|A Giant Crab, speaking at the Weekend.|
I think, Mr Street, your blog post should be covering considerably more than that.
This weekend, it has been universally acknowledged in Guild, marked a distinct change in Server mentality. AH sales were very definitely up, considerably more stuff got sold across the board (10k pet sales :O), and after some discussion the conclusion was reached that maybe people had stopped solely focussing on their 'Mains' and gone and done something else. This is what happened with me: I've put half a level on the Horde and Mogging Hunters, mostly because all three characters are now running my new UI and it seems like a decent way to practice the new regime. More of that later, for now I am discussing the (I suspect) unintended consequence of making many achievements account wide: people have stopped playing alts.
Only now, over this weekend, am I seeing Guildies abandon their Mains. There are some who staunchly remain in Rep Grind Purgatory (one of our MT's informed me its unlikely he'll feel the need to touch any of his alts until at least 5.2) and we do have one hugely dedicated soul who's managed to do 4 L90's already. He is very much the exception. Certainly in Cataclysm that would have been me, when it was clear that gearing via levelling wasn't really an issue. Now I find myself planning which zones I'll need to cover to pick up the gear I'll require to make it into Heroics with far more care. Suddenly, the entire process has altered, and it means that alts are going to suffer. They already are, in my case, quite apart from the fact that I know that to even begin to complete dailies at max level I'm going to need to be armed to the teeth.
I have a couple of issues: one is with the way certain achievements have been 'assigned' across my account. The standout example has to be Glorious which isn't account wide, when something like Finders Keepers is. The time it takes to swap from one alt to another when I find a Champion I don't have (and inevitably it is when I'm questing) is normally enough time for that mob to be tagged. These are the kind of achievements that would most benefit from the account wide status (pretty much anything with a time-dependant degree of difficulty or which relies on a spawn) The other issue comes with awarding something like Stay Klaxxi to everybody (or indeed the Zone Quest achievements): what's the point in even playing an alt to begin with? Yes, I know you 'get the ding' when its done but actually, I have to say, that's not enough of an incentive when you know how much work you're going to have at the end of your 85-90 grind to gear said alt to a standard where they can survive in the World to begin with. Somewhere along the way an impetus has been lost.
The main killer for me is the professions 'gating': if I want that Royal Satchel recipe for my Tailor I have absolutely no choice but to level my Tailor to 90, get the Golden Lotus and Shado Pan dailies to a certain level and then spend however long it is on the Augusts. How on Earth am I supposed to do that when at this stage I'm probably a month away from being rep maxxed on the person I want to raid with? Yes, that last bit does sound like whiny needy moaning: its no different from getting that Jewelcrafting bag recipe I STILL don't have from Firelands Dailies. The problem this time is just that, time, and despite all of this I am still sticking by my assertion that this is by far the best way to prevent server economies collapsing, and to preserve the sanctity of professions saleability. Our #1 Tailor is now capable of making those bags, and it will be Quite Some Time (TM) before I see people flooding the market with them. That is the way it should be. I'll just have to accept the fact that having a family that I can rely on for self-sufficiency takes more time this time around.
This means, like it or not, I really need a plan before I start levelling each toon. If I want them to be able to ride turtles, for instance that means a Panda tabard the moment they step out of Stormwind. If I want to maximise gear gathering whilst questing that also means I'll not do Krasarang at all, or indeed Townlong unless absolutely necessary. I have therefore the beginning of an alt levelling strategy:
- Starter quests in Jade Forest, questline to open the Jade Serpent 'meeting' and subsequent events
- Only do the quests in VoFW that open my farm
- Only quest in Kun-Lai (until 89) If not at 89 when Kun Lai complete, possibly do stuff in Townlong
- At 89, go to Dread Wastes.
- Run as many dungeons as possible
The shift has been subtle, but it has been noticeable. Alts are likely to be left by the wayside by many except those with a huge amount of time and patience. Its not just about the achievements either, there are a lot of choices bound up with the way the current system is being weighted. The key question now becomes what will happen to Valor Gear come 5.1. As it is unlikely to become Justice Gear any time soon (with the plans for upgrading items in place) those of us playing the alt game have some interesting decisions to make in the future...