Since hitting level 80 a couple weeks ago, Echoes the Tauren Druid has been methodically working through leftover quests (of which there are a LOT) and half-heartedly running one random daily a day for a couple Emblems of Triumph. I say “half-heartedly”, because I wasn’t getting any great gear upgrades (spell leather is a MYTH in this game, let me tell you!) and I wanted the emblems only to downgrade them to buy some heirloom gear for my eventual goblin hunter.
I had hit a wall in terms of gear progression that I wasn’t terribly motivated to climb: I couldn’t run heroics because my gear was too poor, but I couldn’t get better gear unless I somehow cracked the heroics barrier. I knew that eventually my questing through the higher level zones would result in decent enough blues for heroics, but that would be weeks away at best, and two emblems a day wasn’t really going to buy me scads of great gear. So I resigned myself to the fact that this was as far as I wanted to take Echoes on a casual basis, and that was that.
That was until the past couple days, when a string of events pushed me over the top of the cresting hill between when gear upgrades came slow and when they’d come fast. I got a nice purple necklace from doing the holiday boss event, and then a few guildies declared that they were going to take my wife and I through a full ICC run. I netted a really terrific epic robe, while my wife got three purples, and that was enough to propel us up into HeroicsLand.
Level 80 heroics are a completely different ball game from regular instances in WoW, particularly in terms of rewards. Whereas previously I was only getting 2 triumph emblems a day, now I am getting 4-7 of them per run, with an additional two frost emblems for the first random each day. Plus, I’ve been wearing championing tabards (a kind of alternative form of XP for dungeon runs that increase your reputation with a faction, which opens up good gear and enchants to purchase), which increased in tiny amounts in regular runs, but is just shooting up to the sky with heroics.
So as a healer, I’m never waiting for heroics, and it’s highly beneficial to chain run them, as I am getting gear upgrades through three different ways per run — through boss loot drops, through emblems, and through reputation-championing. I’ve gone from no purple gear to four solid pieces within two days, and I’m easily able to purchase a couple more tonight.
I know that this is a short-lived spurt of rapid gear upgrades, and that after a certain point, it will slow down again as any upgrade will be tougher to get and of less overall increase in stats. But the purple fever’s bitten me, and I look at myself in dismay as I fall into the trap that WoW sets up for end gamers — the all-consuming desire to outfit yourself in epic awesomeness — even as I’m really enjoying my time doing all this. It feels like I’m achieving a lot quickly, and for what that is, it’s fun.
Ultimately, the only reason that I want better gear is just to hang out with my guild when they do raids and heroics. I really don’t care about beating raids or downing bosses, mind you — I really don’t — but I like my guildies and I want to be with them when they’re off having a good time. There’s nothing worse than being a lowbie, plodding upwards in levels, as you see level capped guildmates high fiving each other over the previous night’s run and setting up another event that you can’t participate in. I mean, they do a lot of fun events that the whole guild can enjoy, but I’ve always seen the greatest benefit of being an end game player as you’re never “too short for this ride” when your friends hop on board.