Friday, July 5, 2013

World of Warcraft: Surviving Low Pop

A few weeks ago, Blizzard had a half off sale on faction and realm transfers. The net result on my server was a mass exodus; we lost 9 of our top 10 raiding guilds for both factions and what appears to be half of our population, dropping from medium population to low population almost overnight. I finally understand why there have been so many complaint threads about server mergers the past couple expansions: being on low pop is boring.

There is good news, though. In 5.4, Virtual Realms will be introduced. While they're not called mergers they will basically act as mergers. Low population realms will be linked. The auction house and trade of a few servers will be combined, and players will be allowed to join each other's guilds and raids, as well as see each other in towns and whatnot. The sneaky part of Virtual Realms is that it will allow mergers without forcing name changes, because players from other realms will have an asterisk next to their name. Farming rares is easy, too. There's less competition, and almost every time I seek one in Pandaria, it's up and untagged.

Until the day of Virtual Realms arrives, however, one must survive in low pop where raiding anything other than LFR is seemingly impossible--I can't even find two other people for heroic scenarios most times. In the meanwhile, I have been farming in Pandaria and stocking mats for when the auction houses are linked and there will actually be things to buy/sell. It's not the most exciting part of the game, but it's definitely worth it. Personally, I like to turn the volume off in WoW and play music lists on my computer to alleviate the monotony.

There is also Brawler's Guild, which I have been grinding away on. I have raised a couple of my characters to level 6 or beyond, but I've been snagged on a couple of fights until I can boost my gear a little bit. It's more difficult than it needs to be to increase in item level and DPS, thereby progressing through Brawler's Guild faster, when there's no way to enter to a normal or heroic raid.

Another way to kill time is finishing leveling characters. As of today, I have a rogue and monk that I still need to get through Pandaria to 90. With the nerfs to experience, I'm hoping to have at least one, if not both, at 90 by the release of 5.4, though I highly doubt I will use my rogue beyond hitting level cap; it's still the one class I know I'm not good at, don't enjoy, and have no interest in learning about. I'm a bit OCD, so having one of each class at max level is a concern of mine; having them all pimped out in epics is not.

Though I can't find rated teams for battlegrounds, I still queue for the random battlegrounds. It's enough of a distraction to keep my mind off my barren server, rack up some honor, and a little conquest. In fact, I've done so many random battlegrounds on my druid he has half a tyrannical set, including weapon, without ever doing a rated or arena.

Lastly, I have spent a lot of time with pet battles. In the past couple weeks, I have farmed old raids with at least five characters per week and managed to collect each of the pets that drop, along with their achievements, and the reward pets: Tito and Mr. Bigglesworth. I also scored a rare Qiraji Guardling from Silithus and earned the Zookeeper title. I've done so much pet battling this expansion, I'm running out of achievements; about the only thing I have left are PVP pet battles, which I have yet to really get into.

So that's what I've been up to in Azeroth as I wait on 5.4 and hope Virtual Realms save my server. There's really not much else to do, unless I pay for a transfer. My one concern is that my server will be overlooked or not included in the Virtual Realms. Should that happen and I continue to be stuck on a dead realm for the Siege of Orgrimmar I may have to call it quits. The game is just not that appealing to me when there's no one else around.

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