Badges, and Emblems, and Carrots Oh My!

EDIT: This has turned into a 4-part series! For the full story, read all 4 posts:
Emblems of Easymode
Badges, and Emblems, and Carrots Oh My!
The Carrot Complex
The Radish Reward

The other day I posted about the upcoming emblem changes and my generally ambivalent feeling towards the situation. Much of the post was tongue-in-cheek, but if you are not familiar with my style that is very easy to overlook. Perhaps I should preface all my less-than serious posts with “/sarcasm on.”

The post was linked over at Buff’d, which is a WoW community gathering place and is rather snazzy. That link, in turn, generated some traffic and prompted some discussion, particularly about Badges of Justice and how this is history repeating itself.

This post is in response to all that. Prepare for wall o’ text.

Groundwork

  • I do not think the entirety of the emblem change is bad. I only have an issue with one very small part of it.
  • I do not think that this small part is going to ruin WoW forever or any such melodramatic nonsense. It won’t even tarnish WoW for me. I’m not threatening to cancel my account and I’m not on the forums throwing tomatoes at the developers. In my previous post, I even talked about how this is going to be a benefit, I’m just mildly irked about one issue. If my mild opinion differing from yours counts as QQ in your book, so be it. But it’s my blog and I can QQ if I want to. /raspberry
  • I was not raiding in TBC. I was able to do some heroics and got into Magister’s Terrace a few times. Not all of us have been playing since Beta was released. Please find it in your heart to forgive newcomers like myself.
  • T7 is my first gear set. I hold tier gear as sacred. It is my carrot for performance. I expect to have to perform at a T7 level to get T7 gear, perform at a T8 level to get T8 gear and so on. Other items are of little consequence to me. Wands, idols, cloaks, bracers are all filler; even of comparable ilevel or the same gear slot, they do not hold the same place in my black little heart that the tier items do.
  • Vidi, from Inside Azeroth, commented on the other post:

    I want to say that I do have a very strong opinion about this. I have long felt and said ( InsideAzeroth.com ) that loot distribution in WoW is an antiquated system. The random loot drop is, in my strong opinion, a “Last Gen” MMO mechanic that needs to be changed into a Next Gen MMO mechanic. While the proposed changes don’t take us all the way to Next Gen, it is a step along the correct evolutionary path, and for this I am grateful.

    I agree, the loot system has some issues and I hope that the new token system will offer some relief. I appreciate the changes that will remove some of the fickleness of the RNG in deciding if we get our tier pieces or not. Making the tokens exchangeable for any of the pieces and making all the pieces purchasable with Emblems of Triumph are, in my opinion, a very good thing. To reap the benefits from this particular change, I still need to have been there and killed that to get a shot at the token.

What’s My Beef?

My only real concern with the issue (and is based entirely on my feeling of tier as sacred) is that a player running normal dailies and heroic dailies will, in time, be able to turn the awarded Emblems of Triumph in for T9/T9.5 gear. I really don’t care about the other items. Just. The. Tier.

Side note: I also feel that VoA is too generous in rewarding tier gear and I know there are others that refer to the bosses therein as “loot piñatas.” Have I picked up tier items from VoA? Yes. And I have no pride in those drops. /shame

I do not have an issue with the T7 and T8 sets being made available with emblems from the dailies. After all, that will be old gear as soon as T9 is released. Making those pieces available through emblems allows latecomers to the game to more easily get caught up and encourages players, like myself, to roll alts without dreading the grind to get geared up to START current content.

Segue

Veneretio from TankingTips said this on the previous post:

Badges of Justice could get you gear equivalent to the highest tier of raiding. Emblems are actually 1 short of that unless you put in considerable work. So really this change is just getting things back close to where they were, but still less “jump the curve” friendly then they were.

Eeep! I know virtually nothing of the history of the Badges of Justice.

Off to the interwebz!

After combing through various sources such as WoWWiki, WoWHead, Allakhazam, and even the offical Blizzard WoW page about badges… I have scraped together a time line for BoJ.

Arioch’s Bookreport on Badges of Justice

12/05/2006 The Burning Crusade

  • I was unable to find a date of introduction of BoJ into the game, no mention in the patch notes. But they are only available in TBC content and people were posting comments about them as early as January of 2007. With that in mind, I’m assuming they were most likely released in patch 2.0.1.
  • At this time, badges were only available for defeating bosses in heroic dungeons.
    Mind you, in order to even enter a heroic, your party had to be at least revered with the related faction.
    Heroic dungeons of TBC are generally accepted to have been more difficult than the heroics released in Wrath. Crowd control was a necessity and many fights could not be muscled through by an appropriately-geared group. By contrast, my guild is in no way a hardcore guild, and we have been able to AoE spam our way to success through most of Wrath. The only time I get to sheep anything in a Wrath heroic is in Utgarde Keep towards the end – I sheep the drake rider off his drake because it amuses me to see the sheep perched on the drake for a split second.
  • The first rewards for BoJ were available from G’eras in Shattrath. These were ilevel 110 – 115 and cost between 15 and 50 badges.
  • One of the first heroics people ran in the Outlands was probably Ramparts. The rewards there, besides BoJ, were ilevel 110.
    The most common heroic I saw mentioned as the best place to farm badges was Mechanar, which also had ilevel 110 drops.
    Run ilevel 110 content for ilevel 110 gear and no TIER pieces.
  • Karazhan was released as a raid and dropped T4 tokens as well as 120 – 125 ilevel items.
  • Gruul’s Lair, Magtheridon’s Lair, Serpentshrine Cavern, and the Eye (Tempest Keep) were presumably released somewhere in here (I can find mention of them being tuned as early as 02/26/07), as a 25-man raids. Only SSC and the Eye originally required an attunement. Tier 4 and tier 5 could be gotten from the Lairs and SSC/Eye, respectively. Non-tier drops ranged from 128-138 ilevel out of SSC and the Eye.

05/22/07 Patch 2.1+

  • Black Temple is released with ilevel drops of 141 – 151 and T6 (ilevel 146-154), attunement required.
  • I’m guessing the Battle for Mount Hyjal was released around here, possibly earlier. It was part of the attunement for BT and also dropped T6.

11/13/2007 Patch 2.3.0+

  • Reputation requirement for running heroics lowered from revered to honored.
  • Badges added to heroic daily reward.
  • Zul’Aman 10-man raid introduced and 132-138 ilevel gear.
  • Kara and other raids now drop badges. Kara eventually became the hot spot for badge farming.
  • At the same time, G’eras’ inventory was expanded to offer ilevels of 128-133 for 20 – 75 badges. Please note, that the gear available through BoJ is similar in ilevel to what was available in the current raids but it isn’t TIER gear.

03/25/2008 Patch 2.4+

  • Sunwell Plateau introduced and drops additional T6 pieces as well as 159-164 ilevel drops.
    SWP did not have all bosses available at release.
  • Around this time BoJ were added as a random drop in the Shattered Sun Offensive Supply goodie bag.
  • Smith Hauthaa was added in this patch,although her wares were not available until phase 3B of the Shattered Sun Offensive story line was enabled. She offered gear of ilevel 141 – 146 for 45-150 badges. So her gear is not quite as good as the best available in raids, and she offers no TIER gear.

To sum up BoJ

  • You needed to run heroics (after grinding rep) or raids (often with attunement processes) to earn them.
  • The end items available for badge purchase were comparable in ilevel to gear dropped in the same runs to earn the badges, the top tier of raiding in SWP dropped better gear (ilevel-wise) than what was offered for badges, and TIER gear was never offered.

Fast Forward to Wrath

Emblems of Heroism are available from running heroic dungeons and 10-man raids (excluding Ulduar). You can use them to purchase the T7 chest and gloves tokens. I’ll be honest, I don’t think running heroics to get EoH to buy T7 is quite right and I would have said so if I had been blogging back then. But…

Emblems of Valor can be earned by running Uld 10 and 25-man raids (excluding Ulduar 25). These emblems can be turned in for the T7.5 leg and shoulder tokens.

So I can get T7 by running heroics (which I don’t like) but at least I have to run the T7.5 content to earn the T7.5 emblems to purchase the T7.5 tokens.

T8.5 gear (head and chest) can be purchased with Emblems of Conquest found in Ulduar 25. T8.5 gear rewards for T8.5 content. Make sense?

Veneretio later added,

Tier pieces are not the be all, end all of loot.

And no, they aren’t always the end all, be all of loot. But they are still my carrot and it is within my perogative as a free-thinking, generally irrational individual to place a higher value on them then their itemization might otherwise imply. Me likez teh teir geer, mkay?

Fast Forwarder to the Patch

After the patch, I will be able to run the normal daily (which does not currently award an emblem, it rewards reputation marks, which will have outlived their usefulness) and receive an Emblem of Triumph. I can save up enough of them (and yes, it will take a VERY long time, 25 days for the most expensive piece if I only collect the EoT from completing the normal and Heroic dailies) and purchase T9.5 (ilevel 245).

In summary, I will be able to run the easiest content available in Wrath (earning ilevel 159 – 167 gear drops on normal) and earn tier pieces that are 2 tiers ahead of me (a jump to ilevel 245). Note that I don’t care about the other items, knock your socks off with a spiffy new belt or idol, I’m all about the tier here.

I did find a small measure of solace. There will be a 3rd level on the tier gear due to the change in heroic raid structure. Running the 25-man heroics (not the 25-man normals – remember this is changing) has the opportunity to earn T9.5+ (?). What the hell are we supposed to call it? T9.5H? Anyway, it has an ilevel of 258.

TL;DR

Yes, this is similar to how Badges of Justice worked when they were introduced. But at the time, there was a lot more effort involved to earn the badges at their release (minimum heroic level, attunements, rep grinds, etc.) and tier gear (my golden calf) was not offered.

With the changes, EoT will be, in comparison to BoJ at release, ridiculously easy to obtain (I didn’t say fast, just easy) and the rewards, to me, are of a higher value than the effort required to gain them.

For me, it’s not about the ilevel or the itemization-worth of the gear. I never claimed this was an irritation grounded in facts. It’s about the arbitrary importance I place on tier gear. I still have my level 70 gear eating up space in my bank. Spellfire was so sexy…

After looking at all the numbers, I do think it will be a jump for the non-tier items. I would prefer that they held off on making the EoT available on the dailies for a few months after the patch. But that wasn’t what I was mildly irked about in the first place.

Clear as mud now?

[Book report time line edited because I don't have an editor and WoWWiki contributors didn't keep very good records back in the day.]

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21 comments on “Badges, and Emblems, and Carrots Oh My!

  1. Veneretio says:

    Hehe, irrational at times in your love for tier gear, (not that you’re alone at all on this one) but an excellent piece of writing nonetheless that fairly echoes both the mind of many and does justice (cough) to the system we once had. Well played.

    Like

  2. freedon says:

    Hyjal and Black Temple were released on 2.1 (may ?? 2007)
    Sunwell was released 2.4 (april??) 2008

    Like

  3. freedon says:

    Not totally related to your article, but if you´re new to wow and like to see what has been developed throughout the patches, I recommend the following official Blizzard patch notes :)

    http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/info/underdev/implemented/index.html

    Like

  4. iamjacksrage says:

    Just wanted to say thanks for the excellent posts and well developed arguments made in the comments. Praise from vene is high indeed imho, but wanted to add my own.

    Like

  5. some orc says:

    Sup missy. Happy 4th :) i finds your bloggy :D

    Like

  6. Zakalwe says:

    It’s an interesting discussion, but I think you’re wrong. I’ve decided to write up my own thoughts on the matter: http://lichbane.tumblr.com/post/135301302/badges

    Like

  7. Pookie says:

    I’m a first time reader of your blog, and I must admit I like how you put your argument together. It doesn’t strike me as ‘QQ’ or some unconstructive whining as often found on the official WoW forums.

    However, there are some things I’d like point out which you haven’t included in your analysis.

    - Back in BC the biggest source of ‘omg welfare epics!’ were not the badges but PvP. Any player was able to jump into a couple of battlegrounds and trade honour points (and battleground tokens obviously) for epics. Blizzard has corrected this situation by also requiring an arena rating to get said ‘wellfare epics’.

    - You mentioned that in time any player will be able to get a full tier set by doing only 5 mans. While this is true, I do think that it’s still going to be a long grind. According to mmo-champion.com this is the grind we’ll be doing:
    * ilevel 232: 210 tokens in total, a grind of 70 days (3 tokens/day)
    * ilevel 245: 315 tokens in total, this equals a grind of 105 days
    * ilevel 258: only available in the new raid
    This means a player would need to do a normal and heroic dungeon each day for 2,5 to 3,5 months. That’s a pretty significant grind in my opinion. Of course this is still based on preliminary data.

    - Blizzard put a rather big handicap in the current WotLK token grind by not offering any weapons for sale. This means players will still need to get into raids to get the matching weapons for their current gear level. In BC this was not the case, some decent weapons were available for tokens.

    What do I think about the upcomming changes in 3.2… I don’t care either way. My alts will profit greatly and my main char will get his kit from raids anyways. I raid for fun and a good laugh on TeamSpeak ;)

    Like

  8. Zakalwe says:

    I chose to ignore EoT gear in my synopsis because for the larger part most of this gear hasn’t been given a final price on the PTR yet. That said, the Tier 9 gear has been priced up so we can do a similar comparison for these. From the current PTR, the new system grants 2 Emblem of Triumph from the daily heroic, and 1 from the daily dungeon quest. This limits non-raiders to 3 emblems a day. Assuming the player in question is going after the highest level available (ilevel 245), they will need 75 EoT for the chest, head and legs, and 45 for the hands and shoulders; a total of 315 badges, or 105 successive days of grinding.

    The same basic conclusion I made in my article can be applied to this here to: the kind of player who would persist in that kind of grind is almost certainly raiding anyway, and therefore is less likely to be a bad player. However, raiders will be picking these badges up far more frequently and so it can act as a supplementary DKP system; if you’re unlucky in drops, then you can eventually buy it with badges instead.

    Like

  9. Matt says:

    I totally agree with you on the sacredness of tier gear Arioch, but perhaps one way to solve this would be to put a prefix on the name of the badge-tier loot so people an see what you have earned from boss-fights, and what you have spent time grinding for?

    Grish, Eonar server, EU

    Like

  10. Unifex says:

    Helloooo!?!!? What I can’t imediately see an answer to is whut about all the Emblems I hav in my currency tab? Do my (unspent) 100 EoH & 50 EoV get magically converted to EoC when the patch hits?

    How do I feel as a raider that’s 3/4 of the way thru Ulduar on 10 & 25? Yeah a bit miffed that nub’s can get geared (with grinding) but also hopefull to fill any last slots with gear (I can only attend 50% of guild raids, but am often in ‘the progression team’) & also hopefull to quickly gear an alt or two!

    Like

  11. I like flowers says:

    Really though with the way patches are coming out, after someone has grinded their 105 days to get their full t9 it’ll probably be old hat >..< Also honestly these people who look down on casual players- who would you have to look down on if they were all gone?

    Like

  12. I like flowers says:

    I said more then that!

    Really though with the way patches are coming out, after someone has grinded their 105 days to get their full t9 it’ll probably be old hat >..< Also honestly these people who look down on casual players- who would you have to look down on if they were all gone?

    Like

  13. [...] Badges, and Emblems, and Carrots Oh My! [...]

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