Monday, November 5, 2012

Ok, I'm Level 90, Now What?

After hitting level 90, and looking to get geared up to raid, it became painfully obvious that grinding reputation with various factions via daily quests wasn't viable.  Reputation grids take weeks of doing dailies, as the name suggests, every day.  I for one don't have the time or ambition to log in each and every day to kill X of this, and click on Y of that.  I do see myself working toward honored with the Golden Lotus faction for my leather working patterns, but other than that I'm not sure I will ever seriously pursue dailies/reputation on any sort of a regular basis.

So after poo-pooing dailies I took a moment to ponder what my actual goal was, to acquire gear that would support raiding in as short a playtime as possible.  Obviously a spreadsheet was in order; a means to locate and exploit the lowest hanging fruit.

As an aside it is also helpful to have an accounting professor in the guild to point out the best low hanging fruit.  That being the 450 quest reward weapon from the Arena of Annihilation scenario, the epic boots from the Sha of Anger world boss quest and of course holiday rewards from Brewfest and Hallow's End.  The first two I probably wouldn't have noticed right away on my own and boy did they help.

Back to the spreadsheet I made while handing out candy to trick-or-treaters on Halloween.  I first came up with a list of all the possible heroic drops and reputation rewards for honored or lower (revered is just too much of a commitment) and went through for each slot listing the possible upgrades.  I then took the list of upgrades and grouped them based on dungeon and faction instead of slot.

Now I needed a way to prioritize which dungeons/factions were worth hitting first.  Item level was of course the answer.  If I take the item level of the upgrade minus the item level of what I've got equipped I can easily weight which dungeons/factions have the most to offer.  The one problem with that is that item level is weighted differently for different slots.

After a quick Google search I got a rough idea of how item levels compare for different slots.  Head, chest, legs and two handed weapons are all weighted at 100% of their item level, shoulders, gloves, belts and boots are all weighted at 75% of their item level, bracers, necklaces, cloaks and rings are all weighted at 56.25% of their item level, and trinkets seem to be the topic of some debate at 68% of their item level.  Lucky I'm a feral druid and don't have to worry about one-handed weapons or off-hands which also seem to be a bit of a mystery.

So after figuring out what each dungeon/faction had to offer in terms of item level increases I had an ordered list of what I should spend my time doing in game when I got a chance.  It turned out Sholomance offered more opportunity for upgrades than anything else so of course I ran that first chance I got.  After deleting the items that were no longer upgrades the weights changed a little and I ran the next dungeon and so on ans so forth.

As it turns out I'm not gaining valor quickly enough to make faction rewards much of a possibility at all, so reputation grinding is really a non-issue.  Something to work on when I don't feel like queuing as a tank and have time to kill while waiting.  I got Klaxxi to honored pretty easily in the dungeon queue thanks to it not being gated by dailies.  As a result I qualify for a neck upgrade I can't yet afford.  By the time I can afford it I might have already gotten a better drop from a raid.  I'm comforted by the thought that dailies are completely optional and I won't need to grind for hours just to gather raid gear.

I've so far reached an item level of 455 out of the 460 I need to queue for LFR and have access to even better rewards for my time.  With any luck a few more priority selected heroics will get me there more quickly than queuing blindly for random heroics.  Eventually the valor points from random heroics and reputation rewards will be a bigger draw, but I am planning on focusing more on having fun by that point and not trying to maximize playtime at the expense of ignoring my new monk.

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