November 30, 2015 6 Comments
I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving holiday. I know I did. Of course, it’s like all good things — eventually enough is enough, and it feels good to get back to your normal routine. Honestly by Saturday I was ready for it to be over. Which meant I did play some amount of WoW, just to escape the hungry hordes in my living room. (“Sorry, guys, gotta do some web site maintenance and bookkeeping. You know how it is with a small struggling business.”)
Which brings me to the already-had-enough-of-a-good-thing subject of valor.
Most of my time in the game over the weekend was spent chasing valor on my two hunters. This meant running all of LFR HFC, plus the weekly bonus event, plus a couple of randoms. After that, I think the valor return gets a bit thin for the effort expended, not to mention I am not really in that much of a hurry to upgrade their gear. As I have pretty much stopped raiding for the remainder of this expansion, the only reason to raise gear levels is to prep for the next round of leveling in Legion.
The return of valor has certainly worked to get players re-engaged in LFR and dungeons, I think, but I still wonder how long it will last. I know for me, once I upgrade the few pieces of decent gear I have on my hunters, I will be done. I am not going to upgrade their crappy Baleful gear with terrible secondary stats, nor am I going to upgrade those lousy pseudo-tier pieces from LFR. And since Blizz has made it almost impossibly difficult for me to get decent upgradable gear for my lesser alts, I will not be chasing valor on any of them because what’s the point. So I will be done with valor in another week or so, and I suspect I am not alone in this.
This, of course, is where Blizz’s horrible decisions on gear for this entire expansion are catching up with them. Making it completely dependent on random rolls — whether that be for secondary stats or for the actual gear itself — means that eventually people just give up on it. The time — and pain, if you are not in a raiding guild — required to get the gear is simply not worth the reward. Oh, you might stick with it for your main, but very few people will do it for their alts. And make no mistake about it, Blizz has designed the end game such that gear is THE motivator for participation. Almost the only motivator.
I don’t want to get into the whole welfare-gear debate, my point is not about that. My point is that, when you design a game whose main goal centers on gear, you have to make that gear — or the means to get it — reasonably attainable for the majority of players who make it to the end game. I do not mean give it to them, but I do mean give them multiple paths to it. I contend that Blizz has failed on this.
Right now even normal level gear appropriate to their spec is beyond my reach for alts, and even to some extent for my main (thinking hunter tier gear here). This is because:
- Garrison missions now only award gear at the level the character has already raided at (not one level higher, as was the case at the beginning of WoD), so if you have not done some normal runs you will not get any gear at that level.
- If you are not already fairly well geared, farming baleful gear in Tanaan is extremely time consuming — to the point of absurdity — for some classes and specs.
- Even if you get baleful gear, the chances of getting the best secondary specs for your class are dismally small. This is, astonishingly, true even if you spend a pile of Apexis crystals to actually buy it.
- If you are willing to grind for the mats to craft gear for your character, you cannot equip more than three pieces.
- You simply cannot get accepted into a pug — even for normal level raids — unless you pretty much already outgear it. Thus, anyone who is not in a raiding guild is severely penalized in terms of getting gear. And Blizz’s policies for the last two expansions have been to gradually remove most incentives for guild membership, thereby decreasing the number of active guilds (no numbers to back this up, just anecdotal observation), thereby also decreasing the number of raiding guilds.
- Even if you do get into a pug after hours of rejections, chances of getting gear are not great, given RNG along with the typical “tier gear res 4 guild, some [whatever class/spec you play] pcs on res” restrictions.
So unless Blizz makes some changes to gear acquisition in the next mini-patch — if there is one — I am pretty much done with my newly-discovered re-engagement with Draenor. Off the top of my head, here is what I would like to see:
- Make some normal to heroic level gear pieces available for purchase with valor.
- Establish a mechanism to reconfigure secondary stats on gear to actually fit your spec.
- Lift the 3-piece restriction on crafted gear.
- Make all Baleful gear BoA, not just the pieces from shipyard missions.
- Make the random Baleful drops completely generic (no armor type) until they are used. (The Timeless Isle model.)
- Change it so that if you buy Baleful gear with Apexis crystals, you can specify what secondary stats you get on the gear.
- Expand valor so that it is awarded — even if in small quantities — for every activity in Tanaan. In other words, go back to the Mists valor model.
Changes like these would send me to Tanaan and to LFR/randoms regularly, probably for at least a couple of months. It would allow me to gear up my alts decently, but not excessively. And it would restore my faith that Blizz is not trying to make gear — even moderate gear — more and more of an exclusive club for their favored 5%.