Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Certainty of Chance

You can never have enough Neil Hannon. TRUFACT.

There are some changes planned for 5.2, for example, we would like to make Valor points convert to Justice as long as you’re Valor capped.

Once upon a time, there were no points. All we had was Badges of Justice. You remember them? That was back in TBC (don't start!) when they were only available in Heroics and Raids and the average per five man dropped three (one per boss.) There were exceptions, like the Shattered Halls, which could drop FIVE. Then there was Raiding: 22 badges from Karazhan in a complete clear. It's no wonder some people detest the place after all this time... needless to say, once Wrath rolled around Badges were out of fashion, and we converted to the Points system. Ever since, there have been problems. The latest has come with the introduction of the Upgrade system for gear: for 1500 Justice Points you can upgrade your Rare quality gear to Slightly More Rare gear. This is beginning to cause a problem with the complete lack of Justice Points available from the method most people would use to earn them: Heroics.

Currently, each Heroic Boss drops 35 Justice Points, which means to upgrade one item you'll need to kill 42.857 Enemies of Pandaria to make that happen. Of course the plan is that by the time you've done that the blue gear you're attempting to upgrade will have been replaced with Shiny Epic Loot but (looks sadly at blue weapon) we know that's often not the case. Looking at the above CM comment, and the thread in which you will find it, it is clear some people resent the fact that once you're capped with Valor you're still forced to run instances for what is a ridiculously low amount of upgrade potential. There are other means: you can run Scenarios (35 JP) or (gasp!) you can go do PvP and convert Honor to Justice, but as the original poster in this thread points out, the last thing anyone wants is a load of blue-clad PvE nublets piling into BG's. Blizzard's (potential 5.2) solution is interesting, but I'm not sure that dumbing down Valor is the answer.

In fact, converting Valor to Justice seems like a step backwards, not forwards.

It is always tricky when you start screwing around with in-game currency. The true 'value' of points is that you earn them, up to a point, and then you don't. You have a limit, which is clearly defined, and you know how much you can get from a week's work. Remember that, for a long time, you could only earn so many Valor PER DAY and it was a pretty large shift for Blizzard to remove that particular restriction. Telling me now that Valor can become Justice, and that I can just keep running dungeons until (I assume) I hit the 4000 wall is not really sending out the right signals. If you guys just push your faces into the ground and keep playing you'll have what you want... no, this isn't the way. Double the Justice drop. Make it 70 per Boss, and acknowledge that taking half the time under normal restrictions is a better practice than simply pulling the safeties off and letting people just run until their eyes bleed. Of course, you could argue that's exactly what's happening now and halving the time it takes to get the points you want would be preferable... but not at the expense of devaluing the existing currency to do so. There has to be a better way.

The biggest issue in all of this is, of course, the random nature of loot drops generally. Points allow people a measure of certainty in what they can purchase. We all have to live with the percentage chances of the gear we need to make ourselves awesome: taking away cookie cutter Talent Specs is all well and good, but the maths in the stats means that some pieces of gear are ALWAYS going to be better for a class than others. Otherwise sites like Mr Robot simply wouldn't exist. If those key items aren't purchasable, there's always going to be a problem with people's desire to gear well. Of course, PvP deals with this problem by making EVERYTHING available for the people who work for it via a vendor. Is this really a situation we would want in PvE, I find myself thinking... because if it did work like that, an awful lot of other things would change. Is it time to amend the system so that the best PvE gear is ALWAYS guaranteed for purchase?

It is an odd situation I find myself in, and it's not the first time I've given serious consideration to doing PvP to upgrade a PvE weapon I cannot get an adequate upgrade for. I'm concerned that, over time, I am not providing the absolute best I can for the people I raid with, especially when they have upgraded weaponry and I am being held at the mercy of a set of computer-generated dice. It's not even as if I can buy a crafted alternative this time around: the only opportunity I have, away from Instances and PvP, is one item on the Black Market Auction House: Flintlocke's Blasthammer. It seems to me that Blizzard will happily let me part with all my hard-earned cash to own said item, but it is unwilling to give me a means by which I can earn the item in-game. Is it really the place we find ourselves at now that cash matters more than effort?

 One thing I can be certain of in all of this is the fact that whatever Blizzard decide to do about this issue, someone will be unhappy. That's at least one thing you'll never want to bet against in this game...


Rush said...

I see your point about encouraging the "running until you drop" mentality, but I'm not sure the people who are most likely to do that are the ones most effected by this change.

All the value right now is in Valor Points which are frankly much easier to earn than Justice Points. A casual player can get them from dailies, heroic dungeons, scenarios and LFR, and I know that I've earned more than twice as many VP as JP in the past few weeks.

In fact, I'm not sure the conversion is the right step either, but for a different reason. I think they should just convert them into gold, as that would be more useful.

dobablo said...

It isn't about giving people a new way to get JP. It is giving people a little something when they have maxed out the usual reward.

The problem created by having item costs from Cata but instances awarding half as much per kill needs a different solution.