This is a quasi-guest post. In fact, it was originally a comment on an earlier post, but I thought it was worth hightlighting. And so, I turn you over to Strobmoli, Master Mage, Aggro King and a handy Gnome with a ladder, a polymorph and a Staff of Dominance, to talk about how Blizz could improve gearing-up in later expansions...
In terms of gear, I think that the way forward is for Blizzard to provide five progression routes for all classes.
The current problem with this is that progression occurs regardless of skill - it's a time thing, and it needs to be changed so that the kind of non-grindable walls that hit raid groups occur here too. This will prevent PVP being used as a back route by poor raiders to getting gear that overwhelms PVE balance.
Resistance, resilience and penetration gear should be provided that is inferior for PVE but utterly rules for Arena players.
3. 5 Man Instances + Heroics + Super Hard Instance (cf. Sunwell) + Super Hard Heroics.
Some guilds can only sort out 5 mans, some people aren't in guilds; there needs to be a route (and there is one) for people to get epic gear from 5 manning. Badges are great here, too.
4. 10 Man & 5. 25 Man
Kara has been great for our guild - it is
proper raiding and I don't have to mess around begging for slots in
raid association 40 mans if I want to stay in our guild and experience
the raiding challenge. I think that a large demographic in WOW has been
well served by Kara, but the mistake Blizzard made was making it a
stepping stone to 25 mans. It really should be the case that the big
raid guilds will want to stick with 25 mans and leave the 10 mans for
Therefore it should be that the early 25 mans give a gear up opportunity (from green) with a few easy bosses. The final bosses in the first 10 man should give gear that is as good as the gear from the first bosses in the first 25 man, the second 10 man should give gear that is as good as anything in the first 25 man and so on. There should be more 10 mans than 25 mans because more people are going to do 10 mans, but the final two 25 mans should give gear that is better (for PVE) than anything else in the game.
This is fair because 25 mans are harder to co-ordinate and participate in than 10 mans, the people who work to do that and are prepared to sacrifice (I checked out some raid guilds rosters a few days ago... 200+ raids since TBC is not uncommon) for that should get the reward.
The problem I have is that I can't complete T4 and I never will. I think that a 10 man mage needs somewhat different gear than a 25 man mage. The encounters should allow tanks to protect clothies in 25 mans - I know that they don't, but they should, the 10 man experience should be much more rough and ready and should demand more flexibility in play. Kara has been bad for this - why Mages are running an instance where they have no CC and are playing glass cannons makes no sense to me! That role should be a specialism for 25 man mages, and should not really be an option for a 10 man mage.