Accessibility, Not Sustainability
This piece is a contribution to the shared topic feature of Blog Azeroth on preparing for Wrath of the Lich King.
Our friend Amava recently wrote about gear accessibility in Wrath of the Lich King. He observed how Blizzard has been changing the way gear is made available to the masses as the game through badges and other forms of rewards. This accessibility allowed those who started late in WoW to catch up more easily to those who have played since the release of Burning Crusade.
When I started playing almost a year ago, I’d laugh if you were to tell me that I would be raiding Karazhan almost weekly and taking pokes at Gruul and Magtheridon. Burning Crusade was only 7 months old at the time. I started playing in the days of Patch 2.2, before the boost in experience rewards through questing and the removal of attunements. At the time, everything related to Outland seemed overwhelming. I was only familiar with 5-man instances. Any more than that would be chaos in my head.
Fast forward another 7 months. I entered Karazhan, received my first epic gear and my first badges. At this point, I’ve finally felt confident enough to start Heroics and settled myself into the possibility of regular raiding. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I may never see Hyjal or Black Temple. I’m still hoping for Serpentshrine Cavern and The Eye of Tempest Keep.
But now what? At this point, the only upgrades I can get to gear is from raid content, and that’s mostly epic-to-epic upgrades. Other upgrades will come from Badge of Justice rewards. Nothing I can do through questing will give me that kind of feeling when I used to constantly find things to replace my gear. Sometimes I find that disheartening because questing had been the cheese keeping me in WoW since the beginning. I wasn’t in it with the dreams of becoming an endgame player. I’m afraid that this is slowly leading me to the path of eventually feeling apathy towards WoW because I have little motivation to quest now.
I could blame myself for progressing too fast, but that’s not really the point. Almost everything in Heroic runs nowadays get sharded. Those who are stuck in Karazhan can get some of the best items from the Shattered Sun Offensive. The point is Blizzard has undoubtedly made this lame duck period before Wrath as a way to bring everyone to the same level. Provide easier access to everyone for similar gear. In my opinion, this is why raiding has become less sustainable than before. What’s the point in raiding when you can get some upgrades through other means (badges or PvP)? Even my guild is barely meeting the ability to field 25 people for a raid every time. And raiding sustainability is oftentimes related to guild sustainability.
I have no doubt that Wrath can renew my interest in my cheese, but we’re at least 5 months away from it. In the time being, what can I do to fight apathy? I’m hoping I will find the answer in Azeroth through my warrior.