Thursday, April 14, 2011

Tank Heirlooms!

I've always managed to stay fairly calm when Blizzard has announced various ponies over the years. Even things that directly affected my gaming and things that were pretty cool didn't have me do much more than raise an eyebrow. "We're getting a Barrier? Yeah, that sounds cool", "Disc becoming viable raid healers? Sounds like fun", "Holy getting completely revamped? That will be interesting". If there is something I learned from WoW and life it is that the lower you expectations are and the less you hope for something, the less disappointed you will be. It might sound like I'm rather the pessimist, but I'd like to argue that it's really the other way around. If I imagine that what I have already is good enough, and that whatever is coming can't be much better, I'm in a happy place. If I on the other hand start hoping for something else, it must mean that I think my current situation can become better, and if I don't get what I'm hoping for I will resent where I am right now. But enough of the philosophizing. The sum of the cardamum, as we say in sweden, is that I am pretty good at being content. Don't get me wrong, I like change and improvements as much as the next guy, but I don't get all excited about them. Until now.

The other day I was casually browsing around my regular set of pages - a couple of news magazines, a couple of science magazines, reading up on new blog posts, reading the guild forums and checking if there was anything new at mmo-champion. There are usually a couple of interesting things over at mmo-champ, like some new patch notes and the like. But this time there was something really interesting. Something that got me excited like a german in a wurst-shop (I'd go crazy in a wurst-shop). I'm talking about the new tanking heirlooms. I can't say how many times I've wished upon a star for this to happen, I could barely believe my eyes when it was finally was there. I had actually given up hope on a tanking heirloom set ever being implemented long ago. I had stopped thinking about it. It had become completely natural for me to just ignore the fact that I was the only one not totally decked in heirloom items when I did lowbie dungeons, sometimes having rogues and shamans with more hp than me.

Picture from mmo-champion, in case you didn't notice

I blinked my eyes and pinched my arm, but that bald human dressed in tank heirloom was still on my screen. Not only does the tank set look freaking awesome, it has tank stats dude! Combine this with the newly announced intentions of Blizzards to possibly make BoA truly account bound, and mailable across servers and factions, and I was close to fainting.

Leveling alts has always been one of my biggest joys in the game, and usually I level tanks, for some reason. I suppose there is something about taking command and the challenge that thrills me, actually I am a lot like that outside of WoW as well (when it comes to taking command, not about challenges). Whenever I was in a group for some group project at school, I made sure to be the secretary so that everything was written down the way I wanted it (and also because I enjoy writing). By being the person by the computer, I was usually the one with the most power (muahaha). It really confused me when I realized that Blizzard had completely neglected the tank heirlooms. Considering the tank shortage, I'd imagine designing a set to motivate people to re-play the game as tanks, and maybe find the joy in tanking overall and stick with it, would be top priority. Instead I think Blizzard thought "well no one tanks anyway, why do a tank set?".

The fact that you can tank just great with dps gear from level 15-80 is rather beside the point, although I am sure that too was a reason for why this tank set has taken so long. Anything can be done fairly well with the wrong gear at low levels, that's no reason to simply ignore one whole third of the holy trinity of WoW. Personally I think that there is no better way to learn tanking, and learn to enjoy tanking, than by doing it while leveling. Jumping on at max level isn't something I recommend, and I know that if I had started tanking now, I probably wouldn't have kept at it (especially not as warrior, yes I know, whine whine). But because I know that the class and the role has great potential, I stick with it and try to find fun in the challenge. The key to getting more tanks into the game is to have those people who are trying to find something new to do in the game, interested in re-rolling a tank. I think the availability of a proper BoA tank set is a good way to have people at least consider the option of leveling as a tank, and who knows, maybe even stick with it (and the new CTA changes is another example).

Blizzard shouldn't underestimate the re-levelling market and I can sometimes think it is an area of the game they are neglecting a little too much. On the other hand they're sitting with the statistics, and if I'm really one of very few who enjoy levelling alts, I can understand if they want to put all their focus at endgame, where the players are. Then again, they should have the money to do both *ahem*. Oestrus did a really nice post on the re-levelling value in WoW a couple of days ago, and I am inclined to expand on the subject myself, because like mentioned it is where I spend alot of my gaming time in WoW.

In any case, I am personally really looking forward to this. I can't even imagine the last time I was this excited about an upcoming change. Fortunately, there isn't much about it that Blizzard can screw up enough to make me disappointed. They could announce that they're changing their minds and not implementing the set, but I just can't see a reason for that. They could announce that they won't implement the cross instance/faction BoA transfers, and yeah that would be a bummer for me. They could announce a revamped design for the tank set that looks like shite, but it had to be pretty damn ugly considering I am running around in priest tier 11, and that is difficult to beat in terms of ugly. Overall, to me this is both good and bad news. Good in that it will probably have me level even more little baby warriors, and bad news in that it will probably have me level even more little baby warriors.


  1. I don't know, man, it feels like too little too late, unless they do it right... And by "right", I mean make them cheap, easily accessible, and (dare I hope?!?) give them automatically to anyone who already has 1-2 of every other heirloom.

    Oh, and instead of building more heirloom sets, let us mail our current ones across realms, and scale to 85. Scaling to 85 would do a lot to make their "forced through on rails like a constipated dook" 80-85 run more tolerable. On the first toon, kinda cool, but already drawn out. Second toon, barely made it to 85 before I stopped playing, 3rd toon stopped at 81, same with 4th and 5th. Now I level alts to 60ish, and delete them, although now even that is getting old.

    You know, I am cancelling, and I am going to play SWAT4 and NWN for a while. Both still extremely fun games.

  2. I am excited for tank heirlooms mostly because I am ridiculously obsessed with collecting heirlooms. I have at least 2 of every one, and I really don't use them. I stocked up before they changed Triumph/Frost emblems "just in case" and now whenever I find myself JP capped I always end up getting an heirloom, because they seem (to me) more permanent than just a ho-hum 346 blue. I think I have a vague idea in the back of my head that if I ever want to play on another server with friends, I can send a character loaded with heirlooms over, but well, it hasn't happened yet.

    Regardless, I am sure that when these come out I will be unable to resist their siren call and will soon end up with a full set that my bank alts will wear around the mailbox for fun. ;)

  3. I don't like the looks of the shown Tank heirloom, but that my personal opinion.
    Beside that I don't use Heirlooms. I rather see the looks of my char change during the run up than looking constantly to the same pixel collecting untill the end (yes I know WoW isn't Sims).
    Heirloom are (a bit) better on average compared to the quest/instance drops but they doesn't mean better players. I fact when I see a Heirloomer in my group during an instance run I tend to sigh "Here we go again."