Monday, August 10, 2009

Enough with the gear upgrades already

I like -- or at least don't mind -- most of the changes that Blizzard introduced in patch 3.2. But there is one thing I don't get, and I haven't been able to get a decent answer out of anyone on why it works this way. At least, not one that makes sense to me (which is my definition of a good answer).

Blizzard went through all the trouble to change all the existing Northrend instances and raids so that they ALL drop Emblems of Conquest. The upshot of this is that now everyone can get iLvl 226 gear. "Great!" I say. "Now we'll all be on a level playing field, and it will be purely playing skill and style that separates us." Which, imo, is as it should be.

But wait, not so fast… because in this very same patch Blizzard also introduced the next tier of gear, in the form of iLvl 239 and 245 gear! This gear can be crafted by people who spend too much time on the auction house – err, I mean, by people who have enough gold to afford it. Or it can be gotten from the new Argent Tournament raids.

So here's my question: WHY? You just went through all the trouble to make sure we all have the latest gear, and then at the same time made it all obsolete. What is the sick, twisted logic behind this decision?

Moreover, why did we need a new tier of gear in the first place?

The whole gear tiering system is just kind of stupid and drives me nuts anyway. My feeling is that you should raid because the experience is fun, and because it is challenging. Rewards ought to be in the form of achievements, titles, and such. If you raid solely to get new and better gear that will make the raid easier... why raid at all? Just stop playing, that is the absolute easiest it gets!

The big problem I see with continually introducing newer, better gear is that it essentially nerfs all of the other content. I spent all weekend running heroics with guildies, and it wasn't challenging so much as it was mindless. We are all in a mix of 213-232 epics, which are already much higher than the original 200's for which those dungeons were designed. The only real challenge was how fast we could clear each instance, not if we could clear them.

Which brings me to the next point. The closest thing I got to an answer on why they introduced a new tier of gear is because they plan on making the final Lich King raids much more difficult. But that makes no sense at all! If you make the content harder while simultaneously improving the gear, it's a zero-sum change. "We're going to make the raid content harder, so we are going to give you better gear so that the raid content is easier!" Huh what?

Who is the moron who came up with this system… and who are the morons who continue to perpetuate it?

If you want to make the raids harder, it's very simple: give the bosses more health, or make them do more damage. Give them ever newer and stranger abilities. Make more adds. Just don't go so far so that it requires new gear to do it; because then you've gone too far. Let people enjoy the game without introducing gear that essentially ruins all previous content because it is now too easy.

New gear is just a way for the content developers (in this case, Blizzard) to be lazy. Rather than creating content that is more challenging because it is different, they can create content that is harder simply because it requires slightly more powerful gear to do the same thing you've done in every other raid since first entering the Dead Mines at level 15.

Enough with the upgrades already.


Misneach said...

It really has been a ridiculously quick jump, if you think about it, from ilvl 200 epics to what's dropping now. Slow down, Blizz.

The irony of it all is that the gap between the "geared" players (i.e. those that have time to do a lot of heroics and raids) and the "undergeared" players (i.e. those who don't have the above)is really just getting wider.

Yes, I can now get Conquest gear, but really that only boils down to a couple of usable pieces for me...not a whole set. I'll still be sitting on some ilvl 200s while the people who cleared Ulduar pre-3.2 are getting stuff that's even a high ilvl than the Conquest gear I can pick up.

The playing field isn't as level as everyobdy's making it out to be.

jptpublic said...

I'm a fan of introducing new tiers of gear, but I share the feeling that the current rate is moving too fast.

Easier access to better gear is Blizzards main way of opening up content to more and more people as time goes by.

The elite 1% will always clear all new content very soon after release. Every patch, blizzard opens up the possibility that more and more casual people can get to see what the best in the game saw weeks or months ago.

Blizzard needs to keep the carrot moving forward in order to keep everyone chasing it. Everyone from the elitist jerks to the 'special' players that only know how to auto-shot.