I first heard about Blizzard’s decision to not release any new 5-man dungeons this expansion from The Grumpy Elf, and confirmed from this post on MMO-Champion. The interview itself is written in Foreigner, so I will just have to take the translation at face value.
On many levels, Blizzard’s decision makes sense. The revamped ZA and ZG heroics in Cataclysm were (true to title) a disaster, reducing entire tiers of content down to all trolls, all the time. New 5-mans were handled a bit better back in Wrath when integrated into the normal rotation, but even then you could experience wild swings in difficulty depending on whether you got Gundrak or Halls of Reflection (shudder).
Had Blizzard released new 5-mans in Mists, it could have shaken out in only two ways. One: the dungeon(s) still dropped 463 gear, at which point it would be largely irrelevant to everyone. Or, two: it released 476 or higher gear, and now nobody wants to run the obsoleted dungeons again (assuming they wanted to in the first place). And besides, in a world with LFR, there is little reason to double-down on raid catch-up mechanisms, right?
On the other hand… does this not strike anyone as profoundly lazy?
Let it sink in. There will be no new dungeons in 5.3, nor 5.4, nor a potential 5.5. There will be hundreds more garbage daily quests in which the writers don’t even bother papering over the naked time-sinking, of course. Will anyone still be doing Shieldwall dailies in 5.3? Or even in this patch, for that matter? Is all that “content” being obsoleted worse than a 5-man? There are a lot of in-game cinematics and lore going on in Krasarang Wilds, after all. It strikes me as odd that your dailies change from patch to patch, but the daily dungeons never will.
Then, I start thinking about the existence of 5-man dungeons to begin with. Why have them at all? Scenarios offer 50 Valor now (compared to 80 from LFG). And, most importantly, offer DPS players an instant queue. If LFR has replaced heroic dungeons as a raid catch-up mechanism, have Scenarios not usurped dungeons by the same token? The only thing holding Scenarios back is the asinine reward mechanism in the form of a random-stat blue item from the box (when it isn’t empty). Seriously, I got a 2H agility axe yesterday. Neither druids nor monks can use axes, so it amounts to wand with strength on it.
Simply migrate all heroic dungeon gear to the random Scenario box, bump the Valor a bit, and now you never have to fashion another 5-man again.
Indeed, from the same interview I referenced before, this paraphrasing emerged:
More scenarios are coming in future patches. We may see very challenging three player scenarios with pretty good rewards.
Speaking of Strength wands, my thoughts then drifted to tank gear. Why should it exist? Blizzard came oh so very close to obsoleting all tanking gear this expansion, probably by accident. Indeed, up until the 5.2 changes, Dodge and Parry were the two worst stats for a Protection paladin. The two worst! For a tank! Since it seems “active mitigation” is here to stay, why not simply go all the way? Critical Strike rating is the only thing that marks something as being “for DPS only,” and it is a simple enough thing to add a passive to tanks where critical hits procs a Dodge buff or something. While there might be an increased competition for gear between tanks and DPS… oh wait, individual loot. Problem solved. And if necessary, Blizzard could keep the gem/enchanting situation the same, so that a tank in full DPS gear could gem for Stamina or whatever to differentiate himself/herself.
I am not trying to craft a reductio ad absurdum here. I am just asking what the actual point of 5-man content is supposed to be under this new “build some once and done” paradigm. Are they necessary for anything anymore? “Practice for raiding?” I don’t know if anyone would agree that they have such an effect, if they ever did. Group content is handled by Scenarios or daily island hellholes stuffed with overlapping elite mobs. Dungeons are almost quaint these days, vestigial relics propped up only by their rewards. If Scenarios offed 80 Valor, would anyone run dungeons? What if the box at the end dropped spec-appropriate gear from the dungeons?
This is how close we are: mere inches. The slightest of nudges, and we could be upon unknown soil. And, perhaps, not even notice a difference.
In perhaps one of the more refreshing moments of sanity in quite some time, Blizzard recently announced that Valor points would not be reset in 5.2. The prior plan was best described as a triple-gate clusterfuck:
- Current players got VP downgraded to JP, which buys heirlooms and little else.
- Players below the ilevel 480 cutoff for the 5.2 LFR would essentially have to either re-grind more Valor to purchase (discounted) rep gear, provided they had the rep, or replace 100% of their items with 483 gear from the last two LFRs.
- New/Returning players would continue needing to grind reputation to grind VP to get gear to enter LFR to get gear that let’s them grind 5.2 LFR bosses to unlock more VP gear locked behind more rep. (Yo dawg, I heard you like grinds, so…)
The level of nonsense was incredible. Downgrading only ever makes sense when the items are downgraded (to JP) too, lest your purchasing power actually be destroyed.
The new rubric makes much better sense. Those 3000 banked VP mean nothing when you can’t purchase 5.2 VP gear without killing raid bosses anyway – a gate mechanism already exists, so double/triple gating is unnecessary.
As always though, having a new patch within sight does engender a bit of progression fatalism. I abandoned all pretense of shooting for the weekly VP cap for several weeks now. Because… why would I? While it is silly to take that argument all the way – “why gear at all when gear resets every expansion” – it simply makes economic sense to me to wait out the 5.1 clock. Instead of 2-3 items after weeks of work, I can get 2-3 items after weeks of non-work.
In the meantime, a more pressing issue presents itself: the race against the upgrade vendor disappearance. Not an upgrading of standard gear, of course, but an upgrading of the Bind of Account staves that my level 85 Scribe can craft… if not for the 5+ Spirits of Harmony required. Of the once-a-day Scrolls of Wisdom, I have 45. Which… is a little disturbing to think about, actually.
In what undoubtedly was an amazing case of pure coincidence, Diablo 3′s groundbreaking 1.0.4 patch is coming out “the fourth week of August.” Hmm. What day do Blizzard patches come out on? Tuesdays, I think? What is the Tuesday in the last week of August? The… 28th. August 28th. Good thing I have nothing else planned to do that day.
Kidding aside, patch 1.0.4 may as well be called Diablo 3.5 for the sheer scope of the sweeping changes to endgame. Let’s look at them a bit closer:
Gold/Magic Find will no longer be averaged between party members. While Blizzard admits that they were originally worried about leechers jumping into multiplayer with pure Magic Find gear and thereby not likely pulling their weight, the complete lack of foresight displayed was astonishing. If I am capable of farming Act 1 Inferno by myself with 228% MF, why in god’s name would I join with a random stranger who not only increases monster HP (getting nerfed this patch too, by the way) but likely reduces my level of MF by his/her mere presence?
The other guy gets my bonus, and I get his… what? Pleasurable company?
Pro Design Tip: don’t build your co-op or multiplayer system around Russian Roulette, e.g. you are no better off when you win, but when you lose, you lose big.
Severe, Sweeping Elite Pack Nerfs
And I mean severe. Any one of these changes would be huge on its own, but Blizzard is throwing the whole goddamn pot of spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks. Look at it:
- Elite HP reduced by 10-25%.
- Regular mob HP increased by 5-10%, but 4x more likely to drop magic items.
- Specific nerfs to Fire Chains and Shielding affixes; Invulnerable Minions getting removed.
- Removal of Enrage Timers for Elites (!!!).
- Removal of HP regeneration for Elites after player death (!!!).
Those last two items would have been more than enough to fix most of my issues with Inferno by themselves. The current system is binary: you can either kill the pack (or one member thereof) or you cannot. While removing Enrage Timers and HP regeneration can/will lead to Graveyard Rushes, I never understood how exactly that was a bad thing. Just because I can die six times in a row to finally take out an obstinate foe does not mean I don’t care about those six deaths. Dying in a game is penalty enough because I already wanted to survive; extra penalties are generally superfluous unless death serves some other gameplay function.
Sweeping Item Buffs
Although the buffs appear only targeted for weapons right now, this is nevertheless a big deal:
Weapon damage is the most important stat on a weapon. It can be disheartening to get a lot of weapon drops and you know before even looking at them that they have no chance of being good. To help give weapons a fighting chance, the raw damage value on all level 61 and 62 weapons will be able to roll damage that extends all the way to the top end of level 63.
While we will still see awesome +800 Life per Hit-esque stats on ilevel 62 weapons with unusably low DPS, the mere chance that it could be a better drop instead is a great move forward. Of course, it will lead to rampant stat inflation and subsequent hollowing out of the AH economy, but at this point, who cares? Hell, if we can get to a place where I can get a goddamn upgrade off the ground instead of praying for good drops to sell for gold to buy upgrades from other people, I will gladly throw the entire AH under the bus.
Also, I guess Legendaries are getting buffed? Since the average player is only ever going to see the buffed Legendaries in the AH, I never understood why Blizzard talked much about them at all; it is not as though they are farmable items.
Ridiculous (but Needed) Class Changes
I do not really know anything about the class changes yet, but I am going to go ahead and declare them ridiculous. They would have to be, assuming Blizzard follows through on this:
- Does the skill fill a similar role as an extremely popular skill? If so, buff the skill to be competitive with the popular skill. For example, Bola Shot could be a solid skill, but simply doesn’t have the raw damage when compared to Hungering Arrow, so we’re buffing Bola Shot to be competitive.
- Does a skill have a dominant rune? If so, can we buff the underused runes to be more competitive? A good example here is the Wizard Hydra skill. The Venom Hydra is by far the most popular rune, and for good reason, so we are buffing the other runes to make them more competitive with Venom Hydra.
What could possibly compete with the monk’s Fists of Thunder (Thunderclap rune) or Deadly Reach (Keen Eye rune), for example? Or, god help us all, the One With Everything passive?
I cannot say I have any particular faith that Blizzard will fix everything broken with Diablo 3, but even given this very preliminary information I can confidentially state that I will log back on once 1.0.4 goes live. It may only be long enough to finish out Inferno Act 3 & Act 4 before uninstalling for good, but hey. If there is a chance to relieve blue balls, you go for it.
Do you know what I like more than an MMO being treated as a single-player game in nearly 100% of its (blogged) reporting? An MMO with an official State of the Game developer post seven (7) days after launch.
I know that developers of The Secret World are not the first to write the following, but I was especially amused this time around (emphasis added):
We’re going to be releasing fresh and tasty new content FREE to our subscribers on a regular, monthly basis. The first update is due on Tuesday, July 31st, and we will be releasing more details about that particular update later this week — including a couple of fun surprises. (You’re going to love it.)
* Mission packs on a monthly basis! The first few packs will contain new investigations for every adventure zone in the game — but we also have more action and sabotage missions planned for the near future. These missions will feature fully voiced cut-scenes and new media pop-ups, and will match the quality of the missions currently in the game. Oh, and like everything else in our monthly updates, these packs are FREE for our subscribers!
Allow me to summarize my feelings with the following:
I have, of course, been cheerleading the concept of single-player MMOs for quite some time now. But I almost wonder if The Secret World has gone too far, and otherwise fallen into the Uncanny Valley abyss between the two (*ahem*) worlds.
Instead of being interested in an MMO that is going the incredibly novel route of monthly updates, my very first thought was “$15 DLC packs each month.” In the abstract, all subscription MMOs function in this manner, right? And companies like Blizzard certainly are not doing anyone any favors by letting 6+ months lapse between content updates.
But… it’s not just me, is it?
I am not playing the game, but I would rather FunCom put out twice the content every two months even if they end up sitting on the completed work. It feels too fast. And weird, like an MMO with a $13.84/month subscription. Or a doctor who keeps insisting on showing me his medical license. It bespeaks a curious lack of faith in the product itself.
P.S. I smirk every time I see the following patch note in any MMO:
* And speaking of dungeons, we’re also working on a dungeon finder tool, allowing players to more easily put together a team to handle the instanced content
Does that make me a bad person?
If you have not seen it yet, the 4.3 Patch trailer is one of the worst trailers Blizzard has ever made. Why? No voice over. I was originally sympathetic to the argument that “Hey, they’re just patch trailers.” But after watching this week’s episode of Legendary, I was inspired to see if Youtube had a collection of the old ones. As it turns out, they do.
- Patch 1.11 – Shadow of the Necropolis
- Patch 2.1 – The Black Temple
- Patch 2.3 – The Gods of Zul’Aman “We gonna bury you here.”
- Patch 2.4 – Fury of the Sunwell
- Patch 3.1 – Secrets of Ulduar “May this death-god… take you all.”
- Patch 3.2 – Call of the Crusade (phoning it in)
- Patch 3.3 – Fall of the Lich King
- Patch 4.1 – Rise of the Zandalari “Da Horde is my people.”
- Patch 4.2 – Rage of the Firelands
- Patch 4.3 – Hour of Twilight
To be clear, not all of them are good. Most of them seemed way cooler at the time. But out of all of them, the only other patch trailer with no voice over was 3.2, Call of the Crusade. As in the most phoned-in raiding content patch in the history of the game. Is that really the comparison Blizzard should be going for, nearly two million subscribers down, with the LAST patch of an expansion and ultimate show-down with Deathwing, aka “I am the Cataclysm?”
It becomes even worse when you consider this fan-made revision:
This is what the fan says in the Youtube description:
After seeing the slightly disappointing 4.3 trailer from Blizzard I had a thought that it was simply lacking voiceovers, so I downloaded their trailer and voiceovers from the Dragon Soul raid and played around with it in iMovie for about an hour and this is the result.
Do note I have almost no video editing experience.
You know that tingling sensation, accompanied by your nipples getting hard? That’s (probably) due to proper voice work. And the goddamn height of Blizzard’s absurdity in this is that these voice clips already exist in the game files. It is not as though they can even hide behind the “expense” of getting Metzen to read the inactive ingredients label on a bottle of shampoo over Skype, or whatever passes as content creation in Blizzard offices these days. They had all the pieces already, but chose NOT to spend the one extra hour making a presentably badass trailer for the ultimate, world-destroying boss. Instead, they chose to dust off the 3.2 trailer generator, and cut & paste new video while changing the text in the “delayed left-to-right lens flare” field.
If Titan does not end up being the best videogame in the history of the medium, I hope to god that we see a VH1 Behind the Scenes special, five years down the road, detailing the descent into drugs and madness that was the dev team during this time period. I would rather know that they were booting black tar heroin than to accept that a team of gamer designers sat around a table and approved garbage like the original trailer. I would rather them say “let the casuals eat cake” and return to TBC 2.0, than to know they said “good enough” while rubber-stamping an inferior product. Design directions, even if I disagree with them, at least indicate a modicum of seriousness. This shit… if they stop caring, why should I? Or anyone?
The little things matter.
As I did back in June – has it really only been five months? – for posterity’s sake here is a screenshot of WoWProgress’s Firelands numbers as they stood on Tuesday, November 29th, at around 2am:
Since there is no 100% boss (but Shannox gets close), a little reverse-engineering results in a total of 45,839 guilds having killed at least 1 boss this tier. I would do a further breakdown as I did last time, but what’s the point? About 71% of every guild that started Firelands in some fashion finished it. Unlike last time around, Blizzard rolled out the content nerf before the patch hit, which obviously influences the completion rates in this bizarre way.
Speaking of last time, there were 62,405 guilds that downed at least one 1 boss in T11 content. Compared with today, that is a drop in activity of 26.55%, or 16,566 guilds that fell off the grid.
As always, the numbers get a little fuzzy if you want to look at the number of players instead of guilds. If we assume a generous 18 raiders per guild, 825,102 players have killed 1 boss in Firelands, down from 1,123,290 killing 1 boss in T11. Back in June I had what I assumed was a reasonably accurate count of all non-Chinese subs (i.e. all guilds WoWProgress tracks) at 6.5 million, but obviously that has changed in the midterm. Back then, it meant only 17.28% of players raided. Today that would be just 12.69%, but only if the overall population had not decreased as well.
To understand exactly how generous I am being vis-a-vis the 18 people per guild estimate, WoWProgress says that only 4934 guilds killed Shannox on 25m, compared with 39,861 10m kills. In other words, there are over eight (8) times as many 10m kills of Shannox than 25m of the same. That 8x figure is fairly consistent across all bosses until you hit Ragnaros, interestingly enough. In fact:
|Boss||10m guilds||25m guilds||Difference|
If those 25m numbers don’t seem jarring to you, perhaps this will illustrate it better:
|Boss||10m guilds||25m guilds||Difference|
|The Siege of Ulduar||???||31,993||n/a|
|Beasts of Northrend||86,187||58,801||1.46x|
I was not actually aware of the Magmaw discrepancy until just now, but… wow. Assuming that Blizzard making it difficult to differentiate between 10m and 25m kills achievement-wise doesn’t impact the accuracy of WoWProgress, this seems an armor-piercing argument that the merging of lock-outs (and possibly of gear) is not just killing 25m raiding, but driving it before us, while we hear the lamentation of its women.
While I understand the LFR system may address the casual PuG content gap, these numbers cannot bode well for the future of 25m raiding. Less than 5k guilds running normal 25m content means all that content is being made/balanced/tuned for the entertainment of less than
90,000 150,000 people. There will likely be three two times that number of players engaging in Pet Battles at any given time of day, let alone overall.
Hmm, perhaps the decision to include that as a major feature is not so incongruous after all.
I think it is a bit early for a more formal “postmortem” on Cataclysm’s first tier of content, but for posterity here is a screenshot of raiding progression as it stood at nearly 4am Tuesday morning, before the numbers could be “sullied” by the 4.2 nerfs.
Since there is no 100% boss, some reverse engineering of WoWProgress’s numbers shows that there was a total of 62,405 guilds that killed at least 1 boss this tier. A further breakdown estimate goes something like this:
1/12 – 62,405 – 100%
9/12 – 44,107 – 70.68%
12/12 – 23,122 – 37.05%
13/13 – 812 – 1.3%*
Depending on how many raiders you associate with a raiding guild (15-30), this means roughly between 589,245 to 1,178,490 players who started this tier did not finish it on Normal. WoWProgress pulls its data from NA, EU, TW, and KR servers, which comprise roughly ~6.5 million subscriptions per MMOData. This means that at the upper end (30) the raiding pool this tier is about ~28.8% of all accounts. Or, 71.2% of all subscribers did not raid, and of those who did raid, 62.95% did not kill all 12 normal mode bosses.** In this context, seven bosses in Firelands may almost make sense.
The other thing I want to mention briefly is that I expect Blizzard’s Q2 investor call to either look absolutely amazing, or completely terrible depending on timing. As you may or may not have heard, Blizzard sent out emails to existing accounts which essentially contains a free copy of the original WoW game, 30 days of game time included. Secondly, Blizzard is poised to release Cataclysm in China July 12th. Finally, and perhaps more earth-shatteringly from a subscription standpoint, Blizzard increased the Recruit-A-Friend XP bonus from 1-60 to 1-80. If you are an alt person as I am (or was, considering I have a full 10 character slots on Auch), this is about as close as Blizzard seems willing to get to letting you buy a Cataclysm character. Back when RAF originally came out, I had two instances of WoW running and essentially spent $5-10 to get a level 60 rogue, priest, and hunter (with the gifted levels) in about two weeks of leisurely play. And for that month, for all intents and purposes I was two subscriptions to Blizzard. Of course, Blizzard recouped $25 or whatever it was when I decided to transfer the RAF priest to my primary account before shutting the RAF account down.
So, basically, depending on when the Q2 sub numbers are compiled Blizzard will likely be seeing huge growth (due to 4.2 being released, dual-boxing RAF accounts, free copies of games going out, new expansion in China) or further drops depending on when the numbers are locked in for the report.
*Apparently Heroic Ascendant Council is more difficult than Sinestra based on number of guilds having killed it: 812 vs 926 (Sinestra). It might be that people were racing for Sinestra kills before the patch, but it is interesting nonetheless.
**By contrast, only 42.32% of raiders who downed Marrowgar did not also kill the Lich King. It is entirely possible we will see more 12/12 after an equivalent amount of time has passed, of course.
[note: Blizzard updated the notes after I wrote this, but before I posted. See Edit at bottom]
The inexplicably undocumented Arena point change has been a huge blow to my drive to PvP in WoW. In case you missed it – you know, focusing on all the gold-making and “versus AH” opportunities – the way Conquest points are earned have been radically changed. Pre-4.1, you had to win five games to cap yourself to the week, regardless of whether you were at the minimum 1343 (sub-1500 rating) or at 2000+ (over 1500). This may have seemed too “easy” for some, but the entire point of personal/team MMR is to put you against other teams/players that will result in a 50% win percentage. In other words, you are expected to play 10 games in order to win those 5.
Now? Blizzard has at least doubled the required number of games everyone has to play to achieve the same results. If you do 2s for points with your friends, you are going to be playing 20 games instead of 10. If you are above 1500 rated, you will be playing exponentially more – a 1600 Conquest point cap, for example, means I need 12 wins, or 24 games… 14 more than last week. A 2300 cap is 18 wins or 34 expected games at a high level of play. This is what I wrote on the MMO-Champ forums:
You guys really aren’t getting it.
1) This change hugely impacts everyone who does Arenas: it is at least doubling the amount of Arena game wins each player needs to have to get capped each week. If you are below 1500, it now takes 10 wins instead of 5. Blizzard balances your MMR around the idea of a 50% win percentage, meaning they expected you to play 10 games to win 5, capping yourself out. Last expansion, you could /dance or /afk your way through 10 games per week for points; the pre-4.1 change let people cap early if they get lucky (going 5-0), but if you have a lower win percentage you could end up going 5-13 and do more games than last expansion. This new change doubles the amount of games everyone needs to play. Now your “for fun + points” teams will be running an average of 20 games instead of 10, and the upper-crust PvPers could be required to play an average of 40+ games instead of 10. Between the queue times and how long matches can last (at any level), we are talking about a massive, extra drain on your time.
2) No warning whatsoever. Patch was on the PTR for months, and a fundamental redesign of the Arena system was pushed through like a Congressional earmark on a budget resolution at the 11th hour? Not only that, Blizzard already knows it “may be too low” but they pushed it anyway?
3) All of this smacks as a back-handed move to push Arena players of all stripes into Rated BGs for Conquest Points – “Hey kids, how about 4 Rated BGs instead of 20 Arena matches?” Instead of, you know, admitting that Rated BGs are a failure due to their overall design, and not the reward structure itself.
4) The lack of empathy from obvious PvE players who never Arena’d to save their life is just sad. This is the equivalent of them reducing the VP you get from dungeons from 70 to 35 (or 140 to 70), but leaving the weekly cap the same. How would you feel about suddenly needing to run twice as many heroics per week? Oh wait, “it isn’t necessary to cap VP each week” so nothing changes, right?
I had not really paid any attention to the MMO-Champ forums before, but it is truly despicable garbage over there, way worse than even the official forums in terms of trolling (if you can believe that). Most of the “counter-points” were essentially saying “haha, suck it” or:
No, it’s not the fact that they don’t enjoy PvP, it’s the fact that they don’t want to grind for the same type of rewards that sole PvE players have to endure for their epics. That’s why many people went to PvP in Cata due to the fact dungeons and raids are very time consuming again, and are not zergable as in Wrath… It’s the extreme lack of paticence that these players have that causes them to rage, because arena battles are not as easy to farm as, say, normal 5-mans or unrated BG’s… Plus, there is the rating issue… (lol)
There is a literal disconnection from reality with these people, and it is becoming impossibly hard for me to even wrap my mind around their worldview. “Extreme lack of paticence [sic]?” Is there no difference between a Tol Barad daily that requires you to kill 12 spiders and a hypothetical one that requires you to kill 24 spiders for the same reward? Is there no difference between a heroic that takes an hour to complete and one that takes two hours? What is the magical patience threshold they are using as a metric here? Imagine if it took twice as many heroics as it does currently to gain the same amount of JP/VP. Did nothing change? Did you lose nothing? Is the argument that your fun is actually increasing because you are being forced to play longer for the same goal?
I mean, good lord. Do people act like this in their real lives? “Pay freeze this year, so no raises. Oh well, nothing changed.” Or does this masochism only appear when they sit down for entertainment?
I enjoy WoW PvP… more or less. On equal skill levels, the player with the better gear wins. You have to have gear to compete, as PvP sure has hell isn’t balanced amongst players with 11% resilience (crafted PvP gear) and 31% resilience (4pc + weapon + trinkets) – one player is literally taking 20% more damage than the other. You know those unkillable healers running around these days? That doesn’t happen in crafted gear. Well, it might happen if you both are in crafted gear, which is the reason why you are getting better gear.
Regardless, Arena games are stressful affairs to me, and random BGs typically boil down to squeezing blood-fun from the “inevitably getting farmed at your GY” stone that is Alliance PvP. If I wanted to play more Arena games, I would play more Arena games. Indeed, I do Arena on three separate toons. Now? I will be forced to cut at least one of those toons out just to scrape enough wins on whichever I decide is my main PvP toon. If this system was in place at the start of Cataclysm, I would not have geared up three toons and otherwise not have played as much.
If you cannot recognize a difference between doing 30 games across 3 characters vs 30 games on 1 character, or are dismissive of the former because “it’s for the gear,” then… I have to question your sanity. You are playing an MMO; being rewarded for the things you do is not something dirty, it’s a huge part of the game. If the reward doesn’t match the effort, you don’t do it. If you disagree, well, I expect to see an Armory link of your main with “the Insane” title along with your response.
Which, ironically, would only prove my point.
Edit: Check out this post by Zarhym:
We saw that Arenas and Rated Battlegrounds were over-rewarding players for the time investment required, particularly compared to point gains in PvE. We felt the change we went live with in the patch was a little bit too low and overcompensating though, so we buffed up the numbers for wins just a bit to 180 (Arenas) and 400 (Rated BGs).
This changes the math a bit, but not by much – 8 wins (16 games) instead of 10 for casual Arena players, ~13 wins (26 games) for the upper crust. Make no mistake about one thing though: the Blizzard designers are very concerned about how rewarding you find the game. Fun cannot be metered out too quickly, because why else would you be playing, amirite? Think about that next time you find yourself grinding out Therazane rep for your 25 extra stats on shoulders. That kind of shit is mathed out on an Excel spreadsheet, and they just added three more lever presses before the Conquest Point food pellet comes out.
More and more, I think Gevlon over at the Greedy Goblin has gone off the deep end. In his latest post, he asserts that a Wowprogress chart proves that Cataclysm Raids are as easy as ICC. Here is the chart:
He goes on to say:
I placed some dots on the chart. The green dots represent the current situation of Cataclysm early bosses, the red dots are Cho’gall, Al’Akir, Nefarian. What?! More people killed Nefarian than the Lich King?! Cho’Gall is easier than Sindragosa?! There are 4 bosses (Halfus, Valiona, Magmaw, Omnitron) who are easier than PP?! What the hell is happening here?
What is happening here is that Gevlon has pulled a Nietzsche, staring a bit too long into the M&S Abyss only to have it gaze back at him. As we all know, aside from Gevlon himself apparently, is that ICC was gated content. As you can see from the very chart he posted, Lich King was not even available until almost halfway through the compared time period. If we actually shift the lines back to the beginning to simulate un-gated ICC, the chart suddenly demonstrates in graphics what everyone already knew:
I did not bother listing all the same bosses as Gevlon, because in his bizzaro-world more people hitting 4/12 this tier than 9/12 last tier after the same amount of time is some kind of coup to the argument that Cataclysm started too hard. That’s dumb. What’s missing from that chart? The lines for Marrowgar, Deathwhisper, Lootship, Saurfang, Festergut, Rotface, Blood Princes, and Dreamwalker, any and all of which were easier than Magmaw or Halfus, and got peoples’ feet in the raiding door. That top green hash mark is Magmaw, by the way. If you have killed Al’Akir and/or Nef by now, you should have been able to kill 10m Lich King at 0% buff. By the April 5th line in the graph, the ICC buff was 10%.
Remember the missing guilds from Wrath I was talking about? Yeah, the graph proves they’re still gone. Speaking of missing…
WarcraftRealms is, well, WarcraftRealms, but it is showing less player activity nowthan back in April of last year. Remember back in October? Nothing much to do, ICC super stale, etc? Same level of activity right now. I am not trying to say WoW is dying or anything, just that if Firelands comes out at the same difficulty as this tier (or higher!), well… it might be time to start spending a bit of that fortune of gold you have just wasting away in your bags.