Friday, June 6, 2008

Mmmm, Welfare

I recently posted about a possible form of welfare that's often overlooked in the ridiculous debate between hardcore/casual, raider/pvp jokers who hate seeing other folks get good stuff doing anything other than what any one individual defines as their preferred method of seeking out gear upgrades.

It all becomes rather silly when you get down to it, which is why I love getting down to it. Hopefully people realize that I, especially as a late-comer to WoW, don't think anything in the game is welfare, as I'm just here to play the game and have fun, hopefully surrounded by folks interested in the same. But I am intrigued by how ludicrous people become when discussing welfare.

In response to my posting, there were some well-stated comments reflecting various thoughts on the situation, so thank you all for getting involved.

Lacking anything else substantial to write about this morning (ok, so I have something I really want to write about, but I'm not ready to discuss it yet. ohhh, the mystery :-) perhaps I'll elaborate on what I think folks who are prone to cry WELFARE are really going after.

I think its really a concept that goes hand in hand with anybody who has been caught saying "I did XYZ....and that's before they nerfed it."

Basically, Blizzard changes the game over time. Lots of people feel insecure about their accomplishments and dislike it when other people are able to accomplish the same thing or even more advanced things, via techniques that were not or still are not accessible to the complainer. Hence, my tongue-in-cheek claim that somebody getting T-whatever drops out of a guild's farm content is welfare. Of course its not.

People who have been playing WoW since the beginning, and bought TBC on release day and sped their way to 70 and began raiding right away. I'll call those folks "Slaves of the Random Number Generator" or SotRNG. Its pronounced similar to "soldering" which is something a robot builder might do to melt lead, tin, and silver to make a nice electrical connection between two components. Yes, I had an even nerdier hobby before I took up WoW.

People beginning Kara a year ago had very few options for gearing up. Basically, there was one or two reputation items suitable for each class/spec, a few very nice crafting items, and I think that's about it.

The rest of your gear progression came from killing bosses and being a slave to their random drops. This means they had to grind out Kara, over and over and over, until the items they want drop.

And repeat that process for each dungeon you progress through. Raid ID's and time-based resets of dungeons throttle your progress along the way.

Net result, the general pace of moving through dungeons was slower, as compared to an equally skilled team starting kara a year later.

Fast forward a year-ish, and Blizzard has introduced many more options for getting some kick ass gear.

They added Badge of Justice drops off of raid bosses, making the BoJ gear much more accessible. And they added SSO BoJ vendor, and a whole nuther tier of loot to be had.

SSO faction comes with some pretty sweet reputation items.

Then the whole PvP situation. Powerful pieces available via doing well or poorly in Arena. Old season stuff available for BG honor. I'm not sure if Vindicator's was available from the beginning of TBC or not, but there's some lovely stuff there.

The beauty of BG epics has many faces. For one, no daily limit on how much honor or marks you can grind. So if you're crazy, which I become sometimes, you can grind away for an entire weekend and get a piece or two. No Raid ID reset forcing you to wait a week if a boss didn't drop your T4 gloves. Also, its a guaranteed thing. You can set your sights on a loot, and watch your very tangible progress towards that goal. In contrast, you could plow through Kara for weeks on end and never even see Big Bad Wolf. And when he finally does show up, what're the chances he's gonna drop your rifle? I've been raiding kara weekly for 4 months. I've seen BBW exactly three (3) times. Rifle has dropped one (1) time. Not that I need it, because I'm on welfare and have the sweet 150 Badge crossbow, but you get the point.

See, I'm on welfare. Four different types in that my raiding set of gear is made up of mostly Arena, BG, SSO Rep, and Badge loot.

Badges are lovely. I grind them out via Karazhan, Heroics, and the random SSO Package. Although I've retired many of them, my raiding kit has had 6 different badge pieces, three of which I still don. Not to mention an epic gem (+5 hit / +5 agi, FTW) that's both Badge Welfare and SSO Faction welfare (the raw gem and the recipe both being newly introduced into the game, and hence, welfare).

From Arenas, I'm only wearing one piece of S3, and it was true and unadultered welfare, by any stretch of the definition. I showed up in my first Arena match with zero. z.e.r.o. resilience. Got slaughtered decimated grab-ur-ankles beat down for 4 sessions of 30 minutes of agony over the course of one month. Got a sweet piece of ax. I'm right on the doorstep of getting a helmet upgrade from S1 to S3 which will be a nice boost, including some +hit. +hit from PvP loot. Welfare indeed.

My BG gear, Vindicator's and S1 Gladiator stuff, I wouldn't consider to be welfare. Grinding out the marks of honor and honor points you need for those items is tough. Some people AFK their way to honor points. I don't. I try my best, have a mix of fun and pain, and get the job done.

SSO rep. Puh-leeze. 2 weeks or so of painfully but diligently grinding out those daily quests. Ding Exalted. Ding sweet sweet necklace. Raiders from a year ago didn't have access to such loveliness.

So bottom line, any time somebody gains access to something in a way you didn't or still don't have access to. Just cry WELFARE. And if there's no clear welfare case involved, just claiming they nerfed it.

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