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?