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.