There are Many Ways to Win

The game indi­ca­tor of win­ning in WoW is receiv­ing an epic item. In vanil­la WoW, the vast major­i­ty of epic items came from 40-man raid­ing. I’ll grant that there was an epic hunter quest, a few lim­it­ed craft­ing bits, some world drops, and a top-lev­el pvp set that only a hand­ful of peo­ple could get. But over­all, if you want­ed a reli­able way to get epic gear (and win), you hooked up with a raid guild and start­ed raid­ing… whether you liked raid­ing or not.

Com­pare with the cur­rent WoW, TBC. The reli­able ways to get epic items include:

  • 25-man raiding
  • 10-man raiding
  • hero­ic five man instances
  • crafting
  • par­tic­i­pat­ing in arena
  • par­tic­i­pat­ing in battlegrounds
  • pur­chased at a ven­dor with tokens (Badge of Jus­tice) obtain­able from 10/25-man raid­ing or even dai­ly questing
  • world drop/auction house

Peo­ple who play in hard­core raid­ing guilds miss the days of when they were the only ones with epics. Despite their com­plain­ing, Bliz­zard has con­sis­tent­ly intro­duced more ways to get epic items, not less. They’ve made the game more acces­si­ble to those who can’t or won’t hard­core raid. This is great for play­ers like me: a new father, full-time work­ing, and so on. If I get spend one or two nights a week online, I’m hap­py and will con­tin­ue to keep my account active. And the game will reward me for it. When I do par­tic­i­pate in raids, my gear won’t be the liability.

With 2.4, every last craft­ing pro­fes­sion yields BoP ben­e­fits akin to use­ful epics, even alchemists. I would­n’t be sur­prised if in the next expan­sion, Bliz­zard expand­ed the BoJ pur­chas­ing scheme even fur­ther, allow­ing (in essence) craft­ed Badges of Justice.

The best part is that these paths to suc­cess aren’t finite any­more, either. Now when a high­er-lev­el of loot is released to 25-man raiders, a water­fall of upgrades cas­cades down to those who aren’t involved in 25-man raid­ing. New hero­ic loot, new badge of jus­tice rewards, a new are­na sea­son, upgrad­ed bat­tle­ground gear, anoth­er tier of craft­ing or relax­ation of mate­r­i­al require­ments. Basi­cal­ly, they’re giv­ing every­one new ways to con­tin­ue improv­ing, with­out ever hav­ing to set foot in a 25-man raid. You’ll nev­er have gear as good as all those ded­i­cat­ed raiders, but you won’t be left in the cold, either. Bliz­zard now adds loot across the board.

In short, there are many ways to win.

This hurts guilds try­ing to build up to 25-man raid­ing (includ­ing my own), because in vanil­la wow you had a lot of play­ers who were in raid­ing guilds sole­ly for the loot. Now, the pri­ma­ry rea­son the peo­ple are in my guild stick around is because they like each oth­er! This makes my guild more fun, and there­fore the expe­ri­ence of play­ing the game more fun.

I’m look­ing for­ward to the next expan­sion to see how this trend continues.

More Words!