I usually try to avoid meta-topics when it comes to WoW mainly because I generally don’t have the first hand experience to base my opinions on, but occasionally a topic will crop up where even my outsider perspective is worthy to share. Tonight I’ll attempt to share my feelings and speculation on the direction Blizzard is heading with WoW.
Okay, now that that is out-of-the-way, let’s get on with it.
While hard mode has been wildly successful, it’s starting to cause problems with how the end-game systems have played out. Blizz has accelerated the iLvl tiers for these modes to make them worth doing for the hardcore raiders while keeping the normal modes accessible for the larger population of WoW.
With each major content patch it seems the gap between normal and hard mode grows larger and larger. As this gap grows larger, it puts many “middle-road” progression raid teams in a hard position where normal mode isn’t challenging enough and hard mode is just too punishing. In this situation morale and motivation suffers from raiders burning out on running the same “faceroll” content and can’t find the motivation to keep throwing themselves at a brick wall.
Hopefully Blizzard rethinks making hard modes a UI toggle and brings back variable triggered hard modes ala Ulduar, but otherwise I think they’re on the right track. Changes such as top-level head/shoulder enchants becoming BoA are a godsend to those of us with alts at max-level without the time nor drive to grind out reputations.
There’s also the plan to allow BoA items to be transferrable cross-faction which will help some folks out, but I’m holding out for cross-realm BoA transfers to become available. My character slots are 100% horde on Cenarius and I don’t plan on creating an Alliance alt on Cenarius unless they increase the character limit per realm. (Pretty please Blizz!)
Yet I forsee one more aspect that Blizzard could continue to make the game more rewarding for the time invested: BoA emblems. Currently this would be difficult to implement since emblems are currency, but I see an easy work-around that currently exists in the game that could be modified to allow for this. Create a new BoA item that can be purchased by emblems and then be redeemed for emblems via a vendor.
You can already purchase BoA items that can be redeemed for honor, so it shouldn’t be difficult to expand this idea for emblems. This would make life much easier for those of us with multiple max-level toons, but don’t have the time to gear each toon up.
One could argue that you should have to invest that time on gearing up alts, but let’s think of the benefits of allowing BoA emblems. Raid teams wouldn’t be burdened with gearing up other people’s alts and should the need arise for toon swapping, toons being swapped in would be on average better geared.
Then there’s the issue of tanks and/or healers that have DPS alts that have all their BiS equipment, but are constantly called upon on their mains to run something. Now instead of feeling like they’re wasting their time and not getting anything out of running the same content, they can still gear up that DPS alt.
I can only think of one downside to this system: lack of familiarity with your alt geared through BoA emblems when running high level content. Even then, the downside isn’t that big, especially if you are consistently running high level content, it wouldn’t take much time to acclimate.
So are there any other possible downsides to allowing BoA emblems? There might be, but I honestly can’t think of any others and whatever downsides there might be are greatly outweighed by the benefits of such a system. Perhaps even the downside I did present could be dealt with only making base level emblems BoA and not the current tier of emblems.