Mythic’s Seperate Gear Models – Too Little, Too Late?

justoutofarmsreach

Usually I don’t play the skeptic when it comes to a video game I have been playing for coming up on 10 years, but this time I thought it would be fun to dance around this topic like everyone else.

For those not aware, the newest difficulty in Raiding will also feature entirely separate gear models. This comes in on the news that LFR will suffer the same fate, leaving 3 separate models for each tier alone, and that’s still per class past LFR. There will be 30 plus unique models (not just recolors) for each tier, which already sounds like a burden on the art team that is apparently struggling to push out the character models, but that is not the argument here.

What I will carry forward on is the premise that they are doing this to help niche players out, and prove that LFR is for the common folk, real raiding can be done by anyone, and Mythic raiders deserve a truer reward than just item level. At face value, I couldn’t agree more. A LONG time ago, in Classic and even until Cata really, you could tell who on your server were serious players without having to examine their health pool. The gear they wore could not be masked, so seeing the main tank of the top 40 man in full dreadnaught really meant something, and often inspired those less accomplished to reach for the stars. I make no qualms about saying this is single-handily what got me into raiding. Seeing a select Warrior tank who would find a way on top of the structures in Ironforge in first full D2, then full Might Set, and finally full Wrath set. It was at this point that I decided I want to raid as well, so I contacted the GM of this man’s guild and let him know that I was top in my class, rank 8 FFA eastern wc ladder 2, and a quick learner. He chuckled, noticed my greens and likely invited me as a joke. By the time I was able to figure things out and get some Wrath gear, our main tank was getting full Dreadnaught and my eternal admiration.

Ahem, anyway enough of the trip down memory lane. The point is that gear rewards used to be what made a player stand out from others. Today, this can still be the case, especially if coupled with a tremendous healthpool and flashy entrance, but with there is one inherent flaw that this entire argument is predicated upon, and I will end this sentence first before unveiling it for dramatic effect. Here we go, are you ready? The issue is… Transmogrification!

Yes, it has become so rampant that anyone who plays a toon seriously puts sets together, even if its mismatched pieces. I personally can not live without my Firelands Heroic tier on top the Reins of Galakras. The colors of the gear and the mount are literally perfect together, and there is nothing even remotely competing in my mind. This is all the reason I need to assume this mythic separation of gear is too little and indeed far too late.

The parallel example would be their Challenge Mode endeavor with gear, and the fact that so many of the sets were indeed as epic as they come. Sure, at one point it really showed an accomplished player, but this was an entire set made to be transmoged to, and with a lot of work put into it.

Will the same happen with Mythic? Even now, in the 582 item level I have, if I untransmogged my entire set, the gear I was wearing would not be a complete match. Is this enough to deter people from showing it off, or does it encourage more unique combinations of the pieces we do actually have.

Regardless, I stand firm when I say that, while I am all for this addition to the game’s gear and cosmetic landscape, what they hope to achieve is something extinct in the minds of most players. Any one who is any one has a plethora of transmog set options, and even those who do choose to use the new pieces to display their prowess will likely do so in mixture, making its effect just that.

There is no easy way around it, but facts of the matter are that if you are spending resources on all these different gear sets just to add separation into the game, and in turn a very low percentage of Mythic raids end up displaying the set, then you have wasted some amount of resources.

Unless of course, the sets are that amazing…

Only time will tell!

I’ll leave you with this image, and you can decide for yourself.

gear

Courtesy of MMO-champion dataminers.

Take note of the massive difference in shoulders, helm and belt from the Mythic (top) to Heroic (bottom.)
Also notice the lack of difference in boots, legs, etc.
Its still very early though. But what do you think? Does this strike you as something you’d shatter your transmog for, especially just to show off yourself as a Mythic raider?

Game’s Too Easy? – Gearing “Difficulty” and Relevance Comparison!

Gearing

Hello and welcome to the series “Game’s too Easy?” Within, Metro will sarcastically discuss any number of assorted topics in an attempt to dispel myths and hearsay surrounding such. The focus of today’s discussion will be the Gearing progression system that is currently implemented through Mists of Pandaria. The Discussion will NOT delve into the changes with WoD, but will focus on dispelling myths that gearing is somehow significantly easier than it was in previous expansions. Another main focus of the article will be refuting the statement “Epics used to mean something, now they are free.”

Once again, to understand this subject we need to delve deep in the past. I have already explained the vast differences in raiding and how Blizzard’s focus has changed, but now let’s discuss how gear worked and was distributed.

Another common misconception about this process is that is has deviated in some significant way, but when you examine it in the meta-formation, you understand this is clearly not the case. You see, the game launched with little knowledge of the process’s progression, but established early on that 5 man content would be a stepping stone for Raiding content (at the time 40 man.)

In order to progress to “raid ready” status, five man content was very important, and there were multiple levels of content to be progressed through. You would start by doing BRD multiple times until you had a decent set of blues for your role, then move on to Scholomance and Stratholme to build an even better set and begin your D1 if it was applicable. Eventually, Diremaul was introduced, and this was incorporated into the mix. Meanwhile, the Blackrock Spire instance was where your final goals should lie. Not only did it contain the attunement for MC, but it was the source of the best pre-raid gear for nearly everyone.

The five man progression is the now much more diluted, and unfortunately my least favorite in any expansion, but it still has the same principle – in the beginning you did five man content as the only option to get ready for Raiding.

Next up, let’s discuss and parallel gear in raids and address the misconceptions here. When the game launched, MC was the ONLY way to get gear that had its text colored purple, and because of this, the color took on a meaning that wasn’t intentional. In my eyes, Epic loot is meant to be from the end-game, but unfortunately, with the introduction of item levels scaling affixed to each piece, now Epic is simply something of a certain item level and weight. So to parallel, Epics from MC = Epics of 510 ilvl from the first tier. This is indicative of the best gear in the game, and that is how it should be approached without any questions.

"Full Epics" Doesn't mean the best gear anymore! Times change!

“Full Epics” Doesn’t mean the best gear anymore! Times change!

Of course, there are now multiple levels of gear progression in Raiding. We see LFR at 476/483 ilvl, and normal at 489/496. These epics are quality pieces, yet people will look at an LFR equivalent and make statements like “welfare epic.” Because of this, we now get the misconception that progressive gearing is easy, and many people are foolish to make a sweeping generalization encompassing the best gear in the game, to say that it also is much easier to obtain than it was in the beginning of the game. But this is so far from the truth it’s unbelievable!

We are about to sum this whole thing up, but before we do, there is one other circumstance you need to recognize – The implementation of 20 man raiding in Classic! This was not in at launch, and was a decision made first with the introduction of Zul’gurub. The raid not only allowed for 20 players to complete it, but had a 3 day reset lock, allowing it to be done many more times a month than your normal raids. This option came out after BWL, and was meant entirely for players to be able to catch up and see BWL content if they weren’t already well progressed through MC. It dropped loot that was miles above anything you could get in five mans, and even debatably had pieces better than epics from MC, but this was the fault of the design and inexperience in gear creation, not by intention.

Either way, with MC and BWL effectively one tier, we see the same process duplicated across the AQ expanse. AQ20 followed the same principles as ZG, and was slightly harder, but had bosses with very little mechanics and gave loot far better than anything available from non-raid content. However, all of this loot was Rare quality (blue text,) something that has changed and is likely the reason for the growing misconception here.

So let’s examine the whole system in parallels:

463 MoP Blues = BRD, DM, Scholo/Strat Blues.

476+ LFR Epics = UBRS, some Stratholme Blues.

489/496 Normal Epics = ZG Blues.

510~ Heroic Epics = MC/BWL Epics.

So with this, we see that to compare the loots, you need to have perspective. Of course, as LFR and timeless isle epics are available, they are PURELY meant for catch-up, like in ZG and AQ20. The only difference at all, is the fact that they are actually epic, likely a result of the huge difference in item level. After all, it would be strange to replace a 489 epic from MSV with a 496 blue from the timeless isle! To understand this is to refute the original statement, but let’s delve one more layer deep to fully comprehend exactly what is and is not true about this conversation.

People constantly make claims about how easy it is to gear up, but what I am about to tell you should help you realize that it is actually as difficult if not MORE difficult than it was before, and here’s why!

In Classic and even TBC and Wrath to some extent, gear and item levels barely differed. As mentioned already, it was entirely possible to have a full set of good blues from five mans, and still complete everything in the game. It was even more common for players to keep certain trinkets and pieces for entire expansions, because of how different the gearing strategy was for Blizzard. This carried on well into Wrath, where the Meteorite from Algalon was BIS for Holy Paladins until Cataclysm launched.

Now, item levels are much steeper when talking progression through tiers, and their number is much more symbolic of quality. In the past, this was present but it was hard to differentiate. Back then, there were pieces and trinkets that were absolute BIS, there were also epics that were so useless even a person wearing greens would think otherwise. Remember this, because a lot of players raiding MC were wearing epics that were arguably worse than a blue from Scholomance. (A great example is the Healing Chest from Baron Rivendare, a teal dress. It was far better than nearly everything in the game until well into BWL. I only replaced it because I was sick of using it, and not until the t2 paladin chest. T1 paladin chest didn’t even have healing stats on it!)

In present day, this is almost never the case, and any item level upgrade should be seen as an upgrade from any piece. This furthers the challenge, making ToT normal 522 gear near irrelevant for Heroic SoO, yet ZG and MC gear were some of the best things you could get for AQ progression. It is also pertinent to realize that there is much more gear available, so now the challenge isn’t finding one good piece, it’s finding the BIS set that will last you for the entire tier.

Going back to our lineation, we can wrap this up by saying Blues from Dungeons in classic we certainly good enough for MC and BWL progression, yet walking into Heroic Terrace with 476 gear from LFR was never going to lead to a kill under any circumstances minus the best players in the world.

With this, I hope everyone now understands that it’s important to keep perspective when discussing loot and its quality. The best epics back then were a sight to see no question, but they should NEVER be compared to LFR or timeless isle loot. That loot is exclusively comparable to Heroic raiding pieces, which as we have just learned, are far more prestigious and important to progression than they were in the past.

The next time you hear some clown saying “the game is so easy, I can get a full set of epics in a day!” remind them of what you read today. Remind them that those 496 Timeless pieces may be easy to obtain, but they are simply a catch up method, and if they wish to do any serious end-game raiding, they will be beyond useless. Remind them that when they can get some 580 pieces in 1 day, then they can say “the games too ez!”

 

This gear is the goal. Not 496 ilvl Timeless!!

This gear is the goal. Not 496 ilvl Timeless!!

Thanks for reading! As always, we encourage comments and discussion here at Stratics, so if you have any thing you would like to add, it would be my pleasure to continue the conversation!

 

Nexon Announces “Best of 2011 Sale”

Nexon announced the “Best of 2011 Sale” on Thursday, which will feature the return of permanent NX weapons released over the past twelve months.  Moreover, the sale will offer discounted supply cases and new permanent duration gear.

Guns

The following NX standard weapons will be offered at a 25% discount:

  • Anaconda Gold
  • CZ805
  • Jackhammer
  • M1866
  • MG21E Steel
  • MG42 Steel
  • MZP-1
  • T-2
  • TRG-41
  • XK-8 Tactical
  • XM8
  • WA2000

Nexon will also over a 25% discount on 90-day GP weapons, including the TRG-21, Galil ACE, and MG42, among others.

Supply Cases

In addition to these offers, Nexon will reactivate all MYST cases, from MYST-Alpha to the new MYST-Juliet, all of which will be sold on a buy one, get one free basis.  Moreover, an updated Kalika case will be offered.  Furthermore, MYST-G cases will be offered at a 25% discount.

Permanent Gear

Finally, the sale will offer the following permanent duration gear:

  • Prankstar Bandana, for NX
  • Shapka, for NX
  • Max (mercenary), for GP

See the official announcement here.

New Blood: GP Arsenal Expanded

Nexon announced today that it would be expanding its GP arsenal to include several former NX-only items.  The Combat Arms community has often begrudged the unavailability of top-notch gear in the GP shop.  This development will likely help mollify these grievances.

The complete listing of updated items has not yet been released.  However, Nexon has stated that it will include the following items, among others:

Custom Reticle 4

Shapka

Force Warrior Helmet

KDR/HP Vision

  

Combat Vest

Tiger Stripe Camo

Chemical Gas Mask

More details will be added as they are released.  Meanwhile, the official announcement may be viewed here.

New Gear: Devil Mask

Nexon released a new item on 13 May: the Devil Mask.  This item provides users with increased headshot protection, speed, sprint stamina, and flash protection, but it appears to utilize the slots for both head and face gear.  The Devil Mask is available for purchase from the Black Market for 30-day or 90-day duration.

From now until 17 July at 11:59 PST (18 July at 2:59 EST), player who purchase a 90-day Devil Mask will receive 3,000 gp.  To read the full announcement, see here.

Headshot Protection +10%
Speed +5%
Sprint Stamina +25%
Flash Protection +80%

Sally Forth in LORTO – Episode 13

thaurlach144x144TGN

This episode is pretty heavily focused on the news as there’s just been a ton of it lately.  Also, please feel free to let me know if there are any topics of specific interest and I’ll try to get those covered.

News:

Topic – Legendary Item Experience

  • Forum Thread I mention
  • Viable IXP Options
    • Skirmishes
    • Esteldin Bounties
    • Dolven View Instances
    • Crafting Instances
    • Lorien Dailies
    • Mirkwood
    • Enedwaith
    • Nar’s Peak

Sally Forth in LOTRO – Episode 11

thaurlach144x144TGN

This episode is a little different in that I primarily just cover the news and my takes on the Echoes of the Dead update.  I should be back on a normal schedule and will get back to my normal news and topic format.  Feel free to let me know if you have any thoughts or suggestions for a topic.

Also, during this episode I do reference my interview with Aaron “Rowan” Campbell, so if you haven’t listened to that I suggest you take a listen as I do have a bit of a different take from others.

News:

Echoes of the Dead Update:

New LOTRO Legendary Relic Options

With the Echoes of the Dead update, Turbine revamped all the Legendary Item Relics and provided a whole host of new options.  I’ve been going through trying to figure out which are best for my classes as thought I’d share my thoughts on it.  In this, I’m making one key assumption that you’re not considering any of the old relics.  Now I will admit, I did save some of my old tier 9s but for the sake of the post I’ll ignore those.

First up, all the options available (I’m just going to show the Tier 6 and Extraordinary ones):

  • Tier 6
    • Gold Setting of Clear Thought
      • +22 Will, +650 Offense Ratings
    • Gold Setting of the Abyssal Depths
      • +22 Might, +650 Offense Ratings
    • Gold Setting of Precision
      • +230 Morale, +650 Offense Ratings
    • Gold Setting of Grace
      • +210 Power, +780 Outgoing Healing
    • Adamant Gem of the Crags
      • +22 Vitality, +520 Crit Ratings
    • Adamant Gem of the Precise Eye
      • +22 Agility, +520 Crit Ratings
    • Adamant Gem of Lore
      • +22 Fate, +520 Crit Ratings
    • Subtle Rune of the Fortress
      • +1040 Incoming Healing, +520 Block
    • Subtle Rune of Readiness
      • +114 ICMR, +520 Parry
    • Subtle Rune of the Sun
      • +114 ICPR, +520 Evade
  • Extraordinary
    • Extraordinary Setting of Stability
      • -5% Item Wear, +260 BPE, +1300 Incoming Healing
    • Extraordinary Setting of Beginnings
      • +650 Melee Defense, +114 ICPR, +22 Vitality
    • Extraordinary Setting of Endings
      • +7.5% Dev. Mag., +520 All Crits, +114 ICMR
    • Extraordinary Gem of Faith
      • +10% Partial Parry/Block Mitigation, +520 Block, +22 Might
    • Extraordinary Gem of Charity
      • +640 Tactical Defense, +780 Outgoing Healing, +210 Power
    • Extraordinary Gem of Hope
      • +260 Crit Defense, +230 Morale, +210 Power
    • Extraordinary Rune of Courage
      • +10% Partial Evade/Parry Mitigation, +22 Agi, +520 Parry
    • Extraordinary Rune of Power
      • +650 Ranged Defense, +520 Offensive Ratings, +22 Fate
    • Extraordinary Rune of Wisdom
      • -2.5% Attack Duration, +520 Evade, +22 Will

The Tier 6s are obtained just like the rest of the relics, but the Extraordinary ones are obtained through the new Melding system by combining specific Tier 6s and shards to make a new relic.  It is a bit overwhelming at first, but play around with it a bit and it makes more sense – also to note when melding, you are given a choice of which relics to use so you don’t have to worry about it the game picking the wrong one (just yourself picking the wrong one).

One thing I really like is the flexibility in that things like ICPR and incoming healing are available in multiple slots, and there are many other buffs that were previously very rare like partial mitigations.

To talk about these, I’m going to break up in terms of the main classes I play and best understand.

Warden (Tank)

Setting – Extraordinary Setting of Stability and/or Beginnings seems pretty clear cut here and I will most likely use one of each.

Gem – Extraordinary Gem of Hope and/or Faith.  I’m a big fan of the Hope gem on my Warden as crits are pretty rough for them and since there’s no cap on partials Faith is also very nice.

Rune – This one’s a bit trickier as there are a number of situational ones.  Fortress is nice if you’re not capped on either of those stats, Sun is nice for the ICPR, and Courage is quite nice for the Partials and parry boost as it is the rarest of mitigation bonuses.

Captain

Setting – I’m all over the place on this one as it mainly depends on how you play.  I’m going for more of a hybrid Captain and not necessarily focused purely on healing so I may not be the best guide for everyone.  Pretty much all the Tier 6s are nice depending on what you’re trying to build up or lacking.  I would probably lean more towards the Beginnings or Ending Extraordinary Settings as Captains shouldn’t worry about block and for me incoming healing and item wear are secondary worries.

Gem – I like all the Tier 6 Gems as criticals for Captains are great for healing and damage (defeat responses).  Charity to me seems like a great Healing Captain Gem with Hope being nice for a more well-rounded build.

Rune – Sun and Readiness are nice from the Tier 6s as regeneration and mitigations are always nice.  For me, the Wisdom rune is intriguing to get more damage output but Courage is probably better for a defensive build.

Minstrel (Tactical Classes)

Setting – this will really vary if you’re playing a DPS or healing spec.  For healing I think Grace is the clear cut best but many are nice if you’re running more of a DPS build.  This will be a bit tricky for me and I’m probably going to put the appropriate setting on the healing/dps items as appropriate.  Running a War-speech minnie, Beginnings is quite appealing as are all the crit/offensive boosting ones.

Gem – Charity is probably the best healing Gem with the others being situationally viable for DPS specs.

Rune – Sun and Power are probably the best options regardless of the spec.

DPS Classes (Hunter/Champion) (I’m stepping out of my comfort zone a bit here)

Setting – Precision or Endings are probably the best for damage, but others might be helpful if you worry about being a bit less squishy.

Gem – Any of the Tier 6s for pure offense or Hope to help mitigate the nasty one-shot attacks.

Rune – Sun for the ICPR (if an issue), Courage for Defensive buffs, Power for damage, and Wisdom for attack speed.

Based on all these options, yes there may be a bit of a step back from previous tier 9 relics but even with those I’m still slotting the new ones in place of the old ones.

LOTRO PvMP Design Intentions

There have been quite a few tweaks to the moors lately and today we also met another member of the team working with Orion on the on-going attention being paid to the Moors.  Kelsan put up a pretty short post on the forums talking about the plan as well as a short introduction.  The ideas are rather vague but certainly a good swath of things to look into.

  • Revitalization
    • Improve the underlying systems!
      • Reduce or remove restrictions (example – recent updates to Creep intros)
      • Reward Structure
        • PvMP Exclusive rewards
        • Enhanced PvMP Advancement
        • Rewards for zone control
      • Encourage play during off-peak hours
    • Balance (He admits this is very challenging)
      • Skill rotation audits
        • Balancing purpose, effectiveness, and cooldowns
        • revise existing skills instead of adding new
      • Close the gap between melee and ranged, but not totally nerfing ranging into oblivion
    • Unify the goals of the freeps and creeps such that it is a more cohesive system
      • examine the purpose for ranking on both sides
      • examine the reasons and rewards for zone control

Certainly a good read and I’m sure the thread following it will be quite interesting as well!