6.03.2007

The luck-based reputation grind

Shalkis on a Netherdrake
Shalkis on a Netherdrake,
originally uploaded by Shalkis.
After a few weeks of grinding, I got my Netherdrake. It's time for a few words on this new type of a reputation grind.

I had gotten my epic wyvern about a week after I dinged 70, so I had already cleared the largest hurdle in the Netherwing questline. I had also defeated Zuluhed the Whacked in some of WoW's most memorable and epic fights on top of the Dragonmaw Fortress. With the two prequisites out of the way, I started my reputation grind on the day after the 2.1 patch went live.

The daily quests were a good idea. You only require an hour (more if you're playing on prime time) to finish the quests. And since you got new daily quests on each reputation level in addition to the previous quests, your daily experience gain ramped up every time you moved up a notch on the reputation-o-meter. In addition, the daily quests solved many problems relating to reputation farming. Since there are several quests, you can always go elsewhere if one particular spot is crowded. And even if it's crowded, you can tolerate fellow players since they'll be there only for a short while and then be gone for the rest of the day.

At friendly you become the proud owner of the infamous booterang and get to re-experience the joy of smacking people in the Valley of Trials. Only this time you can do fly-bys. Quite hilarious.

At honored you can start racing against the Dragonmaw. The first few opponents are quite easy, but once you reach Ichman and Mulverick, the races become quite interesting. I couldn't help thinking that the races are a test on how aerial PvP could work. Basically, the racers fly on a set path and try to dismount you by throwing turnips, lightning bolts or even meteors at you. While the NPCs are easily bested by memorizing their paths and staying out of their range, fighting against fellow players could be quite interesting..

So.. Neutral to Revered. So far so good. Thanks to the ramping-up daily quests, there's now 9 quests you can do each day. Nice varied quests at different areas, which only take about two hours in total to complete. Quite casual. Except... There's the tenth quest, which is not a daily quest. It's a normal repeatable quest for the Netherwing Egg, a Bind-on-Pickup drop from any resource node or mob at the Netherwing Ledge. Since the daily quests are enough to gain a reputation level until Revered, you don't pay much heed to the eggs until that.

Why is a normal repeatable quest a bad idea? Because it undermines the attempt by Blizzard to make the reputation grinds more tolerable by limiting the amount of reputation you can gain per day. The Netherwing Eggs are an incentive to farm the Netherwing Mines over and over, even after you have completed all your daily quests there. Since the eggs are rare and have a very significant effect on your reputation gain, there's also quite a lot of competition. You can't loot eggs in combat, so be prepared to have people train mobs to you and steal the egg while you're trying to fend them off. If you live in the mines, you can shave off days or even weeks from the time it takes to complete the grind. Or not. You might not find any eggs at all, while others find dozens of them and complete the same grind much faster with the same or even less effort. Why try to control the amount of reputation gained per day if you aren't willing to go all the way?

1 comment:

Asherett said...

Heh, can't say I have the same experience with the daily quests you cite, Shalkis... I'm currently doing the Netherwing grind with my rogue Xebeche, and I'm taking at least 3 hours to complete all the daily quests... And I'm still at neutral! Especially the Crystal gathering feels awful. So far I haven't been even marginally able to do all the daily quests each day. Wonder how long this will all take...?

I'll give you the point about the eggs though, I guess Blizzard intended them as a sort of "add-on". They always want to reward the persistent (mindless) farmers, you know.