I suppose there are worse things to say than "Sorry for not posting much, but my free time is limited and I decided to play WoW instead of writing about WoW lately." I've really been enjoying 5.4 so far.
I've been having fun here for several reasons (and I am glad I do not play on a PvP server right now).
One, with the exception of Golganarr/Rattleskew, I can go there whenever I want. Rares spawn every 30-60 minutes so it's reasonable to make sure I kill a particular rare at least once in a smaller amount of time. In addition, I don't "fall behind" by missing a given rare spawn and I can choose to invest a ton of time in a single day if I want to do so -- as opposed to dailies where missing a day meant you fell behind and you were limited in what you could do in a given day.
Two, I didn't need many upgrades and the ones I did need were either so rare as to not be worth pursuing (a specific 535 ring with haste/something) or were guaranteed (535 trinket). I could get them at my own pace and they were reasonable. The "crazy" grinds are simply for vanity stuff.
Three, my gear pays off. Unlike dailies, where the "reward" for better gear was being able to do them a few minutes faster, I can plow through elites with my gear that most people can't. I actually get a payoff from my heroic gear that is substantial (especially for the Shaohao grind).
Four, the mobs are more interesting -- they usually actually have abilities to avoid or interact with in some way and having other players around is (usually) a good thing rather than competition for your quest targets. It's a much better set-up.
That said, while I lucked out on Rattleskew (about a 12 hour respawn I hear), getting Golganarr for my Timeless Champion achievement was awful because he spawns every 12-48 hours or something. I'm not saying that mobs with rare vanity items with long respawn timers is a bad thing. I'm saying that putting it on the same achievement where 95% of the creatures are a 30-60 minute respawn is a bad thing. Give them a separate achievement if needed.
I had like 15 Lesser Charms for the patch. I now have like 2500+. Playing on the Timeless Isle and killing rares/elites simply throws charms at you like crazy -- WHICH IS A GOOD THING. Especially when you can farm charms faster with better gear and/or in a group. This is SO MUCH NICER than 5.0-5.3 where I needed to do the same dailies each day to be reasonably efficient (Golden Lotus or Thunder Isle) and which also had a limit for how much I could get each day. Sure, I had like 1100 when I finished the initial rep grinds in 5.0, but that was only like 12 weeks of raiding back when it cost 90 charms each instead of 50.
Hell, they could go back to 90 charms each week now and it would be fine.
If anything, I wish we could turn them in for Lesser Charms and/or Mogu Runes now, since otherwise I can't spend them at all.
Flex raiding is fun. It's actual raiding. What do I mean by that?
1, you have to work together
2, there are social consequences for failure/poor behavior
3, the boss doesn't simply give up if you get determined enough
If you ignore what the raid leader says in Flex (like "DON'T ATTACK NAZGRIM IN DEFENSIVE STANCE") you're gone. If you pull 30k DPS, you're gone. If you stand in bad stuff on Dark Shaman, you're gone.
Sure, it's easier than normal. But LFR being easy isn't why it's a complete cesspool -- it's the lack of accountability and no incentive to help others. I still don't like that I am obliged to run Flex on my main (nearly 2000 DPS upgrade going from Heroic Lei Shen trinket to Flex Immerseus trinket) but at least it's *fun* rather than me wanting to punch people through my computer screen. I don't care if you take a tick of avoidable AoE or do 80k DPS instead of the 100k you should be doing. I do care if you stand in the AoE and yell for the healers to keep you up while dealing 30k DPS.
Done Flex with several alts at this point with good success on all of them, even with some wipes. And people are actually constructive after a wipe BECAUSE IT'S A SOCIAL ENVIRONMENT WITH CONSEQUENCES AND ACCOUNTABILITY. Can we just add in an cross-realm lobby for group finding and remove LFR already?
Hell, I've even done some Flex bosses multiple times in a single week simply because it was actually enjoyable being in there. Also managed to drag some fellow bloggers into some groups with me, which was fun (even though I may have come up with some...unusual...guilt tripping methods to do so).
Siege of Orgrimmar
Generally a fun raid so far. Rather long and concerned that we're going to need to do a lot of lockout extensions as we get further into heroics (killed the first three last week, hopefully another three this week), but the fights have been enjoyable (even though Thok's screech can go die in a fire -- LET'S SPAM SHADOW WORD: PAIN!).
Definitely something that feels more "accessible" than Throne of Thunder with eight "gimme" bosses, then two slightly harder bosses, and then four relatively difficult bosses. Probably will work out better for PUGs as well.
P.S. I *would* like to request at least a normal weapon in the near future. Thanks!