Patch 8.3 will have new catch-up gear, but I wonder if we need catch-ups in other areas
There’s a whole host of catch-up gear coming in patch 8.3, available through doing the quests in Uldum and the Vale of Eternal Blossoms as the forces of N’Zoth attack both regions. You can check it out on Wowhead right now, and it appears based on the sets available in the database that we’re looking at items for every slot, for cloth, leather, mail, and plate wearers. There are even rings and trinkets in the database, although apparently not on the PTR as yet. Only cloaks seem to have been left out, which makes sense because we know Wrathion is making capes again.
In short, there’s an all-new way to catch up your alts and mains so you’re ready for the next tier of content.
This follows the same basic formula as the Benthic gear, but without the special bonuses — probably because it will have a chance to be Corrupted. It’s a formula we’ve seen time and again, going back to the Timeless Isle and which showed up in Tanaan Jungle, in Legion both at the Broken Shore and in a variant form on Argus, and with Benthic gear in Battle for Azeroth, so it’s not a surprise to me that we’re getting another look at it now.
Do we need catch up gear, or something else?
But what I’m wondering is whether we really need ilevel 415 catch-up gear for patch 8.3. I’m pretty close to that ilevel already and I’ll be completely honest, I haven’t really been keeping up with the game at all. I mean, I’m the guy catch up gear mechanics were invented for — the guy who took time away from World of Warcraft and who is now considering getting back into the game in patch 8.3.
But my biggest factor making me wonder if I should just wait for Shadowlands is that I don’t want to do the grind to get flying in Battle for Azeroth zones, not gearing. Gear I can get — I’m already getting gear at or around ilevel 410 or so, depending on luck. I get 405 weapons when that’s the quest. Do I need 415 or so gear? I mean, if I come back, I’ll probably start running Normal Ny’alotha with my guild anyway and we’ll be ahead of that pretty fast.
No, what I would most need is a way to shortcut that rep grind.
I can already hear the complaints
Look, I know what you’re going to say.
Why should you get a shortcut? I had to do that whole rep grind to get flying/essences/allied races/etc.
And you’re right. You did. It’s not really fair for me to come along and just skip over it, right? I agree. But here’s the thing. Fair or not, I have not been playing World of Warcraft lately, save to play my alts. WoW Classic offers me nothing I didn’t do repeatedly back in the day, so I didn’t play that, and my issues with Battle for Azeroth and the faction war have been repeatedly and exhaustively stated. So now that we’re past that faction war storyline, and I’m interested in coming back, the issue is simple.
Making me do the complete faction rep grind in Nazjatar and Mechagon instead of letting me get into the content I’m interested in isn’t something I feel particularly compelled to do. Fair or not, I don’t see why I should waste my time on it. If that means I don’t come back? Maybe that’s what it means. Maybe it means Blizzard loses out on me, and other players like me who would come back, but who absolutely don’t want to be shoved back into patch 8.2 content to catch up.
Fairness isn’t really a concern here. The issue is, how do you get people who would come back but who don’t want to deal with that nonsense to come back? Is catch-up gear going to do that?
It comes down to balance
I’m not saying I or others should get to skip that rep grind. I mean, okay, if Blizzard did let me skip it, I’d be thrilled. But there are other options and I think they could be workable.
One would simply be to reduce the level of reputation you need for Pathfinder, Essences (which are having reputation reduced in 8.3, but are still a grind), Allied Races, or anything else. We’d still have to do it: it would just take less time and be less onerous for people who’ve already done it because at least we’re not getting it for nothing. I know it would still bother a lot of people who did the grind, but honestly, it would also bother me and others because we’d still have to go back to patch 8.2 content to get caught up with our guilds. Since it’s a compromise solution that would please no one at all it’s practically perfect.
Another possible option would be to leave the rep grind at Revered but put in something that could easily be repeated, so that players who are willing to sit down and spent a lot of time on it could get it done quicker. That way, you get the satisfaction of knowing I had to suffer to get caught up, and I get to get it over with and already hate the new patch twice as much as I would have otherwise from that terrible three days of rep farming.
Or you could just let us all skip the rep grind please but I know the pitchforks and torches are already getting broken out for that one. Still, while I think catch-up gear is nice, especially for my neglected DK who really needs the help.
But I’m not super excited about it this time around: most of my characters already have gear, and doing rep grinds for other must-haves is going to be unpleasant. that’s where I wish there was some form of catch-up mechanic for those.
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