I’ve got a lot of thoughts running around in my head right now regarding my first visit to Ulduar and some of the things I’ve come to realize, but I’m not sure how well I’ll be able to sort and present them. I can always try, though!

Last week, I wrote a piece on “the soullessness of badge epics“. A post I threw together in twenty minutes and tossed up before running out the door has rather unintentionally become one of my most viewed posts ever and generated several good comments. I’m not entirely happy with that post, though. I kind of wish I’d let it simmer in drafts for a while before publishing it. Mainly because I think it gave off a different vibe than I wanted it to.

Now, I am rather emotionally invested in WoW, as I’m sure most of us who have been playing for a while are to some degree, whether or not we like to admit it. Thinking back to all the stories behind the gear I’d acquired through the years got my in an emotional mind-set while writing the post and as such it came off as a bit over-the-top, and I think it possibly confused some people into thinking that I was either a.) stubbornly refusing to ever buy badge epics even if they were an upgrade, or b.) anti-badge-system… neither of which are at all true.

Here is Attempt Two at trying to put my feelings into words:

In a big way, I don’t play WoW for the loot. If you put some instance in the game that had super awesome loot but which was simply a boring instance to me, you’d be hard-pressed to get me in there. On the other hand, I’ll totally do an instance I’ve done a million times that has no gear for me, just because I like it. Naxx10 is an example. I’ve done this more times than I can count and it has like… two things out of there that are side-grades and/or arguably slight upgrades (KT’s gun is one of them), and that’s it. But gosh if I wouldn’t love to go back there sometime soon. That place was awesome. Visually stunning, awesome sound design, fun encounters, etc. I don’t understand the people that are bored with it, but hey, maybe I’m just “special”.

I love when a great story happens behind gear… see my “Karma and the Naxx PuG” post for an example. Those shoulders are in my bank ’cause they have such a good story behind them.

This was sort of my mindset when I wrote that badge epics post, although the timing for my publishing of it was admittedly bad– the time when I was really feeling sort of “meh” about the new epics was when I figured I wouldn’t be doing any more progression in WotLK and thus acquiring epics beyond what Naxx had to offer seemed utterly pointless to me. I would rather have my epics that told a story, thankyouverymuch.

But now let’s move on. Because in another big way, especially now, I do play WoW for the loot, and this is why:

When I went to Ulduar-25 on Saturday, it wasn’t just “going to a raid”, no, it was an entirely different creature that I haven’t encountered very often in my WoW experience. It was a “Progression Raid”.

“Progression Raid” means everybody is bringing their mains (unless their alt is pretty much a main itself).

“Progression Raid” means everybody has to perform at their peak.

“Progression Raid” means wiping when the boss is at 2% if somebody messes up.

“Progression Raid” means yours truly went in there wearing three blues and a Heroics-level ranged weapon, and was pretty much demolished on Recount. It was embarrassing. I was all proud of myself for scraping up 4000 DPS and then I realized pretty much everybody else was doing closer to 5000.

Thus, “Progression Raid” means suddenly, gear is important. Because I don’t want to be a hindrance to the team. I don’t want to be the reason we wipe at 2%.

And I have absolutely, 100% no qualms about replacing “gear with a story behind it” with “gear without a story behind it” if the end result is going to be “helping out the guild so we can collectively have more awesome stories”. No, I don’t have an issue with it at all. I am super glad the badge gear is there right now, otherwise it would take even longer for me to catch up.

Ultimately, that means I have an issue with getting pointless gear for the sake of getting pointless gear. If I wasn’t in Ulduar right now, I’d have a hard time convincing myself to get the badge gear, because I wouldn’t need it. Now that I am raiding, I do need it, and thus most of the initial misgivings I had with the idea have melted away.

…does that make sense? o.O If it doesn’t, no worries, this post was kind of rambly anyway.

I really hope I never lose my mindset of enjoying older content though. I like that mindset. Gosh I wanna do Naxx10 right now. I also want to go back in time to level 70 and do Karazhan. Having this video open in a Firefox tab doesn’t help. /nostalgic~

P.S. Because I know people are going to go look at my Armory and give me gear upgrading hints: most of the gear that I’m wearing right now that is sub-par, I’m wearing because of hit rating issues. I am well aware of upgrades to my cloak and ring. =P

P.P.S. Super-grats to my guild for “of the Nightfall”! =D

13 Responses to “Potentially Incoherent Rambles on Ulduar, Gear, Epics, etc.”
  1. Jarnow says:

    Completely agreed. That’s basically the point I was making about gear being a tool over and above being some sort of status symbol or reward. I started playing about a year after several of my RL friends. Our guild is too tiny to have done any real raiding as a group and I’ve been unwilling to go into a raid as a PuG and have no clue what I was doing. So I’ve been lagging pretty far behind them gear-wise, and thus couldn’t easily play with them in many cases.

    Enter the badge loot (and the TotChampion). Now I can run heroics, which having been introduced to them by my friends I have no problem PuGging, and all of a sudden I can get great loot. Plus I was well enough positioned to do TotC, and in the few times I’ve run it I got some awesome drops. In just the last 2 weeks I’ve replaced almost half my gear and am now comparable in gear score to them.

    This doesn’t mean I have accomplished everything they have, I sure haven’t. But it does mean that now I can go with them into Ulduar and the TotCrusader, and won’t be dead weight. Now I’ve caught up, and can continue keeping up, and so I expect that I’ll be able to do Icecrown Citadel when it comes out.

    So I’m happy with the system.

  2. Josh says:

    Pike, you CAN and SHOULD do Naxx-10. Quick steamroll run nets you a buttload of badges, which you can turn into gear and epic gems. You can have your cake and eat it too.

  3. Pike says:

    @ Josh – Indeed, I’d like to sometime soon. My main issue at this point is time, though. Now that I am back to work after a weeklong break, I find myself at work most evenings, and my rare evenings off are typically booked. As soon as I have the time, though, you’d better believe I’ll be all over it.

  4. clra2 says:

    Pike, if you can log onto WoW for just a short amount of time I’d suggest running H TotC. It’s short, fast (except for the intro) and a lot of fun. The gear in there is really, really good, like Ulduar 10m good. And not just 1 piece of good gear either; more like 3 or 4 good pieces which would be solid upgrades to your gear. I don’t really want to give gear upgrading hints, I’m just curious as to why you haven’t posted on this new 5 man instance yet. Unless you already did, in which case I missed it…

  5. Pike says:

    @ clra2 – I’ve ran the new five-man, TotC, several, several times on both normal and heroic on both my hunters, and on my druid as well. It’s helped my newer hunter with a lot of upgrades… with my main hunter, not so much. But yeah I’ve done it a billion times, and the reason I haven’t posted about it is simply that I have nothing interesting to say on it. =P

  6. Fitz says:

    Hey, rock out with some Naxx, if that’s what make you happy.

    Me, I like upgrading my gear… However, I still stand on the bank steps in full beastmaster occasionally, and am pursuing my Rhok’Delar!
    :-)

  7. Lupius says:

    A few notes on hit rating:

    1. Focused Aim is point for point one of the best talents to have. Feel free to spec out of any of those talents that give you less than 1% dps per point and put them into Focused Aim.

    2. Even if you don’t feel like respeccing, it’s still worth it to upgrade your blues to badge stuff even if it puts you below the hit cap. Doing 105% of your dps but hitting 98% of the time is still a net dps increase (overtime, due to variation of RNG). People used to follow the hit cap religiously because bosses had mechanisms that required certain skills to not miss at all. So unless your raid will wipe if you miss a tranq shot, don’t worry too much about hit capping and just go for whatever gear that gives you the highest overall stats.

  8. Xianghua says:

    Hey, it’s all about having fun in the end, isn’t it? If you like to steamroll naxx 10 instead of running heroics, by all means, go for it! Take it from me: I’m still wearing the crafted titansteel helm and a blue heroic chest piece and I’m pulling 3.5k dps single target in ulduar 25. My guild/raid leaders don’t seem to mind so long as I show up when I sign up and follow instructions. I’m still wearing t7 shoulders too..

  9. WB says:

    Interestingly, when you say “back story” and architecture as aspects of instances, etc., my first thought was “she’s going to hate ToC 5-man and raids.” Sure enough, you have nothing to say about your ToC runs, and I have to believe that’s no small part of it. Walk into a big room and stay inth esame room for 2hours. Yeah, not so much fun if you’re not enamored with the fight itself.

    I don’t have any particular problem with the new badge system, or at least the Conquest badges. I think it will be great when I get my single alt up to 80. BUt on my main, all my gear comes out of proression raids, and I haven’t needed to a mass a bucnh of tokens by farming 5-mans.

    Ironically, that’s because I have the exact opposite problem all of you do. Or more accurately, the same problem, but a different result. My time in-game is exclusively raiding, or gathering mats to raid. I’ve been fortunate to find a guild that raids latenight and fits my schedule. But I didn’t have time to run the 5-mans, and fortunately didn’t need to.

    Now, to raid progression you HAVE to do the daily heroic for the 2-triumph badges. otherwise you fall behind in terms of gear progression compared to fellow raiders. I’m not pleased with that aspect at all.

  10. Pike says:

    @ WB – To tell the truth it’s not so much an inherent problem with ToC itself– I find the 5man to be quite enjoyable, (though it’s not my favorite), and I love the jousting part of it– so much as it’s just that I’ve never really taken the time to blog about five-mans before, thus, I have “nothing interesting to say about it” because in the end it’s just another five-man.

    If somebody requested a guide on it, or some sort of post on it, I’d be glad to comply, though.

    Hmm… sudden urge to write up a “reviews” post on all the instances in the game…

  11. Ninjaoctopus says:

    What’s that you say? “Urge to write reviews post”?

    DO EET!

    Also, nice ramble post. I got the point you was trying to make and I’m all for the ToC loot system. It means I should be happily geared for Icecrown Citadel so I don’t envy others doing it! *big grin*

  12. Ooke says:

    4k dps is still nothing to sneeze about, as a maligned hybrid I have a hard time maintaining more than that at times. With your gear it’s quite acceptable in U25 most fights require the dps to have 2-3k DPS average to get by. Better than the full “epiced” out pures who cannot seem to maintain 2k dps in U25.

  13. Noah says:

    I love 10 man Naxx. It’s probably my favourite group endeavour in WoW but I rarely get the chance to go on a run these days.

    Actually, I prefer 10s by far over 25s, I wish the loot from the former was as good as from the latter.

    But Naxx is a great raid and really well built.

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