3.2 speculation is on the way! With the PTR up and running and new changes filtering down to us as quickly as people can find it out, we’re all being treated to a wealth of changes upcoming for WoW. One of the major points that regular raiders are looking at with those hungry, wild eyes is the new tier of loot that’s dropping. First off, this is a full tier of loot, but unlike the previous ones, this one is separated into three distinct ilevels instead of just two. When I heard this, I immediately began to wonder as to how they were planning on distributing this with the new normal / heroic system that they’re doing for the raids.
The popular and most likely theory, as espoused by WoW.com, is that you’re going to have the lowest level of igear awarded for running the normal raid. You’ll then have the middle level awarded for heroic ten man and normal 25 man and finally, heroic 25 man will award the highest level of loot available. Simple enough and this is most likely the way that things will be done. But is this the way it should be done?
Maybe it’s because I’ve decided that I’m done with 25 mans for the foreseeable future and that I’m such an unapologetic loot whore to boot, but I’m beginning to wonder why Blizzard has this need for separating loot like this. Well, I suppose that’s a bit of a lie, I understand that you have to give incentive to players to run 25 mans or else every raiding guild would shrink down to about 15 solid people for ten mans. So I can understand why they had to make 25 man loot better. I also get that often enough 25 mans are tuned up to the point where though you have more people in better gear, it can be tougher and take longer to progress at it. I get all that.
But have you noticed the new items coming out? Have you checked the ilevels separating the different sub tiers of this gear? In Ulduar, each item sub tier was separated by 7 ilevels. Enough to know there was a difference, but not enough to really be too concerned about it. Someone decked out in full Ulduar 10 gear was never really too far behind someone decked out in a comparable Ulduar 25 set. Now, however, you’re looking at a separation of 13 ilevels per set with noticeable differences between each sub tier. This means that the difference between running the 10 and 25 mans has once more increased.
Of course, this was the way of things when Wrath first hit, with a separation of 13 ilevels between 10 and 25 man dungeons. Things were also notably easier back then, with people able to PuG Naxx 25 and OS 25 and eventually even Maly 25 to the point where you didn’t need a guild in order to grab the better gear. Now, however, Ulduar 10 is difficult to PuG, though not impossible, and if you want to be seeing Ulduar 25, you better know 24 other good people in order to get past the first few bosses. I can only assume that the new Crusader’s Coliseum will also scale in difficulty, meaning you’ll need guilds and solid raiders to see the content.
So what’s my issue with 25 man raids getting better gear than 10 mans? None, really. What I take issue with is the huge difference in gear you’ll be seeing in the ilevels. I’m not saying that 10 man groups are punished gear wise, because how can someone be punished when you’re given something, but by making such a huge difference in the gear levels, you feel a sense of incompleteness. Though you’re not being punished for running ten mans, you’re not being rewarded like 25 mans are. It’s like your group is handed a 50 dollar bill each for working all day, then seeing a bigger group each being handed a 100 dollar bill for the same amount of work.
Of course, nothing’s set in stone at the moment. There are three sub tiers, but no one knows for sure how they would be distributed, we just have a good idea based on how things have worked in the past. We also know that at the moment, the middle sub tier is the one that will have tokens available for purchase through emblems. So it looks as though they’re creating a system where the most hardcore 10 man raiders will only ever be as good as the average 25 man raider gear-wise. This is where I get a little rankled by the whole system and the idea that though I’m doing more content and achieving more things, I don’t have the ilevels to show it.
In the end though, I suppose it will be what it is. Truth be told, I’d rather do ten mans and avoid the frustration of unmotivated 25 mans. It makes you feel more elite and I always had more fun wiping on hard modes than I did while looting high level gear. Perhaps the new tribute run mechanic will allow heroic raids to loot the same type of gear regardless of whether you’re in 10 or 25 man mode. Though I doubt it, because Blizzard wants and probably needs a defined line between the loot tables of 10 and 25 man raids. I just wish it didn’t make the loot whore in me cry so much.