Self-interest and balance

| Monday, January 19, 2009
This is about the reputation decay removal which I've heard is coming in 3.0.8. No class discussions here! I'm assuming the change affects all rep, not just in instances. Perhaps that will turn out to be wrong.

My paladin is a Bloodsail Admiral. Because of this, she is hated by the neutral goblin factions in Azeroth. I wanted a hat. I got the hat. Now I am dealing with the consequences. The consequences take two major forms: loss of dozens, maybe hundreds of Kalimdor quests for the achievement and being unable to do the AQ chain.

For a long time the only way to repair goblin rep was to violently betray the Bloodsail, slaughtering them by the thousands. Then at some point a cloth turn-in was added. It allowed players to farm mats and economically betray the Bloodsail. It was fairly expensive and it damaged Bloodsail rep.

I've used neither of these options. Why not? Well, I have a silly idea that Bloodsail content might be expanded at some point, so I'm not eager to destroy my rep. Also I think that while betrayal is just the sort of thing that a pirate might do, I prefer playing both sides. That's right, I am being subtle and sneaky, I'm not just asking for more cake while stuffing my face.

This leaves me with the option of killing mobs which boost my goblin rep without affecting Bloodsail rep. Those are various sorts of mobs which give 1-2 rep but can be one-shotted, or goblins in Grizzly Hills which give 5 rep, but take multiple hits. I need about 40,000 rep (I forgot how rep goes, but this is close enough, the general idea is a big number). At 1 rep per kill, that's 40,000 mobs. Even at one kill per second, we're talking over 11 hours of continuous grinding. If rep decay was removed those would go up to 5 rep, cutting the grind down to about 2 hours. Throw in travel time, spawn delays and whatnot, and now it's maybe 5 hours. That's a long grind, but as far as grinds in WoW go, not especially intimidating.

Is this balanced? I mean, it's great for me. I get to have my hat and do goblin quests too. Without this change I'd probably not bother with the grind, or I'd do it in such small bits that it would take a year. Either way, this change is [mentally] allowing me to do something I'd otherwise not do. This also reduces the cost of the hat.

This change makes it 'viable' (this word is so misused, and I'm probably continuing the trend) for a person to be friendly with both the Bloodsail and the goblins. Ahem, pardon the expression, but "lorelol?" I suppose this makes me the perfect representation of the playerbase, or at least the forum part: give us what we want (good rep with opposing factions) and we'll complain (lorelol!).

The grind will be slightly easier thanks to being revered, so I can do a few cloth turn-ins without falling below friendly with the Bloodsail. My general plan is to use cloth for Gadgzetzan and then grind pirates outside Rachet. Then I get do the Rachet quests and hopefully get by Gadgetzan rep high enough to turn in water pouches that my alts have gotten while questing. The spillover from that can then improve my BB and Everlook rep. My only problem is that I can't really do any BB quests since those would damage my Bloodsail rep. I hope I already did all of them, or at least don't need them for the Eastern Kingdoms achievement.

TL;DR: The rep decay change helps me, but will it have unintended consequences with respect to the Bloodsail-Goblin divide?


Green Armadillo said...

I'm pretty sure that the most prominent cause of this change was the Hydraxian faction, which was extremely difficult to max if you weren't already exalted from level 60, due to the week-long lockout in Molten Core. That said, I think Blizzard likes the idea of lowering the bar on a number of other cosmetic achievements, including the BC dungeon reps, the Timbermaw (and, to a lesser extent, Kurenei and Sporeaggar), etc.

One other annoying issue was that diminished rep gain hosed your reputation with the other faction of centaurs in Desolace - you still LOST the same amount of rep you would have if you'd been the right level, but you only gained a fraction of the rep. I no longer NEED to repair my faction with the other side due to the changes to Loremaster of Kalimdor, but it's a bit irritating that I'm buried more than halfway through hated, where I would have been a lot closer to reparable had this change been in the game to begin with. (As always with reputation changes, there is no way to compensate players for things they did back when reps were set up in a less favorable manner.)

As to the Bloodsails, I respect you for accepting the consequence of your choices. It seems that most of your fellow Admirals feel that Blizzard can never again add any content to the game without first checking to see whether certain players would have problems accessing it due to a voluntary and reversible choice to go KOS with four major towns in Azeroth. Under the circumstances, I was shocked that Blizzard went so far as to add a title for the faction (why encourage MORE players to go into this boat?), much less further expansion of Bloodsail content. But hey, like I said, I was already wrong on the title.

P.S. I'd imagine you already knew this, but there is supposedly a repeatable quest in Dire Maul that might be able to help you if you find yourself just shy of a rep level.

Andy said...

Dire Maul is the place you want to be my friend. The repeatable "Free Knot" quest not only grants you +350 rep with all four cartels at once, but also does nothing to damage your Bloodsail rep.

Go to Dire Maul and kill the ogres until you find the Gordok shackle key (it drops off any orge but most frequently off of a boss). Once you have it run straight to Knot, tell him you found the key, release him, kill any remaining bosses and/or ogres on your way out (once you use the key, another can drop for you in the same run), then reset and repeat.

You'll be fishing in Booty Bay again in no time.

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