Discussion topic: Methods of upgrading gear

Right, so a ton of great comments have come out of the incredibly cranky PvP gear post I made.

Enough comments that I’d like to move the discussion somewhere fresh.

The thing that seems to have emerged is a common thread about people that feel that they have to PvP for the gear upgrades, whether from Arena or from Battleground Honor, in order to be able to gear their mains or alts up to be viable for joining their progressed raiding guilds that have moved far past the starter raid content.

Some of these folks are already raiding, have progressed quite far, and just want to be able to get another alt up to speed to shore up a week slot in the guild roster, but are frustrated having to ask the guild to stop raiding T5 or T6 to fall back on the low end content to run them through earlier progression raids for drops and badges to get them up to speed.

Other folks have made it clear that, when you have minimal time to play, certainly not the kind of time that a serious raiding guild takes, or if you mostly play solo because you can’t reliably find 4 friends of the right class balance to join you, PvP becomes the best solution to get excellent gear upgrades that fit your schedule or style.

The reason that PvP has become the solo gearing route, in my opinion, is simply that the gear that was intended to allow PvP players to compete equally on the field with PvE raiders of end game content has now been released with a reduced difficulty to obtain it, while the corresponding raiding gear it was meant to match remains at the same level of difficulty, in general terms of time investment involved, to get.

We can talk about to what extent Badge rewards have sped up the gearing process, it’s been talked about as part of the way Blizz has sped things up. Also, many encounters in raids have been retuned to be easier. Not easy, just easier. Valid points, certainly.

But the fact remains, PvP gear comparable, for some classes, to Tier 4 and Tier 5 is available through solo play and a variable time investment while the similarly ranked PvE gear still requires large group commitments and significant time.

Is the problem simply that Blizzard has made PvP gear more accessible to fresh starting PvP players to encourage them to join in and have a fighting chance, while not making the equivalently ranked PvE gear similarly accessible to new raiders to encourage raiding guilds to step up the difficulty of the content they attempt?

I think that everyone could agree that raiding more difficult content requires more powerful gear to succeed in the fights. You must step up your survivability, damage output, healing capability and overall endurance as a raid in order to have a solid chance in the higher difficulty raids.

At the same time, however, the early raid content was intended as a training ground, introducing progressively harder challenges requiring greater skill at managing multiple adds, effectively conserving mana over long durations, moving as a team and coordinating attacks or activities in timed sequences… many things that all come together to be used in future fights the higher up the progression chart you go.

Is it that raiders that have learned on the way up are PvPing and getting that gear for their alts so that they can be viable in raids, and since they did learn as they went through the first time, it’s just a question of needing to get the gear now?

Maybe for those kind of raiders, what is needed is a token system similar to what they have now for turning in PvE tokens in exchange for PvP gear… but instead, the token can be transferred to another character owned by the same account only. So you could gain tokens from your T6 raiding that you could mail to one of your other characters, that could be turned in for gear of the next lower rank, Tier 5 in this case, to get them up to speed without redirecting the time of your entire guild.

Or maybe what is needed is something like what I mentioned in a previous comment, where there are more daily quests that guarantee a single Badge of Justice drop, dailies that you can start doing at level 65, so that as you progress through levels you can be doing solo activities at your own pace that will ensure you can have gear that will make you powerful in your solo play, and will give you a good start on early raids.

Or maybe you folks have far better suggestions on how to balance the availability of PvE gear with PvP gear, so that you can still get to the point where you can join your friends and have fun, without bypassing content that you’ve never seen before that helps you learn how to work together and overcome different PvE challenges, and still let people that already have those skills gear up to join their friends at the top.

Or maybe you think that if someone wants to bring an alt to their T6 guild to play a character other than their main, they should find a way to gear it up on their own, without bothering their guild, and quit whining about it. (An opinion expressed in an email I got).

One thing is clear, and that is that equipment you can get through PvP play must be on an even footing or better for PvP than what is available to PvE raiders.

And PvP players enjoy World PvP a great deal, so making their gear only usable in Arenas and BGs isn’t a simple solution… if you have the gear, it should be yours all the time, anyway. Limiting where you can wear it just seems very wrong to me. As wrong as the folks that got cool mounts in AQ40 and can only ever use them there.

I think that the best solution has to involve making it equally as attractive to gain your PvE gear as it is to obtain PvP gear. And since PvP gear of Merciless rank can be gained through solo PvP play in battlegrounds, then I think the equivalent PvE ranked gear should be able to be obtained through the exact same level of effort.

Maybe expand the Badge of Honor system to the Battleground gear, and balance the gear available from Badges of Honor to match the gear levels released with each PvP season?

I don’t like that because it doesn’t address a player needing to learn the earlier game mechanics of raids, and it still forces players interested in PvE to PvP for the gear even if they don’t want to. But at least it would have the benefit of giving every player the same chance at gear upgrades via PvP, not just those whose class mechanics make PvP gear equally useful in PvE.

Okay, I have to go do some engineering stuff. So tell us… what do YOU think? 


42 thoughts on “Discussion topic: Methods of upgrading gear

  1. As I see it, you’re bothered by two issues: effort, and skills. I’ll take them in that order.

    As you noted, a BG requires only sufficient bodies start, and that’s the sum of cooperation. A raid, on the other hand, requires a narrower group of bodies who MUST cooperate – not just be present, but help kill the opposition, and usually a SPECIFIC opposition.

    My “quick” fix would be a behind-the-scenes calculation. See, pretty much everything can be calculated as a nominal expense of play hours. You can expect so many hours of play to get a badge, or badges. A certain amount of honor for every hour you play. And so on and so forth. I get the impression that at present a play hour is a play hour. That you can get T5 after xxx hours of running T5 dropping raids, or the same xxx hours of BG will give you T5 equivalent PVP gear. Assuming my impression is accurate, I’d start with a simple calculation. Required participation (raids) is ALSO play hours of other people. Notionally, add 1/2 for every other player who’s required for the raid. What this means is… Assume for a moment that notionally you can get a T5 piece every 20 hours of actual raiding. (Yeah, I know, but bear with me.) Since all the T5s come from 25 man raid sites, that means to get equivalent in PVP you should do 20 plus (24*10=240) or ~260 playhours per piece. Note that the actual numbers may be off, but the basic METHOD would balance the “effort”.

    The other problem is skill. More significantly, you want players who join your PVE exercise to be skilled in PVE play if they’ve got the gear equivalent. OK, flipside – if you’ve got PVE gear shouldn’t players seeing you in PVP expect you to be as skilled at that? Well, yes, except as you’ve discovered it really doesn’t take skill to participate in and earn PVP rewards. Any idiot can AFK their way to the gear. Tactics? Cooperative effort? snicker. Actually, that should be /cry. It SHOULD be hard to get that gear – not just time, but skill. Skill beyond practice of mediocre play.

    For what it’s worth, I can think of ways to make it work, but not in WoW — it’d break it. Add PVE requirements – things that force players to work cooperatively – to get the gear. Examples would include: use the alliance enchanter trainer model, putting the actual gear merchant in an instance. (Ythyar in Kara could sell Season 1, for example, but only one item per player per reset for balance.) Of course, fair is fair. Put the PVE vendor in a BG. (hmm. use Halaa as the base model. Put a neutral vendor in each of the BGs. Only available during BG holiday weekend – maybe for the week as well – and you can only access while your side is ‘winning’.) No, it’s too big a change, it’d break WoW and drive away current players who’ve gotten comfortable with – indeed, who’ve mastered – the current system. But it would force at least some skill — BOTH ways — to be developed.

    Regardless of fix, it’s going to be bad for someone. Oh well.


  2. As you mentioned the biggest problem is that PvP gear is actually “good” if not “better” than some PvE pieces for PvE. Had the solo BG obtainable S2 Druid shoulders had no “additional armor” they wouldn’t be any good for PvE.

    I don’t mind that I have to PvP to get a piece or two of “starter” PvE gear, but the fact that I can (now) obtain T5+ usable PvE gear from solo PvP is the issue.

    Maybe Blizzard needs to make 3 sets of gear. PvE, Arena (some/all pieces have rating requirements), and BG/World PvP.

    Raids are “end-game” PvE. Arena is “end-game” PvP. But what are BGs? Free loot. I don’t care if someone has S3 shoulders in PvE because I know they had to earn those (personal/team ratings) through skill and good team work (though those skills don’t necessarily translate to PvE). Does blizzard need to put a iLevel cap on BG rewards? Or better yet have BG rewards who’s buffs (proc, equip, etc.) are beneficial to BGs (reduced cooldowns on BG skills [like maim]) that aren’t as beneficial to PvE or Arenas?

    But in the end does this really mater when the game is basically in a lame-duck period? At this point, I haven’t spent much time working on my PvE gear as I know my guild isn’t going to progress much further (if at all) given the player’s apathy during this lame-duck period before the expansion. Plus the normal reduction in playing time during the summer months. So, I’ve been focusing on acquiring gear that give me solo DPS to aid with the first few levels of the expansion. Plus I’m hording gold as I assume Blizzard will find something to make us spend our money on (ability to have dual talent specs costs 10000g????).


  3. I mentioned this in my comment in the other thread, but I think the central issue for why people get upset about PvP gear is only partly due to the perceived ease of getting the items. The real root of the angst is the mudflation that is caused when Blizzard introduces new items. I think it’s telling that your feelings on the subject didn’t become so vocal until the items to be gained through honor gear became BETTER than what you had gain the old fashioned “hard” way.
    This is a game design issue that is largely caused by a) a lack of foresight by Blizzard and b) the unhealthy level of importance placed on gear. It’s ludicrous that the only method of character advancement when you reach level 70 is to get better gear because as soon as that gear is made obsolete, it invalidates all your previous work. If your interested, I wrote a lengthy article on the subject on my blog a few weeks back.
    My solution to the problem btw, is to make gear break with use (which I wrote in the follow-up article). Gear that wears out offers quite a few advantages, one of which is that most of these mudflation issues simply disappear because gear becomes obsolete with use rather than just the introduction of new items. New items simply fill the hopper that was already dwindling. It also has the added benefit of requiring a robust crafting economy.


  4. The problem is that raiding is broken in a way that pvp is not.

    You must have at least full s2 to compete at the 1700+ arena brackets these days. That’s a fact. The only way to allow people to participate in pvp at all is to make the older rewards attainable.

    But raiding is broken in a different way. Either you are part of a regular raiding guild, or you are not. If you are in one, then gearing up is pretty easy. Say your alt druid hits 70. Take him to kara, and you will probably get 3-4 pieces of gear in one night. Run gruuls and Mag that week, and suddenly you are geared up for SSC. That’s not hard to do at all, right? Everyone else in your guild is already geared, so any leather drops go to your druid. You can get to SSC quality in *one week*. Talk about welfare epics.

    I also think you need to think about where we are in the game. BC has been out for a long time. WotLK is still months away. Is it really a crime to make SSC quality loot easier to get? People gearing up that way (via s2, I mean) are either alts, casual, or new. What’s wrong with that.


  5. Two more things, real quick.

    First, I can’t see why you think its easier to go to AV 20 times and spend 10 hours to get the 11k honor for the s2 shoulders than it is to go to Maulgar once or twice, get the t4 token to drop, and then just get it for free.

    My mage has the t4 pants, and I did Maulgar a grand total of one time ever(if that’s even where they come from, I can’t remember. I did Gruul one time, too). Are you really saying that was “harder” and a bigger accomplishment than grinding out 15k honor to buy the s2 pants?

    Secondly, to really “fix” this problem, we need another stat like resilience. Something that is only useful for pvp. That way these items would waste points on that other stat in a way that wouldn’t make them so powerful for pvp.


  6. Well, part of the problem, as I see it, is that any idiot can semi-afk their way to S2 gear. This not only requires no skill, it is highly frustrating to people who come to BGs actually wanting to win.

    In the last set of comments, someone suggested that honor items require a minimum lifetime HKs, to address this problem. That might work, but I think there is a more elegant solution. Sharply increase both the cost of items and the honor provided by HKs. This would significantly reduce the incentive to sit and do nothing. It rewards skill, in that honor would accumulate faster if you kill more people, while still allowing undergeared players to build up honor to buy new gear.

    The way that honor gear outclasses PvE gear until well into 25-mans is a seperate problem. This is more a consequence of the inflation of season gear and the decision to make early seasons available for honor. This could be fixed in several ways.

    1: Stop inflating top-end PvP gear. If Arena is supposed to be an “esport”, why does each season’s gear need to be head and shoulders above the rest? For even semi-serious teams, all the gear is equallized quickly, and any inequality is counterproductive to fairness, as the best teams gain an additional advantage. If the difference between each season is small, then it’s also easier start off in arena. On the other hand, top PvP players may be upset that their gear is less statted than that of top raiders. Further, if things go too far, the vanilla wow problem comes back and top-end raid gear dominates PvP.

    2: Stop making arena gear available for honor. This solves the problem partway, though it’s still possible to lose your way to gear in the arena. However, unless combined with (1), this makes it very difficult for new arena teams to compete.

    3: Widen the gap between desirable stats for PvP and PvE. This seems like a win-win, except that it’s absurdly hard to do without screwing up the “feel” of the game. Possible options: More resiliance on PvP gear, make resiliance only effective against players, put cc/snare/slow effects and/or resistance on PvP gear, reduce the incidence of criticals from bosses (making resiliance less useful for tanks). None of these are sure to work well, and there may be others.


  7. I got linked the initial pvp post, added a comment, and when I come to the front page, lo and behold, BBB posted almost exactly what I said, but in a more nuananced form. I’m glad we are of the same mind, even if I express it worse, and later, than you.

    @ Mike, getting PVE gear is easy when you are brought into an established group, and just fit right into a role or position. But for a guild that is learning the fights, organizing itself, planning, and preparing itself, it is much more work. You are also building on the back of all the other work you have done (x number of kara runs, instance runs, and bg gear). You can go into a BG with greens having just dinged 70, and immediately start working for your new shoulders. Even if you trip into tier 4 in your first gruul run, you are at least depending on all the work and practice you put in to get geared enough to get in there.

    @BBB: more badges (and solo/small group ways to get them) is the best solution. Give pve a way of getting access to the great gear, and make new pve equivilents to the pvp gear. The 2.4 badge stuff was a great start, and I bet we will see more of this. I also think that having more BOE stuff fall in instances will allow guilds to funnel upgrades to new players to get them to join in. I think it would be pretty cool if some of the kara items became BOE, so people could buy up gear and move up into the 25 mans faster.


  8. My personal issue is that it is much easier to gear up through PvP, NOT because PvP is “easier,” or even because you could AFK your way to victory. Even if WoW was filled with people who actually took pride in the game and worked for what they got, it is easier because you don’t have to rely on anyone else to do it.

    I can completely understand the people who gear up through PvP to catch an alt up to their guild who is in Sunwell. And as easy as it would be to take that alt through Kara/T4/T5 content and get all the drops because no one else needs them, a guild that is that far progressed probably doesn’t want to spend the time farming old content for just one or two new alts. So you have a responsibility to gear up on your own.

    PvP is really the only answer to that. No, it’s not ideal PvE gear, but you can get it ON YOUR OWN, and get pretty well caught up to where you need to be to start playing with your guild and getting the “appropriate” drops. And those who are using this to their advantage, power to you.

    This is a problem for two kinds of people:

    A) Those for whom there is no PvP equivalent, mostly tanks (other than bears, because bears’ stat needs are somewhat different than other tanks).

    B) Those like me who don’t enjoy PvP.

    It’s not so much a problem for me personally because I’m not aiming to gear myself with T5/T6-equivalent gear, but if I was in such a guild and that’s what I was expected to do to catch up, I would simply quit, or give up on getting that new character into the high-end raids. It’s not worth it to do something I don’t like for hours and hours and hours before I can get to the thing I do like, and the system is broken if that’s what I’m expected to do.

    Yes, they have also made PvE gear “easier” to attain by removing attunements, giving very high quality badge rewards, and making badges drop from all raid bosses . . . but if you’re not in those raids, that does nothing for you. There should be a SOLOABLE way to gear yourself up through PvE. Not to actually get the tier gear, because I know that’s something high end raiding guilds can use to judge what kind of experience you have. But things that are of similar level, with PvE stats, and are obtained through PvE. Badge gear fills that role pretty well… if you can actually get the gear.


  9. One other possibility:
    Inflate entry level PvE gear.

    Some people claim that the badge gear is doing just that, but it’s really not. As noted, an idiot can lose their way to season 2, but doing kara or a heroic does require significant teamwork and tactics. Further, the new badge gear is, as noted, catch up gear, so that some one who couldn’t survive in SSC or TK has a chance (which dedication) to catch up with their guildies in MH/BT/SunW. It’s not really helping people gear up for kara/ZA or even Gruul. The existing badge loot sort of did that, which brings us to the next problem. Badge loot is nowhere near as extensive or complete as PvP gear. Not all PvP gear is equally useful, but it seems as though there’s always something to plug the hole. For some classes it’s possible to gear up solely with PvP, which is not happening with badge loot (at least not easily).

    A PvE equivalent of battlegrounds, that can still give good enough gear to start raiding, might be good. A daily that can be soloed granting a badge, for example, if the badge loot were expanded. But whatever it is, you would need a major new infrastructure, either vastly expanded badge loot or something new.


  10. Oh, and just a note on the whole “bigger and better” gear with each season being the root of the problem.

    From what I’ve heard, back in the day, it was the top end RAIDERS who dominated PvP, because they so vastly outgeared everyone else. Introducing PvP gear that is on par with the raiding gear, and better for PvP, evened the playing field. And it did a great job of it.

    The problem is now that we are so far progressed into this expansion that it’s easier to get the PvP gear, and so it’s almost expected that you PvP so that you can be more successful in PvE.


  11. Blizzard has to provide progression paths for their players, or the players will leave.

    If blizz wants to keep the money coming from solo players, they have to have a progression path. If they have a progression path, eventually their gear will be as good or better than existing raid gear.

    In this game, only the very top-level pieces are serious indications of skill level. Its currently a safe assumption that most people with t6.5 gear, or S4 shoulders are good at PvE or Arena.

    If you cleared Kara in April ’07, there is a pretty good chance that you were skilled. If you clear Kara today, it may be because you are skilled, or it may be because you are running with nine other guys that have t5/t6 set bonuses.

    Blizzard keeps making existing content easier (more XP while leveling, mounts at 30, keys easier to get or not required, …).

    Most (not all) of the very best PvE gear still requires PvE skill. However S2 gear, for most players, has the stats to be better than t4 gear. However it didn’t become available to solo players until the t4 stuff had been out for over a year.

    If your toon is level 70 now, played solo, and puts in 30 days-played over the next twelve months, he’ll probably be much more powerful (more tps, dps, or hps) than the top toons are today.

    If you are playing content that was available a year ago (as kara was), then Blizzard is giving people an easy way to bypass that content. I’m sure Blizz is pressured to give something new to the top-end players. They are also pressured to find a path for new players (or new toons for old players) to rapidly develop to the near-top level. Kara is now old enough that it just doesn’t qualify as top-level.

    I think it would be cool if you could inspect somebody and find out if and when they first downed a boss (or perhaps any named elite). I wouldn’t be too surprised to see that as a future feature.


  12. Yes Mike, as Lee said, if the crew you are with has gotten the fight down and you are stepping right in, High King Maulgor is far easier than grinding for a bunch of Honor. I totally agree.

    But for some folks, 24 other players are going to think that High King is a waste of raiding time on the schedule.

    And for other folks, like me, I have no option for PvE gear of that level through the size of my guild and friends, or my available playtime… but I do have access to that level of gear from PvP.

    So in terms of fitting that goal into my schedule, playing PvP with my new S2 shoulders as a goal is far easier than trying to build a raiding guild so that I can start trying to take down HKM, and then find the time to play in it.

    Now, I don’t need the shoulders. In fact, as most of you guys know, I haven’t even thought of gear upgrades for my Druid in months. I am perfectly acceptably geared for any level of content I can reasonably be expected to need to support my friends. I don’t need S2 shoulders.

    Have I been crying for months about how I can’t get upgrades on Windshadow? No, because I know that in order to upgrade, I need to either raid, or run LOTS of heroics. And I just can’t spend that kind of time playing. One night a week is about all I’m good for, lol. I just haven’t given it a thought, I’m happy being able to play what I have access to as well as I can. Heck, I’m delighted that I have Tier 4 gear at all! I count myself very fortunate to have raided with Legatum, and I like to think that while I was there, I contributed and wasn’t a burden.

    But now that I’ve been PvPing for Shadow Priest upgrades so I could do the best I could on that character, I have become aware of the PvP S2 stuff… REALLY aware of it… and the only reason I did notice it was cause of the Shadowpriest.com gear lists, and checking to see what was on there I could reasonably get solo or in small groups.

    I still don’t need it. Heck, I don’t need any gear on Windburn the Priest, not really. I’m doing just fine in Kara and heroics on teh PUGs I go on, and I don’t ever expect to need to be ‘SSC ready’ or ‘Tempest Keep’ ready.

    I’m just doing it because I can… because it’s a totally new part of the game I am learning and enjoying (despite my bitching about afkers or chat, lol), and because, hey, it’s sweet gear! So why the heck not?


  13. Soloable dailies that grant badges, perhaps no more than 7 to 10 per day would go a long way towards helping gear entry level PVE players (read new 70’s) to help catch up. To those saying to just go run a heroic or two a day, try it some time. I have been trying to get into heroic TK instances for weeks because I need the rep, nobody is running them. I get all my badges pugging Kara (being a healer helps with that)

    Also making more gear at tier 4 level boe (not set pieces) might help.

    Perhaps in the case of gearing up alts making badges account bound instead of soulbound.

    More craftables along the lines of the tailoring sets but for other classes would help bridge the gap, and you could farm the mats for them solo.

    just a few thoughts.


  14. @Lee and BBB: That’s my point, exactly. Kara and Mag and whatnot are easymode now. They are old instances, the average player has geared well past them. And s2 shoulders look great to you (I wear them on my warrior), but we are in S4 son! s2 isn’t going to cut it above 1700 in the arenas no matter how good you are.

    Getting old pvp gear should be as easy as getting old pve gear. In both cases, the primary goals are: 1) gear up alts so they can compete/contribute at the appropriate level quickly and 2) let players who are slow for some reason actually accomplish something.

    Here’s another slight problem. When I queue into arenas, I queue into the S4 arena. There is no option “queue against people who only have s2”. Monday night I lost to a double warglaive rogue at the 1600 bracket. When you zone into Kara, you don’t have to compete against Brutallus.

    @BBB: If you aren’t interested in gear progression, that’s great for you, but you should recognize that you are an anomaly in the MMO universe.

    Its easy to look at the s4 stuff and say its imba. Its also hard to get. For the combat rogue, yeah the s2 sword is the best thing you can get pre SSC. But according to maxdps, here are some quick ranks:

    Spiteblade(kara): 922
    s2 sword: 950
    Talon of Azshara: 962
    Vanir’s right fist(badges): 948

    So the honor sword is roughly the same as the badges sword, definitely better than the kara sword, and definitely worse than the SSC sword. So it lets you skip the 10 man raid instances. OH NOES THE IMBALANCE

    Anyway, this is off topic, but the true problem with WoW is that pve progression hits a wall. I run kara some times, but I do not raid 25 mans because I just don’t have the time to commit. So there is no more pve to do. This is a problem, because if you want to get a better sword, and you don’t run SSC, then you have to go grind out the s2 swords. But this isn’t a problem because pvp is too “easy”; its because pve doesn’t exist for you any more (in a progression sense).


  15. Well I havent been able to follow the threads of all the arguments, but its a fascinating discussion anyway, and loads of great points and suggestions have been made.

    As a dedicated Pver, my experience of getting the super easy s2 shoulders was mostly pure delight. Because pvp is a different type of game. I love pve more, because you have to work together with others, and for the sheer joy of the RP aspect. Nothing can replace the thrill I felt going into kara the first few times and looking around that place in wide eyed wonder.

    I just relalized that my beautiful new stranglestaff is actually inferior to the (ugly looking) pvp mace I could get for 25k honor’s worth of afking ! But so what? I love the stranglestaff, and tbh, an extra 150 attack power is not where the edge of PvE thrill is for me; the edge is working with a great group of people repeatedly to learn the encounters + master the instance. Then we move on. You build great playing relationships at the same time; there’s nothing like conquering a stressful situation as a group working together to forge a real joy in simply playing. Even if I found some (bannable) super-cheat to give my toon the best gear in the game, it wouldn’t mean squat because I hadnt worked with other people to achieve those goals.


  16. Stop inflating top-end PvP gear. […] top PvP players may be upset that their gear is less statted than that of top raiders.

    PvP is about competitive balance. PvE is about progression. The PvP player doesn’t care that he is less statted because of epeen, he cares because it makes him less competitive to someone who has access to PvE gear. Therefore, anytime the bar is raised in PvE then it has to be raised in PvP. The unintended consequence is mudflation and all the garbage attached to it.

    Stop making arena gear available for honor.

    Again, from a competitive balance standpoint, this creates an extremely unfair barrier for entry-level teams to overcome in order to compete against S3/S4 geared players. It becomes less a matter about skill and more of a matter about when you started doing Arenas with that character.

    Widen the gap between desirable stats for PvP and PvE. This seems like a win-win, except that it’s absurdly hard to do without screwing up the “feel” of the game.

    Agreed. That’s one solution. Another is to put more restrictions about how certain types of gear is usable. For example, PvP gear does more damage against human controlled players, PvE does less. Of course, these solutions that offer different game mechanics is much like gift-wrapping a pile of dog poo. It looks pretty on the outside, but stinks like crap.


  17. This is all soon to be fixed. 10 man raids in the next expansion will allow gear progression (even if it is not the top gear progression) while allowing for people who don’t have the time or large guild resources to participate.

    25 mans are far better than 40 mans used to be (in terms of coordination and feasibility). We are heading in the right track.

    The big problem right now is that there is not (in practice at least) casual play for the 25 man raids. BBB knows about this. Once you get to the 25 mans, especially SSC & Eye, you can’t just play once a week or so. You need five or six hours a night four times a week if you are a guild learning those instances. You are going to be relied on if you are part of the main group. The older 25 mans (gruul & mags) are easier now because there is a larger group of players who have done them, or geared past them, or can get gear to try them thanks to pvp alternatives. The major hurdle is still finding the time to be organized for it.

    Here is why I am a fan of the season 2 stuff: I slap enough of it on, along with badge rewards and some wise gear choices, and I can go from being in a kara clearing guild to being a viable sub for a raid guild’s SSC.

    Yes, I have to watch the painful text in the bg chats, deal with frustration from S3 toons pwning everything, and get sick of BGs in a way I wouldn’t if i just did them casually for fun, but that is a choice I make. And it opens content I wouldn’t have the time to normally progress to without it.

    Anyway, a few more months, and I will start replacing season 2 with 73 leveling greens. That will be a painful moment.


  18. @Mike: “Getting old pvp gear should be as easy as getting old pve gear” except that, for a new character (the only ones who should care), getting old pvp gear is MUCH easier than getting old PvE gear, unless someone babysits them through.

    For an alt with a supportive guild, yes, they can gear up via PvE very fast by being run through kara, etc. But for the standard new character, that’s not really an option. Either they don’t have a guild, or their guildies don’t feel like going back to “ezmode” kara. Thus, they either have to group up with similiar characters (harder given that “average player has geared well past them”), or PvP.

    Further, being able to “skip the 10-mans” is not such a good idea for many people. Heroics and 10-mans teach you (or at least require you to know) how to play. Losing in a battleground does not. Even if you’re raising an alt, each class has different skills.


  19. The problem is that raiding is broken in a way that pvp is not.

    QFT. The fact that S2 gear is available for honor is not something that top-end arena players care about. Why? Because they have S4 and S3 gear to look forward to getting. The only people who really care are people like BBB who see this as an infringement on their rights as a PvE player. It’s more an indictment that the two systems can’t coexist than it is an indictment that the PvP system is broken.

    To quote the blog entry I linked earlier:

    “The game puts an unhealthy level of importance on gear that forces players to do things they would characterize as “unfun” simply to get better gear. There is perhaps no better example of this than the player who feels forced to play Battlegrounds or Arena for the gear upgrades. The incentive is to become better geared, not better skilled.

    I think the biggest indictment of the significance of gear in PvE is how important it is to our overall satisfaction. It says something about a game when the most fun moments are the seconds immediately after looting the big bad boss and not the 45 minutes leading up to it. Of course, if you didn’t get the drop you wanted or lost out on a roll or were outbid then you can also end a whole session of gaming very unsatisfied and disappointed. In extreme cases, loot drama can cause guilds to break up or players to quit the game completely.”


  20. Simple suggestion:

    T4 is available via badges for about the same costs as the Veteran’s (S2) gear in badges. (Maybe T5 is available for the 100+ badges that the top end gear now costs.)

    Let the daily non-heroic dungeon quest pay 1 badge instead of those useless keys.

    Now you’ve got a clear PvE route for new players, alts, etc. to accumulate badges to gear up for heroics as well.

    And maybe allow a Kara instance to be reset in 1-3 days, to speed up people farming it to progress.


  21. Mike, as far as I can see, what you call offtopic IS the topic we are talking about.

    If you are of the opinion that Kara and Mags are easymode for the average player, then even if you are correct, I am indeed NOT an average player… I am far, far below average in gear.

    I have no numbers on how many players are in raiding guilds, so I can’t speak to whether you’re right on that or not. It is my personal opinion that the majority of players are NOT geared for PvE in Tier 5+, which would be necessary to make Kara and Mags ‘easymode’. But maybe I’m wrong.

    I just don’t see that the ‘average player has geared well past them’… I don’t believe it. And if that is your basis for claiming that PvE gear is just as easilyavailable as PvP, then we are going to have to agree to disagree on that one.

    And damn, I like Caelean’s idea of having the daily non-heroics give Badges instead of Keys. I guarantee you, I’d be running each one, even if only to help other players get some Badges for gear or Vortexes. Heck yeah!


  22. There should be a SOLOABLE way to gear yourself up through PvE.

    I don’t get this at all.

    For starters, there is. Most bear tanking gear before you go into raids is soloable. There are very few drops in 5-mans that you want any more. Some is rep gear, some is quest gear, some is stuff you can buy on the AH, some is crafted – but much of it is entirely soloable. Heck, thanks to the pvp shoulders being purchasable for gold, I think the only thing that would be not soloable is the idol.

    Second, I don’t see why gear meant for raiding should be obtained by doing solo stuff. That doesn’t make any sense to me, any more than requiring PvP players to raid would make sense to me. Heroic badges are a great solution because it does require people to play together to get that gear, which in turn prepares them for the next level of playing together. If you take that away, if you allow badge loot to be given out as a daily, soloable quest (and not like the SSO runs, but something consistent), then what you’re doing is getting all those n00bs that don’t know what they’re doing who are wearing full PvP gear another option to not know what they’re doing and wear full PvE gear. Is that what you want?

    As to gearing new players up for raiding…I’m very confused here, honestly. Right now we could bring a total new player into a non-progression night and get them a ton of gear without a problem. We regularly run Kara, Gruul (for getting DST) and the occasional Mag run; usually any new player gets 3-5 pieces of gear that reset. It’s not even handholding. It’s just that easy at the gear level. Heck, most of T6 we could 22-24 man it without any issue. Having dead weight there doesn’t matter at all. If we need that class, we can get them geared without a problem. If we don’t need that class/spec, we’re still tending to gear up alts on other things, so gear is still not a problem. Where it might be a problem is getting them the gear if the content is tough, but if the content is tough for you then you’re just doing progression, and that’s the point. They should have a hard time getting raiding gear, because you are too.

    I dislike the PvP as it stands now, as a feral tank, because I must do some pvp to get reasonably good choices for gear. That nothing has defense and that resilience is so good for bears is a poor, poor decision. I resent that not only is it the optimal choice, it’s essentially the only choice. But I don’t really care whether someone gets their gear from PvP, PvE, or questing any more. Gear doesn’t matter. Skill does.


  23. As to Kara being ezmode: it absolutely is, even for you, BBB. You pugged Kara. And it was fun and a good time and successful. If you can pug something and expect a good outcome, I think that’s a good definition of ezmode. Our backwater server pugs gruul’s all the time too. Probably could pug mags now that he’s been nerfed to hell.


  24. BGs are NOT SOLO work.
    I’ll say it again…
    BGs are NOT SOLO work.

    BGs are PUGs. Please get it and keep it straight =)


  25. Mike,

    Kara is easy. 24 badges, and if you’re being babysat you can get your T4 everything after three or four runs..

    Gruul, and the rest of the T4 sources, are a bit harder. You’ve got to get 24 babysitters instead of nine (well, for HIGH guilds 10 and 6, respectively). And you’ll get the T4 you need roughly once every four runs.

    And you can run the circle – kara, gruul’s, etc. – once per week.

    How many hours can you do in BGs over a month of play? How many points can you earn for gear in that month? And how much did you need to beg and wheedle 9 and 24 other people to spend several hours of THEIR playtime getting you YOUR stuff?

    It matters.


  26. The problem is that even people that run Kara 20 times might not get the gear they need to progress.

    They learned how to raid but still might not get the gear they need. I know I didn’t get hardly any drops I needed from Kara into a dozen or so full clears and still didn’t get all the gear needed to be viable in T5 raiding content.

    A fix, find a way to take the randomness out of loot drops in an instance. Give a boss X amount of epic loot that falls and let the guild decide what to loot with a drop down menu. No more sharding epics until your bank is full of voids.

    For example, on Attumen he drops 2 epics, the Master Looter will decide which 2 epics from his loot table fall. You still have players bidding DKP on the items but at least it is something someone needs.

    Seriously, running Kara 40 times for badges to get gear to replace what never fell or someone else one when only 1 has fallen to me sucks the life out of the game. I had to run Kara 20 times before I saw the Stranglestaff fall and by then I didn’t even need it anymore… just sad.

    I think this method would allow faster progression, more enjoyment making the game feel like a game and not a job, and make PvP and badge gear more used to fill 1-2 spots instead of your whole setup.


  27. @stupid mage when exactly is the last time you sat in LFG trying to put together a pug AV?

    A battle ground and a pug are two very different things. no worry of class balance, you get what you get. No one telling you “sorry we really wanted a shadow priest not a mage” no stopping the whole run if someone drops group, blizz just finds a new player for you. and the biggest difference is If you DON’T succeed (kill the boss) you DON”T get the loot.

    a battleground is NOT a pug, it is a randomly formed raid. there are lots of differences, the biggest is that you as a player do not have to coordinate with 24 other players to all be ready at the same time in the same place. You log in, que up, and blizz makes the group for you. No herding cats to make it happen.

    I won’t say better or worse, but certainly different. I will say more accessible to a solo player however.


  28. **“The game puts an unhealthy level of importance on gear that forces players to do things they would characterize as “unfun” simply to get better gear.**

    I totally agree. Running Shadow Labs dozens of times and not see a Sonic Spear for my Hunter sucked ass.

    The guarantee of useful gear drops from Instances/Raids is fail by Blizzard’s standards. They do NOT want rapid progression. Or at least they don’t want it initially. I think if they did such a thing now it would also be detrimental as there would be epic tons of bitching from people that did it the “right way”.

    /whisper It’s called que time buddy =)

    True, no worries about class mix except that your BG will fail even when you have healers because the healers don’t want to heal.

    True, everybody can get in including all the not-even-tryings.

    True, the BG will not end when people drop out. It will just end sooner because your side just got steamrolled.

    True, I don’t have to coordinate 24 other people. Nobody in the BG can control them.

    True, it is easier to get into a BG. But they have a much higher level of suck value.


  29. Totally agree about the que times, however I have never waited more than a few minutes for a bg, but have been trying to find a group for old hillsbrad for 4 weeks. I have run kara to the point that I should hit exalted this week on the priest and still have not managed to get my frickin key.

    I also agree about the suck factor of the folks who don’t even try and/or don’t want to do their job in a bg, the point I was trying to make is that I can repeatedly fail at PVP and still get great gear, if I repeatedly fail at PVE i simply end up with repair bills and a bad attitude. =P

    While I enjoy PVP, I generally don’t play it in wow. I will log a FPS where everyone is there for the game and loot does not matter. then the teamwork is more like fun as opposed to trying to eat soup with a fork (organizing a random bg raid to do anything but zerg)

    A few solutions to this might be something like honor you could accumulate from trash mobs in instances, it could be spent for things on par with the instance level. that way you could eventually get some gear to help you out by trying, even if you fail.

    another thing would be a cross server LFG similar to the way the cross realm battleground ques work, this might help folks who want to run instances but cannot locate a group find one, like me with old hillsbrad.

    I do believe it is not PVP that has the problem however, it is PVE. The raid progression model is broken. I do think this is being addressed in the expansion however with the 10 and 25 player progression paths.

    I was not intending to diss you by the way, sarcasm does not always translate well in text. If I came across as rude, sorry about that.


  30. @Kal: “Most bear tanking gear before you go into raids is soloable…Some is rep gear”
    It’s worth noting that the rep gear isn’t really soloable. There’s no way to solo farm CE rep, except by buying the expensive and hard to find Coilfang Armaments in the AH. You don’t have to run heroics, though.

    “I don’t see why gear meant for raiding should be obtained by doing solo stuff. That doesn’t make any sense to me, any more than requiring PvP players to raid would make sense to me.”
    That’s the other half of the problem, in that PvP gear allows unskilled people to pass themselves off as “geared”. A solo PvE altenative would be better, especially if well designed, so that it at least partly tests the skills required for raiding, rather than the different set of skill required for PvP (or the worthless set of skill required to evade AFK reports).

    Say, solo PvE quest gives you an NPC ally and requires you to defeat an elite mob (which would be hard to solo, and wipe the floor with the unassisted NPC). A healer can keep the NPC up while it finishes him off, a tank can hold the elite and take advantage of the extra dps, a dps can balance aggro and dps race the elite. It’s hardly a perfect proxy for raiding skill, but it’s probably better than PvP.

    “Right now we could bring a total new player into a non-progression night and get them a ton of gear”
    Maybe I’m on a cruddy server, but very few guilds seem to do this. Any guild doing 25-mans expects recruits ready to start 25-mans. The existance of the PvP exacerbates this problem, because the now people expect recruits to be able to gear up solo. Further, many people won’t even run heroics with non-guildies unless they’re full epics (or at all).

    And, because PvP epics end up trumping gear requiring skill, there is no way to prove you’re compotent unless you have at least a foot in the door.


  31. There should be a SOLOABLE way to gear yourself up through PvE.

    Okay, I’m the one who originally said this, and taken out of context, even I don’t buy it.

    I focused on the wrong part of my point. I see PvP gear as being available to “solo and small group” players. PvE gear should also be available to “solo and small group” players, not to make it easier, but to make it more accessible. And I’ve seen some great suggestions. For example:

    Adding more daily quests that have a chance to give badges, or making it so that some are guaranteed, would help the issue.

    Rewarding badges from the regular daily dungeon quest, and not just the heroic, would help the issue.

    Yes, this makes the gear easier to attain than it was for the people who worked through and got it the hard way, but the same is true of the Arena gear. The best gear is the most difficult to attain, you need to have true PvP skill, a good group, coordination, communication, etc. Just as in PvE. But the Arena gear that was all the rage a year ago is now much more available to the masses. And people keep saying that it’s okay that the PvP gear is so available because of how late we are in BC, and how close we are to the next expansion. I don’t deny that. But why can’t there be a similar way to make the PvE gear more accessible, without having to coordinate 10 or 25 people?

    As to the argument that PvP is not a solo activity, another poster hit it right on the head: it’s more accessible to a solo player. And, good or bad, you still get something out of it. You get a bad BG group full of people who can’t (or won’t) play, and you still get a little closer to your goal. You get a bad instance group, and all you get is a repair bill.


  32. @Lee: I agree with you completely. The 10 mans in wotlk look good to me. 25 mans are much better than 40 mans. But its still too many people, because like someone said, once you start on 25 mans you are committing multiple days a week.

    @BBB: You don’t have to be in T5 to have kara on easy mode. My warrior’s tanking gear comes solely from kara, and we can clear it without wiping in about 3 hours. There are kara pugs on my server all the time; I usually run it with 2-3 friends and the rest pugs. And I’m not much of a raider — I’ve done gruuls twice, mag once, never been to ZA.

    Maybe its because I play on a launch server. Its not the T5 that makes kara easy mode; its the experience.

    Another thing is that you(BBB) have a slightly skewed opinion here as a druid. Feral druids are the only class that gets any pve value out of resilience, so those shoulders look better to you than they would to any other class. Go look at maxdps.com for mages; almost every s2 piece has multiple kara stuff that is much better. Some kara pieces are even better than the s4 gear.


  33. PvP gear is “easier” to get because you don’t have to put up with 24 other people that you may or may not like. That’s it. Well, that and you don’t have to compete with a bunch of them on a random drop. But neither of those (putting up with jerks or getting lucky/unlucky with rolls) is really a matter of skill. I’ve been in a raiding guild, and honestly, you can take a couple complete doofuses with bad gear that know nothing, and get them gear really, really quick. You take one person into Gruul’s with that idea, and it’s so much easier than the 10+ hours to get one piece of gear in BGs or Arena.

    The problem as I see it, is one of perception. If you want one or two pieces of PvP gear, you can get them “easily”. If you want to be a true PvPer, get a complete outfit, trinkets, etc… don’t tell me it’s easy. It takes a ton of time, and guess what… you spend that much time and you’re going to know how to play.

    The perception is that somehow PvE is “better”, but my experience is that isn’t true. The number of people in raids, getting loot with a minimum of effort and with no real clue what they’re doing, is pretty high. The only thing that makes PvE seem harder is the number of people involved.

    And really, this has turned people into loot whores. The point of a raiding guilid is NOT supposed to be phat lewts. It’s supposed to be working together to get the skills needed to see content. The point of PvP is to put in a lot of hours to be able to kill other players dead. That some loot transfers both ways, and is “easier” to get at times, shouldn’t really be a source of so much angst. Either be a purist and stick to your one track, or take advantage that there are two kinds of gear.

    PvP is a mostly solitary endevor, and one person is getting the gear. If you try to make it as “hard” and as “long” for one person pvping, as it is for 25 plus raiders to get similar gear… that’s just unrealistic. And a little elitist.


  34. @dechion, I agree about the PVE progression model, and actually that’s a more interesting conversation to me anyway. It seems to me that there are these big raid instances out there that i’ve never seen, and will never see. That’s probably true for a lot of players out there, although that’s just a guess.

    The problem is that i can get into a kara group, but anything beyond that is impossible. I don’t have time to run 25 mans every night, and I don’t expect those that do to take me on a charity run every once in a while. That’s messed up, because I’ve hit a brick wall where there is no where to go for progression. The only alternative is to create another alt, and gear him up by doing the exact same things over and over.

    I think things will be better in the next expansion when there is a 10 man path. Hopefully we will get to a point where the first 10 man is easymode, and we can all move on to pug the second one. And so on, and so on.

    The heroics were a good idea, but frankly they are too hard and take too long for what you get. By the time you are geared up enough for them, you don’t really want anything from them. So its hard to find a competent group, unless its for the daily, and even that is just for badges.


  35. Bigbearbutt – You pugged kara and had a great write up on it. Cassie got a ton of lewt from it, and it sounded great and fun.

    Would you take that experience away from her because she got all that gear so easily? Should people who PvP a lot be upset that they will have to put in a lot more time to get that much equivalent PvP gear?

    Just because PvE people don’t like PvPing, or the system, doesn’t mean that those who do enjoy it should have their fun sucked out of it. Making the gear much harder to obtain is not a really viable solution, IMO. And the Arena gear with requirements? That is about the furthest thing from “easy” as you can get.

    I like doing both pvp and pve, and since I’m a feral, I consider it a bonus that a couple pieces of pvp gear are great for tanking. Not a source of anger. Resilience just benefits ferals more than most.

    It’s hard to talk about this without making peole upset, loot in WoW seems to stir up more trouble than it should. Love your blog and love reading your stuff.


  36. @mike, oddly enough pre-TBC I started with hunter horde side, got to kara. stalled.

    Rerolled a priest alliance side, cleared Kara, went through gruuls, mags, early ssc. guild fell apart. moved on.

    rerolled hunter alliance side, currently 52, planning to get to 70 and start the process over again….

    Kinda sounds like what you were saying about alts, Lol.

    Hopefully it will be much better in the expansion.


  37. Boojah… tell me where, exactly, I said.. not another commenter, but ME, said that I want PvPers to have a harder, longer time to get your gear? That I think you should slog longer hours for it?

    Where? Quote it, please.


  38. Sorry if I’m sounding pissy, what I am is getting very depressed over the feeling that I keep getting what I said reinterpreted into things I certainly never said or meant, and then getting hit for it.

    Seriously, I’m tired. Okay? I’m tired. I thought that I would be credited with not being an anti-PvP hater, of having an open mind about the topic, and instead I feel beat to shit. So please… you win. Okay? I’m tired of the personal emails about this. You win. okay? And for those of you that kept on topic… thank you. Thank you very much, I think that you’ve got some great ideas about different ways to try and balance the PvE gear to help new raiders get up to speed quicker.


  39. I’m bringing through a druid at the moment and I see pvp as the only way to know that I will get good gear for cat form. Raiding and instancing is difficult for me. I am pleased that another option exists, and also pleased that the grind is reduced; but majorly pissed that PvE cannot offer a fixed reward for the time spent.


  40. Your last post makes me sad as this is a interesting topic. Between PVE and PVP the time requirements are not grossly different. But PVE is more a matter of opportunity. For example my alt warlock went to Mt Hyjal last night and killed 4 bosses with open roll in a semi-pug. I “could” have scored big. As the reality worked out 0 cloth dropped:( but badges and 50+ gold so cant complain.

    But its a matter of opportunity. Kara runs happen, but not at times that suit, Or they may need a healer so its my t6 Pally rather then my brand new dps char. heh I cant even get my main into ZA let alone my alts because its all bear runs with a fairly tight class makeup and 20 people want spots.

    Mike PVE isnt allways easymode. Pug Gruul that been wiping on Gruul, the call went out for help in Guild chat and we supplied a t4 offtank, 3 t6 healers and 2 t6 dps. Easymode yes? Dps kept dieing, maintank kept dieing and it called 5 more wipes later, and no the average player isnt geared past Mags. The average high end raider is but not the average player. As for drops random is random. Yes I got my t4 pants for alt(and banked them) 1st run, but t4 chest? still rolling 7 runs later.

    Thank you for the interesting discusions and digressions bigbearbutt


  41. Ok, BBB asked that we let this post and the personal attacks (not dialogue, but personal comments and emails of hatred and nastiness) stop and people are continuing. So rather than allow that to continue, the post will be locked now. And for the first time in the history of the blog.

    There will be people who will see that as censorship or something to additionally complain about, but the bottom line is this is a blog about a game that is supposed to be fun and enjoyable. Maybe people are using sarcasm and are joking, but it’s not coming across that way and there’s only so much constant flood of nastiness that a person can take before they start to take it personally and not as a dialogue about a game. 50+ comments and people making their own blog posts to point out how wrong they think someone is and personal emails that are vicious and nasty aren’t fun and ruin the game for our family.

    So it’s time to move on. Tomorrow will be PBEM story time and then hopefully we’ll return next week with other fun game play to report on. Thanks.



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