Tobold's Blog
Friday, January 23, 2009
Purple is the new blue

My warrior has 5 level 80 epics in the bank. They are in the bank because my warrior is only level 77. The moment he hits 80, he'll be wearing a good number of purple gear. And that isn't just me having too much gold, it is an environment in which you can get kicked out of a pickup group for not wearing epics. A commenter recently said on this blog that "purple is the new green". Not quite, but there are sufficient arguments to make the point that purple is the new blue.

The "color inflation" has two reasons. One is the fact that raids are easier. But the other is that crafting is now much better. There are complete sets of great tanking and damage blue armor (level 76 to 78) from smithing, which are extremely cheap. I assume the same is true for letherworking and tailoring. And all these professions can make affordable bind-on-equip epics, for around 1,000 gold a piece if you count the cost of materials and have friendly crafters in your guild. And that is just what you can get before even hitting level 80, afterwards you can get more epics easily enough by doing PvP if you are solo, or by running heroics if you can find groups.

On the other end of the scale that means that green items are now vendor / disenchant trash. I haven't worn a single green item through all of Wrath of the Lich King leveling with either priest or warrior. A blue item that is better is always within easy reach, and at level 80 you quickly acquire epics. The main disadvantage of that color inflation is that quest items are still green for any quest that isn't a group / dungeon quest or the end of a long quest chain. Thus gearing yourself up by doing quests has become a rather rare occurence.

With everyone wearing epics, of course they don't feel "epic" any more. I'm sure that in the harder raid dungeons to be patched into WotLK in the future, there will be more legendary items, orange becoming the new purple. Makes you wonder at what color the loot in the next expansion will arrive.
Purple is about as Epic as Blue is Rare and Green is Uncommon.

A good way to overcome this inflation of colours would be, at least in my opinion, to do revaluation of colours. In short, giving white gear stats of a green, green blue, blue epic, and finally making epic something rare and valueable.

Don't you miss days of Vanilla WoW when having an epic item meant that you're someone? It's not all down to being an elitist. It's about the fact that when everyone is epic... then nobody is epic for real.
I started a new holy priest right after Lich King and leveled her up to now 79, the normal way by questing and a lot of dungeons (no boosts no RaF). I got mostly dungeon and group quest reward blues and a few greens and doing fine, thank you. :P
does it really matter that epic is the new rare?

sure it makes having epics less of an achievement but you can still mess your char up picking up epics over blues, relative strength is more important than colour
Even though everyone is wearing epic items all purples are not created equal. I don't really care about the color, I'm after the stats.

That's why you have different ilvls of purples.

I don't they will be adding a bunch of legendary items. Purples will be a common thing, it will just matter where you got those purples from.
I dumped my long time main and have been slowly levelling a Deathknight and I find all of the questing a lot more fun when there's an actual upgrade possibility out of working on the quests. In each zone I usually get 3-4 upgrade items and whenever I'm reading quest text I always get to take a close look at the reward items to see if I might be using something.

My old main was full epic+ and when I started questing I got kind of depressed as I quickly realized I was basically going to be grinding 10 levels and then forced to raid again to finally find upgrades. I'd much rather they truly do a gear reset and let me dump my level 70 purples for level 71 greens instead of waiting for level 80.
I say mix the colors and make it all a nice shade of brown. All this talk about gear colors is a crapshoot anyway. An ilvl indication is all you really need.
It's the same in EverQuest II. Once upon a time most people wore Treasured and Mastercrafted, and Legendary was awe inspiring. Fabled was even greater. Now, at level 80, most everyone is wearing Legendary, and the Fabled is just a notch above it. I imagine in the next expansion we'll all be wearing Fabled and Mythical will be the new Legendary. They'll have to make up a new tier for the level above Mythical.
There's something to be said about the magic of the purple pixels... I remember starting WoW 3 years ago and joining a casual guild where the level 60s were raiding ZG. I set about farming up 100G over a couple days to buy a pair of BoE Edgemaster's Handguards for my level 44 Shaman so I could be "epic" just like the people who were raiding.

Similarly, when my guild finally made it to the Kael'thas fight in Tempest Keep last year, our first attempt was a wipe purely due to the novelty of everyone grabbing the Legendary weapons and immediately taking screenshots instead of paying attention to the fight!

When Heirloom items came out in WOTLK I was the first in my guild to save up 200 Stone Keeper's Shards and get a set of +10% XP bonus shoulders for my alt - when I linked the item in guild chat it was a chorus of "ZOMG that's so imba" and "grats" even though they're really no better stat-wise than most blues. It's the golden-brown pixels - they're magic!

Every now and then I take a break from WoW to go play my Guild Wars characters, where the purple and green pixel significance is reversed - in Guild Wars, greens are max-stat uniques and purples are non-maxed, random stats items. Always makes me do a double-take, even now :)
It's not so much the devaluation of purple gear that bothers me, it's the elitist attitude people have developed that gear equals skill or capability. Getting kicked from groups based on gear is just tacky and poor sportsmanship. If purple gear is so easy to obtain then it doesn't seem to be such a competitive edge and raises the question of whether gear discrepancies really matter.
I'm idly reminded of the relatively new "Legendary" rarity in the Magic the Gathering card game. It's not a direct comparison, but some of the psychology and economic effects are similar. Suddenly, "rare" wasn't "cool" any more. There's a new chase card in town to keep people buying packs.

Lars, is it bad that I read your "Mastercrafted" as "Mastercarded" the first time through?
Tesh, no, it is not bad you read Mastercarded. I was talking about a SONY game after all.
This post was funny to me, because I remember reading the same thing said elsewhere about BC.
Indigo is the new purple. You heard it hear.

Either that or plaid.
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