Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Wherein I Get Angrier And Less Constructive About Gear

Coming on the heels of yesterday's attempt at offering a rational solution for what I perceive to be a problem, I've now seen the Blue Post regarding clarifications for the Valor Point changes in 4.3.  For a good summary of the information, check out WoW Insider here.

My initial reaction is to throw things.  It's a joke that the raid finder's limit on VP is 500 per week.  Can you even get anything for 500?

For the record, a new piece of gear PER WEEK is not fast.  I understand the need to cap VP gains so that people don't chain run and replace all their gear in a short amount of time.  What I do not understand is why the devs feel the need to force us into a breadth of activities to achieve these Valor Points.  You can't just pick the path you enjoy the most, because the limits on each are set low.  You have to do multiple things if you want to gear SLOWLY.  As in, one piece of gear per week slowly. 

That is bollocks.  How can they get this right with PvP, yet bone it up so hard in PvE.  Slap an overall VP limit that is right around the average cost of a piece of gear.  Then, simply let folks decide what they want to do to get there.  It's fine if you put a slightly lower limit to encourage people to try a different path each week... but 500 is far too low for that.  Heck, 1000 is too low. 

I'm okay with big items like tier pieces and/or weapons costing double.  But in my opinion, the goal should be to make it possible for people to gear up, on average, one piece per week.  At that pace, content will be cleared, and you don't have to worry so much about when to nerf.  They've already admitted that we're behind, in general, where they want us to be... why impose more limits on VP?  Open it up for Light's sake!

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 FUNBy 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. 

The base problem I see is this: The gear you get per hour spent doing PvE things is horrible right now.  As I said yesterday, for PvP it seems tuned correctly... and CP/HP is an integral part of the process (you don't have drops).  So either fix the drops in PvE to be more effective, or embrace that fact that token points really aren't that bad when tuned correctly.  I don't think a new piece of gear per week is too much to ask.  Especially at this new, faster release rate.  If you want us to burn through content, you're going to have to speed up the gear.  Instead, we seem to be going the other way with it.  Why?

I've seen the "gearing up" malaise strike a lot more people this expansion.  It takes the form of "why even try when the gear is going to be obsolete in a month or two."  It's pretty simple to understand why.  If you spend a whole lot of time and effort getting something, then you want it to last.  Seems at direct odds with pushing people through content faster.  Make up your mind, Blizz.  What do you want?  Valuable gear spread out over time, or fast paced adventures through quick-released content?  You can't have both.


  1. I think you're getting a couple of things mixed up Ful. PVP gear is handed out in Honor and Conquest Points. Honor lets you grind all you want, for last seasons gear - CP lets you get a little every week. As far as I know, the only thing that affects your CP gain is how 'good' your RBG or Arena team is. You can't just grind Arena for 7 days straight and have all the CP gear you'll ever need.

    JP/VP works the same. You can spend 7 days doing nothing bur running heroics, and you'll have all the JP gear - from the last tier of raiding - that you'll ever want (you'll probably also be insane and kill yourself). VP you get at a slower trickle. I think the lower cap on VP vs CP is that you can raid for shots at other VP iLvl gear - just like you can RBG or Arena for a higher 'cap' of CP ever week. The big difference is that CP is solely based on team skill - where raid drops are your group skill + random loot drops + whatever loot system you use.

    I think where Blizzard may be getting it 'right' this time is that you can buy all the pieces at the current iLvl for VP - because they recognize the loot tables suck. It's not tier, but at least it's better than spending a whole raid season wearing a 353 hat from ZA.

  2. CP has a both a weekly cap for overall, and a cap for either RBGs or Arenas (unshared). The overall cap is like ~100 more than the flat arena cap. It may vary based on rating, but I haven't seen it it.

    The point is that in slightly over two hours last night, I capped my CP for the week via arenas. I could get ~100 more from RBGs, but even without that, I've earned enough in three hours of play to purchase one whole piece (with a few exceptions... i.e. weapons).

    Now, our rating is somewhere around 1300 and we have, I think, something like a 1200CP cap. I want to say 1250, but I can't check while at work. On most nights, we lose as much as we win (which is the rating system working as intended I think).

    The point is where the cap is set in relation to the gear price points. I can get a piece of gear each week at the higher level CP for about three hours of play time.

    You most certainly cannot do the same thing via VP. That is my gripe. VP, it's hard to even do that over seven days of playing two hours each night (a typical Z run, say).

    I totally discount drops in all this ranting because, as you said, the loot tables suck. As such, we all turn to VP. Yet, they want VP to be a "consolation prize." Well, that doesn't really jive with the design.

    So my whole grip is: either fix the loot tables so we can actually get something useful from drops. -OR- Fix the VP system so that it works more like the PvP system (where you don't worry about drops).

    I think that makes sense? I agree that I think it's good that they are making all the pieces purchasable.. but that's sort of a band-aid to a larger problem.

  3. I see where you're coming from - but even so, 1250 CP will let you get one of three items that are 1250 or less. VP has three items at 1250 or less, with a weekly cap of 980 (and one is BoE). I don't feel that you can discount the raids here, because the VP system is designed to supplement raid drops - where PvP gear is based solely on what you can buy. I think you'd have a lot less interest in raiding if you did away with the loot tables entirely. I would like to see them go to a system where something dropped that could be exchanged for whatever else you wanted - like if a tank plate chest dropped, you could trade that in for a healing plate chest. You'd still have items that aren't usable, but it would open it up a bit.

    I would have to argue that the VP system is already like the CP system - especially since we haven't seen the costs yet. If I had a gripe, it would be that currently it's 3 weeks to get a tier piece with VP - where you can get the same piece at your 1200 rating in 2 weeks of Arena.

    It's not the best system, but it's certainly better than Molten Core or even Wrath.

  4. See, now you're applying logic to a rant. :-)

    I thought CP items were cheaper, but I don't have anything to back that up. I felt like I could buy a lot more with CP than I could with VP, but maybe that's just because VP accrues so much more slowly (as you stated later).

    I like the idea of exchanging items. That would most definitely make it better, but would arguably turn everything into a tier token... which might be just fine.

    You're right in that we haven't seen the costs. If they lower them across the board... well then I'm okay with that.

    Ideally, I think the gold standard of gearing should be 1 piece/wk at the higher levels of stuff. Longer for some key pieces. Also, you should be able to cap by spending a reasonable number of hours doing any one thing. For the "2 weeks of arena" you mention... aren't you really capping after like 2 nights each week? 3 weeks of PvE is literally three weeks, multiple hours per night, every night. Aka - Painful for any casual player.

    That's all personal opinion though. So is the fact that I liked Wrath gearing better. It was fast and easy... and when they moved up tiers it wasn't such a big deal because it was fast and easy. I agree that the challenge was diminished, but the gearing was less of an un-fun grind, IMO.

  5. Interesting rant - thanks!

    There's clearly got to be a balance here, but quite what that balance should be - well, Blizzard clearly aren't getting it right. I don't understand the Raid Finder limitations either - why exactly doesn't Blizzard want people to be able to do more than one LFR per week? Is this some attempt to keep "real" raiding superior, or are they just worried about the LFD tool emptying?

    INcidentally, at the same time as you were posting your PvE issues, Cynwise was posting about his woes with the PvP gear grind. Seems neither side is doing very well. I've featured both your post and his post on the MMO Melting Pot today (goes live in about 4 hours) as a kind of point-counterpoint.

  6. Great minds... or something.

    Thanks for the heads up! :-)

  7. I've always said that every account should get the max level gear right at the very start. You can then PVE to see content. But that's just my wacky idea.

    The bonus to this is no loot ninjas, no arguements over who gets what and no poor loot drop tables.

  8. Sorry Fug - didn't mean to shine the cold light of logic on your rant :D

    Another thing to keep in mind is that even though you might cap your CP via arena in a couple hours - I'd much rather raid than arena (not a huge PvPer). The other thing is, while the goal in each is the same (getting gear) they are completely different games. The PvP game =/= the PvE game.

    What I mean is - to get the maximum CP you can, you need to be a 2400+ rated team. That means really good, and a lot of time. You might even go so far as to compare the top PvPers to the top PvEers in terms of skill and time - for their prefferd game play. Now someone in Paragon will probably be farming/clearing every boss in a matter of days/weeks - thus fully capping their VP through main raiding. Someone like me might take 6 or 8 weeks to get a full clear - so I have to supplement with something else.

    I respect your opinion, and your right to be frustrated at the system - I just don't agree with you.

    /bless the internets and our ability to have differing opinions and still be civil.

  9. 500 vp in the 'raid finder' is not a big issue. From my exploration of the PTR, they've removed the troll/old heroic difference. Now "Heroic Dungeon" could drop you in any previous cata dungeon. That's an easy 150x7 VP that you can pickup easily. Add on top of that the 3 new dungeons they are adding, which are likely going to drop higher level gear again, (346 in classic cata, 353 in trollroics) we'll probably want to run a mix of those three dungeons more often.

    Now consider raiding + raid finder + classic heroics & trollroics + new end-game heroics, I don't think you're going to be short any options for valor.

    On the other hand, I think the case that tier gear will only drop from the raids, that's will hurt a lot of casual players. Those that want to run the new 5-man content, but cannot regularly raid. Those are the people who will be vote/kicked because they can't dps.

    I thought we were passed this Blizzard.


  10. Love the post. I was personally really pissed off in ICC that it took me raiding - successfully! - over a year and I didn't get every single thing on my wish list. I didn't finish up with 5 pieces of tier that's for sure. And that's simply due to drops and drop rates and token sharing.

    TOC seemed to hand out the tier much faster. I was "geared" in Tier 9 very fast. Did that stop me from raiding and wiping non stop until the next content patch? Hell no!

    You need current gear to raid, in fact raiders get anxious when they are failing due to lack of stats, not skill. Gear and challenge are two very different motivations.

    Im currently not happy that for most running heroics has become a daily "chore" but I think VP points have done that. They're too good. All my gear is from points this expansion. I want to try the Raid Finder but I think players will only be kind to lesser-geared-ALTS not lesser geared players.

  11. @Ad - Word. I see where you're coming from too. I guess I'd just like a valid VP option I could do in about a half hour for good VP gains. Maybe that's not a good want though.

    @Elk - I guess it's not the number of options that frustrates me... rather that they are all essentially "long" options. I want a quick option.

    And you're right, I didn't even touch the tier gear thing.

    @Mama Cass - Sorry if you're not a mother... nicknames are fun though. Thanks for the love and raiders definitely get anxious about failing to gear... that's a great point. Even for casual raiders. From all this I'm thinking that perhaps the best solution is not to mess with VP anymore, but to make drops better/more likely to be useful.

  12. They should definitely rethink how loot drops in 10 man raids. If people are taking too long to reach the end boss (which is obviously the case else why have they nerfed everything), then it's probably because people are not gearing up quickly enough, and not because they suck and need someone to hold their hand.

    I have 3 pieces of loot from boss drops after 11 weeks of raiding, and I'm sure I'm fairly typical of the average raider.

    Bosses should either drop more loot, maybe 3 would be enough, or at least loot should drop depending on raid composition, rather than typically get 2 pieces of junk that either no-one can use, or has dropped the last 4 weeks running.
    Average 10 man raiders have to use VPs to upgrade right now to have any chance of progressing before BLizz swings the nerf bat. Making that harder to do will only mean more people failing to get to the end boss in time.

  13. Yep, totally agree. And if the goal is to make VP less of a critical path, fixing the what loot actually drops is probably the best way to deal with this issue.

  14. Heheheh Lathere is the one with the baby, not me. Mama Cass I am not! And I'm not sure I want to be associated with the band either :D

    Lath is convinced that VP should be "back up gear" like your 3-5th best in slot item available with VP points and your best item always only available via a drop in a raid. Can't say I disagree with that.

    I don't think it's right that raiders in the current zones (Firelands lets say) are still motivated to do Heroics when they don't want the drops just the points. Something isn't right there.

    Perhaps what we need is a new option: trade 15 BOP epics of item level 400 for your choice of any item at level 400 in the game. I'd go for that!

    Or trade 15 of any ilvl 400 items for your choice of 1 ilvl 390 in the game.

    That way when one drop eludes you you can cash in all the stupid items that nobody in your raid ever wants.

  15. I'd be fine with VP items being less than BiS so long as VP then became easier to get and you could gear up to that level more quickly (and then cross your fingers for some BiS drops).

    Or, along with your idea about heroics... fix the drops in heroics so that they matter as well.

    The trading is an interesting idea. I wonder if it would incite more ninja-ing though as then all the gear would be hunter gear... which I guess is the same as it is now (jk) but you catch my drift.

  16. I just don't understand why you think the new 4.3 model is worse...
    The overall VP weekly cap is being increased, the heroic VP grind is getting easier and faster due to trollroics being mixed with older heroics, and you are getting one whole new option for VP acquisition, the Raid Finder, through which you can reach about half the cap.
    If you are casual, you will raid using the raid finder anyway, and you'll probably get a lot more VP from it than from normal raids, since you'll probably be able to clear all bosses as opposed to normal mode, thus making you run less heroics for VP a week.
    For regular 10-mans, it's wonderful to see that you can cap your VP by doing all 9 bosses each week, which isn't true in 4.2 (8*120=960, 20 pts short, which sucks big time).
    In 4.2, you either raid or blow your brains out doing ZG/ZA over and over. How is 4.3 not an improvement?

  17. You're right, 4.3 is an improvement over 4.2. It's just not enough. It doesn't do enough to fix the problem of feeling like you need to choose between wanting to "blow your brains out" or gear.

    I'm not comparing it simply to 4.2 in an isolated manner. In the grand scheme of things, they both suck. What upsets me more about 4.3 is their stated intentions... they're not adhering to them.

    They want to make VP less integral... then fix loot tables. They want to make it less of a grind, then raise caps so that you can actually get a whole piece when you cap out each week. And, finally, provide us with an option for gaining VP that doesn't take forever. I want BG's or Arenas for PvE. I want something I can knock out in about a half hour (altogether) and get somewhere. Is that really too much to ask?