Welfare Epics

 Pitrelli has done it again – I started up a reply to his most recent post, “Cataclysmic Worries“, and it became so long I just decided to make a post here. Being someone who’s played both sides of the fence on the second issue, I feel qualified to comment.

 A Little History

 In BC, I was new to WoW. I didn’t have a guild, I didn’t know what Vent was, and I, like many “casuals” got my “welfare epics” by picking up honor in battlegrounds. Thing is – I enjoyed playing in BGs. I was a solo player who got a kick out of doing something group-oriented and organized that didn’t require attendance checks. At the time my girlfriend was working nights, so I was alone with my son in the evenings and couldn’t log in to play until well after most raid groups got started. The idea of raiding pretty daunting at that point, anyway. But I digress; being able to buy the honor gear provided me with little goals along the way, a nice by-product of doing what I enjoyed most. It also improved my performance in BGs. Win-win!

Now during WotLK, I found a great guild and was introduced to the raiding game. It’s what I do for fun. The loot is a nice by-product of that. Taking out the next boss is the goal to shoot for, and this helps close the gap. Win-win!

The Bottom Line

It may just be me but I kind of find the emblem system a bit crap. It seems to me it was purely implemented to keep players subbed and make it easy to gear up alts and make everyone look the same.  -Pitrelli

 Sure this is a ploy by Blizzard to keep people subbed. Those casuals are the cornerstone market of WoW.

Here’s the thing: what do I care about what the casuals are doing? What impact does it have on me if Mr. Casual-pants over there has all his T10 epics from running the daily heroics? Is he going to steal my raid spot? Probably not. Is he going to take you out in Arena? Unlikely. He’s probably going to group up with his casual guildies and go run some more heroics. And when he’s decked out his main with the best gear heroics can buy, guess what he’s going to do next? Roll an alt and stock it with heirlooms. Rinse, repeat.

What does it matter if “we all look the same”? That’s what I don’t get, probably because I don’t feel the need to flaunt my gear to others. [I prefer to do it with actions (leading DPS charts as a BM hunter) in friendly competetion within my guild.]

 So I have to believe it all comes down to e-peen. Anyone who’s rankled about emblems cares about one thing – showing off. Otherwise, give me one honest reason you’d care about other people having “emblem gear”. I used to see this same type of thing posted in trade chat all the time during BC. “Damn casuals with their ‘welfare pvp epics'”. I say, who cares?

The Raiding Game Today

Now its all fair and well wanting the majority of your player base to be able to sample the endgame content but do you really have to make such powerful gear available using tokens that outstrips current raid gear? Are they now saying that Naxx etc aren’t worth while and should be missed out completely?  -Pitrelli

Let’s look at the case where the casual does want to move onto raiding. As far as Naxx being worthless? It still drops emblems, too. Just good luck getting 9 other people to go with you, though. Then there’s this:

“LF1M ICC – checking GS and achievements, pst”.

If you don’t give these folks the means to an end, they’ll never get into raiding. Would we want to pick up people in our casual raiding guild and have to gear them back up through Naxx/Ulduar? Ugh, hell no. We only have so many hours a week and we like to try new things. Emblems are amazing in that regard.

(To nitpick, the token armor doesn’t really outstrip current raid gear, and I wouldn’t consider Naxx current if the implication is tied there in those two sentences.)

The Epicness of Epic, and Challenge

With Cataclysm on the horizon I just think its time for blizzard to rethink this madness. I mean sure its nice to gear up and get that purple armour but please can epic gear get its meaning back? It just seems like they have gone epic mad in WoTLK with every second drop being purple as it is.

I actually prefer the idea of introducing more challenging 5 mans (like the 3 in icecrown) to introduce more casual players to better gear. The gear is earned by challenge alone and not by grinding old dungeons which have little or no challenge involved in them. Do they really need these two ways to get better gear?  -Pitrelli

Who do you plan on making those “epic” epics available to? Raiders? PvPers? Crafters? Casuals? Think long and hard on the implications of excluding one or any group from that list.

Again, challenge is relative. Newer players – such as your “noob friend” in a previous post would probably find the new heroics easy with a PuG group consisiting of four regular raiders. In a group of like-skilled friends, however, he might find them impossible. Dungeon Finder has changed the landscape of WoW, and that’s a bigger problem to solve on another day.

As for multiple ways to get gear – yeah, why not? You can raid, craft, pvp, or PvE as it is.

Food For Thought

 I’d argue that the emblems are most problematic for non-alt playing raiders. Why? The majority of the people I know loathe heroics and do them only for the reward of 2 Frost emblems. They are intentionally doing something they do not find fun in order to increase performance in another aspect of the game. That’s truly a “grind”.

~ by Drew on March 15, 2010.

10 Responses to “Welfare Epics”

  1. not in anyway trying to ba a dick but unless you played in original WoW I dont think you will get what Im saying. Im very much looking at this from an old school view point. And in respect to my own playstyle these days a casual viewpoint, its not just about gearscore or e-peen, back in ol’ WoW epics told you a story about the character you were viewing. They added a bit of awe to the game.

    Hell I remember running after people in ironforge to find out what that cool looking weapon was and these days it just doesnt happen. Its hard to explain and as I said perhaps you have to have played from the start and be a nostalgic sod like me 😉

  2. I’m not quite certain where you’re drawing that conclusion. I’m not in a “hardcore” guild – no cutting-edge progression team would let me play as BM, let’s be honest.

    What I’m saying is that if you’re looking for ‘epic’ and ‘unique’ things in WoW today, the best examples of that will be achievement drakes (Hard Modes Ulduar, etc.) and “Heroic”-stamped gear (I assume they do for H ICC what they did for H ToC?).

  3. Re-reading my original post, I suspect the confusion might be coming from my usage of “casuals” without truly defining it.

    The “casuals” I’m referring to throughout the post are non-raiders; those who are gearing up through heroics, since the original post was about the Emblem system.

    We can define hardcore and casual in many different ways – typically I look at it as a function of time. In this case, I segmented it differently.

  4. Point noted.

    Btw if you want further evidence of the bad gear structure this expansion have a look at the item levels included from the lowest ‘epic’ and the highest ‘epic’ then take a gander at vanilla WoW or indeed TBC item stats (i take your point about the pvp epics in TBC but thats why more specific stats were introduced for PvP gear – aka to stop people raiding in gladiator gear 😉 ). Im all for progression of gear but the power difference is seriously out of balance. I think a better idea would be slighty progressive stats but also make it preference of looks. This may solve the ‘clone saga’ everytime people log into dalaran.

    Anyway both different view points and opinions I guess 😉

    • Oh there’s no doubt the item stats have gotten completely out of control. That’s part of what I was alluding to in the comment about Dungeon Finder revolutionizing the game; people who just dinged 80 being grouped with raid tanks and the silliness of it all.

      The game badly needs a gear reset at Cataclysm, and I’m hopeful the stat changes will help with that, too.

      As for item dyes and cosmetic sets (ala EQ2) – I think that would be a great idea and another money sink to help out the economy.

      • I’d prefer vanity slots rather than dyes. Ah just think judgement armour for my paladin and bloodfang for my rogue 🙂

  5. To be honest, I really wonder why some form of that (cosmetics) hasn’t been implemented in WoW, yet. Achievements and vanity pets are in, why not fashion slots?

    I understand the hesitation for player housing, but this one seems pretty simple (from a non-coder’s point of view, of course).

    • Im a big fan of guild housing after my foray in Conan but can see why it isnt implemented in WoW. Perhaps they could in the future but it would have to be instanced rather than ‘oh look there is a player house’

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