I talked a while back about catch-up dungeons
. Now, we'll talk about the more basic issue - why have 'catch up' mechanisms at all? Why have gear that exists so you can skip content? Recently Celestalon responded to this question on twitter and his answers are very, very interesting to me.
This idea of playerbase consolidation reminds me, as it always does whenever anyone brings it up, of the old days of Vanilla and BC raiding. That's how you can tell I'm crazy old - everything reminds me of something that happened years ago. But in this case it's apt. Back in Vanilla, there basically weren't any catch-up mechanisms. If you wanted to join a raiding guild that was clearing Blackwing Lair, if you hadn't set foot in Molten Core yet, you probably simply weren't getting in, and if you did, you'd likely end up being dragged through several MC and Onyxia runs (assuming you didn't have to get attuned) to get you caught up on gear. Often guilds didn't really want to do
that, so if they didn't, you were basically out of luck. The 20 man raids Zul'Gurub and AQ20 served as stopgaps, with gear that could help
, but it wasn't enough in many cases.
BC improved this to a degree. There were still attunements for a while, but guilds could at least rely on the Badge of Justice mechanic and get newer players geared up faster. I actually took some time off playing WoW
after Vanilla ended and didn't start raiding in BC
until my then-guild was working on the Tier 5 raids (Tempest Keep and Serpentshrine Cavern) and so, in order to get ready to join them, I ran a ton
of Karazhan and heroic dungeons and bought tanking gear off of the Justice vendors - I ended up still having to tank in Zul'Aman with a green tanking ring and belt and a bunch of dungeon blues on, but at least I had some
gear by that point.
Since those days, we've seen various mechanisms (Wrath
's patch five mans, Mists
with justice and honor gear and the Timeless Isle) to allow players to get caught up to current content. And to my mind, while I'm not always on board with the specific way
it's implemented, it's the best change imaginable for a variety of reasons.