Friday, February 18, 2011

Justicar Blues

I recently read a comment on WoW Insider talking about the Justicar/Conquerer, lamenting the sheer grindiness of the achievement. For those who don't know this is an achievement you get for reaching exalted with each BG faction, it grants a title, and it's no small task. Warsong Gulch is the most difficult rep of all as the only way to get reputation with the Silverwing Sentinals/Warsong Outriders is to cap the flag. Considering in some games your team may not even cap at all this can be a pretty laborous process...and it should stay that way.

I'm myself am the proud owner of the Justicar title. It's a somewhat dubious honor, because it's more about BGs played than actual skill, but I think the symbolism is clear: I love pvp. I do. So much so that my entire BC experience was in the battlegrounds and arenas. I had no interest in raiding at all. This changed in wrath because of a myriad of reasons. My long time arena partner left the game, assassination became a viable dps spec, and there were no pvp weapons to speak of. I knew in order to get a decent pvp weapon I would have to learn how to pve, and I did, but that's a different story.

Back the topic at hand. The comment about the Justicar title said the achievement was too grindy. It suggested a slew of ways to make the achievement more obtainable: grant repuation for HKs, assaults/defenses/flag returns, championing, or honor. I, however, don't think the Justicar needs to be easier. That would defeat the entire purpose of the achievement existing in the first place. It's supposed to a big achievement, not a "I spent a couple days playing the BGs and I got this title." I know this is going to be thorny topic, but bear with me here, I think by the end you'll see some validity in my points.

Uphill Through the Snow

I'm not trying to be an old geezer here. This isn't me saying "hey! I walked uphill both ways in the snow for this title and you should too!" The fact of the matter is that almost all the suggested solutions to ease the grindiness of the Justicar would have an adverse effect on BG pvp. I'll address each of them in turn.

Reputation For Honor Kills

This would definitely skew things. BGs are about completing objectives that, at their core, have nothing to do with pvp, yet facilitate it. Killing horde doesn't actually move the flag from one end of the map to the other. It definitely helps, but not always. If you're off in the corner of the map fighting horde while your FC is getting the tar beat out of him, you're not helping the cause. This would also encourage turtling as a powerful team would simply take the flag and then begin farming HKs. Currently, the incentive to do such a thing is low as honor gain from HKs is small; people only really do it to be jerks. This would give ordinarily decent people a reason to prolong BGs and/or ignore objectives.

Reputation For Assaults, Defenses, and Flag Returns

This is the only suggestion I could actually see happening. It's not too unbalancing, but it still has some problems I'd like to point out. When I was doing certain BG achievements I would wait at a base, let a hordie cap, kill him, and then recap so I could get a defend. This is a dangerous game as he could kill you, or at least stall long enough for help to arrive, either way the enemy would take the node. If rep is given for defends it would be like everyone is doing defense achievements all the time.

Assaults would be even more unbalancing. Instead of fighting at a node everyone would just be trying to assault the flag which you probably have already seen if you played AB during Children's Week. With too many people manhandling the flag no one is left to fight. Flag returns would be a good one possibly, but it still encourages players to think of their own success rather than the success of the group.

Reputation Through Championing

This is like the HK one except all the time, in every BG. you could get your WSG rep by fighting on the beach in strand, or on the roads in AB. Again, this makes players value random fighting over completing BG objectives. I love a good scrap as much as the next  hot-blooded rogue, but I rarely engage in a battle that I don't think is crucial to my team's overall success.

Reputation Through Honor

This was actually possible in vanilla, but now it's not and for good reason. Excess honor should not mean you get to rocket up to Justicar. There are other ways of bleeding off honor that don't involve trivializing achievements. In wrath you were able to buy rep for certain factions with your excess badges, but this isn't the same thing. Those were in place so new lvl 80s didn't have to spend so much time in the rep grinding doldrums before getting into the newest content. Pvp reps are just for a title, and your gameplay isn't being stalled because you're not a Justicar.

It's Not For You

I think the commenter was a pve guy. He reffered to himself as a "pve hero". I suspect he didn't much care for pvp. If that is the case I have one thing to say: Justicar is not for you. If you're not a fan of BG pvp I can see this as being one of the most grueling grinds in existence. I get tired of BGs at times, but most of the time I love them. I can't even imagine playing them enough for the Justicar if I hated them. That's why I say the title isn't for you. It's a symbol. It says: I love pvp. Wearing such a title if you hate pvp would be misrepresenting yourself, and that's why the title rings true. If you hate pvp chances are slim you will acquire this title, and that's the way it should be.

Got My Mind On My Money

If you're a casual BGer but not as hardcore as yours truly you can't think of the Justicar like a normal achievement. A good achievement I can relate it to is Got My Mind On My Money. As you move through the world you're completing this achievement little by little, just like with the Justicar in the battlegrounds. Don't think about it. Don't worry about it. You don't feverishly open your achievement window and check the progress on Got My Mind On My Money do you? Of course not.

You have to resign yourself to the fact that this is going to take a while. Neither achievement needs a nerf, they're just long term goals, and you should treat them as such. You'll get it when you get it. Let it happen naturally and organically. That's what I did. I didn't even look at my reps except every once in a while to marvel at all the time I'd wasted. Kind of like doing a "/played".

A Title You Can't Wait Out

Lets face it, many titles have become trivialized by the passage of time. Titles such as The Undying, The Immortal, Kingslayer, Bane of the Fallen King, Twilight Vanquisher, of the Nightfall, Starcaller, the Astral Walker have all become trivialized because we can now simply overpower them. I think people are getting used to obtaining titles this way. Just wait for your level to get higher or your gear to get better and you can steamroll your way to an awesome title.

But you can't wait out the Justicar. You can't outlevel or outgear this title. It levels up with you because you will always be fighting opponents at or around your own level. BGs will always be challenging and you'd have to be on the bleeding edge of raiding or arenas to get the gear that would allow you to trivialize BGs (and even then you can't be everywhere at once, so you will still lose games). I think this is part of the reason people are frustrated by the Justicar; unlike most older achievements you're never going to be able to steamroll over it.


I think Justicar should stay the way it is. It is an archaic achievement for sure, but it's been around this long for a reason, because it still plays its role: It awards dedicated battleground players. It's not meant to be picked up in one lazy weekend. It's a sad thing that some people are driven to participate in an aspect of the game they don't enjoy simply for a title/achievement, but I don't think the people who do enjoy pvp should have their achievements degraded simply so a few achievement hounds can add another title to the list and few more achievement points onto the pile.

1 comment:

  1. Agreed on all points - I'm constantly checking my Warsong Outriders rep (currently half way through Honoured) and I calculated it would take me 380 wins to get Exalted status. I'm good with that!