Tuesday, September 06, 2011

A Blueprint for Endgame: Cataclysm Edition

I've been debating how to structure this post. Should I discuss what I see wrong with the current endgame, and then look at solutions? Or should I present a plan, and explain what I think is wrong with the current endgame through the lens of that plan? I've chosen the latter, but I'm not sure it's the best choice.

I think the pendulum of the raiding endgame has swung a little too far. It needs to be brought back towards Vanilla/TBC. Not all the way, because that would be just crazy. But I think some of the desires and ideals of this current endgame have just not worked out the way they were intended, and should be jettisoned.

So this is my plan of what, as of this point in time, I think the ideal endgame for WoW should look like.

1. One Raid Size: 15-man

This is going to tie in with Point 2, but with two raid sizes there are just too many variations. 25-mans are dying because 10-mans are so much easier to organize. There are conflicts over abilities like Chain Heal. You cannot guarantee a full complement of buffs/debuffs in 10-man. You can't even assume that there will be one of each class.

15-man is a good compromise. It's only a bit larger than 10-man, keeping down administrative complexity, but enough that a raid will carry a good cross-section of classes. You can tune it for 2-3 tanks, 9-10 DPS, and 3 healers. That makes it match 5-mans. We can have three tank fights once again.

2. Three Difficulties: Easy, Normal, Heroic

I think it's pretty clear that raiding needs an Easy difficulty setting. Right now, Blizzard fudges it with buffs and nerfs to old content.  Heroic is necessary to challenge the Royalty and Aristocracy guilds, while Normal is needed for Gentry and Bourgeois guilds.

But when you go lower than that, or when you try to turn raiding into transient content via pickup groups or an automatically generated group with a Raid Finder, you're going to need an Easy setting. I don't really want to see Normal mode gutted like BWL and BoT were.

To go back to point 1, right now there are 4 permutations of raids: 10-Normal, 10-Heroic, 25-Normal, 25-Heroic. If we introduce a third difficulty setting, that would make 6 permutations. One raid size brings the number of permutations down to 3, making balancing even easier for the devs than the current situation.

3. No Valor Points/Badges

If you want raid loot, you kill bosses. No boss kills, no loot.

All these point systems just warp the game and force people to do content that they aren't really interested in. It even spoils the lower levels of content with bored people just in it for the points.

If you want to have Justice points, and have the previous tier of gear available on a vendor, that's different. But the current tier of loot drops from bosses, as it did in Vanilla.

4. Only One Item Level of Gear Per Tier

Honestly, what has multiple item levels per tier really gained us? Pretty much just massive stat inflation across the board, and non-iconic tier sets. Royalty and Aristocracy guilds enter the next tier in higher level gear anyways. Their gear only increases by one jump, just like everyone else. If everyone started at the same item level, it really would not make much of a difference.

The major counter-argument to this is that heroics need the higher item level to attract people. I don't think this is the case. For the majority of guilds at this level, it's really about the challenge, bragging rights, and recruiting.

If this had been the case in Cataclysm, we would have seen:

BoT/BWL = i359
Firelands = i372
Deathwing = i395

I think that's a much more sensible scheme than watching Deathwing loot top out at some crazy number.

5. Quantity of Loot Varies With Difficulty

Easy drops 1 piece per boss. Normal drops 3 pieces. Heroic drops 5 pieces. Additionally, Tier Tokens don't drop in Easy, only Normal and Heroic (1 token in Normal, 2 in Heroic).

That gives lots of incentive to move into Normals and Heroics. You don't want people to wallow in Easy. If 1 piece is absolutely too low, maybe 2/4/6 would be better.

Right now, gear is a bit too easy to come by. Pushing the scarcity pendulum back towards Vanilla would make upgrading more interesting.

6. Flexible Lock-Outs

I like the current Normal mode lockout system. I think the extra restrictions on Heroic mode are proving to be unnecessary. As long as each character only kills each boss once per week, I think it's fine to allow people the maximum flexibility when making groups.

Don't bother with gating Heroic/Normal with Normal/Easy mode, let the guilds go nuts on their chosen difficulty from the start.

7. Separate Achievements More

Right now, I think Achievements are too focused on Heroic mode. What I would do is have the mount achievement be more aimed at Normal mode. The mount achievement would require beating the instance on Normal, and doing all the "special achievements" for each fight on Normal or Heroic.

At the moment there's a bit of a conflict between Heroic mode and the special achievements. You can really only do one or the other, and the fact that Heroic mode offers better loot often makes the special achievements a one-night thing.  I think that making the mount achievement doable without Heroics would make it easier for Gentry and lower Aristocracy to get. It would separate out the rewards more, rather than clustering them at the very high end.

The title achievement would require doing the instance on Heroic mode. If the final boss is going to be a "super-fight", you might want two titles or rewards, one for killing 6/7 Heroic, and one for killing the end boss on Heroic.

Edit: This didn't come across quite the way I intended. In the current endgame, there are essentially two Meta-Achievements with rewards for a raid tier. Both Metas require heroic modes. I'm advocating having one Meta for Normal modes (the one with the "special achievements") and one Meta for Heroic modes (basically beat the instance on Heroic). Each Meta has a reward, but what the reward is doesn't really matter. If you want to reserve the mount for the Heroic Meta, and have the title for the Normal Meta, that's fine.

But the basic idea is to have one Meta-Achievement for Normal mode, and one Meta-Achievement for Heroic mode.


So those are my suggestions for endgame. A lot of  the current innovations in raid administration (size, lockout, difficulty) are kept, but gear moves back to a more old-school Vanilla style model.


  1. love this idea, hope the devs see it

  2. I approve.

    I honestly can't find a single thing I don't like about this plan.

    Good stuff ^^

  3. > 2. Three Difficulties: Easy, Normal, Heroic

    You should call them something like:
    - story mode
    - elite mode
    - insane mode

    At the moment the name indicates that "heroic mode" is where all the glory is and playing on "normal" is for the simple man. It should be the other way around. It should indicate that it is perfectly fine to play the easiest mode and only if you're crazy enough you do the harder modes.

    You (the game designer) don't have to constantly tease people who don't clear the hardest content.

    > 3. No Valor Points/Badges

    I agree. Badges should be for heroics exclusively (and not reward any trade goods like gems).

    But badges should not reward the previous tier. Player who prefer heroics over raids shouldn't get the left overs. Create a own selection of items for them. Make them even an epic set, like T0.5. That might add some work for the designers but, after all, they pay 13 Euro per month too.

    And these items should not be worse then raid items. You should raid because you like to raid. Not for the superior loot. (And if raid loot would not trivialize heroic 5 mans, like they did in TBC, you would even have a small challenge for off nights.)

    > 5. Quantity of Loot Varies With Difficulty

    Bad idea. You have the same situation as in 4. Royalty and Aristocracy guilds enter the next tier with a BiS set, the other guilds won't. Which, again, reduces the difficulty of heroic.

    If you're running for the challenge and don't need better gear, as you said in 4., then you certainly don't need more loot.

  4. The only idea I really like out of this is the 15 man raiding. Makes sense in terms of buffs and organization.

    However I do not support the idea of multiple difficulties on the same raid model. As some people have said in previous blogs, Heroic Modes feel like an annoyance rather then a continuation of content. It is like beating a single player game and then turning it onto hard and then legendary. Well some people enjoy this they are quite a bit smaller number then the people who just beat it once.

    What I would suggest is multiple raids at a given patch of various difficuly and length. When you kill Deathwing for the first time you shouldn't be sitting there thinking to yourself, ok now lets try the real version, you should be thinking, I just beat the toughest creature in this entire game. Personally i would rather see 5% of the playerbase get a kill in 6 months then 30% on trivial content while the rest struggle on the real version of the kill.

    As for dungeons I would like to see a Raid equivalent difficuly added. This would allow people who want hard content to do it and allow people who want to more or less grind gear in an easier heroic to do so.

    As for the story mode I would like to see this implmented as a side sort of epic quest. Basically you can see what is going on Lore wise in the raid without actually needing to be raiding. Think like killing Val'kyr as you watch the Lich King fight done with Npcs. Obviously story mode would unlock as bosses are downed in a server so people are seeing the kill before it actually happens.

  5. I'm the hardmode 25 raider, and from your post the only bragging will have with this design is "faster loot acquisition" of the actually same items?
    Challenge is the reward indeed, but it only lasts for so long until you beat the bosses.

    other points are fine, but there needs to be the distinction, i can settle for aesthetics, fine.

  6. @Rohan: This is absolutely an excellent case of thinking in the box, and I must say it is well thought out. Also, by not separating the gear, it makes it easier to transition easy guilds to normal, and normal to Heroic. There is one issue with that, that I'll get to in a bit.

    @Kring: while I agree with story mode, the idea of elite and insane doesn't seem to fit the world of warcraft lingo. Thought to theme must also be included when coming up with ideas.

    One thing the Kring brings up is that if the loot quality is equal, than what is the point of Heroic? So the question would be if Heroic would need some sort of gear that is "of the next tier" in quality, perhaps from the end boss, to qualify in player's minds as being worth it.

    Perhaps, if Blizzard begins implementing a loot slow down, they will see a return of people raiding for raiding's sake, instead of for the loot.

  7. Love these ideas. If you haven't already I would suggest maybe copying (or pasting a link to, if it's not against the code of conduct) this on the official forums.

  8. I agree with pretty much all of the points.

    There's only two remarks I have:
    1) 15-man raiding sounds like a good idea. Maybe it is, even. But do you remember the transition from 40 man to 25mans in TBC? Many guilds broke up over that. Though at least these days we don't have the weird 10-to-25-man hump that we had in TBC with progressing from Karazhan to the other dungeons.

    2) I'm not sure about the three-tiered model. Some people will complain that you'll get even more boring rehashes going through the three tiers, and you already have enough these days going from normal to heroic. That's true, but on the other hand, if you didn't have that progression, you'd farm the exact same content too, and not even have these small changes. So I guess I agree that a three-tiered model might be ok.
    No loot progression might be a different problem. It is definitely nice to get some tangible benefits with your bragging rights. Special "fluff" items might be a solution to this: differently colored sets, mounts, etc.

    Also: I assume you meant BWD and not BWL? ;)

  9. "All these point systems just warp the game and force people to do content that they aren't really interested in. It even spoils the lower levels of content with bored people just in it for the points."

    The problem that this system is supposedly trying to address is that otherwise there is no way for new raiders to get their entry level gear, since current raiders are no longer running the earlier raid content. That said, I think the dungeon - and soon raid - finder may have addressed this problem. When you open it up to cross servers, there should be enough new 85's to get groups (at least comparable to what we have while leveling).

    Meanwhile, I notice that your model does not discuss storyline, which Blizzard still restricts to raiders (LK in Wrath, Sinestra and Ragnaros for heroic only in Cataclysm). Any thoughts?

  10. Interesting ideas - I don't agree with all of them but they're interesting nonetheless.

    Regarding loot, I would keep Valor points. Whether to only drop them in raids or outside of raids too, is a different thing but I would like the Valor points to be kept as a way for raiders to fill the slots they didn't get any drop for. (Reputation and BoEs are an option for this too.)

    On the loot from easy/normal/heroic, I wonder whether it's a sufficient incentive. Assuming a group progressing through easy to normal to heroic modes, it seems the less they need the gear, the more will they get. I'm afraid it will be tricky to convince guilds to progress further instead of cleaning their current difficulty.

    I have to admit I like the easy tier idea. Maybe the easy raids could follow from normal dungeons, while heroic dungeons' difficulty would be increased so they would feel as small raids. (Of course, their size would have to be decreased too, for example 2 bosses w/ fair amount of trash or 3 with little trash so they can be finished without huge time commitment.) I think that WoW is missing PvE content that only requires short sessions but is challenging and this would certainly help in that regard.

  11. I do like points for older armor, it helps you catch up alts and new players, but I absolutely HATE that tier sets are buyable with points. Make all tier pieces token-only and drop off of bosses. Points gear should be a "generic" armor set. That brings it back to tier sets having that "I'm a special flower" factor that they used to be. Make it play out similar to T9, where all plate wearers share an armor set and raid plate drops would match that look, but tier itself would be unique per class and only available from actually raiding the content.

    I am a fan of the easy/normal/heroic idea, especially with heroics being available right off. Would aleviate much of the "artificially recycled" feeling that exists in the raids currently.

  12. 3. remember they did badges because people were doing content they didn't want because random loot is random and some people get nothing. I once raided an instance for 6 months for no drops.

  13. Nice read :)
    Like the 15-man suggestion A LOT... That is about how many raiders are in my guild and we are constantly rotating people around.

    I do not agree with not having a way to buy any gear though. Maybe this is because I am a priest... Have you seen the loot for healing priests this exp? There is very, very little cloth gear with spirit other than the tier pieces. It is quite frustrating.

  14. I love the idea of 15-man raids. It's the perfect size and simplifies logistics of forming a raid in a good way.

    While I don't feel that the point system for gear should go a way completely, it should play a lesser role. I like being able to fill slots for which I haven't gotten a lucky drop, but I feel that most of the best gear should only be available from raiding. While I raid primarily for the challenge, we DO want to feel special for having defeated raid bosses, and gear is a thing that does this in a more visible way than achievements. Well - until transmogrification hits, then who knows how visible this will be. People should not be entitled to the best gear in the game, any more than they are entitled to the best achievements.

    As far as I'm concerned, the easy mode is when content is replaced by the next tier or expansion, so there needn't be 3 different modes. However, I do think there should be separate achievements for different raid sizes, and heroic modes should be more interesting than increase in boss damage and health pools and a couple mechanics, and less binary (accomplishing a challenging feat on "normal" mode vs. toggling a switch for heroic mode).

  15. > while I agree with story mode, the idea of elite
    > and insane doesn't seem to fit the world of warcraft lingo.
    > Thought to theme must also be included when coming up with ideas.

    I agree and a professional lore team can probably come up with better names.

    My argument was that the names should be chosen in a way that they indicate that doing the easier modes is perfectly fine and that the hard mode is only for the best players. At the moment the name implies that everyone should do the hard modes, and hard mode only lore bosses add to this.

    A good example is "the Insane". The name immediately indicates that whoever got that feat invested an ungodly amount of work but it's not expected from you to do that too.

    > One thing the Kring brings up is that if the
    > loot quality is equal, than what is the point
    > of Heroic?

    I don't know. Do you play all your single player games on easy? :) Sometimes you just like to get challenged.

    We just expect that harder instances must reward better loot because that's how we got trained. I think we should really ask our self if that's the correct way or if it causes more problems then it fixes.

    > Perhaps, if Blizzard begins implementing a loot
    > slow down, they will see a return of people raiding
    > for raiding's sake, instead of for the loot.

    I would love that.

    And not only raiding. The same is true for everything else. Like running a heroic for a heroics sake and not the daily points.

  16. Speaking as a non-raider, I really approve of the removal of badges for acquiring current tier gear. When you get those badges only for completing the instance, you get a boatload of boss skipping and "gogogogo!" crap in instances.

    Would I like to have the current tier gear? Sure. But I know the easiest way to get that to happen would be to actually go raiding.

    This is just like PvP, where if you want the current set of gear, you run Arenas and Rated BGs.

  17. Giveme sent me a comment via email. I'm posting it here for him.

    Blizzard has a hard job at hand. This matter of making the endgame interesting, accessible and rewarding for everyone is not an easy balancing job.

    I keep wondering if all three need to be intertwined as much as they currently are. I think it's wrong how the gear inflation between different 'level' of raiding impacts the game.

    Currently when a new tier arrives the previous heroic raiders have a gear advantage on the normal raiders. And this advantage is actually quite big. It makes their progres in the new content easier and faster. Which in turn means they'll access the new hearoic level faster. And it also means they have an easier task in 'grinding' extra tokens in the old content and dungeons, even moreso if that old content get's nerfed.

    As a 10 man raider I allways regretted seeing 25 man raiders outgearing us. So when Blizzard decided to make droplevel's identical between 10 and 25 man versions I rejoiced.

    These days I have the same feeling about heroic versus normal raids. The game is setup is such that ilvl matters. There's no way arround that. I don't begrudge the heroic raiders their loot. But it does make for an unfair situation. If all they were after was the achievement of having done the heroic version then the gear level would not matter.

    More loot like you propose would keep the different level's rewarding, but only up to the poiint when someone is all geared up. Better loot keeps being rewarding but brings with itself a problem of inflation between different levels.

    What I would like to see implemented is that when heroic raiders enter a normal version raid their heroic gear get's automatically downgraded to the normal version. It would mean that when entering new content they would have normal verions of gear and would not have an extra lead. It would give them a bit more of a workout as well as making balancing easier for the dev team. Their gear would still be better for being more 'complete' and more optimised, but they would not be entering new content with gear allready of the same quality as what drops there.

    To me this would make the normal versions more valluable as well, and by that make it more rewarding by not being as easilly farmed by people outgearing it. It would make new content easier to balance since dev teams would opnly need to take one gear level into account when designing it. Even average players these days do look at site like worl of logs to see how they are doing compared to top players. But it's hard to judge how you're doing once you realise those top 100 outgear you by quite a big margin.

    In context of your proposition they could extent this to the easy version as well off course.

    It might be interesting to see what happens if heroic raids give the same loot as normal raids. Make them harder by having more mechanics and more powerfull mchanics, but let the boss keep his same number of hp etc. I read a lot of hardcore raiders are in there for the kill, not the loot. I do wonder if that's true however. But it would certainly make balancing easier for the devs. And it would make higher level's of raiding more accessible to everyone. If you're geared for one you're geared for all and it all comes down to being able to execute the mechanics of the harder raid. To me that sounds fine. But I do know a lot of people are in fact very concerned about their gear ….

    To make things accessible an easy mode might indeed be a good idea. I'd say easy shouldn't necessally be about lower numbers, but about less 'one shot' mechanics. I'm not sure how I feel about totally removing valor point rewards for dungeons. It would certainly remove the need to do them at all for many people. The rewards are there for to keep people playing them. I'd be happy to see them limited to say 3/week instead of 7/week though.

  18. Thanks for this post! I don't agree with all of it (for example, I feel 10-mans serve a valuable role as a managable raid size for guilds full of busy people), but it's all interesting stuff, and a lot of it is very smart indeed.

    We're featuring it over on the Melting Pot today along with a couple of similarly old-school-reconsidery posts!

  19. I like some of your ideas, I think others are poorly thought out. I'll handle them one at a time.

    1: Good idea, for me at least. I like the idea of a 15 man group, but for a lot of people, it would be just as alienating as if blizzard simply scrapped 25 mans.

    2: this would be a good idea as long as you don't implement idea four. Giving people something puggable beyond BH is ok. That said, I don't see how this is swinging more towards Vanilla, the idea of raids being puggable is purely a wrath phenomenon. Even tackling Karazahn is a pure trade chat pug was hell.

    3: Removing Valor from heroics. Sure. The adverse effects it would have on the heroic queue would be hilarious, but it'd save me a lot of time. Removing valor entirely? Bad idea. The whole purpose behind that implementation was to smooth out the spikes in the loot lottery. If you want to return Valor to it's original early BC distribution, that's fine by me.

    4: No deal. Harder Encounters that do not have commesurately greater rewards lay fallow by all but a few raid groups. How many guilds turned off the ICC buff to kill H LK? I know of two that did it, in the whole world. Paragon and Starz. Two guilds in the whole world that did something simply to say they did it hard. I don't understand why people have such a pet peeve about this topic. They're just numbers. 10 can be 1,000 which can be 1,000,000. All that matters is the proportion. As long as the balance is correct, the numbers don't matter.

    5: Yay, more maelstrom crystals if I bang my head against heroic mode! Quantity of loot is not going to be enough. There's a reason why the added quantity of loot, gold, and VP in 25 mans still isn't enough to get most raid groups to try 25 man. Most guilds running 25 man difficulty ran it for one reason, because they were a 25 man guild before, and they want to stay a 25 man guild. The incidence of new 25 man raid teams is extremely rare.

    6: I'd agree here. Although it was worth it just for the laughs when Ensidia hit H Magmaw 10 that first week, and realized they couldn't switch to the killable 25 man version.

    7: That undermines the whole purpose behind the mounts. Would you also see the Gladiator's Mounts distributed amongst 1500 teams that could managed to kill an opponent on all of the pillars of Ring of Valor? The raiding mounts were designed to be the PvE counterpart to the PvP mounts which dated back to BC. They're the reward for being the best. The PvE mounts are already distributed to a lot more people proportionately speaking because they leave off the most difficult encounters. Making them more easily accessable to groups that lack the skill to progress in heroic raid content would completely undermine their purpose.

  20. 1. That might work. The only caveat would be that the smaller guilds would need to be able to fill their raids with people from the ramdom raid finder. Otherwise it does nothing to bring back the "casual" raiders. Blizz created a new unserved demographic of "casual dungeon/raid heroes" in WotLK that left in droves. If they don't bring them back, they're not solving the "big problem" on the table.

    Easy - Heroic 5-mans, the previous raid tier, story questlines and dailies that support the current tier of raid content (Sunwell dailies, Firelands dailies, etc). This is where the bulk of the subscribers spend most of their time. It's meant to be engaging, not challenging.

    Normal - The current "Normal" mode raids. Considering how few people completed T11 by 4.1, it was way too difficult. People on the forums may disagree with that assessment, but 400K+ former subs say otherwise.

    Heroic - Same as present. In fact, I think they should make it harder because these people piss and moan about how easy EVERYTHING is. Blizz has decided that the reward for being a hardmode raider is that they get to play with all the shiny new toys first, but they eventually have to share them with everyone else. If the "casuals" don't have the "right" to "ruin" other people's heroic runs with their "special snowflake" specs and gear choices, they these people don't get "special snowflake" gear, mounts, and titles. As a group, they don't bring enough money to the table and still pay for "easy" content they "hate", so their outcries are rendered moot by their own actions.

    3. I'm pretty sure this isn't going away. Otherwise, there's no way to get the new hardmode subscribers geared up in a decent amount of time. Let alone "normals" and re-subs. Plus, this is the only way to force "elites" to mingle with the "unwashed masses". Mixing social groups is good for the game overall anyway. Badge farming is a big part of this. Plus, it's the primary "progression" mechanic for 90%+ of the population.

    4. Until they can find a way to better tune their raids for the appropriate difficulty level, this is going to have to stay. Currently, the best (read: easiest) way for them to distinguish between normal and hard mode is to jack up the hp on the boss and make it hit like a truck. Thsi requires different gear.

    5. I don't see this changing anytime soon. The top-end groups already complain about content being too easy (read: short). If you give them more drops, they'll just complain sooner.

    6 & 7.
    Hard mode raids probably should remain gated by normal mode content because:
    - They need to gear up for hardmodes somewhere.
    - Normal modes are trivial for advanced groups
    - Everybody needs to grind SOMETHING, and this is part of their grind
    - This is only a "problem" for the first 2-3 weeks of a new tier anyway

    Hardmode guilds don't raid because they enjoy raiding, they do it for the ego hook of loot and progression which both ultimately equal social status. The only time you'll catch a serious hardmode raider in old content is for BiS trinkets and the like. That's because there's not enough "social currency" in old content. The only thing left for then is grinding current content. Blizz encourages people to complete the same 25 quests everyday, so why wouldn't they want people to complete the same raids every week.

  21. @The Renaissance Man: You don't really think that the raid achievement mounts are comparable to the gladiator mounts, do you?

  22. this is basically everything totalbiscuit was saying needed fixing with the game for 5 years before he stopped caring about WoW any more.

  23. I realize this isn't the normal feedback you get, but as an English teacher I figured someone should say it. I think the structure you chose was a far superior option to the other you proposed. By providing solutions before mentioning problems, your post (I accidentally wrote essay first time around) comes across in a positive format, both in that it provides the reader with solutions ahead of time and frames your ideas in a hopeful tone instead of a complaining one. You definitely made the right choice from my point of view.

    As for the topics, I agree with all but one; I don't think there needs to be an "easy" mode to heroics. I also don't think there should be nerfs. Simply by adding a new level of content, you nerf the previous dungeons because the gear level will shift upwards. Early bosses in new content are frequently easier to kill than late bosses in older content (compare the first encounters in Crusader's Coliseum with Algalon from Ulduar), so more BOE gear and early raid drops become available, giving the buff needed to perhaps overcome the old dungeons.

    In fact, the nerfs themselves often speak towards making older dungeons obsolete; too often Blizzard discards old content instead of finding a way to keep it valuable (and I don't mean ZA/ZG recycling here).

    Anyway, I think all your other points a very valid, and I see you hitting on your no VP thing again, which I totally support. Dailies and VP are a major element of the "should be" aspect of WoW, which sucks the fun away pretty quickly.

    Great post.

  24. @Kring

    That was their original purpose, and if they were removed when the next tier is released, as the T7 Proto Drakes were, they'd be comperably rare.

  25. All great ideas. The only thing I disagree with is easy, normal, heroic. I think that will create a stigma and further segregate different crowds of players that exist in WOW. Although it's not very elegant, I think current system of "nerf when it becomes outdated" is better. Yes, it makes the old content trivial, but old content always becomes trivial anyway. For example, level 70 raid is trivial to level 85s no matter how you slice it.

  26. I love the idea of 15 man raids, however I support the current badge system. My guild raids 4 nights a week however because of my job(Firefighter) and family(wife and two kids) I can only commit to two nights a week of raiding. I give them 100% commitment so it's no big deal for them. I rely on running dungeons to keep my gear level equal to those who raid 4 nights a week. I also don't mind the normal and heroic modes. Sort of used to the system now.

  27. 15s would actually be perfect for our guild, though I'm sure it would be jarring for others.

    I have to disagree about having only one tier of gear.

    Take for instance, I love working night shift. However, I have a family now, and though I enjoy that shift, I would never see my family if I had to work it. I'd need some sort of incentive (higher pay) to be persuaded to work that shift.

    For heroic mode, I enjoy the challenge. But if I'm doing it for the same gear that I did the regular mode on, I'd probably complete the normal tier and suspend my account until the next patch, because there's just not enough incentive for me to repeat the same thing, only harder, for no reward whatsoever other than digital bragging rights, which aren't really worth it in the grand scheme of things.

    Is it unfair that heroic players get better gear? Is it unfair that a night-shifter gets paid more than day shifter, or that your boss gets paid more than you because he has more responsibility? I don't see what the big deal is.

    Honestly, the really great, hardcore players would probably be able to complete hard mode in whatever gear they want. There have been accounts of people in Wrath raiding in blues just to show that it's not about the gear. There was the achievement in Ulduar to do the content in I believe i213 gear. The elite guilds could do it if they want.

    Frankly, the heroic gear doesn't really give our guild an advantage over the casuals or normals or whatever you wish to call them, because we still have the occasional space cadet standing in stuff he shouldn't be. All the heroic raiders on my server seem to progress about the same each tier, whether we started from scratch in blue gear or we finished the last in all heroic.

    As someone already mentioned, there were only 2 guilds that turned off the ICC buff to kill the Lich King. That's what, 50 players out of the millions who play this game? You are lumping everyone who does heroic modes into the same group as those 50 players. We like the extra challenge. We like the prestige of being one of the few Alliance guilds on our server to push through that much content. We like the gear. But we aren't that good, that we just blaze right into heroic the day it comes out. It doesn't give us an unfair advantage, and I think Blizzard would have already changed things had that been the case.

  28. A blueprint indeed ... awesome post!

  29. very good looking and well thought out post. a lot of these ideas seem to make a lot of sense and don't seem terribly difficult to implement. I may suggest posting something(either a link or the whole article) into the forums so that the devs are more likely to see it.

  30. Marvelous ideas! Go!

  31. 15-man raid size does sound like an improvement, but only because 25-mans were too difficult logistically and 10-mans have deficiencies you pointed out.
    You are trying to address the ability for the casuals to see content, which is great. But why have 3 modes.
    Any person that says they raid hard content only for the prestige is lying. They want it all. They want the titles, the special gear, the speical mount and the items only they can get and they want to stand around AFK in town showing them off for hours on end. Otherwise, you wouldn't see them doing this.... guess what... they do it. And not only this, but most of them want to be sure Blizzard doesn't nerf content so you can't have them unless you do what they did to get it. I have seen many forum posts that claim otherwise, but I won't believe it for one second. It gives them a sense of power to poo poo on the noobs.
    I agree there is gear inflation, but doing raids for raids sake will not be enough. Not enough of bragables in that equation. If they want to split raid levels, it should be from the start. That is, if you enter a normal and defeat a boss, you can't get the heroic achieves, mounts, etc. That would truly seperate the elites because they have to start heroic first and always until they finish the raid.
    On lockouts. Players should be locked to bosses loot, not anything else. They can redo raids over and over per week but only get loot once. This would open the door to re-runs each week to train other members or help others.
    As for Blizzard, they'd do much better to appease the masses than the elites. However, they play the game too... and I fathom they aren't "masses" type players. So you can't really win.