I just like saying that word… mudflation. From Wikipedia: Mudflation, a portmanteau of MUD and inflation, is an economic issue that exists only in massively multiplayer online games. Mudflation occurs when a more recently acquired or introduced item makes an existing item lose significant value. This is most common when a game releases a new expansion, which tend to introduce better items.
Hated by raiders and loved by the rest. The practice of introducing items that completely make the previous gear in the game look like a cracked staff is an interesting topic. Should an expansion make the months of hard work raiding nearly worthless? In Kunark SOE introduced many (maaany) new quests for the level 70s. These quests, even the starting ones, offer gear that is equal to or much better than the gear they (the raiders) just spent a year trying to obtain. A treasured solo quested item being better than a raid item that took 24 people months to obtain… that might sting a little. The reactions are a mixed bag as some are simply excited to see a new item on their character and others are having fits of rage over their now run of the mill bottom of the barrel equipment.
I see this as a good thing. Why? Because it places less emphasis on the gear and more on the experience of raiding (at least until everyone reaches max level again). Imagine if no gear dropped in a raid and you were simply going for the enjoyment of slaying the dragon. Would you still do it? Now that players know, or should know, that after an expansion their previous gear means little perhaps they will focus more on the enjoyment of the experience and less on the stress of gear. An enormous responsibility falls upon the developers to make the content really something to behold or else players will feel as I did when LOTRO introduced the concept of raid gear being equal to crafting gear but leaving their raids to be horribly dull experiences – wtf is the point?
Top end gear should be something to behold though. If you’re going to put in the time to complete objectives or raid an instance (and it really should require effort… not the assembly line approach WoW took) then the reward should be fitting. When an expansion comes out realize that your gear may be lackluster now but it represents accomplishment and something you’re hopefully proud to own. I like how in EQ2 they give the option to hang some armor on the walls of your home or display them in trunks or other methods. This allows for players to still showcase their stuff.
A major downside though to all of this is that even though a level 60-70 raid was fun it may no longer be run by anyone. EQ2 has done such a fine job of creating leveling content that there really is little purpose to stop what you’re doing and try to obtain a full set of raid gear. You might as well just continue enjoying the content and move on to the top level stuff. However, I personally encourage and hop when I am in the 60-70 range people will run these raids for fun and if you get an item then great but if not you at least got the see and challenge yourself to the experience. To me what was once the premier content now becomes additional content – not old content.
As a returning player to EQ2 and almost to level 30 with my Sarnak SK I can’t help but get a little pleasure from knowing that I suddenly became a little less behind everyone else. God bless mudflation, imo.