Is Gear Too Accessible?   15 comments

I know that I have talked before about my feelings on obtaining gear in WotLK, and the difficulty in coming by that gear.  In large part, I still feel the same…I think.  But something happened over the weekend that made me wonder: Is gear too accessible?

So, my little priest hit 80 this weekend (yay me!), to finish out my “set” of healers.  Let me be more specific.  My priest hit 80 about 12:00 Midnight on Saturday night/Sunday morning.  Yes, that is correct, less than 48 hours prior to the time of this post this priest was 79.  What’s my point?  I’m gettin’ there! 

For those of you that were too preoccupied to click on the link, you might have noticed that my priest is almost in full epic gear (~3/4), at roughly 1850 spell power, less than 48 hours from leveling.  Not only that, but if you take a closer look you will notice two things: that she is wearing a helm from Ony 10 and a robe from Anub (ToC 10).  She is also wearing 245 gloves from a lucky drop/roll on the flame dude in VoA 25.  Of the items she is wearing, I purchased only one from the AH (Je’Tze’s Bell), I have no crafted gear, and everything else was obtained via dungeons and raids.  I’ve had purples thrown at me from every which way!

Now, the leveling and gearing process for my characters has always been one of my favorite aspects of the game.  I love fleshing out upgrades, and devising ways to acquire new, shiny gear.  This is my first character to hit 80 since 3.2 and the inclusion of ToC.  This is the first character that basically can just farm upgrades through a twenty minute instance and be on my way.  And let me tell you…it’s pretty boring :(  There really are no decisions to make as far as “where” to go to get my character the best gear to be raid ready.  No planning.  I don’t get to “shop” in atlas loot.

Hell, I healed a 10 man raid of the current tier content less than 24 hours from the time I reached level 80, half in blues…and we did not wipe one time.  Not only that…but I felt like I fairly reasonably carried my weight throughout the zone.  *sigh*

Sure, there are still plenty of upgrades out there for my priest to obtain, and she is nowhere near finished as far as I’m concerned.  But there is very little of the planning that I loved about leveling my other four 80s involved.  I will still run all of the heroics, because I love instancing, and because I’m a completionist that way.  But no longer will I be running them for gear to get me ready for the next thing, I will merely be running them for some personal perverse desire that I have to complete them.

Learning to heal in heroics was always a challenge, especially since I always healed an undergeared tank (some form of Brade) as he was gearing his way through heroics as well.  It was sometimes hard, and it made me learn things about how to better play my class.  Like…Pain Suppresion has a relatively short cooldown.  Don’t panic in a dire moment, just use it, save the day and move on!  Or learning what your limitations are as a healer, and had to maximize your strengths to offset those limitations.  Of course, you need to actually experience those strengths and weaknesses to be able to identify them…

Hell, maybe I’ll even go far enough to say that ToC is part of the reason that we have such poor players in the community right now, and why expectations are being set so low as a whole.  Nobody has to actually learn  to play their class anymore to feel that they have succeeded as far as gear goes.  While exceptional players will still learn and remain exceptional players, others will just faceroll their way to nifty gear never learning how to work and truly excel.  Never having to truly work to obtain their spoils.

I will still follow some loose form of a progression chain as far as gear goes…I guess.  It’s just that now my starting point is more ToC 10 and I’ll be progressing to Ice Crown when it comes out.

As a recruiter, I truly do love how easy it is for people to gear up.  It makes them more viable raid assets much sooner and without having to back gear them through an entire content’s worth of shit or carry dead weight around in progression raids.  But, I have to say, as a player, I find it pretty lackluster.  And in all honesty, it’s pretty much ruined one of my favorite processes of leveling up a new toon.

So, what do you think?  Has gear become too accessible?

Posted November 16, 2009 by Beruthiel in Earenn, eh?

15 responses to “Is Gear Too Accessible?

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  1. When I did the math on all the gear they were throwing at entry level 80s in ToC I nearly cried. Making a gear plan was my favorite part of blogging. Thats the reason I stopped blogging. So I guess the answer to your question, in my opinion, as someone who LIKES to bleed, sweat, and work her way to gear so it MEANS something – Yes. It is too accessible.

    • *wave* Hey Aert! How is everything going?!

      I am very saddened that there isn’t a whole lot of planning that needs to be done to get to gear :( I mean, I do like that they are trying to even the playing field a bit for Ice Crown, but it’s a little excessive.

      Magister’s terrace did a much better job in my opinion. Of course, there also wasn’t a 10/25 man instance that could be facerolled for gear that release either = /

  2. Yes and No.

    I think it should be easier to get a good set of gear at the end of an expansion than on the very beginning. So you don’t have too much trouble getting some nice gear for an alt or to make it easier for newer players to catch up to the raiding game.

    That’s how it should be.

    How blizz is realizing it though, that is just one huge big mess. Gearing up my main char has lost nearly all its fun. I don’t feel attached to any piece of gear. There is no piece of gear I’m proud of. It just a constant stream of new gear pouring down on my and old gear getting to the vendor. My T6 shoulders – epic moment! Tier Gear in WotLK, nothing to be proud of. I feel even slightly ashamed for all the 245 VoA gear on my alts.

    I like the fact, that blizzard tries to somewhat close the gap between serious and casual raiders. But at this point I think it’s somewhat ridiculous. Everyone looks the same, everyone wears multiple T9 pieces and the content is easy. But well, I just like ranting:

    http://www.shieldsup.ch/2009/10/06/quo-vadis-blizzard/

    http://www.shieldsup.ch/2009/11/08/totc-the-verdict/

    • I *really* dislike that everyone looks like clones of each other. I do wish there was some differentiation between the look of the gear. Unfortunately, I don’t think that is going to change much :(

      Other than my mace, which I DID work very hard for, I completely agree with you that there just isn’t the same attachment to gear that there used to be. Hell, I have items in by bank from the original game that I won’t part with just on sentimental value alone.

      Really, some of the achievements/rewards for achievements hold more value to me than the gear does at this point. I don’t know if that is good or bad. It does mean that some of my goals aren’t realized solely by purple pixels, but not everyone is always on that same page, and like something more tangible.

  3. We have alts in our guild who have reached the same gear levels as our mains in under 2 weeks. And anyone can have gear; it no longer gives any, any indication of skill. We had a Paladin recently throw in the towel due to both his boredom with the current state of raiding, and his frustration at seeing other Holy Paladins wearing the same tier of gear as him who were gemming all Spirit.

    Gear is way too accessible and the content hasn’t been scaled at all to match this.

    • It is definately very easy to gear up quite quickly. We also have alts in our guild that are geared well enough that they could be main raiders. We’ve actually used these folks to step in to help when we are short certain classes, which is nice, but…yea.

      I’m sure that it’s all escalated some by how easy ToC is once you’ve learned the fights. Our alt group runs it in just over an hour.

      I mean, I do understand wanting to make things equal and all, but I’m not entirely sure Blizzard has done it the best way.

  4. “we have such poor players in the community right now.” I agree.

    I also feel that when gear is so easily accessible it encourages raiders to play when new content is released (and they baseline the previously difficult to acquire emblem) and then stop playing for 3 months. Then come back, then quit.

    I know this attitude has always been around (well I’ve got my Tier X, so why log in?) but I feel it’s particularly noticeable in Wrath of the Lich King.

    • One of the things we did really early on was to make it clear that we weren’t taking Ulduar Hard Modes off of the table, and that if you didn’t show up for Ulduar you didn’t get to go to ToC. Perhaps we are a rarity in this regard, but our guild has continued with the Ulduar hard modes, completing One Light in the Dark last night. And I’ll be honest with you, I think as a whole, our guild has enjoyed those Ulduar treks more than some of our ToC completions.

      We will be getting our Drakes tomorrow night when we go in and finish out “Iron Dwarf Medium Rare” and “Crazy Cat Lady”. People are so excited about that, they opted to go into Ulduar our first raid night over ToC this week.

      Actually, thinking back on it, we really haven’t had much stagnation in our attendance on Ulduar or ToC nights. We also haven’t had a huge amount of “I’m so bored of ToC see you on the other side of 3.3″ burnout either. I think some of that has to do with having kept some diversity in our raid content throughout ToC.

      I do recognize that we are perhaps a bit of an anomoly in that sense, and that your observations regarding the content cycle are accurate for the whole. But my firefighter and one light kill were much more fulfilling than most of my ToC kills to date. Granted…we haven’t put a whole lot of time into HM Anub yet, so perhaps that will trump some of those Ulduar kills. One can hope at least!

  5. It is definitely pretty easy to get gear these days. I started a couple months ago and it’s pretty shocking that my character is in this good of shape already.

    http://www.wowarmory.com/character-sheet.xml?r=Lightbringer&n=Verile

    • Yar, I would have to agree completely!

      I mean my priest after just 48 hours is rocking some fantastic gear. Perhaps I have been insanely lucky with some of my drops, but good grief!

  6. Definitely too accessible. I think its actually had a knock effect on recruitment too. A lot of our recent trials just haven’t been able to cope with the transition from Pugging 10/25 normals mans to doing 25 man hardmodes and have quit with much whining.

    • I hadn’t really thought about the knock effect it would have on recruiting. We’ve always put more focus on recruiting the player behind the character than the gear they have on that I haven’t noticed the change much in our limited recruiting so far. Some of that might be our lengthy application tends to pretty effectively weed out folks for us.

      Although, you are absolutely correct in that it does tend to make more sheltered players who aren’t quite ready for the transition to hard mode work. We recruited a paladin a couple of weeks ago, who was slightly undergeared, but had a well geared rogue and history. He raided with us the night we got knock, knock, knock on wood…and vanished the next day. The only thing I can think of is that he had bitten off more than he could chew and wasn’t ready for our level of raiding.

      A lot of people truly don’t realize how much work is really put into progression raiding, even still. Sometimes we only raid for 2 hours on a given night, but in those two hours we’ve pushed our guild to their limits and asked them to push themselves to a point where anymore would become detrimental. I mean…you can only spend so much time running from the fire before your brain just can’t process it anymore :)

      • Both our last two holy priest trials lasted one raid and haven’t been seen since. I’m starting to take it slightly personally, although I swear I’ve been really sweet to them (maybe that’s the problem.. ergh).
        We’ve always gone for the player not the gear as well and in the past its nearly always been fine. Recently, not so fine. Possibly we’ve just been unlucky that people who managed to field a decent application on the forums turned out to be fire hogging idiots in game but since i loathe everything about ToC apart from the Faction Champions, I’m going to blame it instead.

  7. You pretty much summed up all my thoughts on the subject entirely.

  8. I think we can rephrase the question to be ‘what content should you easily slot into when you reach the level cap?’

    Currently, if the answer is heroic dungeons then yes, gear is too ‘easy’ …. if it is Ulduar , then its just right.

    It’s now pretty clear that Blizz wants to raise the end-game player base progressively as Raids are released.

    The off-shoot is that once players hit the lvl cap, gear equal to the latest content -1 , will be immediately available to them.

    The other side of it, is that gear becomes ‘obsolete’ much more quickly than in the past, making it less likely that player will put in any effort to get that shiny new item.

    I suppose it comes down to how much effort is required vs. how long will I be using the item.

    Now if some gear had heirloom like qualities, in that it would scale somewhat as content is released, then that would shift the scales.

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