Ruby Sanctum – What’s the Intention?

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.

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8 Responses to Ruby Sanctum – What’s the Intention?

  1. Baadshah of Dawnbringer says:

    Not that I want to derail from the topic, but I am definitely interested in seeing how the new loots fits into DK BiS lists. I hope to see you and the Blood/Frost threads address this. I hope you don’t mind me posting my thoughts on the loot here.

    I think a good example of what I am talking about above is the necklace. We now have 3 viable necklaces to choose from:

    *Akh’kahar : Hit + Crit
    *Lanathel’s: Exp + Arp
    *Penumbra: Crit + Arp

    The thing is, many of us Unholy DKs depend on the small amount of Exp Lanathel’s necklace gives us. Yes, we don’t aim for the cap, but we certainly shouldn’t go dangerously low either. So how do we take advantage of all these amazing new items without necessarily disturbing our Hit + Exp quos?
    And don’t forget- in BiS gear Blood and Frost also become very competitive, so it is likely an Unholy DK will have one or the other as an offspec (usually Frost).

    Probably the hottest question for me is the trinket- Where does it rank for us?

    • Consider says:

      I’m sure I’ll probably devote a post solely to the itemization. It’s just impossible to do at the moment since stats on the heroic versions aren’t yet available and not all the loot is even known.

      But, yeah, don’t mind delving a bit into it now.

      Expertise… there’s really no such thing as dangerously low. Even at the bare minimum of 5 – Rage of Rivendare and nothing else – we shouldn’t have trouble with our rotation, unless you’re below the hit cap or attacking from the front or some other nonsense. If you really want expertise, then Glorenzelg is the best place to get it (if you’re not using Shadowmourne), followed by Lanathel’s. But I can’t stress enough – expertise hardly matters! It is *that* bad for Unholy, but even were it not, your weapon (and not your neck) would be your best place to get it from.

      Assuming 33% uptime on the trinket, the normal version is between heroic DV/DC and heroic DW. Suffice is to say, the heroic version is BiS, seeing as how the normal version would be if a heroic one didn’t exist.

      • Baadshah of Dawnbringer says:

        That’s definitely intriguing (trinket part, I mean). I’ve been trying for a Death’s Verdict since the day ToC was released to no avail- it simply refuses to drop. The prospect of having another, superior trinket available is very heartening.

        As far as Expertise goes, I guess I’m in a slight quandary. I’m a strong believer of “Do as much research as you can and come to your own conclusions”.
        As such, I’ve used yours, Ensidia’s and Paragon’s guides/discussions when trying to optimize my performance. Ensidia’s stated that while Expertise is certainly not worth gemming for, they don’t recommend going below 20 as Unholy. Paragon operated under similar assumptions. I know all of you clearly know what you’re talking about, so I’m left with difficult choices to make!

        I’m currently at 15 and the fight where I notice a lot of dodges is Sindragosa, where we always attack from the side. It’s horribly frustrating and messes me up badly.
        I do think my particular case is slightly unique though- I usually run raids with very high latency due to being 11 hours away from my server. As such, dodges penalize me a lot more due to server lag- mild, but present.

        Then there’s also the fact that I try to maintain a Frost/Blood set as well, and with DKP stretched thin, the two sets often share many items.

        Thanks for the feedback though, I appreciate it. Looking forward to seeing you update your BiS list when all the RS loot is known.

        Also, just out of curiosity- Are you planning on creating a Shadowmourne?

      • Consider says:

        (For the record, Ensidia’s DKs aren’t particularly knowledgeable, and subsequently don’t seem to do all that number wise. Paragon’s are quite intelligent and talented, on the other hand. Just throwing that out there.)

        Gearing for more expertise isn’t wrong, per se. There are many reasons to, such as the ones you name – high latency and sharing items with your Blood/Frost sets. It’s simply that, if you ignore such factors and look at it purely from a numbers point of view, it isn’t worth doing. Nothing more or less. Obviously you can’t always ignore such factors, and thus looking at something from solely that perspective can be flawed, and hence why one is free to do their own thing. If you are going to maintain a certain amount of expertise, simply do it intelligently – i.e, make the smallest sacrifice for the largest gain, and get no more of it than you believe you need.

        Considering my current if temporary respite from raiding, no, there is no Shadowmourne in my near future.

  2. Ant Andy says:

    Basically, it all comes down to something to do. I mean, I don’t expect Cataclysm to be out for several more months, and I definitely don’t see ICC and Ruby Sanctum keeping everyone entertained for that long. But eh, it’s one of those things that I’ll deal with because Cataclysm is looking more and more awesome every leak that comes out about it. And the lore aspect is really cool to me. I’m glad they are advancing the story.

    That all said, it is definitely odd that the filler content til Cataclysm is Ruby Sanctum… Though I suppose 4.0 will be coming out a bit before the expansion, and that will be changing the world, and changing all our talents and stuff, so when 4.0 hits we’ll have a crapload of new stuff to do.

  3. Rhaevos says:

    Ruby Sanctum is just something to help keep people entertained till Cataclysm. Back when WotLK was released, Blizz mentioned that they don’t want to wait too long between the Lich King being released and the next expansion for new content.

    We can’t forget that many people who play WoW are pretty casual and either only do 10 man pugs and weill never see or don’t care about heroic Lich King. For them, they just want to see new stuff and Ruby Sanctum will fill that void. I imagine it helps with their subscription base as well. If WoW becomes too stagnant, people may find something else to play.

    • Consider says:

      But it’s a single boss, which is what boggles me. How long can it possibly satisfy people for?

      If it was more than one encounter, then I would agree completely.

  4. Insolence says:

    I confess back before Patch 3.3.3 where we first heard of RS I was like “lol great Sarth V2.0 with a purple skin, get in, faceroll pwnstorm and walk out.” Unfortunately I missed the PTR Testing since I’m stuck without a Desktop Computer for now but from what I heard its not that big of a failure, lot of people are really liking it. I hope it’ll be something fun to look forward to in the end, so even if its only once a week but at least we’ll have a break from all the Naxxramas Style Skulls of ICC. The Loot though looks way too powerful. I’d have made it on par with normal ICC Drops, not LK drops. The Boss’s difficulty seems to be in no way near the LK’s which makes the super-loot that drops from him rather…. Well “Free Lewtz”.

    As far as the Trinket, assuming 25 Heroic will drop iLevel 285(LK 25 Heroic iLevel Gear) then I’m calling dibs on Deathbringer’s Will Heroic + Sharpened Twilight Scale Heroic being BiS for about any spec DK.

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