Will This 1 Simple Change Fix WoW Raiding?

A few days ago, we reported on Lono at Screaming Monkeys’ grand project to figure out what made a great raid.

Well, today he’s back with his results – and they make for interesting reading. But even more than that, he thinks he has a single silver bullet which could change all of WoW raiding for the better – and it’s amazingly simple –

“When I set out to write this I had envisioned complicated changes, technical stuff that would take multiple posts to explain and finely tuned details but after having done all this research I find myself reaching a very simple solution. A simple solution but one that would probably change the face of endgame if it was to be done.

Let’s remove gear out of the equation.

I can already feel the initial silence, then the low rumble as people forms ideas and finally the outburst at the heresy I’m proposing but let’s take a moment here.

Of all the reasons mentioned as to why people loved a particular raid, whether on Elitist Jerks or on a casual family site, gear has never ever been mentioned as one of the reasons why a raid was great. While some people fondly remember a drop for a number of reason, it’s never what makes a particular raid the best ever.

Likewise, fights that are used solely as gear checks are almost all reviled. They’re seen as boring facerolls at best and frustrating progression walls at worst. People don’t feel rewarded because they had the ability to equip gear, they feel rewarded for playing their characters.”

Despite Lono’s grand ambitions here, this isn’t a wall-of-text post – in fact, it’s short, interesting, and very readable. I found I agreed with some of his ideas – notably his comparison with single-player RPGs and their epic final dungeons – more than others, but at no point did he bore me, or did I feel that his ideas were obvious.

Have a read and see if you agree with him – I can see this one starting a real debate!

So what do you think? Get rid of gear?

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Holy Priest Quick-Start Guide For WoW Patch 5.4 – Stats, talents and spec, glyphs, rotation, reforging and gems, priorities and healing strategies

Once again, the theme in Mists of Pandaria is “Holy Priests don’t change much”. Patch [patchnumber] continues to bring Not Much Change, aside of course from Garrosh losing the plot. But there are changes to Talents, new Glyphs, and some other small changes – so, to get your talent build, reforging, gems and healing priorities in order, here’s a quick-start guide to get you into the Patch [patchnumber] Action!

Updated [guideupdated] to World of Warcraft Patch [patchnumber]

Holy Priest Changes in Patch [patchnumber]

Some minor changes.

Holy Healing “Rotation” and Priorities

Of course we don’t have an actual rotation! Here’s a quick guide to get you rolling with MoP Holy healing, though.

First thing: Chakras.

The Chakra state is one of the Holy Priest’s signature abilities, and can look pretty complicated – however, it’s actually very simple.

Holy Priests can work in one of 3 “states” – either single-target healing, AOE healing, or DPS.

To go into a chakra state, you simply cast the appropriate Chakra spell – Serenity or Sanctuary (or Chastise if you want to DPS for some reason). You can’t cast them more than once every 30 seconds.

Whilst you’re in each state, you’ll get a bonus to that type of healing, and your Holy Word spell alters to become a spell of that type – single-target, AOE or DPS.

Single-target healing

If you’re only healing one target most of the time, you’ll be in the Serenity chakra, putting up Renew to tick away merrily, then using Heal almost continuously to keep your target topped off without much mana cost. Use Holy Word Serenity frequently on your target to keep Renew up on them. Throw Prayer of Mending on if they’ll be taking continual damage.

If the target takes a lot of damage, you’ll use either Greater Heal, if you have time, Flash Heal, if it’s an emergency (but watch your mana pool!), and your Holy Word: Serenity and Prayer Of Mending as often as possible. If the damage is sustained and overwhelming, use Flash Heal twice followed by Greater Heal, and repeat.

If the group suddenly takes damage, pop Circle of Healing (your cooldown AOE heal) and use Prayer of Mending (which will heal your primary target when they next take damage) to pick up the single-target slack.

AOE/Group healing

You’ll want to be in Chakra: Sanctuary when group healing. Drop a Lightwell ASAP. Your primary group heal is Prayer of Healing – use it liberally. Use Circle of Healing any time it’s off cooldown and is needed, in preference to Prayer of Healing. Throw in Cascade when more healing is needed – note that it will refresh your Renews. Top off healing with Heal and Renew. If the group’s taking damage irregularly, also use Prayer of Mending.

Don’t use Holy Word: Sanctuary unless you’re sure you need it – it’s very expensive. The best time to use it is 2-3 seconds before you know the group is about to take heavy damage.

Cooldowns

  • Divine Hymn is a powerful AOE heal on a short (3 min) cooldown – use it on very heavy damage phases.
  • For mana regen, use Shadowfiend and Hymn of Hope – ideally, these should be used at the same time. Note that Hymn Of Hope also benefits other healers.
  • Guardian Spirit is a powerful spell to save a single person – particularly if they’re about to take a damage spike you can’t heal. Check with your raid leader if you need to use it at a specific time.
  • Void Shift is an extremely powerful heal if you’re on high health – but it has a very long CD. Assume it can only be used once per encounter. Pop Desperate Prayer straight after.
  • Oh, and remember Leap Of Faith, aka Life Grip, for those times when someone stands in what they shouldn’t have stood in!

Buffs

Cast Power Word: Fortitude.

Holy Priest Talent Choices

Talent choices are a lot more flexible in WoW [patchnumber] and Mists of Pandaria, so you’ll eventually want to make talent choices on an encounter-by-encounter basis. However, here’s a good no-downside general-purpose talent build to get started with:

  • Tier 1: Void Tendrils
  • Tier 2: Angelic Feather – lets you drop movement buff items.
  • Tier 3: Mindbender – (arguably) improved Shadowfiend.
  • Tier 4: Desperate Prayer
  • Tier 5: Power Infusion – powerful CD to boost your healing.
  • Tier 6: Cascade – another powerful group-healing CD.

Stats, reforging and gemming for Holy Priest

Unlike DPS classes, there is no set best way to gear and reforge – instead, there are a few options, depending on what you most feel you need as a healer.

You care most about two stats: Intellect, which boosts your overall healing power, and Spirit, which controls your mana regeneration. You should gem and enchant for these two stats.

Beyond this, you want enough Haste to get to at least 4,721 Haste. After that, Mastery is your next most useful stat, above Crit, which is close to useless for Holy priests.

Reforging: reforge everything to Spirit until you no longer worry about running out of mana (this may require quite a lot of Spirit at first!). Then, reforge to Haste if you can get up to 4,721 or just under, then either Mastery for better mana efficiency through a lingering Heal Over Time or Haste to speed up your spells, as you prefer. Reforge from Crit first.

Gemming: Generally you’ll want to gem Purified (Intellect + Spirit) gems in Red sockets, Sparkling (Spirit) gems in Blue sockets, and Reckless (Int / Haste) in Yellow sockets.

Meta Gem: Revitalising Meta gem.

Holy Priest Glyphs

Glyphs, like talents, are now much more situational – however, here’s a good general loadout of glyphs with few downsides:

Major: Glyph of Lightwell, Glyph of Circle of Healing, Glyph of Prayer of Mending. IN 10-man or less content, Glyph of Renew may be better than Glyph of Circle of Healing.

Minor: Choose as you will! They’ll have no effect on your effectiveness.

Holy Priest enchants and item enhancements

You should almost always use a profession enhancement item if it provides appropriate stats instead of a general enchant.

  • Shoulders – Greater Crane Wing Inscription
  • Back – Enchant Cloak – Superior Intellect
  • Chest – Enchant Chest – Mighty Spirit
  • Wrist – Enchant Bracer – Super Intellect
  • Hands – Enchant Gloves – Superior Mastery or Enchant Gloves – Greater Haste depending on if you can reach a Haste breakpoint.
  • Belt – Living Steel Belt Buckle
  • Legs – Greater Pearlescent Spellthread
  • Feet – Enchant Boots – Pandaren’s Step or Enchant Boots – Greater Haste if you’re using Inner Will.
  • Weapon – Enchant Weapon – Jade Spirit
  • Off-Hand Weapon – Enchant Weapon – Major Intellect

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Should We Abolish Loot?

No, really. Purple pixels. Boss drops. Should we dump ’em?

Sounds crazy? Well, it’s actually The Grumpy Elf doing (one of) the things he does best – making Swiftian Modest Proposals about MMORPGs that are actually far less obvious than they appear.

You see, Grumpy’s been considering the cause of strife in game communities – the topic of the week – and he’s identified one common factor in nearly every shouting match. Yes, that’s right – he’s arguing, in a 10-point plan, that gear is the reason MMO communities – specifically WoW – tear themselves apart

“2) People ripping on people for wearing PvE gear in PvP.

We have all been there. You’re in a battlegound and someone start yelling at the noob in all PvE gear because he sucks and is getting killed in three seconds. Words get exchanged, things get heated, and someone could even find themselves banned if someone reported any of that crap.

It causes animosity within the community.

3) People ripping on people for putting out low numbers.

The huge stat inflation on gear has skewed every ones perceptions. They see their raid hunter doing 40K on ultraxion and go into looking for raid and blast another hunter for only doing 30K. I’ve seen it. As a hunter I know what hunters can do and I saw one getting ripped for doing 30K. I looked at his gear, he was doing exceptional. I would say near perfect for the gear he had. But like I said, the gear skews perceptions. He was a baddie for doing only 30K and I was a baddie for pointing out that 30K for his gear was great because I was playing a shaman and know nothing about hunters, he should have been doing at least 45K in their opinion.

It causes animosity within the community.

4) People ripping on people rolling on off spec.

In random dungeons or raids we have all seen this haven’t we? There are no main spec > off spec rules in those outside of the few buffers the game throws in that do not really work all that well anyway. So people can roll on anything they want for any reason but that does not stop people from flying off the handle because of it.

It causes animosity within the community.”

Guild Wars 2 is already addressing this issue to some extent, of course, with the promise of an endgame that isn’t focused around grinding for gear at all. But I’m still intrigued by Grumpy’s thesis – and his proposed solution, making all raid gear trivially easily available. There’s a lot of truth to the “gear is the root of all evils” argument – you just need to have lived through the Gearscore era to realise its malign power.

Could it work? Could WoW wean itself off the loot treadmill? Is it time for a loot intervention?

What do you think?

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Hot Topic Watch: Attunements, Gear and Dailies

It’s been a week or two of fast-paced discussion and debate in the WoW blogosphere, and as we move into the weekend, that discussion’s still raging. Whether it’s attunements, dailies or gear, here’s the latest pieces of thought on the topics everyone’s talking about:

  • Scott Andrews at WoW Insider takes us down memory lane in the attunements discussion, taking us back to the pure joy – no, wait, I meant anguish – of the Horde Onyxia attunement chain in Vanilla WoW“Thrall sends you on the most dreaded part of the attunement chain: talking to Rexxar. Rexxar was not a static NPC who stood there waiting for players to interact with him. No, Rexxar had stuff to do. He patrolled all the way through Desolace and into parts of the two adjacent zones, Feralas and Stonetalon Peaks.”
  • Ratshag has decided to take pity on those of us who want attunements back – with his Do-It-Yourself guide to attunement simulations“The Karazhan Attunement Experience: Read page 1 of yer novel. Go ta that cave in Southwest Twilight Highlands. Kill everything. Wait fer thems ta re-spawn. Kill them all again. Read the next page…”
  • Bob at Altclysmic weighs in on the “motivation and gear” discussion started by The Grumpy Elf, looking at how Mists of Pandaria will change the way loot motivates us“The new system will allow me to daily my way to the top, the asumption will be that this is an easier way but the reward gathering will be so much slower.”
  • And Spinks at Spinksville writes a lengthy post discussing various elements of Mists of Pandaria to come, including a section to the daily quests of MoP, and how she (unlike other commenters earlier this week) believes they’ll be a good thing“At that point in the game, people just want to log in and do something fun that will progress their character in some way. Assuming dailies are at least as fun as normal quests and that people who like PvE are happy with normal quests, the only issue is whether players get bored and how many dailies you have to do to get whichever reward you are aiming for.”

Any opinions on the dailies, gear or attunements discussion?

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Gear, Spaceships and Instant Messaging

SWTOR seems to be the topic of discussion today – and sadly not in a good way. In addition, we’ve got more interesting comment on the idea of MMORPGs morphing partially into social networks, and The Grumpy Elf looks at the perennial topic of gear and “welfare epics”…

  • Yes, Grumpy’s back, and today he has a thoughtful, interesting response to the question “why would non-raiders want raiding gear?”“For the non-raider your progression is your gear. If you are 330 you are starting, if you are 350, you are advancing, if you are 380 you are doing well and if you are 390, you are basically capped as far as you can go without raiding. “
  • Rohan at Blessing of Kings considers the way in which one of SWTOR’s cooler ideas – the personal spaceship – has actually become an albatross around its neck“Sometimes I wonder if The Old Republic managed to incur an ancient voodoo curse during its development. It feels like almost every design decision they made carried a hidden sting, an aspect that would later come back to bite them.”
  • Straw Fellow continues his “worst case” series of MMO futurism pieces, looking at just what might happen if SWTOR does indeed become free to play“SWTOR was supposed to be our last hope. It was supposed to prove that with a good IP and a solid budget you could create a game that could sustain itself on subscriptions. “
  • And Jacob at TL:DR considers the many potential benefits to games companies of allowing non-subscribed players to communicate with subscribers via an IM client“A communication system that spans on and offline would also encourage retention of players. Having an ease of communication between guild members just facilitates keeping a group of people together, which means people play the game longer. “

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The Last Challenge – deliberately playing undergeared?

Don’t kick that undergeared healer in your LFR group – they might be a hardcore player looking for the ultimate challenge!

Yes, Tzufit of Tree Heals Go Whoosh has been playing it differently in WoW, and committing what many would view as the ultimate sin – deliberately going into LFR and LFD undergeared. She’s doing it for the challenge – but what she discovers is that on a class she knows, she can do the apparently impossible

“Tzufit, you’re probably wondering, Why the heck haven’t you taken care of this druid? You know how she should be gemmed and enchanted, you have the gold and the crafting toons to make it happen – what’s up? Well, it’s pretty simple, really – I wanted to see if I could get away with healing like this. I pushed myself slowly at first, working my way through the original Cataclysm heroics until the Dungeon Finder thew me into an Hour of Twilight run that I wasn’t expecting. (I’d forgotten that HoTs would still pop up in my queue if my collective iLv was high enough, even if I had selected the “Random Cataclysm Heroic” option.) In that way, pushing myself on this toon happened almost by mistake. I zoned into the End Times dungeon and used the teleporter to get to the first boss – and it was Tyrande. My heart skipped a beat and I prepared for the worst – to wipe, to be ridiculed, to be kicked from the group. But, you know what? It was fine – just like it always is when I’m on my main.

This will sound overly simplistic but the reason I succeeded in that dungeon is pretty simple: I knew I would succeed. Now, I don’t mean this in some silly, motivational poster kind of way (Believe it and you can achieve it!). I mean that I knew I could heal HoT heroics and LFR with a resto druid, even an undergeared one, because I already had. This feeling, though, is significantly different than when I go into a new dungeon or raid with my priest or shaman healers. This feeling, this confidence, is specific to a resto druid.”

Tzufit goes through her experiences with other healing classes in similar situations, and comes to an interesting conclusion – that your main, the first character on whom you experience content, will always be easier to play, to the point that you can do the apparently impossible. Blending anecdotes and detailed healing analysis, this is a really interesting post.

And I think she’s stumbled upon a valuable point. My oldest characters – despite the massive changes they’ve gone through – still seem to be the characters with whom I play the best. Often, like Tzufit, I’ve found that gear is far less of a problem on a character I’m really familiar with than I’m expecting. Indeed, in Wrath, I had a very similar project to her, testing how bad I could keep my Gearscore and still put out excellent DPS. (I must admit this was also partially a Gearscore-bore-baiting exercise).

What’s your experience? Can you achieve marvels whilst undergeared if you know the character well enough?

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Cross realm heirlooms, BoA, mail, and other trading in WoW Patch 4.3 | The Cross-realm Guide

One question that keeps coming up again and again on the WoW forums is whether we’ll ever be able to transfer heirlooms and other Bind on Account ( BoA ) items to characters on another realm or in the other faction via cross realm mail functions. And it’s not a dumb question – after all, it’s BoA gear not BoS (Bind on Server), right? So, can we do it now, and if not, when’s it coming?

Updated 29th Feb 2012 for WoW Patch 4.3

What Blizzard Have Said About Cross-Realm Mail

Blizzard have actually wanted to implement cross-realm mail since shortly after they introduced the Bind on Account concept to WoW. Initially, it was announced that they were working on a cross-realm mail feature before Cataclysm – but then things went mysteriously quiet on that front.

Since then, cross realm mailing has been one of the perennially hot topics on the forums, and the blue posters have periodically acknolwedged that, and mentioned that Blizzard is continuing to investigate the possibility of cross-realm mail.

With the arrival of cross-realm Battlegrounds, Dungeons, and finally Cross Realm Raids in Patch 4.3, there was a surge of renewed hope that maybe cross-realm trading would be next in line. But, alas, it was not to be. Blue poster Takralus posted on the subject on the 1st December 2011, crushing everyone’s hopes:

“We’re aware this is something players would love to see. However — echoing previous posts we’ve made on the subject — sending heirlooms across realms might be something we consider doing at some point, but there are currently no immediate plans to introduce this feature.”

So, if you want to transfer a BoA item from one character to another who you can’t just mail, are you completely out of luck?

Mailing Heirlooms and BoAs cross-faction – from Horde to Alliance or Alliance to Horde

If you’re trying to transfer your BoA items from a character on one faction to a character on the same server but the opposite faction – that is doable. However, there are a few gotchas.

As of WoW Patch 3.3 you can send BoA items to your characters on the opposite faction. You’ll need to mail the item to the character name – just the character name. Importantly, you’ll also need to make sure you’re only sending the item itself – if there’s anything else attached to the mail, it will fail completely.

To the best of our knowledge, you can also mail enchanted heirlooms cross-faction.

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Getting heirlooms across servers

So, there’s no way to move an heirloom from your character on one server to your character on another, then?

That’s not quite true – it’s more the case that there’s no free way. (Although see below – Blizzard have some intriguing future plans for heirlooms).

If you really want to give a character on a new realm the fastest possible start, the best way to do it is to create a new character on the realm where you do have heirlooms accessible, buy all the heirlooms you want to hand out, mail them to that new character, and then use the Paid Server Transfer function to transfer the character – and his pile of heirloom goodies – over to your new server.

Of course, this costs money – but it is a relatively fast and simple way to gear up new characters on another realm.

The Future of BoA

Blizzard have stated that they aren’t happy with BoA items being tied to a single server, or with the need to transfer them via in-game mail, and are looking at a completely different interface for them.

11th Feb 2012

“In terms of Bind on Account items, we believe that using the mail system to transfer heirlooms from one character to another is less than ideal. We’d like to work ourselves away from that sort of item distribution model, and have some design goals in mind that would change the mechanics of how heirlooms are distributed in-game.

We think it would be wonderful to simplify the system so that, for example, you might have a constant heirloom page across all your characters that you could peruse and select from at your leisure. Conceivably, we could do something similar for pets and mounts.

As always, these sorts of design ideas are constantly being evaluated. I just think it’s worth pointing out we’re not currently aiming to create a system that would allow players to mail heirlooms across realms or accounts. We believe that would be a sub-optimal design, and we have better solutions in mind for the future.”

As of this writing, it’s pretty obvious that Blizzard are looking to move away from the old server-limited model to a more flexible design, as several bloggers have predicted. Cross-realm raiding is clearly a huge hit (look for a guide to it soon), and we have some evidence that cross-realm dungeons are ticking along nicely.

With all that in mind, if you desperately want to heirloom-level a toon on a new server, it might be worth waiting for Patch 5.0 – there’s a good chance that it’ll see a major overhaul to how heirlooms, BoA items, and other such things are handled across realms.

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Sith Madness Sorcerer Quick Start Guide for SWTOR: rotation and priorities, talents, stats, gear, spec and companions

“Now, young Jedi – you will DIE!” ZORCHZAPSCREAM – etc. Yes, for most of us, that’s the reason we rolled a damn Sith in the first place – to cackle, look evil, and fry Mark Hamil with Force Lightning. Except it turns out that there’s more to DPSing in SWTOR, particularly once you get to Level 50, level cap, than just spamming lightning and cackling. So, for the confused, furrowed-brow Madness Sorcerer, here’s a guide to our best abilities, rotation (and priorities), talents and spec, gear, stats, and even our companions.

This is a work in progress! Star Wars: The Old Republic hasn’t been out for long enough for us to have a 100% solid idea of what talents, abilities and so on are best, so we’re going on the work of the top theorycrafters here as they figure the game out. However, this guide should give you a good start and put your damage well beyond what 95% of the SWTOR playerbase are able to do.

Obviously, this is a first draft guide – if you have comments or suggestions, please do post them below!

Updated 10th February 2012 for Patch 1.1.2

Sith Madness Sorcerer Ability Rotation

  • Top Priority: If Lightning Barrage has procced, use Force Lightning.
  • Second Priority: If the target doesn’t currently have Affliction on them, cast Affliction. Otherwise, cast Death Field or Crushing Darkness if they’re off cooldown.
  • Third Priority: If Wrath has procced, cast Chain Lightning if it’s off cooldown. Otherwise, spam Force Lightning.

Wrath: Ideally, you should use Wrath with Crushing Darkness. It’s a DPS increase to use it with Chain Lightning if Crushing Darkness is on CD, however.

AOE: Use Death Field as top priority, then multi-DOT with Affliction and use Chain Lightning. If there are 5 or more mobs, use Chain Lightning as top priority.

Sith Madness Sorcerer Talent Spec / Build

There is some ongoing discussion as to the best Madness spec.

This spec appears to be a generally good DPS spec.

This spec is more Force-efficient – use if you’re running out of Force regularly.

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Stats and Gear for Madness Sorcerers

Willpower is absolutely the most important stat for Sith Sorcerers in general, including Madness. Power is our most important secondary stat.

At the moment a good basic stat priority to use is Willpower, then Power/Force Power, then Surge, Crit, and Alacrity in that order.

Stats we don’t want: We have no use for Strength, Aim, Cunning, very little use for Endurance, and little use for Presence unless we’re using a companion a lot. Shield, Absorbtion and Accuracy are also useless for Sith Sorcerers in general, and Defence is basically useless.

Companions

Currently it appears that at end-game your best companion choices are Ashara Zavros for DPS or Xalek as a (rather weak) tank.

2V-R8 is completely useless for combat purposes for a Sorcerer.

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Points-based loot, difficulty and the decline of WoW

It looks like the discussions about loot, loot progression, loot obselescence and similar topics, which I initially thought might be a one-day affair, are starting to hot up into one of the blogosphere zeitgeists of the moment.

Completely unrelated to the posts I highlighted the other day, Perculia (WoWHead Community Manager) and Elitist Jerks’ Hamlet have jointly published an essay on how loot rules in WoW have changed over the years, and how the difficulty of WoW has altered, partially as a result of those changes. These are two pretty heavyweight commentators, and they clearly feel passionate about their topic – whilst the essay opens a bit dry, I heartily recommend reading the entire thing

“On the scale of one individual player, there is an ideal, natural method for gameplay to progress. That player should master a piece of content, obtain gear for doing so (generally by farming the content for some amount of time) and take her newly improved character to the next piece of content. Each iteration flows from the last in a robust, continuous, organic, RPG advancement. The player has a meaningful investment in the character that grows over time because each step was tied to the last.

One point that’s not initially obvious, but which winds up being absolutely critical: after enough cycles of that process, the player finds that something truly magical has occurred. She has learned to play the game better than when she started. That improvement is a slow, inconsistent, and invisible process. But all readers (and there are still some of you out there) who at one point struggled at Magmadar only later to kill C’Thun, Illidan, and The Lich King need no further proof that somewhere along the way, somehow, they got better at WoW.”

There are a lot of very valid and important points and suggestions being made in this essay. I’d never considered the extent to which the point grind has changed WoW – I knew it was the major change since TBC, but not quite what that did to the overall curve of the game. And their points on fear, random character death and enjoyability really ring true in my feelings about WoW, LoTRO (which still has plenty of “argh – dead” moments), and other MMOs of the minute.

Cynwise, meanwhile, has been following the discussion about gear as it develops, and ties a lot of the points being made together, in a lengthy post contrasting the WoW PvE and PvP models

“The problems in PvP gear are between seasons – of rapid gear deflation, of no carry-over of value from one tier to the next.

The problems in PvE appear to be struggles to combine both a random and consistent gear reward model, with neither working well together. Changing from one tier to the next isn’t really an issue.

There aren’t a lot of easy answers here. It’s not like you can just say, points are the problem in PvE. Badge gear served a purpose, and if you take it away, then that task – providing catchup gear for raiders who struggled with the previous tier – still remains. If you leave that in there, then guilds will remain stuck in a single raid. (Now, you may ask: is that a bad thing? I am unqualified to answer that.)”

I found Cynwise’s bullet point comparisons particularly helpful here, as someone who’s very familiar with the PvE model but not so much the PvP model. Notably, the points he makes that only PvP rewards skill with more/better loot, and gives out loot for the same tasks it’s used for both seemed very apposite to the ongoing conversation.

If there’s a flavour of the overall WoW dialog this quarter, it’s “what went wrong?”, and that discussion seems to be narrowing in on difficulty. Gear is a new addition to the conversation, and I really look forward to everyone’s opinions – let us know what you think, and if you make a blog post about this, either comment or mention us in the post (we’ll see it as a trackback) to let us know we should follow your words too!

So – what DO you think?

Quotes taken directly from their respective posts.

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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.

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