Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Why does the Reward System Matter?

This isn't about what is a more worthwhile endeavour: PvP or PvE. In my opinion, if you want to spend endgame raiding, that's fine. If you want to spend it PvP'ing, that's fine too. This is a discussion of two fundamentally different reward systems. One where quality varies with challenge/skill (Quality System), and the other where quantity varies with challenge/skill (Quantity System).

One of these is a better system than the other. I believe that the Quality System is superior because we tend to value quality more than quantity. Because it has a better natural, even progression. And that it leads to better gameplay and encourages people to constantly improve, while the Quantity System leads to unnatural and counter-intuitive gameplay.

But clearly, many of the commenters clearly don't feel the same way. To them, the Quantity System is superior because it allows people to reach parity gear-wise faster. It also means that all progression options for your character are within reach. You'll never reach a point where you just cannot improve your character because you can't meet the challenge.

It's fairly easy to use either system in PvP or PvE. For PvP, simply slap Rating requirements on the gear. Boom, there's a Quality System in PvP.

To implement a Quantity System in PvE, we could assign ratings to each boss. Attumen would be a 1000, and Illidan would be 2400 or so. The other bosses would be scattered along the spectrum between them. Each week, a PvE player gets a rating equal to the highest rating of a boss defeated that week. For example, a raid that kills Prince Malchezzar might get a 1400 rating. On Tuesday, the Consortium gives you a certain number of Raid Points depending on your rating. You then use these raid points to purchase rewards from the Consortium.

Bosses no longer drop loot. Maybe you could get a title for defeating specific high-end bosses (Coriel the Dragonkiller Killer). The only result from downing a boss is an increase in rating, if the boss had a higher rating than your current rating. Your rating would reset to zero on Tuesday. Every so often, perhaps with the PvP Seasons, Blizzard introduces new raid gear which you can purchase.

Now, there are some fine details to work out. PvE is not quite as granular as PvP, and you can't do swaps as easily, so you have to somehow account for people who sat out that fight. And ratings would inflate over time as gear makes the challenges easier, and would have to be readjusted when new instances came out. But that's a basic Quantity System implemented in PvE.

Is that a better system than we have now? Maybe. I don't think so, however. I think it would lead to stagnation for a lot of guilds, as they would reach a "comfort level" of farming and refuse to try higher bosses on the grounds that the additional rating would not be worth the time and effort, the same way that some people prefer to lose Battlegrounds fast rather than go for a drawn-out win.

But everyone else seems to be solidly in favour of the PvP Quantity System, so maybe we should leave PvP alone and change raiding to match it.


  1. "But everyone else seems to be solidly in favour of the PvP Quantity System, so maybe we should leave PvP alone and change raiding to match it."

    I think more importantly, we should recognize that the players attracted to PvE versus those attracted to PvP are fundamentally different and need their respective systems to work the way they do now. I see nothing wrong with having different methods of loot acquisition for raiding versus Arenas, and neither group should feel compelled to conform to the strictures or ideals of the other.

    Arenas HAVE to afford you the best possible gear given the time you put in or PvPers would be at the mercy of PvEers in their superior raid gear. Blizzard also needs to allow PvPers to get "up to speed" quickly or there would be no point to PvPing. Gear is that much of a limiting factor (and keep in mind that BG gear is NOT easy to acquire; it's grueling). And don't forget that Arena-acquired gear, despite often having a slightly higher ILevel than the equivalent Tiered gear, spends a large portion of its item budget on Stamina, Resilience, and even additional armor. That means that Tiered gear will almost invariably be the preferred choice for participating in PvE content.

  2. That means that Tiered gear will almost invariably be the preferred choice for participating in PvE content.

    Not necessarily. The most important stat on gear is your Power Stat, whatever it is. PvP and PvE of similar tier have similar Power Stats. That means that higher tier PvP gear will usually be better and more accessible than PvE lower tier gear.

    Honestly, the only way PvP and PvE gear would not have impact on each other is if they used different Power Stats somehow.

  3. I certainly don't have any problem with shifting PVE into a more forgiving loot mode. Badges were a good addition, with that gear at least you got something from every boss.

    Having some kind of Loot vendor out front and then each boss giving pts for that instance seems reasonable to me.

    Make points based upon the amount of damage done to the boss, and a bonus for actually killing him, through some kind of diminishing return on so people don't just walk in take a boss down to 1% and wipe just to start again, and you have yourself the beginning of a new style loot system.

    We could drop DKP, and reduce guild drama, and life would be better. PUGs would be saner, as you would have guaranteed returns for trying and even failing 3 times a week would still see some kind of progress.

  4. Rohan, you spend post after post after post on this matter. In every single one you have taken extra steps to belittle PvP and its gear aquisition method (nevermind that we keep telling you that gear is the means, not the objective nor the reward).

    And now, no disrespect meant, you sound like a sulking child who has been told he couldn't watch TV.

    Just accept that there are two fundamentally different endgames appealing to people with different aims, goals, means and objectives. There is no need to have a one-size-fits-it-all solution. The system needs some tweaking, since you shouldn't be forced to do one in order to get the other since TBC.

    As for cross-overs, where the gear differs is in resilience vs +hit (and mana sustainability for casters). Don't tell me your guild takes a team of full S2/S3 clad DPS over T4 to SSC / TK. I don't buy it. You posted one of the more widely known resources on +hit yourself, you know fully well that with the exception of one or two lone pieces to bridge a bad looting luck gap glad gear isn't suitable for raiding.
    Eliminating the luck factor from boss loot (as in, the bracers you want will only drop after you crafted / bought something better) through more token-based looting may be a way to alleviate that.

  5. PvE:
    - As someone allready pointed out before, it's static. This means that the variables you have to take into account are limited. Once an encounter is on farm status that is what it is: on farm. You can redo the encounter as many times you want (with the limitation of resets) and the chance of faillure becomes smaller and smaller every time. This also means the more you do it the accomplishment becomes worth less and less every time as well. For those being there on the first kills (within a guild) the time and effort spent really counts, for the ones coming after, there's little merrit, yet the possible rewards stay the same. There are easymode epics as well in PvE. As someone stated in a comment on a previous post, he's in a guild that has nearly 'finished' the game, yet they still run Kara (and whiped on Aran). Why? To get the satisfaction to see these bosses go down every week? I'm not buying that. It's more likely they still run kara to farm badges (and consequently reap the rewards from them), and gear up alts or new additions to the guild. How much effort is there for people running around in BT/MH gear to do a clear of Kara? Not much since the gear at their disposal clearly outweighs the content they face. It will take the mains about 3 weeks to get the item they desire from badges, and the alts that join will have had a piggy back ride picking items up additional to badges. Is this all 'well deserved'? Why not adress this issue? Or is it because these epics are only 'easy' for a limited playerbase, the endgame raiders? In my personal opinion this is fine though you took the time to get the gear, why not use it?
    - If you suggest a system where raiding points are earned the points should be calculated taking into account: Average iLevel of the raidgroups gear compared to the content faced and be subject to diminishing returns to keep a drive going towards progress, if not you'll see 'raidingguilds' speedrunning lower tier bosses to get more raidpoints compared to wiping on new bosses, making all vendor bought epics by raidingpoints accessible to a much larger playerbase, taking away even more of the 'shine of your armor/accomplishment' (what seems to be the major concern).
    - There are mounts available from raiding afaik. Starting from Baron, then ZG, AQ, Kara, ZA, Phoenix etc... Fancy titles wouldn't work really. As time goes by and more people progress, uniquenes would disapear too, unless you make it only available to the first X people to beat an encounter. But that would probably end up endgame guilds selling the title once everyone of their members has it. The potential drama would be great.
    - PvE progress is linear allways up: Once you get to a certain point, chance you'll fall back is negligable, and more dependant on exterior factors (people quiting, guild falling apart) then on faillure. Wiping nights don't have a penalty apart from repairbills.

    Dynamic system: When you face opponents and you die, you cant corpserun and fight again with adjusted tactics. The battlefield situation will have changed in BG's, you'll face a diffrent team in the arena. Losing will affect your reward your reward (speed that you get it) in the Arena, not so in BG's but the honorsystem is pretty bad constructed.
    - The playing field needs to be as level as possible. Gear matters enough as it is. Making some gear for pvp less accessible would create a geargap where gear >>> skill even more. (Is this why Raiders whine about pvp gear, that they actually would want this to happen and become top of the foodchain free of pvp effort solely based on their accomplishments in pve?)

    PvP vs PvE:
    - Why compare? They are totally diffrent. Why does it matter for a PvE'er that someone can get high ilevel epics? You know what it took you to get your gear. You probably had fun while getting it. What more is there? Recognition from other players? hmmm ...

  6. "It's fairly easy to use either system in PvP or PvE. For PvP, simply slap Rating requirements on the gear. Boom, there's a Quality System in PvP."

    As I pointed out before, that is essentially the old Honor Rank System revisited.

  7. "That means that Tiered gear will almost invariably be the preferred choice for participating in PvE content."

    As I pointed out in my comment under "Raider Perspective on Awards", that is exactly the case for a shadow priest and warrior tank.

    Arena gear is generally inferior for those classes (can't speak for others), except for a couple or three slots -- which again favors the raiders, who only have to PvP grind two or three slots for upgrades, rather than do the PvP grind to 300 resilience to get competitive!

  8. Of course there is a third element to this argument.

    Badges of Justice.

    Option 1: You can either PvP and get arena/BG rewards, while I'm not particularly impressed that you can gain an equivalent to T5/T6 through PvP rather than struggling for months on end to get to Black Temple, I ignore that for the most part and don't really care too much, as I don't consider it that useful for raiding and they can only be used for arenas (awaiting backlash!).

    Option 2: You raid, you are a member of a raiding guild, you take your turns in raids and build up your DKP and eventually manage to buy the items you need when they drop, and in my opinion these are the superior items as they can be used out grinding as well as whilst raiding.

    But then there is the middle ground of Option 3: Now this is what I consider to be the easy way to phat epix (with a mix of PvE, PvP and combined pieces). Now don't get me wrong, I am gonna buy a few badge rewards to expedite a complete set of healing and tanking gear, BUT is this an easier option rather than arena rewards? I think so.

    With arena you have to spend lots of time (OK not incredible amounts, but still) PvP'ing and displaying some skill in that arena (excuse the pun) of your gameplay.

    With Raiding, you also have to display some skill otherwise you ain't gonna last long in the raid guild or you're always gonna be on the sidelines.

    Patch 2.3 hits, Heroic access lowered to Honoured. Now everyone can be a leech on a PUG and pick up some badges and get enough to buy some pretty uber-epics. Have you seen the stats on the 60 and 75 (think those are the numbers) badge rewards???

    So Quality/Quantity - who cares? There shouldn't be 2 camps (PvP and PvE) having a slanging match.

    Join forces and slag off those PUG leeches that will ruin you're instancing PUG and get rewarded with uber-epics at the same time.

    Does that Retardin in green defense gear trying to heal the MT in a Heroic Arcatraz really deserve what he's going to get? I don't think so.

  9. I like how it's slanted Raiding as "Quality" and PVP as "Quantity", when the common public understanding of "Quality vs Quantity" always puts the former in the best light. It's ok, this bias is understandable, my own blog reeks of PVP bias, it's what differentiates writers and makes stuff readable.

    However, what it fails to point out is that the "Quantity" (availability of building a base Resilience set quickly and then upgrading within one Season's duration) ultimately offers better "Quality"---quality in competition that is---a less widened gear gap means teams rely on tactics and counters to come out on top.

    Once you realize that competition and besting your opponent is the true reward for PVP (hence why it is different from PVE), it should all be clear. People wouldn't spend X amounts of money and time in the various popular sports if one team had access to shoulderpads, balls, sticks, nets, etc. and the other team lacked the equipment---competition would be simply "LAWL".

  10. I like the idea of raid points being distributed based on what bosses you have beaten that week. Put a minimum raid rating requirement on higher end gear and that pretty much forces guilds to move up to harder encounters if they want better gear.

    The only problem with such a system is that it kinda ruins the D&D lore of killing monsters for their treasure. Then again I think most MMO players are willing to sacrifice tradition in exchange for getting rid of the archaic loot system attached to PvE content.

  11. The problem lies in the fact that there are many PvP rewards that surpass PvE rewards for PvE content, but not vice-versa.

    Take the Merciless Gladiator's War Staff for example. 24hit 42crit 225dmg. A PvE equivalent would be The Nexus Key from Kael'thas (51crit 236dmg.) In a tradeoff between 24hit vs 9crit/11dmg, I'd take the +hit which makes the season 2 PvP staff BETTER than the top Tier-5 level PvE staff, for PvE. Illidan's staff is also pretty even with the season 3 staff, a difference of 24hit/10crit vs 35haste/12dmg.

    Imagine as a PvP'er, if you couldn't fill every slot with PvP gear. If there were no vindicator pieces and the best bracers/belt/boots/neck/rings you could get for PvP had to come from PvE. You'd cry foul as well.

    I've read several comments about people saying arena gear is laughable in PvE. I'd like to just call BS. Get any class in their appropriate season 2 + veteran's set, and they'll be on-par or often times better than people in full T4/T5 level gear.

  12. I'll have to disagree with the previous poster.
    One slot does not make your argument, sorry.

    The main hand and neck slots are the only slots that are a PvE upgrade for my shadow priest, whose prime stat is spell damage -- even over PRE-KARA CRAFTED, REP, HOLIDAY, and BADGE gear!

    Then again, the BT-raid shadow priests I've looked up are still equipping their pre-Kara crafted ilevel 105 Frozen Shadoweave and their Badge of Justice ilevel 110 Orb of the Soul Eater.

    And my prot warrior will not benefit from PvP gear; there is simply no defense on the items. Compensating with defense gems and enchants just doesn't cut it; believe me, I played with the numbers and it won't wash. Gladiator items aren't even better for serious tanking than Faith in Felsteel!

    Try again.

    PS -
    I'm wondering why when I look at raiders in the Armory I don't see them equipping this easy-to-get S2/Veteran and S3/Vindicator gear.
    IMO, that belies the "PvP Welfare Epic" arguments.
    I know a High Warlord with about 100,000 PvP kills on my server who is also a raid tank. Funny, but in spite of his S2, Veteran's, and Vindicator's pieces, he does a complete gear swap for raid tanking.
    Imagine that.

  13. And yet a PvPer has to enter heroics to get gems for his gear. If you don't believe me, check this out:


    Out of that list, only 3 are craftables, of which one is only available from Black Temple (although is BoE), and one is earnable via PvP (which is Unique-Equipped). Should PvPers be up in arms because 7 out of 10 PvP-specific gems are only available via PvE Heroics? Absolutely not.

  14. Just a couple of points:

    The PvP system as it is seems to be working, more-or-less, apart from the constant tweaking to 'balance' things. I think the focus for improving the reward system should focus on the PVE side. What would make Raiding more fun and rewarding?

    Second, I believe that there is an inherent contradiction in some of the arguments presented in these threads: PvP progression is not about gear, vs. the desire to keep upgrading gear. I appreciate the point that the changes to gear can shuffle the PvP landscape in new and interesting ways, but there are lots of methods to do that which have nothing to do with gear. I believe that the *exact* same desire for gear-upgrades lurks in the hearts of many PvPers as PvEers; it's just dressed up differently. So I'm not sure how fundamental the difference is, in this respect.

    As others have noted, Blizzard has made many choices based on locking players in, vs. giving the optimal game experience.

    And finally, to the folks who think that getting phat loot in PVE is just as easy as in PvP, um, no. Just no.

    If you can't drop Attumen, you get nothing. The trash before him drops purples loot so infrequently, it's not even worth thinking about. Attumen is pretty easy though... but the trash to Moroes doesn't drop epics either. So a basically incompetent (or horribly under-geared) 10-man group will get virtually nothing out of the experience of endless attempts, except a huge repair bill.

    So there is no parallel to a PvP that loses consistently, yet picks up epics. A PvE team (raid) that loses consistently gets nada.

    Therein lies a difference.

  15. Yes brock, because learning scripted fights that are on youtube.com or warcraftmovies.com is sooooo hard.