Telwyn wrote about gearing, and gear as character progression in WoW in detail. I wanted to comment, but this was one of those “loo long for a comment” posts very soon..
I don’t want to say I have a strong opinion on the topic, but maybe I have several, mixed, not-so-light opinions 😉
Just relying on drop luck sucks, it’s what I’ve always hated in raids in Vanilla and TBC, thus I found DKP a lot better. Show up more, get more loot. I also didn’t like Loot Council (oh, the raid leader’s favorite people get their best in slot items, but the people who show up 90% don’t get anything, and the slackers get showered in loot so they catch up…), but let’s leave those organized multiplayer loot systems behind and just talk about “gearing” in general.
If my toon has no means of getting gear outside personal loot drops and tokens.. I prefer a mixed system. I don’t remember seeing a full-on “there are only tokens” system, you always get a modicum of gear to drop and then collect some kind of tokens or points and can buy stuff for your missing slots, hopefully one per week, or at least more than one every 2 months (hello WoW, looking at you). I don’t want to feel pushed to run a heroic dungeon every single day to not lag behind, but ok, 1h investment per day can still be considered fine for a raider – bonus points if there’s a weekly cap and not a daily one.
This had worked kinda fine in past expansions, I bought some items for Heroic tokens, sometimes even the odd PvP piece (Was that Bracers/Belt in TBC? :P). What I absolutely hate the most was this “oh I bought it yesterday and now something of the same quality or better drops after I had saved up 2 weeks for that piece. Just let me at least sell it back for half the value or get rid of random drops altogether. This makes me literally furious, much more than not getting the item (or its too-quick replacement) at all.
Legion changed all that – at least for the Weapon slot. For the first few toons (and specs) I kinda liked it. One less thing to care about upgrading, or let’s say – there’s no real alternative, it’s just a nice, quick progression. On the other hand.. there’s no catch-up mechanic (IIRC there came one, a lot later, but if you -like me- don’t spend the first 6 months on your main, but play some alts, the catch-up mechanic was kinda meh. I had already invested a ton of time into my alts’ artifact weapons). But in general I really liked it. No more “should I really upgrade this to X when tomorrow something with X+1 might drop for me?” I can get carried away real quickly in pondering about weapon upgrades. As an aside, I’ve always hated the PvP gear grind. My suggestion had been for years: Let everyone buy a set for 100g/1000g or something equally low (free is fine as well) and then it’s 100% a skill game, and has nothing to do with gear anymore. Not sure if they ever implemented that to the fullest, but by that time I had (and still have) burned out on WoW PvP for a long, long time. (I was Rank 11 in vanilla and didn’t too to bad in TBC arenas, then I stopped).
Now, I haven’t played BfA, but so far it sounds ok-ish. But I’m not sure I wouldn’t have preferred to keep the weapon approach (but transmoggable, and maybe not one per spec, but 1 per class). Sure it’s boring, but it’s nice and handy.
This Azerite artifact? amulet? seems to be some kind of proxy to your /played and meaningful earning of a certain currency, so the longer you play (regarding contributing activities ingame) the more your power grows, just like with the weapon, but it’s more customizable, as it’s a different tier that’s not tied to a certain slot. I don’t really see this as very different, but I guess I’d have to play to comment, really.
Oh, and all this talk was now just about the mode of character progression via gear, there are some totally different models, which all have something going for them:
- I like SWTOR’s datacrons – you unlock them account wide and every single one gives you a little boost, but I haven’t run the numbers how many of them bump you like 1 Tier of gear, if at all
- I like EVE’s training mechanic a lot. If I am “actively playing” that month (in the monthly active user metric *cough*) I get to level something – I don’t have to be playing 24/7. This had the downside of never being able to catch up, but as total noob I’d say that after N years (N might be 3 or 7 or more) you won’t get better for a certain amount of ships, you can only really go broader, not deeper. Also there were skill injectors, which fixed this problem to a degree but brought others. Wilhelm had a good post about it lately. And yes, this is pay-to-win on a very basic scale. On the other hand, I once forgot to cancel a 3-month sub for EVE and while in any other MMO I would’ve felt regret, in EVE it was “ah well, time to queue up some of the nasty long skills, while I’m not actively playing”.
PS: Blaugust has started and this is my twenty-eighth post; and even after all these years, “eighth” is one of the hardest words of the English language for me.
PPS: Something I’ve noticed this Blaugust: the more I post, the more likely I am to reference one of Wilhelm’s posts. This time it’s even two – because between me reading Telwyn’s post and posting this, he wrote something on the topic as well. Gladly I’m not that philosophic and don’t even get started on the reasoning if gearing and character progression makes sense, I’m absolutely happy to just voice an opinion 🙂