrating the Horde to sew chaos and dissension. Despite that, the actual quest dialogue and gameplay tells a different story. From the moment I hit Durotar, I have to put up with trolls taunting me about the loss of Theramore and trolls threatening to kill me. Even Vol'jin makes me "earn his trust," and threatens to feed me to Sylvanas if I question him. To top it all off, it's not clear that I'm getting anything in return but the vague hope that Vol'jin's Trolls might kill an extra orc or two before the Alliance starts their main offensive.

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Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Should green fire be prestigious?

Blood Pact Should green fire be prestigious MON
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Blood Pact for affliction, demonology, and destruction warlocks. This week, Megan O'Neill wishes the mages would stop sending out the bad voodoo vibes to everything she owns so she can buy new fun things for her birthday instead of old replacements.

There's plenty to look for through the datamining, but the question on everyone's mind is, "How do I start the questline?" Trust me, when someone finds out, I'm sure the internet will explode about it. It'll probably be on a Monday, during my other job's hours, and right after this column posts, knowing my luck.

But before I get into an all-out walkthrough of the questline, I want to discuss one thing: does green fire have to be exclusive? Is exclusivity required for meaningfulness?

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Filed under: Warlock, (Warlock) Blood Pact, Mists of Pandaria

Breakfast Topic: Which Mists instance do you most enjoy replaying?

Breakfast Topic Which Mists instance do you most enjoy replaying
This morning's Breakfast Topic isn't as a simple as "Which new instance is your favorite dungeon?" We're pouring another cup of coffee because we want to hear which instance you most enjoy repeating, even if it's not your most favorite of the expansion -- because even the joy of an instance that utterly captivated you the first time through may dim after repeated assaults. As time goes on, which 5-man or scenario are you most open to (or even look forward to) running again and again?

Disclaimer: The author of this post may or may not be known for making farming pacts with guildmates ("I'll reset and re-run this instance with you until raid time every evening until you get your drop if you'll do the same for me once we get yours!") and is therefore disqualified from making rational judgments on reasonable replay value for any instance.

But surely there's more to replaying dungeons than grinding out points and shinies and rep, so let's turn our thinking away from loot for a moment. Don't use where your loot drops as a consideration. Which Mists dungeon or scenario are you most pleased to see pop up on your loading screen? What's the attraction? Is it the scenery, the encounter design, the story, or something else that keeps you coming back for more?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: What's the most difficult thing in the game to farm?

Breakfast Topic What's the most difficult thing in the game to farm
My warrior recently found herself farming a lot of Khorium in order to build her Turbo-Charged Flying Machine, and while flying a seemingly endless number of circuits in Nagrand in order to get the metal (which is a rare spawn on other Outland ore nodes), I started to wonder where this farm fell in relation to other grinds. Khorium sometimes cooperates by spawning regularly, but this time, it was its usual, awful self. I'm sure the Burning Crusade-era players can relate.

And yet, somehow I still don't think that khorium is the worst thing in the game to farm. Off the top of my head, I can think of others that are or have been equally bad or worse:
  • Non-combat pets A lot of farmable non-combat pets (e.g., the dragon whelps, the firefly, the Fox Kit) have a 1-in-1,000 drop rate and a limited number of mobs up at a given time.
  • Combat pets Waiting for a particular pet to spawn somewhere and then finding and taming it before someone else does can be maddening if you're consistently unlucky.
  • Fishing Accomplished Angler is justifiably famous for being stuffed with requirements full of RNG. Let's talk about the year it took me to get Mr. Pinchy's Magical Crawdad Box! On second thought, let's not.
  • The Scepter of the Shifting Sands quest This disappeared in Cataclysm, and with it went all the work that went into farming up bug parts and Elementium Ingots, which is where I got stuck in the chain. (So close, and yet so far.)
  • The Insane This almost goes without saying, although it's easier these days than it used to be.
Your thoughts, readers? What's the toughest thing in the game to farm?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

The OverAchiever: Help update our list of evil achievements

Every Thursday, The Overachiever shows you how to work toward those sweet achievement points. This week, the abyss stares back.

Almost two years ago, I wrote a series of articles for OverAchiever that turned out to be one of the most popular themes the column's ever visited: evil achievements. It turns out that a lot of folks care deeply about achievements that have been -- allow me to quote myself -- "milked from the angry teat of Satan himself."

Now, it has to be said that all achievements are technically optional. No one is forcing you to do anything, why do you play this game anyway if you aren't having fun, yadda yadda ... all true. But I assume you're reading The OverAchiever because you really like achievements and you think they add something to the game. (Either that, or you're just reading because you're bored, but that's fine too.) Personally, I don't think players really mind difficult achievements or even achievements that they have to peck away at over an extended period of time. But there's a line between an achievement that is genuinely difficult on its own merits and one that makes you privately think the developers want you dead.

So with that in mind, how would we reconstruct a list of evil achievements in 2012 during the Cataclysm era?

You can find the original series here if you're interested in a trip down Memory Lane, although I'll give you a quick rundown on them past the cut:

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Achievements, The Overachiever

Gold Capped: The fastest way to make 10,000 gold

race track
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Gold Capped, in which Basil "Euripides" Berntsen and Fox Van Allen aim to show you how to make money on the Auction House. Check out Fox and Basil's reboot of Call To Auction, and email Basil with your questions, comments, or hate mail!

Every so often, I get asked something to the effect of "What's the fastest way to get 10,000 gold?" It's usually asked by someone who is perpetually poor in game and is looking to get a BoE or some other sort of reward that costs gold. The fastest way for me to get 10,000 gold is to log in and check my mail. My daily haul is many times that and scales based on how much time I have to craft, list, and relist. This isn't a useful answer to someone who lives paycheck to paycheck, though. So what advice would be helpful?

First off, if you're below level 85, get to level 85. This nets you quite a bit of gold simply from quest rewards and vendoring gear you acquire. If you're already level 85, the first thing you need to do is identify how much money you can make per hour running 5-mans for valor points that you can use to sell BoEs. On my realm, I could sell a BoE costing 1,650 VPs for about 10,000 gold. That means every valor point I earn could be worth 6 gold, which makes the 150 points I get from a 5-man worth 900g. I can do seven per week per character with the requisite gear. Also, every trash kill and boss kill has a chance of awarding you with valuables, including enchanting mats (if someone can DE) and BoEs.

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Filed under: Economy, Gold Capped

Gold Capped: Cashing in on the Molten Front

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Gold Capped, in which Fox Van Allen and Basil "Euripides" Berntsen aim to show you how to make money on the auction house. Feed Fox's ego by emailing him or tweeting him at @foxvanallen.

If you'll allow me a moment to editorialize, I'm pretty damn sick of the Molten Front. This new questing area for level 85s, released with patch 4.2, is the grind-iest damn place I ever had the misfortune to grind lately.

Basically, how it works is this: First, you clear a solid chunk of the regular Mount Hyjal quests that have been available since Cataclysm's launch. This opens up a small new quest hub, the Sanctuary of Malorne, with a couple of non-repeatable quests and a few dailies. Grind those dailies long enough, and you'll get access to a new daily quest hub inside the Firelands. Grind those dailies (and the old ones), and in another week or so, you'll gain access to another set of dailies. Keep grinding, and ... yes, you guessed it, another set of dailies becomes available.

Eventually, after about 40 consecutive days of grinding dailies in the Molten Front, you'll gain access to your choice of three vendors: one with tailoring and leatherworking patterns, and one with blacksmithing plans and engineering schematics. The stuff you can make from the patterns, plans, and schematic are neat -- 36-slot profession bags and some epic i365 gear.

There's an awful lot of grind-y garbage keeping most players from these rewards. But for those of us who play the auction house, that's a good thing -- players are always willing to pay a premium to avoid a long, boring grind.

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Filed under: Economy

Breakfast Topic: How do you respond when grinding goes competitive?

This Breakfast Topic has been brought to you by Seed, the Aol guest writer program that brings your words to WoW Insider's pages.

I recently finished my Shatar Skyguard reputation grind. I'd previously done my share of rep grinding, including repeatedly decimating the populations of Felwood Timbermaw and Nagrand ogres, but I was, um, not prepared for Skettis.

We tend to be a friendly group on my server, and my previous experience rep grinding involved everyone giving each other a respectful distance, taking turns and sharing a friendly wave here or there. It is quite a bit different in the cutthroat world of the Skethyl Mountains, where more than once I detected stealthed Alliance lying in wait trying to grab my summoned mobs. When it came to summoning Terokk, I quickly learned to save that for early mornings and to scope the area beforehand just to be safe from Allies, but quite regularly, someone of either faction would swoop down into a camp where I was merrily grinding away and kill the very next mob in my sights, regardless of the fact that the next camp over was completely unoccupied. I had no idea Skyguard Rep was such serious business!

I eventually finished my grind and earned my Purple Riding Nether Ray and matching Nether Ray Fry, but I am still surprised by the experience. Ever enter into a WoW endeavor to find it unexpectedly competitive? Did you stick with it, or did you decide it was more trouble than it was worth?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: Is it time for a change?


This Breakfast Topic is brought to you by WoW.com's guest blogger program. Want to participate in a future call for guest posts? Read up on how to contribute, and keep an eye on the site for program announcements.

I've played World of Warcraft before and absolutely loved it -- I loved it until it became a second job for me. Then when I quit cold turkey, it turned into a bad break-up. I wanted to play it again but didn't want it consuming all of my time. I wanted to level without hating myself for sitting on a chair until my butt hurt, then finding a pillow and valiantly continuing on.

It's actually a deep, dark secret of mine (obviously not any more) that I never once got to the promised land that is level 80. I'll admit though, I had a lot of fun with the game. Hitting up instances and running through the well-written quests with friends was loads of fun. I wasn't a PvP god or anything, but I definitely had my good days back in my prime. I'll admit also that I still feel its callings now from time to time, and for all I know, I could be playing again tomorrow.

This brings me to an important question. What is it that keeps World of Warcraft players going strong? I remember when I first broke up with World of Warcraft, I went through an awkward rebound phase where I looked for any game I could find that would replace it. The sad part of this search was that I found myself wanting other games to be like Warcraft. The truth is, it may very well be the best one out there.

Even if it is the best, I want to know what gets people through the struggle of questing and grinding. As a semi-retired World of Warcraft gamer, I want to know if getting to the level cap is in fact worth the struggle. Is it the journey or the reward? What makes it all worth it to you?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Gold Capped: Automating the grind



Want to get Gold Capped? This column will show you how, and is written by Basil "Euripides" Berntsen, also of outdps.com, the Hunting Party podcast, and the Call to Auction podcast. Don't forget to drop by Onyxia-US this Sunday at 7:30 PM eastern time to get ganked by one of the CtA hosts and tak
e the money of the other one! A good time will be had by all, and we'll be sticking around after the event to chat with readers and listeners!

Grinding is a pain. Avoiding grinds is why I got into the auction house in the first place. Repetitive and boring tasks are not fun for most people. Unfortunately, while some businesses are relatively grind free, certain tradeskills require us to do something like milling (inscription), prospecting (jewelcrafting), or disenchanting (enchanting).

The more volume you want to sell, the more volume you need to process. I know of scribes who sell 1200g a day of glyphs at an average of 8g each. That's 150 glyphs sold, which means 150 Ink of the Sea squeezed out of northrend herbs. You get 5-6 inks per stack of herbs, so this guy mills a minimum of 25 stacks of herbs a day. Each stack of herbs requires at least 4 hardware events (clicks or keypresses).

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Filed under: Economy, Gold Capped

Milling cast time reduced to one second

There have been reports in the blogosphere that there was an undocumented reduction to the milling cast time in patch 3.3.3. It used to be two very long, agonizing seconds for a scribe to turn herbs into pigments, and is reportedly going twice as fast: a blazing speed of one mill per second.

This is a huge deal to anyone who uses inscription to make money. Milling herbs into ink is one of those tasks that limits your production capabilities, and can't legally be done while afk. In fact, the milling grind time (four clicks, and until now, eight seconds per stack of herbs) is one of the reasons I rarely advocate new auctioneers getting into selling glyphs. In addition to generally overcrowded marketplaces and auction house campers, it's a business that requires almost super-human patience.

This will probably make the glyph market even more crowded, as the amount of unhealthy AH camping you can do with a finite amount of playtime just went up by a fair bit.

[Thanks to Wolfgang Staudt on flickr for the image]


Patch 3.3.3 brings about small but noteworthy changes to the World of Warcraft. From a faster CoT, to putting those old Frozen Orbs to better use, to changes to the auction house -- there's several things all WoW players need to know. WoW.com's Guide to Patch 3.3.3 will keep you up to date!

Filed under: News items, Economy

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