Valor cap the new softlock? Lodur’s opinion

Yesterday we got news that the valor cap is being lowered from1,250 valor points to 980. This may seem like an insignificant change by itself, but it comes among a series of others as well.

  • The maximum number of Valor Points awarded for completing Rise of the Zandalari dungeons remains at 980.
  • The maximum number of Valor Points awarded for completing Heroic dungeons remains at 490.
  • The number of Valor Points awarded for killing a boss in the Firelands is 70 in 10-player mode, and 90 in 25-player mode.
  • The number of Valor Points awarded for killing Occu’thar in Baradin Hold is 35 in 10-player mode, and 45 in 25-player mode.
  • The number of Valor Points awarded for killing a boss on Heroic difficulty in The Bastion of Twilight, Blackwing Descent, and Throne of the Four winds is 35 in 10-player mode, and 45 in 25-player mode.

Raiders completing a full tier 12 raid clear will obtain 630 valor points from raiding 25’s and 490 points for 10’s. If they go back and raid heroic levels in the previous tier, they can gain another 585 (25’s) or 455 (10’s) points. Players running their heroic ZA/ZG will be able to cap out on valor points without having to set foot in a raid. So this raised a few questions, and quite a few opinions. I know I had a good run at it on my twitter account yesterday. So what can we take away from this?

The change really levels the playing field for obtaining raid quality gear and Tier 12 items. Whether you’re in a raid or just able to run heroics, everyone will be doing so at roughly the same pace. This can be good for those players attempting to play catch-up in terms of gear so that they too can raid. I understand that point, but I see a couple potential problems with this.

By lowering the amount of valor points in the previous tier, they are attempting to stem the flow of free valor points. I get that, but it partially removes the incentive for doing the tier after the new one comes out. Now I’m not saying this because I want to farm valor points, but it presents a problem. The raid lockout was recently changed with Cataclysm so that 10 and 25 man raids share the same lockout. As a result, for raiding guilds looking to trial out members it means they either have to take them on content that isn’t progression. This takes away from progression raiding time and can actually hinder a guild’s progression. Previously you could take the person into a 10 man raid and see how they did without disrupting your larger raid group’s progression. I personally was looking forward to having a testing ground in the previous tier of content to run recruits through and see how they do, but with the reduction in points I think it’s going to be quite hard to entice people to go back to the previous content. Also, I don’t know about you, but my guild doesn’t have many plans on keeping the previous content in the rotation when there’s new content to progress through, unless we’re going back for a Sinestra kill.

The idea of not being able to cap out from the current raiding tier bothers me. It means I’ll be forced to do heroics to reach the cap, or try to do so from some other method. I don’t like the idea of being forced to do something else, especially when I spend so much time a week already raiding. Sure it’s great for the non raiders who only run heroic dungeons, but I can’t help but feel it’s a slap in the face for raiders. essentially it’s forcing us to spend more time in game doing content we’ve been running since shortly after the game was released. With only 7 bosses in this tier (+1 for Baradin Hold) we’re falling short of our valor cap by 350 points if we full clear. We can assume we won’t be killing Ragnaros on day one of Firelands, so ultimately it means we’re going to spend even more time grinding in game on top of raiding.

It just smacks of an attempt to keep us in the game longer for the ever elusive gear chase. Right now, the new cap puts you at roughly about three weeks to obtain a piece of tier / vendor gear. That’s if you hit the cap every week. So if you’re raiding 15 hours a week, and you’re still learning the fights and aren’t clearing the whole new tier, you’re still forced to do several hours of either other tier raiding AND heroics, or just heroics. This is a significant time investment, and considering it’s content that a lot of us have already done to death, it has the potential to significantly increase burnout. I know a lot of people personally that have seen this and have already decided to stop raiding as a result. It also comes at a time where summertime burnout is creeping in, and this change doesn’t help matters any. Part of it is the fault of only having 7 new bosses in the game, part of it is just the gear grind in general.

It also, in part, seems like a soft gate. Keeping players under-geared longer means it will take longer to get through the content. With only 7 bosses in the tier, I can understand that to a point, but then it puts us in a position similar to what we were in when ICC was out, stagnant. It’s going to be doubly annoying if you hit a DPS wall that only new gear can fix, but you’re weeks away from that relief coming. How about a boss that is a hard healing check, that healers just simply are behind stat-wise through no fault of their own, to heal through. It will take longer to gather the gear to push through the bosses to down the content. While that is partially true of every tier, the limited number of bosses in this tier combined with the new cap in points makes this take that much longer.

It will be interesting to see how things pan out as this eventually rolls to live, and how players will react to it. Me personally, it just means I’ll be spending more time grinding points on my shaman so I can keep up with the raiding content, and a whole lot less time enjoying myself on my alts, if only because there are only so many hours in a day and I can only spend so much of them at my computer desk.
What do you think about this change? do you love it or hate it? How will it affect your time in game?


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About Lodur

Lodur is the right hand shaman to Matticus on World of Matticus, and a recruiting officer of Conquest and Co-Host of For the Lore podcast. Read more of his works at WoW Insider.

Comments

  1. I agree, it is a slap in the face to raiders.

    If players on my ten man team want to cap from raiding alone they will have to kill 13 Tier 11 heroic bosses, (and we’re only 10/13 at this point) as well as all 7 bosses in Firelands.

    With substitutions there is no way any raider is going to be capping without doing ZA/ZG, and players are already starting to get bored of the “new” content…

  2. I do think an interesting word you used is the word “force.” Blizzard is not forcing anyone to do anything. I understand that the competitive raiders want to be the first, be the best, but ultimately this is a game. You play to have fun. If grinding some heroics to hit the cap is so incredibly painful, then you need to re-evaluate your relationship with this game. If you are paying 15 bucks a month to be unhappy, I’d call that wasted money.

    Litz
    Belf tankadin
    Winterhoof us

    • Yeah, it’s a big pain in the ass. I spent the initial time of each character bum rushing through those same heroics to get gear so I could raid so that I did not have to go back to heroics again. Now It appears to max out, I need to go back to the same places that I don’t need to get the currency to get the gear so I can do the stuff I want to do.

    • I agree with this, Litz. Granted my guild is very casual about it’s raiding. We didn’t down the Lich King until the night before Cata was released, for example.

      But at the beginning of the expac, we tried to grind it out to get a jump-start on raiding and people burned out fast, and this was only after two nights of failed attempts on Magmaw.

      We had a rude awakening about what it takes to be on the edge of content and didn’t like it. A lot of our raid team took a couple months off, and some we lost permanently.

      The only thing that kept me from being one of the casualties was to realize it wasn’t fun anymore, and the only way to keep it fun was to not worry so much about the gear grind and just take things as they came. Stop pushing myself to get as many points as I could every week, and only do enough heroics to keep having fun.

      So what I’m saying is, I wonder if maybe people people can use this as an opportunity to reevaluate what’s fun about the game? Maybe they’re trying to get us out of the mindset of gear grinding, or at least enjoying the ride as much as the results?

      And as soon I typed that, it made me realize that us less progression-oriented guilds aren’t going to feel much from this change at all, but you guys in progression-oriented guilds are going to feel it a ton. Which makes me think we’re the guys that this expac is aimed at, as much as I hate the “catering to the casuals” talk that flies around the official forums.

      I don’t know. Just some thoughts off the top my head. I have to admit, too, that as casual as I am about this game, I’m way burned out on the troll heroics, but at the same time, I’m not quite burned out on regular heroics, but that’s mostly because they’re not as painful to pug anymore.

    • This is a tired old argument that I’d be happy if I never saw again. It’s like people expect WoW bloggers not to react to WoW related news…

      Yes, yes, nobody has a gun to Lodur’s head forcing him to run heroics to get more VP. Way to be grossly overliteral. Rather, Lodur enjoys a certain playstyle – high end raiding – and in order to continue that playstyle, he’s now going to have to do more stuff he doesn’t enjoy. Perfectly natural to be a bit dismayed about that.

      Should he consider if the balance of enjoying high end raiding is enough to compensate for the PITA of grinding heroics? Sure! Do we need to yelp “it’s just a game” like some sort of panicked relative of Chicken Little? Of course not. We haven’t forgotten it’s a game, I promise.

  3. I think while slowing progression maybe a tertiary benefit, the real goal of the change is to get over geared players into the heroic pool. ZA/ZG are going to get incredibly old.

  4. Barfolomew says:

    I can’t think of a good argument as to why someone clearing all raid content should get less valor than someone running a handful of heroics with a 15% buff. Easier content = better reward? If that isn’t seriously flawed logic I don’t know what is.

  5. I can’t help but feel that you’re overstating the importance of valor points a bit. Points and emblems have never been anything more than a small part of gear acquisition, in my experience. For example, only three of the thirteen epics my main is currently packing came from valor points. If the point system had been tighter in T11, maybe he’d only have two valor epics – but he’d still have ten from drops and rep.

    That was my experience all through WotLK also. For every item you bought for emblems, you would have seen literally dozens of epic boss drops – and probably picked up several of them.

    • normally I’d agree with you, except for a couple things. First of all your Tier gear, the items that are supposedly specifically geared towards your class and role. So no valor points, no tier pieces. Which then means no set bonuses. Relics for paladins, shamans and druids? Those are purchased with valor points only, no boss drops for those. Sure bosses will drop loot, and maybe you’ll get pieces, but you NEED the valor points in order to fully gear yourself. That is how the system is currently set up.

    • You are extremely optimistic about the loot situation in 10 man raids. My toon is wearing less than half raid drops, it took us weeks of farming badges to rejuvenate our progression because all we got was the same shard-worthy gear. Without those badges, we’d have been disgusted and hopeless.

  6. It’s unfortunate. What I really dislike about it is that I don’t want to do heroics anymore. As it stands, I’ve been kind of just feeling almost as if I should take a small break from WoW. I’m all right with logging in on raid nights right now, just because it’s the same old same old otherwise. Do I have raid-ready alts? Absolutely. But like hell I’m going to go in and raid on said alts anytime soon; I’ve seen the same three instances for a while now. Even though there’s still a few bosses left for me to kill, I just am really tired of heroics. I get that they want people to continue doing heroics, but even throughout Wrath, and to a degree, BC, heroics were always there, but they were never really required after a certain point in the game (save maybe when ICC heroics were released). At this stage, it’s a little off-putting, but we’ll see what happens from here.

  7. I think the ‘slap in the face’ description is very overused these days, and takes away from your article – but that’s just me 🙂

    I agree in general though, I think the valor cap should be available from raiding solely. Blizzard has promoted “choice” but with this move they are taking it away. I don’t mind that people can cap from heroics alone, but raiders should have a choice and they don’t under this new point set up. Bliz knows that there’s a segment of the player base that strives to maximise their points each reset, that’s part of the reason they implemented the caps IIRC. So they know people will feel compelled to run heroics to cap themselves, and it seems like a ploy to keep people in content they don’t want to run.

  8. – 1) Jin’do (or any 5man instance clear) should not give more Valor Points than heroic or normal Ragnaros.

    – 2) More generally, 5mans shouldn’t give more of the raiding currency than raid bosses.

    – 3) To get/cap the raiding currency, you should need to kill at least one raid boss every week.

    – 4) If you’re not killing raid bosses, it should take significantly longer (months instead of weeks) to get raiding equivalent gear.

    – 5) Heroic raiders shouldn’t be compelled to run 5mans from previous tiers. They should do it because it’s fun content not because Blizzard mandates it.

    – 6) This “order” is f’d up: “New” 5mans > New Raids = Old 5mans > Old Heroic Raids. It should be New Raids >>>>>>> “New” 5mans = Old Heroic Raids > Old Heroics.

  9. I disagree with the change, but all this is doing is normalising the rate of ‘guaranteed’ gear through raiding. raiders still get drops and will gear up quicker. This just moves VP from helping those at the high end of progression to gear, to helping those at the low end.

  10. I wonder if part of this change is a response to the gobs of money that hardcore raiders have been making selling BOE Valor boots and Blizzard trying to balance the economy.

    Raiders will still be getting drops and shouldn’t need Valor gear as much (beyond the items mentioned in the article).  They are keeping the 4-piece tier bonuses as “raider only”.  They’ve given hardmode raiders an extra boss.  They’re trying to balance the rewards for raiding with the ability for everyone to see all the content.  You can say that non-raiders don’t need cutting edge raid gear, but that’s not who Blizzard seems focused on.  They want to make the option to raid open to everyone and make catching up to current content possible.  The points system was never focused on people who raid until they added the tier gear to those vendors in Wrath.  Maybe that’s the problem and they should go back to all tier gear being raid drop based (because we all know how great that was, right?).

    Do I like this change?  Not really.  It means I will be spending more time grinding troll instances on my main and less time doing the things I enjoy.  It means it will be harder for people to gear up their off-specs for current content (which a lot of guilds rely on).  I don’t think it accomplishes the goal of getting overgeared raiders back into the heroic queues because those folks are more likely to be running with guild groups anyway.   But remember, this is the second tier of raids and we already have good gear.  We’re not supposed to need this gear as badly to progress now.  I understand why they did it and like every other change, we’ll adjust.

    • I don’t have a problem with non raiders getting the gear, it just seems unbalanced that if I choose to raid, I can’t cap out just by raiding anymore. I HAVE to play a specific way, thus eliminating a choice. It could have been a reaction to people selling BoE valor point items, but wouldn’t an easier fix just be making them BoP?

      I agree though we’ll adjust, we always adjust =D

  11. Why block alternate viewpoints? What are you afraid of?

    • neither of your comments were alternative view points, but were rather comments on me personally. I.E.
      “Finally, just a question … Have you thought about what your going to do when you get “there” (ie finish the game)? You realise there is no there right? You can’t “win” you’ll just be bitching there’s no new content.

      Try getting outside more…”

      Or

      “So you censor your blog by removing posts that are critical of your elitest perspective. I donno people like you who live life through a *game* are sad troubled individuals. Get help :-)”

      So comments like “Get help”, or “try getting outside more” will be removed. If you want to express a different opinion, by all means do so as I have never nor will ever block or remove comments that do so, but neither of your comments were alternate views. Further comments of that nature will be removed as well.

  12. Flog: This is our Comment Policy. It’s a link right above the post box: http://www.worldofmatticus.com/contact-matticus/commenting-policy/

    Rule number 6:

    Attack the writing but not the writer

    That’s why your shit was flagged as spam. You want to have a serious discussion then be serious about it. Going after the bloggers here doesn’t contribute to anything at all and is dealt with appropriately.

    • Not quite sure I agree it was shit, but I hear you. I was attempting

    • Not quite sure I agree it was shit, but I hear you about saying it in a different way. 🙂

      I don’t happen to agree with the complaints about the Blizz cap on Valor. It’s impossible to satisfy the insatiable appetites of hard core raiders I believe and I honestly think playing less may be a valid alternative. A few less hours a week, the content takes longer but so what? I’m sorry I really don’t mean to provoke but just don’t see the rush to get to the end. I mean it seriously when pointing out that there is no end at least until Blizz stop making expansions.

      Anyway, the bigger problem is the other way around, as a player that hasn’t made it into raiding yet, running heroics until my fingers hurt yet still not getting the gear where anyone raiding will even look at you. If Blizz doesn’t slow it down for the raiders too, the two groups just diverge even more. Not to mention the heroics will just end up deserted, making the problem even worse.

      Peace.

      Flog
      Flog

  13. “I spent the initial time of each character bum rushing through those same heroics to get gear so I could raid so that I did not have to go back to heroics again.” -Matticus

    This is what Blizzard are fixing. They are responding to the large portion of the player base who want the LFD queues lowered – bringing the substantive pool of people not running through the system back into it will go a long way towards achieving this.

    Blizzard also seems to be “gating” a lot of stuff on the PVP side this way too – so yes, they want people to play more to achieve the endgame content.

    Personally, I don’t really mind either way. You could look at this in a cynical light – not as much content so forcing people to do more of what’s here until 4.3, or look at it from the positive perspective that it will lower queue times (assuming most raiders will just queue with their guildmates, there will still be some who don’t). It’s a win for time-crunched players.

    • RE: “This is what Blizzard are fixing. They are responding to the large portion of the player base who want the LFD queues lowered – bringing the substantive pool of people not running through the system back into it will go a long way towards achieving this.”

      I can assure you that I will not take my 372 geared priest into the LFD. If I have 25 players who need to get VP to cap for the week because Blizzard won’t let us cap just from raiding, then I’m sure I’ll have guildies who need the same runs I do. At most, we usually pug a tank, if that.

      In fact, the longer I have to spend running 5-mans on my main just to cap points, the less I will want to run Heroics on my appropriately geared Pally & Warrior tanks. At a rate of 1:1, that’s 3 fewer runs I’ll tank on an alt, so 12 more players waiting around in queue because of it. That math, of course, is exponential.

      Pushing raiders into heroics will certainly not lower the LFD queue, and could quite possibly do the opposite.

  14. Also: don’t forget about the Avengers of Hyjal rewards that sit outside the Valor cap, and are only attainable by raiders.

  15. One point that I think a lot of people have missed: valor point items are a lot less expensive this tier. You’re earning less points, but you also need less points.

    • Are you sure? Everything I’ve read points to t12 pieces being just as much as t11.

  16. Lipstick says:

    As a healer for my guild, I’ve been forced to run in excess of 7 heroics in za/zg already because as a guild we’re not level 25 yet, and the guild dungeon runs count towards our guild’s progression in that regard. And then I’ve found myself running them a few times when the call to arms buff was up because there are several mounts that no matter how much I farm them never drop, and those satchels are like .. the carrot on a stick encouraging me to run those places until I want to kick something. Once in a while I could beg off and make excuses, or retreat to the privacy of an alt, but as an officer in a guild it’s very difficult to tell people they need to gear their toons and then refuse to help them despite the fact I geared my toon on my own virtually without a guild (as I was guildless at the time). If they want to make this change go live they really ought to make the other heroics = za/zg for valor point distribution so that at least we can infuse some variety to our rotation.

  17. Perivale says:

    One of the problems I see with it is how much more efficient running 5 man heroics will be in 4.2 than raiding for gearing up characters. For example a guild that is 2/7 down and progressing on a 3rd could be looking at 9 hours or so of raiding that week (perhaps more depending on individual capabilities and boss difficulty), during which they’d receive 210 VPs (10 man) or 270 VPs (25 man) + 0.6 of an epic (6 epics, 10 people) or 0.72 of an epic (18 epics, 25 people). Whereas running Zandalari heroics results in 980 VPs in around 7 hours for good groups or 14 hours with terrible groups.

    It may pay people in the less progression oriented guilds to avoid Firelands altogether if their raiders don’t have time to both raid and run 6 heroics a week. It seems a bit ridiculous to me.

  18. I think one of the reasons why blizzard has made this change has been left out of the comments on this page, I would like to point it out. Think back, back to the beginnning of 4.1. What was the big problem with Heroic Dungeons back then? Queue times, i.e. not enough tanks and healers. The big controversy was that putting the “rewards bag” (I use quotes because getting an earthen potion as a healer is just a joke) was that it would encourage undergeared and/or inexperienced players to join the LFD groups. My view is that this is blizzards attempt to fix this problem, and if so it is a much more elegant way of getting skilled and geared players into the LFD groups rather than a reward. I personally don’t like having to spend more time grinding those dungeons our each week, but this seems to be the main reason from my point of view.

  19. I’m of two minds on this. First I agree that non current tier should never reward more than current tier. Second I’m glad that Blizz is trying to reach out and again be more inclusive. I can understand why Blizz would try to reward the “casual” heck we were ignored for awhile folks, but again I think the way they propose to do it this time is backwards. The elite should be given a chance to exceed the maximum us “casual” can get. I’m afraid that this will lead to a greater chasm between the raider/hardcore and casual/heroic/non hardcore raider. If Blizz’s hopes are greater numbers in heroics ques this may work,just seems to filled with pit falls. Reminds me of some of the very clunky changes in BC trying to balance the new “arena” game with the old PvE game. Hey now it seems to be okay not great but okay, for those that like to push the edge of content I hope this doesn’t take as long to resolve at that did.

  20. Blizzard is always trying to extend the game by keeping its players in the game for longer periods of time. In Wrath, especially the latter half, players spent more time playing alts. Cataclysm destroyed this model and returned to a more traditional system that gated via difficulty and grind.

    Personally, I liked Wrath. Burnout is increased by repetition and decreased rewards, both of which are hallmarks of the Cataclysm experience. My guild has been hanging on by a thread for months, and I’m just waiting for it to fall apart.

    Finally on a semi-related note, if Blizzard wanted players to enter LFD, it would put the Living Embers on valor vendor. I have a ton of toons ready to do randoms, but I’m not busting my hump to get some valor points to get gear on a toon that I won’t raid.

  21. The simple math is like this:

    In Wrath you could run a heroic and get 2 badges each day. If you always ran your daily, that was 14 badges each week. You’d have to do you daily every day for just over 6 weeks to save up enough badges for a tier piece. Raiders got 2 badges per boss, so the better your raid, the faster you geared up.

    Now in Cata raiders get less VP per boss kill than you do from clearing a 5-man, and capping your VP from heroics will get you a tier piece in just over 2 weeks.

    I’m not arguing against casual players having faster access to gear, but a progression raid boss, who I worked with as a team to achieve as a mutual goal should never have a lower reward than a pugable 5-man.

  22. Cynwise has a really good article on the change to Conquest capping mechanics which is very very relevant to this discussion – in the same way raiders will need to do heroics if they want to cap valor, arena players will have to do rated bgs if they want to cap conquest.

    Blizzard is trying to fix population problems the only way they seem to know how. It might even work.

    http://cynwise.wordpress.com/2011/06/14/the-carrot-and-the-stick-rated-battlegrounds-and-the-conquest-point-cap-of-4-2/

  23. Perivale says:

    Another point, after checking the current loot tables for 4.2. Why would a priest even go into Firelands now? There’s only one piece of cloth healing gear (hat) and then a trinket and a neck. It’s far more efficient just to run Heroics to get Valors. This is ridiculous.

  24. And its changed on the PTR
    The number of Valor Points awarded for killing a boss in the Firelands is (70) 120 in 10-player mode, and (90) 140 in 25-player mode.
    The number of Valor Points awarded for killing Occu’thar in Baradin Hold is (35)120 in 10-player mode, and (45) 140 in 25-player mode.

    Numbers in parentheses are the old numbers, for reference.

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