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?