Thursday, August 8, 2013

Are Caps the Reason Things Feel Mandatory?

The word "mandatory" has been the buzz word of the mists expansion and I would not be surprised if a few years from now if someone made a post on the forums that said to describe mists in one word that many would say, mandatory.

While some people argue that nothing in the game is mandatory, and they are 100% correct, that does not change the fact that people felt things were indeed mandatory.  There is a reason for that feeling as well and that reason should be a buzz word in its own.  Caps.  The reason things felt mandatory were the fact there were so many caps in the game put in to slow people down and that is what gave some people the feeling of something being mandatory.

What am I rambling about you ask?  Limiting what a person could do. 

Lets take a look at the change in reputation from previous expansions to the current one.  In BC the reputations where, mostly, ones you could grind if you really wanted them by killing mobs for reputation or repeatable turn ins for reputations.  The items those reputations gave you, which in some cases might be nice, were really nothing all that special. So with that said most reputations could be sped up if you were willing to spend the time doing so and what the reputation offered never felt all that important to the point you felt you had to get it.

In wrath and cataclysm the reputations because a dungeon run away.  You could get as much reputation as you wanted in one day if you were willing to put in the effort to do so.  While nothing except the head and shoulder enchants were really interesting you could just pop on a tabard on a saturday and chain run some heroics with friends or the LFD (later on) and be capped out.

Now enter mists (talking about from the beginning here) and the only way to get reputation is from dailies.  The dailies where limited, even if they removed the cap on how many dailies you could do per day if the faction that you needed reputation with only offered 1200 worth of reputation per day, that is the most you can get.  There were no mobs to grind, there were no repeatable quests, there were no tabards you could throw on and grind some dungeons.  You would do all your dailies and get your 1200 per day and that was all you could get.

But wait, there is more.  Unlike all previous expansions, there was actually something more than just worthwhile or filler behind these reputations, namely, all your gear.  You could earn as much valor as you wanted, up to another cap that is, but you had nothing what so ever to spend it on if you did not grind that reputation.

This collection of stuff all thrown together gave many people the feeling of mandatory.  If you could only get 1200 reputation a day, and you need 6000 more reputation to buy the piece you need, if you want to get it as soon as possible, it was mandatory that you did those dailies for 5 days.  And that is why people felt it was mandatory.  Because it was if you wanted that in 5 days.

When you could miss a day and make it up, no one cared about reputation.  Big deal I will run two dungeons tomorrow instead of one and catch up.  I will turn in 12 pieces of cloth for that repeatable quest and make up for what I missed.  I'll go slaughter some innocent humanoids that just happen to grant me reputation to catch up for what I missed.  None of that was there.  If you missed doing those dailies that day you missed getting that reputation.

Again, there really was no huge rush, unless you felt you needed to get it done.  But many people did feel that way, just look at the forums back then to see all them complaining if you don't remember them feeling that way, and the caps on what you could gain in a day is exactly why people felt it was mandatory to do those dailies, daily.

How about those coins, the elder ones, the ones that gave you extra rolls on raid bosses?  I know many, myself included, that believe if you did not get your three coins a week you were just not trying.  I still believe that now.  If you still need loot from the bosses you are currently killing and you are not getting coins each week for an extra roll, you are just not trying.

The fact they were limited to 3 per week made getting them feel mandatory.  If you miss getting them one week there was no way to get them the next week.  It was not like the next week you could get 6.  Nope, 3 per week, you were capped.  And 10 over all, you were capped.  Basically this built on the system that you need to get it now or you miss out.  There is no going back, there is no catching up, if you missed it you missed it.

At least the lesser coins were a better design.  You could get as many of them as you want.  I made enough just that first month of the expansion doing every daily every day that I will never need coins on my main for the entire expansion and that is good.  That is actually great.  Blizzard needs to take a look at that, and the change to no cap on dailies per day, and see what they did right.

If someone wanted to, like I did, they could stack up a few thousand of them right at the get go and basically never need to worry about them for the rest of the expansion.  Never be put in the position where I felt it was mandatory to do quests to get lesser charms to turn in because I farmed them when I wanted to farm them and I have enough of them now. 

So while you can say that lesser charms still have the mandatory feeling, as you need them for those elder (rune) coins they never really had the same mandatory feeling because there was no cap placed on them.  Right now, if you were so inclined to do so, you could go pet battling crazy or barrens farming or do all the dailies for a few days and build yourself up 600, 700, or more of them all in one day and then not need to do it for a few weeks or even months depending on how many you farmed.

Kind of like with the tabard for reputation you could get as much as you want when you wanted it, you could get as many lessers as you want when you want them.  That is the reason why they did not feel as mandatory.  Because there was no cap.

That is the ultimate play at your own pace gaming design I would like to see a lot more of in the game personally.  But that is another post completely so I will not go on too much about it.

If you were only able to get 50 (90 at the start) lesser coins a week to turn in for the three elder ones it would have had that mandatory feeling.  Because it was capped.  Because if you miss it you would never be able to catch up.

The cap, the limit, that is what makes things feel mandatory.  It even goes to the oldest cap to grinding in the current state of the game that we can remember, the valor grind.  By placing a cap you are saying you can only get this much and if you do not get this much, you will be behind because there is no way to catch up once you missed it.

I sometimes wonder if the valor cap were removed how much it would change the game.  Lets take one of my more recent 90s for example.  As an alt I am not going crazy gearing it up but I will only play it until it is capped.  Once it it capped I no longer play it because I feel as if I am wasting my time playing.

Would I prefer to play it like crazy one weekend while trying to gear up and grind 4000 valor in one weekend or would I prefer to have to cap it every week for 4 weeks to get that same amount? 

Personally, I would rather play it when I feel like playing it.  That would mean that if I want to grind 4000 valor on one weekend play session I should be able to.  And then I could let it sit on the side for the next three weeks.  I would get the same amount, but I would be doing it at the pace I wish to play that character at and not being limited by caps and forced, if I wanted that 4000, to play it every week for 4 weeks.  That is why the valor cap makes it seem mandatory. 

If I am looking to collect 4000 valor the most effective way for me to do it would be to cap for 4 weeks.  Without the cap, nothing would seem mandatory.  I would get that 4000 when I wanted it.  I could do the 1750 I wanted for one piece saturday, the 1250 I wanted for another piece on sunday and then maybe on monday I could knock out the 1000 to upgrade them both.  As long as I am forced into the 1000 a week cap thing I can't play at my own pace, as long as I am forced into the 1000 a week it is mandatory for me to cap each week if I want that 4000.

While some people might not look to raids and consider them as another cap, they are.  If I do not kill the three ranged weapon bosses this week that is three chances, six with coins, that I miss for getting the weapon for my hunter.  It is not like I can go back next week and kill them each twice getting six chances, or 12 if you will.  A missed chance, because I am capped at looting raid bosses once a week, is a chance that is lost forever.  So if I want that ranged weapon it is mandatory I down those bosses every week to get it.  The one loot per week cap makes killing it each week mandatory if I want the weapon.

Any time there is an enforced limit on anything in the game it has the chance of feeling mandatory.  Only when you can do things when you want, how you want, and at your own pace, will things begin to lose that mandatory feeling.

We need to take a look at why there are caps to begin with to fully understand the reasoning why people feel they are mandatory.  Understanding the reason for caps will help in understanding why there are mandatory for many to reach.

Capping reputation to 1200 per day means that the game is effectively telling you the pace you can proceed at.  If it is going to take you 18 days to get to the level you want to be, it will take you 18 days.  The cap is there to ensure you are playing the game for those 18 days.  If they let you put on a tabard like in the last two expansions you could get that 18 days worth of work done on one weekend and you played 2 days instead of 18.  By making a cap they are slowing your progression on gaining reputation and keeping you in game playing.  It is by design, it is intentional, it is a cap for that very reason, to keep you playing, it is mandatory by design.

Same goes for raid drops.  If you could keep killing a boss until you got what you wanted you could effectively gear yourself up in a short time if you had the people and the time to do so.  Just like in dungeons where you would spam the same dungeon over and over until you got what you wanted.  That is why you get one shot a week in a raid and only one.  They want to slow you down which in turn keeps you playing and also makes killing those bosses each week seem mandatory. 

The raid loot once a week is probably the only cap I actively support in game, as it is the end game, it should take a little longer.  The LFR looting once a week however I am against.  If I choose to practice some self abuse and endure the LFR multiple times for bottom of the barrel gear I should be allowed to do so.

In the valor example I gave where I was talking about getting my new 90 two pieces and upgrading them both I said I would do that over one weekend.  With caps however it would take 4 weeks.  And more so, 4 weeks of me playing that character every week for its 1000 valor cap and maybe even more.  So not only is it slowing my personal progression down to a halt almost taking me 4 weeks instead of 3 days but they keep me active in game over those 4 weeks because of it.  That is the reason there is a cap.  To slow me down on purpose.

Everything there is a cap for in game is there for the reason that they want to keep you in game playing and that is why they are slowing you down.  It is only a side effect of the person playing that makes it feel mandatory.  The caps themselves were never put in with the intention of feeling mandatory, but they were put in to slow you down so you play for a longer time.

So the question is, are caps really worth it?  What is gained from making me cap my new 90 for 4 weeks in a row instead of letting me do what I want to do in 3 days?  Is it worth all the "mandatory" backlash because of these fixed caps?

There might be other reasons why people feel things are mandatory in game but in my opinion the only reason it is such a big deal is because of caps.

Sure, if there were no caps at the beginning people would say they did not like that they needed to be revered with the golden lotus to get the valor piece they wanted, they would say it felt mandatory.  But if they were capable of putting on a tabard and banging out that rep doing dungeons instead of being stuck gaining only 1200 (or whatever) reputation per day because of a cap it would become more of a choice.  A person would then have the choice of moving at the 1200 per day pace or the choice of putting on a tabard and grinding it out in one day.  Choice, something that gets around the caps, it helps remove the feeling of mandatory.

To answer my own question of the topic, yes, caps are the reason things feel mandatory.  What do you think?


  1. In my eyes, yes, caps do/did make things feel mandatory. And the reputation caps (and gating) were just awful this expansion. So much so that I don't have one toon that is Revered with any Mists faction that offers JP/VP gear.

    Having the reputation gains/JP/VP gear locked into dailies only didn't help either. And it killed raiding for me.

    I am more of a "mood" type player. If I'm in the mood to do dailies for rep I will. If I'm in the mood to chain run heroics for possible gear drops, rep gains and JP/VP I will. If I'm in the mood I will play my Warlock instead of my Hunter. If I'm in the mood to farm herbs or ore I will. If I'm in the mood to raid I will. (I was never really in the mood to run LFR because I grew to dislike the crowd that came with it back in the LFD days of Wrath)

    But, the way things were this expansion, if I wanted to raid at all (not counting LFR) I felt as if I had to work on one toon only and grind out dailies every day and not do much else.

    If I did anything different I would fall behind and it would be tough to catch up...which I did fall behind and I never caught up because I don't like doing dailies every day.

    I miss the days of chain running 5-mans to get rep, JP/VP and gear drops that allowed me access to entry level raiding gear. I miss the days of doing regular quests that allowed me to gain rep, even if it was only up to a certain rep point.(weren't the Klaxxi the only faction that allowed us to gain rep up to a certain point with regular quests this expansion?) I miss the days of grinding mobs to gain rep, through both kills and turn-in drops. I miss the days of doing dailies as an "additional" way to increase my rep gains. I miss having all those choices.

    Having only dailies to do to gain rep to allow access to entry level raiding gear to buy with JP/VP was just icky.

    And what made all this feel worse was the amount of "other" stuff they gave us to do...and are still giving us to do. The amount of things to do in Mists is staggering compared to past expansions. But, if you want to raid (not LFR) you really shouldn't do any of that "other" stuff until all your dailies are done or else you run the risk of falling too far behind.

    (sorry for the rambling wall of text)

    1. No need to be sorry, that was an excellent and well put opinion. Thanks for sharing.

      You put forward the perfect case for why I personally believe things felt mandatory for a great deal of players. They could not be mood players.

      I too am pretty much a mood player when it comes to alts. Having fun on my mage, play it for a few weeks. Then move to my DK, then my lock, etc. Depending on what I am in the mood to play.

      I did all the "mandatory" stuff on my main ASAP because I had to, or at least I felt I had to. It never felt as if I could take a day off and not fall behind and that is really a horrible feeling and it seems that is what is really effecting you and I am sure many like you.

      Although, as they say, nothing is really mandatory, but as you put it, if you want to raid it is.

    2. The thing is.

      Valor gear is not entry-level raiding gear, it's RAIDING gear already.

      So not buying them is not making you falling behind, it's not giving you an edge to kill bosses easily.

      On another point, while I do undestand ppl not wanting to do dailies and farm rep at their leisure pace, I feel that grinding rep through dungeons is plain WRONG. Or one dungeons should give you rep toward the faction it's aimed to (TBC style).

      Using a tabard to gain rep to whatever faction disconnect you from the faction itself and the world IMO

    3. I was in an LFR yesterday with one of my baby hunters. Just hit 470 so went into the 470 one. I was pulling 53K, not great but not bad considering I have no enchants or gems on anything yet and am below the expertise cap. I am still gearing up so I will not waste my time with it just yet.

      But to the point. There was a hunter in there with nearly all 522 gear and what was not 522 was 502. He beat my by 15K on the first boss. Mind you I did 53K which means he did 68K which is exceptionally horrible for a hunter in mostly 522 gear.

      He whispered me just saying "beat ya". I preceded to beat him on the next two bosses. Not by much. .1% total damage done on one and .2% on another, but I beat him and all his 522 gear at a 470 item level with no gems and enchants after he made a big deal about beating me.

      Valor gear might make things "easier" for you and I. For most people they need it. It does not make things "easier" for them, it makes it doable. Maybe, just barely doable.

      It is starter gear for people that do not raid and fill in gear for raiders with bad luck.

      Just because you do not "need" it to down bosses do not think it is not "needed" for others. 99% of the player base would probably never down the first boss if it were not for the raiding starter gear called valor gear.

      I agree the tabard idea disconnects you from the faction. The BC idea was best. Certain dungeons give certain rep because that faction has a vested interest in that place. It makes so much more sense.

      Heck, even the farm for rep makes more sense than a tabard. At least you are planting food for that faction directly.

  2. I don't think caps are the reason things feel mandatory, no, I strongly believe it's nothing more than a personal psychological situation for each person. I believe caps are designed to make the game less prone to burning out players. They're probably also designed to keep people subscribed. As you actually pointed out above, if you could just farm everything you wanted in a weekend you'd put your toon down for a few weeks. What's the point of doing all that grinding for stuff if you're just going to park the toon and not actually USE the stuff you just farmed for?!

    There's a subset (possibly a large one, possibly just a small vocal one) of the WoW player population who are wired along the lines of "if it's there I must do it". Is it possible that caps are a detriment to THESE players specifically? Is it possible that the caps only trigger a "must do" for THEM that doesn't exist when the task appears to be open-ended? Maybe, but again, Blizz can't design for edge cases (or normally can't, they do for different markets occasionally but not generally within the same market).

    I'll fall back to my normal reaction to these types of posts... Blizzard has infinitely more data than any of us have. If caps were worse than no caps, overall for the player base as a whole, there wouldn't be caps. There have been caps for a long time and they're still being used in a lot of ways, that tells me that caps are good.

    Now, speaking personally, I like caps, they allow me to play alts without feeling like I'm ignoring my main in the process. I play my main until I get what I can get, then I either move on or I play my main in a way that doesn't directly improve it. Personal preference. Also, put yourself into the situation of a progression raider... not necessarily world or server first but a raider whose raid has expecations that players will do everything they can to improve between raids. Without a cap, apparently you'd farm VP all weekend. Others would see that and wonder if that's the expectation, whether it's stated or not, even if you flatly deny that it's an expectation. A 1K cap, though? That's reasonable and once that's done they can do whatever they want with a clear conscience.

    There's a complicated psychology in WoW that's a combination of game pressure, personal pressure and peer pressure (it's not necessarily peer pressure but it's in that ballpark). Caps allow Blizz to target somewhere in the centre of those 3 pressures... the game puts on a bit of pressure by implementing caps, an obvious target. This will help rein in both personal and peer pressure, though, keeping them from becoming overwhelming... or even just a constant niggling presence.

    As a final note, let me ask you something... you liked the idea of farming lesser tokens and being able to stockpile for a full expansion. I agree, but you know why that works? Because you're capped at 3 majors per week. What would happen if that cap of 3 was removed and you could turn in as many lessers as you wanted for as many majors? Would you feel LESS pressure to stockpile? I doubt it. You'd have theoretically unlimited major tokens which basically means you could/should re-run any LFR or world bosses with loot you need just to use those tokens... over and over. Where's the line? How many is ENOUGH?

    1. I agree with Annony on this one. I would be playing so much I would have burned out long ago if there were no caps I like the cap it tells me I'm done for the week and I can move on to something else if I didn't have that I would be out there non stop going untill its done.

    2. I would be one of those people that would grind all the valor I could ASAP and get everything done for my main, so I understand exactly what you mean there. It would also be something that could cause burn out for sure. I've been there before and I am sure I will get there again.

      You do not need to be a hard core raider or even a progression raider to get caught in that. You just need to be what I refer to as a "dedicated" player. A dedicated player is the type of player that will do what they can to be the best they can do. So as long as there is something you can get with valor, you will make sure to get it ASAP.

      I agree that blizzard sees some numbers we don't, lots of them, and they base caps on those numbers they see. The 1000 valor cap is probably something that fewer than 1% of players even get each week, so according to their data 1000 is fine.

      The lesser design is the beauty of what I was saying I would like to see. A stockpile, followed by a developed funnel.

      You stockpile the lessers to get 3 greaters per week. So if you want to farm as many as you want this week you can. Still have a cap, but a cap with options.

      For example how this would work in another area would be valor. Allow unlimited collection of valor and then make it that you can only buy one valor item per week. This would mean if someone wants to farm 4000 valor this week but not do anything to get valor for the next three they can still do so.

      You limit elsewhere. That would be much better design and make people feel as if it were less mandatory to cap each week. See what I am saying? Allow the ability to collect resources to be unlimited and control the flow of how the resources are used. But that is completely beside the fact.

      I did not say limits where bad, I said that limits made people feel as if things were mandatory.

      You went on so long defending caps that you missed the whole concept of those post. If caps are the reason people felt as if things were mandatory.

    3. "Blizzard has infinitely more data than any of us have. If caps were worse than no caps, overall for the player base as a whole, there wouldn't be caps. There have been caps for a long time and they're still being used in a lot of ways, that tells me that caps are good."


      First, Blizzard have a lot of data, or can have a lot of data, yes, but they are still far from gods, and it is completely possible that they don't have data to tell whether or not caps work better than no caps. Not to mention that, as evidenced by the complete fail that we have in the reporting system, sometimes, even when they have data, they just don't act on it (there were some posts and comments on that in this blog, and it's not just personal impression, sorry). So even if they knew that caps are bad, it is possible that they would do nothing about it, for whatever reason (not enough resources, other priorities, etc).

      Second, better for whom? My opinion is that caps, and, what's more important, the inability to recoup them once you are past the allotted time period, is good for Blizzard, it is key for player retention. Now, I don't want to say that Blizzard are evil, etc, but I believe that yes, they are using caps that cause a great deal of anxiety for a lot of players, because *they have found no better way to keep them in the game*. Or perhaps even they think they know of a better way, but they don't want to risk ruining WoW, and are going to use that better way in their next game.

    4. There is another thing to note about data. Anyone can collect it but who analyzes it will always skew it the way they see it.

      I do not recall the exact cases but I posted on here some time ago about some data blizzard released. I gave my opinion on that data and interpreted it the way I believed it be what it meant.

      Someone else replied that I read it wrong and it means something else. A third person disagreed with both of us and said it means this third different thing.

      One piece of data, three different people reading three different things into it. Data is only data. You can only interpret things from it unless it is hard and straight forward fact.

      So blizzard can collect all the data they want but who is to say they are reading it the right way?

      They could conclude that caps are better than no caps, but with what real data? Do they have any solid data on how things would look without caps? I don't think so because they have never tried it without caps. So how it is possible to have all the data needed when you have nothing to compare it to?

      I am not saying it is wrong, it could be right. What I am saying is that no matter what data they have it only works if they have it all (and they don't) and they interpret it correctly.

    5. @ PVP Anon

      I said "infinitely more than we do" for a reason, I didn't intend to imply that they have infinite data. Infinitely more just implies that we, individually, have zero... 1 opinion isn't data.

      I also mentioned that caps likely lead toward keeping players subscribed, I kind of buried it in the first part but it's there. :)

      And yes, absolutely, it's POSSIBLE that they've determined internally that caps are bad but that changing it at this point would be worse or isn't worth doing (workload, priorities, etc). I just don't think it's likely and I'm not sure it changes anything either way.


      I addressed that in the first paragraph... caps aren't what make things feel mandatory, it's a personal reaction to the caps that do. I absolutely believe that, for you, caps make things feel mandatory. They don't for me, if anything things like the +50% VP bump after a toon is capped are "mandatory" (aren't, but I generally do pattern my play with that in mind). So, do caps make things feel mandatory or not? Both, apparently, so it's not really a useful question without context so I followed up with contextual opinion. I should also clarify one other point, it isn't the 3 major charms a week that's the cap there, it's the 50 lesser per week turn-in limit, which does make your unlimited VP / one turn-in per week scenario a great analogy. That could work, although in that case I'm not sure that would result in a significant change in player behaviour and Blizz would still cap VP at 3K, they just wouldn't have a weekly cap. I'm not sure how your suggestion would work for gear upgrades, though, considering that VP gear can cost up to 2250... that's a pretty big spread between 250VP for an upgrade and 2250 for pants. I can only imagine the confusion if they tried to implement that type of cap.

      As for data interpretation, of course... and I think I was one of the 3 opinions you're referencing (I really do need to make an account to post under). My only point is that Blizzard has MORE data to work with and has MORE people who are MORE qualified to interpret it than we do. It doesn't guarantee perfect results but I'd take their interpretation over an equivalent from the forums, from a bog, from blog comments... or even my own interpretation. I don't have any more data than you do, the only difference is I tend to come from an opinion that Blizzard has a clue.

      "They could conclude that caps are better than no caps, but with what real data?"

      That's exactly the point... that's info that WE DON'T HAVE. We don't KNOW what they know. They do testing long before things hit the PTR... they have info from other games... they likely have psychologists on staff to advise... if anyone has a good grasp on whether caps in WoW are good or bad, it's Blizzard. I'm sure they didn't implement caps on a whim or after the result of one design meeting over pizza and beer, they'd have done all of the analyzing they could before doing it.

    6. It will always come down to the person and how they feel. I too feel that getting one character capped before doing anything on another is mandatory because of that +50%. It is one of the reasons I do not like that. I think they should have just bumped up the valor given and never given us the valor of the ancients buff. I feel locked into one character. Mandatory or not, feeling locked is not fun. At least it isn't for me.

      Actually the reference was to an old post about raiding data. Where three people had three different views as to what the 7% of the player base had seen the last boss meant as a whole.

      For the record my belief was that they meant 7% of max level characters. Someone else said it meant all characters and the third said it meant 7% that killed the first boss also killed the last.

      So, as you said, if we had more information, and blizzard did of course, we would have been better to analyze it and make opinions on it.

      Back to topic. If they never tried it with no caps they can not make a judgement, no matter how much data they have, that caps are better. How do we know? We don't, but they do not know any better than we do. They have no data what it would be like without caps because they never tried it.

      If it be us, as players, or them, as developers, we are all just playing a guessing game and making our own opinions on what it would be like with no caps.

      My opinion is that some caps can be removed and it would benefit the game while others I feel actually have a purpose.

      No matter what data they have they are still just guessing, as much as I am, that their caps work.

  3. So thinking about this a bit more makes me realize how good the Lesser -> Greater/Mogu charms thing is. You can say man I really want to grind something out today and get 100s of lesser charms, but you are still gated by only getting to redeem 3 Mogu charms per week.

    I really wish valor would work this way as well. Like you can gain infinite Valor in the Valor bank, but you can only redeem 1000 per week into spendable valor. Now you are going on vacation for a week, just pre-get your valor for next week. I think this would be the best of both worlds.

    1. I just relied to the person above you with that exact thing as an example.

      Allow people to get as much valor as they please but limit how they can spend it. So they can grind when they want to and take time off when they do not want to without feeling as if they are falling behind.

      Caps are a good thing. But it all depends on where you cap it. The lesser charm design is the best design in the game. You can get as many lessers as you please but you can only get 3 greaters any given week. So stockpile when you want to do the work and just play the game any way you want the other times knowing that next week you already have all the lessers you need ready to go. No pressure, no feeling of mandatory. All thanks to allowing you do to the grinding when you want to do it.

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    3. It does make sense, make the act of grinding an opinion of when you want to do it and make buying the slow grind.

      I think that would actually work better in the long run. They added a catch up mechanic in PvP gearing, not PvE gearing, in the sense of conquest=valor for that example.

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    5. Blood spirits are going down in price and probably will even more soon. You can also buy them with valor, but if you still need gear never waste valor on them.

      Hope your eye gets better soon. Eye surgery scares me. I have a blind spot in one eye and they say it can be fixed but I refuse to get it done because it scares the ever living hell out of me.

  4. Short answer: Yes, time-locked caps (weekly, daily, etc) do make certain things feel mandatory by giving an artificial sense of urgency, "use it or lose it" style. In MoP (for me) it feels most prominent in the Valor and Profession Discovery (tailoring, blacksmithing, leather-working) areas.

    Valor specific: I think the route they started on with Conquest Point catch-up would translate well for the Valor side. The only downside in the CP catch-up (from what I've read) is that you only get the extra room on the first week of farming CP with all subsequent weeks being capped at 1000. Once that gets fixed content patches could be treated like PVP seasons.

    This could cause some issues with the +50% valor buff but I don't see it hurting anybody, not that it will stop many from complaining.

    1. I think the conquest idea is a start in the right direction for a catch up mechanic for those that fall behind or start late. Maybe once they perfect that they could translate something to valor. It would be a welcome addition for my alts for sure. But people would still complain, there is always something to complain about.

  5. Well... it's the combination. If reputation (etc) was still capped, but the rewards were fluff, would it still feel mandatory? I'd say no. And going further, I don't feel it is the idea of a cap per se, but that of the daily caps.

    I knew the hour when my guild began dying: when we failed to hit our Guild XP cap. And once you miss a given cap, you have to ask yourself "What now?" Knowing that I was permanently behind, that I could never catch back up, felt like a light switch was flipped. If your own goal was to be a Valedictorian, for example, that first A- report card basically removes any justification for greater effort. I missed the Valor cap one week this expansion and then basically never ran another dungeon again.

    That said, I agree with you that raid/dungeon resets feel different. I think it's because A) they aren't a visual analog to your XP meter or numbers in general, and B) it's only ever a chance at getting something. You can convince yourself that the item you were looking for probably wasn't going to drop anyway, or that someone else would have beaten you in the roll. Of course, it always seems like something gets sharded that one week you aren't there, but it never feels as bad as missing a cap. Because a cap is a guaranteed benefit.

    1. Going to agree with Azuriel. The daily rep caps were a big factor in the mandatory feeling of MoP.

      Also, it was a lot more work to valor cap in MoP than in the past. The daily valor bonuses were the cause for that.

      I've always been more of a weekend warrior than a daily drudger, so I would grind things out over the weekend.

      MoP made WoW into a daily part time job and that wasn't fun. I don't want to play for 2hrs every day. I might play a couple hours one day, a couple hours another, and then maybe 8 hours on Saturday or something.

      Daily caps are what give caps a bad name.

      Also, there should never be multiple caps towards a goal. For example in MoP, that was rep and valor for gear. You had to cap both every day to get gear.

      Additionally, there should always be a catch up mechanism. In PvP, there is the Conquest catch up where you can grind out missed caps. You can't get ahead of the people who were doing it every week but you have the option to catch up to them. PvE needs better mechanisms like that. We used to get new 5 mans with each raid tier where we could quickly grind out epics to catch to the last tier. Now, we have to grind LFR and there is nothing quick about LFR.

      Furthermore, caps need to be reasonable. If it takes 20hrs to fill all of your caps for the week, then it's a job, not a game. You should be able to fill all your caps quickly and then focus on playing the game. It's supposed to be fun!

      MoP basically took everything that could be done wrong with caps and did it all at once. It took Blizzard way too long to try and rectify things and they're still not there yet.

    2. @Azuriel

      If the reputation stuff was fluff it would not feel mandatory for most. Some would still want to get it of course as achievement hunters, but then it becomes a choice, not mandatory in the sense that you would feel you have to do it now.

      Nice point about the guild reputation thing. It does give that feeling that once you miss it, you are forever behind. Sure, we know at 25 it ends and we will get there anyway, but getting there is now behind.

      You mean like the only time I have ever seen my hunters ranged weapon dropped was when I was tanking. lol But that is why raids are more acceptable, there is no guarantee you were going to get anything anyway as compared to a cap that is assured, as long as you make it there.


      The cap, and the feeling of mandatory they give, hurt people like yourself the most. The ones that liked to cap on the weekend. And yes, capping was a lot harder at the start. It could take days even if you were active.

      I agree that the double cap, rep and valor, really hurt a lot of people. I have no issues with some sort of gate, but double gating the most basic of things, like starter gear, was a little extreme.

      I cap one character usually within 2 hours of logging on tuesday now thanks to heroic scenarios. THAT is how it should be. You should be able to cap easily if there are going to be caps at all. So it makes it a choice, not a matter of I have to do it or I am going to lose it.

  6. It's not caps per se, it's the fact that you lose the ability to complete them unless you do this in such and such time slot. This is what's killing everyone, the "do it now or lose it" thing.

    Suppose we still had a cap of 1000 valor per week, or 1200 rep per day, but every week or day you couldn't do it, the system would add the amount of it that you didn't do to cap for the next week, cumulatively. Would this remove the anxiety? From experience with the conquest catch-up system (that is even stricter - the system only allows you to recoup part of the amount you didn't get in the allotted time frame), the answer is a resounding yes. Yes, it does help, it does solve the problem completely. If you can suddenly farm your 1000 valor not this week, but a week after, or maybe wait two months and farm 8000 valor at once, that solves it, having to cap is no longer such a huge weight on your shoulders. And the speed with which you get gear, etc, that Blizzard want to limit, is still limited.

    Some might say - "is this too much to ask that you play regularly? come on, it's only a couple of hours every week (for valor)". But we all know how that works. Even if we ignore the daily caps, and take only the weekly ones, you are probably interested in several such caps, and not just one, even on a single character (conquest and valor), and that multiplies heavily for each alt, which are key for the longevity of the game for many people. So, even if completing each particular cap only takes one or two days worth of your play time, chances are, you have several caps to complete, and it is quite possible that completing these caps takes a significant portion of your play time. And weekly caps are set in such places that you can't ignore them unless you aren't interested in the traditional end game. And without alts, the game just doesn't offer enough content to keep it interesting, for many. So, "is this too much to ask that you play a couple of hours every week to cap valor" is really "is this too much to ask that you spend 3-4 days worth of your play time every week to do caps for your main and one alt (or 5-6 days for main and two alts, and forget about capping three or more alts)", and yes, it is too much.

    I wish they made the conquest catch-up system such that it allowed you to earn the full amounts of points that you could earn but didn't some week, at any time during the season. Allowing to earn less than half is more than nothing, but has some interesting negative effects (but again, still much better than nothing). And I wish they extended that to everything else - valor, reputation, everything.

    But I think they won't do it. I am not one to look for evil intentions in everything, but I do think that they *depend* on us, players, being tied to the game by clutches like "you have to log in this week or you will lose this week's cap forever [and will not be able to ever catch up with the others until next raid tier / arena season, and will thus forfeit the *time investment* (!) you did for this in several previous months]". I do think things like this, amplified by social ties, are responsible for 90% of player retention. So, I am not hopeful...

    1. It would be a step in the right direction to let people know that if they miss a week they didn't lose anything, they just created more work for themselves later.

      Sure, the feeling of mandatory would still be there, but it would be different.

      Lets say my rogue, whom I have not played in 2 months, if I were in the mood to play him and that catch up system was in play I could get up to 8000 valor now with your system. So if I wanted to run everything, spam some heroic scenarios, do some dungeons and raids this week, I could basically catch up. That is a HUGE plus compared to the system now that would be "get your 1000 valor and forget about him until next week" that the design has it as.

      I think the conquest catch up system is a step in the right direction for making a catch up system. It needs work, but it is better than nothing, which is what PvE has. Nothing.

  7. Not really.
    It really depends on the person.

    I mean, you think lesser charms is good design. I don't see it any different. I need 50 a week. What difference does it make from a mandatory pov that I can grind more now instead of later? None at all, it still has to be done.

    I love raiding. I don't consider mandatory to do my raid once a week. I like it. It's my aim.

    Grinding lesser charms is not. That's mandatory and I don't wish to do it.

    Grinding exalted rep with Offensive - that's not mandatory. There's nothing I need from it to do what I enjoy, so I can do a quest here, one in another month and so on. So what if I can't grind it really fast, and a day in which I don't do all the quests is lost forever, I don't need to.

    Anything that I don't enjoy doing and I have to do in order to do what I do enjoy, that's what feels mandatory.

    Caps? They do help with pacing. I recall killing furbolgs till I was sick. because it seemed achievable really fast. I don't plan to do exalted with Nat Pagle though. Because it's too much of a time investment. So a fish here, one there, maybe I'll get there sometime, maybe not. And this way, it actually doesn't seem mandatory to me, it makes it quite a bit less attractive. And do I need that rep for anything? Not really, so no mandatory here.

    Caps either help or pressure, depending on the context. Hence my answer of 'not really'.

    1. It makes no difference if you grind 2000 lessers at once or 50 per week. None what so ever, you are right. However, it is the perception of it all. Being there is no cap to how many I can get now if I want to I can build up a stockpile so I do not need to do it for a few week if I do not feel like it.

      It is about the option to do it when you want to do it.

      For example, I am gearing up my lock now. I play until cap, which means I do not do all the LFR, I do not go in and get the sigils being he is just starting the line and he needs them because I caped running the new LFRs for gear.

      This slows me down. I am in the mood to play my lock but I will be wasting time running raids for sigils when I am already capped. I have no options.

      But, and a big but, if they allowed me to stockpile valor (like lessers) and only move 1000 a week to an active available for use line I can run all I want, all the raids, get my sigils and my gear, and play when I want to play because I want to play and not feel like I am losing out because I am "capped".

      Caps, at least to me, have the effect of ruining a portion of the game play. What will happen for me is I will get bored with my lock because it is taking forever to catch up and I will move on to the new fun alt of the week and forget it was even there, thanks to caps.

    2. It seems the main complaint/problem with the Charms is that the only way to get them was Dailies at first.

      A lot of people burned out on the dailies and then just despised the whole thing after that.

      There are a lot of different ways to get them now but you still have to do something other than raid. I don't know if it would be a good idea or not for them to drop off trash or something. Maybe that would make the raiders happier.

      I'd like them to be account wide so that my DK could use the huge stockpile that I have on my hunter.

    3. Yeah, the daily only thing was killed but I know that is the only place I got them from the get go before all that other stuff was added and I had enough for the entire expansion after the first month of doing dailies.

      For anyone that came along later of did not do them all like I did I can see how annoying it was to gather them, even more so if you were one of the people that hated dailies.

      I still think there need to be more ways to get them. I think all LFR "fail bags" should give 2-10 of them and I believe when you use a coin it should not say just gold or loot but give you a bag which in turn also has 2-10 in it.

      Account wide would be nice. I have a few characters that are week to week on them and I need to go out and grind them. Mostly that would be my healers.