Gear Reset… Again….

I’m sure all of you know that Blizz is resetting the emblems again.  Emblems of Triumph are going to become the base emblem, with the Daily Heroic, Weekly Raid, and Icecrown Citadel dropping Emblems of Frost.  This is the second time that they have done a gear reset in the game, so what Gives?

The first thing is Blizz wants raiding to be more accessable. They have said this, over and over again.  There will be no more Sunwell’s.  If you want difficulty, you go to the hardmodes.

One of the key aspects to raiding accessibility is, of course, gear.  Any serious raider knows that gear is only part of the picture (search “greedy goblin blue Ulduar”).  The other part is skill.  But gear can, to some degree, make up for skill.  Better gear = auto jump in dps no matter if you are a fail pally with fail wings, or not.  Better gear = more HP = you are able to stand in the fire more.  Not much, mind you.  You will still get roasted.  But more than if you were in all greens.

Another thing that pops to mind – Blizz wants gear to be gated…  Kind of…. Lets take a look at how you gear up.  First, and foremost, you run heroics.  Then you run Naxx, then OS, then…  Well, you get the point.  That is the way the game launched.  You ran heroics to get gear (and badges) to run Naxx, then on to bigger and better things.

Now, all you have to do is grind heroics for badges (yes, I know, the grind sucks).  It is no longer a matter of some semblance of skill, it is a matter of time.  If you ran all of the heroics every single day, you would net about 50-60 emblems.  That is either two lesser pieces of gear, or one big piece (like chest, or helm).  In under one full week, you can be completely decked out in current gear.

Back to the task at hand, though.  They are not giving away current tier gear.  They give previous tier.  Current Tier is gated through Daily/weekly quests, and current raid content.  Blizz is only gating current tier gear.

Finally, Blizz wants to streamline the progression curve for those just joining the game, or those who didn’t complete current content fast enough.  This is a shame.  The problem, as I have argued before, is that new players don’t have enough training to get into raids, especially end game raids, that early.  They need places like Naxx to get up to par on their skills.

Effectively, Blizz has ended what I call, the Kara syndrome.  You know, where Kara would be the breaking point of most guilds.  Kara was a wall to raiding.  But the game needs these walls.  They need something to say – hey, you need to go back to heroics to learn not to stand in the fire.  Right now, as it is, a new stress is put into guilds, and we are seeing this more and more – there are too many who want to raid.  They have the gear, but not the skill.  As a result, you see constant forming and splitting of 10 man raiding guilds who realize that their team mates have no chance in hell of passing the first boss (say) of ToC.  The Kara syndrome has become the “Unskilled Wall.”  As a result, there is this big “float” of 80’s hopping form guild to guild, trying to get into raiding, but never successfully accomplishing anything.

If Icecrown doesn’t pan out to be an epic raiding experience, I expect for the first time in 5 years, the WoW population is going to decline…significantly. After all, if you cannot provide a decent end game experience (which is where the game constantly pushes you), what are you going to do?  Roll another alt?  That may be the solution for some, but not the majority, I think.

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