There’s been talk lately about doing instances for VP, capping, etc.  See Kurn’s Post, Windsoar’s, and Oestrus’s.

My Thoughts on Gear and VP

And I’m going to share with you my thoughts coming from a full-time working mommy.

The Facts of LIIIIFE…

FACT: If you are srs bzns hardcore, you will cap your VP every week on your main, and then cap your VP every week on your alt to support your main.

FACT: Cloth gear in Firelands has no spirit, so the ONLY spirit gear I’m gonna get as a holy priest is the tier stuff.  And I have serious mana problems anyway, so it truly is necessary to load up on spirit.

FACT: We have 3 raids a week. I love raiding.  I love TEAM HEAL. I do not love grinding.  I do not love pugs.

FACT: We have a 3-year old who needs all sorts of attention and care and other stuff.  Sometimes she doesn’t want to go to sleep.

FACT: I’m really getting into Castle on DVD and would rather watch that instead of farming VP.

My General Gear Plan or Theory

I have little in-game time for non-raiding, so I primarily spend it getting raid ready.  I evaluate which path will get me the most bang for my buck, since I do not have time to do everything – and then I prioritize.

In this expansion, it will be VP over dailies, due to spirit considerations.

My Day

Oestrus went through an average not-raiding night with us, and that was very instructive.  I’m going to share my day with you, since that might also be helpful.

The Weekday

  • 5:45 – Arrive home with the Twig.  Feed cats.  Clean cat pan.  Feed (outdoor) birds.
  • 6:00 – Start dinner.  Do dishes and stuff while dinner cooks.  Assist Twig with various things.  Try not to wuss out and order pizza.
  • 6:15 – ATT arrives home.
  • 6:30 – Eat dinner. If we’re too late getting home, or zombiefied or lazy, or we run out of groceries (doh), we may go out to dinner.
  • 7:00 – Spend time with Twig.  Necessary head start on chorecraft (like starting laundry).
  • 7:30 – Twig’s bath (we’re usually late getting this started)
  • 8:00 – Story time
  • 8:30 – Twig’s bed time.  (Hopefully we can end story time around 8:15 and tuck her in then… hopefully).
  • 8:30 – We can now get online (maybe… if Twig isn’t having issues).  Or do other (necessary) stuff. (more on this below)
  • 11:00ish – our bed time.  Usually we’re dumb and stay up later.  Sometimes we’re smart and go to bed at 10:30.

Twig usually needs interventions until at least 9pm.  If we’re with guildies, no biggie.  But you can’t take kid breaks while pugging without the puggers getting snippy.

On raid nights (3 of them), we raid, starting at 8:30. For 2 hours on Tuesdays and 3 hours on Friday and Saturday.  So any OTHER things that we could or should be doing after Twig’s bedtime get postponed to the 4 nights a week that we do not raid.

So the remaining 4 non-raid nights, the post-Twig-bedtime activities vary (in neverending combinations).

  • We sometimes run a heroic or 2.
  • We do other in-game raiding prep like enchanting new gear, farming herbs, etc, if we only have a short time period.
  • Blogging.  Anything that requires screenies might eat the evening.
  • Chorecraft that we totally didn’t do on raid nights.  Laundry reaches critical mass and threatens to envelop the house. There might be a kitchen SMELL that needs investigation and disposal.  And when the hell did all the Duplos get dumped on the floor?  Good lord, cat, stop vomiting.
  • Twig-prep for the next day of school.  Extra clothes for her cubby, swimming items for splash day, etc.
  • Grocery shopping.  One of us goes shopping, and the other stays home (maybe running heroics).  Can you believe that groceries have to be purchased and hauled every week?  That totally annoys me. (Seriously, I’m not being sarcastic, I resent every grocery trip.)
  • Watch TV, especially if Twig is particularly demanding and doing a heroic just ain’t gonna happen.  Besides, Futurama isn’t going to watch itself.
  • Social life?  Oh haha, that’s funny.

The post-Twig-bedtime time slot isn’t as long as it would seem, considering that I have to be at work at 8.  ATT leaves the house at a similar time as I do to take Twig to day care.  If we do too many nights where we’re gaming until 11 or later during the week, we become zombies.

(I’d like to say, in case you’re wondering about the high volume of chorecraft, that I’m not a clean freak.  Far from it.  I do the absolute bare minimum to avoid rats.  And chorecraft still manages to be grossly time-consuming.)

The Weekend

  • Sleep in as long as freakin possible post-raid.  (Often we take turns – one of us will sleep in, the other will tend to Twig.  The early riser gets a nap later in the day.)
  • Twig activities (that’s probably 90% of what we do)
  • Family lunch
  • More chorecraft and errandcraft
  • Call the grandparents

And then the day progresses around 5:45, as seen above.  It’s possible to occasionally get online for things like farming herbs when Twig is awake, but not for an uninterrupted activity like an instance… and well, we would rather spend time with Twig and leave the house and blah blah.

When I have to Work Overtime?

The shit hits the fan.  WE HAVE NO TIME TO DO ALL THE THINGS.  There is no time for non-raiding gaming when that happens, for either of us.  And raiding is also reduced.

What Are These “Unexpected Events”?

In no particular order, a sample of recent random shit that happens.  Each event itself may not happen often but guaranteed we get 1-2 fun surprises a week.

  • I got stomach flu.  Then I got a cough.  It was like sick-o-rama for 2 weekends.  RL stuff fell to ATT to pick up the slack.  We still have a backlog of dishes and laundry since I was out of commission.
  • My car battery died.
  • The A/C had issues.  It is 100+ degrees outside.  IT IS A BIG DEAL.
  • Twig has a very long nap at day care and is bouncing off the walls at bedtime.  (GLARE at day care.)
  • The cat peed on the bed.  More laundry.  This means the cat has to go back on prozac.  Add cat-medicating to the list of chorecraft.
  • Where the HELL did all of Twig’s socks go?  Off to Target!

“Burst” versus “sustained” effort

After a new patch, a lot of people DO ALL THE THINGS and just postpone the RL stuff to accommodate.  I remember those days, and kind of miss them.  But hey, life choices.

What this means is that I’m planning to be putting in pretty much the same effort every week.  No huge gaming sessions right after a patch release, but no totally slacking off a few weeks in, since I will still be needing stuff.  I suspect that’s a different model than many gamers, and a very different model than hard-core raiders.  Pacing for a marathon instead of a sprint.

Cutting Down On Raiding for VP?

It’s tempting from a purely gear standpoint, since the firelands gear isn’t so great for me, even if a boss is killed.

Nope. No raid skipping here. For so many reasons.  But here are the big ones:

  1. I heart raiding.  I do not heart grinding
  2. Skipping raids hurts the team because we’re low on healers and because I will be lagging behind in experience, if not in gear.
  3. When all my other guildies are running the raid, who the EFF is going to do heroics with me?  I’d have to full-pug.  Hell no on that.


Given the above, the verdict was about 500 VP last week.  That was from killing 1 Firelands boss and doing some heroics.  Not capped, but I did make a decent effort of it.  Sure, I could have made more time, but that has proven to be a mistake in the past.  Generally when we are serious about gearing, and get online 5 nights a week, the house goes to total crap in a matter of days, we stay up way too late and feel groggy at work, and it bites us in the ass.

I’m not saying POOR ME, I WORK SOOOO MUCH QQ.  I’m saying that this is what I realistically CAN do with the time I have and the priorities that I set out for myself.  And I’m OK with that, because it’s more of a sliding scale than an all-or-nothing proposition.

Guild Expectations

Luckily – or not really due to luck at all – the Effers do not expect capping every week.  A reasonable effort to gear is expected if you want to raid, but there is no hard-and-fast rule for how you get there.  If someone wants to take an alternate path (like grinding money to buy BOE’s off the auction house or getting rep rewards) power to em.  We have successful guildies who primarily do instances for gear, and we have people who religiously do their dailies, and people who do a little of both.  And it all pretty much evens out.

Now, this will vary from guild to guild.  And if it’s not working for you, you can change your priorities (in-game or out of game) or change your guild.  There’s no right way to do it, so long as everyone is on the same page with the guild for what is expected.

Painless VP

So the plan: get VP as much as possible (because I do need the spirit gear), but not so much that it cuts into my fun, or that it is painful.  To do this, I need to be crafty.

First, I try to get guild groups (or partial guild groups).  This has been easier lately, but I have a few strats.

  • Ask another priest.  Laral, our resident disco priest, is in the same boat that I’m in regarding needing VP for spirit gear.  If I say VP, he generally says HELL YES.
  • Ask people’s alts.  People will jump at the chance to get gear, JP, or VP on their alts.
  • Be willing to do regular heroics, not just trollroics.  That way, you can include people’s alts and have a fast run.  After a few wipes, a Trollroic is not a time-saver, even though it gives double-vp.
  • Don’t do it on raid night.  Everyone else is raiding.  Duh.

Second, for full pugs, queue for a regular heroic rather than a trollroic.  That way, it’s easier to compensate for fail.  Once again, if there are a few wipes, a Trollroic is not a time saver.  Also, there’s no VP if you fail to finish.  ZG is particularly hard to finish with a group that is uncoordinated.  And I’m not sure I’ve even finished ZA at all.  (This is “better safe than sorry.”)

Third research and prioritize.  Are you doing dailies?  What do those dailies get you?  Is it better than what VP gets you?  In other words, evaluate your other in-game activities to make sure they’re a great (or efficient) idea before continuing to do them.  For example: I was reading up on the firelands dailies, and I need 425 marks of the crap tree just to open up the first vendor. That’s going to be a long time coming before payout.  Plus I didn’t see any spirit gear there!  VP are definitely a priority over that.

In The End

Holy shit, this is long.  I guess another TL;DR is in order.

  • If you are in a hard-core raiding guild, there is one right way to do stuff.  There’s more wiggle room in other situations.
  • There are many ways of getting where you need to be in gear.  Some are faster than others.
  • Make sure you and your guild are on the same page, and you know what is and is not expected of you.  If these expectations don’t match up, maybe the guild is not a good fit for your life.  Neither you nor the guild is necessarily wrong about expectations.
  • Prioritize ALL THE THINGS.  Which gear to get first.  Which RL things take priority over the game.


Getting the Dreaded Valor Points — 23 Comments

  1. I’m really glad that I got to see your take on this and with a touch of the trademark Zelmaru humor that we all know and love!

    I think that’s something I could have included in my post, that I feel more obliged to cap out on VP because of the gear I have to look forward to in Firelands.

    Sure, I’m doing OK with mana *now,* but I know it won’t always be that way. I just picked up the Funeral Pyre and the first thing I did was slap Heartsong on that baby. Power Torrent didn’t feel right and I’m already mourning the loss of my T11 4 piece bonus.

    If I had drops I could rely on from Firelands that I genuinely felt were good for me, I would maybe feel more lenient about this, but I don’t. I also don’t see myself replacing the pieces I buy with VP anytime soon. So to me, the time spent on this will pay off in the long run. I’ll be able to relax and enjoy the ride at some point. Just not now.


    • Yeah, our gear choices are pretty limited. Other classes might be inclined to prioritize getting rep gear if their T-12 bonuses are lousy or the pieces are itemized poorly.

  2. I can totally relate to this. I NEED to do dailies because in my list of priorities it’s raiding, pets then anything else, so running HCs comes low in that list.

    One sneaky way is to beg a guildie who has no RL to run HCs on an alt then buy your VP bracers (with Spirit on them) from them! I managed to get about 700 or so VP so far and yet I have some shiny new bracers and a bit less cash.

    Being gold rich, time poor versus time rich, gold poor does have some advantages :)

    PS Online food shopping rocks – 20 minutes spent online at 9pm delivered next day is great. Dunno if you get it where you are though….

    • In a few weeks, those bracers may well be on the auction house for slightly reasonable rates. It might be worth it to invest the gold…

      And yes, I’ve been looking into online shopping. We might be able to start doing that in our area for nonperishables. Woot!

  3. Good to know that I’m not the only one having a child AND funny kitchen smells!

    I tend to prioritize dailies over valor points caping, because it’s easier to do one quest here and there, even if Choupinette isn’t asleep.

    • Again, it really depends on the rewards. If your daily quest rewards will be good for your class, that’s a good way to go. But priests are in a tight bind in this expansion with regard to spirit.

  4. You make an interesting point about burst vs. sustained effort, Zel.

    Like you, I’m incapable of burst. I have two small but very active children, a spouse who does not play warcraft, and a job where not only do I work 50-60 hours a week, but I am on call 24×7. There is a little bit of time at the end of each day which could, if everything works out right, raid within, where I don’t have to consider AFKing at a moment’s notice.That’s okay – it’s a sustainable model, mostly, but it leads to steady accumulation, not burst.

    In order to burst, I would need to not only take time off from work, but hire a babysitter, and possibly a marriage counselor, so that I could prioritize a video game over my wife and kids. (I know that there are people who do this, though it boggles my mind, so I won’t joke about it.)

    I remember when a busy weekend consisted of sleeping in until 11, and then going to IKEA. Pity I didn’t play WoW back then!

    (I miss the sleeping in, but I can get better furniture now.)

  5. Pingback: The Vp craze « Screaming monkeys

  6. My reasons for how much or little time I put into things like grinding VP have less to do with available time and more to do with that fact that I’d rather spend time doing things I enjoy over things I don’t (like you talked about in a previous post). On Sunday I had nothing to do all day. I could have logged on and done 3 heroics to cap my VP. Instead I played LA Noire on Xbox. What of it? WoW is not a job, no one pays me to do it. I don’t feel the need to spend every free moment online when I could be doing something else that strikes me as more appealing at that time.

    Everyone’s situation is different, whether it be a matter of free time, personal enjoyment or opinions the best way to improve their game.

    Telling the blogosphere at large how they should or should not be spending their time is rather silly. Things in WoW I care about, in order of importance:
    1. My own choices that affect my raiding ability (awareness, understanding of class, gear, VP, whatever)
    2. The choices made by those I raid with that affect their raiding ability
    982. The choices made by you, Oestrus, Windsoar, people in Ensidia and everyone else whose raiding ability has absolutely zero impact on me.

    • What would you want people to blog about then? 99% of what I read and enjoy on other people’s blogs has no direct impact on my raiding ability…

      I’m totally for doing what you find fun, or whatever priority system you want to use, and I try not to tell people how to spend their game time when I post (beyond obvious things like DO NOT STAND IN FIRE), but I definitely don’t have any problem with people explaining why/how they prioritize stuff even if it doesn’t apply to me. I think other people’s lives are kind of interesting (it’s why I read blogs).

      • There’s a difference between saying “I do it this way because…” and “I do it this way, and if you don’t, you’re wrong” (for things other than not standing in fire, which you mentioned).

        There’s been a lot of judgement going on around this whole topic. My point is that if I don’t want to cap my VP that’s between me and my raid group. No one else really has any reason to be concerned about that choice.

        • I have seen that attitude on the topic, for sure. Why the claws came out on THIS post is what confuses me. If you think there’s any “doing it wrong talk in there” I think you should read it again.

          Sorry if this offends but your first comment read like an attack, and I think it’s an entirely undeserved one.

          • What we have here is a failure to communicate.

            I thought I was agreeing with Zelmaru in my comment. If she feels attacked, I apologize.

          • Oh fair enough… I apologize then. I got defensive about a non-attack. Many apologies!

            To conclude… yes, I agree with both Zel AND you! 😛

    • Mine too-especially the laundry! Fortunately, my little dinosaur goes to bed a little earlier, but like you, I don’t log in until he’s asleep.

      I’m also in the same boat as a holy priest. Last week I managed 3 raid bosses, 2 Zandalars, and 3 regular heroics-and I won’t be able to keep up that pace forever. My answer was to go Discipline. Between that and a raid group that is mostly over 30 and parents, no one is going to be mad at me for doing the best I can do.

  7. Great post, Zel, I would expect that your life has similarities to the vast percentage of people who have families and jobs and all that other stuff. It sure is familiar in the most with mine – except my other half doesn’t play, and I often grab some quick time of a morning to run a few dailies or whatever.

    On a completely practical matter, here in Oz, the major grocery chains do home delivery – you log in, select your stuff and it turns up AT THE DOOR. That could be a solution for you if there is something similar where you are!

  8. Pingback: Episode 26 – Various Valor Point Vexations « Blessing of Frost

  9. Holy crap, yes! Your experience mirrors mine in multiple ways. We have a 3yr old and a 1yr old. Everything revolves around them when they are awake. AND, just because you put them down for bed doesn’t mean that they are down and out. It is very normal to still be jacking with them for 30 minutes to an hour After Bed-Time.

    I can usually get online after 8:30pm or so. Every now and then I can get online early in the morning…

    *At this point I /wave to that lone Australian member I keep running into. Aoefin(sp?)*

    I’m just saying that I feel your pain. Ain’t adult/parenthood grand???

    Zwingli – Sentinels
    Caligan – Azuremyst