Tobold's Blog
Monday, March 10, 2008
A new currency in WoW

Badges of Justice will play a more central role in World of Warcraft after patch 2.4: there will be more ways to earn them, and far more ways to spend them. On the earning side the biggest change is that *all* raid bosses now drop badges, plus there is a small chance to get badges from supply packs gained via daily quest. On the spending side there will be far more epic gear that can be bought, in better quality than before, plus you can buy epic gems for badges now. A reader told me that you could even buy recipes for badges, but I couldn't confirm that, I read those recipes would be related to reputation. In short, Badges of Justice will become kind of a new, alternative currency in WoW. What effects will that have?

One interesting point is that it is a non-tradeable currency. Badges are soulbound, thus no "Chinese badge farmers". Well, you could theoretically buy yourself a spot in a farm raid, but I doubt that business will get very big, due to the organizational difficulties. Who said non-tradeable currencies were not a viable approach to eliminate RMT? Blizzard apparently thinks otherwise, and that is good. Especially if you compare things you can buy for gold with things you can buy for badges, you'll see that badges are far more valuable than gold. If I understood it correctly, the epic gems you can buy for badges will be uncut, and thus necessarily not soulbound, as you need to be able to give them to a jewel crafter. So they could be sold for gold on the auction house, which should establish a gold <-> badges exchange rate indirectly. That will be interesting to watch.

The other important effect of the changes is that even if 25-man raids now give badges, a Karazhan farm run will still be the most efficient way to earn them, the most "badges per hour" so to say. That is a good thing for guild cohesion, because previously the top raiders of a guild outgrew Karazhan and didn't really have all that much interest in helping less advanced guild mates to get their gear there. After the changes a mixed run of experienced and less experienced raiders through Karazhan in advantageous for both sides, which should encourage the practice. A Karazhan farm run becomes "an epic gem and a half" even for people who can't use any of the random epic drops there. And by selling these epic gems raiders could probably finance their other raid expenses. I see this as a big improvement, because previously it was often more efficient to quit your guild and join a more advanced one than to help your less advanced guild mates, and that always bugged me.

The last point I'd like to mention is that raids now in part have a guaranteed return, just like PvP battlegrounds have. Previously you could have a completely successful raid, but end up with nothing but a repair bill, because of the random nature of the epic drops. In the future you will always get something if you kill a boss, even if you aren't lucky with the drops. With badges now becoming more valuable, cooperative gameplay activities like raids and heroic instances should become a bit more popular. Which is a good thing, as WoW was moving a bit too much towards being a solo or PvP pseudo-solo game. Encouraging people to play together can only be good, even if of course patch 2.4 has a lot of solo content as well.

So I do like the growing importance of badges of justice, and just hope that Wrath of the Lich King will have their own, even more improved badge system.
Best thing I've heard about WoW in years. I'm hoping third gen mmorpgs do away with random raid drops completely. No more DKP BS.
Its not only epic gems, both Primal Nether and Nether Vortex are also buyable with badges and no longer BoP. Some of the crafted items are still a very nice jump start for new lv 70 chars.

Regarding the comment of =##=, a completly badge based loot system would be quite a disadvantage for 2 groups of players. Players who start raiding later than others will always have an equipment gap. This limits the recruiting pool for new raid members. The other group are classes who fill different roles in a raid and are often expected to collect several sets of items.

A nice solution would be to expand the current crafting system. With more patterns using special materials which are obtained during raids, raid groups would be far more flexible itemwise.
People who start later are always going to be in a disadvantage. If anything, that is a less of a problem with a badge system, since giving a badge to veteran player X doesn't mean that newbie player Y doesn't get his badge. Likewise, the guy that collects several sets doesn't need to wait for one-role-only players to get their loot first.
Will there be gear from badges that is severely better than PvP gear? As it stands now a ton of raid-oriented players were PvPing because the gear was better. I'm wondering if this new badge system will have the opposite effect and cause PvP players to start raiding?

I think there should be a multitude of ways to earn gear, including crafting, raiding, badges, PvP, veteran rewards, etc; however, they should all be relatively equal in quality.

No one should be forced into a game play system they do not like just to be competitive.

/2 cents
keystone wrote: "I'm wondering if this new badge system will have the opposite effect and cause PvP players to start raiding?"

so far what i have seen so far what can be bought by badges when 2.4 hits the servers there will be no PvPers that will suddenly start grinding badges to improve their gear. The items that can be bought are focused on PvE they lack really high stamina pools and are about 66% heavy on stamina compared to Arena-Season3 equipment. They also lack resilience. So I guess the "pure pvp fraction" won't be excited about these rewards and will ignore them. As far as i have seen the rewards there will be at least one item for every PvE-specc that will be on par with Tier-6 loot. I think every player who isn't raiding Hyjal and Black Temple yet will find one item that will be an upgarde for PvE.
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