I rarely feel the inclination to talk about patches anymore. So many people cover them that I feel I have no need to add my voice to the crowd. Yet, sometimes, things pop up that I just feel I need to talk about, for no other reason than that typing it out and submitting it to the populace for scrutiny is a way to sort out my feelings. And so, I now present to you my personal feelings on the new Emblem system as it is proposed now for 3.2.
For some background, I'm a casualcore raider of Ulduar 25 and ten. I spend four or five nights a week in raids, though only three of those nights are progression raids and the others are simply alt-gearing raids I run in to give over geared heals or Ulduar 10 because for some reason I find Flame Leviathan to be fun as all get out (especially in a motorcycle OMG). I log in other times to lead no-drake OS since I still need Valorous gloves, sometimes do WG and otherwise level alts or do a couple dailies. Three nights a week for three hours I spend healing Ulduar 25 on normal modes with only relatively competitive progression without strict attendance requirements (thus casualcore).
When the Emblem change was announced as in the works for 3.2, I was honestly stunned. I found it to be...rather disheartening. The idea of banging my head against progression content and scraping together enough conquest badges for one piece of T8.5 after a month of wiping, grinding and pushing and then finding out that I could spend those three hours a night train-killing heroics for more benefit is disheartening, to say the least. Why should I push and frustrate myself with Ulduar and compete against other people and RNG for gear, when I could get competition-free heroics gear? Especially with the new content coming out, as Ulduar 25 gear will prepare you for normal 25 T9 level (it would have to).
At this point, I do Naxx 25 once a week. I cannot stand Naxx anymore, but it is something that is important for a lot of people who need to gear alts, new mains or even their current raiding mains with that last piece off of KT, so I go to be helpful. At times I am gearing up Bellbell just for something else to do, but a lot of the time I have to switch to Bellwether because her geared heals are needed to offset the difficulties that come with people playing Alts. I do this to help the guild, but with the hope that eventually we won't do Naxx anymore, that it won't be a raid night that rewards DKP and people will just pick it up on their own. I don't want another reason to go into Naxx. I don't want it to be a required night again just so people can attain a ton of Conquest badges quickly to get two piece T8.5. I don't want another reason to visit old, tired content. It invalidates Ulduar 25 as a farming instance once a new raid comes out, since Naxx is faster, easier, and has more badges attached. And, once again, no RNG or competition for emblem loot.
I understand the pull and attraction for people gearing up alts. And, from a progression stand point, I understand this is extremely helpful for people who are switching progression mains. Other people have pointed out that it's only two piece T8.5 and a few other epics. But the thought that a fresh 80 could rival my Druid in gear by running heroics while I'm smacking my head against a progression wall seems out of whack to me. You would almost get more benefit (time versus reward) from running 25 Naxx than fighting to Yogg. For an experienced raider in a progression guild or even a casual guild, this is actually helpful as it means more badges, KT loot, and less time spent with less difficulty and less repair bills. Helpful, but mind-bogglingly boring.
I also feel that this more encourages people to skip content, rather than play it. If you can gear up past Ulduar level through Emblems (Be Imba has placed my gear level, wearing a mash-up of H Naxx and Uld 10 loot at past H Uld), why visit it when you could skip right to the higher, newer tier of progression? There's no step ladder, so you're actually missing content. Isn't this counter-productive? Why would I bother running the coordination-reliant Malygos 25 when I could hop right into Uld 10 with my non-RNG-based-heroic-farmed-non-competitive T8.5 helm and chest, and T8 equivalent neck, pants and gloves? Or why even do Naxx 25 at all if you don't have the people or feel like joining/making a PUG, when Naxx 10 epics and heroic badge loot will let you waltz into Ulduar 10 or 25, perhaps even T9 introductory level?
I admit, as well, that the thought of someone in quest greens and two-piece T8.5 is...unsettling. I understand with Vault there's a lot of discrepancy, but this will just blow it out of the water, especially as Vault gearing relies completely on dumb luck. I would certainly take advantage of it on any alts I level if it is, indeed, implemented, and people don't seem to realize that this change would be extremely beneficial to raiding guilds. Suddenly have no mages, but too many Druids? Pull the one with the mage alt through Naxx 25 and 10 a few weeks and they've got enough badges and decent gear to be competitive. It's crazily better for casualcore to hardcore raiders than it is for strictly casual people, and yet I still don't want the change.
I guess I just don't like handouts. I raid for the sense of accomplishment, which I suppose is why I don't like Naxx anymore. I don't find any feeling of accomplishment or sense of earning my gear when I go into content I farmed as a fresh 80 and get T8.5 for it. I suppose, at the root of the problem, is that it feels condescending, and I do not like being condescended to. I do not like to just show up and Blizzard to go "Aw, how cute, you killed King Ymiron. Here you go, sweetie, some T8.5 and a popsicle. You run along now, go get 'em, Tiger." I don't want things easier, I don't want to be forced into continuous Naxx farming to remain competitive (like Kara farming of BC, it gets old really, really fast).
Some have mentioned that this is how the PvP system works, so it's how PvE should work, too. However, this is completely off-base. The raids don't scale with each patch. While each season your same opponents get tougher with better gear, Naxx does not get an upgrade each patch. In fact, more and more content is nerfed so it is easier and requires less gear, less coordination. You're doing less for more, whereas in PvP it's the complete opposite. You need better gear to do the same thing each season in PvP; in PvE you do not, and in fact can get by with less. To do the new thing you need more gear, but there were already steps put into place before that new thing that provide the gear. I could understand giving better gear rewards if they buffed heroics and Naxx, but when they're leaving it the same? It actually makes less sense than the PvP system.
So there's my two pennies chucked into the pile. I recommend also reading Tree Bark Jacket's opinion on the state of the game and how hardcore raiders are perceived because of it; she's done a fine job and I agree with her wholeheartedly. I'm honestly rather sick of people devaluing others' opinions because they disagree or dislike the changes. You're entitled to your opinion and so is everyone else. Agree to disagree, but telling people flat out to shut up and belittling them by calling them elitist or wanting to be a special snowflake or all the other sorts of demeaning language because they do not like the changes (or calling them "casual in an insulting tone on the flipside) is simply rude and hypocritical.