How much do your accomplishments mean to you?
If you logged on tomorrow, to find your max level character/s stripped of all his achievements, mounts & pets, epic gear and guild, would you still have the motivation to play? How much do your accomplishments mean to you?
I think this is a relevant issue. People can get hacked and have similar things happen (bar achievement removal) and this is generally met with a reasonable amount of sympathy from their guild until they get their stuff restored. But there’s the chance these days that they won’t restore it all, or only restore one of your characters if you play multiple ones. This is why account security is so important, but you’ve all heard that before.
For me, it would depend on when in the expansion this happened. I would cope better losing Naxx 25 gear and relevant accomplishments, and having to go from Northrend blues back to full T7, than I would today. I enjoy the tanking and healing side of things, and neither of those are too forgiving on a fresh 80 running heroics. Early on in the expansion, it would be a question of crafting the 200 ilvl gear, getting into a guild that was running OS and Naxx, and slowly filling out each slot. These days, it’s grind heroics till you’re sick of people in general, and max out every slot you can with triumph gear and ICC5 drops. Then you have to fight the uphill battle to get into PuGs of things like VoA and ICC10 without achievements to your name. It’s a harsh world. If you apply to a guild, they will most likely turn you away because of your gear and lack of experience. I think it’s when people fall ahead of the curve. Allow me to elaborate.
Zal’s predictions for the Cataclysm Curve based on TBC and WotLK experiences
You will see roughly 80% of current players taking one or more of their max level characters into the new zones and leveling up fast. These people will hit the new cap with a missmash of last expansion’s raiding gear and some overpowered quest reward gear. Most likely they will either be in the same guild, or a brand new one, and everyone tackles the first wave of content geared like that. These people are the first to get raiding properly, acquiring achievements and gear galore. After them will come the 20% who rolled the ‘New thing’ – TBC it was a Draenei or a Blood elf, Wrath it was a DK. In Cataclysm it’ll be the folks who rolled Worgen or Goblin, or some new class/race combination. The faster of these people will be a little behind in the gear curve, but will be accepted because they will enter raiding at the same time as the slower people who are leveling their 80-85. This will all take place in the easy raiding, get used to the new cap phase. For reference, let’s call it the naxx phase. Anyone who comes into raiding in the naxx phase can’t be told off for not having good achievements or gear, because only the really organised and fast people have. The naxx phase is a time where new guilds bloom, people find out how well they play with the changes to their classes, and things are a lot happier. It lasts about 2-3 months, roughly. In the next phase, what we shall call the Ulduar phase, anyone who has just hit the cap has to put forward a good case to be accepted in. He’s one tier behind in gear, but probably a good player. However, the people that performed so well in the Naxx phase can’t be ignored. People take lesser geared people to places where easy blues/epics are rife, today it’d be random heroics, in Cataclysm, who knows. From the Ulduar phase onwards, with each new tier of raiding, this effect doubles. Anyone who comes in several phases later is stupidly behind gear. There’s no way they can compete with people flashing massive ilvl gear, and they have to scrimp the rewards they can and assemble their knowledge from the people who’ve gone before them. As we reach the end of the expansion, the new players find it next to impossible to get into guilds, PuG raids, and generally have a hard time of it.
What was the point of that? Well, as I was saying before, I would cope better losing everything at the start of the curve. I leveled Ort, then Katastrophe in what I mentioned as the Naxx curve. Both of them got to try raiding out, Kat was the one I gathered gear on. Both were about the same standard and had no problems getting into anything. I leveled Zal from 1-80 in what I described as the ‘Ulduar’ curve. He suffered somewhat from being blue geared when everyone else was decked out in Naxx 25 gear and starting Ulduar, but I eventually found a guild who was impressed with my in depth and open application, and decided I was worth the bother gearing up. I went on to become a much used healer within that guild, and moved on from there (in the ToC phase) to my current guild, where I found myself in a group that started ICC on the first evening and has happily and smoothly progressed through without much stress. Zal, as he is now, has no trouble getting into anything. I have achievements for every non-hardmode raid at 80. If they ask for the detestable gearscore, I groan, use the Wtfismygearscore.com page, and point out to PuGs that my healing gear is over 6k. It’s like flashing a VIP card.
However. If you were to strip Zal back to Northrend blues, take away his 100 mounts achievement and What a long strange trip it’s been, and then try and get me to raid today, I simply wouldn’t want to. I’d put my game subscription on a hiatus until Cataclysm, where I could take Zal or a different character into the Naxx phase of the new expansion. The three things I described just then are the best accomplishments I feel I’ve gotten with my Paladin, if we put aside the friends I’ve found thanks to my guilds (and they tend to follow you no matter what character you play!)
I guess this post has been rather random and rambling, and the only solid thing I can get out of it would be to jump on the raiding train right at the start or you’ll get blown away by the slipstream. And that expansions are an excellent opportunity to get whatever character you want as your main raider because of the massive lack of any gear, achievement or experience requirements. Enjoy the end of the Wrath curve and watch as the Cataclysm Curve stretches to new heights.