Blizzard has found a very successful model with WoW: convince us that gear is fun, then dole it out in steady increments to keep us playing.
First it was the huge jump to Outland gear, replacing half a set in only a few hours. We were high out of our minds on stats, especially stamina.
Then we got to 70 and Blizzard started paying out with 5-mans and Karazhan. It was great. We got into heroics and got cool stuff from that. Badge gear 1.0 was good times. But it started to wear out. We had our Kara gear, we had our instance gear, and a lot of people weren't having a ton of luck getting past Karam either due to lack of skill (I think this is the least significant), lack of guild size, or an inability to get a schedule that fits. This is bad.
This is the mule reaching the carrot on a stick, biting it, and finding that it was nowhere near as satisfying as expected. Blizzard had to do something. I'd have preferred more content. More instances, raids, BGs, hell, even a couple more arenas. Maybe give engineers some cool new gadgets that look need and burn off their eyebrows.
Instead we got badges 2.0. This was the serious stuff. T6 equivalent. OMG! WOW! AMAZING! And we all got sold on it, convinced that this was great. It was a cure-all. BT guilds could fill the slots left empty by a shitty loot system. Guilds that couldn't quite get there could get a leg up with some quick new gear. Casuals could get awesome gear without having to leave their friends or schedule or whatever. I've complained about this before...
Now Blizzard is making a mistake. They're cutting off the supply, intentionally. Honor gear was the badge gear of PvP. Call it welfare, call it free epics, call it undeserved; but Blizzard set people up to want gear and we liked it when we got it. Putting ratings on it screws that up. Now there are people that literally cannot get it and they know it. They are the 1300 teams, they are the 1500 teams that bob up and down and get nowhere. I'm one of those. They are the people that might not even be that bad, but someone has to lose. They are the opposite side of the distribution that makes 2200 teams. Is it any surprise that there is an outrage when Blizzard convinces us all that gear is fun and then intentionally blocks gear? This isn't like failing to kill Illidan, an absolute test of skill. This is relative and someone has to be relatively bad.
Even worse though, Blizzard screwed with the people to whom they couldn't just sell gear. These are the jackasses that want fun. They're the jerks that enjoy BGs and for some reason insist on doing what they enjoy in a game. They get their half-set from BGs and they accept it because they aren't gear-addicted and they enjoy BGs. Now that half-set is denied unless they do arenas, something which they do not enjoy. Skill, scrub, yadda yadda yadda, Blizzard is pushing people into arenas and they don't want to go.
They should not be surprised if people are unhappy when the game radically changes away from what they bought 3 years ago.
Guest post: DDO — Good Intentions
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