As we continue to travel the long road to Draenor, which leads to a point somewhere beyond the summer, I have stumbled a bit. I had a couple of weeks where logging in seemed like a chore, as I had no real goals other than a few faction grinds. Still, I kept going in little chunks of time. I managed to get exalted with the last “easy” faction in Pandaria.
“Easy” defined as I figured out how I could get there without committing to long play sessions. In this case, I got there entirely by doing the daily farming quest for them. 8 striped melons a day for… well… a lot of days. But I was also harvesting trillium on the other 8 plots, refining that, and making living steel to sell at the auction house mid-week, when the price is high, so as to collect some gold reserves for things like… the 7,000 gold August Celestials cloud serpent mount.
Meanwhile, Gaff and one of his friends who joined the guild were hitting 90 with some characters and were starting to do things like Timeless Isle. So I got out my hunter and started working on that with them. It also gave me a reasonable short term goal, which was to save up the 20K Timeless coins required to get the Featherdraw Longbow, which represented a serious upgrade for my hunter.
I kept up on that path, either with them or solo for a bit. Solo was interesting as my hunter had no problem taking down the elites around the island, even when he was only about half equipped with Timeless Isle drops. I compare this to my retribution paladin, whose average gear score is something like 530 now due to a couple of nice drops from Siege of Orgrimmar LFR, and with whom I can barely solo any of the level 90 elites… forget about level 91 or 92… and even then I have to lay hands half the time, even though he puts out considerably more DPS than the hunter. I am bad at WoW. Or maybe just bad at melee. I’ll have to get my insta-90 Death Knight out there to see how I do with him I guess.
Anyway, I managed to wrap up my quest for the new bow on Monday night. It was easy. Timeless Isle was practically deserted on my server. I was able to complete the “kill 20 elites” quest at a leisurely pace and was able to make it to rares because people needed to wait to get enough players to make a go of Houlon and the like.
And then patch 5.4.8 dropped.
The full patch notes are here, but there were two key items related to Timeless Isle:
All upgradable epic quality items introduced in Patch 5.4 (items found in Siege of Orgrimmar and Timeless Isle) are now eligible to be upgraded an additional 2 times for a total increase of 16 item levels.
So upgradable purples, such as my brand new bow, now have four upgrades instead of two. You upgrade items with valor points, the price being 250 valor points per upgrade. There are all sorts of ways to earn valor points, from daily quests to the brawlers guild to raiding and beyond.
Oh, and patch 5.4.8 added one more way to earn valor points:
Mistweaver Ai on the Timeless Isle next to the Celestial Court now sells a token called Deeds of Valor for 3000 Timeless Coins. When used, Deeds of Valor grants 100 Valor Points to the character, up to the 1000 Valor Point maximum per week.
So you can convert your Timeless coins into valor points at a vendor on Timeless Isle.
Apparently this rang some sort of bell for anybody with equipment to upgrade, including other bloggers. When I wandered back to Timeless Isle after the patch, the place was suddenly overrun with people. It was like locust had descended on the isle. Elites were being popped as soon as they spawned. Rares were mobbed immediately.
On the flip side, the isle felt much more alive and players were reacting pragmatically to the situation with groups being formed up to share elite for the daily quest and such. I was invited to a couple of such groups and it worked out quite nicely.
So I have to hand it to Blizzard for revitalizing some content, even if only temporarily. I am sure things will level out a bit after the initial rush has passed and eventually taper off once people get their equipment fully upgraded again.
I wonder if the LFR queue has been sped up by this change? I wouldn’t mind pushing my hunter through Siege of Orgrimmar for a few valor points and the chance for an item upgrade or two. Plus it might be nice to stand back as ranged DPS and actually see the fights.