Kurn recently wrote her thoughts on 4.2 in which she railed against the VP system which provides more valor (and faster gear upgrades) to those who run troll dungeons weekly than those progressing in raids and ignoring the 5-man scene. Scrolling through my twitter feed later in the day I came across this tweet by the lovely Oestrus:
Well I’m standing on the mountaintop and saying it for everyone to hear: I’m doing it wrong!
Or am I?
There’s always this fine line between what a raid team can and should ask of its raid team and what it can’t. If my raid leader came to me and said “it is mandatory for you to cap out your valor points or we’ll give your raid slot to someone else” I might re-consider my stance on ignoring 5-mans. However, will it actually make me run 5-mans? Would I go run them just to keep my raid slot? Today, when I’m free for the summer and kinda doing my own thing in terms of research, housework, and game-play, I might.
But when the Fall rolls around and I’m no longer a lazy student taking off a summer, I’d offer to review applicants instead. You see my raid time is my game-time. 9 hours a week hasn’t always been much to me, but it’s also been bloody impossible and a commitment I couldn’t keep even when I sincerely made every effort to be there. I make that commitment because I love slaying internet dragons, but depending on the time of the year and my other commitments, it can be too much to handle.
Which brings us to our game-time. If you read Syl today, you might have noticed an article about enjoying the parts of the game that are fun. This is different for every person, but there’s 2 main areas of WoW that I truly enjoy: raiding, questing/leveling. I don’t particularly like 5-mans. Oh sure, they’re a boat load of fun when you’re lazing away an afternoon with a party of friends, but I haven’t had that kind of 5-man experience since Wrath. Even then, I mainly became involved in running a ton of 5-mans because I was an add tank, and learning to control groups of adds is way more productive (and less incriminating) when pursued against strangers and not enacted in your raid group where adds are eating off the healer’s face causing a wipe. 25 people mad at you is 100 times more scary than 4 suckers you talked into running Violet Hold… just sayin’.
When I’m killing time waiting for my raid, or just finished a nice, tight 3-hour session, the last thing I want to do is put up with shit from stangers. Ok, even on my best day I don’t want to put up with shit from stangers. That’s all 5-mans are for me at this point: my ability to put up with crap (or silence) from random people in the hopes that my experience/gear gained will be greater than the hassle that the entire experience put me through.
Before, that wasn’t so much a problem. When attunement was big, at least the people you were running the instance with generally had the same goals. Now you just get a bunch of suckers together hoping that the dungeon will get finished as quickly as possible so that the potential for shit-swapping will be drastically reduced. And this is where Blizzard expects me to farm Valor Points for my (currently) 4 pieces of gear.
Screw that. Although it can be argued that I’m letting down my team by not providing my ultimate best in gear options as soon as possible I just have a hard time buying that story. Didn’t we all read the story about Ulduar in blues? While gear is a factor in raid success, it sure as heck isn’t the primary factor in whether or not my guild downs a boss. If that was the case, our poor paladin who hasn’t had a bracer upgrade since Cataclysm released would be destroying our chances of killing Ragnaros.
Don’t get me wrong: I’d love to be valor capped every week and have all that fresh, shiny loot that much faster. However, I’m just not willing to sacrifice lord knows how much time (you never really know until you die doing it) in the nebulous hope that my dungeon group will successfully kill things and I will walk away with some extra numbers in my character screen when I can just as easily pursue an activity I already enjoy and am committed to in order to gain those same little tokens, albeit more slowly.
In the end, a single piece of gear is not going to make or break my raid team’s chances. Hell, if every member of my raid team followed my philosophy our combined 10 pieces of gear would not break our chances. Giving into the fallacy that slight gear upgrades will make or break the ability of your team to down bosses is ludicrous, and I refuse to subscribe to it. If you love those 5-mans, love getting upgrades, and want everything as soon as possible: by all means, knock yourself out and send me the link :) I love seeing people get new shinies!
Ultimately, you need to gain that gear relies primarily on your guild. I think we all have some kind of social contract with our guild, much as Wugan discussed. I don’t feel that capping out any type of points was a part of my contract with my guild, implied or otherwise. Others may very well be in guilds where capping out your valor points every single week is absolutely required and implicitly stated either in the guild policies or in an addendum (what I generally refer to as an “oh shit, we haven’t said anything about wearing tabards, make a forum post!) If you’re in the latter type of guild, damn skippy you should be busting your ass to get those valor points, because that’s the type of
tyrannical guild experience you signed up for.
But if you haven’t and your gear isn’t heroic level blues, then feel free to do it wrong. You’ve got a partner in crime.