World of Zandalaricraft?

When 4.2 dropped, a lot of things simultaneously happened for those of us interested in the PVE side of things. Let’s summarize, shall we?

1) Valor Points turned into Justice Points, capping out at 4000, and all the 359 gear that had previously been available through Valor Points is now available for purchase with Justice Points.

2) New gear that was item level 378 appeared on the Valor Point vendor, including the pants, gloves and chest from T12 armor.

3) Our new Valor Point cap became 980, down from the 1250 from Tier 11 content. (Normal T11 content will also only give out Justice Points versus Valor Points.)

4) Raid boss kills got a bump in VP earned. On 25-man, this value got bumped from 90 VP per kill to 140 VP per kill and 10-man kills got a bump from 70 VP per kill to 120 VP per kill.

5) New dailies came out that will, eventually, open up vendors selling 365 gear.

Therefore, what every responsible PVE raider should do each week to min/max everything is:

a) Get 980 Valor Points by way of 7 troll dungeons, each of which give you 140 VP, making it the most efficient way (in theory) of capping. (Each boss you down in Firelands on 25-man and each Occu’thar 25-man kill reduces this number of runs by one, so killing two bosses and Occu’thar on 25-man means only 4 troll dungeons.)

b) Get 980 Valor Points on an alt, to cap out VP so that you can buy your main raiding toon some bracers, which are BOE. And after that, continue to do so in order to exploit the market of people who don’t want to use up their VP for a BOE item but are too lazy to do what you’re doing right now. (Being crazy enough to complete 14 troll dungeons, or close to it!)

c) Molten Front dailies! If you’re not all in 372s or higher, the Molten Front rewards will give you access to 365 level items. This is great for that one slot you never upgraded if you’re a current content raider or FANTASTIC if you’re trying to gear yourself up to get into Firelands raids.

d) Speaking of Firelands, trash runs! Before getting yourself saved to your regular raid group (assuming you do actively raid), it’s suddenly a great idea to farm trash for rep, at least up until 5999/6000 into Honored (which is when trash stops giving you rep for each mob). Getting to Friendly is easy and gives you access to a 378 cloak. Honored is a little longer, but will give you access to a 378 belt.

Who on earth has that kind of time? I don’t. I’m not even in school or working full-time at the moment and I can tell you right now that the above is a significant enough time investment that I can’t do it all.

The dailies don’t take terribly long to do, maybe half an hour if you’re terrible at DPSing the way I am on my baby paladin. The issue is that they’re dailies, so yes, you need to do them every single day to maximize the rate at which you’re getting Marks of the World Tree and get vendors open sooner. That is, of course, assuming you want to bother opening the vendors. Honestly, I don’t need or want anything from them on Madrana (the one on Eldre’Thalas, that is). I went through this post at MMO-Champion to see if I actually needed to do these dailies.

The one upgrade that is actually potentially viable for me is a ring. Spirit Fragment Band, from Varlan Highbough. No haste, no spirit. If I was absolutely desperate to upgrade rings, I guess this could be potentially useful.

So out of all the rewards (barring pets, mounts, recipes), the poorly-itemized-for-healers caster ring is the one ilvl 365 item that could potentially be worth having for me. Is that one ring worth spending 30+ days doing dailies? Abso-freaking-lutely not. So guess what? Madrana isn’t touching dailies in Hyjal and the Molten Front.

However, a lot of what I mentioned are decent (not amazing, but decent) upgrades for the baby paladin. So I’m doing my dailies with her most days (probably 4-5 days out of 7). Since I only raid (at most) two nights a week on the baby paladin, I’m not earning Valor Points through raids as quickly, nor am I as geared as most people in Choice, so I have to rely on my own efforts to bring her up to par. This meant spending 15,000g on my BOE bracers, but you know what? I was okay with that. (I ended up doing the same for my not-so-baby pally, too, actually!) Of course, keeping up with everything on Skywall is more than a little exhausting and my priority absolutely has to lie with Apotheosis.

It’s easier with Apotheosis, though. I’m not fighting for a raid spot, I’m already geared fairly well as compared to my fellow guildies and while I think I’ll sit out of Shannox and Lord Rhyolith next week, I can usually count on getting the maximum amount of Valor Points possible for our group from raiding, which in our case is 560 so far (Occu’thar, Shannox, Beth’tilac, Lord Rhyolith) and a good chance of getting another 140 tonight by killing Alysrazor. While I don’t mind supplementing my Valor Points from raiding with heroics (although I don’t always have the time to do so), I feel that we should be getting Valor Points primarily FROM raiding.

Let’s look at 25-man Tier 11 content for a moment, shall we?

We had 12 normal-mode bosses and one heroic-only boss, plus Argaloth. Bosses killed on 25-man difficulty gave you the same amount of Valor Points whether you killed them normal or heroic. So, if you were clearing all available content on 25-man difficulty, you could conceivably get 90 VP x 14 boss encounters = 1260 Valor Points. Only the cap was 1250.

In 4.1, you could run 7 troll dungeons randomly (Zul’Aman or Zul’Gurub) and get 140 VP for the success of each one. Alternatively, you could run something like 14 random regular heroics and get 70 VP upon successfully completing each other. Or, you could run a mix of the two, like four Zandalari dungeons and six regular heroics and get to the 980 cap you can get from running random heroics.

That still left you 270 Valor Points to earn from raids. That was 3 bosses on 25-man or 4 on 10-man.

As of 4.2, you can now cap Valor Points exclusively from running dungeons, meaning you don’t have to set foot in a raid instance at all. You can earn up to 490 Valor Points from the heroic dungeons that came with Cataclysm’s launch, running 7 of them getting 70 VP per successful run and then run four Zandalaris… or you can just run the Zandalari dungeons 7 times.

Hm. 11 dungeons versus 7 dungeons… Since time is not infinite, I strongly suspect most people will do the math and decide to do the seven Zandalari dungeons, or rather, exclusively run Zandalari dungeons to fill in the gaps from their raids.

Wrath of the Lich King did not do the playerbase a lot of favours, but one thing it did do all right at was having the random dungeon finder help supplement raiding in terms of Emblems. (What we now know as Valor Points.) Don’t get me wrong, I like that you can run all your VP-rewarding instances in one day, if you so desire, but the problem is that, as of 4.2, random heroics stopped being a supplement to VP earned from raids and became the primary method in which everyone can and should earn them for maximum efficiency. In theory. (I have horror stories about my random Zandalari dungeons to share. But that’s a post for another time.)

As a guild master and a raid leader, I am absolutely astounded that you are awarded the same amount of Valor Points for completing Zul’Gurub or Zul’Aman as you are for killing one Firelands boss (or Occu’thar) on 25-man difficulty. You actually get MORE Valor Points for getting through ZG or ZA than you do in killing any raid boss on 10-man difficulty. What the hell? Five-man random heroics reward you with MORE VP over the course of a week than a ten-man guild who CLEARS Firelands and does Occu’thar? Yep, that’s right. You can get 980 VP from the Zandalari dungeons versus 960 VP for clearing all 7 Firelands bosses and Occu’thar on 10-man difficulty.

Let’s see. Taking at least 2 hours of planning and organizing in order to go down Shannox for the first time, not to mention 45 minutes to clear trash to spawn him, plus several wipes… versus waiting in queue for a maximum of about 35-45 minutes (as a DPS, much less if you’re a healer or a tank) and then go kill a few dungeon bosses in a run that’ll take maybe an hour at most, and that’s if you wipe a couple of times or are sadly paired with truly incompetent individuals. With guildmates in a raiding guild, this is made exceptionally easy.

The time and effort invested is nowhere near the same. Absolutely nowhere. Even if you run a 10-man guild (which is usually a bit easier than 25s, logistically speaking), where everyone shows up all of the time and you don’t have a bench and you’re all amazing players, you’ll still wipe while learning the encounters. And yet, the dungeon-running crowd is getting access to many of the same rewards as the raiding crowd at exactly the same potential pace.

I won’t say “that’s not fair”, because we all have the OPTION to go run dungeons. However, something about this just doesn’t sit right for me. I feel as though the raiders should have the ability to get more VP (1250 vs. 980, as in previous Cataclysm patches?) than those who exclusively run dungeons. Or something. Anything!

Why?

It’s hard to run a raiding guild. Like, really hard. Very time intensive. In putting together a lineup for any boss encounter, you have to first ensure you have maximized your raid’s potential by having all the appropriate buffs and debuffs in there. Then you have to take things like performance and gear and possibly loot priority into consideration. Not to mention the whole question of making sure that your group is actually capable of bringing down the boss. That usually means making sure you don’t have four holy paladins in the raid to “raid heal” or six demonology warlocks (barring heroic Maloriak, of course!) as well as researching and communicating strategy. It’s also hard to be a raider (not just a GM/officer of a raiding guild). You’re constantly juggling your stats on your gear, reforging in and out of stats, theorycrafting some, keeping up on changes and always trying to figure out what YOU can do to be better.

We get a lot of in-game benefits for raiding, though, don’t we?

– Boss loot! The best gear in the game is still available by raiding. You can cap out VP all you want, but it’s not going to give you the heroic versions of loot. Not to mention that you cannot get a 4pc set bonus for T12 armor without killing bosses in the Firelands, since the shoulders and helms are only available from the raid instance.

Living Embers. As of right now, Living Embers only drop off of bosses in Firelands. Whereas Primordial Saronites were available to everyone who had any Emblems of Frost to spare, Living Embers are only for the raiding crowd or those who put them up at the Auction House. In that way, the raiders are getting more for their trouble. But how is this different from regular boss loot that dungeon-runners miss out on? It’s not.

Dragonwrath, Tarecgosa’s Rest is another hallmark of raiders. You want the shiny orange staff? Can’t do it unless you raid. But again, this is just like regular boss loot.

Essentially, we have precisely one thing that rewards us more for raiding right now than by doing dungeons to cap out VP and that is boss loot out of Firelands (or slight variations thereon, which include mounts, pets, titles).

We don’t have any other “tangible” in-game rewards than extra loot. Don’t get me wrong, I like that I’m going to get a shield off Beth’tilac rather than through crafting like I did in Tier 11, but seriously? Dungeon-runners can cap out VP with less time and energy than raiders is another indication that Blizzard is catering to the casuals.

There, I said it. It took me nearly 2000 words to get to my point, but I finally got there. Blizzard is continuing to open this game up to some of the least-skilled players that exist in their playerbase. Yes, there are some “casuals” that are great players who don’t raid because they don’t like to raid, preferring to hone their skills in other ways, etc, but the fact remains that the “casual” players out there who are running dungeons to cap out on VP are not the cream of the crop. And forcing mid-level raiders to go to these dungeons WITH these “casuals”, for the exact same rewards, is a recipe for disaster. (See an upcoming post about my nightmarish Zandalari runs.)

Raiding is but one facet of this game, I know, but it’s the most time-consuming facet and the most difficult one to coordinate, at least historically. I know that Rated Battlegrounds and other PVP endeavours are challenging as well, but in the PVE sense, raiding is the end-game. It’s through raids that we killed Arthas and will kill Deathwing. It’s in the presence of 39 others that I first killed Ragnaros and it’ll be in the presence of 24 others when I kill him again. To have 10 or 25 people working in perfect concert together to defeat the raid encounters is difficult! It’s challenging! I adore that particular challenge more than any other in this game and that’s why I consistently throw myself at a boss, three nights a week with Apotheosis and up to two nights a week with Choice.

25-man raiding has dropped off a lot since Cataclysm launched. Gear normalization between 10s and 25s has made a lot of guilds re-think their decisions to have a 25-man roster and we’ve seen many guilds shrink down from 25 to 10. I sense that my beloved large raids are in danger of being phased out. Heck, at this rate, it feels as though 10-man raiding is in danger of being phased out. I still cannot believe that seven random Zandalari dungeons gives MORE Valor Points than clearing Firelands and Occu’thar as a 10-man raiding team.

The message we’re getting from Blizzard is, in my opinion, this:

“Oh, here’s some raid content. It’s bad-ass. But if you want Valor Points for some sweet rewards (and, in many cases, some necessary ones, even for raiders!), you’re best off farming THESE AWESOME TROLL DUNGEONS. And look, if you can’t raid for some reason, regardless of whether your schedule is weird or if you’re just THAT BAD a player, you can gain the exact same rewards from the VP vendor by running THESE AWESOME TROLL DUNGEONS. In fact, THESE AWESOME TROLL DUNGEONS are the best part of the game right now! We’re making EVERYONE run THESE AWESOME TROLL DUNGEONS. Usually with people they don’t know, but it doesn’t matter because THESE AWESOME TROLL DUNGEONS are totally AWESOME and TROLLTASTIC.”

In my opinion, it should be this (well, not really — I’d tone down the troll dungeons some, but the people in charge are obviously still madly in love with them):

“Oh, here’s some raid content. It’s bad-ass. And because we’re not total dicks, you can still get some awesome raid-level gear through Valor Points. You’ll only be able to earn them as quickly as possible if you raid, but if you want to get as close as you can, run THESE AWESOME TROLL DUNGEONS! And if you can’t quite clear your raid instance but still want to cap, you should run THESE AWESOME TROLL DUNGEONS! That way, everyone’s running THESE AWESOME TROLL DUNGEONS and we’re also allowing non-raiders to eventually get to the same point of saturation as the raiders with the Valor Point stuff.”

Of course, none of this really matters in the long run, does it? Nope. I need 8850 Valor Points (if I’m not lucky with Occu’thar drops and if I hadn’t bought the BOE bracers) to gear up my paladin in the way I want her geared. Once I reach that point, I don’t need to cap out on Valor Points. That’s nine weeks of VP capping before it’ll cease to matter for me on a practical level that affects my in-game character.

But the knowledge that dungeon-runners will cap out on VP much more easily than I will for the remainder of this tier of content will last a lot longer than nine weeks. This is, in my opinion, a dangerous precedent that screws with the natural progression of things.

They are taking dungeons, which have typically been a stepping stone on the way to raiding, and making them easier, faster, more efficient ways to earn many of the same rewards. I am firmly of the belief that dungeons should remain a stepping stone. I don’t mind them coming out with new dungeons and I don’t mind those dungeons helping to catch people up to current raiders, but earning 980 VP for doing 7 clears of ZA or ZG when you have to clear Firelands AND Occu’thar on 10-man to get 960 VP is just distasteful to me. It’s a lack of respect for the hard work raiders and raid organizers put into their characters and their raid teams. I sincerely hope we’ll see a change in this for the next tier of raiding.

(This actually started out as a rant about feeling as though I had to cap out VP on three separate characters and then turned into this monster as I was writing it. Sorry for the 3000 word crit and if you got to this part without skipping any of it, I owe you a cookie.)

Edited on July 14th, 2011 to add: There are certain comments that I have not approved and will not approve. You’re welcome to disagree with me and anyone else here, but you need to do so respectfully. Please see my Comment Policy. Thanks!

49 Replies to “World of Zandalaricraft?”

  1. Man did you say exactly what I think a lot of us are thinking. I know this.

    The part that makes it all the more frustrating is that raiders don’t get a whole lot that’s special. Sure there are those handful of items that you mentioned, but in the grand scheme of things there’s very little that separates us from everyone else in the game.

    I don’t believe that raiders should be given this sense of entitlement wherein they can run around belittling and talking down to people, but there should be /something/ different. When raiders are forced to gear themselves in nearly the exact same way that casuals are, it quickly becomes a matter of asking yourself, individually, if it’s even worth it.

    I appreciate your rant, and the fact that you said what I know so many people are thinking.

  2. I agree for the most part, but what bugs me more is not that my special snowflake raider badge is less special, but that I am forced to run the same 2 AWESOME TROLL DUNGEONS every week instead of the wonderful variety that was released with the launch of Cata. “Random Zandalari Heroic” doesn’t feel every random when there’s only two instances I can spend my time in.

  3. I hate all the extra crap we have to do in order to optimize our gear for raiding. I completely agree that dungeons should be a stepping stone into raiding, and not something that is required once you greatly overgear them. Raiding 9 hours a week is enough, and I hate feeling that I need to do dungeons and dailies to supplement that. I enjoy some dungeons, and I enjoy questing, but I like to do those things on my own time, not feel pressured into them.

    The thing that’s been really bothering me lately is how Tier gear is handled. I may be old fashioned, but I believe the best PVE raid gear should come from raiding – actual killing of raid bosses who drop loot for you, and not vendors or stupid PVP semi-bosses. The fact that you can only get 2 peices of tier gear from raid bosses is ridiculous. I’m fine with valor vendors selling some tier pieces, but why they aren’t on any boss’s loot table as well baffles me.

  4. Hestiah – Thanks. :) I knew I wasn’t the only one feeling this way, but there’s not a whole lot of discussion on it, from what I’ve seen, apart from some “QQing” on various forums.

    I think you nail it yourself when you say “When raiders are forced to gear themselves in nearly the exact same way that casuals are…”

    I don’t mind some of the grinding, I don’t mind some of the shared rewards, but when it becomes so equal as it currently is, I think that’s where it gets broken. And makes me sad that the game I have spent so much time playing, most of it in various raids, is in the process of devaluing raids so easily.

    Num – Yup, who would do 7 non-troll dungeons for variety when it’s a substantial time increase? Better to go through ZA and ZG over and over and over… and over… and… over… again. Ugh. I didn’t like Zul’Aman the first time around and I dislike that they’ve screwed up my Zul’Gurub to the extent that they have. And now I “have to” run these two dungeons until I know them as well as Strat Undead? Ugh.

    Jasyla – I hate feeling that I need to do dungeons and dailies to supplement that, too! From a business perspective, though, I see why they insist upon it. It’s to make us spend more time on what are likely our “mains”. More time spent, more investment spent means more game time, which translates into dollars for them. It also gives us the ability to gear out non-raiding characters much more easily, which I think is great, but dislike the pressure, so to speak, that comes with that kind of ability. My hunter SHOULD be all in 359s by this point, but I’m not and it’s because I can’t take the grinding so many justice points for a toon I don’t raid on.

    I also think you have a GREAT idea — valor vendors should absolutely sell some tier as they currently do, but why not have tier dropping from bosses (apart from the random loot pinata that is Occu’thar) too? That way, they implement a “well, you’ll EVENTUALLY get it through VP if you really want” backup system for raiders who are unlucky, but raiders will spend most of their time inside raid instances killing bosses.

    It’s moments like these that make me wish for the old days of 40-man raids and long attunement quests. I know the game is better in many ways now, but I remember T1 boots dropping from Lucifron and T1 helms dropping from Garr. Totally how it should be, IMHO.

  5. I partially agree. The important point I must mention (and a blue posted something similar) is that the VP farmers in the dungeon will never be able to upgrade all of their gear. Even when BoE and crafted gear are taken into account a non-raider will still be short several pieces only found via raiding.

  6. First, I wanted to link this article: http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/GregMcClanahan/20110515/7634/WoW_in_Decline_and_Blizzard_in_Denial.php

    Second, I both agree and disagree with your post. :-P Not surprising, of course.

    1. I agree with your thought that VP should primarily come from raiding, for raiders. In T11 it was a lot easier, with all those bosses. Like you said, in order for us to do so in T12, we have to full clear this content. That’s absurd for anyone except the top progression guilds. That’s not us. In fact, according to WoWProgress, only 6 guilds on our entire server has killed more than 5 bosses, only 4 of those full cleared, and that’s not saying that they have full cleared every week (they haven’t). The top guild on our server didn’t get a full clear the first week. Basically, even the top progression guilds running 5-6 days a week in raids have to do a troll heroic or two to cap their VP. Which is stupid, stupid, and more stupid.

    2. I agree with your comment that the dailies aren’t worth doing for your main (or my main, or any of our mains, really, since most of us in Apotheosis have a good amount of 371 gear, from clearing at least 5+ heroic bosses in T11 content for weeks and weeks). I do them for the pets/mount, but that’s not required and does nothing to better my main for raids. So yea, throwing those out the window shouldn’t be a problem for anyone at our particular raid level.

    3. “It’s easier with Apotheosis, though. I’m not fighting for a raid spot” I’m personally hugely conflicted by this. See, I feel as though I AM competing for my raid spot … AND that I SHOULD be. I certainly know that a certain other shadowpriest is doing everything possible to better his toon every single week, including running the troll heroics to VP cap, so I better do the same. Can’t have him in his tier well before I get mine – that’d be a huge advantage for him. My dps already compares poorly to his – I need to work extra hard to not seem like a scrubby, mediocre shadow priest next to him. So I want to earn my spot, and not look scrubby. So I HAVE to VP cap, whether I want to or not (I do, though .. because I just want to be better for myself as well). I’m of the opinion that if everyone in the raid had the mindset that they should do as much as possible to better themselves, we’d be a better raid overall. Some people theorycraft or read theorycrafters, some people make lots of gold and buy boes as soon as possible, some people show up for a raid even though they don’t feel like raiding, only because they don’t want to fall behind on EP, some people do a lot of research on their spec/class and on raid encounters, and some people simply VP cap. Some, however, don’t do any of those things, and do not have the opinion that they should do what they can to better their toon, especially since they aren’t required to – they raid for fun, they raid to hang out with friends, and they raid because they like to raid but don’t want to do what they don’t enjoy (i.e. running the darn troll heroics to VP cap). It is what it is, but I don’t want to feel like I’m the one holding the guild back from getting a boss kill, or beating an enrage timer, etc, because my dps was XXX less than it could be at my full potential (not to mention constantly less that it could be every single week). Higher dps = less boss active time, less needed heals, less stress, more room for “stupid” errors like someone dying to bad and getting brezzed, etc. So yea – I kind of wish people would feel obligated to do what they can to keep their edge on their mains, and that includes VP capping for now. I wish that, but I know it’s just not true – it’s not required. So that’s that. But …

    4. I absolutely, absolutely agree with the comments here, as well as your post, about the fact that we have to suppliment dungeons to VP cap and how stupid that is. Num’s comment about the “random” heroic being between the same two AWESOME TROLL DUNGEONS – agreed. And Jasyla’s comment (and yours) about feeling like we HAVE to do dungeons to cap our VP and the fact that it sucks – definitely agreed. For our particular case – we are clearing 4 VP-awarding bosses per week right now, so that means we still need to do troll heroics to VP cap. On top of the dailies that a lot of us are doing on our mains, and the fact that most of us have alts that we are not running Firelands with and so have to run the full seven troll heroics to cap PLUS the dailies … it’s a lot of “have to” stuff.

    It feels like the days when I was running a bunch of Trial of Crusader/Grand Crusader runs a week because that was the way to fully maximize my main’s gear (one of each on 10 man, regular mode on 25 man, then running 10 man normal on two different alts and at least one 25 pug normal mode on one of the alts as well .. all to buy orbs for Dahrla’s crafted gear). What a chore. I was late to the BC party, but from what I understand, it was similar to that, too – all those dailies, all those heroics, for all that purchase-able gear with badges. Ugh, ugh, and more ugh. Feels like a job, which makes it not fun. But if you don’t do it, you are looked down upon .. by “elitist” jerks like me, not to mention the real jerks. Not sure if any of these “real” jerks are in our guild, but they are definitely out there.

    5. I really don’t care if they give gear away to the “casual” players. I do see the business reasons – the “casual”, non-progression raiders make up a large portion of their playerbase. People keep playing and doing the same content over and over again because they want to feel like they are working towards something. Gear is this something, for most of them. For the more progression-minded raiders, it’s boss kills more than gear, I’d suspect. But people have to feel that they are working towards something – otherwise, they get bored. And bored players = lost subscribers. Blizzard is not a charity – it’s in the business of keeping subscribers and collecting their $15 a month from as many people as possible. But I do think, as the article I linked suggests, that a wider gap between the gear obtained solely from raiding and the dungeon gear would solve a little of this “catering to the casuals” feeling that a lot of raiders have. The older raid content can still be a stepping stone, as well as those month-long dailies and VP gear. (I also agree with the article that earning the VP on a toon and making it tradeable for other toons is a solution to a lot of the problems people are having with the tank abuse in pugs, the queue times for dps, etc. This way, people don’t have to feel like they “overgear” the dungeons, if they want to run their alts through for the gear but send the needed VP to their main. And this way, us raiders can run our alts through the dungeons, send the VP to our mains to cap for the week, and not run a single AWESOME TROLL DUNGEON on our mains at all.)

    6. “It’s hard to run a raiding guild. Like, really hard. Very time intensive. In putting together a lineup for any boss encounter, you have to first ensure you have maximized your raid’s potential by having all the appropriate buffs and debuffs in there. Then you have to take things like performance and gear and possibly loot priority into consideration. Not to mention the whole question of making sure that your group is actually capable of bringing down the boss.”

    Oh, Kurn. I’ve said it a lot, and other people have, but I’ll mention it again – there are a lot of people in the guild who have above-average IQs and have a moral compass – you do not have to do this stuff yourself. Other people are capable of coming up with viable raid comps and remaining fair about switches and standbys. Delegate, woman! Especially since you are raiding two nights a week with another guild, as well as (I suspect strongly) doing activities other than JUST being a raider over there. You are going to have grey hair by the time you are 40 at this rate! You are clearly stressed! Get rid of some of it!

  7. You think that troll dungeons are easy, because you have lots of raid gear. You complain about having to join the troll dungeons with the people who suck.

    Well, the people with crappy dungeon gear will find that doing 7 troll dungeons in a week is a substantial time comitment; they can take up to a couple of hours each with an inexperienced group. A dps may need to queue for 20 min just to start one.
    If someone has that much time to play wow, then they are probably not one of the crappy geared non-raiders you are upset about.

    You also failed to mention the rep you get for doing firelands, which buys you more items.

  8. Personally, I think they’re trying to get as many people as possible raid geared in time for a new cross-realm Random Raid Finder tool, mark my words.

    As for the dungeons, I wish they’d do some sort of upgraded Heroic tier2 versions of the current tier1 HC dungeons. Scale them up a bit and fill them with 353 versions of the 346 gear.

  9. Why don’t all the raiders stop whining and just do their raids? Also stop whining if you don’t like doing 7 Z’s then don’t do them. So what if casual people get VP max now and can get SOME nice gear. Gear doesn’t make players. Also, not everyone is in fancy guilds like you. Like Ben said, it takes ages for dps to queue. In Wrath you could get P4 bonus without raiding. Can you get that now? NO you can’t.

    Leave the casual players be. That’s why you have your own raiding guilds with your elitists. The game isn’t about you guys only.

  10. Was reading this Kurn and from the point of a non-raider, I actually agree. I raided up until just over a year ago when exams began to take over and I liked the pace of Wrath. If I couldn’t raid for a few weeks due to exams or lots of work at school, I could do some heroics and not be too far behind if my guild began to progress onto harder bosses and/or heroic modes. Now though, it feels like there is no point in raiding although I am hoping to get back into it soon. What’s the point of going into a raiding group with a higher chance of failure as there are naturally more people who can mess up? (Note I’m not saying in a raid people suck, it’s just mistakes generally have a larger impact and more people can make them.) Personally I think that Blizzard should change it back to before, with 1250 as the VP cap and possibly raise the cost of SOME of the VP items (not by much, but up to a minimum of 1000) meaning that raiders can get that item in a week whereas someone who just does dungeons has to do an extra dungeon. It may not sound like much, but it might encourage more people into raiding if they have the time which is great on it’s own.

    As Ben Sanders said above me though, troll dungeons can be hard for some people as they are not in full raid gear. I find this issue myself sometimes and I think this is part of the problem. People are comitting a large amount of time to doing 7 of these a week compared to what established raiders do which is fine. However, if people have the time to do this (I’ve had run last upwards of 2 hours before) then a little encouragement could get people into raiding.

    I’m hoping Blizzard will use what people are saying about the new system and tweak it a little. I don’t mean a complete re-vamp but just change it a little to mean that raiders and dungeon-runners alike can get decent gear but there is a fairly significant difference in the time taken to get badge gear.

  11. This is what posting a comment while tired gets me – what a mess.

    I should clarify that I actually agree with what Ben said, in that the troll heroics are not exactly easy. Not even for fully-geared raiders. The first boss in ZG still hurts – so does the last one. Last night, ran a ZG with a full guild group, all mains – and even though it was the fastest run of the place I’ve seen in weeks, it still seemed to take a while, and there were still wipes. I think I’ve been in ONE complete ZA run where we beat the timer to get the bear (and it was all-guild – never in a pug).

    “Hestiah said: I don’t believe that raiders should be given this sense of entitlement wherein they can run around belittling and talking down to people, but there should be /something/ different.”

    I agree with this as well. I don’t think making super awesome looking gear should only be obtainable for raiders, for instance. A mount for completing difficult achievements, though? Sure! Not having to run a bunch of heroics to VP cap, even though they are already raiding 9 hours a week (and just not happening to kill enough bosses to VP cap)? Absolutely. It’s maddening to have to do this.

    And if you are unlucky enough to be in with guildies? Yup, add another 30 mins or so to a dps queue, plus the uncertainty of pugs. It is quite awful. While makes the “have to” feeling even worse. It’s a huge time commitment.

    Tangoguy and Ben both touched on the fact that they are kind of difficult for non-raiders. I do agree with that as well – they are quite difficult for my alts who are not geared. Hopefully, the nerfs to T11 will encourage more pug runs and alt runs into raiding, to not require the same dungeons. I think it was a mistake on Blizzard’s part to completely take VP out of T11 content. A lot of guilds could use the little bit of gearing up before venturing into Firelands, and they shouldn’t have to be punished on one front (VP earning) because of that. It’s also much more difficult for someone who is looking to gear up for Firelands, and wants experience raiding in the process – right now, they have to both run T11 AND run the 7 troll heroics. Which is a lot of time commitment as well. I’ll know after tonight, but I would guess that even with nerfs, the T11 content is still not a walk in the park for people who are not super raid geared.

    I do think people who don’t have access to raiding (time, weird schedule, kids, etc) still should have something to works towards. For now, it’s gear. I think that’s the smart move, on Blizzard’s part. Let the elite raiders have their mounts, achievements, and access to content that a “casual” player would never see. Let “casuals” have a little something, though (the gear – and not even all of it).

    Look at me, all passive-aggressive. I’m seeing both sides, really. But as a raider, I 100% agree that having to run these dungeons that we already overgear for in order to get the VP to keep the edge on our mains is stupid. And that’s one of the points of your post, I suppose, as well as the point of Jasyla’s.

  12. What you say instinctively feels correct, Kurn — organising 10s is non-trivial. It does seem wrong that it’s faster to push the “random zulroic” button 7 times to gear up than it is to be part of a highly successful 10man raid.

    One counter point might be this though: raiders *raid*, and that’s our reward. To spend time exploring and defeating challenging content, working as a team with 9/24 other people. Loot is great, as are titles, mounts, and other badges of accomplishment, but I tend to think that “having better stuff” or “getting stuff faster” isn’t something that should be a primary motivator.

  13. I haven’t been able to force myself to do a troll dungeon in just over a week, which means I’ll miss the valor cap by a good chunk tomorrow. I’ve been looking at each boss we face in Firelands as, “hurray, one less troll dungeon!”

    I do wish that they’d made the 10-man valor gain for raid bosses enough that we wouldn’t have to run trolls in weeks that we (hah!) cleared the raid. And I wish that heroic T11 still gave more than a token amount of points.

    4 heroic tier 11 bosses equals one troll dungeon. Those haven’t been nerfed, they’re still new and fun enough that I don’t mind running them.

  14. I failed to make VP cap last week, and I’m going to fail again this week. The reason is, I really don’t want to run those Troll or even Heroic dungeons more than a couple of times a week.
    I want to raid, not do 5 mans. Yes the Trolls were ok when they were released, but now they are just tedious. They are tedious even with a good group; with a bad group they are just awful. At least in ZA we get to do a timed run, which gives it a sense of purpose, but ZG, I mean pugging ZG is simply the biggest un-fun I have had in a long time in this game. I don’t want to spend 90 minutes wiping over and over, and then have to do the same damn thing the next day. Who could possibly think that is enjoyable?
    They ARE hard for non-raiders, which is why as a raider I don’t want to be spending all my time in there with puggers barely at the minimum ilvl. I don’t want to be there in the first place.

    As for T11 content, I have not been there since it got nerfed, but surely clearing BoT or BWD should give you the same VP as ZA or ZG?

  15. My sentiment, which is echoed among overs that have commented is that I hate the reality that I HAVE to run 5mans in order to keep up with gearing for raiding; until we are clearing all bosses within a reset. If I could get geared out without needing VP at all, I could die happy. But sadly, in order to get my tier chest, I have to do them.

    The concept of VP-gear was introduced so that non-raiders could get top-end gear without the commitment to raiding, but that begs the question, if they non-raiders AREN’T raiding, why do they need top end gear anyway? To do ZA/ZG a little faster? I understand making the gear available to casuals, but why do the non-casuals have to suffer because of it?

    Someone above mentioned it would’ve been nice to simply scale up the original batch of heroics, I would’ve loved this. If I have to run 7 dungeons a week to cap my VP, I wish I didn’t have to mindlessly do nothing but Troll ones. Since ZA/ZG came out, I’ve run maybe 2-3 of the originals? I’m aware that technically I don’t HAVE to run all troll heroics, but in the interest of time, it’s really the only effective way. And what happens when the next raid instance comes out? Yet another 2-3 months of farming ZA/ZG? No thanks.

  16. As a casual who has made the choice to raid, Kurn, you’ve hit it spot on. There’s this real pressure to do the 5’s and hit the cap every week IN ADDITION to all the time spent raiding, raid prepping, etc.

    I hate doing randoms and normally don’t do them. Last tier, I just said to hell with set pieces and relied on drops so I wouldn’t have to consistently farm VP. I just don’t have TIME as a mom.

    This tier, I have to farm vp because the non-tier cloth pieces don’t have spirit. Our other priest is in the same boat. As I sat out on a raid (because it was my turn to sit) and ran a trollroic from hell, it occurred to me that I was getting MORE raid ready than my fellow effers who were in the raid, but that I was having the WORST time doing it.

    I have time to raid. I have time to do 5’s. But I’m not sure I have time to do both.

  17. What I think is really interesting are the comments about how raiders should stop whining and just raid, because — possibly by being non-raiders? — they’re missing the point. Raiders CAN’T just raid. That’s the thing. If I want to raid effectively, which is the minigame in WoW that I want to play, then I have to run 5-mans, which is NOT the minigame I want to play. It’s exactly the same problem hardcore arena players are having: if they want to pvp effectively in arenas, which is the minigame in WoW they want to play, they have to do RBGs, which they DON’T.

    WoW was so successful for so long because there was a minigame for every kind of player. You didn’t just have to raid. I mean, it’s pretty telling that I still talk all the damn time about my 45m Baron run; I do this because that was the culmination of the minigame I played then. I won. It didn’t matter that I only went to AQ40 and Naxx to screw around as a pickup with raiding friends, because *that wasn’t my game*. I didn’t care. But now, WoW is trying to be all things to all people, and just upsetting everyone. There’s just the Get As Many VP As Possible game, and I think it’s really harmful for WoW’s continued growth.

  18. After reading this post and the comments, I’m left with several questions (and please do take the word “you” to mean any person in general, not just you personally Kurn. I’m not trying to put you on the defensive here):

    – Why does it matter if someone who can only do dungeons gets *some* of the same loot but on a delayed time table?
    – Why do you think that the advantage of being at valor cap on a weekly basis should be anything other than a challenge and a time investment?
    – What about those of us doing heroic mode bosses? Should we be afforded more valor points for our kills because we’re super special raiders?
    – Why is your definition of casual the one that governs? (remember: I raid 20-30hrs a week, so “casual” to me is a line at about <20 hrs per week. So for me, the question becomes: why do I raid as much as I do when a casual has access to the same level of gear at 1/3rd the time investment?)
    – Why is it that we are always so eager to base our own self-worth on what other players do or do not have, when they operate within the same rules that we do?

    Personally, I don't see any problem with the current system in place. I raid because I like raiding; I farm heroic dungeons to get the points I need to have the edge which is necessary to raid at the level I like raiding at. I understand that having that advantage comes at a price. And if I can power-heal a group through those dungeons, getting me the points I need and them the gear/points that they need, then I think it's a fair trade. Add to this the fact that I think it's sad and almost reprehensible how little the community wants to interact with "inferior" players, and it's no wonder that Blizzard is perceived as forcing us into participating in dungeons that we rushed to farm at the start of the expac.

  19. Had two or three really long comments written out but I couldn’t get the wording right.

    My thoughts are from my own point of view and how the game affects me YMMV.

    For me the current system is fine. Until we were able to kill enough bosses, I had to run some troll heroics to cap my points. The simple fact that I wanted (or was obligated) to cap was because our guild is a progression-focused raid team. A choice that made that means I will exhaust all avenues to get what I need.

    It was a big motivator for me to clear more and more raid content so that we didn’t have to spend as much time “trolling” for valor points. I won’t be gearing any alts. I capped my warlock 1.5 times so that I could get my main some bracers.

    All of this is in the name of maximizing the fun factor for me, a single-main raider in a guild that most would consider “hardcore.” Annoying that I had to do some 5 mans? Yes. Different than any other tier ever? No. At least I don’t have to run 25 man raids AND 10 man raids to maximize my gear. At least I don’t have to worry that the raiders I sit out will be behind the gear curve for a month or two because they can’t make up points they missed from raiding.

  20. Also, what Vixsin said. Do what you have to do to make the game fun for you. Don’t worry about what other people have. There are thousands ahead of you and thousands behind you. You’re running a marathon and are only seeing the people running at your pace. If you want to get further, faster,, you will have to make some sacrifices.

  21. Along Vix’s line regarding how much VP people (can) earn, is that really the problem? Is it a problem that VP farmers can earn the same points as Vix each week without stepping into a raid? Is it a problem that Vix can’t earn any more points raiding than I do (25 man normals for the moment)?

    I see this as very similar to Trial of the Crusader. I never had the time to get to all 4 versions (or the dps in the raid to get past Heroic Jaraxxus, but that’s beside the point) but I never felt sad or bad about missing out on progression. I don’t feel anything about the pace of top guilds in tier 12 except a little bit more hope that I’ll actually see the same heroic fights before tier 13. I am 100% OK about not reaching VP cap the first week with the July 4th weekend.

    Just as I don’t care about the tier 11 Normal nerf and how it reflects on my own accomplishments, I don’t care that VP farmers can run H Stonecore 14 times to hit cap.

    The other option is that you’re stuck with whatever VP you can earn from raiding (maybe the dungeons could get you to 50%) and you just gear up slower if you’re not clearing a full raid each week. Would that be a better solution? Would you prefer taking 5 or 6 weeks to purchase your tier chest instead of 3 because Blizzard didn’t even offer the option to cap with dungeons? I’m curious to find if anyone feels this way.

  22. In previous expansions the paradigm was:

    Raiders have gear that is a large cut above non-raiders. This was then changed to raiders have gear that is a small cut above non-raiders. This expansion it was changed to raiders get gear that’s the same as non-raiders, just faster (for most slots). Now, its been changed again so raiders get the same gear as non-raiders, but slower (for most slots).

    The time investment for raiding has always been high, but the rewards were better and you could acquire them faster. With patch 4.2 the rewards (for all slots available with Valor) are available with less time commitment for non-raiders than for raiders. I spend 9 hours per week raiding and then I have to do another 3-5 hours or so of non-raider content in order to get the same Valor rewards that non-raiders can receive in much less time. Even Casuals for whom the Zandalarian Heroics were designed likely don’t spend 12-14 hours to complete 7 of them. I don’t object to a time commitment to cap Valor, but why do I need to spend double the amount of time it would otherwise take for me? In my opinion we should be able to cap Valor from killing 4 bosses in Firelands. Its not like raiders would cease trying to kill the final bosses because they’re Valor capped. It would simply keep us from needing to return to content we greatly outgear.

  23. Joe Ego – Absolutely, I think the VP system works nicely to help non-raiders improve their gear to a point and helps substantially to ensure that non-raiders CAN transition to raiding if they choose (which is great, because recruiting from a pool of people who only did T4 raiding when you were in T6 raids was awful)… but I still find it ridiculous that the major in-game reward for doing 7 troll dungeons is the same as a 25-man guild clearing Firelands or better than a 10-man guild clearing Firelands AND doing Occu’thar. Sad panda.

    Dahrla – Holy crap, this might take a while. haha!

    First, excellent post. I hope everyone here reads that! I really agree with a lot of the points the author makes, such as widening the gap a bit — but not too much. See above. Recruitment in the end of BC before the badge vendor came out was maddening. No new people to raiding had even close to the gear they needed to be effective. I’m a huge supporter of being able to transition from non-raiding to raiding with some substantial effort.

    Okay, on to your points.

    1) I definitely find it stupid that the top guild on our server (a 10m, for those unaware) still have to do a troll dungeon to cap VP. And you know they’re doing it because they want to min/max to the point where they’ve done everything possible to improve themselves. That’s WHY they’re the top guild on the server.

    2) Ahem. My main is Kurn. ;D But yeah, we’re lucky that we did a lot of heroic modes in T11 and can get out of the timesink of dailies if we want to. I really feel for those who are just finishing up T11 content and can get good rewards from the daily vendors.

    3) I think that no one wants to be the drag on the group and a lot of us show that in different ways. I remember when we were learning Al’Akir and I kept dying and I was like “WTF?!?!” and then switched places with Walks and he died, too. The relief that crashed over me was intense. haha.

    I know that, in terms of gear, I’m on good footing with the rest of the guild and I know that my buying my BOE bracers (thanks Ent!) basically bought me a week’s grace in terms of capping VP and keeping up with the rest of the guild. I think we all want to improve our characters and, in so doing, our performances. But I do think we all show that in different ways. Some people reforge, regem and test stuff out. Some people cap VP ASAP. Some people push themselves to the very brink that their gear permits on every single pull of the night.

    For me, I pride myself on making sure my target doesn’t die. If my target dies, chances are high that I failed. I will sit there and figure out WTF happened and it’s exceptionally rare that it’ll happen again.

    So I’m not going to yell at people for not VP capping, especially because I’d be a hypocrite, but people need to know that if they can’t keep up, we’re gonna have to talk to them. I think there’s a balance between VP capping like a fiend and not running anything at all, be it crafted gear, BOE gear, etc. There are other ways to improve your character while we progress to the point where we CAN cap VP by raiding 25-mans. (Theoretically, that’ll be up through Staghelm and Occu’thar.) But VP rewards are upgradable through the heroic items which will drop off heroic bosses, while the crafted items won’t be. Still, once it’s easier to cap by clearing Firelands, it’ll be easier to pick up those pieces for the upgrades with a little less pressure. IMHO.

    4) YES, absolutely, this is the equivalent of feeling pressured to run four versions of TOC/TOGC in a single week. I never did that. I COULD NOT do it. I would have lost my mind. I still felt the pressure, mind you, and it was awful. I also stopped doing a supplemental 10m ICC (to go along with my raid’s 25-man ICC) about three weeks in because I couldn’t stand doing that all over again. “What a chore” is right.

    If you don’t do it, it’s easy to assume that you’re not doing the most for your character. And that doesn’t look good among other raiders, period.

    5) Man, it would be awesome to have tradeable VPs. But I miss the days of loot dropping off bosses. The article’s author makes a great point — buying something isn’t the same as seeing it drop. (Then again, I remember when gear would stubbornly refuse to drop… hi, Cho’gall. How are you today, you fucker?)

    6) I am not doing other activities over on Skywall, tyvm. :P I relish logging on and not having to do anything to do with rosters or the raid comp or strat. I remember trying Al’Akir with Choice for the first time and I DIDN’T HAVE TO DO POSITIONS! It was glorious! So no, I’m quite happy being an applicant with Choice and have no desire to increase my responsibilities beyond “raider” over there. :)

    As to Apotheosis stuff, I do delegate stuff, but a lot of that isn’t visible to the guild population as a whole. When I say it’s hard and time intensive, I don’t mean JUST for me, I mean for the officers and even the guild as a whole. I am, however, planning on delegating more over the coming months, since I’ll be taking some classes in the fall and winter. :P

    Regarding grey hairs, already have them, started getting them at 27. I’ve accepted that I have them. There are incriminating photos of me somewhere with bright orange hair, actually, from my denial phase. ;)

    Ben Sanders – Actually, you know, I haven’t run a single troll dungeon on my raid-geared character. Not a one. I’m planning on doing so for the first time today All of my experience in troll dungeons has been on my baby paladin, the one who had her fair share of blues and such. My first time in ZA was with a couple of guildies, one of whom was raid geared (and he was the tank), but I worked my ass off to get through that dungeon as the healer. I blew every cooldown I had, had a couple of wipes and didn’t find it easy. I don’t think I’ve ever said the dungeons in question are “easy”. But the organization, preparation and execution time and effort for a single ZG or ZA clear are much less than organizing 10 or 25 people to kill Shannox or Beth’tilac or any raid boss. Even Occu’thar right now, which PUGs are failing spectacularly at. (I have the repair bills to prove it.)

    I recognize that a lot of people don’t suck, but I further recognize that the majority of people running the troll dungeons at any given time are going to be less experienced and less geared than many raiders. That makes for a difficult run for everyone involved, because expectations are different. Any transient grouping for content is more difficult, which is why they give the Luck of the Draw buff to try to offset that and it’s not JUST due to differences in skill and gear and experience. But some of the experiences I’ve had in those dungeons, on my now-barely-raid-geared baby paladin, are just abysmal. People standing in poison, people not understanding Nalorakk’s charge mechanic DESPITE 2-3 explanations, people standing in fire, people not picking up the proper cauldron on Zanzil despite more explanations, people refusing to interrupt Tears of Blood on the panther boss despite being asked to…

    I don’t take for granted that people know what to do, but I get pissy when people then flagrantly DON’T do what is asked of them, which is, shockingly, required to get through the encounter. That’s the real issue of mixing the raiders and the more casual players. People don’t listen. Won’t listen. Sure, you sometimes get a spectacular player who does exceptionally well, but these are the exception to the rule.

    Everyone else: More later. :)

  24. I definitely got to the end, and I will eat my yummy cookie with pride.

    I got to the end because this is what my boyfriend and I have been ranting about since Cata was released, and even in part of Wrath. Yay for casual gamers. Thanks Blizz. I just want to raid and be awesome for it. No one notices if you are a top end raider anymore, except for other raiders. Cause no one KNOWS what a top end raider is.

    Thanks for the rant; will share with my guildies. :)

  25. I think this is probably the end of the road for me when it comes to reading Kurn’s Corner (I know, who am I and why do you care that I’m done reading your blog?)

    What you’re advocating is a completely closed system. You wouldn’t even dream of considering someone’s guild application for Apoth unless they had top-level gear and experience, and rightfully so. They’d be a hindrance to your goals for your guild*. If they can only get top-level gear and experience through heroic current-tier raiding, then the minute someone in Apoth gets a new job/has a baby/quits the game out of boredom/etc, Apoth is done raiding because there’s no one you can replace them with. Period. You’re closing off the system saying “If you’re currently a raider you can be a raider. If you’re not, too bad, so sad, sorry about your bad luck.”

    *As a side note, something in the raiding system is definitely broken, and it’s not the VP system. I know Apoth is one of the top guilds in the world and I respect the work you do, but there’s something seriously wrong when two weeks into the patch you’ve essentially consumed all the raiding content the patch has to offer. I read about guilds who are 5/7 or even 7/7 already and I can’t help but think there’s something seriously broken about that.

    As a current non-raider who’s faced with this kind of system, every time I log on to two characters every day and spend an hour beating my head against the obscenely bad game design (and shameless jackasses who make the “MF” in MF dailies mean soemthing completely different) in the Molten Front, I ask myself: Why am I doing this? When I read something like your reply to Ben Sanders above (wherein you pontificate that everyone in LFD sucks and is a terrible inconvenience for you because you may actually have to wipe a few times on new content), I want to log out, cancel my account and go play Farmville.

  26. And just so I don’t sound like a crazy person, this is a perfect summation of every experience I’ve ever had in ZG, and why I just don’t even bother with ZG anymore. I’m tired of being berated and screamed at by hardcore raiders because the last boss doesn’t die on the first attempt.

  27. Thank you for your post, Kurn, I can see that you put a lot of effort in thinking what to say, but thank you too for your comment, Vixsin, as you said what I wanted to say much better that I probably would.

    Kurn, I’m really sorry but I’m not able to quite get your post. (Although I care less about gear being cool than most of my guild so maybe that’s the reason.) I understand being unhappy on not being able to cap VP unless you clear all bosses in 25-man, however there is a couple of points:

    10-man raiders not being able to cap is intentional, I think. Based on 25-man raider feedback I’d say they were worried that 25-man were not as fun as 10-mans so they forced 10-man raiders to do an activity that’s not fun (LFD) in order to cap their VP too. I think it was a good decision assuming 10-man are really more fun, the 10-mans can get the same reward but have less fun doing so. Maybe if they decreased the cap and VPs for a heroic run (and prices) so that 25-man raiders would cap after 6 bosses while 10-man would need a full clear or 6 bosses and a zul’5-man, it might be better for the more casual raiders who miss a raid occasionally or are slow at progressing through the raid.

    VPs are not a source of all gear either. For priests (I have a small priest alt, that’s why I chose them), there is 6 slots I can fill with VP gear (neck, chest, legs, hands, wrists and wand) and 3 more which can be filled with BoE (feet, weapon and OH) – however I would have to wear spiritless weapon while raiders can pick a staff with spirit (or a mace if they have Ragnaros on farm). A neck with spirit drops from Rhyolith too and raiders can replace 5 of the slots with boss drops. For priests, the drops don’t have spirit but I believe it’s just cloth users who have this problem. Non-raiders can get 2 more slots (ring+trinket) filled with 365 gear from the MF dailies (the ring lacks spirit though), get a 359 BoE head, Hyjal rep belt, some JP gear and be only one slot short of Cata epic achievment. (The best non-raid shoulder involves not leaving people with memories of their dead sisters.) As was already said, raiders can get rewards from Avengers rep instead of most of the JP slots.

    I agree that killing a boss is harder than completing a Zul’heroic but VPs are not the only rewards. For killing a boss you get:
    – VP (ilvl 378)
    – loot (ilvl 378)
    – Avengers reputation (for ilvl 378-391 loot)
    For completing a heroic you get:
    – VP (378)
    – rep (333-359)
    – JP (346-359)
    – loot (346-353)

    While it can be argued you get more loot from 5-mans, it’s at least 19 ilvls lower with the exception of the slots covered by VP gear.

  28. Hoo boy. Lots of comments to get through. I’ll try to get through a few here and more later.

    MJ – haha, after all the guild-related rewards and incentives, I’m not sure they’ll ever do a random raid finder tool that is cross-server. Can you imagine randoming into Firelands with 9 other people who don’t know what they’re doing and no one wants to lead? haha!

    As to the dungeons, the issue there is… well, where would new 85s gear up? Normals, sure, but then the heroics would be just a step out of reach for them.

    Jin’do – And a hello to you, good sir or madame. The game is not about raiders, no, I completely agree with you. However, raiding is the “end-game” of Player vs. Environment (PVE) content. Thus, as someone who participates in end-game content, my concerns are generally about how one can move from dungeons to raids and how raiders are affected by various changes.

    You say a lot about how we should stop whining. What if, in order to get some of the gear you currently enjoy from Valor Points, you had to additionally do seven NORMAL dungeons? That’s sort of what raiders are having to do.

    In the PVE gearing system, it goes this way:

    1) Normal, max-level dungeons (Grim Batol, Lost City of the Tol’Vir, etc)
    2) Heroic dungeons (adding Heroic Deadmines and Heroic SFK to the list of all the Cataclysm dungeons)
    3) Heroic Zandalari dungeons
    4) Tier 11 raids (Blackwing Descent, Bastion of Twilight, Throne of the Four Winds and Argaloth in Baradin Hold)
    5) Tier 12 raids (Firelands and Occu’thar in Baradin Hold)

    What current raiders are being forced to do in order to maximize their VP earned is go back one or two steps in the PVE gearing system and for no actual rewards apart from these intangible points.

    How often do you do a normal dungeon “just for fun”? My guess is rarely. And that’s why it’s such a pain for raiders, who want to get their maximum amount of VP as quickly as possible, to go back in progress. It’s not the natural course of progression.

    Further, we need some of the VP gear. 3 pieces of our tier is there, as you know, but also relics and ranged slots for every class aside from hunters. There are bracers for everyone and other pieces that just aren’t itemized the same way as some of the weird Firelands drops.

    Raiders need VP and I’m saying that raiders should be able to cap VP through raiding alone, even if we’re not clearing 7/7 Firelands on 25-man and that 10-man raiders should be able to cap VP through raiding alone, which is not currently possible at all.

    Everyone else – more later. :)

  29. Tangoguy – I completely agree that people’s mistakes in a raid, be it 10 or 25-man, have a much larger impact on a group and there most certainly is a higher chance of failure for the most part, in my experience. If one person missed an interrupt on P2 Nef (when he was current content) that could very well wipe the whole raid.

    As to the troll dungeons, no, they’re not easy when you’re not in full raid gear, and I definitely have experienced that for myself. It’s still manageable, of course, and part of what I do enjoy is the challenge of pushing myself on my baby paladin. But to “challenge” myself through ZG/ZA four, five, even six times a week? No thanks.

    I feel that Valor Points are the raider’s point. They always have been. You could always get a limited number of “badges” back in the day by not raiding, then you would get more THROUGH raiding. Never before could you ever get the maximum points or badges of the highest-level without raiding. And now you can.

    Dahrla – On the other hand, I would hate to be funnelled back into T11 content in order to cap VP. Can you imagine spending even two hours whipping through various modes of T11 BWD and then go do Shannox on a raid night? Logistical nightmare.

    I think non-raiders should be able to work their way towards something as well. I just think it’s ridiculous that raiders have to do the same low-level content over and over again because someone at Blizzard is madly in love with their “new” troll dungeons.

    theanorak – What I’ve learned in my five-plus years is that everyone has their specific motivation for raiding. I raid for the challenge, despite what this blog post might indicate, but a lot of others raid for purple shinies. But one set of purples from raids versus another set of purples from VP/crafting/etc is trivial, IMHO. People who are pushing that button 7 times (or 8 or 9 in case of a really bad group) are not putting in the same effort as those who are raiding. There’s a LOT that goes into it and it’s more than showing up to a dungeon AS A TANK, dressed in 3 pieces of PVP gear, 2 pieces of DPS gear, ungemmed and unenchanted tanking gear and lacking something as simple as a metagem. And yet, this is exactly what one of my PUG tanks was wearing yesterday. On my ilvl 367 holy paladin, I expended 80% of my 110k mana bar to keep this joker alive on ONE PULL. And we even used CC.

    That shows zero preparation, zero work, zero interest in really taking on that role. I apologized to him in party chat and told him that he needed to queue as DPS until he had a full tanking set, that he was just too squishy. And then we vote-kicked him. I have no tolerance for someone taking on such an important role as tank or healer and not knowing anything about what they need to do. So this guy was literally pushing the queue button, getting an instant queue and then condemning his groups to failure because no one WANTS to kick a tank because they’re in such high demand.

    That I have to spend any time at all with that guy in order to better my RAIDING game is really what sticks in my craw.

    Nina – It’s sad to say, but I also view my raid progress as “one less troll dungeon, yay!” instead of “AWESOME, I beat a raid boss!”

    I think my entire guild would revolt if I suggested T11 heroics for valor. Four heroic modes vs. 1 troll dungeon? The time and energy factors point to the dungeon, unfortunately.

    AliPally – I feel obliged to cap out. Actually, no, I WANT to cap my VPs. I just don’t want to do so while doing troll dungeons. I agree that, even in a good group, it’s tedious. In a bad group (and I’ve had bad groups! My baby pally was in a ZG that wiped EIGHT TIMES on Jin’do before it disintegrated!), it’s nightmarish. It is NOT fun.

    Part of the problem is people cheating the ilvl system by having BOEs in their bags or PVP gear to raise their item level. These people aren’t supposed to be in there. And yet, we’re rewarding them for their utter failure with the same points that raiders get for downing a boss in Firelands?

    T11 normal now only gives JUSTICE points, if you can imagine. T11 heroics give VP, but at a much-reduced rate and they haven’t been nerfed.

    Dayden – Your tier chest, your relic, to get your tier gloves and pants if Occu’thar is unkind… there are so many goodies on the VP vendor that it’s hard to look at the number of points you have and say “eh, I won’t cap this week”, even though that goes hand-in-hand with “oh GOD, not another ZA/ZG”.

    The reason why, I think, all this purchasable gear is available is to help people transition from dungeons to raids later on in the game. It was hell to recruit someone when we were in BT when all their gear was Karazhan level. Hence, the badge vendor. In theory, this is a great idea. I think it worked okay in Wrath, too. At the end of Wrath, I could have taken Kurn or my shaman or even my priest, to pug raids and I wouldn’t have been out of place. And THAT is a good thing. From the raider’s perspective, one daily dungeon to SUPPLEMENT raiding wasn’t so bad, particularly because Wrath dungeons were really quite easy, until you got to heroic Halls of Reflection, I guess. But again, most of my Emblems of Frost came from raiding heroic ICC and only some of the time was I running a daily heroic.

    And dear God, if we have to farm ZA/ZG for more VPs in another tier, I’m just going to say it right here, I’m not going to cap. Ever again. I’m willing to give it a shot for a couple of weeks NOW, but if we have to deal with that crap in future content patches, that’s it. No more dungeons for me.

    Zelmaru – Last tier, my tier set just wasn’t worth it for me, in terms of my overall stats, so I didn’t really care. I got enough VP by raiding to gear myself up quickly enough from the VP vendor. This tier is different and, like you, I hate randoms and normally don’t do them. I think it’s ridiculous that you were doing more for your VP cap than your fellow guildies and hating it while they were doing less and probably having a better time.

    This tier is all kinds of stupid, IMHO. :(

    Aro – ooooh, excellent point. “Get As Many VPs as Possible” is the name of the game right now. And it sucks. And, obviously, I agree with you on the point of raiding being the minigame you want to play vs. dungeons, which you don’t.

    Also, 45m Baron runs FTMFW!

    Vixsin – Hey, thanks for your comment. I’ll try my best to answer your questions, because I think they’re pretty interesting and might help explain my views a bit better. :)

    Why does it matter if someone who can only do dungeons gets *some* of the same loot but on a delayed time table?

    That’s fine. What’s not fine is that it’s not on a delayed time table. It’s the same potential pace. Why is that a big deal, why does that matter? Because the gear level is identical between the VP vendor and new craftables, 25-man raids and 10-man raids. Doing 7 troll dungeons gives you more VP than clearing Firelands and Occu’thar on a 10-man difficulty. The time and effort involved in 7 troll dungeons vs. a Firelands CLEAR is not the same. The rewards should not be the same, IMHO.

    Why do you think that the advantage of being at valor cap on a weekly basis should be anything other than a challenge and a time investment?

    I think it absolutely should be a challenge and a time investment. However, I think that raiders should be able to do it through raiding and that those doing less-challenging content should not be able to cap as easily. Right now, they’re capping VP at a faster pace and an easier rate than even clearing Firelands. That doesn’t sit right with me.

    What about those of us doing heroic mode bosses? Should we be afforded more valor points for our kills because we’re super special raiders?

    Absolutely, if there was more to buy at the heroic level from a VP vendor. Killing Halfus was one thing, but killing Heroic Halfus was a bit more difficult. The greater the difficulty, the greater the reward, IMHO. Sure, there’s more loot and it’s higher ilvl, but why NOT give out more VP or what-have-you if you’re doing things that are more difficult? Does anyone really think killing Heroic Ragnaros should reward the same VP for clearing ZG or ZA?

    Why is your definition of casual the one that governs? (remember: I raid 20-30hrs a week, so “casual” to me is a line at about <20 hrs per week. So for me, the question becomes: why do I raid as much as I do when a casual has access to the same level of gear at 1/3rd the time investment?)

    I think because the differences really become apparent when a raid team progresses together beyond an infrequent, “casual” raid schedule. Like “oh, if we have enough people every other Tuesday, we’ll raid” versus “raid nights are Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, from 9pm-midnight”. I think that’s where the line between “raider” and “casual” (and I’m trying not to use that in a derogatory sense, so please don’t think so, anyone who reads!) is really apparent. I raid 9 hours a week, so to you, I’m a casual raider. But I’ve still done 7/11 HM on 25-man in T11 content versus the people who casually get together to play once every week or two who might have been stuck on Ascendant Council until the nerfs. Granted, everyone has their own threshold, but I think that particular one resonates across more people.

    Why is it that we are always so eager to base our own self-worth on what other players do or do not have, when they operate within the same rules that we do?

    I’m a North American, raised in a meritocracy. I freely admit it. I feel as though if I work hard enough, I can achieve anything. I further believe that rewards should reflect effort.

    7 troll dungeons != 7 raid bosses

    Not in terms of time commitment, not in terms of effort, not in terms of planning and preparation. There’s just no comparison.

    And yet, the in-game reward (Valor Points) is the same.

    I think it’s great that people can gear up to join raiding guilds, I really respect that effort and, having done so recently on my baby paladin, I’m grateful for that option. It’s a lot better than being locked out of everything the way people were in Vanilla.

    But I … I’m not sure resent is the best word, but we’ll use it for now, I resent the fact that everyone out there can push the random dungeon button and get the same OR MORE in-game rewards than I get for killing Shannox, Beth’tilac and Lord Rhyolith in a single week on 25-man. That I then have to backtrack to two instances I loathe (and that makes me sad because I ADORED the original Zul’Gurub!) and spend another 3-5 hours running them just to make sure I get the same rewards, is ludicrous.

    Yes, we have raid drops, but five people get a drop out of 25 and 2 people get a drop out of 10. I have gone through six raid nights without a single raid drop to better my character — and I’m okay with that. But it means that VP capping becomes more important to me to upgrade my character because I am not getting the drops right now.

    I understand that having that advantage comes at a price.

    For me, I agree — the advantage comes at a price. I don’t think the price should be to spend hours in dungeons. I think the price is something a lot of us are already paying — a greater time commitment, more preparation, more reading, more strategizing and more looking through our logs to better our own performances.

    What I think is sad is that the game doesn’t create good players. It rarely has. The better players are the ones who do all the external reading and research. Those are USUALLY raiders and people who want to improve their characters to get to that point.

    What I end up with in dungeon groups are people who want purples from ZA/ZG. In an above response, I detail this “tank” who just wanted a tanking helm off one of the ZA bosses. Bettering your character is one thing, chasing purples is another. I have ZERO in common with that “tank”. I would be mortified if I set foot in a heroic dungeon without being specced, glyphed and gemmed appropriately. I am there for my VPs, he was there for a helm. Nothing in common, and yet, the system matched him up with me and two guildies. That’s my punishment for not having a guild tank online?

    [I]t’s no wonder that Blizzard is perceived as forcing us into participating in dungeons that we rushed to farm at the start of the expac.

    Exactly — at the start of the expansion. Do you need anything from Heroic Deadmines? ZA? ZG? No? Me either. Why should we constantly be sent back to run this same content? It’s as though we were clearing through Naxxramas at 60 and suddenly told we had to go back and kill, I don’t know, Sulfuron in MC every week to maximize our characters. At 60, that would still have been a significant timesink.

    To me, it’s pretty clear; dungeons are currently serving two purposes and so are Valor Points.

    Dungeons (regular and heroic) are serving to gear up people (to 329 for heroics, to 346 for Zandalaris, to 353 for an easier entry into raids).

    Dungeons (heroic, specifically the trolls, more likely) are serving to SUPPLEMENT raider’s Valor Points. They don’t need anything from these dungeons in the vast majority of cases.

    Valor Points are serving to help gear people up into raiding.

    Valor Points are also serving as THE ONLY METHOD for some raider’s equipment slots at the 378 level. For example, the relics and ranged for all but hunters are found on the VP vendor. 3/5 tier pieces are found on the vendor. The tier chest doesn’t drop anywhere, so at a BARE minimum, a non-hunter who wants their tier chest piece should get 2900 VP for their chest and their ranged slot. That’s almost 3 weeks of VP capping.

    So raiders are doing dungeons to help cap VP to get 378 gear while dungeon-goers are doing it for 346/353 gear with the promise of 378 gear later.

    There is a distinct gap there. And I don’t think it should exist. I think raiders should get VP through raiding with a lesser amount available through dungeons so as not to make it insurmountable for people wanting to start raiding in the second, third, fourth tiers of the expansion.

    Everyone Else – Okay, that was long. More soon. :)

  30. Borsk – But why should the sacrifices I make be running dungeons I outgear? Why take literally two steps backwards (T11 content is one step, Zandalari heroics are another step) in order to progress in T12?

    It seems ridiculous and nonsensical to me, considering I make all kinds of other sacrifices just so that I CAN raid and so that my guild can raid.

    Joe Ego – It’s a problem of imbalances. FYI, you can’t run 14 H Stonecores because you’re capped on “normal heroics” at 490 VP a week. So Blizzard obviously sees those instances as being less challenging than the troll heroics — which they are, I totally agree.

    But the same (or better) results through troll dungeons than through raiding does not make sense to me.

    I would not prefer the solution you offer, but I would much prefer loot dropping off of raid bosses! I like that I have the option to pick up my pants and gloves if Occu’thar doesn’t drop them, but that’s because Occu’thar is a giant crap shoot given all the items in his loot table, including that nasty PVP gear.

    Merk – I couldn’t have said it better myself. Completely agree with “Now, it’s been changed again so raiders get the same gear as non-raiders, but slower” and “why do I need to spend double the amount of time it would otherwise take for me?”

    Juulna – haha, enjoy the cookie. ;)

    That’s definitely a part of it, too. I’m open to having other people join me in raiding who just rolled a toon this expansion, but raiding is a whole other level of difficulty and effort and organization than a troll dungeon, and I think it should say something about a raider’s tenacity for doing that sort of thing. That tenacity and effort was recognized very clearly in every expansion up until now. I have my 25-man ICC drake that I got in May of 2010. Now anyone can go in and get exactly the same titles and rewards with much less difficulty. They’re diluting our rewards by nerfing the content and keeping the rewards the same.

    But that’s a whole other rant. ;)

    Stormy – I’m sorry to hear that, especially because I think we have a misunderstanding. Several misunderstandings, actually.

    a) I’m not advocating a completely closed system. I was on the outside of that closed system in Vanilla. It sucked. As a GM, it sucked to recruit in Burning Crusade because people were only able to get through Karazhan and they weren’t all that much use to us on Vashj and Kael. It took the badge vendor to help bridge that gap and that’s a GREAT plan. I just don’t think it’s working out very well right now. No way would I ever advocate forcing people to go grind their way through T11 content just to reach us in T12 content.

    b) Uh, Apotheosis is not one of the top guilds in the world, unless there’s been some kind of new order instituted in the last few hours. ;) We’re around the second-most progressed 25-man guild on Eldre’Thalas, but according to Guild Ox, we’re #190 in the US and #679 in the World in 25-man only progression. That’s not saying a ton, though I’m very proud of what we’ve achieved as a group.

    c) You say I said “everyone in LFD sucks” when I actually said:

    “I recognize that a lot of people don’t suck, but I further recognize that the majority of people running the troll dungeons at any given time are going to be less experienced and less geared than many raiders.”

    So if you’d like to stop reading, that’s your choice and I’ll respect it, but I think you’ve completely misunderstood everything I’ve said in this post.

    Imakulata – It’s not even really about gear. It’s about the effort vs. reward. And VP items are not optional for raiders who will move into heroic modes, since the crafted stuff isn’t upgradable to the heroic version. So even if I got the Holy Flame Gauntlets, shall we say, I’d STILL need to pick up my tier gloves or the gloves from Rhyolith when moving into heroic content.

    While we get VP and a chance (remember, it’s a chance, since drops are random and only one fifth of the raid can get any loot from a normal-mode boss) at loot, plus Avenger’s rep, it’s still lacking. I’ve gone six raid nights without a single piece of loot — which is okay by me, but it means I need to acquire more VP to cap so that I can purchase my tier legs, for example.

    Gearing through raids can be very quick or very slow and is usually a balance of fast or slow. Rep gear only accounts for four pieces and anyone doing trash runs can easily get two of those four.

    So gear arguments don’t really matter to me. It’s that the currency which is REQUIRED to purchase raider-level gear is MORE EASILY acquired, at the moment, by non-raiders.

  31. That’s easy to answer: because it’s the only option until you can kill 7 raid bosses a week.

    In WotLK to maximize your frost badges you had to run a 5 man EVERY DAY. There was no cap even obtainable by raiding. People are complaining about the easiest gearing system EVER offered by blizzard. EVER.

  32. Borsk – What about the 10-man raiders who CANNOT cap VP without at least one dungeon even after clearing Firelands and Occu’thar on 10-man difficulty?

    I’m complaining about a significant difference in effort and no discernable difference in the major reward given for doing dungeons and raiding. I’m complaining about non-raiders getting the same, or more rewards, than raiders for nowhere near the same effort and planning and organization or dedication to their characters, in many cases.

    To maximize raiding in the end of WotLK, you had to run your 5-man heroics (one of, let’s count them now, eleven separate dungeons) every day, sure, but by the time they made T9 raid content available to everyone, these were accomplished in about 30 minutes.

    You also had to run the other version of the instance, so if you were doing 25-man ICC with your guild, you had to do 10s of ICC as well in order to maximize things, not to mention weekly raid quests.

    While there was no upper cap, the maximum you could earn any given week was 93 Emblems of Frost through ICC 10, ICC 25, ICC 10’s weekly, ICC 25’s weekly and the weekly raid quest, plus 2 from Toravon on each difficulty, plus 5 from Ruby Sanctum on each difficulty and THEN 14 from your daily heroics.

    But look at that. That’s 79 Emblems of Frost from raiding and 14 Emblems of Frost from dungeons. That’s about 85% of the possible Emblems of Frost from raiding.

    Now we can get 100% of the equivalent currency from dungeons.

    That’s what I have a problem with.

    X – Yes.

  33. Kurn, thank you for your answer but it didn’t really help considering all the other posts. Certainly, I am not happy that in order to cap my VPs I have to run the 5-man instances unless I manage to do a 7/8 (incl. BH boss) on 25-man (which is a bit challenging as I’m a 10-man raider and I would have to do a 5-man every week). I was not happy in 4.0 when I had to exactly the same – the cap was 1250 which is 10 less than 12 * 105, 10-man raiders could gain 975 point per week for a full clear which meant 4 more dailies. I was even less happy in ICC when I had to do a 5-man every day in order to cap my badges no matter how many bosses I killed. And a 3 tiers old and quite obsolete boss per week. If I can kill a single raid boss (including Occulthar) on 25-man or 2 on 10, I can get all the points possible by doing LESS 5-mans than in previous patches.

    As to the non-raiders being able to get the same items, I don’t mind that much because for me, raiding is fun for me by itself. I do my best to show respect to people who like loot, after all the feeling of achievement is as virtual as are pretty pixels, I still might not quite understand what motivates them but I’m going to try to explain why I think that the pretty pixels raiders get are prettier than the ones the non-raiders (save for people who PvP) get. I’m not sure why you mentioned crafted gear because there is a boss drop equivalent for each of them and boots are not available through VP at all.

    First, the most recognizable and easy to see slots on the character are weapon, off-hand (unless you wield a 2-hander), shoulder and helm. The first two are not available through VP at all; there are some 378 BoEs but they have different models from the raid BoPs so they’re recognizable. Head & shoulders from the latest tier are not available to non-raiders at all (presumable they have to use Garnier Fructis); there were some BoE helms from the previous tiers but no shoulders and no VP options either. Second, if you’re worried about average item levels and stuff, don’t. I’d say you already were aware that most of the good raiding guilds care less about their applicants’ gear once it has reached certain minimum level and more about their attitude which can be shown by their gear enhacements, their application, their answer to questions they’re asked – as a skilled raider, you do have an advantage over the casuals aiming to take your spot. On the other hand, as a guild officer, you have to give the lesser progressed players a chance or let your guild wither away – there will be people who stop playing or quit your guild so you have to recruit to survive. And recruits who seems to be too good will usually either turn out to be too good and aware of it or have a quality that makes them not “too good” at all.

  34. For me, I’m not bothered how many VPs non-raiders can get, and whether it’s fair. What matters to me is that I feel obliged to run at least 2 or 3 Troll heroics a week (never mind 7) when I don’t want to. It’s boring, it’s tedious, and it’s a time commitment that I don’t want to make.
    I would much rather do Badge dailies like we did in BC; oh wait, we already are: Mark of the World Tree dailies. :O
    Wait, I mean I would rather do only dailies instead of dungeons, not feel I have to do both! At least with badge dailies I could do them solo, without needing the company of people like the DK tank we had in ZG this week, who begged for our Boomkin to take over tanking as soon as we zoned, or the Rogue doing 2.5k dps in ZA.

  35. What largely upsets me with these types of posts and the resulting comments from the masses, is that there a lot of blatant assumptions being thrown around which no one has any validity to speak to: casuals are bad, raiders are just whiny bitches who want the game to be like Vanilla, no one runs Normals because they aren’t ‘fun’, etc., etc. etc.

    I was a raider back when raiding was 40 people and throughout much of TBC and the beginning of Wrath. Back then, you had to put a LOT of time into your character. Buying resist sets. Running BRC for blood 40 times. Doing Hydraxian Waterlord Rep. Running 2.5 groups of Karazhan runs/Gruuls lairs just to get new recruits gear.

    I didn’t enjoy doing ANY of that. I didn’t enjoy the gating mechanics of TBC as it made recruitment impossible. I didn’t enjoy one lick of the ‘old standby’s, if you will, from EQ that the game was created around back in 2004. Yet, I did it all because it was expected of me, for the content that we were doing.

    My point is, if you’re a raider, you are going to have to put some time into doing meaningless shit that you ‘shouldn’t be doing, but have to. It’s been in the game since the beginning, they’ve just changed what it is you’re doing.

    I generally think it’s a good idea on Blizzards part to force raiders to run with the casuals that suck so bad; because in an ideal world, you will pass on knowledge to make them suck less and more people will get to raid. In thanks for doing so, you get to see some bitching encounters: like Ragnaros…. I will not see him for likely another 6 months (around Dec. time frame) and that is your reward for doing all this now: knowledge, that you are seeing content that only 5% of the entire WoW population is seeing.

    Now, you can make the argument that us other folk shouldn’t have the gear that you do because you put more time into raiding. To which I say, ok you’re right. Then bring back the gating mechanics from TBC that forced you to spend 2 weeks getting them ready to raid: 1 week to get gear, 1 week to kill the bosses for all the quests. Now, do this for every recruit you have. In addition, bring back the expensive resist sets you had to farm and the reps without tabards.

    Everything has a trade off; it’s just making sure you’re looking at the bigger picture.

  36. I’ve been raiding since BC, and I have to say what they’ve been doing lately with VP and forcing people to run said trolltastic dungeons is making me more and more desire NOT to raid and thus to quit the game.

    Back in BC, you had gating. It was an inconvenience, I admit, but there was one huge difference between that and what Blizzard is forcing people to do now in order to keep up with things – gating was a one time thing. I would MUCH rather do a long, if not complicated, set of quests, which may or may not involve killing certain raid bosses, in order to get access to raiding rather than the concept of having to run one of two troll dungeons 3+ times a week. I’ve never run one of the troll dungeons in the expectation of getting a drop from it I need. The best I can hope for is a purple crystal which will save me from buying one on the AH for when I DO get some items I need.

    Also, I find it funny how a lot of people look to the optomistic side of running with ‘baddies’ in dungeons we’re forced to run as a way for the experienced raiders to help the newbies of the game get better. For instance, I ran with a competent group the other day, though two of the three DPS had REALLY abysmal numbers as far as DPS goes. Did we get through the dungeon? Sure. Did we die a million times? No. We did wipe some. So be it. I’m not going to cry about how every pug group I get is horrible and terrible cause that’s not true. But what exactly do people expect of me in order to help someone with really low DPS? “Hello there mister warrior who can’t even get past 8k dps with the 15% LFG bonus for pugging. You have mighty low numbers and should look up how to get better, but I have no idea how to play a warrior so I can’t help you.” Does everyone assume that I, as a raider, happen to have four to five alts that DPS and tank so I can hold everyone else’s hand and tell them how to play? If I find a ‘bad’ hunter doing low DPS in a group, I’m MORE than happy to ask them what they’re doing so I can help them improve – I DO have a hunter alt, which is my one and only alt – but it’s not like I’m ever paired up with ‘bad’ healers, which I actually know something about.

    My point is, I’d MUCH rather help out fellow guildies recruiting to my guild in order to raid, who might not be quite up to spec yet, or who would need my help getting them through some chain quest so they can enter the instance with us, then have to grind dungeons I’ve NEVER had any reason to run other than getting VP points and looking at all of the bad DPS I get paired with and KNOW they’re bad but keeps my mouth shut cause just calling them on it doesn’t help either them improve or me get through the dungeon faster. I realize this is an MMORPG, and grinding is part of the genre, but there’s some things I can live with and some that just really rub me the wrong way. Daily quests to open up an enchantment I need that’s BiS, but that I can at least run solo on my own time when I can, is one thing. Forcing me to group three to four hours a week with who knows who in hour + long encounters just for VP points is another.

  37. Troll Dungeons are the bane of my existance. I will not do them. no way no how, unless its a guild run. My work schedule shifted so that I can only raid once every 3 months with my guild so I appreciate the oppurtunity to get some better than T11 gear but if Trolls are the way to go, count me out. I’m still working my fingers to the bone to replace all of my hard fought Season 9 arena gear. :(

  38. Hmm…next time try using ‘non raider’ instead of ‘casual’. The tag ‘casual’ is kind of a red rag to a bull at times. What you actually say ges lost in the reaction to that one word.

    I’ve been raiding with varying degrees of participation since MC. I am an officer from partway through BC, and I’ve only ever raided with the one guild. I work full time, I have a young child and a husband who also raided up until about 8 mths ago. My guild has a mix of regular raiders and social players, and we prefer it that way. That’s just so you get an idea of my free time and history in the game.

    To me, the design of the current tier plus the change in the VP cap is a form of gating. The VP cap is gating, the reduction of it was just nasty. They have limited raid content and this is one way to slow down the gearing up process for the people who raid regularly. I don’t get why they have done it. Just as locking away the crafting recipes on the molten front cycle is gating – I have all the mats and a willing guild blacksmith with chaos orbs to get my priest a new healing mace, but the blacksmith can’t get to the patterns yet. Having dreamcloth BoP is restrctive and slows down my gearing up. I have all the cloth needed to make new boots, but I can’t give it to the tailor with the pattern because it is BoP. I have to find 8 lots of the mats and have the tailor make more cloth because I can’t give her some of the 26 pieces I have myself. Or I can hope it drops again and I get it this time.

    The entire design of the crafting, the pattern access and the VP cap is to hold people back. Having Living embers not purchasable, unlike the ICC saronite. Doesn’t matter if you raid or don’t raid for those items. Anyone who likes to get their toon new stuff quickly is being held back intentionally. That I think is a poor business decision by Blizzard, and will hurt them going forward. It is discouraging, and I say that as a person who is willing to farm something for however long it takes. I feel held back by the game design, not my time available.

    Hell, the legendary caster staff quest chain is being gated if you look at it vs the Shadowmourne axe quest design. Blizzard are screwing with ppl. And they will pay a price for it.

    I get the perspective of the non raiders with regards to being able to access VP gear via the LFD rewards. I have lots of alts, I enjoy gearing them up over time. But as someone who puts together 10/25man raids and handles the recruitment and the day to day life of a guild, I don’t understand why someone can hit the VP cap from Zandalar heroics but they can’t from raiding. I find it incomprehensible. The non raiders think the article devalues them in some way, well my efforts are pretty much devalued as well.

    I don’t have the ‘epics are for raiders only’ view, and I like the ability to gear up my alts, I like that our non raiders can get their pretty new shineys and I pug in LFD and I dont’ think every single person there is a jerk. However, the time and effort invovled in getting together a raiding group 3 nights a week is significant. The emphasis put on guilds this expac is being whittled away via things like the ‘queue solo and get goodies’ and that the VP cap can be hit by any person willing to run the Z heroics 7 times.

    I know the non raiders don’t get the Avengers rep stuff. So? That’s not my motivator. Having special raider only rep isn’t my motivator. Having speical raider only tier items just annoys the crap out of me as well tbh.

    The time and effort I put in means nothing, when I could unguild one of my other 85s, run her through Z heroics each week and end up getting the items faster than my raiding toon. I know it’s all about choices, and it’s my choice not to run Z heroics after raids, because I like my downtime after a raid and a Z heroic pug isn’t downtime for me. However, that there isn’t a choice between capping out in raids and capping out another way is disappointing to me.

    And sure, it may be utterly unreasonable for me to expect the time and effort I put into my guild to be rewarded by Blizzard. I accept it. However, I see that sense of entitlement all the time in comments by people – raiders and non raiders alike. “I should be able to play my way and have good stuff too”. Blizzard has commercial realities, and since they set up a particular vibe in Wrath, backtracking on that will be costly. Deliberately gating ppl and hindering their ability to progress will cost them. Making people feel like their efforts are pointless will cost them. Simple things like the ability to hand my dreamcloth over to someone else with a pattern aren’t available and it is down right stupid design to do that.

    <.< A whole lot longer than I expected. My apologies.

  39. Rather than see this as “Oh look BLizz is trying to screw with raiders again”. rather it is blizz simply artifcally slowing progression. Make you play longer, renew subscript perhaps etc…

    Look at it this way,blizz did the same to pvp. Season 1 of cata arena, one could farm 3400 conquest points buy weapon and be done. Season 2 of arena, you must first farm and spend 7800 conquest points before you can even spend another 3400 points on a weapon, it is no longer farm 3400 points and I am done. Same thing with honour system, you dont earn 3400 honour points and get weapon, you first have to burn 7800 honour points, then, then you are elgible to buy the 3400 honour weapon.

    Now dont take this as pvp vs pve thread, no point in those. Rather it is just Blizz’s way of slowing progression thats all

  40. I’m not in a guild, casual/social/raiding or otherwise. I was in a 10 man raiding guild. As the second hunter (and the newcomer), I was a bench player. I would get a run on farm content – if someone was absent – and then be benched for the progression part, as the RL didn’t want two hunters on progression fights. This despite the fact I was 4-5k better in dps than the RL’s arms warrior buddy, who got to stay on for the progression fights. As you may understand, I wished them all well – and left.

    Although I have had little experience in progression raiding, I do everything I can to be the best I can be. Proper gemming, BiS chants, countless hours spent researching my class. I accept, however, that I would still be classed as a “casual”. I hardly ever get to raid, so that’s a fair description.

    Are you getting the impression, thus far, that I am someone who really wants to raid? I’m guessing, yes you are. Just the day before 4.2 dropped, I managed to reach 12/12 T11, with heroic Halfus as a bonus. I was fortunate enough to get to sub in to another guild’s raid night, and got Cho’gall, Nefarian and Al’akir – all in one night – with another hunter in the 10 man team (!).

    Now I’m on the lookout for a raiding guild. I’m happy to be rotated in and out depending on requirements. I just don’t want another position where a RL’s prejudices against hunters – and their favouritism – leaves me out in the cold.

    So, now that 4.2 has dropped, how do I get myself ready for consideration by a raiding guild? Why, by doing 7 Zandoms a week of course! I can sub out a Zandom for an Occuthar and a Cata heroic. There’s my 980 VP. What slots can I cover at the VP vendor? 3/5 set pieces, a ring, a necklace, bracers. There may be one other I have forgotten – I’m not logged into WoW at the moment. What else can I cover? I have the 378 rep cloak and rep belt from FL trash runs. I am approx. 5000/12000 towards the trinket (the hunter trinket at revered is basically rubbish by the way). I was lucky enough to get the agility polearm before the loot drops from FL trash were nerfed. I note that epics hardly ever drop – at all – in FL trash runs now, so the crossbow looks to be near impossible.

    What slots can raiders cover through killing Firelands boss drops plus the VP vendor? I’m no expert on other classes, but my guess would be, umm… all of them? I note that there is some disquiet amongst those seeking spirit cloth – again I am no expert on other classes. I think it’s pretty safe to say that raiders can cover most of their slots with 378 gear from boss drops and VP vendor purchases – and can complete 4/5 or 5/5 with head and shoulder tokens.

    But it doesn’t stop there. Raiders can upgrade the oddball BoE items with Crystallized Firestones. Raiders have access to Living Embers. And finally, raiders have access to all of those bosses at heroic difficulty, if they are good enough. So all of the very same boss drops – but even better.

    You bemoan the time taken in planning and preparing for raids. Fair enough, a RL’s job is not easy. I couldn’t imagine doing it myself. I’m a grunt, not an officer. In my experience with raiding guilds, most of the team simply logs on at the required time and lounges about in Stormwind/Orgrimmar waiting for their summons.

    I however, must queue for at least 35 minutes for a Zandom, seven times a week. This Zandom will take anything from 60-120 minutes to complete. Some groups are good, some are bad. Sometimes, people in the group are so disgusted by the performance of others, they rage quit, and I am left queueing all over again. I assure you, I do great dps in Zandoms, CC whatever I am asked to CC etc, etc.

    Let’s imagine then, that several weeks from now, you uber guys have 7/7 FL on farm. Will you be taking 60-120 minutes to kill each boss? I’m pretty sure my Zandoms are still going to be a huge, messy time-sink. And you say I’m not putting in the effort that merits 980 VP a week? All those horrible Zandoms (some are good – I will admit that); countless hours spent farming FL trash hoping desperately that my crossbow will drop; relentlessly doing MF dailies to ensure I am not left behind – just to get a 365 ring, trinket and boots? And with all of that, I am still (and will remain) way undergeared compared to where most raiders will be not so long from now.

    Given the trend towards 10 man teams, finding an empty slot is just not that easy. I do everything I possibly can to be as well prepared as I can be. How can you possibly (and I mean any of you who agree with the OP) begrudge me a few lousy 378 item slots covered, when you are all at so much of an advantage, being able to cover pretty much every slot for every class with 378 items, and then all over again at heroic level?

    Can’t you see that if the VP cap was higher for raiders, that you would all accelerate away from me – and that a raiding spot becomes even more exclusive and inaccessible?

    Access to T12 boss drops at normal and heroic level already gives you a huge advantage over me – don’t be a sore winner. The end game in WoW isn’t just what an elite raider decides it to be. The end game in WoW is what you make of the game, through your own efforts. There are some of us out here busting our guts to get to where you already are.

  41. In response to Meandmyarrow:

    I can’t say if other’s are, but I am in no way advocating that because I raid, I should have purples that non raiders shouldn’t. Since Cata, my ten man has lost five people, and the tank that didn’t quit changed to a fulltime DPS alt. We’ve had to go through the process of looking outside our small group of friends for good people that are willing to tank so we can once again kill internet badguys with the best of them. I realize that people who can’t yet raid HAVE a way to get epics so that they can at least keep upto speed with people that can raid, and thus when those guilds need replacements, the pool is much much bigger than it would have been back in BC, for instance.

    My problem stems from the fact that in order for ME to keep up with raiders who have better success killing the new raid bosses, I have to go and do one of two heroic dungeons for VP points. One of TWO. Not only that, but I’ve RUN these dungeons long before Cataclysm. I hate ZA. When it first came out back in BC it was miserably hard. By the time people had it figured out and how bear runs worked, they had such stringent ten man configurations that I only got to go on two successful bear runs when they needed a replacement (you ran with the same people week after week because it worked and because you knew you’d eventually get your bear as the same people got there’s.) And yet here it is again, more or less the SAME EXACT ENCOUNTER except I only need four other people instead of nine. I’ve never needed a piece of gear from it. And now the game is more or less forcing me to run this instance two to three times a week just so I can continue raiding at a ‘top’ level? I don’t think I’d want to get into raiding at all if my only source of VP was from running seven of those a week in the hopes that I’ll find a raiding guild that was willing to give me a shot of raiding with them. :/ And to me that’s kind of sad.

  42. Hi, long time reader, first time commenter. I agree that running heroics (of any kind) in order to VP cap week after week gets old pretty fast. But, didn’t progression-minded raiders always have had to do things above and beyond what “casuals” do? Raiders will read strats, prepare consumables, etc. to have every advantage possible in order to defeat the boss. And I feel VP capping is just one of these preparations, not to mention no one is “forcing” any raider to do it (although I admit pressure is there). For example, it’s not like if I’m not VP-capped one week, I’ll get raid-locked the next week.

    I’m not saying your complaint is not justified, however, I do feel like if Blizzard follows this route, raid bosses/trash will eventually drop gears, pots, food, gold, and whatever else so the raider can just “raid” and not have to do anything else that’s not part of raiding.

  43. Loot sourcing and being forced to run 5 mans shouldn’t be your biggest concern. What you should be worried about is raiding becoming even more of a minority activity in the game.

    At this moment, only 20,000 guilds have downed the easiest boss in FL normal (Shannox) in tracked guilds in NA/EU/KR. Of those, the great majority were in ten man runs. This means a very small percentage of the overall player population in those segments are keeping up with tier progression. Most of the rest are either bogged down in T11, gave up in T11, never started raiding in the first place, or quit the game.

    Now, maybe there is at this time a huge swell of activity in the nerfed T11 raids. I suspect there is not. In that case, Blizzard is going to look at it all and say “we invest all this money in raid content for THIS?” And big changes will again come to the game.

  44. OVERWHELMING PAGE OF TEXT

    First, I’d like to say “Thank you, Kurn!” For your devotion to your blog and the time you’ve put into replying to a lot of the comments placed here in reply. Also, for your conviction. It would be too easy to just say, “Yea, you have a point,” and be done with this whole thing but you’ve stood by your point. It’s admirable.

    As a 10 man raider that doesn’t have the time in a week to do a whole lot more than my typical raiding efforts I’m not a fan that I can clear all t12 content and still be requested to do a troll heroic.

    Much like you, I do not consider it a terrible thing because of the people I’ll encounter. I find it a terrible thing because in addition to all the time I invest in raiding (12 hours a week if we include personal review and consumables prep?), I have to further invest in running content that benefits me in no way except to bridge the Valor Point gap. I’m just thankful I have a partner that is allowing me the extra game time during these weeks so I can devote the time to bridging said gap.

    What’s worse is once we down these last two bosses in Firelands … I’ll still not be able to cap from raiding! I have no point here – this is just healthy QQ. :)

    Anyway – looking forward to the next post.

  45. I’d like to give my thoughts on this as a person who has just started raiding at all.

    What I do like with the Zulroic system is what has been stated above, multiple times, the fact that i can get gear from the points even if I don’t raid. And i have nothing against the shared point cap either.

    What I personally don’t like though is the fact that from t11 content you get 0 VP for a larger effort (in my opinion). I have nothing against anyone getting the same gear in different ways, but raiding AND doing the Zulroics just to get to the same point amount one could get from the Zulroics only gets on my nerves a bit.

    What I would like to see would be a system, similar to the one today, except that you could cap out on 10 man firelands clears, and get some points for the t11 content, something about maybe 35 points per boss on normal modes, and maybe 70 from the t11 HC. That would mean that a guild that farms t11 non hc could get 420 points for doing BoT, BWD and throne, and a guild that runs the HCs could in that case get 910 points. It still isn’t cap of course, But at least it could give some variation, as 7 Zulroics still would be less time consuming, and you’d still have to run some, but you could for an example on a slow day get together a guild group and do a 10man for laughs and giggles, and maybe get some points from it. Another thing that i would like is that they could add a couple more instances at the same levels as Zul’Gurub and Zul’Aman, just for variety. The point values can of course be adjusted, I just grabbed those from the air.

    Cheers :)

  46. Honestly… IMHO Blizz should reinstate the attunements and solo questing (like the lvl 60 hunter bow quest) it’s become world of easy raft in the worst sense of the words…I STILL carry my bow/staff and use the quiver from that quest because it puts me in a class of hunters that I don’t know how few even exist to this day… Raid gear is raid gear, pvp gear is pvp gear there should be mo way of having the latest and greatest apart from doing those things… That way raiders will stand apart from the other casuals as will true pvpers…

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