Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Economics of Raiding

So this really isn't about moonkins per se, but it's something I've had bouncing around in my head for a bit and I wanted to post on it.  As you may or may not know, a lot of guilds (including mine for some attempts) used the soulstone exploit/trick to kill some bosses in H 25 ToC that otherwise probably wouldn't have died.  I don't want to get into whether or not we SHOULD use it, but I will point out that 1) Blizzard knows about it, and 2) top guilds (Paragon/Ensidia) use it.  Personally I consider it closer to an exploit then anything else, but I also don't mind using it if other guilds are to be competitive - WoW raiding is not exactly a "fair sportstmanship" environment.

The interesting thing I found about the soulstone exploit is this - it's only really viable now because the "currency" of raiding changed with ToC.  Before the primary driver of "how fast you downed bosses" was the number of hours you raided per week.  More hours = more attempts, more attempts = kill things faster.  Now obviously this isn't the only factor - skill also plays a part, and guilds like Ensidia/Paragon/Stars are almost certainly at a higher skill level then my own guild.  But after skill the number of attempts you make is a primary driver of how fast you kill bosses, and the reason a lot of top guilds WERE top guilds is because they could put so many hours into the game.  Not the only factor, but certainly one to consider.

So we have years of WoW raiding where a major factor in progression is hours raided per week.  Then we have 3.2, ToC and the tribute system.  Suddenly hours-per-week really isn't a factor anymore, and instead the major factor is the individual quality of each attempt.  This includes factors such as strategy, planning, individual awareness - stuff that normally develops over time as you learn encounters.  And suddenly soulstoning half your raid does not hurt you by limiting attempts, because your attempts are already limited by Blizzard.

And this is where the economics come in.  Because the tribute/ToC system changes the currency of raiding from "time" to "quality-per-attempt", you get maximum value for your raid by having as many cooldowns as possible for every single attempt, as well as checking combat logs and doing a lot of strategy discussion.  So legit stuff like battle rez, LoH, ankh, or other long cooldowns become important to have, and it also includes the soulstone exploit.  With the way Blizzard has designed the system and how sites like wowprogress determine ranking, it's something that a lot of serious guilds are going to start using - until and if it's fixed.


  1. Very nice article. I take it your blog is brand new? Congratulations on entering the blogosphere and I look forward to reading what comes next!


  2. Yep, been thinking I might start one and figured I'd see where it goes. Glad you liked the article, and I appreciate the comment.

  3. As a lock, I find this particular issue to be a little bit concerning. On one hand, as you said, the value of soulstones (and ankhs/brez/etc)has gone up and increases the importance of those types of utilities which is good for locks. On the other hand, it's pretty likely that Blizzard's fix for this issue will include some kind of annoying change to the soulstone mechanic (such as removing the SS buff when you enter an instance but not resetting the cd).

  4. Nice posts Randomsmo.

    Welcome to the blogsphere.

    Gobble gobble.