Gearing Up A New Guild in Patch 3.2

The recent news about everything from heroics through Ulduar dropping emblems of Conquest once patch 3.2 hits has put a completely new spin on my idea to launch Cold Comfort.

The attempts to get CC going on my old EU realm didn’t really pan out – there were about six or seven guilds attempting to recruit at once, and just not enough qualified players to fill that many heroic guilds.  Rather than fight upstream against that kind of competition, I decided to go back and level up the nine characters I left on the US realms when I moved to England.  At the rate I’m going, I should have all of them to 80 by the end of the summer.  That will be 15 level 80s across four accounts.  Perhaps I should re-evaluate things?

In any case, the plan was to get those characters to 80 to ease the task of getting back into WoW if I ever moved back to North America, but to relocate to a higher population EU server and try to build Cold Comfort up.  The problem was what gear level to require applicants to have?  My intent had been to not invite anyone who had an average iLevel of gear below 200 epic.  So if you’d been running heroics for a month or so and had pugged Naxx-25 a couple of times, you’d probably be set.  I selected this level because I didn’t want to bring in freshly dinged 80s and have to spend weeks gearing them up in heroics to move to Naxx-10, to move to Naxx-25 and then on to Ulduar.

The downside to this approach is that it restricted people who knew how to raid, but were leveling up an alt or new character on the realm and didn’t have the gear available.  It’s always hard to turn down someone who might be a good player due to gear, but if bringing that one person on board is going to force your already-geared players to re-run content that they are long done with, then it’s probably for the best.

With Emblems of Conquest being as available as Emblems of Heroism were at WotLK release, the possibilities for a new guild are much better.  You can downgrade EoC into EoV or EoH as required, so you’re basically able to gear up to a mix of Naxx-25 and Ulduar-25 (easy mode) gear without the typical progression path.

I completely understand why Blizzard did this.  The tiered badge system was a way to prevent the “run heroics to get Sunwell level gear” problem from TBC.  The problem with a tiered system is that it requires you to go through everything in order, and that can be very frustrating if you’ve decided to switch mains to an alt.  You want to get into the current tier of content as soon as possible.  To do that, you need to have a fair mix of gear from the previous tier of content.  In 3.2, that means that you’ll need at least half your gear to have come from Ulduar-10 or -25 depending on what size raid you’re planning on taking on in the coliseum.  But if you just hit 80, that means that you have to run heroics to get Emblems of Heroism to get gear to do Naxx-10, to get gear to do Naxx-25 or Ulduar-10.  That’s several weeks if not months of raiding just to catch up to the rest of the realm.

It seems that what Blizzard is doing is trying to level out the second leveling curve (the one after you hit 80) to match the shortening of the first one (leveling from 1-80).  I like the idea.  You still have to run the highest tier of content to get the best gear (so to use the old TBC example, Badge of Justice gear would have capped out at Black Temple / Mount Hyjal item levels).

A Quick Note to the QQers

Just a quick aside to those people who claim that cutting through the progression curve is unfair to you.   That somehow what you did in the past is devalued by people who came after you having it easier.  Firstly, the achievement system lets you show when you did something in the game, so you can always prove to people (if you need) that you achieved something before it was made easier.

Secondly, why do you think that making life easier is wrong?  Your parents had no Internet.  Your grandparents probably didn’t have a car.  You don’t hear them calling you out for “having it easy” compared to them, do you?  If everyone who came after us was supposed to have it just as hard as those who came before, you would have been required to out and club your dinner to death last night, then eat it raw (because you don’t learn how to make fire for several hundred more generations).


What the Future Holds

Back to the topic: one of the problems I faced when recruiting for Cold Comfort was managing the expectation of applicants.  I didn’t want to bring on 5-6 people only to be stuck running heroics, so I was upfront that if we couldn’t achieve the critical mass required to run Naxx-25, we wouldn’t be going forward with the guild.  That’s a tough sell – you’re telling people to just hang around and wait when they might have other opportunities available to them.

Now, I can start up Cold Comfort and bring in someone who might not have the best gear.  And I don’t have to wait for critical mass.  What I have to do is make sure that people know that we’ll be running whatever content we are geared and have the numbers for, with the ultimate goal being a heroic raiding roster.  If we only have four people on some nights at the start of the recruitment drive, we’ll run heroics.  If you’re a new 80, you’ll probably get gear as well as EoC from these runs.  If you’re an established raider, you’ll also get emblems you can use.  The only people for whom such a run would be wasted are those who came from an Ulduar-25 farming background.

This doesn’t mean that I want to bring in people who have no raiding background.  I’m not looking forward to training people how to raid, but rather how to be better raiders.  I’m going to be looking for people who have the skills but not necessarily the gear.  Heroics also help there – speed run a heroic and you’ll get an idea for who can handle the pressure of a raid pretty quickly.  The achievement system also helps here, as I can view what someone may have done on their old main to decide if I want to bring their alt in to develop into a raider.

Very exciting things afoot.