Artificial Rarity

| Thursday, February 26, 2009
Perhaps forced rarity is a better term?
It's a bad concept.

Be Mine was forced rarity. Regardless of effort or capability, some people could not get it.

Maybe it's just me, but one of the nice things about WoW is that in an artificial world, we have control. In WoW it's a lot easier to have an internal locus of control, to believe that our actions are what matter, rather than some overall forces. Sure the devs matter: they matter for their creation of this world in which we decide our fates. We decide how far we will get in raiding. WoW can create an ideal world in the sense that we are truly free to pursue what we desire and there is no racism to hold back some people, lack of educational opportunities to hold back others, or rich parents to boost ahead a small few. We all play the same selection of 10 classes, with the same spells, with an AH which does not discriminate. Sure time is an issue, but ultimately personal determination is more important than most external factors.

In other words, WoW is great because it creates a world where you choose what you want to accomplish.

Forced rarity breaks this. Be Mine was a good example (good example of a bad thing). Random drops are this as well. I remember some silly news program where they claimed someone was great because they had Ashes of Alar. Oh sure, killing Kael'thas wasn't nothing, but the mount? That was luck. There were a thousand times as many people who killed him and received no mount.

The upcoming change to the Glory of the X achievements also breaks this. According to Bornakk they're removing the drakes. Why? They think Ulduar gear will trivialize them and they want them to be rare. Fine. But this is the wrong approach. This change only means that if you started WotLK late, too bad. If you leveled slowly, too bad. Maybe you were slow to get into raiding, too bad. This is wrong. It's forced rarity.

What's a better method? Maintain the difficulty past Ulduar. Add an iLevel maximum for the achievements and leave the mounts. This way you cannot trivialize them with gear because you can't get past a certain gear level. All Ulduar can give you is more experience with your class rather than a way to bypass the challenge.

The mounts will remain rare based on their difficulty.

Though I'm tempted to go for the other direction. Let them be trivialized. Let every noob and scrub get one, for free, for nothing, after 3.1. Then go back to the people that burned through content and will then bitch about it and just laugh. laugh and laugh at them. Explain that they are harmful to WoW. Their elitism, their desire to burn through content and then bitch when it runs out, that is harmful. Blizzard probably couldn't get away with canceling their accounts, but annoying them, hurting their egos, that might get the job done the same way.

Random is stupid.
Time-dependent is almost as stupid.
Anything based on either of these should be a feat of strength.


Kiryn said...

There are other achievements that check your gear or buffs to determine certain stats. For example, that Sapphiron achievement that requires everyone to be under 100 frost resistance. I think it would be pretty awesome if they did as you suggest and simply put a "without anyone in the raid using any equipment with an item level above 226" addition on the three drakes achievement.

It makes me sad that they'd rather take the easy way out by removing the mounts completely than take the time to fix them for future players to work for.

Christian said...

The problem is that iLevel 226 is going to be the gear level handed out in Ulduar-25. So while currently you'll have raids that might have a dozen i226 items scattered though the whole raid, after Ulduar the entire raid could have ilevel 226 items, which would still trivialize the content.

Klepsacovic said...

Okay, rather than iLevel, add a tag to Ulduar gear: "forged by the Titans" or something similar, and then don't allow said gear in achievements. The point is, there are ways to protect against Ulduar trivializing the mounts which do not involve removing them.

Besides, gear might trivialize DPS achievements, but how about those which depend on positioning? At most gear gives a bit more breathing room, it will not compensate for failure to avoid lava waves or bad dancing.

The comparison was made to the Amani war bear. It's not a useful comparison. That change had to happen because 10 levels, along with the new talents, would have trivialized most of the fights, and definitely made the trash easier, which was part of the challenge of a speed run. In this case it's nowhere near as dramatic, maybe a few percent increase in stats across the board. This is also easier to compensate for, requiring just a gear tag of some sort. The Amani war bear would have required something like a level cap, which would be pretty annoying, or a very low level of maximum gear, barely past quest greens, to retain anywhere near the same challenge. Also I'm pretty sure Zul'aman was out for a lot longer than the 3-4 months we're seeing as the window here. Finally ZA was out late, when it was likely that people had the expansion, were leveled up, had gear, and were in guilds.

TL;DR: The war bear was under much different conditions, making weak any comparison between it and the drakes.

Unknown said...

I was just talking about this change with my husband earlier. I agree that this is different than the ZA bear change. The time frame especially.

I understand wanting to have certain rewards be rare and special, but what about allowing people to work towards them at some point.

Do we never get anything special if we aren't burning through content at the speed of light?

Or what about having given a better heads up that those would be 'limited time' achievement rewards. I'm almost starting to wonder if people aren't on to something when they think they only have -THIS- year to complete the "Long Strange Trip" for the violet drake. Here I kept thinking "I still have next year to finish some of these up..." but what if I don't?


Stabs said...


It's not forced rarity at all.

Prior to 3.1 you get your drake for beating the hardest raid content. After 3.1 you get your drake for beating the hardest raid content.

Nothing has changed. No luck is involved. These rewards are for high achieving raiders.

Klepsacovic said...

It is forced. If it was not forced then it would have a set standard: beat the standard and get the reward. Instead they are shifting it and constantly saying "nope sorry, you're a month late, better luck next time." Think of it like going to a high school graduation (assuming you've graduated already) and taking all the diplomas away: "nope sorry, you graduated too late. No I don't care if you met the same testing standards as me, you lose. Quick, graduate from college within... six months or else I'll just get the next diploma and you again get nothing. Better luck in grad school?"

This is one of the times when I think arenas do something right: they have a very rare mount, but it's not forced rarity. It doesn't take people who accomplish the same thing and give different rewards.

Should 310% drakes be rare? Yes, otherwise they'd exist at the cost of other, more diverse mounts. The proper solution is to make them only through something like arenas or maybe server first clears (it would be a little bit like the black AQ mount), things which explicitly state the competition, rather than the current method which creates a flat standard, but then pulls it away unexpectedly. In other words: remove all PvE 310% mounts or leave the models but retune them to 280% so they don't become the new standard.

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