In the Beginning... Blizzard created Epic items, and life was good. Well, for raiders anyway. You see, in the beginning of the World of Warcraft, there were very few epic items outside of raids. Sure, they existed, but if you wanted epics, you needed to raid. Not the nambie pambie 10 man, or even 25 man raids of today, we are talking about epic 40 man raids. Raids that required huge amounts of coordination, teamwork and skill. The raids of today, especially the 10 mans, do not require the same level of coordination as the old 40 man raids, they still require player skill though.
Time went by though, more an more players got into epic gear, but even more were locked out of epics due to many reasons. Blizzard did several things to address this, they added 20 man raids, epic reputation and turn in rewards, and PvP epic items.
This brings me to the topic of today's editorial. From the time they were introduced, PvP epics inherited the term "Welfare Epics". At the time, they were called this for several reasons, but is the term still valid today?
What Does the Term Mean?
Let's start by looking at what the term actually means. Since many people relate welfare to a derogatory term, it has taken on that connotation in WoW as well.
What it means in World of Warcraft terms is that the item is:
- Easy to get, something you don't have to work to collect
- Generally referred to as having lesser quality than the raid epics
As you can see that idea generally shoots down someone that collects PvP epics as being inferior to someone that collects raid epics.
Are They Truly Epic
When the PvP epics were first put into the game, they were ok, but not great. Now however for DPS classes and specs they are some of the best items in the game.
Case in point, compare the Hunter tier 4 helm and the season 3 helm. The Demon Stalker Greathelm (T4) has essentially the same critical stats (Agility and Intellect) but far less stamina. While it has slightly more attack power (8 points) it lacks hit rating, critical strike and does not ignore any armor value of the opponent.
While there are better items for many classes out there (especially protection based players), many are much harder to get. The gear is definitely of epic quality.
How You Earn Them
There are two ways to earn epic PvP items in WoW. The first and easiest is participating in battlegrounds. All you need to do is enter a battleground (BG), fight it out, and earn honor and BG badges. The second way is to sign up an arena team with a few friends and fight it out weekly to earn arena points.
Both ways work to earn gear, however BG's earn gear much quicker. It is quite possible for a player to spend 6-8 hours in BG's and get enough honor points to earn a PvP epic. While battlegrounds earn gear, they earn lesser gear than is available from the Arenas. As new seasons become available in the arenas, the old seasons cycle through the battlegrounds.
In the Arenas you have to fight at least 10 battles a week and your team rating changes based on that rating. You then earn points based on that rating. Even losing 10 battles a week, you can usually get a season 3 piece after 6-10 weeks. If you manage to win games and stay at even a 50/50 rating you can earn gear much faster.
Messiah's Take On It
I have a few issues with PvP epics and how they are distributed. First let me set something straight though, while I personally think that the term welfare epics applies completely to PvP epics, I do not think it should be viewed as a derogatory term aimed at the player or the gear, just at how the gear is earned, or not.
A PvP player has to demonstrate a huge amount of skill to actually win. In many ways winning at PvP requires more skill than winning in PvE as there is always an adapting, learning human at the other end of the fight. I would in no way belittle the players that excel at PvP, since struggling through it myself, I can see the skill needed to win.
The gear itself is also amazing. While tuned to be able to allow players to take hits and survive in PvP, it is still some of the best damage gear out there in many cases. Most of it has amazing stats and just as amazing graphics. Many players set the PvP gear as their end goal, for looks alone.
Now on to my big issue with the gear though. It can be received with absolutely no skill involved. You can enter battleground after battleground and just earn honor without ever winning. You can also enter Arenas with a team, and never win many fights and still get arena points. Sure, you will get gear much faster if you win the BG's or arena fights, however the point here is, you don't have to.
You can struggle along being completely mediocre (or even truly horrible!) and still get rewarded.
That simple fact is why I firmly believe the term welfare epic still applies. While winning requires great skill, you just don't need to win to get the gear. Until Blizzard changes that simple fact, I feel the term still fits. Like I said though, I aim the derogatory connotation directly at how the gear is gained, not the gear or at a good PvP player.
The Messiah has had his say, what’s yours? Do you still agree with the term welfare epics? Do you think it still applies? Should PvP epics be on par with raid epics? I want to hear your comments and explanations.
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