Said the farmer in the heroic.
Gearing up takes a certain amount of repetition. There are only so many heroics you can run, and no matter what method you use to gear yourself, it’s just a given that you’re going to have to run some of those heroics a large number of times before you’re done with them. Then there are reputation rewards. So between farming heroics and grinding rep, there’s a lot of wash, rinse, repeat in the gearing up process.
Too bad lots of the content is so obsolete, isn’t it?
Let me make one thing clear: I am currently not farming anything. I wasn’t offered an opportunity to go at the content over and over until it gives me what I want, a tangible reward from a specific boss that I have chosen. That route has gone out the window. What I have the chance to do instead is grind. Practically nothing that drops off a boss in one of the original heroic instances is better than what I can buy with massive amounts of emblems. Practically nothing I can buy with emblems is better than what could potentially drop in the Heroic Coliseum doohickey (I still haven’t sorted out which ToC is the 5-man, and which is the raid instance, gg with the non-confusing nomenclature Blizz. But considering how unlikely I am to see the inside of either one, I suppose it hardly matters), but I need the emblem gear to survive the Coliseum type-place… And despite the fact that I could probably do a more than adequate job in Naxx10 wearing heroic drops, I’m going to be hard pressed to find a group willing to take me unless I’ve got the Shining Staff of Purpley Purpleness equipped, since I’m DPS and there’s not exactly a DPS shortage.
It’s like I have to gear up to get to the point where I can actually gear up. And therein lies the grind.
But is there really a difference between farming and grinding?
I think there is, maybe not in the actual actions (you can’t really watch a group run an instance and tell if they’re “farming” or “grinding”) but in the mindset. Maybe it doesn’t matter for people who care less about semantics and the meanings of words (take note: this is what law school does to you!), but there’s a huge mindset difference between the images of farming and the images that come with grinding.
I can see myself farming heroics and actually getting some sort of enjoyment and fulfillment out of it, honestly. With all the attendant mental images that farming brings to mind. That’s right, pleasant pastoral scenes of a group of five, lovingly cultivating an instance with great care and consistency until, lo! A flurry of blossoms, and the boss has yielded up the desired crop, in my case, the Mark of the War Prisoner.
No. I’m not farming.
When I think about grinding something, I think of Industrial Revolution era sweatshops, where the children work sixteen hour days, losing fingers to the impersonal metal teeth of the machinery. I imagine grating my fingertips to bloody ribbons against the sandpaper of my keyboard, and then at the end, all that pops out is some crappy spool of thread… or in my case, a handful of impersonal emblems I could have gotten anywhere, which someday, when I have no fingers left at all, I might use to buy a belt or a pair of shoes which is a marginal upgrade over the ones I have on now.
When I go into LFG, I don’t have a “farm” mindset. I have a “grind” mindset. I dread getting in there and hunting for a healer that doesn’t mind running with someone who still wears quest blues. I dread the thought that, even though I’ve run Utgarde Keep exactly four thousand nine hundred and seventy two times many many times, I’ve yet to get anything special out of it, or at least nothing that’s going to get me into a raid group. I dread every minute of it.
I know everyone considers the “gearing up phase” something to be gotten through as quickly as possible. Maybe I should man up (draenei up? mage up?) and plow through it and just get this miserable phase of Rhii’s existence over with as quickly as possible. I don’t know. But I can’t bring myself to do it. It seems like something that could be a rewarding segment of the game has been cheapened and made into a chore to be accomplished before I can have my cake. The whole process of running heroics to hone skills that I’ll need someday to raid has been turned into trying to find some tolerant progression raider to zip me through content that ought to be challenging, so that I can someday be an incompetent raider that everyone hates because they don’t have the experience and skills needed for progression content.
Maybe that’s a little bleak, but the situation strikes me as pretty depressing.
I’m not currently farming anything. I’m not grinding anything either. The whole concept is in fact too depressing for me to deal with right now… instead I’m leveling alts on Kel’Thuzad with Naelian and the occasional boost from Adreanna and enjoying myself immensely.
I feel uneasy about my near-complete abandonment of the end game. I am enjoying being horde and leveling and battlegrounds so much, I find it hard to even contemplate going back to Rhii… it’s unnerving. But my paladin is just about to ding 50, and while I feel somehow irresponsible, at least that I enjoy.