Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Gear That Lasts, Love it or Hate it?

If you have ever read my blog before you would know that I don't really post anywhere.  It doesn't mean that sometimes I do not read something and can't help but want to make an account to reply to someone because something they said deserved a response.  I just had one of these moments while reading a thread on raiding over on MMOC.

When the conversation veered toward gearing up everyone was expressing their opinion.  Some saying it is easy to gear up, some saying it was hard, some saying they hated gearing 4 times through 4 raids of the same exact content, some being just fine with it.  Opinions are just that, everyone has their own.  Most of the time you can side step an opinion you do not agree with because you know everyone is different, sometimes you just can't.  Even if it is an opinion, the opinion just seems fundamentally wrong.

I had one of those moments while reading that post when someone mentioned that, paraphrasing, "blizzard learned that people do not like having the same piece of gear for 18 months".

This might fall into the opinion category but I could not help but think this opinion in particular was fundamentally wrong.  At least part of it.  The opinion part I will agree is an opinion is that "blizzard learned".  That is his opinion, my opinion is that blizzard has not learned.  If they did 6.1 would have had a daily hub or two.  But that is my opinion.

What made me want to make an account just to reply to him was the "people do not like having the same piece of gear for 18 months."  Speak for yourself buddy.  I loved greatness, which was the trinket in question that had been mentioned at the time. 

I loved that I made it at the beginning of wrath and that it lasted me the entire expansion almost.  I did not replace it until I got deathbringers will in ICC25.  It was my first slot trinket for a long time than moved to my second slot, and as I had not gotten anything else it remained there until ICC.  And it is not like I got stuck with a bad trinket, it was still a very good trinket.  There were some along the way that I could have gotten, but didn't, that would have been better, but only slightly, greatness was, no pun intended, a great trinket and I wish all darkmoon trinkets were designed on that model.  To last a long time.

I liked the idea of the cloak last expansion and the ring this expansion because it was a done piece.  It was the best you would get for that slot.  No killing bosses over and over hoping for a drop.  No wondering if you guild will even get to the boss that drops the piece you need.  No RNG, just one piece of gear kicking ass and taking names for the entire expansion.  I freaking love that idea.

I would not be adverse to the idea that every single slot in the game was like that.  And as we raid we upgrade said pieces.  We don't need to work on luck to get gear.  We just need to be active and upgrade it.  I absolutely love the idea of having the same piece of gear for 18 months.  I love the idea that all of mists my characters had the same cloak, I love the idea that all of warlords my characters will have the same ring.

So no, some "people" do like having the same piece of gear for 18 months.  I am one of those people.  So I am not saying that as an opinion, I am saying this as fact.  Some people do like getting a piece of gear that lasts them for a while.

I might only be guessing here, but I am sure I am not alone.  I am sure there are people out there that like getting a piece that remains a solid piece for longer than just a few weeks.  Maybe not as huge as greatness which was a 200 item level piece that lasted until it was replaced by a 264 piece but still having something that does not feel like it is instantly replaced, if you get lucky, is a good feeling.  For some of us.

I like that scales of doom remains one of survivals best pieces even if highmaul is old content.  Sure, I did not get it and it would be awesome if I did, but for the people that did get it, it is a nice feeling to know that what you worked to get and were lucky enough to acquire was not made instantly useless by a new tier coming out.  Or a new difficultly level you moved into.

I believe pieces should last longer.  I don't think I should be upgrading my shoulder pieces every couple of weeks, depending on luck.  I would rather get a piece and it last for a few months, maybe even a year or hell, even 18 months, because that would feel better for me, it would make it feel as if the piece of gear I worked for is actually worth it.

I like gear that lasts.  I would rather have more pieces of gear as good as greatness, or as well designed to last like the cloak and ring than to upgrade my shoulders with a normal highmaul drop, then upgrade then again with a heroic highmaul drop, then to upgrade it with a warforged drop or a gem slot drop, then upgrade them again with a tier normal blackrock drop, then upgrade them again with a heroic blackrock drop, then upgrade them with a warforged drop or a gem slot drop all within the span of a couple of months.  No thank you.  I would rather have a piece that lasts for more than 15 minutes thank you very much.

But perhaps I am just jaded because in the example I used, I would never get 6 pairs of shoulders to drop, I probably would not get one.  So I would rarely or ever be in that situation.  It could also be why I would prefer to have gear that lasts.  It takes so long for me to get a piece, I hate having to replace it every few months and then not being able to get the new piece to drop.  So my opinion on the matter could very well be tainted by my bad luck.  So I will ask you.

Do you like gear that has a long life span?


  1. Some will disagree, but for me warlords has been the best xpac for crafting! I only do lfr and being able to craft gear that will last me the entire xpac is simply fant√°stic. Especially the way you upgrade it and mame its stats match what you want.

  2. In stories (usually fantasy/medieval) a hero will have a unique item (armor, shield, weapon or even necklace/ring, etc). I like that Blizzard has given us a pass on one item (should you care to partake in the effort) as best in slot. Well wouldn't it be nice if everyone could choose a slot on their toon that was best in slot and not have to worry about gearing it? Or, have that choice omitted from the average i-level (but still have it showing; so if I omitted shoulders, I could wear anything in the slot to make it unique to me as a hero)? Obviously weapons would be an obvious choice here, but are too powerful to use for this example.

    Look at the cast of characters in WoW and you see Thrall with Doomhammer (he wouldn't upgrade that), Garrosh/Grommash with Gorehowl, Khadgar with that replica legendary priest staff, and Tirion with the Ashebringer.

    Let's look at it from the standpoint of when you finally get a 4 piece tier set. Then the new raid comes out. Are you really ready to drop the set? Of course not. And everyone is doing the calculations on whether the new set is better or if you should go half/half.

    And how about when Blizzard introduces a new raid "TOO SOON" (does anyone remember the introduction of one of the worst raids being released "Trial of Champions" so shortly after one of the best "Ulduar?)?

    1. Forgot to add that back in MOP and Cataclysm, you would get to a point where you had tweaked out your gear. Enchants on everything (or equivalent for shoulders, sniper scope, squirrel launcher, leg stuff, etc), gem everything out, put the socket on the belt buckle, and reforge for maximum output. And then you get a drop that is clearly an upgrade. CRAP!!!! I now have to dutifully gem, enchant the new item and completely reforge all my gear again!! I don't miss that. It's nice that we are no longer slaves to the jewelcrafters and enchanters.

    2. Every new piece meant running over to amr, calculate the new optimum, then reforge/regem/reenchant what was needed. it was pretty much a routine. I certainely don't miss that. Quickly enchanting and gemming a new piece on the go is great!

    3. Showing off your epic won gear is the job of xmogging. It doesn't matter what you have underneath, it still has that epic model. Hey look, I have the headpiece off Illidian! Woohoo! Or I have the legendary weapon off T. Having one non-stat item wouldn't necessarily work as it could be gamed for evil. I haven't been able to find a non-crafted item to replace my bracers, so I am going to equip this old item from BC. I love the warlock tier look here, so just ignore it..

  3. I guess I am pretty much in the middle ground here. Whether I'd like to keep something for as long as possible depends a lot on the slot, actually.

    I like to replace my ranged weapons as often as possible, because it is the biggest upgrade available and doesn't change my gameplay at all (anymore. remember when wep speed was relevant? good times).

    Trinkets and setitems on the other hand, are different. I want to aquire the OP combo and set boni asap, but then hold onto them for as long as I can. Those pieces oftentimes change the playstyle in some way, so frequent change are just confusing and require some adaptation on my part... Not to mention having to get new macros, weakauras and the such to work. Those pieces always mean more work so I prefer keeping them for a long time and only upgrade them "vertically" (with the same of a higher difficulty).

    The other pieces are rather uninteresting. They contribute to a DPS increase but much less so than, say, the bow. So I guess I don't mind changing them frequently. I also enjoy only having to care about rings too much because one slot is a given.

    All in all I think that Items last long enough, and honestly, I don't care about it too much. The thing that should last forever, though, is the art. We should be able to learn item looks. Lots of items are too cool to be worn just for a short time span. It's that level of customisation that I'm mostly interested in. What do I care if I exchange a piece for 10 extra agility every so often? Don't care. But please let me free up like 200 bag slots I'm currently using for xmog (many hard to obtain an unavailable pieces). This way I could be able to use the space for actually useful purposes, like keeping spares of pieces so I can change set pieces etc.

  4. I like the fact that the legendary gear last the entire xpac, what I would like even more is for all legendary items to continue to be upgradable for several xpacs. Even if you have to do some special questing to get crafted legendary materials. It will be fun as long as Blizzard does not make it a long drawn out grind with low drop rates for the mats. Sorcerous mats or Savage blood anyone? This does a few things, makes crafting more lucrative (we hope) and one less piece of gear we need to pray to the gods of RNG to bless us with.

    Don't get me wrong I like getting gear and rolling for it, (there is a certain satisfaction to winning a gear roll by rolling a 12) but you can go weeks or entire xpacs without getting gear, wheres the fun in that. Yes crafted gear is suppose to fill in the gaps but you can only have three equipped and it is nice that its upgradeable but again lots of grinding within your professions to get the materials. The number of hours invested is just way too much at times for gear that your're going to have to replace compared to the legendary items if those to roll over xpac to xpac.

    Thori'dal just sits in my bank collecting dust. :(

  5. Anon, Grumpy's former Guild Leader:

    I have never liked the gearing up process. To be frank, it was that as much as any other single thing, and probably more so than any other reason, for me to give up raiding. So yes, long term gear is a nice option. With the heirloom gear, leveling for alts is increasingly a lot of long term gear in use. I wonder if Blizzard could adopt a similar system to end game gear?

    And out of curiosity, what ilevels are now considered needed for WoD dungeons and raids to date?

    1. LFR only requires 615 for Highmaul (all wings) and 635 for Blackrock Foundry (all wings). You don't even need to get silver in the Proving grounds to que up for LFR.

      Now as far as Normal (formerly Flex), Heroic and Mythic, the item level varies on your total group.

      Dungeons require 600 i-level and silver in the proving grounds for the role you are shooting for. For example, if I cleared silver for DPS, I could not que in for healer unless I had passed silver in the Proving Grounds for Healer.

      Hope that helps.

  6. I guess I should clarify that I like having an awesome piece of gear for 18 months, but I am grumpy if I am stuck with a lousy item for 18 months that I struggle to replace.

  7. That makes me think of an interesting loot model to apply; not exactly the topic you were asking about, but...

    For example, there are 16 gear slots. Instead of the seemingly 'random' loot tables we have now, each boss in a tier could drop a specific slot. To simplify it, everything could be token based, so everybody rolls on boots (for example) from the first boss until they get their boots, etc. So after X runs, everyone would be geared. There could be some random bonus BoE items, but there would always be N tokens (scaled depending on group size).

    We wouldn't need the bonus roll system anymore, so that could go away. I'd get rid of bonus sockets, tertiaries, and war-forged gear as well, but I'd get rid of those anyway. If they remained, they'd have to be on the token and not randomly applied afterwards.

    So we could progress evenly from difficulty level to difficulty level with a clear indicator that we're "done" with a certain difficulty. Groups could jump ahead, of course, without getting all the gear for every raid member; it's just more difficult without the upgrades.

    There are obviously some complications to figure out (one handers and off handers vs two handers, healer/tank gear), but I think they could be worked out.

    Currency (e.g., valor) and crafted gear could definitely fit with this model as well for non-tier pieces to go with the BoE non-tier pieces for alternative/catch-up gear.

    It really wouldn't be that big of a change from the current loot model, just less RNG.

    1. I like your idea of bosses dropping only tokens, even though I think that gearing isn't much of an issue anymore thanks to 20 mans. It was way worse in in 10 mans due to RNG hitting small groups much harder and due to the pieces not having dual stats (int<->agi chainmail etc).

      However, a system like you described it would absolutely need to have a small RNG component to it like sockets and/or wf. Otherwise, the gearing process would be very, very bland and boring. You could basically make a wait list and plan every single piece ahead (a nightmare from a raid leaders pov!). Also, this would make sure that even decked out players who are there to help out friends with gearing would have a small chance of getting a small upgrade.

  8. I like gear that lasts if I can do everything I want. I like to get new gear, not because I want the gear, but because I'm struggling with something and need the boost.

    Therefore I suppose I like getting more powerful, whether that's tied to gear or how that happens I don't really care. I would probably be very much of the mindset of "lets have gear that lasts a long time" if I was a better player. As if I was a better player then I would have more skill and wouldn't need gear to help me overcome the hurdles I struggle with.

    So yeah, I'm not bothered about getting gear for itself, it's whether I can do what I want and need gear to be able to get there. However, anything that makes gear less random gets a big thumbs up from me. I really, really, really hate the gearing model at the moment.

    In random better news for 'April Fools' I finally got the selfie mission after clearing my log every day, a couple of times a day since 6.1 dropped. Them putting that line in "to explain what random is" in their "funny" patch notes, that just wasn't funny, I found it vaguely insulting but then I suppose blizz and I have different definitions of fun.

    Oh btw is there a reason you aren't commenting on comments anymore? That was my favourite part of the blog if I'm honest. I confess to checking your blog a couple of times a day, just to read the comments and the back and forth in them.

  9. Legendary gear for 18 months = awesome
    Blue gear for 18 months = sad.

    the fact that I didn't replace the cloak until the end of the leveling WoD was nice. The fact that I still run 620 PVP bracers because nothing awesome has come along to replace it makes this warlock cry.

  10. I think part of the problem is a result of there being so many different difficulty levels. Back in Vanilla and BC the power range for a whole expac was only about what it is for one tier now between LFR and Mythic. That had other problems with having to run old content forever just because one or two really good items dropped from it even if it was trivial, but it seems like we've swung really far the other way.

    I've always kinda wanted end game to have actually stopped at 60 and instead of making you level again every two years and obsoleting everything, to just keep adding new stories to explore and dungeons to do. I understand why they don't do that, but for me I would have done the content whether I had to level or not.

  11. Ok, one piece of gear for 18 months is cool. But all of them? How does it work with your need of progression if you have long lasting BiS in all slots?

  12. I picked up the PvE DLC for Dragon Age Inquisition on monday. It was a new zone to explore, with some higher tier materials for making gear. One thing I noticed, is for most of my characters, I had no possibility for upgrades. This wasn't a huge expansion like WoW has, but I gained 3 levels (24-27), and it felt a little weird that there was so little chance to upgrade gear.

    At the same time, in the same game, I have definitely skipped crafting gear that would be an upgrade, because I knew I'd get better gear/patterns fairly soon, and it didn't seem worthwhile to me to spend time on something that I wasn't going to use for very long. This was particularly the case because there was a limited amount of the best crafting materials in the game, so I didn't want to "waste" it. But even if that weren't the case, it definitely feels like a waste if you get another upgrade shortly after.

    So, I think there's a sweet spot in there. I have no idea where it is, where there's a good balance, but it's got to be in there somewhere.

    I know I was very annoyed that my mythic highmaul gear was irrelevant after only 2 months. But in PvP, where you can get your BiS gear set in at most 15-16 weeks, I like that we're done gearing and don't have to think about that aspect until the following season. In fact, I'd be totally fine if they removed PvP gearing, and everyone magically got max gear every time you entered a pvp instance, which is what it's like on Beta, and PvP is way more fun there... :-P