Raider Lite

5 Jan

A long time ago it took real commitment to raid.  You had to have time – you had to have patience and you had to have some sadomasochistic lunatic willing to lead a predominately 40-man raid through monster content, week after week after week.  It was honestly more than a little painful.

To Blizzard’s credit, they’ve made the raiding game much more accessible.  The number of like minded freaks required to float a raid is down significantly and gear – once a defining barrier to raid access – is drop dead easy to get.

Now, anyone willing to grind random dungeons can take a brand new 80 to ICC-Ready in just a few days.  It is both one of the best things to happen to game I think and one of the worst.

Negs – who has had to put up with me being a “gear for badges” advocate for a while now may get a laugh out of this when I say it, but:

Holy crap, batman – have we gone too far?

I just came off a really nice holiday where I had a *lot* of time off.  With my hunter fairly well geared I turned to my shaman and leveled her from 73 to 80 in just a few days doing nothing but battlegrounds and healing random dungeons.  With the help of some of my horde buddies she’s now ICC-10 capable.  That last part took just a couple of days.  It honestly could have taken less time if I’d been willing to sit in the random queue longer.

Now, I’m not going to start back up the argument about whether or not gear for badges is a good or bad thing.  For millions of unloved ALTs out there, cross server LFG and the loot for badges system has been an absolute boon.  The problem though is that for many – without gear to differentiate them from the masses – there seems to be a very unsubtle shift to outright ass-hattery to compensate.  After all – when all the peacocks all look alike – only the loud ones get noticed….

Back in the day – your tier gear marked you as a raider and was supposed to be sign of your apparent skill at the game and ability to commit.  Now, tier gear is being worn by alts that broke 80 only hours earlier.  In fact, my old guild leader took a pet Paladin to 80 recently and after chain running heroics for four days straight now has the 3rd highest gear score in the entire guild.

So – to him – and honestly – to me, there are real benefits to the new system.  If you ever wanted to switch mains, now’s a great time to do it.   You can level them and gear them to the teeth *fast*.

The rubs – as I see it – is the loss of what I’m sure raiders see as some of their identity and an easy (if imperfect) measure of competency.  While visual “gear checking” is no guarantee of individual skill, I can at least know that someone running around with Edge of Agony has seen the inside of a 25 man ToC run.

Now – anyone that knows me – knows that I’m no hard corp progression raider.  But (up until recently anway) I was at least a fairly consistent 10-man raider-lite kinda guy.  I had my T9 back before the free badges and I’m at least a little twerked off knowing that the two new 80 hunters ALTs that just popped up in the guild are going to be as geared as I am probably by Friday.  They’ll be able to compete for my raid spot by then as well.

Now – I’m not all that worried.  I love my horde guild – but at the moment – they’re sucking some big ass, raid wise.  Gear or not – ICC is simply beyond their ability to shoot move and communicate through.  In fact, after a short run of 1-shotting 10-man (normal) ToC – they’re back to not even being able to clear Northrend Beasts.

Gear is no longer an excuse.  Skill is – and a lot of our skill took a walk prior to 3.3.  With all that gear walking around and no way to wash the scrubs from the pro – it’s getting pretty nasty out there.

But that’s another post for another day….

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3 Responses to “Raider Lite”

  1. Negathle January 6, 2010 at 13:22 #

    I couldn’t agree more. I’ve accepted the badge gearing system (and even told one up and coming PvP-to-PvE hunter to abuse it to his heart’s content), but it is still one of the reasons I am not playing this game into cataclysm.

    Great post.

  2. Pike January 6, 2010 at 21:28 #

    I think I’ve written similarly before, and I really think that newer players are getting shafted. Sure, the free gear is great for alts, but people who are just now hitting 80 and have no idea what they’re doing…?

    I dunno. I wouldn’t want to be just starting WoW now…

  3. Brigwyn January 8, 2010 at 20:21 #

    Awesome post. And extra props to Negathle for linking it over at the Lodge.

    And as pointed out already (by yourself and others), players today are really not having a chance to truly learn the class. If they have the right gear and know the magic rotation, then all is okay.

    I hope the reset in Cataclysm will bring back some way to seperate teh chaff from the grain. I agree, it would be great to have skill recognized again in the game.

    Again, hats off great post and I’m adding you to my regular reads at the Lodge! 🙂

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