May 18th 2008 9:33PM What happens when you make lots of Tier 5/6 gear available to people for running Tier 4/Heroic instances? People aren't going to run the hard stuff to get it - yes, badges may drop in 25 man raids, but as the OP stated, it's far easier to farm places like Karazhan for them.
What Blizzard really should have done is made gear available that requires 'badges' which drop in instances of comparable difficulty to the gear bought with them. Kara badges should buy Kara equivalent gear. SSC/TK badges buy SSC/TK equivalent gear. This reduces the overall time you have to farm an instance to get your raid geared up, while still keeping it so that people focus on the raids they can accomplish.
May 5th 2008 1:44PM Wow webstats, or really, just damage/healing/etc meters in general, are a real eye-opener. When I first ran Karazhan as my hunter, I thought I was pretty good. I had all blue gear, and a few crafted/heroic epics and badge pieces.
However, on the DPS meters I was still getting significantly out-DPS'd by the other hunter, who was in noticeably worse gear than I was. Our specs were the same generally, and the talent point differences were not enough to account for the vast gap in DPS.
The only conclusion that I was left with was that there was something (or multiple things) that I was doing wrong, or that I wasn't doing. I then went and did some research, both in talking to him about what he was doing, as well as going to various hunter blogs/posts on the web. I started using macros to automate my damage-boost trinkets, and started fine tuning my shot rotations through practice with a shot-timing add on (Sorren's Easy Rotations). I even went out and ran tests against Doctor Boom in Netherstorm to compare different shot rotations and shot usage, both in terms of pure DPS, and in terms of time to OOM and damage done before OOM.
Prior to this Karazhan run, though, I had no idea about any of this. After all, what I had been doing before worked up until this point - there had been no need to work on it. Once I saw the disparity though, I set about to fixing it.
This is the key thing, though. The person in question has to see the problem, and want to fix it. After that, they have to accept the advice. I've known people who played a class that asked for advice from the more experienced members of that class, but then rejected that advice because they 'didn't like it'. Ultimately, if the person realizes the problem, but won't fix it, and just can't contribute to the raid, then it's better for the group to take others in their place.
Apr 22nd 2008 10:56AM Another useful point about these items - they are considered a separate set from the S1/S2/S3 items. What this means is that unlike the Gladiator's items, you can't mix and match. However, you can also get the +35 resilience bonus from both sets, which may be well worth it if you're trying to improve your resilience early on and/or your 4 set piece bonus for S1/2/3 isn't that impressive.
Apr 14th 2008 4:48AM Actually, I've never been to SSC or TK. I'm not a hardcore raider, though lately I've been trying to put in the time to progress. What really bothers me is that now it feels like a lot of time and effort that isn't all that worth it.
And no, from a purely business standpoint, you're quite correct - the bulk of Blizzard's customer base is casual, and as such, it makes poor sense to cater to the 'hardcore' gamer.
So why do they even bother with stuff like the Sunwell Raid? Well, like most companies, Blizzard doesn't just want the easy customers... they want *everyone*, casual and hardcore alike. Also, to keep the playerbase interested and involved, you do need that high end content, and the achievements that accompany it, as carrots on a stick for the casual players. There has to be a next step within your grasp, whether it's another level, another item, another boss downed, or the game becomes stale and boring.
What I think is needed is not devaluing of the achievements, but rather, to smooth out some of the bumps in the road that often find people hung up. For instance, the Karazhan to Gruul/Mag/etc transition, or 10 to 25 - this seems to be the killer for many guilds.
Anyway, one thing I've always felt is that if you complain about something, you have a responsibility to offer a solution. I don't have a problem with badge-type rewards per se - in fact, I love the concept of reducing the amount of raid instance farming needed to move to the next level (because really, how much fun is it to do the same instance for the zillionth time, just because raid members 23, 24, and 25 need more gear from the place?).
So, what I'd rather see is different levels of badges. Badges from Kara/Heroics (and Gruul/Mag as well perhaps) should buy T4 (or even T4.5) equivalent gear. A Badge item from TK/SSC bosses could then be used for gear on that level, while ones from Hyjal, BT, Sunwell could be used for gear equivalent to drops therein.
As for PVP gear... as I said, required rating helps a lot. I'd like to see more of it. I'd remove or weaken some of the nominally PVE-centric stats, though, such as hit rating (absent on S1 gear, but present on S3 gear, for instance). I do like the blue 70 PVP gear, because it makes sense in helping to create a clear upgrade path - a starting point for newer players/characters.
And incidentally, yes, I do get a tangible sense of achievement from getting a particular piece of gear that I've wanted for a long time. Don't you? Wanting to down the boss is part of it, but it's not the entirety of it. When we're discussing a new boss, half the chatter in my guild is over what he/she drops, after all.
Apr 12th 2008 11:19PM Honestly, it's a trade-off. Blizzard's actions repeatedly show that they intend to favor casual players by making things easier, whether it be by putting Tier 6 PVE gear in as Badge of Justice items, or by making high-end PVP gear easily accessible to the average player.
And no, it's not as impossible as you make it sound. Under the old PVP system (Pre BC) you were _not_ guaranteed any of the high end PVP gear, at all, no matter how much time you spent PVPing. I'm not saying that system was a good one, but you knew people had worked (and won) to earn it.
As for the current system, yes, it can take months to get those high-end pieces, if you let your team rating start to get really low. All it takes, though, is to drop/disband teams, and reform - presto, 1500 rating again, and only ten games needed to score points. Before long, you're bound to win some games against ungeared nubs... but I digress. You *will* get the gear, with the exception of shoulders and perhaps weapon - but even then, just get the S2 one, and you're not far off... and there are tricks to get around even those requirements in some cases.
Even with PVP gear aside, Blizzard is taking out a lot of the challenge/reward of the endgame on both sides. My guild, after a lot of hard work, is now ready to enter SSC/TK... but a lot of the gear that I would have needed from there, and would have been ecstatic to get, can now be purchased by any idiot that runs heroics and does Kara on occasion.
The bottom line is, there needs to be some sort of sense of accomplishment. It should not simply be a matter of grinding away time. If that were the case, I'd just go work a second job, and buy an epic'd out character on EBay - because it would have about the same sense of accomplishment.