Friday, March 19, 2010

The value of content.

Last night, I was sitting in my dear friend Gegnar's room with my other dear friend, Grim. Geg was wiping on 25 man Lich King, we were watching. In between tries, we talked about World of Warcraft, more specifically how much gold we aim to have when Cataclysm go live, and how we're making it.

My schtick is TBC enchanting materials. It's not a huge market, but I'm not a huge goblin either. I'll never have the insane amounts of gold other people have, and I'm fine with it.

Both Geg and Grim, however, are in the epic gem business. Specifially, doing heroics for badges then trading them in for gem, as well as transmuting. It's a common market these days - not even in the glory days of jewelcrafting could you earn the amounts of hard cash a transmutation master can do these days. Cardinal Rubies proccing for 5? You've just earned 1000 gold in one minutes work. Jewelcrafters have it good, though - their may have to actually work their profession, but who else have a daily quest netting you 100 gold for killing a few mobs just outside Dalaran?

What strikes me though, is how heroic instances have been reduced to farm spots for gold. Skipping as many bosses as possible for frost badges on multiple characters is the trend, instances lasting more than the 15 minutes you're on "cooldown" are considered a failure (unless, of course, it's Stratholme - in which case the tank will leave anyway). Geg pointed this out as well - he had been accused of being a whiner for suggesting skipping Krystallus and Maiden in Halls of Stone. While such accusations are out of line, his argument for suggesting it was that he just wanted his frost badges. A fair point, but it raises the question of what the value of content is.

Let's consider for a moment Ghostcrawler's words of wisdom:

In BC I spent a lot of time finishing up all of those Shadowmoon quests with blue rewards so that I could handle Karazhan. In Lich King many of us were in Naxx before we saw some of the heroic dungeons. By the time we got back to those dungeons, we totally overgeared them.

It may just be me, but does this seem... I don't know, like a bit of a waste to you? Wrath of the Lich King shipped with four raids: Naxxramas, which was undertuned and killed CC forever; Vault of Archavon, possibly the single biggest mistake Blizzard ever did with this game; Eye of Eternity, the worst boss design ever; and the Obsidian Sanctum, the easiest boss which at it's intended tier had one of the absolutely best hardmodes Blizzard ever designed. So of the four raids you had to work in, one was amazing on hardmode. The other had flaws. As content, their value was the loot - which in any case would outgear the quest rewards and loot from dungeons and heroic instances.

My question is, what IS the value of content? Gegnar suggested heroics are measured in frost badges and epic gems from triumph badges. Ghostcrawler suggests skipping straight from dinging 80 to raids is acceptable. Grim, whose 13 heroics in a row on five separate level 80 characters culminated in a 1-boss Old Kingdom-run, insists he still find them interesting, yet don't mind skipping all but the end boss. We all agreed that the current system of "mandatory" frost badges means heroics is little more than a necessity to get better our intended target - raiding.

I realize this inevitably happens with gear, and with gear values having spiralled out of control in this expansion, the insane overgearing we're currently experiencing is hard to stop. It gives me fears for Cataclysm, though - I sincerely hope we're not moving further into a system where the value of content is measured in badges, gold and gear, but the challenge involved. Maybe I'm just a hopeless romantic.

But didn't we sign up for this game because it looked FUN?

1 comment:

  1. First, a clarification; I agree that the daily heroic, specifically, is bad. It's nice to have limited, increased-reward objects, but it's too time-consuming, too low AND too high on rewards (hear me out), and too necessary. Frost badges are in limited supply, and a staggering percentage of the weekly total max comes from the 14 badges you get from attending daily heroics.

    It's a damn chore, and sure, Blizzard isn't responsible for making people prioritize their time correctly, but I believe even GC admitted the current implementation of daily heroics was Bad.

    I think the WG quests are close to an ideal model - you're not guarranteed to get them done first try, not all of them, and the window of opportunity is once per two and a half hours, with a long reset.

    Regardless, I have faith that lessons were learnt this time around, again, and that the gear issues we saw in WotlK will be nonissues in Cata.

    I think you're a little mean to Naxx though. AoE trash was, as the internets say, AoE, but the bosses were, if undertuned, still good fun. KT was a moderate challenge, too.

    And for the record, I worked my ass off in heroics after dinging 80, preparing for Naxx!