Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Thoughts on Apexis Gear and the Coming Apexis Grind

The apexis gear that is currently in game is being changed from needing apexis crystals to buy them to needing gold instead.  I've seen a lot of hubbub about it being pay to win, which in all honesty makes me laugh.

First off, the top pieces are only 675 and are poorly itemized for most classes.  Secondly, no one in their right mind would call being geared with just a few pieces of 675 gear "winning".  And last but not least, the player makes the gear, the gear does not make the player.

You can give a player the best gear in the game, if they are not very good at what they do they will still be bad at it even with gear.  A good player however could, and will, be capable of catching up a tiny bit quicker with a few pieces like that because they know how to make the most of the gear they have.  But even at that, a good player would be smart enough to realize that there are better gearing options besides wasting their gold on crappy apexis crystal gear pieces.

So we can put this entire pay to win conversation to rest.  Selling apexis crystal gear for gold come 6.2 is not pay to win.  However I do question blizzards motivation in pricing.  The fact that the top piece of gear, the 675 piece, costs the exact amount that a wow token costs (in the US) can not just be thrown to the side and dismissed as coincidence.  I am sorry, but a game this complex and well planned (even if we might disagree with some decisions) does not have a coincidence like that just happen.

So I can support the people wearing the tin foil hats that believe blizzard changed those pieces to gold as a way to try to get people with bad luck, less play time, or trying to catch up to buy wow tokens.  It makes perfect sense, it is a solid business plan and as previously mentioned, being the gear will be garbage compared to the current level of gear, no one could call it pay to win either.

The only real complaint I can see anyone having about this is it is completely unfair by region to those that might wish to purchase said gear for gold through the sale of the wow token.  In the US you can buy one piece for a wow token, in the UK you can buy two pieces per wow token and in places like Taiwan you can buy all the pieces for two or even three characters for the cost of one wow token.  I agree 100%, this is completely unfair business practice, basically charging the US twice as much as the UK to buy gear for cash and more than 10 times as much as some other areas.

The reason you will not see blizzard change the gold cost for these pieces to reflect the regions a player is in is because as long as they don't they can argue that these things are not being changed to be purchased by gold in an attempt to sell tokens.  It is a fair and reasonable argument on their part too.  So while we might tin foil hat over it, they have the prefect defense.  If one piece were meant to be one token sale, the prices would be different by region.  So they just set it to the lowest common number, being the US numbers, and the other regions get lucky.

Heck, if I could sell wow tokens for what Taiwan's prices, I would, and I do not even need the gold, because that is so much it makes it seem worth it, but the pricing of tokens is another topic all together.  This is about apexis gear.

With 6.2 a new set of apeixs gear is being added to timeless island 2.0, also known as Tanaan.  Just like timeless island had tokens that dropped, or could be purchased, that could be turned into 496 gear and upgrade pieces that could be purchased to upgrade them to 535 gear, Tanaan has drops that turn into 650 gear and upgrades you can buy for them that make them 695.

It seems blizzard is intent on making this the new catch up mechanic.  I would much prefer valor gear thank your very much, but that too is a post for another day.  If this is going to be our catch up mechanic from now on I would like to see one change made.  A change many people asked for during the time of the timeless island.  A change that had multiple posts about it on the offical forums, other forums, blogs and every other place people could voice opinions.

The change?  That the upgrade pieces become BoA just like the base gear pieces are.

I am sure I am not the only person out there that ended up with 9 burdens of eternity and enough coins to buy another 10 after the first week of the timeless island alone on my main.  A main who, mind you, did not need 535 pieces because he had better gear already.  Yet I had many alts that would have loved to have some 535 pieces and they never got any to drop except for the two guaranteed.

The upgrade pieces should be BoA.  There is still time to do this blizzard.  There is time to make the change.  Make them BoA.  If this is supposed to be a catch up mechanic, let me use it as such.  Let me not end up with a main that has tons of the upgrades and can afford a million more than needs none of them and the alts that need the catch up never have any and can never afford any because their gear sucks so they can not grind out the apexis crystals like my main could in an efficient manner.

This is a change that must happen.  It has to happen.  Otherwise this entire thing is just a complete carbon copy of timeless island.  Shouldn't you try to fix the mistakes made in timeless 1.0 in timeless 2.0?  One of the biggest mistakes of timeless island was the fact that the burdens of eternity were not BoA.  Learn from the past blizzard, please.

Outside of this one major fault, the next major fault of the apexis grind is that is all it is, an apexis grind.  Mounts for 150K, 50K, pets, toys, etc.  All purchased with apexis crystals.

I am not complaining about the catch up system (outside of it not being BoA) because it is a reasonable catch up system with 695 gear.  Can get you right into hellfire if you manage to scrounge up enough apexis crystals to upgrade everything.  What I am complaining about is how much grinding is needed.

Lets forget who is currently writing this at the moment and the fact I actually love grinding stuff like this.  I love seeing there is a mount for 250,000 apexis crystals.  I would rather grind 250,000 apexis crystals and get the mount for 100% certain than kill some rare mob 300 times for a 1% drop I never seem to get anyway.  No thank you.  I love things you can work for, I love things where you can see the reward for your effort, I love things were I can see myself getting closer to it.  This is my kind of thing.  Sure I would have liked dungeons and dailies and other stuff to do, but having a grind at least gives me something to do.

But, back on topic.  Most people are not me.  As a matter of fact I am like the 1% of the 1% that likes to do things like this.  I like this sort of thing (as long as it is not mandatory and I have to do it on my alts too) but most people hate it.  I mean really really hate it.  For as much as I might like it I understand the game is not designed for me and me alone, and this just does not cut it.  Not when most people hate grinding like this.

So, if I like this sort of thing and look at those prices and think "these things cost a lot" can you imagine what everyone else is going to say when they see them?  If I like doing this and think that is a lot of grinding, does blizzard really think the people that don't like grinding are going to be happy with it?

I think blizzard made an insanely huge mistake with apexis costs on these items.  The base pieces should be 1K, max, and the upgrade piece should be 2.5K, max.  It should not be 20K for an upgrade.  20K apexis crystals is a lot and even if they are dropping like candy, that still requires time being put into it and sorry to say it but the player base as it is does not really strike me as the type that likes to work for their rewards.  At least not when it comes to killing the same mobs over and over for weeks on end to save up enough crystals to buy one single upgrade.

This is also another reason why I think the upgrades should be BoA.  Can you imagine how much people are going to hate grinding to begin with?  Now if they were going to do it, what do you think they would have more fun doing it on?  The main with high DPS or the alt with dreadful gear and dreadful numbers?

The main should be able to grind it out for the alt because it would be more fun for people to do it on their main.  But fun really is a moot point here, because outside of me, I really do not see anyone calling what they have planned for us in 6.2 "fun".  I can actually see most people seeing it as annoying, horrible, dreadful, and one hundred other not so nice words describing it.  Incoming sub loss is all but guaranteed.

Blizzard really struck out with the apexis gear, even if they could have made it so much better.  It was crappy, over priced, and useless in the first incarnation and it is way over priced, random number generated garbage that will cost hours in terms of grinding to get in the second incarnation.

Two strikes on apexis gear this far blizzard.  Please do not tell me you are going to try again.  Just give it up already and put valor gear back in.

Are you ready to get your grind on?  If you plan on gearing up through timeless island 2.0 and buying all the goodies, you could be looking upwards or 400K apexis crystals. That's a lot grinding.  Hope you like killing the same mob over and over again.


  1. I dunno, without any effort I can make around 3k apexis in about 30 min in any of my character, even freshly dinged ones.

    So that's 21k a week, so one upgrade, more or less on par with what valor gave you, and it was caped.

    Granted Apexis comes from out in the world and valor came from dungeons, but you get the idea.

    (and the mount is "only" 150k btw :p)

    1. I can make that too in little to no effort. But I am a well informed player with raid gear and "knowledge" from reading the forums and doing research.

      As I mentioned, this is not about me, and also it seems, not about you. It is about everyone else in the game. And to them the 5K you need to start the ring quest is a lot.

      Can't look at it from the "in the know" angle. We are the few and far between. You have to look at the bigger picture where the vast majority of the players are not us.

      Yeah, I noticed they lowered it from last I saw. Left the post as is however because it still works in theory. 150K or 250K, either way, it is a number that 90% of the player base will never see.

      Your comparison with valor, while valid, misses the point. Valor was a long term goal. Apexis makes it feel like you need to get it done all at once, because there is no cap. Apexis can, and will, burn a lot of people that try to benefit from it out.

      Argumentatively I could get all 695 gear for my rogue, a character that never leaves his garrison, if I bust my butt for one week, even less if I work hard. But is that design good for the game? I think not.

    2. How? The quest only gives 1000?

    3. Lets say you have the attack shattrath harbor as the daily, go buy the missive for attack shattrath harbor for 200 garrison supplies, now when you do it, you get it done twice for the total time it took to do it once and get twice the reward. I am guessing that he is rounding up saying he gets the others for killing stuff, but even if not, still getting more is not hard.

      For instance, the orc one in nagrand, forget the name, it takes 5 minutes to do. But a 200 garrison resource missive for it, do it. Rinse and repeat as long as you have resources. Bam, massive amount of crystals in a little bit of time.

    4. For Alliance toons assault-on-skettis is by far the fastest repeatable daily.

    5. Never thought about that one. Close, once you get 5 keys it is done instantly really, not a bad one, thanks for pointing that one out.

    6. Unless you are on a populated realm (faction is irrelevant). In which case skettis is not doable.

    7. On no, on a populated realm, even more so with low key drop rates at the beginning, skettis was impossible.

      I remember doing it that first week and it took me 2 and a half hours to get it done, and I was in a group. We could not get any keys and when we did finally get one we could get no moral because everything was always dead.

      They did up the key drop rate a ton, and there are, what seems like, less than 10% of the players that were playing the first week, so it is more doable now.

  2. There is a daily quest in Tanaan for 2k Apexis Crystals, plus the 'double dip' for 200GR on the 6.0 Apexis dailies gives you 3600 crystals per day.

    My hunter alt, who I am loving at the moment, will do that and get her upgrade once per week. None of my other chars will go near it until I get really bored and grind for the mount.

    Doesn't seem to be much there for the Heroic (or above) raider.
    Biggest content patch ever? Don't make me laugh

    1. I wish we could trade the stuff so I could grind it all on my main. That would make it much better for me. As a hunter grinding Apexis will always be easier. At least as I see it.

      I don't see this as any content really. We are getting a new raid, that is it. Everything else is just filler, not really content. It is the great stuff that makes content seem fuller but it is not content on its own. But everyones definition of content surely differs based on their likes and dislikes.

  3. "But fun really is a moot point here, because outside of me, I really do not see anyone calling what they have planned for us in 6.2 'fun'."

    You forget that "fun" is now defined as whatever Watcher says it is, no matter how tens of thousands of players might want to define it. As in, flying is not fun, it is boring. Running through annoying mobs dozens of times on multiple alts every day is fun and immersive. Waddling on the ground on your majestic flying mount is fun.

    (Sorry, the frustration remains, I'm afraid.)

    1. We need to start thinking with the developer hive mind, or they might come shut us down for being free thinkers.

      We must follow watchers lead and say flying is boring.

      Flying is boring.... I am trying, do I sound convincing yet?

      Of course not, because that is a crock and everyone except watcher knows it.

  4. Figure you'll be happy to see the news on flying. Kind of funny. Blizz might read your blog after all and took your idea of attaining loremaster in Draenor as part of the requirement. Never know! lol

    1. I sometimes think they do read my blog but only seem to take the bad ideas I come up with. lol

      And yes, while I'd like to think I've had a lot of great ideas over the years I have come up with some really really bad ones too.

  5. I wish they would at least make the Apexis crystals account bound. It would probably help a lot of people's alts. Sure would help mine.

    1. That would work, so I could grind them on my main hunter which is easy peasy and send them to the characters that needed them. Either way would work for me. Making the pieces BoA or the crystals BoA.

  6. Heh, I remember I texed honey when apexis to gold change was announced. I said 'buying and upgrading a piece is 35k. Coincidence?' (the EU token value). Maybe we're both paranoid :)

    1. Just because your paranoid doesn't mean they aren't watching you. ;)

      There has to be something to it. It makes perfect sense that blizzard would try to make as much money from their product as possible.