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Unsubscribing, Take Two

I may have reached the end of my second run of WoW.

As was the case last time, there was no clear death knell, no final straw, no slap in the proverbial face. Forensic evidence would probably suggest that my decline in activity can be traced back to the 5.2 announcement. At that point, I stopped bothering with LFR, knowing that I could endure the same long queues for 20+ better ilevel gear in a few weeks. I was also pretty much geared in all 483s anyway, much to the chagrin of my less fortunate guild survivors.

5.2 reinvigorated several things for me, including reaching some of the reputation milestones on alts that I would have dismissed out of hand as ridiculous previously. There were some underlying truths about myself I started to realize however:

  • A healthy variety of dailies is 100% meaningless. Blizzard seems to think that 15 dailies out of a pool of 90 is somehow more palatable than the same 15 over and over. But… dailies are dailies. Unless a certain daily quest is particularly odious, such as having to kill a hard elite solo (the Pyrestar Demolisher), all daily quests blur together into a gray slurry of virtual obligation.
  • Between the lack of interesting Black Market Auction House wares (which has admittedly improved in 5.2) and the BoP-crafting material economy, it is difficult to maintain interest in even lucrative AH shenanigans. As I continued canceling and re-listing cut gems and other goods day in and day out, I asked myself what exactly I imagine myself doing with this almost 400k gold. Buy something… but buy what? The lack of 476+ BoE weapons particularly was annoying. Yes, I could run LFR a bunch of times or even Honor farm, but all this gold was supposed to save me time, at least theoretically. If time = money, then money = time, does it not?
  • I continued playing long after I no longer experienced any fun because of the possibility that things might change in the future. Which is quite a bizarre feat of circular reasoning, if you think about it. I have 76 pieces of Imperial Silk, for example, because if I suddenly developed a resurgence in interest, my future self would have more fun with all these accumulated mats (which you cannot really get any other way). It reminded me of how I behaved in my Middle School history course: the teacher handed out a week’s worth of worksheets on Monday, and I always completed them that very evening so I could slack off the rest of the week.
  • The Legendary quest backfired big time, at least for me. By the time 5.2 came out, I had 2 Sigils of Power and 14 Sigils of Wisdom. With an average ilevel of 491, I was faced with the prospect of slogging through half a dozen or more DPS queues for the starter LFR raids, getting 476 vendor trash… if I was lucky! And then what? 6000 Valor? The questline might not have been “required” for anything I was doing, but it certainly felt more in-your-face “you are falling behind” than I ever felt before about, say, a raid-only reputation or heroic valor gear, by the very virtue of its accessibility.
  • Once I got over the initial trepidation of skipping a day’s worth of cooldowns and AH re-listings, it actually became more difficult to convince myself to log back on at all. I had already “lost a day” that I would never get back. So… why bother? I skipped logging in one Saturday, and suddenly half the week is gone with nary a fuck given.

As with the last time I unsubscribed, I do not begrudge Blizzard and crew anything in particular. Well, maybe for the shit-hole of a no-pop server that they continue to allow to exist, to the detriment of all the lost souls trapped in Auchindoun-US’s hellish purgatory. But beyond that, most everything else I see as an improvement over prior design. Heroic scenarios sound like a great feature, and would have been custom-made for the 2-3 of my friends that actually managed to log on these past few weeks. Similarly, I am/was looking forward to being able to choose which spec to gear up in LFR, regardless of current role.

But… well. I could quite literally be playing any one of a hundred other videogames right now; games already purchased and with no subscription fee. More than the money though, I am looking forward to having the mental space back. It’s… liberating, in a way that cannot be described to someone whom has not had that same sort of mental real estate spoken for and suddenly vacated.

Keeping Valor

In perhaps one of the more refreshing moments of sanity in quite some time, Blizzard recently announced that Valor points would not be reset in 5.2. The prior plan was best described as a triple-gate clusterfuck:

  • Current players got VP downgraded to JP, which buys heirlooms and little else.
  • Players below the ilevel 480 cutoff for the 5.2 LFR would essentially have to either re-grind more Valor to purchase (discounted) rep gear, provided they had the rep, or replace 100% of their items with 483 gear from the last two LFRs.
  • New/Returning players would continue needing to grind reputation to grind VP to get gear to enter LFR to get gear that let’s them grind 5.2 LFR bosses to unlock more VP gear locked behind more rep. (Yo dawg, I heard you like grinds, so…)

The level of nonsense was incredible. Downgrading only ever makes sense when the items are downgraded (to JP) too, lest your purchasing power actually be destroyed.

The new rubric makes much better sense. Those 3000 banked VP mean nothing when you can’t purchase 5.2 VP gear without killing raid bosses anyway – a gate mechanism already exists, so double/triple gating is unnecessary.

As always though, having a new patch within sight does engender a bit of progression fatalism. I abandoned all pretense of shooting for the weekly VP cap for several weeks now. Because… why would I? While it is silly to take that argument all the way – “why gear at all when gear resets every expansion” – it simply makes economic sense to me to wait out the 5.1 clock. Instead of 2-3 items after weeks of work, I can get 2-3 items after weeks of non-work.

In the meantime, a more pressing issue presents itself: the race against the upgrade vendor disappearance. Not an upgrading of standard gear, of course, but an upgrading of the Bind of Account staves that my level 85 Scribe can craft… if not for the 5+ Spirits of Harmony required. Of the once-a-day Scrolls of Wisdom, I have 45. Which… is a little disturbing to think about, actually.

Valor Getting Converted to Justice

Mystery solved.

Valor -> Justice

All Valor is converted to Justice

Justice -> Gold

Justice above the 4000 cap is converted to gold at a rate of 47 silver per point

So let’s say the realms go down for the 5.2 patch and you have 450 Valor and 3800 Justice. Because of the 4000 Justice cap, you’d log back in after the patch is released with 0 Valor, 4000 Justice, and be 117 gold and 50 silver richer after the conversion.

With 5.2 we won’t be changing current Valor items to cost Justice, but they will be much cheaper (discounts from 50-75% off their current costs). You’ll need to acquire Valor after the patch is released to buy pieces for their discounted rate, or to buy the new 5.2 Valor items, but we’re also introducing new items to spend your Justice on, including heirlooms and Pet Battle stones. (source)

In retrospect, it’s pretty obvious that this is what they would be doing – this exact thing happened every patch in Cataclysm – but the “triple-gate” of 5.2 Valor items being locked behind new reputation vendors and the old items still being bought with (50-75%) less Valor was throwing me for a loop. And I like how Blizzard’s Justice Point consolation note says “new items like heirlooms and Pet Battle stones” instead of something useful, like I dunno, maybe all the shit they rolled out in Cataclysm, e.g. herbs, orbs, trade goods? I would love to see Chaos Orbs and Spirits of Harmony on the vendors for ~1500 JP or whatever.