Monday, February 1, 2010

Invincible and 10-mans

Blizzard's stance on the mount is the same as for legendary weapons: to allow it to drop in 10-mans would detract from the item's uniqueness. Presumably, they don't want 25-man raiders farming 10-mans for additional legendaries and, thus, the mount: it would increase each 25-man raider's chance substantially to see the mount because they can hit up both the 10 and the 25 version.

Yet, we have achievements that are capable of sensing whether a raider in the group has been to 25-mans. Why not limit the 10-man chance to drop to groups who have cleared the instance without any member of the raid ever having stepped foot in the 25-man? There are multiple ways of doing this, including the gear-check ala Dedicated Insanity or just a "this person has killed Marrowgar 25."

Certainly, once Cataclysm is released, 10-man guilds can go back into ICC25 and try their luck at getting the mount. Just as they can all go back into TK from TBC and try to get the Ashes of Al'ar. *snort* How often does that happen? Most of the time spent in a raid instance is during its height as content, and even now, TK is beyond most players due to its complex mechanics, many of which are built to assume a full 25-man raid, and the drop chance is still infinitesimally small (edit: that is Al'ar, of course; Mimi-head and Invincible are 100% droprate assuming you can make it through the entire heroic-mode dungeon/hardmode). Is it fair to assume ten-man raiders will have to pug a 25-heroic version of a dungeon to get the mount, or have to do it when they're in Cataclysm? Will the mounts even still be available then, or will they be yanked out of the game like the Amani Warbears?

I don't care so much about the legendary weapons. Those are equippable items that impact the raid's actual performance, and to allow them to drop in a ten-man (even with a "strict" drop criteria) would require the coding for a "lower item level" version of the current item, which in turn seems counter-productive to the weapon's existence as a legendary. In the end, the weapons get replaced, shoved off into the dusty corners of banks and taken out to play fashion-craft with outside the auction house.

Invincible is different. This is a mount. In Cataclysm, while the healing legendaries of Ulduar are rotting under a mound of virtual cobwebs, Invincible will still be a glory symbol carrying players across the skies. Mounts are useful. We still see the Al'ar mount and sigh in jealousy, or the Headless Horseman's mount, or Rivendare's or Attuman's or the black AQ bug. We even still see the RARE original mounts of the game owned by players who have been in since day one, and didn't turn them in for the graphic upgrades. Mounts live on in a way that legendary weapons don't.

Mimiron's Head was handled the same way as they plan for Invincible: it only drops off of the hardest mode of 25-man. Ten-man gets a trinket that summons a tentacle, which is admittedly pretty cool. There was less of an outcry against this because Mimiron's Head was, as a mount, kinda corny. It doesn't have the same awe factor as the Ashes of Al'ar or Invincible. It still wasn't very fair, but it wasn't in that same way of "wow, I want that... for me, or for my guild."

Blizzard has stated many times that they support and believe in ten-strict guilds as being viable and non-casual, but at the same time, they limit us to the subpar cool-stuff. Legendary weapons we can live without, but when it comes to really awesome mounts, why are we getting shafted, especially when we know the code exists to limit its drops to only those ten mans who ARE strict?


Keeva said...

Perhaps make it a reward from Herald of the Titans / Dedicated Insanity type runs - so it won't matter how much gear you get from 25man runs, you won't be able to use any of it if you want the reward.

That way.. 25man raiders can go in and try for additional rewards if they want to - but only if they wear strict 10 man gear, to even the field.

Kae said...

Dedicated Insanity had the problem of limiting out the Ony25 gear, which is why Vortex never got the achievement. My dang cloak that was pugged out of Onyxia and replaced a 213 I was wearing otherwise. Strict-ranking sites ignored Ony/VoA since they are so easily puggable, and it's the same iLevel (245) as the gear dropping from heroic-mode ToC, but it still nixxed our ability to get the achievement.

It's unlikely groups would carry around "old" gear, and at least at this point, there are no "puggable" bosses beyond the new VoA boss that will possibly count against Blizzard's own "strict" criteria (which they weren't very clear on for Dedicated Insanity).

Sorry, got me on a rant there :)

I would think it'd be easier for them to say "hey, if anyone in this group has ever killed Marrowgar on 25-man, then remove the mount from the loot table." Far easier than scanning the entire raid for gear sources each time they kill a boss. Of course, in contrast, you'd then have new players joining the guild who may be coming from a 25-man raiding guild... but you'll have that problem with gear, too. In which case, being able to just shed the gear for the achievement/mount seems fairer.

After all, few in a 25-man guild will hang onto ten-strict loot in their bags just for the off-chance a mount will drop off of the end heroic-mode boss, making the instance harder on themselves and having to deal with all the holes in itemization while taking up extra bagspace.

Sooo yeah, gear check may be the way to go with it.

Alyae said...

There should be a talk switch before doing the boss that drops the mount.

"if you wish for a chance at invincible, you must show your strength by for-fitting the visitation of all other universes where one might battle to obtain this steed."

That way if you talk to the NPC in 10 man, some switch turns that disables you from obtaining it again on 25 for the lockout period. Vice versa if you talk to the NPC in 25, talking to the same guy in 10 should say sorry .. "you already had your chance."

Of course... why would they bother putting new code in ... they have a new expansion to work on. They have already given up on WOTLK.

Charles said...

Rahana at Blueberry Totem went so far as to suggest a way for 10-man raiders to voluntarily lock a particular character of theirs out of 25-man participation altogether, which while contrary to Blizzard's "don't exclude people from content" mantra, seems no more or less contrary than excluding people from rewards based on raid size (or encounter difficulty).

To me, the Invincible thing says more about Blizzard's attitude to 10-mans than anything they've actually written on forums.

We know they're *capable* of making 10-mans as or more challenging than 25s (look at Sarth3D). We know they're *capable* of limiting rewards to people who are "strict" in their genre. But at the end of the day, they don't seem interested. Where's ICC's dedicated insanity or herald of the titans? It seems 10-man raiding is becoming increasingly "casualised" and sidelined in their thinking, despite (or perhaps because of) its enormous popularity.

Yet despite this, we get overtuned 10-man encounters that have to be hotfixed and normal-difficulty tuning in ICC that's clearly designed to challenge hardcore raiders (until the phasing buff starts getting added in a few months' time).

I don't see how any of that makes sense. It's just not coherent.

To me, the most insulting thing is that Crygil actually goes so far as to suggest that it's OK because 10-man raiders can PUG 25-man raids. And there's so many things wrong with that assertation that I get all frothy and quivery and have to go sit in a corner and calm down.

Kae said...

Ten-strict guilds are formed specifically BECAUSE we're a bunch of elitist burnouts who'd rather be more picky about the hand-selected chosen few we spend our digital blood wiping with in instances. Few ten-strict guilds are formed because they're "casual."

Pugging makes me want to gauge my eyes out. Pugging makes me grateful for the wonderful guild I have. Pugging makes Kae go craaaaazy.

fallingleavesandwings said...

Honestly, I don't know why they cannot make an equal reward for the 10 mans.

How many guilds, 10 or 25, actually went in to do Yogg 0? Not such an overwhelming amount that should have precluded mimiron's head from dropping on both.

I don't know, I do agree that Blizzard should make obtaining the mount an equal option in both the 10s and the 25s. If they think that there should be some limiting factor to keep them from being farmed by 25 man raiders, then put one in.

But, it does seem somehow grossly unjust to say "we are offering multiple menus to choose from while raiding that will bring something for everyone", and then only offering the creme brulee on one of those two menus.

Kae said...

Vortex was second guild on the server to do Yogg +0 on ten-man... you certainly have a point with the limited number of guilds able to accomplish the feat :)

The problem I see with having the option to "opt out" of getting the mount on 25 that week is that a 25-man guild can then split into two groups and get two mounts, where previously they'd have gotten only one in that week. While that in itself doesn't bother me, I do sympathize for the drama involved in those 5-8 players who don't make their guild's ten-man raids and thus have no chance for the mount; I doubt we'll see a pug version of heroic ICC10 be able to clear the instance until the expansion is out.

Hana said...

Ten-strict guilds are formed specifically BECAUSE we're a bunch of elitist burnouts who'd rather be more picky about the hand-selected chosen few we spend our digital blood wiping with in instances.

That's exactly why I made my 10-man guild. I didn't want the headaches and drama of a 25-man guild. Everyone knows everyone else in my guild and when we raid we barely need to say anything before the fight starts. Just a ready-check and go.

It makes things so much easier when it's the same set of faces every week and you don't have to worry about the random sluggard who dies in the fire. Everyone's performance is at about the same level.

I'm not big on vanity mounts or legendary weapons (I've passed on every OS3D drake I've seen), so having them be 25-man only doesn't particularly bother me, but I know otehr folks in my guild that are bummed there aren't 10-man equivalents of Invincible or Shadowmourne.

Rul said...

Well, you're kind of mixing up Blizzard's definition of 10-man strict and the social definition. I wouldn't really consider the exclusion of Ony25 gear for Dedicated Insanity a fault of Blizzard, more so than an inconsistency on the part of GuildOx. By all rights, Ony25 should have never really been open to 10-man strict in the first place.

I'm also not sure that the code *is* there as you claim at the end of your post. I mean, it is in the sense of achievements (a bad idea since that definitely ruins the exclusivity of the mount when 10 people get it all at once), but I'm not sure it's actually doable outside of that context. That is, I don't know if they can actually track the ilvl of gear on every kill if there isn't an associated uncompleted achievement doing the tracking for them.

Ashes of Alar aren't a 100% drop, so it's a bit different in that regard (if it was, a lot more people would be doing it). The ZA bear is a more suitable comparison: just remove the award with the 4.0 patch.

Yogg0 is also a good comparison. Not many people even did the 10-man version, although it's a bit inconclusive since it could be argued that not many people did it because the rewards just weren't high enough. How many guilds would have made the effort if it dropped Mim's head?

Although it doesn't adversely affect me to have a shared raid lockout or a character lockout implementation, I do agree with Blizzard's overall reluctance to do so. Closing off content, whether as an opt-in process or not, is a bit against their stated intentions. Again, this is more of a situation where the community has created its own social rules (10-man strict) and the game is lagging a bit behind in supporting it.

I actually wonder if Blizzard actually is looking somewhat warily at 10-man strict raiding. After all, the players in these guilds are generally a sub-set of players from the top-end of 25-man raiding. I'm sure there's a serious question of whether supporting the playstyle too much will result in a significant exodus from the 25-man scene to the 10-man. The 10-man strict scene has done nothing but grow over the course of the expansion, and in light of that, the superior itemization, the legendaries, trinkets, weapon procs and cool mounts seem almost like Blizzard making attempts to tip the scales back over to 25-man, specifically the 25-man hard modes.

That sounds a bit more conspiratorial than I mean it, but I think it would be silly to completely dismiss the number of difference as unintentional oversights.

I put some more of my own thoughts over on Ancestral Knowledge ( Feel free to check it out!

Rul said...

Aw, it removed my ShamelessPlug tags from the last paragraph...

Kae said...

Dedicated Insanity specifically said "Meet the criteria for A Tribute to Insanity without any raid member having used an item only obtainable from 25-player Coliseum, or any more powerful item." Ony25 gear is 245, thus not ToC25 (251) or more powerful (and thus not meeting the text of this achievement requirement). Yet, Ony25 gear counted against our guild in being able to earn that achievement: it's 245 gear, the same iLevel as what was dropping out of our ToC10 heroic run in the first place, but Blizzard decided to flag it without telling anyone (until enough people complained and they posted the specifics on their forums).

Now we know and will be far more careful about what side raids we pug up on our offnights, as annoying as it is (administrative nightmare, too).

If the code is there to track achievements and can be so picky as to pull out Ony25 loot (which means they're scanning each piece against a list, rather than just looking at iLevels), it can easily be tweaked into a "check every time" sort of script to determine whether or not the mount will drop for a non-25 group.

Rul said...

Normal ToC25 drops ilvl 245 gear, same as Ony25.


Rul said...

I disagree with the notion that it's "easy" to do the gear check without really knowing how they have the code set up. I wouldn't be surprised to see it being dependent on their achievement tracking code, which may or may not be easy to convert to triggering off a boss kill instead. There's also inherent differences in the systems too since achievements reward in a different manner (through the mail). Using it to reward something extra on a loot table is a bit different and not something I can think of them doing without having conditions established before combat starts (e.g. keeping drakes alive for Sarth), as a timer (e.g. Hodir) or with attempt timers (e.g. Tribute to Insanity). I guess it could determine the ilvl eligibility of the raid once combat begins, but what if people swap in higher ilvl weapons during combat? By all rights that should disqualify them. How does it catch that? If Herald of the Titans rewarded different loot off Algalon, then it would be a clear case that they could do it.

That said, I doubt it would be *impossible* to do something like that, but it might actually take a decent amount of work on their end. So it's likely doable, just not necessarily easy.

Kae said...

Normal ToC25 drops ilvl 245 gear, same as Ony25.

...ha, shows how often I raid 25s. ;) Still, the ony gear isn't gear obtainable in ToC25 "or higher."

And I still think it'd be easy to check (relative to having to write a whole ground-up code for it). They did it somehow for Dedicated and for the Algalon gear-check requirements; loot is triggered after the kill as well. If they have a way to track it for achievements, then that check can be routed towards other things like loot drops.

I want a pegasus of doom. :(

Rul said...

Well, to be fair, the achievement description was written before Ony was released. Excluding her loot does still feel consistent with their intention since the ilvls in her 10- and 25-man versions are identical to the drops from ToC. If 245 gear from ToC25 is ineligible, then it makes sense for 245 gear from Ony25 to be ineligible.

The PvP bosses make sense for being excluded from 10-man strict criteria since the gear they drop is entirely obtainable in Heroic 10-mans already (well, it is in the last two tiers anyway). Ony25 never really made sense to me other than GuildOx making a somewhat arbitrary decision to bend the rules for that one boss.

We're probably just debating semantics for the most part over the code thing. I agree with you in that I think it's the most elegant solution to check ilvls on a boss kill, whether it's easy to do or not.

Alternatively, they could at least announce an equally cool item for the 10-man Heroic kill, which they haven't even done. (Hint: a tentacle trinket *is not* equally cool as Mim's head).