Earlier this week, I watched Brett Favre retire from the game of football. For many, this announcement came as a bit of a surprise. His team made it to the NFC Championship Game, losing to the eventually champion, New York Giants. From a progression standpoint, his team made it to the "final four" of the NFL season, which for most teams, is solid progression. One may have felt that this kind of showing would entice Brett to return for another season, seeing how close he was to another Super Bowl. However, Brett decided that the mental preparation for another season was too much. He felt that the preparation was not worth the progression, even though the progression was clearly visible. Oddly enough, This led to a rather odd segue into my current scenario with my WoW guild on Twisting Nether.
Should we continue to attempt 25 man progression in Burning Crusade or should we prepare to gear up through other means for WoTLK?
At first, it seems like a silly question. Most of us want to see the other zones and areas in BC just to experience the content. From that standpoint, it seems like a good enough reason to keep plugging away. Yet the main challenge we face night in and night out is a lack of players that play during our time frame (12am - 4am EDT). We constantly have issues fielding more then 25 players on at any one time to really begin pushing 25 man content. If we had the numbers, it would be a no brainer. The question I have to ask myself at this point is "Is it really worth it now?
We could be content doing 10 man content. Zul'Aman is not bad and has fairly decent RvR for its content. But even that zone has caused us headaches with having the right mix of players to attack the zone. Not having AOE for the gauntlet before Akil'zon causes major issues to a degree where we have made virtually no progress in months. Proactive efforts to recruit have now been ongoing for a nearly equivalent time frame with marginal results thus far. We are ever so close to being at the point where we have the right class balance. Yet it may be too late for it to matter. There is a storm coming and the game is evolving around that storm.
The cloud that hangs over our head is the cloud named Wrath of the Lich King. Yes, it is likely several months away, maybe even as late as November-December 2008 but my guess is more like 5-6 months away. This sounds like a significantly long time but without more raiders in our guild, we will find ourselves in Kara/ZA until the expansion, whenever it rolls out. The question then becomes do we progress through ZA or do we find other means to prepare for the expansion.
The BG option
Currently I have 3 piece of season 1 pvp gear. Assuming I complete the set along with the vindicator accents and necessary weapons, I am looking at around 165,000 honor and many tokens from all battlegrounds. At 2,000 honor a day, this would take roughly 82 days to achieve. This takes us to about the end of May to grind out a comparable PVP set in a rather casual amount of time. This seems fairly reasonable to grind out and would net some solid gear to use for the upcoming level grind. There is also the chance that season 4 will start and the season 2 gear would be available for honor purchases,making this reasonable.
The Arena Option
There is also the Arena option. First and foremost, this forces me to spec arms, which I am not terribly well geared to do. As such, I would almost certainly grind out the belt, bracers, boots, rings and necklaces before doing BGs. There is no way to upgrade the gear otherwise. This in and of itself would net 45 days of BGs. After that, grinding roughly 300 arena points a week would take several weeks just to get one piece. I currently have around 1400 arena points saved up. Assuming 300 points a week, this takes roughly 22.5 weeks to get the entire season 3 set minus the shoulders. That's nearly 6 months. Unless I stumble into a team that can carry me and grind out significantly more then 300 points a week, this is not a viable option.
The Stagnant Option
Then there is the stagnant option; continue to farm Karazhan and Heroic Badges for the upcoming Patch. Karazhan has long been on farm status and the guild as a whole is rather sick of clearing it. However, Blizzard has placed new incentive to obliterating the zone week in and week out. I'm going to go on record and guess that patch 2.4 to be live by April 2nd. Assuming this is the case, this leaves roughly four weeks to farm badges of justice before the patch goes live. Then there is the wait for the content to be opened to the masses. Twisting Nether is a rather retarded server in terms of progression with only one Illidan farming guild on the server and none really close to following. Let's give ourselves five weeks just for posterity. A full clear of Karazhan is 22 badges of justice. If we do the daily heroic three times a week, this nets 2 badges per day while the instance we run could net anywhere from 3-5 badges itself. We also could grind heroics on downtime with most being easy mode and completed in very short time frames these days. Let's assume three dailies a week and a full Karazhan clear:
5 X 3 = 15 + 22 = 37
37 X 5 = 185 Badges of Honor in five weeks.
This could be more if I grinded more badges of justice via non daily instances or played more. 185 Badges can purchase a fair amount of gear. Granted, there is some limitations to what gear can be purchased but the bottom line is that this is seemingly the easiest way to gear up in the current format. This clearly seems the most time friendly option from a preparation standpoint, but this really does nothing for progression.
So in the end, the question remains; Progression or Preparation. At this point, the only option seems to be preparation as we don't have the numbers to grind out 25 man content and this relegates a tank obsolete. Sure, if the opportunity presents itself, 25 man content would prevail but this isn't the case with little change in sight. From a risk versus reward standpoint, the math is clearly favoring skipping tier 5 content entirely. The gear obtainable via badges is just as good or better. Yet knowing the gunslinger that Favre was, I know where his heart would lie....