Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Incentive Inflation At Work

On September 3rd, I wrote:
"Gear that I worked hard to get six months ago, thinking that it would last for the remainder of the expansion, has been made obsolete by gear that will itself be obsolete in six months, after Icecrown's three-wing 5-man extravaganza arrives.
The next time I'm facing a reputation grind or low drop rate in WoW, the prospect that the rewards will be obsolete in the next patch will weigh far more heavily on my mind."

I own 14 Emblems of Triumph, and was debating whether to pursue six more daily dungeon runs to collect the [Brimstone Igniter] Triumph Wand (the last piece of gear I need for the "epic" achievement) or work on other projects. Various projects for my raptor-riding, flying, potion-mixing Fury Warrior won out.

On October 6th, Bornakk wrote:
"The current plan is to make Emblems of Triumph the "base" of emblems so everything that drops Emblems of Conquest would be changed to Triumph and then the new raid content would drop the new highest emblem along with things like the heroic daily and such.

I'll have those last few emblems in a few days' worth of dungeon runs when patch 3.3 happens. Guess I had my priorities in the right place.


Stabs said...

I can't help but think the game has gotten out of the developers' control.

It's like pushing a cart down a hill, it's now got so fast they couldn't stop if they wanted to.

As someone who has owned epics since a pre-MC world drop, through Vanilla, through TBC, through Naxx and Ulduar and has now stopped they seem to have become increasingly not worth the bother.

What's my main Again? said...

I might use this opportunity to switch my raiding toons again. Perhaps I'll get my warlock to 80 and start raiding on her... or gear up my rogue. So many options ugh!

Malchome said...

Ok so 6 days of dailies or wait until around Christmas or January to get them in a few runs?

Do you want the item now or 2-3 months from now? That is the question to ask.

Stripes said...

"I can't help but think the game has gotten out of the developers' control"

Well it has in that they had to create a tier of gear as hard mode drops when they thought just having a hard mode would be good enough.

However I do not think that the "badge inflation" is something that has gotten out of their control. I think it is part of wraith-era design to make getting the previous top-tier badges easy so you can quickly gear up a fresh 80.

I think they looked back at Burning Crusade and decided too many people got discouraged when they hit 70 and saw the very long road to the "end game starter gear" and gave up. Ditto for people who decided to change classes or even just specs. Too much time and uncertainty for getting gear "good enough" to swap mains.

X people quit because the grind from level cap to "good enough gear to start the newest end game heroics or raids"

Y people quit because "it isn't worth the effort to get good gear now because in 3 months it will be easier to get the current gear"

If X is bigger then Y then the wraith design is a success. If Y is bigger then X the wraith design is a failure.

One could argue that they should find a design more like the wrath "item drop percent hack" for end game loot. Each time you run a boss and you don't get a epic upgrade it quietly bumps your personal drop rate bonus. Upgrades farther from the top tier get a multiple of that bonus for you.

As implementation details, figure an item is an upgrade if it is itemized for either of your talent specs (or maybe just the current spec), and you still have it at the end of the trade timer count down. Or something like that. So each time you run the TOC5-man non-heroic any tank that doesn't have two trinkets that are at least as good as the tanking trinket gets a quiet bonus.

So rather then one guy running it once and getting it, and someone else running it 100 times and never getting it...the lucky guy can still be lucky and get it the first time, but the second guy will never have to run it more then (say) 20 times.

After the next content drop that trinket is even farther from the best in slot, so the bonus rate goes up. The max number of runs before drop goes from 20 to (say) 10.

The upside is loot is still sort of random. You don't "save up from the day job to go shopping" you still whack the bosses with a stick and see what goodies come out.

The downside is without knowing the maximum number of tries folks may still get discouraged. The other downside is folks will still catch on to "well after the next patch it is easier to get stuff!" as well. So it is really not a HUGE shift in incentive inflation. More of a restoration of rush most folks get from the random reward AND it gives more room for devs to tweek the exact inflation rate since it isn't disclosed numbers (and can vary by loot item, or boss, or talent, or any combination...not enough end game tanks? Better bonuses for tank stuff, but leave DPS and heals where they are!).

Other downside? Take a low geared DPS to get extra DPS drops. Don't give him the drops, just keep him running as a loot magnet. That would be complex to overcome unless you just make "bonus items" an extra drop that ONLY whoever's bonus generated the drop can loot. Which kills all the "invisible tuning knob" advantages.

It also makes that %drop_rate number in WoWHead really unreliable, but I'm not sure if that is good or bad.

gnomeaggedon said...

"The next time I'm facing a reputation grind or low drop rate in WoW, the prospect that the rewards will be obsolete in the next patch will weigh far more heavily on my mind."

This is one of the things that troubles me.

When an expansion is released (in theory) the reputation gear is a required step to be able to complete instances and progress onto heroics and raids where the gear can be replaced.

However realistically, by the time you reach exalted, or even revered with a faction, there is a good chance you have much better. This the rep grind is only worthwhile from a pointless achievement perspective.

Personally I would rather they periodically buffed the rep rewards, than offered emblems on a platter