Raiding is overrated! Okay, just kidding (notreally >:3). Seriously, since I don’t raid (beyond whacking at bosses for which I have outleveled), I participate in various other fun in-game activities. I still feel like I accomplish a lot and have fun doing it, but I have noticed that there really aren’t too many resources for non-raiding players. WoW Insider has a weekly column, The Overachiever, that is wonderful — but that only discusses parts of the achievements system. I want to relay some parts of the game that can be fun and fulfilling, yet are either taken for granted or looked down on as not being the “true game” by some.
Just a point of clarificarion: In my opinion, the point of the World of Warcraft is to have fun…to escape from your real life for a little while…to kill internet dragons. I believe sometimes those dragons are big and purple; sometimes they are 50,000 critters or a Nether Ray flying mount.
For the purposes of this post, I am treating heroic dungeons, raids, and arenas as “end-game content” simply because of the requirements needed to participate (chiefly gear- and grouping-related requirements). Of course, if I could freaking stick to only one character, I might be able to count heroics in my list. Hurr.
Achievements are one of the most prevalent alternatives to “end-game content” for casual players. This is because there are a lot of them and a lot of them that can be done solo or with less than 5 people. I love achievements — the little pop up box and chat message. They sure are shiny!
Way back in the day (ha! ~1.5 years ago… eff you Memory), there was a dude in Taiwan that supposedly “beat the game” by getting nearly all of the achievements. This is, of course, an extreme example… But I think it illustrates that an equivalent amount of time, energy, focus, and, heck, even spatial awareness is needed as what is needed for successfully completing end-game content. I would say earning 13,000+ achievement points would put a player in a separate, but equal category of “hardcore”. I mean, I don’t have a whole lot of time to be plugging away at either Halion or getting Val’anyr.
In fact, in looking at the Taiwanese player’s achievements, I think it could be argued that getting all of those achievements would make him more hardcore than even a heroic 25-man raider. Why? To get 13k achievement points, you have to complete raid achievements for heroic 25-man content. ‘Nuff said. Also, all of the cool achievement rewards usually come attached to raid-related or arena-related accomplishments.
So you don’t want to be an OverAchiever? That’s cool, that’s cool. You could always, you know… melt faces and stunlock other players into pools of whimpering ninnies in a battleground. I’m not as supremely versed in battleground tactics as some, but I do think that battlegrounds are a great alternative to end-game content. To be successful in a battleground (meaning live long enough to accomplish the battleground’s objectives), you have to do a fair amount of preparation: enchants, buffs (from your class, items, food, or even professions), and gear with appropriate stats for your spec and level. Plus, you also need to study the objectives of a battleground you wish to play — doesn’t this sound familiar? Sure sounds a little like raiding to me. Except, as Cynwise points out, there isn’t any of the communication, collaboration or strategy involved that comes with successful raiding. Yet pugged, randomized battleground groups can still manage to win. Think about that.
On a per-character basis, maxing out professions can be a sweet feeling of accomplishment. A way to ramp up the challenge would be to approach professions like my husband: Max out EVERY freaking single one of them until you have an army of self-supporting,
miscreants independent alts. This feat would take quite a bit of time and patience given the drop rate of rare patterns/recipes. But you would net a few titles (Archaeology, Cooking and Fishing) and a metric ton of bragging rights.
You could present yourself with an even bigger challenge: Max out all of the professions on a single character. Yeah, that’s right. Max it out and delete it! *shock and awe* *awe and shock* If you’re a masochist, this is perfect for you. Let me know how it turns out, too! >:D
Lastly, there’s reputation grinding to be had in all corners of Azeroth, Outland and Northrend. With 85 factions in the game, you can hardly run around without gaining rep with one of them. Plus, you can be rewarded with awesome, neato, fun, cool, othermotivationalitems, stuff!
The ratio of time/energy spent to accomplishment is a bit imbalanced when it comes to grinding reputations — but the action wouldn’t be called “grinding” if there were not blood/sweat/tears involved.
I’ve done one true rep grind — getting the Nether Ray mount on my dwarf shaman. It didn’t take too long (about 2 weeks, I think) but it was tedious. Right now, I’ve got my lowbie Horde alts wearing the Troll faction tabard because I want a raptor on every single character. <3 raptor mounts!
Odds & Ends
Dueling – Dueling is a basis of learning how to react and counter other classes (or even your own class, sometimes) for PVP-based play. There is a darker, more devilish side: letting low-level players beat the snot out of you. Yep, just stand there and take it like a grown-up caught in a hideous webinar about a federal reporting database wherein the first 20 minutes of the webinar pass before instructor realizes that everyone has access to advance the presentation slides. Ahem… Yes, personal (insidious) experience there.
Armor & Item Set Collecting – There are so many things in this dern game that little implosions occur all over my brain regularly (especially if I peek at my husband’s bank – Zing!). A casual player could, after reaching max level, spend time hunting down armor sets and rare items. I could see some fun in that. Of course, I wouldn’t say this is equivalent to end-game content, but it would be rewarding.
Good luck! :D And thanks to ShadowMisery for her inspiration for this post! You are awesome. :)