Thursday Thoughts: Tokens and Badges and Emblems, oh my!

Disclaimer: This is a rant, and a bit of QQ on my part.  It is also a bit long winded, which will seem very normal for those who know me. If you want “the point” then jump to the full post and read the last section.

My History
A quick trip in the not so way back machine reminds me about how I spent some of my time trying to get some loot in Everquest.

First, I would fight my way down the dangerous halls/tunnels of a dungeon to a spot near where a certain monster/evil guy might appear. Then I would look and chat around to see if anyone else was near by waiting on the same person; there almost always was. Next, I would have to see if the other people had room in their group for me, and if not have them add me to the “list”. (See back then a group would keep a list of people to cycle in when someone in the current group got what they needed.)

Then I would kill time waiting until a spot opened up, only to join the group and kill more time and “place holder” monsters until the one baddy we wanted appeared. Once the target appeared , or popped, we would rush to do more damage to it than anyone else near bye, and pray he dropped whatever it was we wanted.  Of course most of the time the target of our time would not drop what we wanted, and we all went back to waiting.

It was a terrible system. One that was not fun, but one we put up with because at the time there was no other game even close to as cool as Everquest.

Fast forward a bit to original World of Warcraft.
Now in this game if I wanted an item I would first kill time in city reading and chatting in /general chat trying to find four other people that wanted to spend two hours, or more, in the dungeon the item I wanted dropped in. Of course it only drops a small percentage of the time off of a single NPC in the dungeon. So since few groups are willing to repeated run through and kill a single NPC for another person in the group, I would have to fight through the whole dungeon, pray the item drops of the NPC, pray I win the roll, then if not, start the process all over again.

It was frustrating but so much better than EQ’s old way, that I was happy to do it.

Fast forward a bit more and WoW introduces a token system. When a Boss is killed they drop a token which can be used by several different classes to turn in for a reward. Since it was only useable by certain classes it improved the chances that if it was for your class that you would actually win the item.

Fast forward a bit more.
Now with the release of Burning Crusade Blizzard adds a badge system. One in which all bosses in the current level of heroic dungeons will drop one or more badges. These badges are a currency used to purchase nice items. I think this system works really well; as you release new items to the vendors at ever increasing costs, you keep people consistently wanting to run the existing instances. The content stays usable all the way up until the release of the next expansion.

The Present
Now step into the present and see me cry as I feel blizzard makes their content obsolete in record time.

With WotLK, they introduced the emblem system similar to the badge system of BC, but with one key difference: The 5man heroic dungeons and 10 man raid instance bosses would drop one of more Emblems of Heroism and the all the bosses 25man verions of those instance would drop a different Emblem one of Valor.

Each emblem type is used to purchase completely different sets of items; heroism for ilevel 200 items and Valor for ilevel 213 items.

But I see a problem:
There is there is no way to covert a set of Heroism emblems to Valor Emblems.

Once you reach a point where most items you want require Valor emblems, you have no reason to participate in content that gives Heroism emblems. What is worse is the Raid instance in the next patch will introduce a third emblem and items, and still no way to convert lower emblems up to higher tiers.

Thus in a record time, about four months, Blizzard made all their five man content in an expansion obsolete.  So if you have geared yourself up to the current 25 man content you will most likely have zero “loot” reason to run the man instances that shipped with Wrath, that is unless you have several characters you are playing in the level 70 to 80 range.

Which makes me sad; very sad.

A simple emblem upgrade system would solve the problem. I would start by adding something like 50 heroism = 1 valor (or whatever number feels balanced) in with the 3.1 patch. Then when the next big raid content patch comes out, add a valor => conquest conversion. Just keep the conversion at place where people want to keep running the old content.   You can even change the conversion costs as the player bases grows in power, to compensate the speed at which they can complete them.

Another solution might be to also use the Burning Crusade method; continue to add things the old emblems can buy at greater and greater costs. These don’t have to be the same as the higher tier items, but make them similar and at the cost of a great number of lower tier emblems.

There could be other solutions, and I really don’t care how the issue is addressed, all I know is I see this as a problem.

The Point

Ask yourself; “If I have all the ilevel 200 items I needed, stockpiled 400 emblems of heroism, and were exalted with all the current instance factions (easy to do with tabbards), would I have a reason,other than to help friends, to step foot in a 5 man heroic instance?” My answer is no.

Then ask; “Is that a probelm?” My answer is yes.

Now I know that a lot of people will say, “If you want to get raid level loot, you should raid”.

I have never been a fan of that design mentality.

If I can only get the time free to raid once every couple of weeks, but can run one 5man instance a night, then there should be a way for me to use that time to help me keep up with my friends. Help me not feel that when I do attend a raid that I am not a complete leech.

In addition there should be some personal reward for my higher geared people/friends to run those five man instances (with me), other than guilt or charity. People should be using the content the design team spent so much time on.

Whew, ok I am done ranting.

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