19 November 2008

WotLK gear replacement, revisited

This is a post-launch followup to my earlier look at gear replacement. My best guess at that time (late September):

T4 gear doesn't start to get replaced until fairly late in the first zones, and will be relatively decent even into your mid-70s. T5 will last to your late 70s, and T6 won't be replaced until you get into heroics or the new Naxxrimas.
WoW Insider had a post on upgrading to greens, where the poster points out that it's not happening, flirts with complaining about it, but then counsels patience.

So what's the scoop? Blizzard did this on purpose. Flash back to the release of Burning Crusade. There, the design was that pretty much everyone would replace their gear with early quest rewards. Only Naxx raiders held on to their gear beyond even Hellfire, and even that T3 gear was replaced from midlevel quest rewards. For everyone else, their hard-won raid gear was gone by the time they dinged 62 or so.

New gear is cool. But this quick replacement had a few consequences:
  • It devalued the hard-won raid gear, leading to a "what was the point?" reaction.
  • The nicely matched tier gear was replaced with mismatched greens, resulting in the dreaded "clown suit" look.
  • By amping up the equipment values so quickly, it created an inflation effect where each subsequent level — later quest rewards, dungeon drops, and BC tier gear — had to be more and more overpowered.
The experience wasn't good for players and created headaches for the developers. So they changed it.

Here's my graphic from the last post, showing the relative item values from various types of gear:

There's two big changes. First, the early BC purples are more comparable in value to the midlevel WotLK greens, so you'll hold on to those much longer. And second, the easy access to Badge gear means that even non-raiders will have some good gear that should last for a long time.

You will replace your gear eventually; how quickly depends on what kind of gear you had. Here's a quick summary:
Gear sourceReplaced with:
BC quest rewardsearly WotLK quest rewards
BC instance dropsearly-mid WotLK quest rewards
BC Tier 4 gearmid-level WotLK quest rewards
BC Tier 5 gearlate WotLK quest rewards, WotLK dungeon drops
BC Tier 6 gearWotLK Heroic drops or Naxx gear

So what's been my experience? My starting point was a combination of T4-level and BoJ gear. I replaced a ring fairly quickly with a quest reward, but otherwise I wasn't very tempted by any Howling Fjord gear. Last night, I replaced my first decent purple. The [Life Binder Talisman] replaced my [Voodoo Shaker]. That was a bit sad; the Voodoo Shaker was a recent pickup, my last BoJ spent. But it is nice to have some new gear for a change. The two items aren't far apart, and that's probably true for a lot of the rewards I'm starting to see. But something like my [Grovewalker's Leggings], a 100-BoJ pair of pants, will probably last until I start running Heroics.

Have no fear; you'll get upgrades. Just be thankful that the transition is a lot smoother this time around.

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