Ruby Sanctum – What’s the Intention?
May 19, 2010 8 Comments
Don’t get me wrong – free content is free content. I’ll never complain about such a thing, but that doesn’t mean I won’t critique it and wonder why Blizzard is bothering!
Ruby Sanctum is, by initial impressions, an excellent instance. Itemization is solid (and since I’m sure it will be asked: the heroic 25 versions of the trinket, neck, and boots are almost certainly all going to be BiS for DKs of all three specs), the artwork is decent (if a bit… purple), and the lore is logical (especially in light of Cataclysm).
But just because it was done well, doesn’t answer why it was done at all, and that’s the reason behind this entry.
What’s the driving intention which led to its creation?
Why create the Ruby Sanctum?
Is it for ‘progression’, a means to give guilds something to sink their teeth into while waiting for the expansion?
Of all the possibilities, I figured I would start with what I consider to be the least likely. Unless Blizzard’s expectations of how ICC progress would turn out were totally off-base relative to the current reality, Ruby Sanctum couldn’t have been designed with ‘progression’ as its primary driving force. The vast majority of guilds are still working on H LK and, thanks to the enormous difficulty of that encounter, will likely be doing so up until the 30% buff and/or patch 4.0. They don’t actually need Ruby Sanctum to give themselves something else to do, and although having more on your plate is never a bad thing, it likely doesn’t justify the large resource requirement to develop, and a single boss isn’t a huge addition anyways. For the few guilds which have actually downed H LK, it’s incredibly unlikely that the hard mode of the Ruby Sanctum will provide any real challenge past the first week or two, if even that long.
Is it for ‘lore’, a means to give players a link from the present situation to that of Cataclysm?
This, I could almost buy. The story behind Ruby Sanctum isn’t a bad way to introduce the expansion lore. But it’s an utterly unnecessary one. An introduction of sorts will already be managed through the various “Doomsday” quests which have been popping up on the PTR, and it’s highly likely there will be some huge world-wide event along the lines of the zombie plague for Wrath or the portals/Kruul for BC. Ruby Sanctum may fit in with all of this, but because there is so much else anyways it’s largely unnecessary story-wise. Besides, the whole “black dragons = bad, red dragons = good, black dragons ❤ dragon eggs” themes have already been pretty well established throughout the games history.
Is it for ‘free epics’, a means to give players some easy to acquire (and yet very potent) loot before it all gets thrown away at 81 anyways?
Blizzard did this before BC (in the form of Grand Marshal / High Warlord loot) and before Wrath (in the form of Quel’Danas emblem loot), so it’s something they have a track record for. The thing is, it isn’t necessary this time around – between the puggable nature of raids (due to the split of normal/hard modes and the stacking ICC buff) and the ever relevant and desirable badge loot (due to a new type of badge every tier), good gear is already easily acquired. Another avenue simply isn’t needed. Anyone who wants to level an alt, switch mains, or prepare their pre-existing but undergeared character for Cata already has ample options through which to gear the guy out in plenty of time.
Is it for ‘distraction value’, a means to give those not in the beta something to focus on?
With the PTRs already up, and the fact that this patch is relatively small (a single raid encounter, and likely few other changes since 4.0 won’t be long after), odds are high it will go live in a rather small time period. If I were to guess, a month to a month and a half (meaning late June to mid July). Considering Blizzard’s beta opt-in messages all over the places, odds are high that is closing in as well. If I were to guess, a week to a month (meaning late May to late June). The two events – 3.3.5 going live and beta invites going out – are probably going to occur at very similar times, if not the exact same point then less than a month apart. Although focus on the expansion is great for Blizzard, they do want people to remember that there’s still a reason to be playing the game currently, especially if you didn’t get into the beta, otherwise why should people not just cancel their subscriptions until Cataclysm? Ruby Sanctum could be their answer. I’m not sure I completely buy it, though, due to the fact that it’s a single boss. How much distraction value can it possibly have?
What’s it for?
I suppose all I can say is: beats the hell out of me.
Yes, Ruby Sanctum should be fun and all, but only for the initial couple resets. After that, it simply becomes an extra thirty minutes of raiding a week for the shot at (admittedly stellar) loot. Nothing more. I would think Blizzard would have had some goal for it to accomplish, but the main reasons I could come up with and which I listed above don’t seem to be accomplished by RS.
Perhaps it’s a bit of each of those intentions, or perhaps there’s a reason I didn’t think of.
Interesting to ponder, either which way.