Thursday, July 19, 2012

Is Gear the Great Motivator?

I've always said that I play for the fun of playing.  I raid because I like beating the big baddies in a group challenge working out patterns and accomplishing something.  Even if gear is not a priority of mine it is extremely important to me.  The better the gear I have the better I can do my job be it tanking, healing or dealing damage.  So even for someone like me that does not raid for gear, gear matters.  Simple enough right?

But then we go to the people on the forums and their logic.  "If you don't raid you don't need raid gear."

Excuse me?  What planet do these people live on that they really believe that?

Just because my rent is not three million a month doesn't mean I don't want three million a month.  Just because I am eating a hamburger doesn't mean I don't want a steak.  Just because my girlfriend is not Jessica Alba it doesn't mean I wouldn't want to date Jessica Alba.

So just because you don't raid doesn't mean you don't want gear.  To think that non-raiders do not want, or need, gear is ignorant on the part of any person that would ever say it.

I am a raider and I am all for valor gear.  I am all for BoEs.  I am all for other ways to get top end gear for people that do not raid.  I am all for it because of what I mentioned before, I do not raid for gear.  So I do not judge my own self worth on the gear I wear and I do not get upset because someone else that doesn't raid has the same gear I do. 

Sure, I might get jealous that it took me 26 DW kills to get the bow for my hunter because it never dropped but that is jealously because someone less skilled that rarely raids got lucky on his first and only kill.  I do not want it taken away from him.  His getting it does not diminish my ability.  His getting it does not make mine any less useful when I finally got it.  All him getting it does is make me hate the random number generator more than I already do, and that is a lot to begin with.

It is easy to see how gear is the great motivator for raiders.  Some raiders like to get it to show "how good they are".  Some raiders like to get it to "prove their self worth".  Some raiders like to get it, "so they can do better".  Some raiders like to get it "because it makes getting into pugs easier".  Some raiders like to get it for various reasons I did not mention.

I fall into the "so they can do better" category.  I like new gear because it helps me do better and that is always my main aim.  To be the best player I can be.  I might never be the best player but I sure as hell can be the best that I can be if I put in some effort and of course, get the gear that allows me to be that good.

So if it is easy to see why raiders want gear why is it so hard for people to understand that non raiders want gear too?

Just because someone does not raid does not mean they do not want to do the best they can do.  Just because someone does not raid does not mean they don't want to be able to do better.

Gear is a great motivator and argumentatively it is actually a greater motivator for non raiders, or lesser skilled players, than it is for raiders or what are commonly refers to as better players.

There are people that were capable of doing dragon soul full runs with everyone in 380 gear, or 385 gear, or 390 gear.  It all depends on the groups level of skill and if they needed a little extra help that gear can provide. When they need that little bit of help gear is a huge motivator.

But once again, I delved into raiders and raid gear.  The point I am trying to get to is why non-raiders need raid gear and how gear is a great motivator to them as much as it is for the raider.

I'll go to myself for an example.  On one server I have three hunters, 2 death knights, 2 druids, and one of every other class.  Yes, 14 characters that can raid.  I do not raid with all of them but I like to be raid ready with all of them if I can.

So while my warlock has never stepped into a current raid.  And by never I mean never.  But that does not change the fact I would like him to be raid ready.  I have absolutely zero intention of ever raiding with him but there is nothing wrong with making him capable of raiding.

So while I do not do anything with him, gear is still a huge motivator for him.  I will get him crafted gear, valor BoEs, drop BoEs and HoT gear.  It will not be great stuff, but I can get to a 380+ item level at least and that is more than ample to be raid ready, as long as you know how to play the class. Even more so now that we have the 30% buff flying around.

So to all those people that say "If you don't raid you don't need raid gear" I call bullshit.

I can give you a list of reasons why non-raiders need raid gear.  And I think I will.

1)  Ability
You can do 25K in 380 gear maybe, but a non raider that does not have the same skills needs all 397 gear to even come close to that.  If anything, the non-raider needs that gear more than the raider does if they want to perform at what is deemed acceptable numbers.
2) Questing
Non-raiders do a lot of questing.  They, just like anyone, would like to be able to do what they do faster and more efficiently.  More gear means you do it better, which means things die faster, which means you can do more quests and if that is how you have your fun, more quests means more fun.
3) Gathering
A quest geared character lands to pick an herb and gets into a battle, it takes time to kill the mob.  A raid geared character lands to pick an herb and gets into a battle, one shots the mob and moves to the next node.  Gathering is so much easier when each time you land it does not turn into another epic battle of man vs wild.
4) Grinding
For drops, for mats, for whatever.  Non-raiders do a lot of grinding for various different reasons.  Killing mobs for skins, looking for a certain drop, killing for level 78 and 79 cata greens, etc.  The difference between hunting foxes for the fox kit and it taking 30 seconds or more per fight or two shots is huge over the course of a few hours grinding and could be the difference of killing hundreds of foxes or just a few dozen.
5) Progression
Raiders get their progression in raids.  Good or bad makes no difference, even if you are only 4/8 normal, that is your progression.  Not great at all, but that is how you judge how you are doing and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. For the non-raider your progression is your gear.  If you are 330 you are starting, if you are 350, you are advancing, if you are 380 you are doing well and if you are 390, you are basically capped as far as you can go without raiding.  For the non raider a 390 item level is basically the same as 8/8 heroic is for a raider.  You got to the end of your quest.
6) Dungeons
Non-raiders often dungeon.  Why do you need raid gear to do dungeons people ask.  Well, let me answer for you.  Doing 20K in a dungeon or doing 6K in a dungeon.  Which is going to make it go by faster?  Which is going to make it easier on everyone there?  Which is going to make it more fun with less wipes as long as you are doing mechanics correct?  20K of course.  Sure, the non-raider might only be doing 20K in 390 gear and you would do 30K but you know what, for them, that is awesome and that is fun.
7) Soloing
Non-raiders often like to solo old content and some current but easier to solo content.  I started soloing VP and Stonecore for the drakes as soon as I hit 85 and I can tell you from first hand experience that it is a lot different in 400 gear than it was in 330 gear.  We are talking not even in the same ballpark here people.  Not even the same sport.  330 was an effort in pure skill and effort.  400 I just blow through it and can even ignore some mechanics because I know the thing will die fast enough.

Gear is a great motivator for even the non-raider because it makes everything they do easier.  If anything gear is a bigger motivator for non-raiders than it is for raiders.  For raiders they know they will get their gear from raiding, it is the true example of welfare gear, raiding gear is welfare gear.  You are going to kill the bosses anyway for your progression, so anything that drops is pure bonus.  That is welfare gear.

It has always annoyed me when people call valor gear welfare gear because you have to work your ass off for valor gear.  If you are working for it, it is not welfare.  But that is another story all together.

No matter what aspect of the game you play, gear is the ultimate motivator.

For quality raiders, the better your gear, the better you get and the further you can push your progression.  For average raiders, the better the gear you get, the easier the content gets.  For part time raiders, the better the gear you get, the more likely you can pug with success and pull your own weight.  For non-raider max level characters, it helps with all the things I mentioned above.  Even when leveling, gear is a great motivator.  The better gear you have the more efficiently you level.  For PvP the better the gear you have, the less damage you take and the more damage you can put out.

So while I do not raid for gear as my focus myself, gear does matters.

And for all those people that say "If you don't raid you don't need raid gear" I have some bad news for you.  They need that gear more than the raiders do.  They need it because it is their only way to measure progression. They need it for those reasons I mentioned.

So to answer my own question, yes, gear is the great motivator.

I am glad to see that they are offering valor for daily quests in mists.  I just hope they keep offering valor gear as well.  I think you should be able to fill all slots with valor gear.  So non-raiders can have a continued feeling for progression.  It will also be a nice way for me to keep my warlock raid ready without needing to raid or do dungeons.  So maybe, just maybe, that one day I feel like raiding with him for fun, he can.

Yes, gear matters.  For everyone that plays the game.  Not just raiders.

I think raiders need to get off their high horse and start realizing that just because they raid does not mean that no one else should have gear.  Everyone needs gear, no matter how they play the game.


  1. I like gear because it's pretty. I have a thing for shields and if that Blackhorn hc shield is ever gonna drop, I'm gonna break the arms of anyone rolling against me.
    Joke aside, I'm sure I read a similar remark over at wowinsider at some point - what do you need gear for if you're not raiding? More correct would have been: what do you need raiding gear for if you're not raiding? 378 gear is perfectly acceptable for dungeon level and you should feel comfortable with it. 380-390 gear is perfectly acceptable for LFR and you should feel comfortable with it. You actually don't *need* it. Think about it. The only problem is that people who actually need that gear to be able to get hc kills can do non-raiding content with it and that makes non raiders feel inferior.
    But... as a pure two-specced tank who could never get a proper Arena rating in my preferred spec. I'll probably never be able to get elite gear as protection. And I wouldn't mind if I was told that I don't need elite gear for my level of pvp-ing. It would be completely true. It's shiny, it would make things easier for me in random battlegrounds, but I don't need it.

    Basically, what I think is that there is no point in being sad that there are differences and no point in being pissed off that there are ways to close the gap between non raiders and raiders a bit. The gap is there because, indeed, the non raiders don't need the gear as much as raiders, but the gap should be small enough so non raiders don't feel bad when doing non raiding content along / compared to raiders.

    1. While I do raid, even if only a little, on most classes and a lot on some I can tell you from my own experience that raid gear helps in every other aspect of game play.

      I am not very good at my warlock but it is more because of gear than it is lack of knowledge, even if my reactions are a lot slower due to lack of practice with it. I read everything I can but I could never put out respectable numbers I have become accustom to on my other classes because I do not have fun playing it. But with that said, once I started getting some "raid" gear, it made playing my warlock fun, even if I still was not great at it. That, in turn, helped me get better with it, because I was having fun.

      Even in some 378 gear I could not go hog wild while questing, but with a few 397 valor pieces, some BoEs and the rest 378s I made the jump from "doing dailies was annoying" to "doing dailies is fun".

      So raid gear made playing my warlock fun even if my warlock never raids. This is the position I come from when I say that even non-raiders can get a lot out of raid gear. And, in my opinion, I see no reason why they should not have it if they are willing to work for it.

      If anything, as a raider, I have the easy route to gear. I am doing my progression which gets me valor and gear, even if I would do the progression without those. So I get my gear for doing something I was going to do anyway, so basically I get it for free. If my warlock wants to grind out heroics and work his ass off to earn that same gear I say let him have all the same gear too. He is surely working a hell of a lot harder to get it than my raiders are.

    2. This is like getting to lvl 78, getting some Cata gear, rings, neck and destroying mobs with ~8k dps on my warlock. Sure it's fun. Having more health than the tank. Having twice the dps of everyone else added up. But seriously, while this is indeed does not mean that that sort of overgearing is needed. At all. If anything, should look into why this isn't fun with appropriate gear. As I said, I can understand overgearing is fun because, well, people like big numbers and they like being top, over people who similarly have no gear yet. Even better if they can lord over people who DO have same gear or even higher iLvl. But overgearing is overgearing and 1. it's not needed under any circumstances 2. fun should end when challenges die, not begin, yet people feel the other way around.

      As a side note, warlock was sort of a miss this time around, the least loved class in Cata.

    3. I think I remember you saying you did not like questing so I figure you would be very understanding to the analogy I used for gear helping questing.

      If it takes you 20 minutes to do the quest because things take forever to die it is not exactly what anyone would call fun but if it took 2 minutes because you could blow things up and see big numbers, it makes questing fun and not feel so much like part of the grind.

      That is why, in my opinion, I think gear is more for the non raiders. They need it more than the raider do.

      Their fun is questing, their fun gets better the more quests they can do. A raiders fun is the challenge. The more gear they get, the less challenge there is, and the raid loses its fun (unless it is uludar which is always fun no matter what).

    4. Hmm I think I finally see your point. It's that raiders get fun out of downing bosses and gear shouldn't be as important to them as it is to a non-raider. I suppose it's true when you look at it like that.
      Yet gear is an all-around motivator. For everyone in this game. I'm trying to figure out at the moment why. I mean after not getting an upgrade for 3 months it starts to depress me. It's a reward. It makes me better. Raiders by definition strive to be better. After downing a boss group gets something that makes it down the same boss easier next time and that is gear and it seems natural. Getting bigger numbers, mitigating more, being more efficient as a healer is just as important to a raider as it is to a non-raider. All are players and need it just as much, all are getting fun out of the feeling of progression.

      About the last bit though - challenge is there the first time you down a boss. The second time you don't want to struggle as much. And it isn't fun to feel crushed as a tank because your effective health isn't high enough. Encounters are still buillt around having better and better gear. They're not built around true-skill only. No matter how much I'd try, I wouldn't be able to survive heroic fights without gear on. That's why we don't have 8/8hc on our alt group as well. This is where *I'm* coming from. So from my (albeit narrow) point of view, a non raider simply doesn't need the gear - there's no quest that would be impossible to do with everything but raiding gear. Yet not the same is applied to raiders. Now, don't get me wrong, I understand you now, I think. This is really not about needing the gear in the true sense. Non-raiders don't need gear to DO anything. But they need gear to feel better and feel they are progressing.

      I suppose all this is caused by game design though. Game isn't actually meant to give top end gear to questers. It's a loot-centric game that doesn't span horizontally, but vertically. You get your quests and at the end of a huge quest chain you get a blue. You kill bosses in dungeons you get more blues. You kill some bosses in heroic you get some purples. then raids then heroic raids. Everything builds up and you just settle at the level you're at. You only quests, oh well, game isn't designed to require purples for you to quest better. Mhm, I'm getting a slight headache. I'm getting pretty sure that if people weren't able to compare themselves, there wouldn't be issues. People seem to want the same rewards no matter what they do when they can compare.
      In the end, I don't see the problem to giving raiding gear to questers as long as I don't have to quest as a raider for the same gear.

    5. Yes, it is a motivator to us all. Heck, we all love gear. I could probably do DS now with the 30% buff in all dungeon blues, but why would I? I love my gear and it is like personal progression, heading for all BiS.

      As far as raids go, gear just makes it easier. Hence why I would not do it in dungeon blues. It helps when you hit your head against the wall.

      Gear increases your potential. Most of the time, if you work at your maximum potential, if you can get to the boss, you can beat it.

      I've seen pugs where the lowest person had a 397 item level and they did not get more than one boss down on normal.

      I've seen groups that didn't even have one person over 390 go 8/8 normal with no wipes before the buff.

      While yes, I will never argue that gear is important because it really is. The more you have the easier it gets. There is no way anyone could ever argue that.

      But for raiders, they like to gear is an excuse.

      We did a run last night, someone bought in an alt and did 24K on ultraxion and was so happy saying he was doing good.

      I told him, 24K minimum was what we asked for the first time we downed it. I told them that they were doing okay, but with some more practice they will get better. That number was nice, but they should be doing much better.

      His answer was, you all had better gear when you did it, that is why I am lower, this is just an alt.

      He is 395. None of us were over 390 when we first downed it. All of us did more then him that first time.

      See, that is your average raider. Not just him, I see it all over the place. They use gear as an excuse.

      I think one of the reasons I hate the raiding / gear thing so much is because everyone uses it as an excuse.

      Sometimes it might be true.

      It annoys me. Most people need gear that sims for 40K before they can do 30K?

      People, raiders mostly, use gear as an excuse.

      I would love, completely 100% totally, to see raids require everyone to be naked and skill be the only thing that matters.

      How much do you want to make a bet that there would be 95% fewer destroyer ends out there?

      Sorry, went on a rant against people using gear as an excuse. lol

    6. I was actually thinking of that, how would it be if raids didn't require gear. Like people have been asking about pvp as well. But that's not going to happen, the game is built around rewards that make us feel more powerful with the same skill. Just vanity items won't do, I suppose.

    7. I would love a skill based raid, but yes, if it were only based on skill why would most people raid.

      I would raid for the challenge but I am not like most people. I am the 1%. Most people want gear, most people would never consider doing it if it were not for gear.

      But even if I would love a skill test with no rewards other than the reward of doing it, I would only do it once.

      After I do it once, I proved I have the skill, why do it again?

      So even me, that does not raid for gear, still needs the gear as a motivator to do something more than once.

  2. Imagine for a minute that for the next expansion, Blizzard raised the level cap to 95. The only way to level beyond 90, however, is to earn XP in a remote daily hub that requires 3 hours to complete and you only get xp if you complete all the quests in one session.

    As a result of this design, we have a population made of two classes: the advantaged upper class capped at level 95, who have better stats and more abilities, and the disadvantaged lower class capped at 90 who didn’t have those things because they don’t like daily quest hubs.

    This is, of course, similar to the model WoW uses, only instead of a remote daily hub, we have raiding. The improved stats are granted on our armor and the additional abilities are now called set bonuses and item procs and on-use trinkets. And instead of 5 additional levels to cap, we have 5 ilevel thresholds.

    1. I would be 95. :P

      Just the way I play. And that would fit perfectly into my desire to be able to do things on my own.

      While I love to raid, I am quite put off that raiding is the only way to get everything in the game like gear, mounts, pets, etc. Getting a group is not always easy and getting a group that can complete everything in a reasonable time is even harder.

      While I understand it is an MMO they put WAY to much emphasis on the MMO part of the game and forget that not everyone is at end game level, not everyone had time to raid even with LFR, and not everyone wants to hang out with a group of strangers to get things in game.