How Blizzard convinced me to live the AFK life


What I would like right now is a time machine to go back a week or so and explain to myself what was really important with invasions. Oh, I thought at the start that it was all about getting that free gear and some nethershards, and after a while I got bored of it all and drifted away.

Then, over the weekend, I only started to hear that invasions were absolutely fantastic for leveling alts, something that surprised me because I was only vaguely aware that lower levels could participate (I had only been doing them with 100s). So naturally by the time I got my Druid in gear to invasion-TO-THE-MAAAAX, Blizzard called in the fun police and nerfed invasion XP.

A remarkably tone-deaf CM snarked at players how this nerf was meant to (in my words) get those dirty AFKers but good and that invasions weren’t supposed to be about getting alts to level 100. Um… why not? Seriously, WHY NOT. Can’t they be fun and useful? Y’all got an expansion coming out in less than two weeks, why wouldn’t you want more players to get those 100s ready… unless you want to sell more of those store boosts (conspiracy!).

Anyway, after the community got good and rankled about this change, Blizzard did buff mob XP, which is a good move in general save that you lose most of the XP from that kill if someone else tags in. Slow clap for putting the hurt on encouraging teamwork there.

So here’s the slightly ironic thing: I was playing invasions all normal-like for the first week, and it took all of this hooplah and nerfing to convince me that the way forward was to AFK with absolutely no shame whatsoever.

Sportsmanlike it might not be, but if there’s an avenue for relatively easy and painless advancement, it’s hard to turn that down (especially for an alt). My Druid had been slowly, oh so slowly climbing up the levels via dungeon crawling, but that’s getting ridiculously slow now that I’m in the 70s and it’s only going to get worse from here. Word is Blizzard nerfed dungeon XP a while back, so if that’s true, thanks for that one.

Instead, I’m going to use the invasions to boost my character — perhaps not as quickly as before, but steady and faster than dungeoneering. The thing is, I can log in, park my Druid in an invasion zone, and then AFK out to get some work done, make dinner, roll among the daisies, etc. I don’t have to be at the computer to reap the XP and chests. Sure, I’d get more if I participated (and I still do, particularly in phase 3 when I’ve got gaming time), but this is working great to have running almost constantly in the background.

And it’s working. Day one of the new AFK regimen, I went from 73 to 76. Every two hours I’d move my Druid around to the three invasion zones, soak up the easy XP, and then log out until the next wave began. As a bonus, the chests are getting me a suit of armor that is leveling up with me, so when I hit 100, I shouldn’t be too badly off.

As I said, I can still participate and even run dungeons between invasions. But going AFK feels, in a small way, like I’m making some small statement about how Blizzard needs to always err on the side of fun instead of cracking down on people who aren’t playing the way that they want (that week).


9 thoughts on “How Blizzard convinced me to live the AFK life

  1. Tyler F.M. Edwards August 18, 2016 / 1:54 pm

    The thing is by AFKing it you’re really only punishing your fellow players. I share your frustration with the XP nerf, but invasion attendance has gone down a lot, so they’re taking a lot longer than they used to, and more people going AFK is only going to make things even more miserable for those of us still doing them legitimately.

  2. Syp August 18, 2016 / 2:18 pm

    But the invasions don’t scale up or down with participation, as far as I know, so my presence in the zone isn’t making them harder for participants. So if I wasn’t going to participate during a given invasion, does it matter whether or not I’m there (other than to my XP bar)?

  3. Tyler F.M. Edwards August 18, 2016 / 3:18 pm

    It’s not making it harder per se, but it’s taking more time for the invasion to complete than if you’d helped. With the way the scaling works, even a low level player can contribute meaningfully (I’ve even heard some report low level players contribute more due to scaling quirks, but I’m not sure that’s confirmed).

    Admittedly the scale of invasions is such that one player isn’t going to make a whole lot of difference, but personally I still wouldn’t feel right leeching, and it’s not something I’d encourage. The more people AFK, the longer each invasion takes, and the more of a slog the whole thing becomes.

  4. Talarian August 18, 2016 / 3:34 pm

    Keep in mind they didn’t add XP to the invasion stage completion at all until 3 or 4 days in. So while you bemoan “fun police” they could have just ignored the community and not put in XP in the first place. After the drama, I almost wish they hadn’t bothered; perhaps it was more trouble than it was worth.

    On the other hand, I do agree that the XP getting crushed per mob if a higher level helps you is bad. The mobs scale in level, so a level 100 helping a level 50 shouldn’t change the XP gained the way it currently does.

  5. Dynaform August 18, 2016 / 3:50 pm

    I hate on Blizzard all the time but I feel sorry for people that work there. To actually face a shit storm when they attempt to stop afk leveling. Players used to blast them for not doing enough to stop it in av. How times have changed.

  6. Rowan August 18, 2016 / 6:27 pm

    ​I still participate, it did give me time to figure out my newly minted 100 Warrior (I probably still suck). However, at the end of the evening ye​​sterday, I didn’t feel bad about getting up to clean up the kitchen during one such event. The XP itself was nice for those toons I didn’t fell like leveling through questing, but I had technical issues with that particular server, which saddened me.

  7. Dublin August 18, 2016 / 7:24 pm

    It is a bizarre move on their part. They had so much goodwill from this event. I had never seen so much excitement or praise for Blizz, at least not for many years. And bang! They undo it in a single day.

  8. Ocho August 19, 2016 / 4:18 pm

    When I heard Blizzard was adding multitap to mobs my first thought was “It’s about time, welcome to 2016”, but cutting the exp and loot from multitap wrecks it. Are they too afraid of being too much like GW2? Because these phased invasion events aren’t really helping that image. Also, GW2 has it’s own flaws, but rewarding cooperation isn’t one of them. If it’s one thing that needs to go from MMOs, it’s “mob ownership”.

    So good on you. I’m not usually one for AFKers or exploiters, but if Blizzard’s process makes that little sense, and you’re not actually hindering anyone else’s experience, then you’d be a fool not to do it. I remember there was a thing in STO not long ago where one system mission was giving a metric ton more loot and exp than the devs intended and even they admitted that, yeah, even they were running it on their characters. It made sense. It eventually was nerfed/changed back to intentional levels. So, why not? No harm, no foul.

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