Thursday, February 19, 2009

Ulduar Item Level

I recently stumbled upon this thread from a few days ago about the ilevel of gear from Ulduar. In summary:

Naxx10 < Naxx 25 = Uld 10 < Uld 25

I have no problem with the first and last parts of the equation (well, OK, I do). It's the middle that gets my goat.

My first reaction was shock. What are they thinking? Why would anyone run uld10 more than once (except maybe for the new tier8 models) when they could just pug 15 more people and get equivalent gear from naxx25 much more easily (and likely already have)? I had thought that Blizzard was serious about making 10-man raiding a legitimate alternative path, but instead they appear to consider it an afterthought or a ghetto for "casual losers" or something. It doesn't seem right that no matter how good you are at 10-man raiding, your gear will never surpass that of the most addled, leeching scrub to ever get carried by a cruddy 25-man guild.

I'm not at all saying that uld10 should give rewards as good as uld25. I'm also not saying that uld10 should drop gear a full tier higher than what drops in naxx25. What I'm suggesting is that uld10 be at least a minor upgrade over naxx25, and the gear gap between the tiers be reduced. At naxx level, the gear gap is nonsensical considering the ease of naxx25. At the ulduar level and beyond, a full tier gear gap only acts as a barrier to entry for new raiders and leaves no incentive for 25-man guilds to do 10-man runs on the side.

What I'm asking for is, instead of this:

Naxx10: ilevel 200
Naxx25: ilevel 213
Uld10: ilevel 213
Uld25: ilevel 226

Do this:

Naxx10: ilevel 200
Naxx25: ilevel 213
Uld10: ilevel 219
Uld25: ilevel 226

Bam. Suddenly, you've given an incentive for 25-man guilds to run Uld 10 on the side for minor upgrades to help them do Uld25 without requiring it by making the Uld10 gear a tier higher. Yes, the best-geared 25 man guilds will STOMP uld10 for upgrades. So what? They are minor upgrades for only certain slots, and they can only do it once a week anyway (and all the better if "hard modes" are based more on skill than gear). 25-man guilds could just as easily ignore Uld10, instead spending every raid night working toward much better best-in-slot and prestige items from Uld25. Meanwhile, raiders focused on 10-mans would still find minor upgrades over their easily-pugged Naxx25 pieces.

And while you're at it, tune the instance to be extremely challenging to a group in full Naxx10 gear, so those of us with some Naxx25 don't just blow through it.


I could see how some could not like this idea, and I'm open to the fact that it's a matter of opinion. For me, the idea that some terribad scrub who got carried through 25s would have gear that is statistically equivalent to the Ulduar 10 gear that I'm anticipating will be a whole lot harder to obtain . . . it's hard to accept. I'm never going to join a 25-man guild again, because they all inevitably lead to drama, loot whoring, power mongering, and recruitment of leeching idiots or drama queens just to fill spots. My small 10-man guild is a tight-knit group of friends with the same basic attitudes, and we make the most elite group of raiding mercenaries I've ever seen outside of a hardcore 25-man guild like Ensidia. Who else do you know that successfully earned an Amani War Bear without ever setting foot in a tier 6 instance? We're on the brink of Sarth 3D 10 man even though we have little 25-man loot. Sure we aren't as devoted or experienced as the people who cleared that stuff a few weeks after the xpac launched. They deserve some props for their accomplishment. But I think we deserve at least some reward for being a small group of excellent raiders. We should not be merely equally geared to people who either don't give a crap about raiding or aren't capable of learning and just get carried through the easiest raids ever put into the game.

Anyway, I can see that making each 10-man tier of the same ilevel as the previous tier of 25 man content will start to make more sense down the road. It's just wonky right now because naxx 25 is so ridonkulously easy. I'm going to feel less insulted when my Icecrown10 gear (or whatever tier 9 is) matches the other guys' Uld25 gear, because hopefully clearing Uld25 will actually mean something, instead of being the trivial cluster&%$* of naxx25.

And since uld25 is tuned for naxx25 gear and uld10 is tuned for naxx10, at least uld25 will actually be harder than uld10, unlike how it's the other way around for most of naxx. If the difficulty is actually harder, then it makes sense for better gear to drop. Just having to corral 15 more people for naxx is an added hassle, but it's not enough to justify an entire tier of gear. Sorry.

As I've said in the past, my favorite solution is to mix the tiers a bit more. I previously proposed that the first 2 bosses in each wing of naxx keep dropping gear of the current ilevel, but the end bosses of each wing drop gear from a tier higher (like KT does). That reduces the gap between the tiers while still giving the 25ers the best-in-slot gear and the prestige. But it equalizes things more because if you are able to beat the tougher bosses in 10, at least you can keep up with those scrubs who can only farm the easy bosses in 25. Meanwhile, non-fail 25 man groups have an exclusive tier to themselves, but only as a reward for actual success at harder content.

Happily, I anticipate that Blizzard will be using a similar concept, only instead of dividing the gear by boss, they'll instead be rolling the better gear into the "hard-mode" concept. Most of the bosses in Uld have variable levels of difficulty. It looks like we'll end up seeing exactly what I was asking for: the weaker 10-man players (unable to do hard modes) at the bottom, with good 10-man players stepping up (by clearing 10-man hard modes) to be evenly geared with weak 25-man raiders (who can't do the hard modes) and the then the best 25-man raid guilds getting the prestige items for 25-man hard modes.

Sounds great to me. So, I'll wait for more specific information before I have a tantrum and threaten to boycott Ulduar. But please, please Blizzard, don't blow this by giving skilled Uld10 raiders gear that's merely equal to what illiterate comatose amputee chimps can faceroll for in naxx 25.


Raitin said...

While I do generally agree that people can more easily pug into a Naxx-25 and get gear with little to no effort, I don't think it happens so often to cause such hate. I'm in a 25-man Guild and if we can't get 25 people online (or not enough of a certain role) then we run 10-mans. We (except in some circumstances with our sister-Guild) will never pug people for raids. We've cleared everything except Sarth+2D and Sarth+3D, but only because they haven't been attempted.
I do agree that there should be more to differ between the tiers/mans. Your ratio looks good, the idea of having the end bosses drop higher tier'd loot instead of just KT sounds great. I'd be all up for that.
It really is Blizz's fault that pug 25-mans will succeed more than pug 10-mans, not the lazy gamer taking advantage of this mistake.
I think we are on the same page and you'll agree with me: If you don't want to pug, simply don't stick with the people you love playing with and the content you enjoy.

Ixobelle said...

the point is this:

You and I run 10 and 25 naxx, some people are in tiny little guilds that can't get 25 people together. (they're out there, trust me)

Those people were the ones who Kara was a godsend for, and they ran kara every week because that was their guild's raid. Not to farm 22 badges in 2.5 hours.

going from naxx 10 (their naxx) to Ulduar 10 (their Ulduar) is going to be 'one notch up' on the ladder.

I think it's silly, and you think it's silly, but hell... if there was a 40 man naxx today, you and I would also probably be running that as well.

we're teh hardcorez, yo/

Hatch said...

To clarify, I don't assume that every person, or even the majority of people, who raid naxx 25 are scrubs/leeches/terribads. But with the current ease of naxx 25, in my experience there are a ton of people who either can't play or don't care to try who are getting carried to what is right now best-in-slot gear.

More people in 25s being carried is due to two things working together: the gear is better, so leeches just skip naxx 10 (and often level 80 instances and heroics! Believe me, you'll see this a LOT nowadays) to get to the good stuff. And in 25s there's more room for bad players than in 10s (except on thaddius and KT, basically). In a 10 man you can still win if 3 people fail, but in order to reach the same percentage of failure in a 25 man you can have 8 people fail. So they are just numerically more common.

Oh, and I forgot the 3rd factor: with raiding suddenly being so easy, new "raiding" guilds are spawning so fast that we're going to need to Construct More Overlords. And those guilds are only interested in filling 25 slots asap. No matter how little you care about doing well, no matter how little effort you put in or skill you have, it's trivial to get into a "raiding" guild that will bring your misspecced character in quest greens to naxx25.

I do NOT hate people for doing 25s. And I am totally cool with GOOD 25 man groups getting better items than my 10-man group, because herding 25 cats is harder. I enjoy 25s even as I hate the drama they inevitably spawn. But I don't think the gear gap should be so big.

The current problem that makes me pissed is less about how the tiers work, and more about how easy naxx 25 is. I'm angry that my elite uld 10 group's gear will merely match the scrubbiest naxx25 player, but I'm fine with the fact that excellent uld25ers will be a tier above me. Beyond that, I'm concerned that uld10 will be considered a waste of time by most people because they can just pug a few more people for naxx25 for similar gear (which Riatin pointed out isn't always the case). This design of Uld 10 isn't a tragedy, but it could be done better is what I'm saying. I know I'm going to be going to uld10 with my friends instead of pugging for naxx25. It's a positive addition to the game. Just wish it were implemented a bit more thoughtfully.

And Ixo, I've spent a lot of time in those Kara guilds in between bouts of harder-core raiding, so I can back you up on that: having the 10-man path be viable is a godsend, so we have new content instead of just plowing Kara and ZA every week for 2 years straight. I definitely will be staying with my current guild, which literally has 12 people in it. So all my Naxx 25 has been with pugs, and I don't expect to ever see Uld 25, which is fine with me as long as Uld 10 is reasonable similar.

Brian said...

Blizzard totally stole your idea!