Is it actually worth gearing up any more?

There’s a bit of a kerfuffle brewing about World of Warcraft gear and the aquisition therof in the blogosphere at the moment, and if I were working at Blizzard, I’d be keeping a close and nervous eye on it.

See, after the announcements about Valor Points today (short version: 1k point cap, 500 max from the Raid Finder), quite a few people are sounding less than chuffed. And in particular, Fulgaris of Killing ‘em Slowly is Not At All Happy about the way that the Valor Point system affects PvE gearing

“The problem I see, the disconnect, hinges directly from the statement that the “aim is to return to the days of valor points being a consolation prize rather than being central to the gearing process.” Aka – we want you to gear through raiding. Then fix your damn drop system! It’s awful. The loot tables are awful. What drops is awful. The things people need don’t drop, and the items people can’t use always drop. Who are these tuned for? I’ve not seen one post ever where someone has said: “Wow, I seem to get all the drops I need through raiding.”

VP is a necessary part of the gearing process because Blizz has MADE IT SO. EGADS! It’s working as felling designed (if not intended). How the fel do any of these VP changes help make it easier to get gear through raid drops? All I see is a bunch of restrictions as if they’re afraid to make VP “too good” and to limit the number of drops you can get to make sure people don’t “overfarm” or something. Here’s a thought: GETTING GEAR IS FUN. By placing all these ridiculous limits on gearing, not only do you make it harder to understand, but you are restricting THE FUN. You wouldn’t have to nerf the fel out of the raids if you’d simply let us gear a bit faster. “

Yep, he’s not happy. And I can see his point – whilst it’s quite cool and game-extending to have people work for their gear, the VP Capping argument from earlier in the year shows that the grind is starting to become a serious issue, particularly when it’s evident that a) the content will be nerfed fairly soon after release and b) new gear will arrive a few months afterward.

But hey, at least things are fine in the world of PvP, right?

Not so much. Cynwise has a lengthy post on his Field Notes today, talking about just this issue, and about how the PvP gear grind is forcing him out of the game

“If I’m going to spend time getting gear, I want the gear to matter. I want my effort getting it to mean something, for it to be an accomplishment that retains value. That’s my major problem with the Cata PvP transition – it shortens the useful life of the gear I get even further than it was previously.

The dichotomy between an endgame character, where you are always gearing up a toon, and a twink, where you gear them up once and are done, is pretty big. What I’m wrestling with again, what I am probably always going to wrestle with, is that I enjoy gearing up toons, but that I want that gear to matter.

I’m starting to think my problem isn’t with the endgame grind, per se, but rather with the perception of the value of gear relative to effort spent acquiring it. If it takes me an entire PvP season to gear up to Conquest gear, and that gear has little value in the next season, then I feel it’s not worth it at all.”

It seems like WoW might be heading for a cliff pretty fast here, and whilst that’s a major headache for the devs, it’s very interesting for those of us watching them. WoW has suffered from gear inflation more and more over the years – whilst many people thought that had culminated with WoTLK and the iLevel 200 / 264 dichotomy, it’s at least as bad if not worse in Cataclysm. And the player base is learning. Why grind for the difficult-to-get gear, when you can simply wait a month or so and either aquire it with ease or not need it at all?

What do you think? Are you still jazzed by gear? Are you still VP capping? And do you think there’s a problem here?

Quotes taken directly from their respective sources.