Someone recently made a comment about something that has been crossing my mind since the removal of valor gear come 5.4, What he basically said was that he was capped on valor and with no new valor gear and enough stocked up to upgrade 6 pieces of gear that grinding valor is not really that important any more.
I've been thinking about that a great deal lately myself. I have over 22,000 valor scattered over my characters. Some could buy some 522 valor gear but why bother on alts I have no intention of using immediately. They have a high enough item level to get into the LFR when it comes and I am sure I can squeeze them into one of the many flex raids I expect to see popping up.
I would rather get 528 LFR gear or 540 flex gear and upgrade it than waste valor on outdated 522 gear now. The importance of valor has be downgraded, even more so for alts. While valor for alts was always fantastic for the valor gear, without the valor gear, the need for valor on them all but disappears. Unless of course I choose to do LFR or flex with them.
I am starting to think I like this idea. It is like blizzard has told me that I was allowed to step out of the skinner box. For those that do not know what a skinner box is, it is based on some work done by BF Skinner where he put an animal in a cage and rewarded it for pressing a lever. Effectively valor and valor gear works as a skinner box for warcraft. We press the lever (collect valor) and are rewarded with pellets (gear). It is a great motivating ability.
I've always been a big fan of this design. I know I am caught in the skinner box while doing it but I support the effort equals reward dynamic of earn valor and buy gear. I have been, for years, collecting as much valor or badges, as I was able to and getting all the gear as soon as I could. Now I don't even have that option.
The skinner box has been broken, the door left open, the thousands, perhaps tens or hundreds of thousands, of us that have been trapped in that box knowingly pressing that lever for the rewards for years are now free to do something else, to leave the skinner box.
At first I felt a little like a drug addict without an outlet to buy drugs. As if I am a valor fiend, I need my lever to press to get my pellets and while there are still levers all around (valor) there are no pellets (gear) to be had. Like anyone with an addiction I fight for what I fiend for. I want my valor gear. I will still be pressing the lever every time I do a quest, kill a rare, do a dungeon, do a scenario, do a raid, do basically everything. I will be pressing levers over and over and I want my pellets. Upgrading gear does not feel like a pellet. Buying a new piece of gear does.
But as time passes and I am coming to acceptance with the fact that everything in the game will be completely luck based now and there is absolutely no way to compensate for bad luck any longer. I think I am starting to embrace the idea. I know that sounds strange coming from me as I love the earn your gear method over the luck into your gear method, but there is something freeing about not needing to collect valor for gear any more and I am starting to like that. For all the wrong reasons that is, at least as I am sure blizzard would see it that way.
Without my skinner box, the one I loved, pressing the lever for my valor so I could get my pellet gear, there is no longer a reason for me to log in every day. There is no longer a reason to cap valor being there is nothing to spend valor on. Sure, there are upgrades, but when you never win gear what does upgrading nothing really mean? Unless you get insanely lucky with drops, you will never eat up all the incidental valor you came across just doing your other things, like raiding.
When I first heard of the no new valor gear beginning in 5.4 I said this line, "It is like blizzard is speaking directly at me telling me, we do not want you playing this game any more, now leave."
Funny thing is that even if I am changing my opinion on no valor gear as time is passing, that line still makes perfect sense. It is blizzard setting me free. They opened the door on the skinner box. "It is like blizzard is speaking directly at me telling me, we do not want you playing this game any more, now leave."
The first way was the game telling me they did not want me playing any more because it was taking away my addiction to collecting valor (pressing the lever) to buy valor gear (get my pellet). The second way was the game telling me they did not want me to play any more so they are opening the door on the skinner box and basically letting me be free to leave, or quit even, as the thing that was keeping me addicted is gone.
I am not so sure this is the intended effect blizzard was hoping for, but it might work wonders for my addiction. Just think about it, everything I have done in game all this expansion as been about valor. Now, in a world without valor, there is nothing left for me to do. I can finally just sit back and relax because the thing that was keeping me addicted to the game is gone, maybe forever.
I'll just log on to raid now for gear being that is the only option for gear. Maybe try some PvP and do some arenas. Play around a little more doing solo stuff. I am free to do whatever I want because my addiction to collecting valor is broken because blizzard left the door open on the skinner box. But there is one other thing that should be something they should worry about. Without the skinner box making me feel like I need to log on every day to press the lever, I am also open to quitting now.
The entire expansion has been about valor. Everything I did was about valor. On my main I won't even consider anything as I would have done everything anyway, gear or not. But on my alts, I did dailies to get reputation so I could buy valor gear. I did dailies, dungeons, scenarios, LFR, to get valor to get gear. I did LFR to get reputation to get gear. Everything I did on alts was to get valor which in turn would get me gear. I would always rush online on tuesday to max out one character first so it would make valor collection on the others more productive. Everything I have done this expansion has been all about valor gear.
Take away that valor gear, and there is nothing left for me to do. I won't worry about my alts any longer. Why bother, I can not keep them raid ready geared through valor any more. I will just log on to raid on my main, and if I get lucky I might get a piece. I will use 500 valor from my already capped stash to upgrade it and with my luck I will recover that 500 valor in the time it takes to win another piece.
Effectively valor does not matter any more at all. Unless you get extremely lucky with more than 2 upgrades a week, you will never use all your stash, even more so if you are like me and have the one new item every month luck, at most. In a month of doing nothing but raiding I will surely get valor capped again without even trying. And that is what it comes down to, why try cap valor when it won't be needed.
The skinner box has been broken. Blizzard broke it themselves. They let us rats out of the cage and we are no longer connected to the game the way we once were. I should actually be sending them a thank you card right after I finish this post.
And that is how I am starting to feel, different. I am starting to feel free. I am starting to feel as if I log into the game it will be because I want to and not because I feel there is something I need to do, like collect valor. There will be no pressing need or desire to get on tuesday as early as I can so I can cap one character to make the most out of the others because the others will not be getting much new gear as I rarely play them, so that means they will not have things to upgrade, which means they really do not need valor. At least not much at all.
But then I remember the upgrade vendor. And the alts. And start to think, while the cage is much much bigger now, there is still a cage there of sorts, if I allow it to be so like I allowed valor gear to be my cage before it. But I am now thinking the exact opposite of what I have always said. I always said I would rather earn my gear than luck into it. But sensing this freedom I have right now I am starting to think, I might be willing to accept a world without valor. So I will no longer be a geared player thanks to luck being the only deciding factor on whether you have gear or not. It will just be another push out the door that they opened when they let me out of the skinner box.
Now they need to remove the upgrade vendor and make it so there is no use for valor what so ever. Then, and only then, will I be totally and completely free of the skinner box. But if I can put my compulsion to play alts out of the way, I am effectively free of the skinner box already. As I said, I will never win enough gear to keep up with the valor I get just from raiding. I am free, completely free, for the first time ever in the game.
The question is, what do I do in this world without valor when I am no longer confined to the skinner box. Perhaps I should listen to what blizzard is telling me by them opening the door on the skinner box. "we do not want you playing this game any more, now leave."
I think I might like this world without valor. It will allow me to play less, free less need that I have to be on, to experience new things I never had time for because I "have to cap valor". I can't wait to delve into arena some this patch. To spend a little more time outside of the game and less in it. Not having to feel like I need to cap out on tuesday. To enjoy a whole new world of freedom in game play to do whatever I wish to do and that now includes not even logging in sometimes.
But it has me thinking of one good, or bad, side effect depending on how you look at it.
I can now take time off and quit for a couple of weeks or a month. The only thing that ever kept me playing week after week was valor and the feeling that if I did not cap every week I would fall behind. I always played that I needed to get everything I could get as soon as I could get it. I believe any player worth their salt would do just the same. If the valor chest is an upgrade you should get it as soon as it is possible to get it. No logging on means falling behind, and it just will not be that way any longer. Without that valor gear, I can leave at any time I want knowing that when I come back I am not behind six weeks worth of valor because there is no such thing as being behind on valor any more. When you get a new piece, which is rare, you upgrade it. Simple as that.
So while I am starting to look forward to this world without valor it makes me wonder, was opening the door on the skinner box really a good idea for a game that is bleeding subscriptions already? Is it a good idea that they are making it easier to leave and come back and not be behind?
For people returning to the game the time has never been better to do so. With no valor gear you are not really behind. This is the first time since wrath I can say I am actively saying, now is a great time to return to the game. That is saying something coming from me. I have not been willing to give the game an endorsement in 4 years.
But the other side is for people looking to leave the time has never been better either. You can leave with no worries of missing out on anything in your time gone. What happens if those people never come back? I mean, after all, blizzard has told me and many others "we do not want you playing this game any more, now leave." by removing valor gear.
I might be warming up to this world without valor, but I can't help but think it is going to hurt them in the long run.
Time to rebind all my PvP abilities, it has been so long. I can't believe I am actually looking forward to attempting arena's seriously again for the first time since wrath. I was never very good, in fact I sucked quite badly, but maybe I can have a little fun with it. It is not like I have to grind valor every week any more. Hey, I don't might not need valor any more but maybe conquest can become my new addiction. ;)
Dev Watercooler: Building Healthy Gameplay - Following last week's blog on the stat squish and CC removal, this morning's offering is a Dev Watercooler on the changes to healing coming with *Warlords...
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