Is it actually worth gearing up any more?

by on October 5, 2011


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.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Stormy October 5, 2011 at 11:16 pm

Hell yes I’m excited about gear. I play a priest, for crying out loud. Have you seen T13? If I ever got my hands on the priest T13 headpiece I’ll be transmogging my gear over to that headpiece for all perpetuity. I’m so excited about T13 I can’t even contain myself. I’d sell my own cat down the river or even (gasp) pug raids in the RaidFinder for my shot at priest T13.

I suppose the aesthetics of the gear are not really what you were talking about, though. :D

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Elkagorasa October 6, 2011 at 12:09 am

I am less than excited about gearing. It seems this expansion, the next patch and tier sets are coming out so fast and quick that I can’t even get my complete set before the next expansion comes around. With a wel pitched PVP BG, you could be picking up only 40-50 honor points, and no conquest. To gear up PVP, you need to run arenas or rated bgs. Without the gear, you’re not going to win. This puts me constantly at the disadvantage. As Cyn eluded to, what’s the point of running endless arena battles, if my gear is going to be obsolete the moment I complete the set?.

In addition, I was frustrated by the VP difference in the current 4.? to 4.2 dungeons. Here I am running a classic heroic or I am running trollroics with undergeared. They are both painful. Why should I get only 70 valor for dying to fresh i326 level, 85s instead of a fresh i350 geared 85. Happily in 4.3 some of that changes with all heroics giving 150 valor, at least then I’ll be able to buy the rest of the 4.2 gear. :-\

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Azuriel October 6, 2011 at 4:04 am

The irony is that it was never “worth it” to gear up. It has always been just an arbitrary goal, like a high score.

What more and more of us are coming to realize through our burn-out is that the food pellets aren’t worth the hamster wheel anymore.

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Klepsacovic October 6, 2011 at 4:41 am

“It took three weeks, but we finally got the boss down!” *loots epics*
“It took three weeks, but I finally ran the same dungeons enough times!” *buys epics*
Gear is a tool and a symbol. As a tool, it helps us kill stuff. As a symbol, it says what we did to get it. Did we beat a challenge or did we spend a whole lot of time dealing with randoms?

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Babb October 6, 2011 at 1:23 pm

According to armory, on my main I’ve killed Ragnaros 10 times…9 of those times, he dropped a Vanq tier token.
I’ve also killed Domo 9 times normal, and 3 times Heroic. He has yet to drop a protector piece. 9/12 pieces he dropped are Vanq tokens.

Naturally on vent after killing these two bosses there are shouts of ****ing Vanq again.
We have backups that had MS and OS 4 piece before regular raiders even got their 4 piece.

That is my loot frustration.

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Lath October 6, 2011 at 2:35 pm

I’m in the middle of post about this very topic myself! In the 3.5 weeks since I have started playing fairly regularly at night again I’ve gone from having an average ilevel of 330 after questing and normal dungeons to 356. All I’ve done is a few random battlegrounds (converting honor to justice points) and done a heroic each night where possible. Between all the items available with Justice/Valor points and the new epics from the Firelands dailies, ZA & ZG you barely have to put in any effort at all to get yourself into a raid ready position. Coming into the game a little bit behind really makes it easy to catch up on the gear front.

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Hinenuitepo October 6, 2011 at 4:45 pm

While not stated explicity, the concept of “VP-capping” seems at least to some extent to be miscontrued by Felly Fulgaris if not the readers here.
VP-capping only means you can only get so many points in a week. It doesn’t mean you can’t save up VP points in general. VP-capping has always been a way to ensure some crazy person can’t just chain-run heroics night and day for 24 hours a day and end up with all the VP gear in less than a week. Which would be silly and ridiculous. Do I even have to point out why?

You could make the argument that you’d prefer the cap be a little higher, but arguing that there shouldn’t be one is just silly.

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Klepsacovic October 6, 2011 at 10:46 pm

@Hinenuitepo -
Why shouldn’t they be able to do that if they want to? I don’t see how it hurts other players. More time has always been an advantage, why not just let that person grind it out? I don’t want to group with that person, and this way he’s gone sooner (though doing the same number of runs).

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Tonder October 7, 2011 at 3:39 pm

@Hinenuitepo – And the amount of effort Player A put in in 24 hours is somehow less than the same effort hobbled by capping per week? Actually the cap is just to keep people grinding and just below the level needed to be able to down that boss, so they then have to nerf the boss at the end so everyone has downed him prior to the next expansion. Or you could say it limits individual advancement to the calendar lockstep.

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Cynwise October 7, 2011 at 8:05 pm

@Hugh: Thanks for the links, I appreciate them!

@Azuriel: I think my point, for endgame PvP at least, is that gearing up is a requirement for participation. Every season my gear’s value will depreciate as everyone else around me gets better gear. This is only at the endgame; I can gear up a twink and play her without any grinding from that point on. The two models offer a stark contrast to each other.

I’m not touching the PvE debate with a 10′ pole, though.

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