Gearing Up

Hugh Hancock has some words about the gear grind. My words? “Screw that.” You know there is going to be a new tier within a few months and a complete gear reset in the next year. Keep running on that treadmill, but don’t pretend you’re ever getting anywhere.

At least a real treadmill gives you the real progress of a lowered % chance to die of heart disease.

: Zubon

Hat tip. I credit LotRO for having an extremely minimal gear grind, in that there are perhaps two or three tiers of endgame gear between expansions, and the tiers are not that far apart. You only need the raid gear if you are doing the one or two raids anyway.

9 thoughts on “Gearing Up”

  1. Maybe Lotro is moving away from that model, after all they’ve removed or greatly increased stat caps this expansion, have a stated goal of wanting upgrades to ‘matter’ and introduced a stat to help deal with stat inflation(finesse). It won’t be until the promised instances are released and we get to see how big of an increase in stat budget the loot drops are over currently available gear to make a judgement.

    At the moment 12-man skirmishes (weekly loot chests) seem to be a lucrative source of gear, which is great that they finally got around to incentivise them properly, but there is a danger it’ll be treated as a stop-gap until the promised instances arrive, and then they are completely abandoned despite being fun, casual experiences.

  2. I’m also not a fan of the random loot drops. I’ve always disliked that randomness like that prompt rerunning dungeons to the point of hating them.

  3. I wonder if the GW2 Karma vendor system will fix the “the loot I need never drops” syndrome that happens in my raids in WoW: get some karma, buy the item that you want/need.

    As for always having to grind new gear, we already know it shouldn’t have that problem if they follow the first one with simply having the same stats on 6 items, with all different skins.

    1. I think Karma will fix the “gear grind,” insomuch that gear really matters.

      As far as stacking certain Attributes, there’s always crafting, player-trading, the Auction House of Awesomeness, and searching the wiki for the Karma Vendor that gives the Attributes you want.

  4. I’d be perfectly happy if the only thing gear affected was appearance – especially with respect to PvP.

    Player skill > Character equipment
    In a closer to perfect game…

    The endless gear grind (and yep, it IS endless) epitomized in Blizzard games (but clearly present in just about all of the others as well) is either a lab experiment gone completely off the rails OR the greatest jedi mind trick heretofore accomplished and worthy of the mindf***ery of Satan himself.

    (Insert standard analogy of rats running a maze for a chance to press a lever that may or may not reward them with a food tablet… you know the one… it’s certainly been written about enough times by now surely…)

    If the stats on your belt, boots, or bonnet have more to do with whether or not you win a fight than your own skill as a player then how much personal pride should really take in the outcome?

    Once again… Is it GW2 yet?

    1. The day skill matters more than character in a mass market MMO is the day most players realize they’re bad at MMOs. That’s very bad for business.

    2. If my choice is between greaves that give all my stats +20 or greaves that give all my stats +30, then I agree with you. If my choice is between 20% faster movement speed or an extra 300 magical damage on each physical attack, however, then I would argue that choosing the right build is part of your skill as a player, much like choosing the right cards for your deck is part of your skill in Magic: The Gathering.

      From what I’ve seen of Guild Wars 2, the bonuses from equipment require the player to make meaningful decisions about what they equip: you can get a huge boost just to damage for example, or a pretty large boost to both damage and armor, or a moderate boost to everything. So which is it? Should my Warrior min/max for damage, or for survival, or spread it evenly for the added versatility? The skillful player can jump out of combat for a few seconds and swap armors to better withstand enemy AoE with extra health or exploit his ally’s dazing attacks with more damage. In Guild Wars 2, the character equipment becomes part of the player skill.

      At least, that’s the plan. *fingers crossed*

  5. I guess the “gear grind” would bother me if I thought that getting gear was the goal? A lot of people certainly seem to, and they do seem unhappy about things… but then, the really gear-focused players have always seemed unhappy to me. The point is to enjoy killing the bosses; gear’s just something that happens along the way.

    I’m in a mid-range raiding guild in WoW. I spend three nights a week raiding. But I’m doing it because I enjoy it! I get to hang out with friends, work with them to overcome challenges, get better together as a team, explore the game mechanics… lots of things!

    The gear tiers and resets are a *good* thing for me. I raided in vanilla too, with a more casual group, and guess what? We spent a year and a half in Molten Core, a literal (virtual) hole in the ground, because we weren’t hardcore enough to handle the next raid up. We had moderate turnover, and lots of people who just didn’t know what they were doing, so we were just stuck there until we got enough gear and skill to progress.

    It sucked.

    It sucked horribly.

    In that same guild now, we’d at least have the assurance that that we’d be seeing new bosses with new mechanics and new art when the next raid came out, and that one item that never dropped would be obsoleted in favor of a different item that never dropped.

    So yes, I agree that I’m basically doing the same thing month after month, year after year. And if I didn’t enjoy what I was doing, it would indeed be a grind and a treadmill and any other number of derogatory adjectives. But in fact, Molten Core was more of a grind for me than anything WoW’s done in the last three years.

  6. Thanks for the mention!

    The thing is, when it’s done right a gear upgrade cycle can be fun. You know you’re just going to replace everything when the next raid hits, but if the gear you’re currently getting actually has an impact on your play for a while, it’s still worth getting.

    The problem WoW seems to be having at the moment is split between nerfs and patch frequency. If you get great gear, and then you have six months of looking awesome and doing top DPS, many people will feel it’s worth it.

    If you get great gear, then three days later the content you’re doing is nerfed so much that you could have done it in the gear you worked so hard to replace, and six WEEKS later new gear that’s even more awesome comes out…

    That’s not so hot.

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