Tuesday, April 7, 2009

When should PvE titles be removed?

I actually wrote a majority of this post a month and a half ago, but put it on hold when Blizzard announced that they would be removing the Proto-Drakes from the Glory of the Raider achievements. It felt a little like jumping on a bandwagon at the time and I just didn't want to do it.

At the same time I'm a little worried that this post may have the undesired affect of throwing me into the Hardcore vs Casual debate that seems to crop up every couple of months around the WoW Universe. However, I'm having a hard time getting away from this question. When should PvE titles be removed to maintain some of thier value?

I want to get one thing straight up front. I am not one of those chronic Hardcore QQers. I don't care if casual people can get hardcore equivalent gear with emblems. The only way I care about content nerfs is if it is nerfed before I clear it on the harder mode. I am in full support of dropping attainments and making all of the content accessible to all types of players.

However, titles are different in my opinion. They have no practical value and only serve the purpose of saying, "Hey, look at me." They are just an indicator of one's accomplishments, and therefore no one is being deprived of anything if they are removed. So this is the standpoint from which I am view this question.

The Arguments for Removing Titles:

There is really only one argument for removing titles. At some point the titles become meaningless if you allow them to remain in game for to long. Obviously Blizzard recognizes this to some extent since they removed the Champion of the Naaru and Hand of A'dal titles with the release of patch 3.0.2.

Having the title of Twilight Vanquisher means a lot right now because Sarth3D is the toughest encounter in the game right now, but that won't be true a year from now. In a year my Mage will be level 80 and can probably get in a pug that can kill Sarth 3D. Does he deserve the title of Twilight Vanquisher, because he's running with a mixture of Mains and Alts that have gear that is greater then the content? I don't think he does.

A year from now, T8 will have been farmed for months at least and T9 may already be out. I wouldn't be surprised if a T9 geared tank will be able to absorb a breath from Sarth with out any special abilities. The T9 DPS will be able to kill each Drake before the next one spawns. I'm not saying Sarth3D will be a piece of cake but it will definitely be easier then it is today. Thus the title will be devalued.

The Argument for Keeping Titles:

The main argument for keeping titles is that not every person or guild has the same opportunities to get the titles, and just because you could use an over geared tank or some such doesn't mean that you do or that the achievement is significantly easier. For example, Sarth3D is a also a coordination fight. Even if you have the best DPS in the world, if you don't master the flame walls and such you will wipe. This is the exact reason that there were some BT geared guilds that couldn't kill Vashj or Kael. Those fights required huge amounts of coordination and I say very well geared players in full T6 wipe raids because they couldn't hold back on their aggro.

The fact of the matter is that after Ulduar is released there is still going to be guilds that are running Sarth 3D to get that first kill, and they will likely be in instance appropriate gear with a few upgrades. The hard part is still learning the fight. So, is it really that much less of an accomplishment for a guild to clear content after new content has been released? In some cases no, it is not, and in my opinion some of these people deserve the title.


Obviously it is pretty easy for me to say that they should pull all the titles since I have them all. I wouldn't be losing anything. For the same reason I don't have a problem with them pulling the Proto-Drakes from the Glory of the Raider Achievements. I think some things in the game should be rare to signify an accomplishment.

However, I have experienced the other side of the argument. I have both Champion of the Naaru and Hand of A'dal. I feel like I worked very had to achieve those titles, but I argue with myself some times if I really deserved them.

When I got Champion of the Naaru, my guild had been raiding SSC and TK for months. However, I had killed Mag may times before I got the title and the only thing that held me up was finding a group to run the heroics needed.

For Hand of A'dal, I didn't kill either Vashj or Kael before the attunements were lifted. I killed Vashj a month or so after that, and the guild was still geared in mostly T5 gear. Kael on the other hand I didn't kill until about a month before 3.0.2 was released and it was with my current guild that was fully geared in T6 and many of the people in raid had already killed him once.

However, part of the reason I missed them was due to guild drama. When ever we started to put serious effort into the tough bosses people would stop showing up after a couple of weeks, and we would have to recruit new people and start all over again.

I guess what it comes down to is that I'm glad that I have them, but they don't really mean anything to me anymore. If I see someone walking around Dalaran with the Champion of the Naaru title I automatically think of them as a casual player because that title was so easy to get in the end. I wish I was able to think "that guy was a serious raider back in the day."

There are a few possible compromises though. I don't know how possible they are technically but I will throw them out there anyway.

1. Change the titles: Instead of removing the titles completely, why not just change them for people that complete the achievement after the patch is released. Blizzard could change Twilight Vanquisher to Aspect Protector or something similar. The old title would date when you did the achievement, but the new title would still give the people that were a little late something to shoot for. Possibly remove the titles completely after two patches are released.

2. Put an ilvl requirement on the Achievement: Blizzard is already doing this with the [Herald of the Titans] achievement in Ulduar. This would prevent having a couple of really well geared players carrying the rest of the raid, but it is still a little cheap in my opinion. The ilvl for T7.25 raids would have to be 226, but there will be tons of Ulduar gear at ilvl 226. The Twilight Vanquisher will still be easier after 3.1, and it would also create some what of a nightmare for raid leaders trying to organize theses runs.

What do you guys think?


Tsunamee said...

I'm with you gray... even though there's an excellent chance I will not get Immortal before 3.1, I'm very much in favor of removing the titles all together after new content is released. It massively cheapens the title when suddenly anyone can get it with a decent pug group.

Tsunamee - Firetree/US

CC said...

I couldn't agree more. My priest just got Twilight Vanquisher. We worked our butts off on that, and while I do think everyone who kills Sarth+3d should be recognized ... I don't know. Doing it pre-nerf should be recognized differently.

I love your blog; you're one of my bibles for my up-and-coming boomkin. Best.

Kulat/Kriyet said...

I'm of two minds about this, because I'm in a small part-time guild. We progress, but at two nights a week in only 10-player raids, at a much slower pace than the bigger or hardcore guilds.

I was totally for removing the BC titles at the expansion - leaving them in for 75s and 80s to get would have made them trivial. We were so close - and just missed them, but I still feel that was right.

On the other hand, yanking these titles away in Wrath feels different. Having run some 25-player and some 10-player content, I feel the 25-player was actually easier. So a big guild gets through the Heroic stuff, picks up Valorous gear, and gets the title. Smaller, slower guilds don't get access to the 213 gear, still get through the 10-player content, but may miss the title. This time that doesn't seem fair.

Looking at what they're doing to Ulduar, I'd be much happier if they made that kind of change, where the title is still available, but only to those who attempt the event in the gear that was available at release.


Anonymous said...

I think the idea of item level restrictions solves all the issues and would address everyone's problems.

That way if you're in a guild that's slowly progressing through the content, or you want to get an old title from previous content, you can still do that while legitimizing the difficulty since you'd be in gear that is the correct level for the place.

Also, it doesn't cause the first wave of achievers who got the title to feel cheated out of their hard work.

Anonymous said...

This is a tough one for me, my guild is currently working on the 3 drake sarth. We are having the same issue you stated you in BC with guildies stopping showing up when we can't down a boss. We have also had some of our top geared players migrate to other guilds. The majority of our core players came from another guild where the leadership was horrible and we started our new guild. This pushed back our Naxx clears rebuilding and reforming the guild. We have everything but 3 drake on farm, we have yet to get undying due to lack of attendance and having to bring along new people repeatedly and gear them up. All that is holding us back is good enough dps to take drakes down quick enough which is due to inconsistent raid attendance. I am pretty much Decked out as much as I can just need new rings.....Patch/Grob hate and won't drop my strong handed ring. There are many in the guild that are in same position as me and are mostly BiS geared. All we need is time and we can get this done, so me personally I feel they should stay for selfish reasons. But I totally understand people like you who have worked your butt off for that achievement not wanting Uldar gear trivializing it.

Side note: For me the 3.1 talent changes for MM hunters will buff my dps and I would like that buff for chance at title

Lissanna said...

Clearing all of the current content is still going to be hard for most of the WoW playerbase even when they have access to Ulduar. I would think that when the level cap is raised, THEN you would want to remove the titles for the achievement you could out-level by 10 levels.

Taking away the super fancy mounts for doing achievements, and moving them to the hardest content, makes sense to me... but taking away titles people are still working on doesn't seem any better for the people who won't really get into Ulduar until likely weeks/months after it comes out because they are still working on clearing the older instances...

Jormundgard said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tamichu said...

I am personally quite annoyed by titles & achievements, and have actually taken a mini-hiatus from WoW because of it.
I got invited to my guild because I am "the girlfriend". This did not put me off right away, because my in my old guild on my old server, I was also invited as "the girlfriend" but quickly proved to be a much better player than the majority. However, xferring from low pop to high pop server means there's a lot more GOOD players out there, and I have retained my self-appointed status of "noob" in the guild. Not only do we have 2 other major raiding boomkins that are T7.5 geared, they have *time* to raid. I'm a full-time college student that works 2 part time jobs. So I can't raid, run heroics, etc to get the gear to go on the raids that are for the sole purpose of getting achievements. I was never invited to 3D Sarth because my dps wasn't high enough. They're doing Immortal now, and I'm still not invited, never mind that I'm pro at safety dance and don't blow slimes up in the raid.
Should achievements be removed? No.
Should titles be removed? After a patch or two, yes.
Should there never be any titles ever again? Only for things that do not have a large majority of the content be soloable. Key quests, cooking, holiday events, etc should be kept. But something that needs 25 people?
I can't even run a casual Naxx to get the rest of my T7.5 because everyone's already run it for Immortal by the weekend when I have time to play.

Buffy said...

Might as well remove the Jenkins titles then. Don't really see how it's fair to go in there with a level 80 and get it. Sorry, but I just don't agree with the logic of removing them. The titles are so pointless. I don't show my Hand of Adal title. It means jack shit to me and the only reason I show a title is if it means something to me personally. Not to show off that I did something before others. If someone wants a title for their name more power to them I say. I think server first kills are something different and those titles are really fine since it's not like you have some arbitrary deadline to meet, it's a race. These titles they are removing aren't anything special and I don't see why they should be treated as anything special.

Shem said...

I don't think there's a need to remove titles as long as there's another tier of content that differentiates the cutting edge from the rest. Titles degrade in value over time and as long as there's new titles, that's entirely fine.

Champion of the Frozen wastes within a week or two after WotLK was released was a big deal. But over time it got replaced by Twilight Vanquisher, which now on my server at least has been replaced by "of the Nightfall" or "the Immortal". Twilight Vanquisher isn't really respected much as a title on my server anymore due to its prevalence (especially compared with the others mentioned).

Once the Ulduar titles are out most cutting edge raiders won't want to be walking around with "of the Nightfall" on anyway, they'll want to show off their newest titles from the newest content. "of the Nightfall" will become less popular, but casual players will more easily be able to get the title and wear it if they want.

I don't think there's any real need for title decay. You can tell who the really good players are by looking at the dates on their achievements.

Demeterius EU said...

Titles is one more way to keep you involved in the game for obvious reasons,(e-...is)etc.
Some like them, some not.
I'm a casual raider and I don't think that is a contradiction in terms anymore. I like to have a last name (Jenkins, any time I see it it makes me laugh) or having a title that suits me like Elder :D.
On the other hand I understand the need to show any skills I have as a player, so I will agree with you that some hardcore titles should be renamed and/or have a requirement put in them.
As for removing them completely? Although I would cry for a title I liked or having an ingame item I wanted and not being able to have anymore , well, isn't that what real life is like? You count your "losses" and move on.
So,there goes my two cents.
Keep up the good work!

Kall said...

The _only_ reason why these achievements will become easier to get as time passes is because of improved gear.

So I think they should give the title to successful raids whose members do not wear _any_ gear above ilvl 213.

This will preserve the difficulty of the achievement while at the same time rewarding the same level of effort.

People who play wow after 3.10 should not be penalised.

Zupa said...

I agree, the titles should be removed or changed before they become devalued.

If they are removed, then that removes some goals from the game that people may have, which isn't a good thing.

That's why i like your idea that they are changed in some way when they become easier to attain, either because the encounters get nerfed or a new season of gear makes them trivial.

Interesting post, thanks :)