Tuesday, July 28, 2009

More 3.2 Heirlooms and Tiered Loot Scaling Notes

I signed onto WoW's PTR to check out the rumored heirloom items at the Argent Tournament.

I can now confirm that ALL of the heirlooms available for emblems of heroism in Dalaran - including the new chest pieces and the two new maces (a 2H mace aimed at Feral druids, and a 1H mace aimed at agility-loving dual wielders) - are also available for Champion's Seals. The vendor will NOT show you her wares unless you have completed the Crusader title (Exalted Champion with all five city factions and the tournament faction for your side). Prices are, with one exception:

40 Heroism -> 60 Champion's Seals
50 Heroism -> 75 Champion's Seals
65 Heroism -> 95 Champion's Seals

The exception is that the new 1H melee mace for some reason costs 40 Heroism but 75 Champion's seals, which may or may not be a bug since it's the only inconsistency. It's also worth noting that the heirlooms have moved off of the Heroism quartermaster in Dalaran to a new, heirloom only quartermaster.

Scaling alternate currency rewards

Note the new comparison tooltip as part of the default UI

As long as I was milling around the PTR's, I figured that I might as well take a quick tour of the other quartermasters to see what new goodies are on sale. Wintergrasp has new rings, pants (ilvl 232), and bracers (ilvl 226) on offer for Marks of Victory (but no new Shard heirloom chests). The Honor vendors offer ilvl 226 upgrades (Furious Gladiator, without the current ratings restrictions) to the traditional non-set slots and the current ilvl 213 set items drop down to no rating required.

These items are technically itemized for PVP. However, their high item level means that they can afford to "waste" some points on resilience and still walk off ahead of ilvl 200 or 213 epics. There are also the new Emblem of Triumph rewards to consider - it's possible to obtain three of the top-end emblems from daily dungeon quests (2 for the heroic, 1 for the updated non-heroic quest), and there's an ilvl 245 (!) wand on offer for a mere 25 emblems. The latter would be the lone missing link between me and the achievement for ilvl 213+ epic items in every slot, if I'm willing to run a dozen or so heroics.

How far will incentives go?
That last question - "if I'm willing to..." - is the real issue in this patch.

I don't raid much at all, and already outgear all non-raid content - indeed, gear would not be what was holding me back in non-hard-mode Ulduar. The Argent tournament does offer some unique functionality - a teleport to the tournament grounds (including daily quest hubs and dungeons) and remote access to player banks - but I've already got enough seals to buy the tabard, with a head start on the bank access as well. I will buy some honor rewards simply because I will repeatedly bump into the game's current honor cap from playing Wintergrasp matches (presuming that I can still get into any of them with the new queue system). I will also almost certainly do at least a dozen heroic five man runs between 3.2 and the end of the Wrath era, so there's no reason NOT to gun for that wand and the achievement.

Still, that whole paragraph of caveats represents maybe a month's worth of gaming time. Will I be motivated to do extra PVP above and beyond the Wintergrasp matches I already enjoy, so that I can snag more honor rewards? Unlikely, as PVP is still not my primary focus in game, and those rewards will be out of date when patch 3.3 hits (my guess would be within six months of 3.2). Will I continue to work on additional Champion's Seals for mounts and heirlooms? Maybe, if I'm trying to kill time while looking for a group. Then again, the value of any one new mount isn't as great as it used to be, and I'm not spending the emblems/shards I already have on heirlooms because I'm not really all that excited about making more alts.

All of this leaves the new 5-man, and continued visits to the current heroics. I was doing these occasionally anyway, just because I enjoy an occasional impromptu dungeon run, and I suppose that being one or two emblems shy of an upgrade from the triumph/conquest vendors might be the deciding factor if I'm on the fence about whether to look for a group on a specific evening.

Then again, the sheer abundance of increasingly major upgrades is ironically a bit of a disincentive. When there's exactly one item that's an upgrade, I might feel inclined to chase it simply for the sake of completeness. Instead, Blizzard is offering up dozens of upgrades that would collectively require hundreds of emblems. As with the 2.4 badge vendor, I'm not going to complete all, or even most, of the available options, so there's much less reason to push on through.

Maybe, when patch 3.3 wraps up the content additions for the Wrath era, it will be worth taking stock of what items I can stock up on to prepare for the trip to level 90. In the mean time, though, I'm having a hard time seeing why I should care about these upgrades when I could be playing other games instead.


Keith said...

I learned my mistakes from trying to raid in BC.

I played two months before wrath hit and did more in those 2 months did i did for a year and a half in vanilla wow and BC.

I played this summer for 2 months, hit 80, did a few heroics as tank or dps. and did some solo achievements and old world raids that I wanted to see.

heorics in WOTLK were so easy, didn't even use CC, and I tanked them in my WG, arena, pvp gear (lots of stm) with tank trinkets, weapons, and rings.

remember shattered halls in BC? Yea, people didn't even try it without two CCs, and now we can aoe every group down in pvp gear.

anyways, my point is, I won't be back playing until before the next expansion.

heorics were a cakewalk with 3.1 gear, so what's the point of 3.2 gear? Gear should only be upgraded if it is required for your gameplay function, not because it has an +10 stamina upgrade on it.

good choice for yourself, i like your logic, hopefully some new interesting games will come out soon.

here's looking forward to SWTOR!

Pangoria Fallstar said...

I'm having alot of problems being excited about wow right now. They're giving us everything we've ever asked for, but I think it may be too late for too many people. I know other Shamans like me are just so happy to be receiving that which we have wanted for so long. Oh well, we'll see how champions does, and next year when swtor comes out. Until then, I'll be a shaman.

@keith: A level 70 shaman in pvp gear could tank shattered halls with 1 CC.

DeftyJames said...

There are some cogent posts on MMO-Champion.com that suggest the next expansion will be this winter probably in Jan or Feb. which, if correct, would mean that 3.3 will drop in November. If that's the case, it's really difficult to get exited about 3.2 because in fact you will be able to quite easily skip it and go on to 3.3 in a few months anyway.

GC had a interesting post the other day on the forums. He said it's really hard to find a happy medium between those who want more content NOW and those whole complain about "progression whiplash". As someone who feels they are in the latter category, it was really nice to see the acknowledgment of the fact. Truthfully, I would rather see only one patch between expansion. If I get bored with WoW there are other games. But this drip drip of patches every three months really is a killer IMO.

Green Armadillo said...

@DJ: Blizzard included the new Thanksgiving event in patch 3.2, which would seem to speak against a November launch for 3.3. Even if the patch were ready, launching it a mere three months after 3.2 would create precisely the content whiplash effect you're describing. Also, launching the expansion a mere three months after patch 3.3 would be sheer idiocy. Guilds would not have time to finish the content, and the ones that did would have zero incentive to do so more than once with a gear reset looming two months later.

That said, I do not think it's going to take six months (February) for 3.3 and the full two years (Nov) for the next expansion either. Perhaps they had to hold back more content from the retail launch than players might have preferred, but they have been delivering new material at a substantially increased rate compared to last expansion. I suspect that we'll see 3.3 in December/January, with the expansion approximately six months later (Juneish).