BA Shared Topic: Best Grind

The Blog Azeroth Shared Topic this week, Best Grind, was suggested by me:
Normally the words "Best" and "Grind" are not found this close together and there are plenty of grinds to hate. However, I'm interested in the flip side:
Was there something that required sustained and prolonged effort that you found interesting or rewarding? Was there something that was not just a chore to work on?

I was talking to a friend about how things were different in the old days which inspired this topic:

The Story

It occurred near the Westfall Lighthouse. Although at the time Burning Crusade was out, there hadn't been much for changes to Gnome Mages of about level 19 adventuring in Westfall compared to Vanilla days.
Martuska had finished turning in some quests at what passed for a "Quest Hub" at the Lighthouse. Consulting her notes about next quests, she was frustrated. She would need to run all the way to Lakeshire for new quests and some of those quests were to run all the way back to Westfall. Quests were designed to make an adventurer travel all over Azeroth.

Although she was approaching the right level for the Deadmines, she hadn't done the preparatory quests yet. Dungeon quests weren't something you could just pick up after zoning in. Dungeons weren't something you could just push a button to join a queue. Battlegrounds weren't someplace you could simply queue to gain experience.

But Martuska's notes suggested "just grind the crabs on the beach for your next level". These crabs had yellow name plates. They weren't automatically hostile and each death gave some nice experience, especially since Martuska did have some "Rested XP" bonus to work on. She needed a bit of awareness so she didn't use her Frost Nova to lock one crab in place but trigger another crab's hostility, too. She learned how to blink away, cast an instant or fire her wand while strifing away. It was all useful skill development even as she gathered up the experience to make a few more nearby quests turn from grey to yellow.

And after picking up the next level, she also discovered they dropped a lot of meat. Martuska had stacks and stacks of meat and claws. Her bags were actually close to full with more stuff than she needed to raise her cooking skill. So the logical thing was to post it on the Auction House.

Now Martuska had been selling surplus stuff on the Auction House before, but this was a bit different. The claws and meat returned huge amounts of gold. MArtuska had never felt this rich before. She had more gold than she knew what to do with and was happy to struggle with such a problem.

It gave her a whole different perspective on grinding. She had been killing these Shore Crawlers for the experience, not farming them for their meat. It wasn't the last time she deliberately sought combat with mobs for their experience to avoid questing. Martuska was a Frost Mage and some time later she discovered how to gather Mosshide Gnolls in the wetlands, Frost Nova, Blink, Blizzard, Blizzard, Cone of Cold and collect the rewards. She levelled by AoE Grinding instead of running back and forth across the Wetlands. And it should be pointed out that although in her mid twenties by this time, there was no mount to speed the journey and no convenient flight points. It was a long jog to Menethil Harbor and back.

I really enjoyed the old style level grinding. It was optional. It wasn't like it was the only method to unlock the desired vendor. There were no rewards but the drops by the mobs and it was something I barely noticed was missing until there was a discussion about just how different some things were.


That was the story that inspired the Shared Topic, but as I was thinking about it, I realized there were a few other grinds I enjoyed. Grinding my fishing skill never bothered me. That was not true of most professions. I detested that most crafted gear created for raising skill was just junk. Recently Aldonza became a scribe and I discovered that leveling Inscription was the opposite of expensive. She actually was making a profit from about everything she made. I enjoyed the first bit so much that even though she was supposed to be a bank mule, I actually worked to raise her to level 30 to unlock the next round of skills.


Martuska was in her high fifties, but she knew she wanted to squeeze more from Azeroth before heading into the Outland and found herself in Winterspring. Through the normal course of leveling, she found herself honored with the Timbermaw Hold and had unlocked the Wisdom of the Timbermaw  belt pattern for her Tailoring skill. She found that exciting and with some research, realized there was another Tailoring recipe at revered. So she spent some time grinding for beads and feathers and before long earned her reverence.
By this point Martuska could no longer ignore the pull to the Outland and didn't return to complete the reputation grind until well into the Wrath of the Lich King expansion. Martuska didn't grind any other Vanilla reputations because the Burning Crusade was just too attractive. The reputation grind in Outland was never much fun. It wasn't until the Argent Tournament that she found an enjoyable grind again.

By the time Martuska was working the dailies at the Argent Tournament, most people had moved deeper into WotLK content. It wasn't totally empty. It was still easy enough to find others to bring down Chillmaw or joust before the citadel. The pace also worked well for her at the time. She could log on, run her dailies, and be ready to run off to other things. It was much more enjoyable than grinding out those badges from dungeon runs. It must to pointed out that the vanity rewards were a huge draw for her.

Now that Kallixta is running Molten Front dailies for her marks, there is a similar enjoyment. It's easy enough to watch the count accumulate from just a few minutes a day. The grind for reputation with Ramakahen is much slower with only two dailies. She was also thrilled that the same day she hit level 85, she could run through the Molten Front Invasion quest line and unlock some nice purples!

Meanwhile, the Cataclysm reputation grinds continue and are not as attractive. Sigh.

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