Tuesday, November 15

Why Blizzard's Valor Cap has caused Heroics to Fail

Long time WoW player here, raid leader, guild leader, and tank. Going into the last tier of Cataclysm raiding in the next few weeks, it's amazing to see the huge change in the game in one short year. Last year at this time, I had multiple raid groups running ICC in a week, groups doing heroics on a daily basis, and people scrambling to finish up alts before the Cataclysm hit. The shattering patch hit just before Thanksgiving so people were doing the last of the 'old world content'. Since Cataclysm hit, we've taken a huge hit to our guild's population. We went from running 25 man raids and multiple 10 mans to a single 10 man group. Heroics are rarely run and people generally only log on for raid nights. What happened? Raiders stopped logging on to do anything other than raids and eventually just stopped logging on.

When Cataclysm first launched, the difficulty of some of the heroics and raid instances claimed a lot of the more casual players in my guild. People who played mostly at off hours found themselves in heroics that were taking hours because players weren't adequately prepared to do them. Some people tired of the treadmill when the difficulty was ramped up as well. Completing a heroic each day would only net you 70 valor points and some people didn't like the increased difficulty of the game.

When 4.1 hit, it became easier to gain Valor Points from only doing heroics but you could still not cap without some raiding. Blizzard removed 'daily heroics' in favor of the ability to do 7 Zandalari heroics (140 VP per completion) in a week to cap out on points. You could earn 980 of the 1250 cap by doing heroics. This changed in 4.2 when the number of current raid tier bosses dropped to 7 in Firelands and the cap was dropped to 980.

Ok, so the history lesson is over. The problem that I see now in my guild is that most of my guildies log on to do Firelands, we clear it, and people do a 25 man Baradin Hold to cap out on Valor for the week. No one has to do heroics although some people do have alts.

In Wrath, heroics were short and they were easy to complete. 15 minutes was generally a 'bad' heroic in Wrath and as they continued to give top level Emblems upon completion (either through the old daily quests in Dalaran or the Random Dungeon Finder), raiders would typically run them to get their badges. My guild generally had groups running heroics at most times of the day or night because they were easy to do and provided god rewards.

The common complaint I have heard about Cataclysm heroics is that the groups are terrible and instances take too long to complete. PUGs in general seem to always have 1-2 people, if not more, who either don't know what they are doing or not carrying their weight in the instances. People are cheesing the item level requirements by carrying gear meant for other specs in their inventories or banks that they have no intention to equip. The solution is to try and run these instances in a group but raiders have very little interest in running them when they get no rewards, especially when you are likely to be investing at least 30 minutes into completing them.

So that's the story of heroics today. PUGs are awful. Not every group is bad but very rarely do I find a group that I would really love to run more heroics with. As a tank, I am generally the top DPS in the group as I have all raid gear. It shouldn't be happening at this point in the expansion but it is.

I've heard it from every member of my current raiding crew. People aren't doing heroics because there is no reason to do heroics. No rewards, no pats on the back, nothing for raiders at all. Since there is no reason to do heroics, people aren't logging on as much on off nights because there isn't anything they can do to better their character for the raids.

I know I'll get some heat for this opinion because many raiders like the fact that they don't have to put in as much time to play WoW as they did before, but Blizzard needs to consider removing the Valor Cap or having a separate raid and heroic cap to allow players to earn more Valor in a week if they choose to run more content.

4.3 Heroics are going to be fine for the first couple of weeks of the patch. Many raiders won't be full clearing Dragon Soul and some people will be spamming the new instances to fill in the gaps from the 378 gear they didn't get from Firelands. But once raiders have the ability to cap from raiding again, there will be no purpose for them to run the new heroics and they will once again be full of newer players or alts that aren't being played to their full potential.

So that's my opinion on why heroics in Cataclysm seem to be so much worse than Wrath heroics, but I'm interested in hearing what the community at large says on the subject.

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