Item level (ilevel, ilvl): noun 1. a score given to gear based on its usefulness 2. a personal score based on the average score of ones equipped gear 3. a badge of shame or honor, depending on what the number is
I must get better gear. Why? Because I want to experience more advanced content. Why? To get better gear... Of course one of the biggest aspects of playing a game like WoW is the gear race. I don’t mean “hunt” because hunting is for games like Torchlight or Diablo where players explore and kill as much as they can in hopes that the gods of randomness shine on them with that unique drop that will give them a boost in power. In Warcraft, players know exactly what gear they can find and where they can find it. They use points and reputation numbers and percentage drop rates in order to predict when they will obtain their treasures, all in the name of to killing bosses more effectively and (in my case) before…or at least the same time as…everybody else.
Folks, I am loosing that race. In fact I’ve already lost it. I say this because last week World of Warcraft’s Mists of Pandaria opened the first level of Mogu’shan Vaults in Raid Finder. There are three bosses that the entirety of the WoW population got to experience…but not me. This is of course a gross exaggeration, but that’s how it feels. Never mind that my guild’s raid team started progression on the regular Mogu’shan Vaults content two weeks ago, that’s not the player I am at the moment. I am a "casual" player and extreme hobbyist who has put tons of hours into the current content since it was released on September 25th. Raid finder, with its easier bosses and more forgiving mechanics, was built for me. I am the target audience, and right now I am not in it.
You may ask “Why?” I can blame it on long queue times, which sometimes get up to 30 minutes. I could talk about uppity tanks dropping out because the group wiped once. Unlucky drops, ninja looters, slow internet... I could go on and on about how the world has been cruel to me, but I know the real reason: I f@$% around too much on my farm. The giant carrots and naughty vermin draw me in every single day. I have become buddies with a few of the farmer’s union peeps and I enjoy killing monkeys so much that it borders on psychotic.
Last week, as everyone else was complaining about asshats in Raid Finder, I started to notice my ilevel. It was pretty low. I went to the usual websites figuring there would be an easy solution. I found a simple answer that was far from easy: daily quests. If I had started weeks ago gaining reputation in certain factions, I would be able to unlock other factions so I could start gaining reputation with them. The unlocked factions had gear that could put me near the ilevel required to use Raid Finder. The magic number to shoot for? 460
Understanding that it was a bit late to start doing 77 daily quests a day, I went to the auction house and dropped about 20,000 gold on upgrades. My ilevel inched up slowly. I had a few guildies craft a couple of pieces that helped out a bit more. I ran extra dungeons, I did more scenarios, and still I was just shy of the number that would put me in the group I felt I belonged in.
I just wanted to do what everyone else was doing. I wanted to contribute to the conversation. More than that I wanted to raise my ilevel even higher so I could get into the next level of raids so I can get gear to raise my ilevel even higher to get to the next level so I can….
I’ll see you soon
Note: Hallows End starts in a few hours, and I’ll get a ring that will give me the one extra point I need. But now the 2nd part of Raid Finder is out, so I'm still loosing.