World of Warcraft a few weeks ago, my more hardcore guildies were in a rush to show me the newest sights and latest dungeons. I don't blame them; they didn't want to run regular dungeons when they could be doing the shiniest heroic content and most cutting-edge encounters. But in modern WoW, one thing stood between us and that instant gratification: item level.
Because I'd taken breaks from the game, my max-level Shaman had fallen behind in power as the seasons wore on. And that official item level stamped on her gear was more than just a marker that I wasn't elite; it literally gated the dungeons unless I sacrificed rewards (counterproductive) or got a bunch of new gear fast. It didn't take but a weekend or two to catch up, but it was still an annoyance that slowed everyone down, especially since my guildies were overpowered enough that a few more points on my gear weren't going to make or break our success. And while I understand that item level is a useful shorthand for judging your readiness for content, it's a bit disheartening to realize that gamers are being encouraged by the game to see each other only as a numerical gearscore.
What do you think -- should items and item levels gate dungeons and other content?
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