Clearing an instance for one piece of gear
I wanted to take some time today to discuss something that is quite frustrating to me, and possibly the greater tanking community from a dedication stand point. At the same time I am sure that the dps community is just as frustrated with blizzards poor stat allocation on certain pieces of gear in each new instance. To clarify, I am talking about best in slot items that come from previous instance tiers. I spent most of my night last night in Ulduar 10 for two trinkets which may or may not drop, the Mjolnir Runestone and the Royal Seal of King Llane. Now while these trinkets are very powerful, the question that I have been asking is as such:
Is it worth 10 peoples time to farm an instance for a slight chance at the hard mode boss dropping a trinket that will increase the raids dps or a tanks survival by a fraction of a percent?
To the individual, these trinkets are very large upgrades. To any melee or marksman hunter, the runestone is a massive upgrade, and will help them reach the armor pen cap quite a bit easier, however, how much dps does the raid gain? The same holds true for the Royal Seal. Although it is a great effective health trinket with a powerful on use, is the opportunity cost of trying to get that trinket worth wasting 9 other people’s time (8 if someone wants the runestone), to full clear an instance that has nothing to offer the rest of the raid. The runestone has a bit more of an argument, as there is not an upgrade in ToTC or ToTGC that compares when it comes to reaching the armor pen cap. The Royal Seal can be replaced easily by the Brewfest trinket (neglecting the on use disparity between the two).
Aside: With Thorim Bugged, I spent all night in Ulduar 10 and we did not get a chance to kill either boss we went in there to kill…ouch
Unfortunately, this debate can be extended beyond trinkets, and beyond ten mans. What about Val”anyr, Hammer of Ancient Kings? You could argue that sending not 10 but 25 people back to an instance to clear it at a chance to get a few shards a week, until you have 30, is similar. I personally think that when looking at these instances, you have to understand what the cost and benefit of the item are. With the trinkets, its a few hundred personal dps for one person, or a great stamina trinket that truly only offers an on use over its alternative. With the mace, its a raid wide massive decrease in damage taken. This is a no brainer, and for most guilds, I would assume as long as you have the ability to do three light, you should be striving to complete your next mace.
The great glaives debate
This was an issue that cropped up in a more grander sense in burning crusade. The addition of a set of glaives to a rogue or warrior were a powerful advantage when you were banging your heads up against the Brutallus enrage timer. So, as a result, you took your full raid into black temple, and cleared it every week for that very, very low chance that you were going to get a glaive. This type of raid philosophy leads to burn out at a much quicker pace. I appreciated when Ulduar came out that there was no need to go back to Naxx. Similarly, as a tank, there is really nothing in Ulduar that can not be replaced by something in ToTC (maybe the Heart of Iron, but even then you can use normal and heroic Juggernaut trinkets). We have the luxury of not having to farm something to min/max our gear.
However, there are many upgrades for healers and dps that come from Naxx or Ulduar, as they were progressing to the next level of instances. This means that if they want to min/max, they will be running instances that are boring, monotonous, and the number one cause of burn out. Why go back to ulduar when you went there for four months straight? I believe that the mace is an exception to the rule, but only to a point. If you do not have Val’anyr yet, is it worth it to keep farming? If you have one mace, do you want a second? etc, etc. To me, If you have more than half the shards, you should complete your mace, but after that, you should acknowledge that its not going to happen and move on. The burn out that you will cause as a result of trying to get that next mace is not worth it.
In the end, the current tier of instances does not take that long to clear, and if you are a hard core guild used to raiding 5-6 days a week, you may go back and full clear it one night just to fill the time. However, in my guilds case, we only have two days of mandatory progression raiding a week, some times three if we are close to a kill. In those two days we clear ToTC and all killable bosses in the heroic version on the first night, while wiping all of the second. If you add Ulduar in there, you have increased your raiding by 33%. 10 mans are optional (although with the caliber of guild members that we have, we run 4 normals and 2 heroics a week). After all is said and done, you have four nights of raiding, for the 100% attendance folks, in which you work to gear out your raid as best as possible to help with progression. After all of this is done, who really wants to go back and do it again just to get one person one chance at one upgrade?