HoTs and DoTs: A Restoration Druid and Shadow Priest

Post 3.2 Disillusionment

This post isn’t about hardcore vs casual. It isn’t about elitism or exclusiveness. It’s about challenge and reward and, even more importantly, timing. This post is a rant, reader beware.

Lathere and I came somewhat late to the raiding game in Burning Crusade, dipping our toes into Karazhan several months later than the serious raiding guilds on Barthilas. We were pretty noob. We wiped, oh man, we wiped. But, in our casual two-nights-a-week way, we understood we would be forever playing catch-up, and we didn’t mind. We kept raiding and trying to kill bosses at our level.

The new Badge of Justice, Emblems.

Greater rewards for more difficult challenges? Nah.

At the near end of the Burning Crusade, Blizzard created a ton of purchasable items for players using Badges of Justice, the precursor to Emblems, in order to bring newcomers and recently turned level 70s up to Tier 6 item stats (the items were equivalent in stat level – not actual Tier armor pieces) and therefore have a chance to participate in Mount Hyjal and Black Temple raiding. They also removed the attunements so you didn’t have to complete the Tier 5 raids – a significant challenge on its own.

Well at the time I can tell you that I was absolutely a “casual” player. And I ran Karazhan over and over again for Badges in order to upgrade my gear. Did it push us to do Tier 6 raiding as a guild? Not really. All we did was spend more and more time collecting badges.

Sunwell Plateau, the final raid instance of the expansion, was released at the same time as all this new Badge gear. I knew that I would never be skilled, geared and committed enough to enter Sunwell Plateau. Guilds who cleared Black Temple each week impressed the heck out of me. But I thought, if we could just get a bit better and wipe less, maybe one day we’d be good enough a group to gain entry into those raid zones.

Let me repeat, when the rest of us were clawing our way to Tier 6 equivalent items, the leading guilds were given a shiny new raid zone with depth to experience. We’re not talking just one or two bosses here completed in a hour or two.

When Wrath of the Lich King was released it only included one Tier level, Tier 7, implemented in the game. Naxxramas, whilst having a ton of bosses, was simply too easy/quick to complete. Obsidian Sanctum and Eye of Eternity are both really really short – 1 boss. You could do the three combined within a few raid nights per week.

Ulduar has satisfied me as a raider (and as a semi-serious raider at that). The early fights are easier than the last bosses. There are unusual challenges along the way. The instance itself is a good length to clear in the space of a lockout week once you’ve downed each boss. Friends who have beaten some of the tricky hardmodes earn my respect.

We’ve been in Ulduar for about 4 months. In that time our casual friends from Burning Crusade have talked about doing 10 Ulduar on and off but it never seems to happen. Doesn’t really surprise me, because they tend to organise events on the spur of the moment based on who’s online. You could have 8 people ready to go and then one person will change their mind and say they’re going to log off to watch some TV.

In comes Patch 3.2. Theoretically I knew that Emblems of Conquest were going to be made freely available, instead of limited to Ulduar bosses, but the reality is much more disturbing than I thought. Two points of view:

Option A – Miss Dedicated

  • “Experience” Ulduar as soon as it is released
  • Attend as many of your guild raids as possible and be patient when you wipe. Make time to do 10 mans as well because Emblems of Conquest drop there too and it takes weeks to get enough Emblems for a Tier armor token.
  • Consider splashing out gold to get Runed Orbs to upgrade your belt and boots… nah too expensive
  • After 4 months be content with your gear – it’s not the hardmode stuff, but it’s good, and sprinkled with Naxx 25 items anyway

Option B – Mr Patient

  • Know that eventually you and some mates will go check out Ulduar when you’re ready
  • Run raids when you feel like it, DC when you’ve had enough
  • Consider splashing out gold to get Runed Orbs to upgrade your belt and boots… nah too expensive
  • Hope you’ll get lucky and get the BiS Naxx stuff – Torch of Holy Fire ftw!
Four months of Ulduar. If only WoW were a fashion parade...

After four months. If only WoW were a fashion parade...

Now, 4 months later, all Mr Patient has to do is run alot of heroic instances (something he finds pretty darn easy) and he too can get Ulduar equivalent gear and three pieces of Tier 8.5 armor. If he got those BiS Naxx/OS/EoE stuff, well his gear models might not match as prettily as someone wearing 5/5 Conquerors, but the stats will be as good.

I’m not being stereotypical here. Mr Patient is my brother. I live with him. When I’m up 4 nights a week to dutifully complete my raids and not leave before raid’s over, he’s watching TV. On the weekends he’ll make an effort and PuG Naxx, but after a couple wings he’ll DC and take a break. In the last few days he has earnt more Emblems of Triumph than I, does daily dungeons while I raid, and has already gotten his Tier 8.5 helm.

He has been running the new dungeon – the 5 man Trial of the Champion – on normal and heroic and has picked up several great epics including the tanking one that my guild’s main tank – in full Ulduar gear – is desperate for. Even I swapped out Cosmic Lights for a new neckpiece from the heroic for my healing set. And the heroic wasn’t hard.

It’s as simple as this. You can’t compare the difficulty of Ulduar and Heroics and give out the same rewards.

This is a complete turn around from Blizzard’s stance at the launch of Wrath of the Lich King. When it was announced that each raid instance would be tuned for 10 man group (normal) and 25 man groups (heroic) they made it clear that the item level of dropped loot would be different, just as the Emblems would be different. And the rewards would be commensurate.

People are not jumping from Tier 4 to Tier 6 here. They’re going from the easiest, entry level raid (Naxx – Tier 7) to the next tier of gear (Ulduar – Tier 8). Is this the way of the future? Wiping the slate clean with each new patch?

Has nothing been learned from the Badges of Justice days?

So my brother, Mr Patient, can close the gear gap now. That’s true. Is it going to open up “doors” for him and allow him to experience Ulduar and other end-game raids? Nope. He’ll just keep running heroics and Naxx 10. Why not?

I wouldn’t be so disappointed by this if it weren’t for the new raid instance: Trial of the Crusader. We’re being given 1 new boss per week. And if that doesn’t satisfy you, you can’t try it on Heroic mode until you’ve cleared the whole place on Normal. The Northrend Beasts encounter was fun. But it took up 1 hour of our time. Then we headed back to Ulduar, uncertain if it was worth pursuing Ulduar hardmodes at all. Trial of the Crusader is where our next Tier upgrades are after all.

So, other than Algalon, I’m pretty confident that I’ve experienced all the end game bosses available in Wrath. Yet I have nothing left to strive for. Blizzard can dream up a new boss and drip-feed it to us each week in the Trial of the Crusader and until they believe it’s gone on long enough. And then they can open up Heroic mode.

In the days of Burning Crusade I knew it was my skill that held me back. Now there is no boss/raid to anticipate and strive towards implemented in the game, Blizzard will give it to us when they’re ready, not when we are.

14 Responses to “Post 3.2 Disillusionment”

  1. KeevaNo Gravatar says

    So, other than Algalon, I’m pretty confident that I’ve experienced all the end game bosses available in Wrath.

    This is precisely why I haven’t rushed to pick up where I left off. I feel like I’ve seen it all (although I haven’t even killed Yogg yet – because my guild fell apart just before killing him) and hard modes and the crusade raids are just filler content until the next expansion.

    I certainly admire (I guess) the guilds that do the hard modes.. but to me it just seems like a box to check, on a boss that is the same encounter, just made a little more annoying. Yes, it’s challenging.. but meh.. doesn’t really spur me into action and make me want to find another guild so I can “conquer” it.

    I used to be in awe of the most progressed guilds. Now it seems there’s so little to separate the top guilds with everyone else. (This is the part where I usually get called elitist)

    I don’t think I’m jaded with the game.. but “progression” just doesn’t impress me anymore. It’s not terribly awe-inspiring. I don’t see the top guilds and think “I wish I was doing that”.. I just think “they cleared this instance 4 months ago and now they’re just doing hard-modes over and over to say they’ve done them”. Obviously to some people, that is progression. That’s a measure of who is the best. To me… not really. Same stuff, more annoying. Challenging to complete, but not terribly impressive.

    I can honestly say that I was more impressed by guilds killing Illidan than by guilds doing hard modes.

    I suppose nobody wants to go back to the days of having to farm an instance for 6 months before you could even think of killing the first boss in the next tier, and only 5% of people seeing the higher level of instances. But at the same time.. knowing that you can skip Ulduar and go do a 5 man for (some) better loot.. yikes. My linear progression diagram just got really messy.

    It’s not all about gear though, it’s about the principle. The gear just happens to be a handy yardstick.

    There’s just too much loot flying around, and it’s getting easier and easier to obtain it. On top of that, some of it is coming from a 5 man instance, and replacing items from a 25 man instance that is supposed to be relatively difficult “progression” content.

    Ulduar isn’t meant to be old content yet. It’s just weird.

    I DON’T FEEL RIGHT!

    .-= Keeva´s last blog ..Raptormania Part Deux: When Boredom Attacks =-.

  2. CassandriNo Gravatar says

    I don’t know what Ulduar is at the moment. You’re right we’re in some kind of limbo before we can get our hands on Tier 9 in Trial of the Crusader.

    I absolutely hate the 1 boss per week decision. Because I feel that Blizzard are setting our progression pace in order to extend content. But one of our officers, each time someone double checks “there’s only that one boss, hey?”, talks about how they’re releasing it slowly to remove the World-First-Guild-Kill mentality.

    I’ll just keep showing up on Raid nights and do what my Raid Leader tells me to do :)

  3. CongiNo Gravatar says

    I still haven’t gone to Ulduar yet. I’d like to go but I haven’t felt a strong need. The endgame of TBC was much better than what we got this time. I really hope they come up with something better for the next expansion because this isn’t really going to cut it a second time.

    It doesn’t help that this time around I really can’t seem to find a guild that fits me. On the positive side my alts are getting a lot of love.

  4. KeevaNo Gravatar says

    It’s definitely a great time to be an alt or a reroll!

  5. NatarumahNo Gravatar says

    I see it from a slightly different perspective; I raid because I love beating content with a bunch of my friends and community-mates, and the hilarity that is bound to ensue.

    Now, with the Emblems of Conquest dropping from everything, people who just dinged 80 can do heroics and buy 2 pieces of T8 (head piece and chest piece), as well as some other items, and anything at the Naxx-25 level and lower.

    I don’t really see this as bad. To get the T8 head piece, you need to shell out some 58 emblems of Conquest, which is about 12-13 heroics. So one piece of gear will set them back about as much time as it will to gear our alts. The emblems of Triumph are available from daily quests, but that goes for us as well as new players/alts/casuals/scrubs/pvp’ers and whatnot, so the field is clear on that.

    When playing this game, I don’t look at the fact that others can get the gear more easily, or how content is nerfed. To me it’s important how my friends and I clear content; the other players do not factor in it and play their “own game”.

    On a side note, this also means it is a lot easier to gear alts and get them into guild runs properly, as well as getting that nasty, awesome PvP set and claim some BG kills.

    Because raiders double-dip.

    They raid for Emblems and gear, and still get to go to all those heroics. Where mr. Patient gets what he needs, miss dedicated has a Dps set, healing set and a PvP set.

    Mr. Patient is prepared to log in and do his thing.
    Miss Dedicated is ready for anything.

  6. CassandriNo Gravatar says

    I raid because I love it too. Give me some 40 man raids and I would so be there – even if the rewards are small.

    But I don’t believe all this will encourage people to push into Ulduar. I just don’t believe it. And isn’t that the whole reasoning behind these badge changes?

  7. NatarumahNo Gravatar says

    Hmmm, I am not sure. I think the main reason for the badge changes is different, such as:

    a) 10-man guilds preparing to tackle the 25man but a bit scared to do so because they haven’t got a good spread of 10man gear yet;
    b) Gearing alts to fit raid spots that are missing in progress guilds or making sure they will be “passable” for the Colliseum raid;
    c) People who switch from “casual” to “hardcore” can get a bit better gear so they won’t be flat-out denied by raiding guilds (and some raiding guilds do have retarded gear requirements from applicants);
    d) Allowing PvP’ers to take advantage of the new PvP gear, so that the odds are evened out before the next season;

    Any of these and then some could be the “real” reason for the badge change. I’d say Blizzard simply does so to allow for “catchups” and alts, myself. It can be quite frustrating if you’d like to raid with your Moonkin, but have to spend time pugging raids your guild no longer runs to get the gear to be contributing meaningfully to your raid.

    Raiders will still have the advantage of getting their “best gear” from multiple avenues (badges, the new 5man and raids), while the catchups and casuals will need to stick with badges and the 5man. Raiders also tend to accumulate more Triumph badges quickly, while evening out in the Conquest department.

  8. ErclesNo Gravatar says

    Above everything else I raid for the experiencing. Gear is merely a tool I need to get to that experience. My guild is currently working on Yogg phase 2, and once we get that down I will feel finished with Ulduar. Yes there is hard modes, but I’m not really fussed about those extra pieces of loot and I don’t see us taking them all down and getting to Algalon. If anything, I would do it for the challenge.

    The badge changes has let me obtain the two last pieces of T8 I needed, that I hadn’t been lucky enough to get by bosses dropping them, for my 4-set bonus. So I think I like the changes. I still will have certain items those farming Naxx and heroics only never will have (Like Guiding Star, I like your taste in maces), but it still feels a bit like being handed the gold medal for finishing third.

    As for TotC. The Beasts of Northrend was _tons_ of fun. Probably one of my favorite fights so far in the game. Introducing them one by one seems like a bad way to make the content last longer. At _least_ let us bang our heads against the heroic mode!

  9. CassandriNo Gravatar says

    Absolutely! Bring on heroic mode and we can wipe away on that til next week.

    Good luck with Phase 2 – when it works, it WORKS. From my experience it’s all about the melee people in the portals dpsing hard (and not spawning an extra Crusher).

    The other thing I notice makes a huge difference on Yogg, and it’s such a stupid little thing, is to make sure your raid leader tells your DPS ahead of time “ok this is the last Guardian for Sara, kill the rest – KILL them!”. It’s just something about the DPS mentality… it’s hard to scale back and not kill something, and it’s really hard to pick up and kill several targets quickly when we have a Crusher to take on.

    Perfect Phase 1 = Yogg kill imo.

  10. OleanderNo Gravatar says

    My guild is progressing slower than Blizzard releases content, and this really helps prevent the frustration you’re feeling. There’s still plenty for us to look forward to in the game *right now*.

    I know it’s frustrating to see people get something more easily than you got it, but I suggest looking on them with pity instead. What you got to do with hours of raiding (which I hope you enjoyed), they do four months later with hours of heroics. I’d earned over a thousand emblems of heroism, and now I have 600 emblems of conquest to get.

    • LathereNo Gravatar says

      I think Cass & my biggest frustration boils down to the fact that our brother is just a pest :) He’s one of those annoying people who barely play, are expectional at everything spec/class they decide to try and also have great luck with loot. Seriously he has a fantastic tanking & healing set with his pally and his mage in ilevel 200 epics, out dps’s ulduar geared players in PUGs. Its incredibly annoying to see him put in no effort when he could easily be helping out a good guild, and catch up to us in a matter of weeks >.<

  11. fungNo Gravatar says

    i had a vague sense of this and took real advantage of it. less so on my two mains, they really just saved tokens for a yet to be determined alt’s heirloom crap or maybe some gems, but my 3rd char, the one i dont play as much, makes out like a bandit. i parked him right at the perfect gear-to-work ratio and jumped up a ton in the patch, like your brother.

    on one hand i was ticked at the work made frivolous, but i was glad to take advantage of it at the same time. the thing that i think is gonna get me in the long run is how itll be achievs and not gear that discerns the bad players from good. it’s already tough when filling out a 25 with t8.5 helms that dont move from razorscale fire.

    looking at my chars gearscores on w0w-heroes tho, the two mains ride high 2500s, while the 3rd now runs high 2300, and doesn’t have a whole lot else to go now except ulduar for better, or eventual triumph bade gear. i think that just about reflects what is made more concrete in the current tiers: hardmoders get a full tier above, raiders a half a tier, and casuals get a ticket in the door and a cookie.

    i’m going to continue to raid on my mains at a nonhardmode level (until i find that group that really clicks anyway) and park my 3rd where i think the most advantage will be to the gear jump; not gonna raid ulda with it–just get the cheapie t9 slow and steady. shame tiers don’t have one more slot; i’d laugh if i could get it three tiers’ 2-set bonuses at the same time.

    raiders as opposed to hardmoders probably have the most to complain about, what can i say though than ‘you know what’s gonna happen, find a way to take advantage of it’.

  12. Hey!!!
    How do the two make a person feel? Im not taking them together,it will be separately,if I decide to take them at all.For people that have taken them,please.Your wasting your time if your wanting to lecture me..generic mail order!!!
    Goodluck!!!
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