Of Badges and “Welfare” Epics   9 comments

A good many people have weighed in on the new “welfare” loot and emblem changes that came with patch 3.2.  In case you’ve been living with your head in the clouds, the changes are as such:  the new 5 man instance drops iLevel 200-219 loots and all heroic instances now drop conqueror’s badges, with Triumph badges being awarded for completing the heroic daily.  From everything that I’ve read, a good number of folks view these changes negatively and with mounting displeasure. 

Sure, it gives everyone access to tier level loot that you had to use your blood, sweat and tears to obtain.  Yes, it’s going to put even the nubbliest (is that even a word?!) alt *cough* Tsuname*cough* or non-raider close to on par with your raiding character. 

But here is what I don’t quite understand:  why is this a bad  thing?

I think that the biggest complaint that I hear from a good majority of the dissenters to the new system is that “all these people are now going to get to waltz in and be able to obtain items that I spent months of my time and effort working towards with little to no effort” with a close second being “I don’t want to have to farm all those worthless instances just to get badges”.  Now, I am probably in the minority on this, but I like  the changes.

I suppose that now I should elaborate a little bit on why I think Blizzard did the right thing (before I am staked and burned!):

  • Raiding Should be About the Journey
    • To those that feel that their achievements have been trivialized because a lot of what they have to show for their efforts (the loots) is now available to everyone, I would like to say this:  Just like life, raiding should be about the journey. 

      Granted, when I raid I certainly make my loot lists, and try to progress my character through the best gear available to me…but the real reason that I raid is to experience the content; the thrill of the hunt, if you will.  The loot I receive along the way is just a necessary tool I use to help me get to the next challenge.  While loot is certainly a motivator that keeps me going back after achieving the first kill, it is only a very small perk to why I raid.

      I raid to be challenged where others are not.  I raid to experience things that others may not.  I raid to improve myself as a player and to strive to always be better (10k hps…someday I will see you!).

      No matter how many badges or welfare epics are out there, none of those things can replace why I raid.  It does not matter to me if the gear that took me three months to obtain can now be obtained by a guy who does nothing but run a few heroics for a week.  Why?  Because he will never have my experiences.  He will not have that moment in vent after downing a boss you’ve been struggling with.  He will not have the camaraderie and friendships that are built through raiding.  His “welfare” gear will never be able to take away what I have achieved through my hard work.  Perhaps that is because in my mind I won’t let it, but more likely it is because for me, raiding really is more about the journey than the prize at the end.

  • Bad Players and Good Loot
    • “But Beru!” you say, you are putting all these horrible players in this fantastic gear, and they still stand in the damn fire!  Now they think that they can do anything because of all their purplez, but they just don’t have the experiences needed!

      Well…unfortunately I’ve got some news for you.  No matter how people get their gear, there will always be poor players with great gear.  I have played with some exceptionally geared people who were just flat out horrible.  On the contrary, I have played with some horribly geared people that were exceptional.

      Sadly gear will not, nor ever has, made the player.  Sure, we are potentially giving some horrible players some great gear, but we are also giving some exceptional players some great gear as well.  This is not exclusive to badges and free epics though.  This happens every day, on every server, in everyone’s raids.  Bad players are given good loot.  I’m sure each and every one of you had someone from your guild, or that you know, pop into your mind as soon as you read that.

      Raid mechanics are not rocket science.  A good player will figure them out in short order, and others will always struggle with them.  Loot has very little to do with this concept.  A good player will be able to come into a new zone, inexperienced, and will still be able to adapt.

  • End Game Recruiting
    • This absolutely is the number one reason that I love the “welfare” epic system.  It removes the huge  burden of needing to back gear new members, a chore that is tedious and nobody likes doing, and thus helps expand the recruiting pool.

      Most guilds are not in a position that they get fully T8 (soon to be T9) geared raiders applying to fill their open positions.  Generally, 90% of applicants are less progressed and looking for a better raiding experience.  This means that their gear is also generally not on par with where you are progression wise, which at times can make them a burden to your raid until their gear is able to catch up.  This doesn’t make them a bad player, it just makes them a lesser geared player who is going to be a great asset once they have the gear to fully contribute.  It’s really quite a nasty catch 22 in end game raiding.

      The 3.2 changes gives those players the opportunity to snag some upgraded loot outside of raids and put them in a better position be a contributor in the current content.  Which in turn means that your recruiting pool has just expanded significantly.  Granted, you have to weed through those “bad players in good gear”, but it also gives you the opportunity to consider adding the diamond in the rough that you dug up (in his welfare epic glory) to your roster, and giving him a chance to shine.

      Putting more players in a position to contribute to the current content, without requiring you to continuously run old content with some “dead weight” is not a bad thing.

  • Why I think Blizzard Made the Changes
    • I think Blizzard made the changes to get everyone in a position to be ready to raid in Ice Crown and I 100% back this decision.  Frankly, I think that some of the current ease of the first round of bosses in the Crusader’s Coliseum are designed for this same reason.

      I don’t know how many of you recruited during Sunwell (i.e. anyone that raided Sunwell), but having to back gear people in BT sucked.  Progression suffered, and people got sick of the rotating recruiting/gearing door.  I think it is good to get everyone “ready” and closer to the same page before the final zone releases.  Those guilds that are raiding will inevitably need to replace members that have taken their leave, and this will help alleviate some of that challenge.  And well…those that aren’t raiding get some shinies too.

In the end, I know I’m somewhat in the minority on this.  I know that a lot of people who worked very hard are now upset that someone that worked less hard now has access to their spoils, and I do understand why…I think.  But I still feel that it’s a good thing, and ultimately will end up working best for everyone.

What do you all think?

Posted August 12, 2009 by Beruthiel in Emblems, Raiding, Recruiting

9 responses to “Of Badges and “Welfare” Epics

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  1. The recruiting issue is exactly the reason changes like this are good. There’s rioting in the streets anytime I suggest my guild go back into Naxx but if we had scored a new healer that still needed a lot of that gear what choice would we have had?

  2. A WoW Riot that would be funny to see. But even though I see why Blizz did it, I can still be the old man and not like it one bit…

  3. I object to it because it is just another reason to force me to revisit content that I am past and that has not changed, but that I need in order to remain competitive. I am so tired of running naxx on my druid, yet I need to because of how many badges I can obtain.

    As well, it encourages new people to skip content. How often do people run Malygos? There’s no point, when the few really nice items there can be bypassed with ease. I barely see OS run anymore, either.

  4. @Shayzani – I agree, it really does help a lot of raiding guilds with filling their holes.

    @Rivs – Everyone is entitled to their opinions :)

    @Bell – With regards to farming Naxx, I’m not entirely sure why? I purchased all the gear/items I may have needed and/or wanted with conquerer’s badges months ago. I was using the ones I earned from our 10/25 man raids to purchase Orbs to sell on the AH before the patch hit and the prices plummeted…and I still entered 3.2 with almost 200, I think.

    There is no “new” purchasable gear for conquerer’s badges, only what was there was before. So if you already had all the items pre-3.2, then there is no reason to continue to farm excess badges. If you are having to farm old content for badges to purchase gear upgrades, then aren’t you one of those benefitting from the changes?

    As for skipping content, what bothers you so much about that? Are you offended that others are able to see the coliseum without having to go through the learning pains of Malygos? I guess for me, I feel that whether people skipped content or not has no effect on the experiences I had while I was raiding that content. It just doesn’t bother me, I still have my war stories :)

  5. @Beruthiel – I think you’re reading what I said the wrong way. I’m not up in arms over it, but that doesn’t mean I -like- it. I don’t object to skipping content because people get where I am faster, I object to it because it invalidates the content. As in, there’s no real reason to run it. I see it as a sad waste of content and an instance. The change skips all kinds of content. Gear content, like heroism gear, is no longer really necessary. Instance content, like Malygos, is ignored by almost everyone, even those with the quest for it, because conq necks are equal or better and require less of a hassle.

    Yes, I’ve benefited from the changes. You can benefit from something without agreeing with it. With this system in place, I would hurt myself by not taking advantage of it. Even with that knowledge, I don’t really like it. I think the jump was too huge, from heroism to conq, when something like heroism to valor and valor to conq would have been more appropriate, in my opinion.

    I’ve never liked the term “welfare” because it implies you’re doing nothing for something, when in fact you’re working for it. I’ve never subscribed to that philosophy, not when it applied to PvP gear, and not now.

    I do still think that this change was too much of a jump and definitely unwarranted.

  6. @Bell – I hear ya! I think we just have differing views on it :) (I hope I didn’t come off snippy, it wasn’t my intent if I did!)

    I guess I’m looking at it more from a “running a guild” perspective than anything else. And it does certainly make parts of that job much easier the further progressed your guild becomes. I some ways because it “evens” the playing field.

    I don’t know that I necessarily agree that it invalidates the old content as much as it just makes it…well, old content. It’s somewhat the nature of the MMO, I suppose.

    I don’t disagree that they perhaps should have done valor badges first, but I think it is likely that part of their thinking was that “anyone” can pug Naxx 25, and a lot of people have. So a good number of people were already at the “valor” level, if you were. So the next step up would have been Conquerer level loots (which, if you look at them, really aren’t that huge of a step from their predecessors).

    I 100% agree that the term “welfare epics” is misleading. Those that do farm badges for their items are still working to get them. I merely used it as a “term of art” if you will :)

    I think overall, there are probably both pros and cons to the changes that were made.

  7. The only bit I have an issue with is the new 5 man dropping epics from every boss even on normal. Sure they are only lv 200 – 219 (depending on your setting) but the place is far too much like a supermarket. Run in with your basket, grab loot, run out and if its the normal you can just keep doing that.

    No trash, gimmicky and easy encounters than can be done with 2 people (on the normal version at least). You shouldnt be able to swop horses if like me you forget to keep your shield up, although bouncing from saddle to saddle whilst being chased by a troll was the best part of the instance. I might be in a minority but I actually like having to work for my shinies and this just felt like opening one of those chests you find littering Azeroth whilst leveling, yet instead of being full of light leather and other random junk, its full of epics.

  8. This patch was a godsend. Having multiple 80′s and only being able to take 2 into our heavy raids was horrible. People only do the higher content with great geared people. So being able to do multiple runs for my other 4 alts and get them at least semi-geared is great! Then hopefully, they too can participate in the raids and runs. I don’t like being held back from a good raid just because I’m an altaholic.

  9. Pingback: Is Gear Too Accessible? « Falling Leaves and Wings

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