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.
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.
- 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.
- UNEXPECTED EVENTS!!!
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.)
- 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
- UNEXPECTED EVENTS!!
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:
- I heart raiding. I do not heart grinding
- Skipping raids hurts the team because we’re low on healers and because I will be lagging behind in experience, if not in gear.
- 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.
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.
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.