On balance, or gear levels, or some crazy shit. I dunno. I'm just going to copy-paste it because maybe tomorrow or the day after I'll write a clarified opinion on what you're about to see. It will be disjointed, it does sprawl tangentially over the place, but hey--that's what conversation does.
This is a forum topic. It's not as clear-cut as you might like, cause each post is at minimum a few sentences, and each post covers a couple of related subtopics. I'm going to try and edit it to clean it up and make it slightly more readable, but before I do that, let me tell you that I dunno how to set Blogspot/Blogger so it only shows the first few paragraphs and then has a 'jump', as it's called. I don't know why that isn't a super-easy to find setting, but a quick once-over turned up nothing (I haven't googled the solution, yet)--so be warned: this post is topping 4000 words.

On WoW Gearing & End-Game Philosophy

I think the gear differences between 3.0 and 4.0 are out of control. ilevel 200 to 280 is an extraordinary range. I remember WORKING at the Loken achievement (kill him in less than 2 minutes, I believe) and we popped bloodlust and everything.
Today I got Halls of Lightning for a random heroic, and there was an unholy dk and a resto druid who were in the same guild.
Shit was dying really fast, and I thought "hunh they must've nerfed HoL"... and then I realize that the DK isn't doing 1000dps, but 10,000 dps. I realize those swirls around him are no random buff, and that axe is not merely shiny, but the motherfucker has a shadowmourne.

Ten minutes after the first pull of the instance, we're standing in front of the last boss. About twenty seconds ago I realized that the healer is not just really fucking good, that shiny thing around me is actually the proc from Val'Anyr (or whatever it's called). There are two legendary items in this heroic.
We killed loken in eighteen seconds. Just a kill, nothing fancy, no strategy, no popping-all-cooldowns-raaargh, just a procedural kill.
In eighteen seconds. He has 512,278 hp. that's 28,460 single-target dps from the 5 members of the group. Me hitting maaybe 3k, single target, the healer busy healing. 25k in a heroic from 3 people.
I remember a time when I was in heroic nexus and I told someone "dude I'm with these ret pallies and they're really good! This one's doing 2.2k!"
That's absurd. That's how trivialized the content has gotten. Heroic achievements don't really mean anything. Ionar only disperses once, and we just stood there.
Later, I researched these guys, and realized that the resto druid that healed me with the ulduar legendary ISN'T EVEN THE GUY'S MAIN.


I mean, that's the problem with a game that, in order to hold onto it's player base, simply keeps adding end game content.

Uh, yeah, content that is 4 tiers behind your gear level is trivialized... are you surprised? Shattered Halls/Shadow Labs heroic was pretty easy in Sunwell gear too.

Also, it sounds like you were with players that new what they were doing (if their guilds gave them legendaries they likely weren't scrubs), and that quality of player was doing 3k dps when the content was relevant anyway, and closer to 5k once they had Naxx/Maly/OS gear (our very first Naxx 10 I was 3rd on dps at 3.1k on patch, and I had exactly 2 pieces of level 80 gear on)

My point is that four patches shouldn't be tripling people's damage and hp and healing. Wrath was a special case, because for each instance they added not-one-but-two tiers every time. Naxx-10 was 200, 25 was 213, and to make ulduar better it was what, 219/226 + 232 for hardmodes, so ToC-10 had to be 232, toc-25 245, and then their heroics had to be a tier or half a tier higher, and then ICC had to start out at 251 and go all the way up to 277 (with H-LK being 284, as well as H-25 Halion).

Whereas it was ilevel 115 for kara, 125 for gruul/mag, 128-138 for SSC and TK (and I think some 141s from Vashj and Kael), tier 6 was 151, and SWP was 154-164.
One thing they did in BC that they didn't do much in wotlk was give harder bosses better items. In wotlk, the last boss is a tier higher, but there was a greater variance in BC. The ranges within the instances were bigger so maybe they didn't have to make the differences between the tiers so big. Also there were a few places for t4, two for t5 and t6 respectively, and then... well, nobody got into sunwell anyways.

In burning crusade, the difference between a guy with heroics/kara gear, some blues (12k or so) and a guy in full sunwell gear (20k?) was big. The difference between heroic gearing at wotlk (with maybe 20k?) and Light-of-Dawn level (60k) is much vaster, both in numbers and proportion. Shit's too much, dawg. I think blizzard pushed it too far.

H MgT was released with Sunwell and was much harder, though still trivial in Sunwell gear. You can't compare that to HoL. Compare it to HoR, which is hard, though not in full ICC H gear. Also 284/200 = 142%. 164/115 = 142.6%. Our first Naxx run our tank had 29k HP. Now our tank has 70k (241% increase). Our first Kara run our tank had 11k hp. In Sunwell gear it was (I think) 26 (It was a few k over 23 I know because when we went back for Kael we didn't have to use CDs for pyro anymore and that hit for 23k) (239% increase). In kara gear a good dps would do 800, maybe 900 dps (375% increase). In sunwell gear it was 3k. In naxx gear 5k was around the top, in ICC it's 30k, -30% = 23k without the ICC buff (460% increase).

So only dps is really ahead of TBC, and not by terribly much (and part of that is because the fights are shorter than they were in Naxx when your raid is doing record breaking dps, so CDs are up for a bigger percentage of the fight)

Content released 2 years ago is never going to be challenging in the least if you have up to date gear. Even MgT was completely trivialized if you had one Sunwell quality DPS. And in a group that had 2 legendaries? Nothing would even cause us to blink. Gear obtained from content MUCH harder than what you are doing makes the easy content easier.

...and you don't find this ridiculous at all? It stands anyways. I feel like blizzard goes "Oh fuck we have to make an expansion NOW, which radically changes everything, cause otherwise the entire game breaks down."

I dunno, I guess that's just part of my general sentiment that skill should matter more than gear, and that sarth+3 (or, say, yogg+1) should be facerollable just cause of gear level.

Hah. Well wait till you get to t11 at 85. The ratings conversion has been so brutal that you will barely do better DPS than you did at 80.
Starting t11, average caster crit % is 20%, haste 8%.
Melee, plate's sitting at 5% from gear, 10% haste average.
The issue with wotlk is that stacking high haste and crit was too easy. People were sitting at 40-50% crit self buffed or more, and likely 30% haste. That just lends itself to extremely high damage inflation in the way those ratings interplay with talents etc.
Highest crit at 85 with a regular rotational nuke is on my Moonkin's Starsurge at 80k with all the planets aligned in PvE. 15 sec cd spell.
What they need to do is make sure that as they release newer content that they reevaluate gating content via stats and doing something else instead to gate it

@mike-: In a different group, with slightly less gear around (still ICC-25, maybe some heroic stuff, no legendaries) I did Pit of Saron. No eyelashes were batted, even as I, the tank, was making increasingly reckless pulls to test the limits of the group. I dunno, man. I just think it's weird that they let gear get so out out control that the very mechanics of boss fights; the PvE part of the game, falls apart at every level except the top. You don't build a building's foundation out of chalk and the roof out of iron.
"What they need to do is make sure that as they release newer content that they reevaluate gating content via stats and doing something else instead to gate it."
Which is currently exemplified by "running icc-25 gs 5400 minimum!"
I mean, I get that big numbers = progression, but I think that it's a good step to reduce efforts at stacking. In Ulduar, fury warriors got so many bonuses from an extra 2h, and ArP was just beginning to be really fucking good, Blizzard said "eh, fuck it, we'll just cut their total damage by 10%"... which actually meant a lot more than 10% because that meant less rage, meant less special attacks (which were hitting for less anyways), and it was a clusterfuck.
That was eventually balanced... or it would've been, until warriors reached the passive ArP cap, which meant yet again, the numbers went totally insane. Blizzard needs to either hire some of the people at EJ, or figure it out themselves: powergamers, who are doing the content to begin with, are going to figure out all the weird intricacies. It's fine for blizzard to figure out an ideal formula and such for creating X stat, but they have to think to the next step (I was just on EJ looking at fury warriors--take 3/3 incite until you have 47.16% crit. I'll be surprised if that was common knowledge at Blizzard), because that's where all the shit comes into effect.

Straight-up increasing the ratios is well and good, but I think they need a way to make balance a more desirable trait. Even now, the paradigm is going to be "stack this stat till it hits Y, then stack this one till it hits Z; take this talent until variable A = XX%..." I mean, self-scaling stats like ArP were proved to not work well (because of the aforementioned gear-breaking-down-the-mechanics-of-the-game thing) so if they made things work better relative to each other (I mean yes, each point of haste makes each point of crit marginally better (or maybe it's the other way around) but it's far too marginal)...

I suppose mastery is one way to address it, but it's not quite enough. With protection warriors it makes you more likely to block and critical block, but it doesn't change the value of those (30/60%). If they kept SBV, in some altered form, then each point of shield block value would make each point of mastery better.
Or something

It's always going to be like that unless every stat has exactly the same benefit for everyone. And I mean exactly, to the point where you can just gem at random and be no better off than any amount of planning. That would be a terrible state for the game to end up in.
We're also playing with Cata talents now without the Cata hike in combat rating ratios.
Every period of the game has had this level of increase in power. At this point it's simply necessary to feel like you're making constant progress. If the game had been different from release, say, had an exact maximum for character power, and you had other incentives to continue playing, then we wouldn't be in this model now. But it wasn't, and now we are. There's nothing inherently wrong with the model, these are things we've been doing for 2 years and the vast majority of them weren't even difficult in the first place.

I'm sure something can be reached where it's better to have 15% crit and 15% haste over 30% crit. That's the problem.

Yeah, every jump has been massive. Yeah, I think that's ridonkulous. And yes, the patch-that-preludes-the-expansion is notorious, but the gear example is different from the talent stuff. If you had a Shadowmourne in May you'd be doing absurd dps (and don't even get me started on fury warriors with SM/Glorenzeg. It's gone to plaid.)

I just feel like if they'd done more, smaller patches and smaller jumps between levels of gear. I realize that's difficult. But if there were 2 patches for every one of these (and lets say they gated naxx and ulduar and toc as much as they did icc, so that alleviates some of the "they'd need way more instances and that's hard" arguments), then I think this 'current' patch, which would be 3.6, never should've happened. I feel like they should've stopped at 3.5...

or maybe not do the weird "we're making you play expansion characters without expansion content" thing to such an excessive degree. Maybe that's a solution.

Does it bother you that you can one shot hogger too? Skill ought to mean more than gear right? I shouldn't be able to faceroll the Scarlet Monestery or Scholomance!

Why does it matter that old content is easy? I really don't find that ridiculous in the least. There's a 12 boss instance with 2 difficulty levels, and another 4 boss instance there waiting for you to play. If you want to talk about whether H ICC or H Halion is easy/hard, I'm happy to discuss that, but complaining that heroic content is easy when you have 2 people with legendaries (which, aside from the gear implications, suggests they are also very skilled players, guilds don't give legendaries to people who are bad.. usually)... you're pretty much complaining that a game is too easy when you play it on baby mode... with pros helping you through it.

Part of the reward of beating harder content is it makes earlier content easier. It's been the same in pretty much every game ever. If you don't like that, there are some games out there that try to avoid it, I think EVE is an example. But from D&D to FF1 to Diablo to everything after that, you kill hard guys, they give you better stuff to kill harder guys, and everything before it gets easier.

By the way, Sarth+3 was zerg'd back when it was current (10 man at least), and people got all those heroic achiev
ements within a week or two of release. Maybe you found them difficult, but your guys with shadowmourne and valynar probably didn't.

Agreed - gear scaling was/is a huge issue. I think when Heroics and Naxx were the top teir of content people were clocking in at 2k on average. Now its 10k+. I think through all of BC going from kara to sunwell gear about doubled your dps. There was still a sense of progression without things becoming absurd. But, hey, nostalgia's awesome.
Sad truth is that you can [faceroll SM and Scholomance], atm, at their intended levels, without heirlooms and maybe 50% blue/50% green gear. 4.0 upset a lot of lowbie stuff - SM Gy was like... 4 pulls total at level 30. At level 51 I literally breezed through the BRD Torch Room. Having a mage in the party is even better -- they can one-shot entire packs in that room.

That's just patently untrue. 2k was piss poor dps in Naxx. The bare minimum to beat Patch was 2.1k average, and most guilds killed him on night 1, before they had any serious level 80 gear. Before ulduar came out people were over 5k. In TBC heroic gear, 600-700 dps was impressive, in full Kara gear you might push 900. In sunwell people broke 3k, which is 5 times the heroic gear level. (To give an idea comparable to Patchwerk, Curator was a pretty tough gear check and required ~485 dps average and I'm not even counting the double damage during evocate which lowers that even more... oh and by the way, in sunwell gear you killed him before he evocated. Brutallus on the other hand required 2k - 2.2k depending on how many healers you used)

Nostalgia is awesome, it can make you believe anything you want to.

[In response to "then you shouldn't be 1-shotting SM!" comment by Mike]
No. There's a difference between 'old content' like "content that's actually 50 levels below you" and "content that is technically at your level, but effectively 50 levels below you"
My general complaint isn't "heroic content is easy when you're with a badass group"; that was just an example to illustrate how generally easy it is. If I'm doing Heroic UP, and everyone but me in the group still rolls on some of the blues cause they're brand spankin' new 80s, the content is still trivial. Fresh 80s can instantly buy badge gear >50 ilevels more than what was even accessible.
Obviously it's fine that I can one-shot hogger cause I'm in badass gear and I'm eight times his level. But when scholomance is trivial to people who are level 57 or so, there's a problem, cause it's supposed to be difficult for that tier. It ain't anymore, cause level 58s have gear that's better than naxx-40.

As far as zerging sarth within weeks, I don't know how true that is. I'm pretty sure the world first of sarth10+3 wasn't until december at least. I know that Ensidia did naxx and maly and sarth+0 within the first two days, but even 10+3d was done in days, it was by not just server-best guilds, but guilds who have been THE best guilds for years. Ensidia, as a two guild collective, got the world first for c'thun, Kel'thuzad-40, and >90% of bosses in BC. They don't need to zerg sarth cause they have the coordination of a hivemind, and being such a ridiculous outlier, they're not good to point and say 'they did it'.
HOWEVER, seeing as we're talking about sarth:
I remember when a pally got the world first solo of onyxia. He was 80, onyxia was a level 60 raid boss. Later, she was killable by druids and hunters and other classes. I also remember when 3.0 came out and some people 3-manned some bosses in karazhan (netherspite was the hardest if you had few people.)
In that video, you have a DK soloing Sarth-10. This is unprecedented; to my knowledge there was a video of an spriest soloing scholomance, but no paladins soloing UBRS or L70 druids soloing kara.

Ok, go get a group where everyone is in blues and do H UP. It's possible of course, but you'll find it's not as easy as you think it is. If you outgear the instance, yeah it's easier. That doesn't bother me in the least. In fact, that's what keep people playing the damn game. But you haven't given a good example of that actually happening, since the type of player who gets a legendary is the type of player for which this content was trivial in blues.

If your complaint is that you get to skip all this content and go right into ICC, that's fine, but you haven't made that complaint. If your complaint is that Heroics are too easy, that's nothing new, it doesn't bother me in the least, and it's actually a big reason people keep playing. You work hard to get something and it makes stuff that used to be challenging easier.

Also, Onyxa was 3 manned at 60, Loatheb was 5 manned (admittedly under bizzare circumstances) at 60. Gruul and Illidan were 5 manned at 70. A super-dodge-bear soloing Kara at 70 would not have been surprising, but I do not recall if it actually happened.

Rogues definitely solo'd scholo, and mages solo'd BRD at 60.

But the reason we're seeing raid bosses being solo'd now is that WotLK brought with it HEAPS of self healing, something that wasn't around before, and it let tanks do decent dps. Those two make much bigger differences than gear.


Yeah, but it's shockingly easy to outgear instances now. You get justice points using the random dungeon finder even when you aren't 80, so you can't actually use them, until you hit 80 and can buy 3 or 4 pieces of ilevel 251 or 264 gear. There are no groups where you do H UP and nobody has epics. My legendary thing was just a general anecdote. In general, everyone who's been 80 for a day or two is better geared than I was at 80. Hell, anyone with some knowledge is better geared than anyone in full naxx-gear.
Not only does the insane gear gap make the content easier than ever, it's easier than ever to get to that gear level.

At 70, I soloed instances. At 80, I've soloed instances. That's not the same as soloing a raid. DKs, even when they were super overpowered, weren't soloing raids. I'd say that's proof that gear matters quite a bit.

Edit: actually the only time I've heard of a raid boss being soloed was when a rogue stacked up enough dodge that Gruul couldn't hit him, so that definitely ties into this whole idea of "stack X stat until you've broken the game"--which I think is unequivocally a problem; any character that's literally unhittable by a raid boss is indeed breaking the game, cause that's never intended.
Which also ties into that idea of "blizzard needs to think like players"

Tripling power over 2 years is an average 4.7% gain in strength per month. That's pretty hard to call excessive. The majority of guilds do not slam through the heroic mode of a raid in a month (with the accompanying spike in power following a patch) and have actually a rate of progress quite close to or even lower than this ~5% per month value. It's only when you compare it in a 2 year lapse that this exponential growth seems excessive.

No no no. 4.7% a month is a handy statistic, but totally irrelevant because it's not a 5%-increase patch every month. We're at 3.3 (or were, before 4.0) Three major patches over 2 years = 8 months. That's, according to your average, (4.7 x 8 ) = 37.6% increase each patch? But not exactly that; I think it's higher. I mean, you could do it like (5000dps x (1.4)3), but that's not perfectly correct either. I'm fine with reading EJ formulas but I could never derive them myself.
The drasticicity of the increases are part of the problem, cause you go from 79 (probably a bit better than I was at 79--I didn't have epics except maybe one or two from kara, and I think that's a fairly solid baseline) to 80 (me: a crafted epic or two, some dungeon blues, a gearscore of maybe 3k. On the other hand, contemporary fresh 80s: easily can hit a gearscore of what, 5000?)
'tis a vast gulf, and it kinda screws up the game. Which is why they
have to go to cataclysm, and put in new ratings and a huge chunk of new content, cause if they went all the way to say, 3.5 and had badge gear that was ilevel 297 or 310... phew.

You also don't suddenly leap up 50% when a patch is released. Most guilds take most of the time between patches to fully access all of the heroic rewards - if not longer. That's a slow gradual increase in the overall playerbase's power. It's a discrete increase for individual players, but for incremental gearing - people who were already playing the previous patch and are not fresh 80s - these upgrades are not massive, and actually tend to be just about right for feeling a slight increase in strength without spiraling out of control in the long run.

It's also not 4.7*8 over 8 months, it's 1.047^8, or 1.4422, and then 1.4422^3 = 3.

This effect was exaggerated by LK's easier 5 man heroics, which are now simply laughable.

Alright, my representation of your math was off, but that just serves to underline my point. a 44.2% increase in available power (or however we want to term it; available item-levelage, available gear-power, i dunno) every patch.
However, it's still not as gradual as you're saying. A few months before the next major patch hits, plenty of people stop playing. I remember six weeks before ulduar hit, 15 of our 25-man group was logging in maybe once a week to say "hey has the patch hit, hey lets run goddamn naxx AGAIN." Same thing's happening now (hell, I started playing again cause cataclysm is happening soon). I don't wanna make judgments on time, but it's definitely not the full eight months before the playerbase has ramped up in power--it's like a series of curves, not linear. The gear levels and damage level go up pretty sharply every patch, and then even out to a nice +44.2% or whatever we decided on.

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