I want epics to be epic again

Last night I came across a post in my own archives in which I casually mentioned how epics had become the new shiny fish scales, and that made me think. While we're making Cataclysm wish lists, I'd like to wish for epics to be epic again - even if it's unlikely that my pleas on that subject will be heard.

Now, before anyone gets the wrong idea, this isn't about restricting all the good gear to hardcore raiders again or whatever. It's got nothing to do with the stats on the gear, it's purely a matter of nomenclature or coloration, as it were.

We're so used to referring to items by the colour of their names - greens, blues, purples - that it's easy to forget that those colours are actually supposed to be an indicator of rarity. Greens are uncommon, blues are rare and purples are epic. According to dictionary.com, epic means "heroic, majestic, impressively great, of unusually great size or extent" (when it's not referring to poetry). The keyword here is "unusual", and while it's debatable how much of a step up that is from uncommon and rare, I'm pretty sure that the one thing that something called epic is not supposed to be is common. Unfortunately however that's exactly what epic quality items have become, in this expansion more so than ever before. The bosses in normal instances have them as guaranteed drops; Dalaran is chock-full of vendors that sell nothing but epics, for the low price of running a couple of heroics for emblems; hell, even the emblems themselves are apparently epic. Go around Dalaran and inspect a bunch of random people. How many greens do they wear, how many blues and how many purples? I bet you that epic quality loot will actually be the most common type of gear among level eighties, and that's just silly. I don't care how cool it looks or how much stamina it's got on it, if everyone and their Mum's wearing it it's simply not epic.

What I'd like to see in Cataclysm then would be a monetary reform for gear so to speak, to give the label "epic" some value again.

- Emblems and tokens should never be epic, as they are guaranteed drops by their very definition. They should be rare at best, maybe even uncommon.

- Five-man instances shouldn't have epics as guaranteed boss drops, neither on normal nor on heroic difficulty. Having a few epics as really rare drops along the lines of the battered hilt would be okay though.

- Stuff that's available from vendors shouldn't be epic either, unless the requirements for getting it are severely limiting, like a high arena or battleground rating for PvP gear, or some heroic mode token for the highest level of tier gear. Everything else should be blue at best, including tier items if they are simply available for a bunch of emblems. If we want some items, like the tier sets, to stand out a bit more they could be coloured pale orange like the heirloom items or a different colour.

- Raids would drop a mix of blues and purples, depending on the boss's difficulty and place in the instance. The first boss would always only drop blue quality items, the last one only epics and everything else would be somewhere in-between.

Just to reiterate, this wouldn't actually change anything about the quality of the gear. A new tier of blues would generally be better than the previous tier of epics, as they were. Everything would just be marked more appropriately, so that something that can be bought from a vendor in endless amounts doesn't appear to be as "impressively great" as a drop from a tough raid boss anymore. After all, the colour system is supposed to be an indicator of rarity instead of pure quality: Raptor Hunter Tunic may be green but it's still better than Blackened Defias Armor. I'd really like to have that back at endgame level as well, instead of the muddied down version we have right now where everything above ilevel 200 is simply epic regardless of where it came from and how common it actually is.


  1. I pretty much agree with you, but comparing these two items is a mistake. The Raptor Hunter Tunic has an ilevel of 43. Unless you have some high level character by your side, you'll get that item at level 40-45. The Blackened Defias Armor drops from Deadmines last boss. You'll get it at level 20-25... if you're lucky. Because it's not an assured drop like the quest item. You kill Tethis, you got the item (assuming you're on the quest). You kill VanCleef and you may end (if you win the roll) with a Corsair Overshirt. Now compare the Defias Armor with simmilar ilevel items. It's much better, not because it's more rare, but because you have to run an entire dungeon to get it. Colour is an indicator of quality too, that shouldn't be forgotten.
    The problem is the access to epic items: too easy (as long as you keep running instances=boring grinding) and no RNG involved. Why run UP hc again and again for Red Sword of Courage when you can get a simmilar item (the tournament axe) in just a few days without throwing yourself into Lady Luck's arms? Boring doing tournament quests day after day? yes, but you know you have your reward assured.

  2. You are so right - epics do not feel epic at all when you get them thrown at you wherever you go!

    Maybe when a new gear tier is introduced all previous purple end-game gear should be turned into blues so that shiny feel will be reserved for those really rare items.

  3. @Kurnak: I know where these items come from, that they have different ilevels etc. That's my whole point, the tunic is something that comes from more progressed content and has a higher ilevel - but it's more common and easy to acquire (once you've progressed to that point) and thus green, as it should be.

  4. This would be a new thing, blues of higher ilevel than the first tier of epics. That might help reduce the stigma of blues.

  5. The issue is:

    Green + 26 ilevels = blue +13 ilevels = epic

    Those blues that drop would be a tier behind the epic items by current formulae, and the greens two. You would need to either make the gear balanced without colour (in which case why not make it all epic) or you are going to have tiers spread across 60 52 ilevels again :(.

  6. @2nd Nin: But that's already not true now, after all there are both ilevel 200 blues and epics...

  7. What he means (or I think so) is that blues are weaker than epics of the same ilevel. We can see that by comparing a 200 level blue and a 200 level epic. This means that converted blues would be weaker than they are now or their ilevel would have to be inflated, which would likely push epics up as well, and gear inflation is not worth the cost. Alternatively, the formulas could be changed to no longer dictate equal level blues being weaker than epics.

  8. Yup, a blue is roughly 1 tier behind an epic, and a green 2 tiers (13 ilevels per tier). So an ilevel 200 blue is weaker than a 200 epic or roughly on par with a 187 epic.

    The choice would be to have a tier effectively cover:

    Blue Normal
    Epic Normal
    Blue Heroic (as epic normal)
    Epic Heroic
    = 39 ilevel spread

    or to adjust blues to be the same power level but bluer than epics... in which case why bother. In fact why bother anyway and not give all raids epics, heroics blues and normals greens.

  9. IMHO epic should have nothing to do with Ilevel but should be based on it's difficulty AND rarity to acquire.

    Green items should stay as they are now.

    Blue items should consist of things you could grind for excluding boss & world drops with a 5% drop rate or lower. If you can get it from a vendor it's hard to consider it epic.

    Epics - Should be epic, 5% drop rates, difficult and unlikley go acquire, truley rare and epic. Tier pieces COULD be epic, though IMHO only PARTS of the tier should be epic and they should come from items with low drop rates.

    Think of how lower level items that are epic work feel and work out. i remember when I was lucky enough to get a flury axe when it was level appropriate and feeling like quite the bad ass because of it. Now when I get an epic item it just feels like a quest reward.