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2-01-2012 @ 11:58AM
I would actually not say that it failed.In Vanilla and more clearly in BC, Blizz figured out that going through all of the past raid content to gear up for current raid is quite impractical (to say the least) at the end of an expansion. It required longer and longer to get ready.In Wrath, they fixed that by making gear acquisition scale with time (same content for new badges each new expansion). They also timidly tried out if adding easy content could work, introducing a first dungeon in 3.2 then 3 additional dungeons in 3.3. The problem there was that (i) people grew more than tired of most heroics and (ii) we were showered with epics.In cataclysm, Blizzard probably never intended to put roadblocks to prevent gearing alts as suggested by the OP. They tried to limit epic accessibility in order to have people spend time *playing* dungeon content before raiding. Heroic dungeons would only give blue items but with the heroic badge. Then we could finally get back a sense of epicness with purple loot. Epics could still be bought using valor points, but it required more time than in Wrath.That was successful and seeing purple gear in 4.0 was a sign of more dedication than in 3.0.Then, in 4.1 and 4.3 they introduced new dungeons to ease gearing a new character up to raid-readiness. You seem to think that it's a sign that the system failed but that was probably their intention all along. In 4.1 they were able to deal out sub-T11 gear level which allowed raiding people not to feel offended. In 4.3 they decided to give T12 gear level in easy heroics. It's probably a bit too much and I'd venture to guess that it was a promotional offer to help LFR.In any case, it allows people to hop in, spend a short time playing dungeons before being able to *play* with their friends. That's not a failure and it was the original intent.The system achieves its goals but there are mainly two things that could be improved:- keeping blues (with heroic tag) drop instead of purples in dungeons. That's what the raiding crowd wants and the non-raiders don't care much for color, only for ilvl (and LFR can get them some epics if they want, now)- having a smoother dungeon path: 346 -> 353 -> 378 compared with 359 -> 378 -> 397 is not optimal: 372 would have been enough for 4.3 heroics and the difficulty of LFR could have accepted a ~365 barrier of entry (but it was probably a though out decision in order to increase the LFR success chances for launch).
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