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Jun 19 2009

The Emblem Debate

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I called it, didn’t I? Back in March, when Blizzard announced their 3-tiered Emblem plan for 3.1, I posted my critical view of their plan, and how it would kill heroics.

Turns out I was right. Since my DK hit 80, I was able to get her into 3 PUGs. One was OS-25, the other two were H UK and H CoS. It seems easier to PUG 25-mans than to actually find groups for heroics. Thankfully, my guild is accomodating, and so I have been on quite a few heroic runs. Yet whenever I am on and park myself in LFG, nothing happens whatsoever. I click through LFM for all heroics, and there’s a sporadic person or two but that’s about it. I would love to see numbers for this, but I am sure Blizzard has noticed an impact, or they wouldn’t have announced their rather surprising and drastic measure to fix things: bye-bye, 3-tiered system, hello 2-tiered system. I just wish they had done this for 3.1 and not for 3.2.

In an ideal world, Blizzard would have phased out EoHs in 3.1. Heroics and T7 content would have awarded Emblems of Valor, T8 content both 10 and 25-man would have awarded Emblems of Conquest. Both kinds of emblems would have had an option to downgrade to EoH for BoA gear, gems and entry-level raid gear. Does this sound familiar? Oh yes, because that’s exactly what they’re doing for 3.2. It would have solved some fundamental issues that the 3-tier system introduced. At least they’re trying to fix it now. I am really hoping they’ll stick to the 2-tiers for good, whenever they introduce the next raid’s Emblems of Uber-Awesome.

  • People would still have had a reason to run heroics, to gain gear of ilevel 213. This would be a step up from EoH gear, but not overly so. At the time 3.1 was introduced, people were already done with their respective content for the most part, so hardcore raiders were diving into ilevel 226 or higher raid gear right away. Not a huge gap.
  • Currently, people who are running 10-man content exclusively are looking at a very low ratio of Emblem-to-gear reward. After two Ulduar raids, I have 10 Emblems of Valor, and we are doing a lot better than other guilds who raid casually. Still, my first EoV purchase is quite some time away, and it is often gear that I can actually replace with Ulduar drops. It feels like a thing on the side, not a reward. To maximize your gear, you would still need to jump in on Naxx-25 farm runs, something that a lot of us casual 10-man raiders either do not want to do, or cannot.
  • Rewards aside, a lot of WoW players that also raid seem to forget one thing: heroics are something that a lot of people enjoy, for their own sake. Encouraging people to enjoy what used to be the heart of the game is not a bad thing, IMHO.

Reactions about the badge change are very strong, e.g. over at Destructive Reach. There are people who immediately say ‘Hell yeah!’, and those are most often people on the casual end of the spectrum, or people with lots of alts. And Twitter was full of people who were shocked because they are upset that people who might never set foot into a raid instance will have access to Ulduar-25 level gear. I can understand the criticism, it’s a drastic departure from their (not very) old system. One argument that I read was that’s outrageous because people who don’t raid don’t need access to such gear. But who’s hurt by non-raiders having such gear? Egos. Yes, hardcore raiders work hard to get access to gear, but they have access to hard-mode drops, Best-In-Slot gear, the vast pool of Ulduar drops, so how does that hurt them? Assuming you have talented people who unfortunately are just some time behind the expansion time curve, they will now be able to gear up and maybe be recruited for guilds that are already in Ulduar. It’s possible.

The only really strong negative reaction that I have with this change is that it will re-introduce farm raids. Karazhan was farmed to death for Badges of Justice when the Sunwell heroic gear was introduced. I imagine Naxxramas will be similarly farmed. This is a step back for my guild and I refuse to conform to it. While I will still set up Naxxramas raids to gear new raiders, I do not want to raid Naxxramas forever. We have Ulduar to clear, and then move forward to Argent Coliseum, and then to Icecrown.

I am not 100% convinced it will actually go live. If Blizzard changes anything around, I do still hope EoH are phased out for EoV instead. We will see. But all I am really asking for is that people look at the change as a fix for something that Blizzard really broke, instead of the slap in the face that Ulduar raiders perceive it as. Also check out Aurik’s view over at /hug, it’s a view I pretty much agree with.

21 Responses to “The Emblem Debate”

  1. Pike says:

    I actually don’t find myself having a particularly strong opinion either way on this issue. Though I agree with you that making Heroics/Naxx10/etc. drop EoV instead seems to make more sense.

    I suppose I am different from many people, in that I view experiences in the game as being more of an accomplishment than gear. Now the argument can be made, and rightly so, that gear shows what you have done. But I dunno, no matter what kind of gear I or anyone else has, I still can’t talk to people about Ulduar because I’ve never been inside there, and I still don’t have Achievements that other people have. (Not complaining about this by the way, just pointing it out :P )

    So… I guess the thing for me is… what type of badges I’m earning and what type of gear I’m wearing doesn’t count. So, I don’t really feel strongly about the badge change :P


    admin Reply:

    That’s because you are adorable, Pike, but not the average WoW player. :) I’ve been to Ulduar, I love the challenge, and I do not care if scrubs who pull off 1k DPS in H UK run it often enough to get their T8.5 hat.

    I mostly raid for content, not for shinies, but I would lie if I said I didn’t really <3 shinies too. But above all, I dig the 5-man experience, which in the right group can still be more fun than anything. And I want to have that back.


  2. Spinks says:

    I agree with you. It’s a good idea and the previous way badges were set up just made it so hard for new 80s to get into the endgame to join their friends.

    I wish they could find a way to give some kind of perk for running Ulduar 10 though. The badges are about to become identical to Naxx/heroic badges but the instance is harder. The loot is cool, but … I dunno. I don’t think the incentive is quite there yet.

    I’m not overly thrilled about the idea of farming heroics and Naxx to death even more but heck, it can still be a fun night hanging out with friends. And with the shield block boost on gear, I’m now quite curious to see how fast I can pull Naxx trash :)


  3. Sicilia says:

    I completely agree 100% with your post. This would have been a smoother introduction if they had stepped up the emblems one level only with Ulduar, but at least they have recognised their mistake.

    To the comment above about not wanting to be endlessly farming Naxx, I feel this change will eventually help fix this.

    As we gear up through Heroics / Naxx, it will make Ulduar more accessable, eventually (hopefully…) for PuGs. This may be a heresy for the raiders in established guilds, but for those of us not in such guilds it will provide a welcome escape from Naxx 25 PuGs.

    I loved Kara, and didn’t mind spending months farming it for badges (apart from some of the long trash pulls), but Naxx feels OLD compared with Kara visually. The thought of being stuck in Naxx for 2 years is what is really turning me off this game.

    Like many people I prefer the smaller group content, versus the indiscipline of 25-man raiding (always waiting on AFKers, complaining about missing buffs, etc). Having the chance to move on to Ulduar 10 would be awesome. I only tried it once as a guest off-tank for a very casual 10-man guild shortly after release and we just wiped repeatedly on XT, Ignis and Razorscale without making any progress…..

    Finally, I agree that a 5-man with friends can’t be beaten for stress-free fun. Especially when you can chainpull through the trash (CoT is great for teaching what’s possible when you trust your healer’s mana :-) )


  4. RJK says:

    Loot for the masses…good loot at that. Well one thing to consider, is it two to three months out?

    And for those who have stepped in and have seen that most of their guild isnt ready for Ulduar, it is nice to see some good loot will be available.

    I have bought 2 pieces of Ulduar BOE loot on the AH. :) Another way to epic the masses…not a bad thing either..the hardcore raider makes some nice cash. :)
    .-= RJK´s last blog ..Guild Leadership =-.


  5. Honorshammer says:

    I think this will make it tougher on Raid Guilds. It will be harder to get people to wipe on progression when they know they’ll get the same gear or maybe even better just from facerolling through Heroics/Naxx.
    .-= Honorshammer´s last blog ..[Patch 3.2] Block Change Gets a /yawn =-.


  6. Skraps says:

    From where i am sitting I look at it like this. I was a fairly hardcore raider in Classic and BC. (we downed Illidan pre-nerf) Since the release of WotLK my wife has had some major health problems and my raiding time has been cut down to the occasional naxx 10 pug. The wife is recovering and i may be able to start raiding again in the 3.2 era. But when I dps I am not doing 3k+ dps, I do not have Ulduar level Stam. With the guild advancing content like they are I don’t see them going backwards to help me gear. So if I can manage to collect current end game emblems, it would make stepping into 3.2 raids doable, and I can catch up from there.


  7. ARA says:

    Well you were right and I was wrong! I thought they’d never do this.

    However, I can appreciate them changing their minds. If its true that noone ever runs heroics any more, and only alts go into naxx, then why not make it a bit more fun to go back to these old places? I suspect they’ll come out with a fuller q&a explaination of why they’re doing this.

    I still dont understand why its good for the game, since it really takes away the status of the gear you earned. What is the hardcore left with? A different color drake every 3 months, and an achievement (if you bother to compare achievement points).

    I still cant get my head around the implications of what it may do. Farming heroics + naxx for great gear means you can potentially skip an entire tier (ulduar) and go straight to the coliseum. Wasnt that the exact same issue with skipping t5? It would mean new players have a lot less reason to go to Ulduar – ever. Also, is there not something weird about grinding out easy stuff to get gear way way beyond what is required to beat the easy stuff? Kind of like killing 10 foozles in westfall often enough, and you can buy high end raid gear. Why not sell high end raid gear for gold even? Quality of gear dropped should be releated to the difficulty of beating the content. Changing this concept is a big design change (isnt it?) – that’s why I’m waiting on a fuller explanation.

    Why not just increase the difficulty level of heroics – make a new uber-heroic setting for 5 mans, and then drop emblems of conquest and ulduar level gear from bosses instead? That gives us all a great excuse to redo 5 mans that are challenging. The hardcore may still complain, but at least you need much better gear to be able to complete the uber-heroic setting. With my gear levels at the moment, 5 mans are a total joke. My friends and I are so overgeared, its not even funny.

    Do you think Blizzard are planning to announce the closure of WOW? Like when a store shuts down, they sell off all their assets at rock bottom prices? Big free for all frenzy, go out on a high?!


    admin Reply:

    I don’t think WoW is shutting down, not for years. I think they’re picking up the pace, and I am pretty sure that the next expansion is going to be announced soon.

    Why go to Ulduar? Because it’s an amazing fun place, and because there’s good drops. You can buy what, 4-5 pieces of gear on the badge vendors? You can get a lot more from running Ulduar, and Argent Coliseum.

    I don’t think Blizzard will take the time to redesign heroics. They’re too easy, they know it, I think next expansion heroics will be more challenging again. I think once 3.3 is out, the changed system will work out better already. It just seems so drastic now because it is a huge change.

    I think the hardcore is pretty much left with hardmodes at this point.


  8. Tarsus says:

    IMO, it will give me something to do while not raiding other than farm and do daily quests to cover my repair bills. That’s a plus.


  9. I think you’re right in that a 2tier emblem system is the better way to go and hopefully that’s what we end up with in the live patch.

    I loved doing heroics in BC and haven’t enjoyed this expansion nearly as much for the way they made 5mans irrelevant so fast.

    Your post, and some of the others you mentioned, led me to a fit of writing that turned into a blog post so thank you for the food for thought!


  10. ARA says:

    Well, I too would be more excited by 5 mans, even though we overgear them. I like going back for practice, taking puggers along to increase the challenge.

    While I agree that Ulduar is beautiful, and you’d do it for fun, blizzard have many times admitted that players go where the loot is easiest to get. Given a choice between a good old daily heroic UK for a couple more badges for your 8.5 helm, and getting into a 25 man unduar, killing thorim, hoping your helm drops, and hoping you win it…. And if you didnt, theres always next time, and you had so much fun, so who cares….? That’s a minority of player right there. Damn – with the changes to occulus, I’ll even go there for my daily heroic, knowing I’ll get my badges quickly & painlessly.


  11. drug says:

    I like the system. In BC, I didn’t like the badge system. I was progress raiding in T5 content and at the same time I just had to farm for BoJ to get those incredibly good badge loot. It just bugged me, that as a raider I had to farm easy content to complete my gear.

    Now it’s different. When this patch goes live, I won’t need any more gear from EoC. I’ll be able to complete my second spec or buy gems or whatever. At the same time, it offers a great way for casual players to get some really great gear.
    .-= drug´s last blog ..Taking a Break =-.


  12. Naissa says:

    I’m glad you were right! :)

    I’m so looking forward to this change. Though I’d be happy with just valor emblems for my alts. Or just having them made BoA so I could give my main’s Emblems of Valor to my alt. Either way, I’m happy. :D
    .-= Naissa´s last blog ..Patch 3.2 – I might as well get this out of the way. =-.


  13. Dozenz says:

    This is the best change they could ever do.

    Just turning Hero tokens to Valor solves nothing once 3.2 comes out…as it will be the same 3 tier token system that is in place.

    It should always have been 2 tiers of tokens, so people not in the progression raiding guilds can still progress up to the previous tiers. This allows non-raiders to at least be able to PUG current Tier raids, and allow them to continually upgrade theor character without having to wait for new 5 man content.

    When 3.3 comes out I expect everything dropping Triumph tokens while the new instance (Icecrown?) drops a seperate one.


  14. Tulakk says:

    You and Aurik have summed up the crux of this whining regarding this matter: It’s all about elitism, ego, and e-peen. This ‘hardcore’ crowd that has been raiding since WoW’s infancy has had a monopoly on their shinies, and now the ‘casuals’ are coming into their yard and playing with their toys and they’re all crying to mommy Blizz to make them stop. Fact is, this does nothing to diminish their accomplishments, it justs makes the game more accessible to casuals and newcomers. What’s wrong with that?


  15. Skraps says:

    @ Tulakk,

    Absolutely nothing.

    I tire of the “hardcore” whining about the dumbing down of the game. It is too easy they say, blah blah blah.

    Well after being fairly hardcore in classic and BC. All this new too easy content, for some of the people I run with is pretty hard. People who did not have the chance to raid in previous versions, people that have not collected all the raid gear, people that have never done more than 5 mans. It is tough for these people, and they make up a large majority of the WoW population.

    I am friends with a guild thar recently had major drama and split, more than half of the 25 man raiders left. The guild was broken. Now they struggle to get 10 mans together 2 days a week. I went with them one week to heal naxx, and they had wipe after wipe on the spiderwing.

    To these people it is not too easy. Having been into ulduar, and now stepping back to 10 man naxx I find I am enjoying the game more than ever. It is difficult to teach new tanks what to do, new dps to not stand in the pool of death etc.

    The thing I am loving the most? Watching a new raider roll a 95 on their first piece of shiny purple gear!

    That is why the whole argument hardcore vs. casual just needs to die.


  16. Theyl says:

    So, I have been reading different blogs and new sources about this – and while I’m growing less hostile to it – I have a concern that nobody has really addressed. Kadomi, I tend to trust your thinking about issues, maybe you can help talk me down from my hostility.

    Since I’m a casual player this change seems to be aimed at helping me: but I’m more worried that it is going to hurt me. I’m casual, I don’t have time to run heroic after heroic … just like I don’t have time to spend raiding regularly. Currently I can use heroics/heroism emblems/craftables to get pretty well geared for OS pugs, etc… And with the drops I get from time to time I’m able to stay competitive at the level of content that I want to run.

    People who aren’t perhaps “hardcore raiders” but have more time on their hands are going to (more quickly than me) earn enough Conquest emblems to buy that gear. I forsee that rather quickly I’m going to be appropriately geared for my content level – and undesirable to PuGs or my Allied raiding guild etc.. because I’ll be undergeared compared to players who can run 2-3 heroics a day.

    So far, I like that I can very slowly move up in the content at my own pace – and have gear at a level that matches what most other people have trying to run the same content. I like that the “better-geared” tanks on my server have little “in-game” incentive to compete with me for the limited pug/raid slots I find time for…



    admin Reply:

    I wouldn’t worry about that at all. I have no idea if Blizzard is going to change the current emblem prices, but Conquest gear is currently cheaper than Heroism gear. You need less badges than you need to get geared from Heroism badges.

    I have no idea what raids you’re currently doing, but if it’s stuff like OS and Naxx, nothing changes for you, other than the added ability to buy Conquest gear.

    I foresee a mad heroics rush when 3.2 is released, for people to get their badges. I think it’s about…350ish total that you need for a full set of available gear, and the hardcore will have that quickly enough. And then normality shall return, only that more people will still be running heroics, unlike now.


  17. Sah says:

    This step is fully in line with Blizzard wanting more players see the late end game and personally I only have 2 issues with it.

    1. As ARA stated it’s less fun doing content you’re overgeared for, and this will lead to people outgearing heroics faster.

    2. Some of us can’t be in hardcore guilds but still want to have the fun of progressing through ALL the content for the challenge of it. Being able to buy gear from higher tiers might spoil it, making it easier and making it feel less like an accomplishment downing that boss. However, since I didn’t feel any of that during TBC it might not be an issue at all

    I never got further than progress runs in The Eye during TBC and while I would have liked to see the higher tiers I don’t mind that much since we had our challenges and it sure was enough for me.

    So the only thing to whine about seems to be that the raiders have to keep working to stay better geared than rest of the server. Because if you are raiding the top tier all the time you will allways be a tier over the not so hardcore.


  18. [...] 26, 2009 Thanks to the immiment Emblem of Conquest change (details and reactions here, here, here and here.  Oh, and some more here and here, too!), it’s only a matter of time before the How [...]

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