Who likes gear upgrades? I sure do. And yet, I'm coming to believe that there's too many good gear sets for leveling.
Let me explain. In Tier three, there are really 5 sets of quite good gear you can get:
The stalker set, obtained by completing RvR kill quests and then killing hero mobs
The devastator set, obtained from oRvR and renown vendors
The Mayhem set, from PQ gold bags
The Redeye set, from Gunbad
and the oRvR influence reward armor ... not really a set, but matched armor of a very high quality.
Each of these in a vacuum would be worth obtaining, but there isn't a vacuum, instead there's an overabundance of choices.
So what do people do? They choose the path of least resistance. Typically this means devastator, with maybe the oRvR influence to supplement.
Sure you might go for the stalker set, it's pretty easy to get, but the level requirements and relatively low quality make it a temporary solution.
Redeye, meanwhile, is left in the dust.
Yesterday, I noticed a comment in a post on Way of the Chosen by WAR's resident sourpuss Snafzg (love ya, Snaf, don't ever change) in which he complained about the randomness of drops in Lost Vale. To paraphrase, he writes that we shouldn't get drops from dungeon bosses that noone in the party can use.
My initial response was that this is how it is. WoW has always been like that, and it's one of the things that makes achieving a good set of gear so rewarding. It's a time sink sure, but that's part of the business of MMO's.
But on second thought, I think I'm coming around to his way of thinking.
1. RvR gear is not really random: winners are chosen by contribution (theoretically at least) and they get a drop they can use ... maybe one they already have, but not something for a different career.
2. dungeons are on lockdowns. You can't farm them really. Even gunbad has some length of lockdown, so you can't just do the Masta Mixa over and over until you get your drop.
3. Gear is career specific, not by type. In WoW you may get healing plate, only usable by a paladin, or you might get spelldamage cloth, usable by a number of classes. It's less restrictive.
PvE may be meant to be second fiddle to RvR in WAR, but it shouldn't be punitive. I'm fine with random drops, but it discourages groups attempting these dungeons, particularly when there's no specific need to do so (ie. Wards). What's the solution. I don't expect or particularly want to get perfect loot every time. But with tokens (or broken gear in WAR parlance) and chest drops (rewarding class specific loot to the winner) you dramatically increase the likelihood of a usable drop, without ever getting to 100%.
I've done 4 dungeon runs on Czarnal. 3 of these have ended in boss kills, not one of them has awarded a usable piece of gear. Meanwhile, in our last Gunbad run we got 2 PQ gold bags and redeye helms for Czarnal and our healer, Shennas. It's a good system, lets get it onto bosses.
And while you're at it, lets knock back some of the RvR rewards. Do we need devastator and oRvR reward armor? I know its important to have a critical mass of RvR players, but the rewards dramatically outweigh the challenge at this point, and are sabotaging the other choices.