Monday, February 18, 2008

Bind-on-Equip Nethers and Vortexes

Possibly the most interesting change to come out of Patch 2.4 is the news that Primal Nethers and Nether Vortexes will change from Bind-on-Pickup to Bind-on-Equip.

A while back, I noted that Nethers were Bind-on-Pickup in order to create scarcity, in an attempt to allow crafters to actually make a profit from crafting weapons or armor. A person wanting a specific item needed to find crafter with the recipe and an available vortex. As far as I could tell, it seemed to work. A Primal Nether went for about 100g, and a Vortex went for 500-700g on Skywall.

However, once Patch 2.4 hits, the crafter and vortex become separate items, making it easier to find them and driving down the price. The price of crafting an item will once again be driven back down to “mats + tip”.

I wonder what motivated Blizzard to change the system. Did the original system not work out? Did too many people skip getting crafted items because of the hassle? Did more casual crafters find it too hard to get Nethers for their own personal armor? Is the availability of Badge Gear having a negative effect on crafted gear? Is Blizzard clearing the decks for the next expansion?

It’s an issue that really has no right answer. Enforced scarcity is an inconvenience to the rest of us. Handling Vortexes is huge pain in my guild. We have to distribute them properly at the moment they drop. With all previous raid materials, we just collected them and put them in a guild bank, and people could withdraw what they needed. But enforced scarcity is also the only way to raise prices for crafters, to allow them to get paid for creating items for other people.

Of all the changes in 2.4, this is the one that I would love to get some insight about from Blizzard, to find out exactly which of the many reasons for or against this change came into play.


  1. Hearts of Darkness aren't BoP. Neither were Fiery Cores or Frozen Runes. I have no idea why Nethers weren't BoE before except for the "phased exclusive" model that keeps high end stuff out of the hands of casuals for a while. Like the removal of attunements or the Pop-a-lock action on the Gates of AQ.

    The only thing this will do is allow people to get access to the better caliber of level 70 gear (Blessed Bracers, Belt of Blasting, etc). That gear already has a sell by date on it. Really, in this "last hurrah before Wrath" patch they are handing out a path to T5 gear so people who haven't cleared Kara have a chance at seeing the dungeons that will be in the heap with BWL and MC in six-eight months.

    Personally, I'd think that making them a 25 badge item wouldn't be too far. We already have a way to get Nethers with Badges, and I thought that was a way to help out crafters that roll low. As it stands, the Badges-for-Nethers purchase is now a Badges-for-a-Pile-of-Gold thing.

    I'm more cheesed off that the Engineering Goggles are trash drops from SP and thusly something that won't even be sold on my server. With two Ally guilds and one Horde cleared on MH I don't think I'll see the Hardened Khorium or Justicebringer 3000 schematics on the AH for quite some time. I bet they'll go the way of pre-BC enchants though and become rep rewards in Wrath. Of course they could go the way of the Force Reactive Disk and never show up again for any price.

  2. I love this idea. Yes, the price will certainly be driven down. But it spreads the wealth over all players, not just the crafters.

    Right now when I run a heroic instance, the Nether drops and there are only one or two players (if that) who roll on it. Those players have the opportunity to craft a item and charge 200 g (on my server) for the Nether. That creates an imbalanced reward system from the heroic instance. The final boss kill is worth 200g more for a crafter than he is for everyone else. And the crafter in the group is guaranteed to get that 200g Nether, whereas everyone else has to hope that something useful drops other than the BoJ.

    If the Nether is BoE, then everyone will roll on it. If it is won by a non-crafter, it goes on the AH. I'm guessing that it will sell for 50-100 g.

    Thus the value of the Nether has decreased from 200 g to maybe 50-100 g, and that wealth is spread out over everyone instead of crafters. Its easy to see why crafters would complain, but also easy to see how this is an improvement overall for the majority of players.

  3. @dinaer

    The crafter paid an arm and a leg to level his skill, and several hundreds (or thousands!) of gold more to get the recipe that would allow him to sell the nether for X gold. If someone chose to have two gathering skills, he has been benefiting economically since day one, without needed investment. So the 'he gets more than me' argument holds no water, in fact from your point of view what this does is putting the non-crafter on the lead once again. And I assure you no one in WoW becomes a crafter to make money, because you don't (apart of prospecting with JC, I guess, but that is hardly 'crafting' anything, is it?)

    As for the items becoming BoE, well... I like the fact that casual people, lots of them will never do a heroic dungeon, will now be able to get their nether for their engineering goggles or their tailoring pants or whatever. I like it a lot, most casual crafters just want to be auto-suficient and carry the gear on them, marked with 'Made by XXX' with pride. For those guys I am very very happy.

    High-end crafters (with access to BoP recipes than drop in raids, mainly) will probably come through un-scatched. Things will shift a bit, but in the end they have to come to you to get the gear made. Prices will stabilize soon enough.

    However, those in the middle who could do their heroics fine, but saw little or no raiding, will have their niche dissapear. Before BC, crafting was a joke. Only very high-end stuff mattered (Lionheart Helm, anyone?). You would only craft stuff fro your own pleasure, because drops were 99% of the time better and easier to get, even from normal instances. With BC we got a step in the right direction, BoP epics meant getting your arse all they way up to 375 skill gave you a nice treat, and also some market possibilities... no real benefit in the long run, but maybe enough cash to feed your vice and be able to afford the mats for your own crafted epics. Bye bye market share. Well, at least the BoP epics are still very nice indeed :)

  4. The trend for patches is: Add another gear-chase.

    Blizz has dangled gear carrots in the later patches.
    For raider/instance players, add Zul-Aman. Open up MH/BT. Add badge gear, and instance dailies.
    For PvP, add S1 & Vindicator gear to the BG rewards, start Arena S3, and a daily quest.
    For casuals, add new quest lines that lead to daily quests, and other 'stuff to do' (fluff to do?) like cooking quests and new patterns, plans, and recipes.

    So in this patch, we'll also see another big gear-chase open up with BOE nethers. Certainly my Engineer and Armorsmith will both have gear-carrots dangled; the new goggles and the top-end breastplate. After all, with all that money from the new dailies, casuals need something to spend it on...

    Best of all, it keeps us all busy, while simultaneously help us forget that it's likely that WotLK is targeted for maybe as early as July -- but certainly for this calendar year. I don't think they care about Christmas holiday sales per-se, since the 10 million subscribers will want the expansion on release day, not on Christmas Day.

    If we were thinking in terms of the WotLK being right around the corner, and that patch 2.4 is the last planned patch before WotLK, we might reason that it was a good time to drop our subscriptions until the release date / gear reset. And we might not come back. But instead, we're kept happily busy chasing rabbits that will likely be replaced before year's end.

    I know it, and understand it, but don't really care as long as I'm having fun along the way.

  5. I think this is just Blizzard preparing for WotLK. With tradable Nethers, people can gear up faster in the short term (which, lets be honest, won't have much of an effect on the expansion, where lv69 greens will suddenly be Kara quality.) If Primal Nethers are BoP, lots of cool craftable stuff will never be crafted again when the expansion hits. Who wants to do heroics (indeed, who is even going to bother buying BC heroic keys for new characters) when the expansion comes out? Instead of obsoleting perfectly good epic patterns, Blizzard is just making them useful in the long term.

    I'm sure we can all look forward to another BoP crafting material in Northrend.

    Also, why does everybody keep saying they're now BoE? They aren't bind-on-anything. They're just items.

  6. I think with new "must have" craftable items requiring Sunwell versions of nethers, they're freeing up the heroic and raid nethers to help lower-end players gear up faster for the new content.

  7. Honestly, the Nether Vortices being BoP is horrible. Inevitabily, a vortex goes to a crafter to craft item A. Crafter who can make item A quits raiding/playing WoW or goes on vacation, Nether Vortex is totally wasted.

    Not sure that I like that people can get them from badges, but it does make it easier for those of us in BT/Hyal to get crafted gear upgrades for recipes that never dropped for your guild.

  8. I was very excited about vortexes losing their BoP quality, because my alt is a blacksmith ret pally who is currently using the tier 2 blacksmithing sword. I raid SSC on my main holy priest (we just downed Vashj for the first time on sunday) and was not really expecting to get my alt her upgraded sword for quite a long time, until we start getting SSC/TK onto farm status.

    With non-BoP vortexes (zenex beat me to nitpicking at you for calling them BoE, as that only applies to equippable items) my pally will be able to simply spend 75 badges or more likely some gold on the AH purchasing her upgrade.

    However, at the same time they're adding a new 150-badge 2h axe that's arguably quite better than the sword I'm hoping to craft =/

    I think it's funny how people get all upset about Blizz making things easier for the casuals to get the gear they worked really hard for. I just think of each patch as a mini-expansion. Sure, we're not getting more levels, but the gear that used to be great is gradually getting phased out, and I think it's great.

    I'm sure my guild will be in Hyjal by the time 2.4 comes out and lifts the attunement requirement, but I think it's good that you're not locked out of ever seeing the awesome end-game content if you haven't been playing 12 hours a day since BC came out.

  9. The question for me really is, "Is this a change stance or just a another method for allowing more players to get their hands on better gear?"

    If they introduce a BoP dropped-from-heroics crafting material in WotLK, they we know it's the latter of my two above listed options. I'm neither promoting nor condemning either, but this does seem quite similar to other methods of "get previously unobtainable loot or unobtainable loot quality much more easily".

    Consider that almost every raid has it's difficulty lowered in one way or another (whether it's actual difficulty like Karazhan or Molten Core, or removing the attunement process), while on the other front they allowed Honor and Marks of Honor to purchase Epic Season 1 gear(and when Season 4 starts, Season 2 gear). It's been a long standing policy to make "older" content more approachable as time goes on.