Greedy Goblin

Friday, November 25, 2011

Gear reset: the bane of casual gaming

Imagine that you played a bit more than 100 days with a game. 2500 hours played. In Half-Life Counterstrike or Starcraft it would mean 5-10K matches. You would know all the maps, units, upgrade paths by heart, click automatically. While it wouldn't guarantee you an elite status, especially if you don't have a strong "play to win" attitude, you would be way above the newbies. You would be, feel and considered a good player.

Now let's see WoW. We consider a player who plays "only" 7 hours a week very casual. Some say that MMOs are not meant for them. Yet, if you played 7 hours a week since the start of WoW, you have 7*7*52 = 2548 hours played. And what are you in the game? A noob, a loser, a scrub who is pwned by a 12 years old kiddie with 1/10th of your playing time. How?

Because in WoW only the time spent since last gear reset matters. If he installed the game 4 months ago and plays 2 hours a day, (240 hours) he could easily outgear you. You leveled in Vanilla "in the snow, uphill", he levels now 3-10x faster due to nerfs. You did Stratholm, HC Mechanar, HC Halls of lightning, he skipped them without losing anything. You grinded Baradin Wardens rep to exalted for a 359 trinket, he killed the Headless horsemen twice for a 365. You ran 4.0 HCs when they were crushingly hard for PuGs to get 346 blues and some valor for 359, he roflstomps Zandalari "heroics", for 353 drops, 359 justice, 378 valor. In PvP it's even worse, everything you did before last season start, even (relatively) successful arenas is outperformed by lolling on AB bridge this season. On the top of that, the mechanics and talent system also change significantly by patches (not just "frost bolt coefficient changed by 5%"-like rebalancing), so your old experience is useless or even harmful.

The MMOs are games of progression, where "playing time matters". In current WoW, all your previous time investments are nullified by the next reset. This event seemingly hurt the "elite", since they lose the exclusivity of their old stuff. If you killed Sinestra, your gear is beaten by the valor stuff of Zandalari spamming below-tank Arthasdklol. Annoying but irrelevant, as you are doing FL HM and getting much better gear than Arthasdklol. The elite is just pissed, but not harmed.

The true casual on the other hand is devastated progress-wise. He did not have time to finish last season gearing and when he was nearly reaching the "standard", all his efforts were nullified and he is beyond the curve again. No matter how long he is playing, he is permanently behind, despite he is the optimal customer. Arthasdklol who plays 4 hours a day for 5 months, and unsubscribes when the next shiny comes out, has worse server load/payment ratio than the casual and much less money paid alltogether. Yet the game caters him. The optimal customer, the one who pays for years and uses little resources is the one who is always behind, who doesn't feel any form of progression.

You get what you cater. If you cater short-term burst players, you get these. But then don't be surprised that there are more former WoW players than active. Maybe if Blizzard would reward playing the game for years, they would get customers playing for years.

Of course in a constant progression, no reset system the casual would still be behind the hardcore (that's obvious), but wouldn't be behind the guy who just started playing a month ago. His achievements would be permanent and he would constantly feel progressing forward.

 PS to those who claim "but gear resets allow casuals to catch up to the elite: the casual doesn't want to catch up with the elite the casual knows that he is casual and don't expect to be equal with someone who plays 3x more or better than him. He doesn't envy the hardcore. Actually more tiers mean more content for him.


Anonymous said...

You have a gear reset in CS after each mapchange...
It is the some as in WoW.
Boss mechanics are relativly similar. If i explain a boss to a new player in our raid i need a long time, i have to explain what the skills do and how we, in our tactic, react. Explaining the boss to a expirienced player is different. New Boss FOO uses the abilitys BAR similar to ability WOM from boss BAT. So the expirienced player is also above the new one. The situation in a tier is similar to the situation in a running CS-Match. If one is already playing for a few games he could buy a AK, armor, grenades ... A new player uses for the first rounds his pistol...

Anonymous said...

You are right.

That's why I, for example, have long stopped playing for progress. I play mainly to satisfy my collectioner's instincts. I collect quests, achievements, reputations, recipes, mounts, pets, gear sets, etc. These things don't degrade. (Well, one can say that Cata did reset quests once, but this only happened once and a large number of the quests were new ones.)

I did raid in my time, but I no longer do this, mainly because I don't like the sense of being on a treadmill. It's not like getting "ready" for each new raid takes an enormous amount of time, but it does take some time and you do have to spend that time for each new raid. At some point this "getting ready" thing just gets tedious. Somehow, collecting things doesn't seem to get tedious for me.

format said...

Sums up my situation exactly. Last season I squeezed out maximum points for full 365 keeping a high rating for lots of points. This season I am no better than a robot or that road fighting moron. Next season a crafter can make better gear than I spent weeks working on. I couldn't get in a RBG group if I tried because some number is too low compared to a moron that simply plays more.

Same goes for my new 85 getting kicked out of dungeons because, despite having appropriate gear for the content, I didn't spend hours getting to an arbitrary goalpost that constantly moves forwards. Doesn't matter that I once tanked Illidan and DPSed Brutallus, the healer actually has to pay attention to keep me alive and that makes me bad.

Anonymous said...

The true casual on the other hand

This would be me, I clock maybe 10 hrs a week if it's a good week.

is devastated progress-wise

and, you know what? I don't care.

I don't play one character. I have about 20, and I'm slowly leveling them one by one - I'm done with 4, and 9 more are over 75.

I level in LFD pretty much exclusively. I tank, I heal, I dps... and I have fun. I don't give a flying fuck about endgame.

And I've been playing since vanilla.

Anonymous said...

And what will you do, if all casuals (after 1 year) have the best gear they can get?
Would a gear reset every addon be okay or should you grind your level and gear only 1 time and it stays forever?
I dont know whether you understand it, but the gear reset is blizzards current idea of player motivation. Sure we all play for the new content, but how many million player's play for epeen and the new shiny gear?

chewy said...

The contract you form with Blizzard is that you pay to play the game this month (quarter, year). When a player completed the vanilla content he paid for that back then. If you decide to come back this month it has no bearing on last month, that's gone, it's paid for, transaction finished.

I don't disagree with any of your post but it's largely irrelevant. The idea is to encourage the next customer to pay for this month, particularly if he's never played before or has come from the competition. So I don't want to impede him, I want him to feel good about the game, successful in the shortest possible timescale.

..and what about the current customer base ? Well they have a choice - continue to play using their knowledge advantage or give it up and become a newbie somewhere else, Hobson's choice really.

Anonymous said...

CS mapchange is different:

In wow this mechanic means:
After many hours (weeks or months as a casual because everyone say, that casuals dont play more then some hours a week) you get your big big sword as an example, and then its "reset" time und your big big shiny sword is a ugly little knife now. And everything in this game tells you "Come on, there is this new, new shiny sword, take it, some more hours only, in 2 weeks it is yours, and then only some time for the new breastplate and so on..."

How long does a CS game take to the reset? Lets say 15 Minutes and one game is over. The next game starts. And 1 year later you can start again and everyone starts a match with the same equipment. You play the game and its skill orientated. So even a headshot with a small gun could be deadly. You have time to learn, the equipment ist there in the game. You get it earlier or later, but in a smaller amount of time. There is no benefit for changing the content often, because you are not bored. You only pvp against different people. You dont need dozends of boss dance instructions to play a tactical shooter. You are a bad shooter, you are death, you are good, you kill much, but if you are bad in WoW, you could kill instantly a complete raid.

So now try to kill a full equipt Season 10 WoW player with your fresh blue equipt pvp char. You have to be a lot better player to first close the gear gap and than be better a little bit more to kill the player behind the equipment. You have to grind hours doing this or that to get the blue stuff, and hours to get the epic pieces, and maybee you are to slow and start again grinding for season 11, and 12, and so on.

To make you reach the season equipment easier in WoW dont make you a better player. Its makes you a good customer, who pays one month more, and another one until the time you are bored, because there is no end. There will ever be a gap between casuals (less plyying time) and players spending much more time ingame. In equipment and in knowledge. You can get knowledge faster, for the rest you have to work for many hours.

Guess why blizzards uses this princip?

I played Tactical Ops (a CS Clone) for 4 Years, never changing the software, having good games and played it only 1-2 times a weeks and not as a bad player.

You can't compare these games, they are to different.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't matter how fast you gear up, because your ability to tank, heal or dps and your ability to learn a fight, avoid the bad stuff and handle the standard raid mechanics affects your performance so much more. The fact that you can get gear so fast, is precisely why it's possible for someone that knows the game to achieve a very good level of performance within a week after a 1 year break.

There are groups that raid 8 hours a week, that are currently 7/7HC. There's also people that raid 7 days a week, but never get past a meaningful number of heroic modes. A lot of the raiders I know also do not log in at all outside of guild raids. I'm personally running with a number of PuGs on my realm and we tend to clear 6/7HC within 2 hours.

Anonymous said...

@last anon
You don't understand.
Casuals don't get gear fast, arthasloldk does.
HC guild plays 8h/week? that's raid time! And also imagine there's a time investment outside raid and outside the game.

Do you think if you played on a single char 8h/week with a single char you would have gotten that spot in the 6/7HC pug ?

Imagine destroying all your chars, all your gold and starting again and now you play no more then 8 hours per week, with no one knowing who you are. You will be a good player, but you won't be farming 6/7HC anytime soon.

Andru said...

The post is largely irelevant. If a 'casual' played for 5 years, being roflstomped every week, paying the subscription religiously despite this, Blizzard (correctly) assumes that he is likely to continue to do so.

While a new player needs to be drawn in and netted down.

I don't dispute that a permanent progression path would, in all likelyhood retain more players due to sunk cost fallacy. However, that has to be balanced against the opportunity cost of new players turned away by the long road ahead.

You're simply dismissing this point by claiming that 'many more casual veterans' than newbies are in WoW. I dispute this claim. How many more? How do you know? Do you have a source?

As far as I know, Blizzard has this data, and to quote you, "Blizzard does not make mistakes, they make millions".

Occam's Razor dicates that revolving door works. No doubt that a game would last longer if permanence was in. Hell, take a look at several 20+ Year old MUDs active. Then take a look at their playerbase. Severely crippled by veterans, zero newbies, and a regular playerbase counted in the low hundreds, while at their apex they counted in high thousands.

Blizzard doesn't want a long game, they want a profitable game.

Gevlon said...

@Andru: The problem is that the casual got enough of being roflstomped for 5 years and stopped playing. Subscriptions are falling.

About newbies see Monday post.

Anonymous said...

I leveled on a different server, without backup, no account shit for my twink.

I'm playing a lot, know the content up to 85, know the classes i play and so i was a lot faster then a real casual.

But even as a real casual you do your quests faster, get your quest hubs easier, could fly through the world without any danger, will be ported to the dungeons, get your special dungeon quests inside. You are a lot faster since Vanilla.

Guess what happend with 85 and a 5HC DPS of roundabout 15-17K in Zul?

I don't get a pug Raid because i could not prove, that i'm able to play the content. My main char raids FL with my guild, where the guys know me and my playing abilities.

For a PUG invite you read only "You have to know 7/7 and gearcheck at..."

And why is it so? People are used to clear content easy, fast, without problems, without thinking.

Do you really think casuals get a chance play into a real raid, without nerving the raidcontent?

Blizz does it right know with 5.0. 3 different Raids and the easiest one for the Raidfindertool.

Its all about money here.

First everyone wants the epics, dann everyone want to go into the raids, able or not. Next time raids have to be so easy like dungeons on your way to 85.

You could create a game for casuals, then its not for hardcoregamers. You could create a pvp game, then its not for pve players.

To mix the shit together dont make a better game, it make people angry.

Vanilla is long ago. It's time to think about changes, not ingame, but maybee a change of the game...

Anonymous said...

He is right about the being a good player and 8 hour /raid.

I was a raid leader (12/h week, but only 8 hours attandance)which cleared 6/7 pre nerf.
When a new player applied and he got recommened by a good player, he always got a chance, even if he hit 85 3 days ago. If he performaned well. Didnt die in stupid stuff, understood his assignment and did damage equal to his current gear (which was of course really low: 16k).
In the next few weeks we let him in for the farm content. 1 Month later he was good enough for every HC.
And even more, for the next content patch he will be well geared and is still an awesome player ;)

Good Raid leaders dont recruit for the moment. They plan ahead. If a really good player applies, but hasnt played since ulduar. But in Ulduar he killed algalon, you will give him a good chance.

Awesome players are rare, you dont care what gear they have. Gear can be fixed in weeks, skill would take much longer.

@ Gevlon: Above example show's, that player skill is more needed, that gear. If you can raid 2 days a week, you can be a hc raiding casual ;)
But to get such a chance, they need previous raiding expierence and achievments to show.
Raided Naxx in vanilla? Cleared BT server first? Killed Sarth 3d 10m?
Sure you get a chance, what ever gear you have.

Anonymous said...

Some more stuff to think off:

I'd like to play these MultiPlayer Game with my friends. I acceppted their behaviors, because they are my friends. My friends are friendly, like to play and to try things out. To wipe is no problem, because you learn. To take care of a "so called BAD player" is ok, because he is a friend and you help friends.

But i don't acceppt a unfriendly stranger, a tank pulling groups and pulling and pulling and don't care about the other players.

Players who are angry if you try to loot, to skin dead mobs.

WoW changed a lot, because more and more friends left and the nice dungeonfinder pushes that more and more idiots could be in your group.

70% of my dungeongroups are terrible. Every nice casual will be totaly overwhelmed and i bet, they are not amused too.

This dungeon finder tool and the last 2 expansions destroyed a lot of the social activities in the game and make it more casual.

Really? It makes the game faster, but not casual friendly. It make it solo friendly. Now it's a solo game with the posibility to play sometimes together. And the designers try to convince you, the the goal is to raid, but do nothing to teach you how.

And maybee raiding will ever be far away from that, what we call "casual playing".

Soccer will be a good example: You play soccer casuall, go and play with your friends sunday and drink a beer after. You want to play in a league, you have to work for it and you have to have talent. diverent leagues dont fit. Dont't even try it. Most of the time, nowbody will have fun together.

Andru said...


That's yet another assumption. How do you know that it's the 'casuals' who quit? How come you assume that M&S didn't quit (economic crisis hurt them and they ran out of money)? How come you don't claim that panda-haters didn't quit? Why did the casuals start quitting now, and not last year? Or why not next year?

How do you know that the un-subscriptions accelerate, and it's not the lack of 'new' players that enter the revolving door?

Because, to me that's a lot more logical. WoW is old, there's been a truckload of new MMOs launched, we had an economic crisis, all of which, IMO would have more impact on the subscription numbers than "T6 was made obsolete".

That's actually a very particular problem, and without a control group, you simply cannot claim that it makes or breaks the game.

You isolate one problem out of potentially millions of lurking variables and claim that it's what's hurting WoW. Well, sorry, extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. You don't even have ordinary proof. Hell, scratch that, you don't even have EMPIRIC, PERSONAL, proof. (You're not a casual and you didn't quit.)

I don't know, Gevlon, it sounds awfully close to a baseless theory with constructed proof around it. What's more, the same proof can be constructed for an endless amount of competitive theories.

Just start with what you know anout this subscription slump, and try to arrive to a conclusion naturally. Not like this.

Anonymous said...

@to the raid leader ;0)

I was a raid leader (12/h week, but only 8 hours attandance)which cleared 6/7 pre nerf.
When a new player applied and he got recommened by a good player, he always got a chance...

How many casual players get a recommendation from a player playing in a PUG with a raidleader like you?

I know raidleaders like you only from guilds, and not from pugs.

A pug is more or less a random group and in a random group you could not decide from someones equipment. As you say, equipment is nothing today, because everyone could have it, if he like to. And we know people like to wear epics more than blue. Blizzard showed it, because they design the game that way. And they have the numbers. If blue would be accepted by most of the players, we see a lot more blue in the game ;0)

You can check the armory (the raidachivments) or you trust someone you know well, who recommendet a unknown player you could use, as you wrote here.

Which real casual have the chance now to find some Raidleader like you? I bet not much, because then blizzard would not spend lots of money and programmers to implement a raidfinder tool.

The most pug FL trash runs i see before stopping this bullshit and waste my time, didn't passed the first few trashgroups without 30-40% death players (1 tank everytime) Tanks dont't know how to spot right. DDs dont know how to cc and when its better to do no damage (aggro you know), dont't now when to spread out and when to stand on a spot together.

Anonymous said...

Guild Wars. If you had a character with all skills from Prophecy, there are still very valid builds which will trounce a multitude of current builds with newer skills.

If progress happens laterally, the system works. If the numbers increase, it does not.

Anonymous said...

"If you killed Sinestra, your gear is beaten by the valor stuff of Zandalari spamming below-tank Arthasdklol. Annoying but irrelevant, as you are doing FL HM and getting much better gear than Arthasdklol. The elite is just pissed, but not harmed."

The hardcore raiders know this, and expect this.

1) The Sinestra trinket Shard of Woe is still BiS for holy pala, resto druid, arcane mage and perhaps more. It will still be BiS in 4.3.
2) The gear you have from Sinestra allows you to perform in FL normal and HC allowing your fellow players to get drops instead of you (since for you it is only a small upgrade). This is how serious guilds deal with gear drops. It is how they dealt with gear drops in start of FL (now it is largely irrelevant).
3) 2 patches later, and almost 1,5 years later, I'd say that a gear reset is in order. Don't like gear resets? Don't play this game. They have always been there, even in vanilla. But then it was called progression path (read: for no-lifes) and "TBC".

"The optimal customer, the one who pays for years and uses little resources is the one who is always behind, who doesn't feel any form of progression."

Only if gear is your goal. If achievements are your goal (which WoW has switched to in WotLK) then you use the gear as resource to gain achievements. Nothing hinders you to do so. A gear reset only allows you to not (easily) get the newest achievements. Likewise, old gear is useful in many ways. It only allows you to not faceroll new content. The same is true for mounts, pets, and so on.

"The problem is that the casual got enough of being roflstomped for 5 years and stopped playing. Subscriptions are falling."

There is no proof provided for this hypothesis.

The problem with the system is that it has to provide a good balance between:

1) The hardcore player who gets capped every week. He will be bored at end of a season/patch. Nerfs allow us here to clear the farm content quicker which is a good thing. They either go to PTR, do some /lol achievements or temporarily unsubsubscribe.
2) The casual (a relative term!) player has to be able to see the content. They will farm their BiS gear less quick, and will progress slower. For them, they have less good gear and less practice, so the nerfs allow them to clear more content.
3) The bad player has to be able to see the content. For them, gear will not allow them to progress. They will never be able to succeed the dance no matter how much effort they put into the game. The nerfs allow them to kill only certain bosses easier, but they will still have difficult time with an easy boss like Alysrazor.

You don't need much gear to kill Alysrazor if you got the skill to kill Alysrazor. Pre or post nerf, does not matter much. The question is rather: after how many time is a gear reset in order to please all 3 groups (because no matter how much you hate them, group #3 pays for subscription).

Anonymous said...

If someone played this game casually for 5 years and he couldn't get into a PuG group or guild alt-run that's clearing/farming content without a lot of effort, I wonder what that person did in those 5 years? Not talk to a single soul while playing .. for 5 years?

You also shouldn't reference pugs that invite completely random people from trade based on ilevel and achievements. These groups are no different at all to a raid finder or dungeon finder group. You can pug casually just fine, doesn't mean you can just group with a random bunch of people and expect results. Knowing people is another advantage a new player simply doesn't have.

Anonymous said...

@ Anom (reply raidleader)

I can only speak for my Server. But since cataclysm release i lost about 15 members (10m raid) and we could only survive with recruiting new ppl.
Now you will tell me, that our raid sucks and thats why we lost so many ppl. Again i can only speak for my server. This is common! Every raid on our server lost so many ppl. Many 3years old raids quitted.
We clear whole 6/7 HM in maybe 1-2hours, without any wipe.

As you can imagine, it really hurts a 10m raid to lose more than 15 player's. You need to find new player. Sometimes a other raid quits and you can get some players from them or you try to convince some players to change the raid.
But especially in cataclysm, the need of new players is bigger than the market....
Player's are the most important parameter, whether a raid is successfull or not.
So every raidleader is interested to get new players!

What can the casual do? Read trade chat, look at wow progress, "who firelands" there are many ways to find raidleader's that need new player.
Now the important thing is, that you convince the raidleader, that you are a awesome player! Tell him achievment that show that, if possible with prove.
Like i said: BC / Woltk Raid expierence.
Expierence in other games? Won some tournaments in Dota? Played Rift and earned server firsts?

Show him parses with your gimpy equipment on the training dummies, where you dmg at 98% of your theoretical dps.

A good raid can equip you in 1 month with little effort. But you have to convince them, that the effort will pay off.

Shintar said...

This post actually resonates very strongly with me, and I'm not even particularly casual. But I did quit normal mode raiding because it felt like Blizzard was constantly pulling the rug from under me with massive nerfs and gear resets before I could ever finish a tier. To commenter Andru above, this is a fairly recent development that started in late Wrath.

The thing is, I'm not even opposed to occasional gear resets. But there's a huge difference between having one every two years or having one every five months. After two years you might not have achieved everything you wanted in the game, but you'll have completed something.

NetherLands said...

First of all, MMO's will always yield more to those who play more. One could argue that if s.o. spends more time in a virtual game world (I know, I know, all hail Skyrim et al.) it is a bigger part of his or her life, hence more important, and therefore bigger rewards are justifiable based on that alone.

That being said, I agree the gear-resets works the way you described during an Expansion (the recent policy of upping the iLevel of the new Season Honor gear > previous Season Conquest is esp. grating) and make it quite pointless. A better way to deal with the 'catching up' issue PvE-wise would be to increase the amount of drops of the previous Tier so that you still progress faster but content and its rewards stays relevant.

However, while 'hamster-wheel attrition' probably is a factor in the decline of subscriptions, this only affects end-game and more importantly has been going on (at least PvE wise, in PvP Cata changed things quite a bit) for a long time now already.

Personally, I think the more likely reason is that on the one hand the game has become more and more 'Game of Raidcraft within the Lobby of Warcraft' (with disastrous results for the attractiveness of the part of the game that most notably newcomers have to play through at least once, resulting in less newcomers to stymie the natural attrition) yet Raiding and esp. 4.0 Heroics being so much harder and time-consuming than WotLK that 'end-cap ASAP' for many meant 'and then hit a brick wall and boredom'.

As far as end-cap content goes, Cata would have been recieved better if it at least had had more end-cap Normals on release, yet even though the problematic gap was Normal-Heroics, the Dev team created Heroic-only Zandalars to solve an issue that wasn't really there (those that easily cleared Heroics were already Raiding).

The problem however is that The Great Spirit That Should Crawl Back To Whence It Came and its cronies are obsessed with Raid content and don't care at all about the pre-end cap content that is needed to attract newcomers, even though e.g. the Talent revamps affect lower level play much, much more than it does end-cap play and so logically should yield more attention.

Andru said...

"This post actually resonates very strongly with me, and I'm not even particularly casual."

Casuals simply *must* agree with your viewpoint, even if neither Gevlon nor you are casuals. It's surely unfathomable that casuals have different opinions.

Yeah, sounds to me like projecting. Why is it so hard to admit that the only ones who care about gear resets are the ones who care about gear resets. (Yes, I'm the president of the Tautology club because I'm the president of the Tautology club.)

They may be casual or hardcore, but it is not a defining trait of their casualness or hardcoreness. (Or rather, there's a distinct lack of proof supporting either postulate.)

"The thing is, I'm not even opposed to occasional gear resets. But there's a huge difference between having one every two years or having one every five months."

TBC had gear resets every six months by introducing new badge gear every major content patch. Your rose-googly alternative history is invalid. The only times where this has not happened was Vanilla, and Ulduar patch in WOTLK. (And I'm not even sure about Vanilla, having not played then.)

Jabarj said...

I play 9 hours a week and I'm 7/7 heroic FL... Please redo your math.

I will not say that i never played more than nine ours a week in the past, but since the release of cata my real life has strained much of my time so i only get to play 9-11 hours a week.. No, you don't need to play 20 hours a day to not be a casual.

Yaggle said...

I think I am a pretty typical casual player, and my subscription ran out almost 4 months ago.
When you begin playing a role-playing game, you think you will keep the best things you are gaining. You think you are building towards something. It turns out, now that MMORPGs have been out for over 15 years(at least going back to Ultima Online), that is not true at all.
What is happening to World of Warcraft is in danger of happening to the entire MMORPG market. Players are starting to discover the trend after seeing it in Everquest and now WoW. What you achieve is made trivial after a few years(mostly gear I am speaking of) so that everybody starts again to get their gear and attain power and status. Players are not just realizing it in WoW, but for the entire genre and for future games, also. The industry is in danger of losing customers' interest in future products, also.
The industry as a whole needs to change how they make the games and re-gain the confidence of the players that working hard to attain great gear will be more permanent and that the gear from the hardest dungeons will always have some value. How do they do this? I don't know. They pay people good money to figure this out, they better start soon.
When a new game comes out, we already know what will happen. All the best items we get will become useless in a few years. Why not just wait? This sounds like a negative way of thinking, so let me put it another way. When a new game comes out, in the past, all players are very excited about progressing and achieving every little thing. The whole world is magic and exciting. The industry as a whole is going to lose this for all games, if they do not change their long-term strategies for their games.

Anonymous said...

Two quick points .

Firstly the fact that the casual is behind the asshat who plays 50 hours a week is pure rubbish. The reason I think that is as follows.

a. The conquest and valor point caps are the same for everyone. Therefore anytime spent OVER the cap is a waste of time. Just like having Hit rating over the Hit cap. Just a waste of points.

I know for a fact that you can get all the Conquest you need within 2 hours of running arenas. No real excuse not to be able to get it done.

Valor points are a bit more difficult to obtain I agree, as queing, running and actually completing a Heroic can be very lengthy. Of course this could be avoided by joining a decent guild that runs raids every week, or who runs HC daily. There are thousands of guilds in WOW, many of them very good (The PUG for example). Buck up and get into a guild. That will help substantially.

This is a MMO that requires a minimum amount of time to be successful. If a casual plays one hour a week and wonders why he gets owned in TB then he should reavaluate things.

Ciaphascain said...

To all bemoaning the gear resets, care to explain to me how would new players catch up to whoever was playing for some time?
How would I recommend this game to a friend and tell him I would invite him to my raid group if He would need several months/years to catch up to me?
Why does your motivation to play has to be gear? I mean I have done some idiotic grinds for mounts/titles, like the Netherwing rep for the Drake and the dailies from the tournament for the titles/rep, but I would never ever and I say again NEVER do so for a piece of gear, just like the tank trinket from tol barad, because I hate Fking dailies, I raid because I enjoy doing it, I do random BGs because I enjoy doing so (although it can be quite frustrating).
I have cleared 6/7HC and tbh I have no problem that when next hits, my gear will be almost obsolete, almost in the case that it will allow me to avoid buying crafted gear or have to run the end time instances for any piece that I am missing and will only do them a couple of times to see how they are.
If tomorrow one of my healers quits and I absolutely cannot get a decent one for progress I will ask one of my backup tanks to go tank and ill get my priest to raid healing capability in a short amount of time due to these same gear resets you guys are complaining about.

After this wall of text, my point is:
Why do you complain about something that is not a problem in itself instead of enjoying the rewards it offers?

PS: My main is and was a paladin, I created him a few months before wrath hit, I had to do the quest for my epic mount in a time that had almost no one running old world instances, I had to scrape and grind for some of the mats, like the pristine black diamond, I had to bribe and annoy guildies to help me out with the quests inside Dire Maul and scholomance, and after a couple of months, that same mount was available from the trainer for a few gold, how would most of you feel?
Cheated that you had to have a shitload of work and now any scrub could get it for peanuts or would you be glad you got to do and see some amazing content?
That is the question you guys need to ask yourselves every time a gear reset/nerf happens.

NetherLands said...

New gear making old gear obsolete etc. stems at least partially from the 'vertical' game design MMORPG's/level-based games have: Expansions raise the level cap and hence gear has to have bigger values as well 'or there is no progress'.

Besides world-building issues (e.g. 'boars' having similar stats to major villains of a few expansions previously, NPC red shirt guards having the stats your so-called hero had last Expanion etc.), this also invariably makes gear obsolete.

If MMORPG's concentrated more on creating alternate paths of progression/journeys (ie instead of MoP adding 85-90, MoP adding 1-85 'Asian' content), they'd work more like long-running Pen-and-Paper RPG's like AD&D and Call of Cthulhu that keep their player base interested that way ('end-game' being a concept that is basically non-existent in those games) and the issue would at least partially be avoided.

But admittedly the whole 'I don't play a character but an avatar'-vibe MMORPG's have may make this a bit tricky.

Vilesauctions said...

Call me a old fashioned, or even nostalgic, but i prefer the old way WoW used to go about doing business. What i mean with this is, i was a Grand Marshal back in Vanilla days. Yes it took me about 6 and a half months to do it, but dear god, it nearly made me get a boner after finally getting those rank weapons, and the fact that back then you could tell about a guy by simply looking at him/her and the gear they were with.

Nowadays everyone is given welfare epics, game gets to be constantly dumb down and this in return pisses off people like me, a.k.a the people with more free time.

So it's a fairly easy choice now, either go and play the game for something other then owning the best piece of gear, because that will never happen. If you want an exaple, gather pets, mounts, make gold (my favorite) or make a gnome, go to Goldshire and pimp it hard. (Role Playing)

Anonymous said...

The porblem with a constant progression of gear, is that it deters new players from joining the game. It is inevitable that players will leave the game over time, that happens with any sport or activity in life. What blizzard is doing is trying to have a constant stream of new/retired players joining the game.

If you create a constant progression then when a player takes a couple months off for external reasons, they feel like they are unable to come back as all of their guildies are now a tier ahead of them. This same effect happens with new players, they will not be inclined to join a game that they must constantly be raiding twice as much as the rest of the population in order to catch up to the status quo.

Disregarding the above problem, there are other issues with guilds running the lower tiers. Even if the game is spread over three tiers of raiding, the population on most servers will be to spread out to sustain any flow. Most low population servers only have 3-4 raiding guilds per faction, which would mean one per tier, giving raiders zero choice.

The last problem is that players are now beginning to bore of other PVE content. They have been playing the same game for six years and the only substantial new content is raiding, so that is what most players choose to do. It was successful in Vanilla, to have raiding be very competitive because the game will still new, so players could enjoy the mechanices. But even the most casual players have become bored with the same repetitive tasks for over six years.

As players we must realize that blizzard as a whole marketing team dealing with player retention and subscriber numbers that have access to much more solid and substantial data then we do. They aren't likely to make business decisions that are worse then the ones made by a single individual with no internal information. WoW is six years old, I believe that is why subscribers are dropping, not because of a bad content design.

Shintar said...

@Andru: I didn't even mention other casuals in my comment; I was just sharing my own experience. ':) That said, I don't think that it's unreasonable to say that if I play quite a lot and still can't finish my goals before the next reset, I could see other people being affected by this even worse. Nobody claims that this is why everyone is quitting now, not even Gevlon, but it can be one reason of many.

Also, resets between patches are drastically different now compared to how things used to work. Yes, in BC there were new items too, but only for a couple of slots. No raid tier ever completely lost its relevance. Currency didn't degrade either, so badges of justice you had earned in 2.0 could still buy you the newest stuff in 2.3 etc.

Anonymous said...

gear resets are not the problem. It is a social problem here. Because the norm is to care only about the current tier. This can be solved by middle-ground guilds. Take in newbies, do lower tiered raids, expect them to leave for guilds that are going for current tier.

Without these guilds, blizz did the next best thing and gave us bots to organize ourselves, because we were incapable of taking care of that.

Seriously? What is wrong with running lets say Firelands when Deathwing raid is released?
In TBC people were happy with doing Karazhan.

Bristal said...

Disagree that it's gear resets that are the bane of casuals. Gear resets typically reinvigorate my interest in the game.

The real bane?

The dependence on hard core players to successfully lead challenging group content. It's complicated. I appreciate every dedicated hard core player that's given me a chance and helped me see content.

But as a casual, all I can really do is know my class, gear and enchant intelligently, and hope I can get invited to a good group when I have a few hours to invest.

Anonymous said...

Why does it matter to me if someone who's played constantly for the last month has better gear? In another month, the gear will be reset again and I'll pick up a few valor pieces, a couple crafted items, maybe some BoEs. I'll probably do a few guild heroics when everybody else also needs the points as well. And that'll be good enough to fill in on the odd raid night or join on an alt run once heavy progression is over.

The gear reset is my friend. If it didn't reset, I'd fall further behind as my guild geared up the people who played more.

Eaten by a Grue said...

If a casual player likes to start and stop playing for significant periods, they will love gear resets.

Dzonatan said...

Gear resets in my opinion hurt players as a whole. Here are the reasons why:

"It allows new comers to see new content".

Hmmm fair enough. However dont you think that the content you never saw is actually new to you? Here is an example: Ulduar, probably the most noticable jewel in WoW's raiding collection there has ever been. You bump into it first time in your entire life, you never heard of it and you dont plan to google it in order to not spoil yourself. in this specific situation, [b]Could you really be able to tell that this content is old and outdated?[/b].

"But the gear is not the best I can get!"

Well now... if that is the case your issue is not old and outdated content but gear whoring. Can you really tell yourself that the reason you play a game and diss off lots of stories on your way to max level is simply because of gear number. While (oh the irony) the game is mostly driven by a story to begin with?!

Mithfin said...

There are a LOT of successful 3-8 hours per week raiding 25-men guild. And even more 10-men. It is not a problem to apply to one of them. If you are actually good enough, you will be taken for trial. Just play properly, it is not some kind of rocket science.

Andru said...


What's stopping a person going to Ulduar with higher level gear, then?

The story remains regardless of gear.

How about we give persons the freedom of choosing where they want to go, hmm? If they can't find a group, then it means that the majority is not interested in the story, and as such it would be terribly foolish of you to presume what others want or do not want.

Liore said...

Gear resets was the bane of my casualcore progression guild, and one of the main reasons we quit WoW.

In TBC we could take our time and raid our 6 hours a week or whatever. Yes, some guilds were clearing BT while we were starting SSC, but we could see the "finish line" of the expansion and we figured we would get there eventually. (And we did, clearing BT two days before the WotLK patch.)

There's no time for that now. You have until the next patch, and sometimes even sooner (like the early Firelands nerfs). In each subsequent patch the previous content is rendered almost irrelevant, so you basically just have to give up and skip to the new stuff.

It's irritating. I don't expect to be the best or the worst, I just want to go towards my goal at a reasonable pace without things being constantly made irrelevant.

Eaten by a Grue said...

To the "story" people: how many play to see the story? Maybe some, but how many would grind old raids for non-current gear just to get to grind some less old raid for some slighltly more current, but still far from current gear?

So don't start with the story thing, because the story only needs to be seen once. It's the grind that people do not like.

Ahtchu said...

This post couldn't be more true.
With resets every month on the month you're effectively working counter to the whole 'progression' concept.

It doesn't matter how much I work to get ahead, it all gets leveled within a short time span.
It doesn't matter how little I work to achieve the minimum, I will get dragged along.

You've effectively described a [progression] system that renders itself obsolete. The truth of the matter is the disparity between those with and those without, the rich and the poor, the smart and the not-so-much WILL ALWAYS EXIST. Trying to constantly bridge the gap is an exercise in futility. The time, energy, and development dollars are better spent carving out niches of things to do at all levels of play rather than trying to herd cattle into all doing the same thing- when the cattle don't want to be herded!

Another truth being: it is HARDER for a casual to keep up now than it ever was in vanilla/BC. With resets every time you blink, the gear you just obtained is already obsolete. With a non-reset system, you remain pertinent and valid for the level of play that you are at. This means my time invested is actually worth something tangible. And this goes for the hardest of cores to the softest of them.

The [gear/content] reset system is a bane not just for casuals: it's an atrocity to everyone.

Killan said...

Most of those "resets ruined my WoW life" comments raise lots of new questions:

1. "Back in vanilla/TBC we could progress smoothly through old instances even when a newer content was available". Guys, you still can. How is that different?

2. Could somebody explain how a person playing since vanilla/TBC can be "casual"? Vanilla was a synonym for "hardcore". TBC was pretty close. If you raided back in those days, you're the most "hardcore" people in this game.

3. Even though your gear is reset each major patch, your gaming experience is not. And experience ALWAYS outperforms gear, unless ilvl gap is ridiculous. So, for me phrases like "after the gear reset I'm no better than the new guy" look like "I learn nothing, I don't progress as a player". But, hey, that's obvously your own fault, why blame somebody else for that?

Killan said...


Another truth being: it is HARDER for a casual to keep up now than it ever was in vanilla/BC.

I'm sorry, but that is a one big lie. Those days most casuals didn't have a single chance to kill something in 40-man raids. Most casuals couldn't even kill something in ZG, which was created as a "starter" raid.

Hell, those days most casuals didn't even try to raid, because raiding was like "super-hardcore" compared to leveling experience and end-game 5-man dungeons!

Current design is by no means ideal, but it's way more casual-friendly than it ever was.

Anonymous said...

"This post couldn't be more true. With resets every month on the month you're effectively working counter to the whole 'progression' concept."

Except there is no reset every month. There is a reset approx once every 6 months which is what Blizzard aims for (they admitted patch 4.2 was a little bit too late; it came after almost 7 months). Patch 4.2 was released 28 June. Patch 4.3 will be probably released 7 decembre (a week after PvP season reset). That is a good 5 months.

In PvP there are no nerfs. The PvE nerfs don't count as reset. They allow the player base to speed up their progress/farming thus shortening the lifespan of the instance by some time, and they devalue achievements (but make date more relevant; "did you kill pre-nerf yes/no"). They do NOT render your gear invalid, they do NOT release new content; therefore NOT a reset.

So to you and all the people who claim a reset is in place "every month". Your arguments based on this pathetic premise are all flawed; it lasts 6 (SIX) times as long as you claim.

Ahtchu said...

I don't believe you understood the statement and the OP. I'm calling out the gear issue. You're appearing to speak to a difficulty of content/ ability of casuals to organize themselves for the content- neither of which has anything in the slightest related to gear.

I can point to [one of our] our 4HM tank that still wore blue gear crafted from advanced armorsmithing (LBRS) and the tanking mace from prince (DM-W), as well as a mage sporting a green wand during the same encounter. Clearly, in its heyday, this was the hardest of cores, and yet the gear many people still wore was from pre-MC 5man content. My statement remains: the gear obtained during a non-reset system allows people to be pertinent. This means, casual OR hardcore, you could 'keep up' with wherever you were at. Today, stop playing for a month, and you need to 'catch up' all over again. How can anyone NOT see that the gear treadmill turns faster now than it ever did in classic?

Dzonatan said...


Nothing stops them but nothing encourages them yet they call for new content which they never saw. Can you see the paradox?

It's one thing when we give people freedom of choice and a different thing when we have a situation where people are not aware of different choices and/or are not encouraged to do more than the newest thing.

Also giving people too much choice can backfire agianst everyone. If someone can choose between seeing the whole game instead of just the ending what do you think people would choose? As it is now people seem to choose the ending most of the time and ignore pretty much everything in between.

Anonymous said...


It is HARDER now, just take a look at trade channel: either you raid current tier or you do "fluff" achievement.

How many guilds are genuinely working on killing Nefarian or Al'akir? And how many guilds where working on Karazhan and enjoyed it?

Gear resets mean you either work on current tier or you don't.

True, I can still go to old raids. But I can't solo them, do you honestly think I have any chance of gathering 9 casuals that would raid with me, when they can get better gear from 5mans?

One reset per expansion if fine, but a reset on every patch make me feel like Sisif. By the time I reach the last boss, the gear reset comes in, everyone goes 5man and I'm gonna have to work on the next raid.

Anonymous said...


Another truth being: it is HARDER for a casual to keep up now than it ever was in vanilla/BC.
I'm sorry, but that is a one big lie."

How is this a lie? in vanilla/BC you didnt had to keep up, you just played at your own pace. But know with rewards shoved down your throat there is only one legal pace: valor raids or nothing.
It was harder to raid, but guess what people had fun in Scholomance, know anyone that can say the same thing about troll dungeons? No because no one has time to even look at them it's a huge dungeon farm for the valors. (And keep in mind people used to love Zul'gurub and Zul'Aman)

Ahtchu said...

Your arguments based on this pathetic premise are all flawed; it lasts 6 (SIX) times as long as you claim.
Apparently the exaggeration for effect was interpreted for gospel. If you're looking to 'set the record straight', that's fine. We all know the actual reset schedule, but thank you.
The point of the post (and the exaggeration to assist in making the point) remains. Six months is too short a timespan to allow for [gear] pertinence to install. In six months' time, as a hardcore, I am barely able to collect a full kit, much less so for a casual. The premise of my posting supporting the OP remains.

Anonymous said...

@six months is enough

We don't all want to do the end game! We want to progress at our own pace, how can this happen if even the new players are thrown into the last tier of raid?

We don't want a single tier to progress on, because then recruiting new players will put a real casual guild in competition with to many guilds.

As a hardcore I'm fine with the system in 1 week I can gather everything I want and join a progressed guild.

As a newbie you can't expect me to skip all raids.

jx said...

This partially apply to arena, where your 12 years old kid is smashed by veterans. If you don't have sense of position or you don't know when to attack and to defend or you don't know when to use your cds (and son on) ... you are going nowhere.
If you are a good arena player you can play two hours a week and progress until 1800-1900 rating (to get 2200 rating need more dedication of course), and if you don't want to matter about gear at all then you can play level 70 arena.

Emeline said...

Thanks for the post.
It describes quite well how I felt about current "progression" style and why I've eventually left the game.

I couldn't stand the idea of the newest content being the only relevant one, the only one vast majority is playing and caring about. Even if I could (after investing lots of time) find the minority interested in some odd T11 run, it would be pointless and dull because of the huge outgearing on top of all the nerfs. Utter faceroll as the only way to experience the story because I happened to start playing Cata few months after expansion launch. Great.
I haven't been there. I could have had lots of fun exploring something new to me. Sadly Blizzard knows better where I should be looking for fun.

PVP is even worse. I couldn't endure the cycle of forcing myself into BG to earn some points for new gear (while getting oneshotted and being near to useless to my team), getting it near the end of season (because of how casual I play) and finally having few weeks of fun (still getting mostly pwned but this time with knowledge that it's just me being lame, so I can learn and improve). Rinse and repeat. It felt just pointless.

I would also like to mention that in my opinion capping points and doing dailies are very casual-unfriendly ways to obtain the gear. Either you do repetitive, boring stuff every day / week or you'll never "catch up". You'll start new reset with even worse than "average" gear and get flamed even more. So if you happen to spend your 5h/week of playtime exploring the world or such, you are screwing your point-based "progression". It feels like a chore, not entertainment.

I won't be paying for being in constant hurry to finish the content before the nerfs, gear reset or whatever stupid they'll invent to "keep people involved".