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The delicate balance of raid consumables

As you might imagine, raiders are unhappy with the Burning Crusade raid game. Is it because more of the developers' energy has been focused on more casual players, leaving the raiders out in the cold? Nah. The issue is the steep curve of BC raids and consumables.

Right now, there are two raids that can be done by most guilds: Karazhan and Maulgar, the first boss of Gruul's Lair. Everything from Gruul onward is still considered bleeding-edge content, since most guilds are stalled at Gruul. The problem, according to Solipse of Blackhand, is that everything from Gruul onward is tuned to a group using full consumables.

Now, in the past, groups would go in fully flasked to beat new content. I remember using every potion I had the first time my guild defeated Vael. But Solipse argues that Blizzard's efforts to decrease the gear gap between raiders and non-raiders has created an inadvertent problem. Guilds used to go in fully buffed and flasks the first couple of times they did a boss, but after that, the gear they got from progression helped them enough that they didn't have to use so many consumables. Now, since the gear gap is much smaller, the guilds still have to use the same amount of consumables for each attempt. And since farming consumables for minimal gear upgrades is a giant pain in the heinie, a lot of raiders are getting fed up. If a healer needs 100 potions and two flasks for a night of Hydross attempts, how fun is farming that going to be?

There are a couple ways Blizzard could help, but all of them have nasty side effects. If they make the gear "worth it " in regard to consumables, the gear gap between raiders and non-raiders will quickly get to be as big as it was pre-BC. If they nerf consumables, the encounters will be even more impossible and alchemists like me will be out of business. And if they tune the encounters for groups without consumables, guilds like Nihilum and Death and Taxes will kill Illidan the first day he comes out, since they'll still flask and use pots.

Solipse ends her argument with a pretty good idea: if Blizzard is going to require mass consumables, then alchemy should make mass consumables. Instead of getting one Fel Strength Elixir when I combine two terocone and two nightmare vine, I should get a stack of five. This would keep the alchemy economy intact while making it much easier to farm consumable mats.

What do you think? How should Blizzard fix the raiding game? Or have raiders been catered to for too long?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, The Burning Crusade

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