There Must Be Ogres
Ogres are a metaphor, but it’s a long and drawn out metaphor. The short of it, though, is that there must always be some group of creatures, preferably humanoid, and with interesting loot tables, who must die a lot to achieve something interesting. As I look back at past expansions, I discovered something about my opinions of the expansions, so let’s take a look, shall we?
In Vanilla, it was the Timbermaw. Getting rep with them was necessary for tailors, leatherworkers, and inscriptionists to get very beneficial patterns. While Raiders didn’t necessarily care until the Opening of the Gates of Ahn’Qiraj (The patterns, as I recall, were nature resistance gear). Completionists of all stripes, of course, were interested in either the patterns or the reputation.
In Outland, it was Ogres, specifically, those in Nagrand. They dropped beads which could be turned in to the local faction (Kurenai for Alliance… um Maghar for horde?) to get your talbuks. That was six mounts! You could get other stuff too, but mounts! And cool ones, at that. The nice thing about these ogres, though, is that there were four excellent grinding spots, spreading out the people trying to kill ogres. Sonaira and Shoryl spent hours collecting beads to get their talbuks.
In Wrath, the closest we ever got was up in Icecrown, but it was all tied to dailies, so wasn’t the same as the go-round-in-circles-kill-everything zen of the Timbermaw or the Nagrand ogres. And I didn’t like Wrath as much as either of the previous expansions.
Cataclysm, likewise, had no good solid grinding things. There was Tol Barad to try and get a fox kit, but the problem there was not enough foxes, too spread out, and too low of a drop rate (also, a really boring loot table otherwise); and like many people, I think Cataclysm was the weakest of expansions by far.
Enter Pandaria. Not only are there dailies associated with the Mogu, but they are humanoid, and have quite a nice loot table that includes cloth and greens and two other very interesting things: The most directly interesting thing is the Skyshard. It has a very low drop rate, but 10 of them give you an epic mount that most people won’t ride much. (I like mounts that I don’t have to think about who might ride them because they add to my count without adding to my random mount macros.) But a slightly more interesting thing, because it’s more frequent and has an element of surprise to it, is the Ancient Guo-Lai Cache key. This key lets you open a box in Guo-Lai. The box holds a nice little sum of gold (I think 30-60 is the range) potentially a BOA token to get reputation with the Golden Lotus (I have a toon that is exalted with them and never done a daily!), and chances at crafting mats or greens. Additionally, there’s a reasonably good chance that you’ll get another box – Treasures of the Vale. In that could be more gold, as well as some interesting things like Skyshards.
In addition to the Mogu minions, there are rare Mogu, a mantid, a couple of elementals, and some animals who can drop the Treasures directly. The best part of them is that they’re not all that hard to kill. Top it all of with 5-6 good grinding spots, and most people bored out of their minds from the Golden Lotus rep grind, and you once again have a lovely place to go and just kill all the things.
There are more ogres in Pandaria, too. In the forms of dinosaurs and all manner of things lost to time. So there will be lots of good grinding for quite a while yet. The downside to the two islands, however, is much less interesting loot tables. Instead, you’re collecting lots of things. It has its own mesmerizing quality, though.
Now what is that interesting thing I talked about? Well, quite simply, my favorite releases of the game all have ogres. I didn’t care for WoLK, even though it was the height of the subscription base. I’m not into goth, or undead, and I didn’t play Warcraft, so I have no previous dislike of Arthas or the Lich King. I did love the Titans stuff, but it was spread about and in raids I was unable to see as current content. During Cataclysm, I turned heavily to altitis due to disinterest the fractured story and the fact that all of the endings were in raids. Nothing was solved outside of raiding at all. And a big chunk of the story happened in those raids, too, so all the story lines were left hanging for me.
Pandaria has three versions of ogres, all different, and all with alluring rewards at the end of the long grind. That’s awesome! So I’m sure I’ll have toons grinding their way through those ogres even as we move into WoD. Hopefully they have ogres, too.