SYTYCB: An Open Letter to the Badge of Justice


This is a SYTYCB entry from Sydera, one of the top 7 finalists.

Dear Badge of Justice,

I hate you. You ruined my virtual life. You made me dread logging in to my favorite video game, and you even made me resent my in-game friends. You made me wish 5-mans had never been invented. Because of you, I heard Aran’s voice over and over again in my dreams, saying “Torment me no more!” Now I understand exactly what he’s talking about.

At first, you didn’t seem like such a menace. There weren’t many of you. Before Patch 2.4, I didn’t find you on every piece of road kill I came across. When I did manage to collect a few of you, there was usually something I could buy. But one fateful day, we heard that a foxy new Draenei, Smith Hauthaa, was coming to town with a bag full of goodies. On that day, the World of Warcraft changed forever.

mobadgesI used to think I was in a normal guild. We ran SSC and TK three nights a week, and we looked pretty damn good in our Tier 5 gear. However, when the official news about patch 2.4 arrived, everyone’s priorities suddenly shifted. On off nights, everyone used to level alts, PVP, do pre-mades, or even make the occasional run on Halaa. We used to have fun.

Patch 2.4 produced gear spreadsheets and a magical number called “total badges needed,” which for me was 485. Suddenly, O Badge of Justice, we needed you! Everyone began to bemoan how far behind they were in collecting you. The guild turned into a virtual Beverly Hills where everyone watched everyone else to see who was ahead and who was behind. Our three-day raid week turned into seven, and suddenly the officers had to schedule heroics every day, all for love of the mighty Badge of Justice. After raids ended, at 1:00 a.m. EST, we started running the daily heroic, forgoing blissful slumber to tangle with Underbats and Tempest-Forge Patrollers in the darkest watches of the night.

hauthaaFinally, that witch Hauthaa agreed to take you, precious Badge of Justice, in exchange for purple pixels the likes of which had scarcely been seen outside the walls of the Black Temple. Set bonuses were broken and the beauty of Blizzard’s tier designs were scarred by mismatched thread, metal, and baubles. Badge of Justice, you made me ugly, worthy of the fashion disaster page in US Weekly. Just take a look at the skirt you made me wear – it’s made of skunk hide, latex, and paper clips. At least I can mask its hideousness with my tree form.

But your foul deeds did not stop there. After our guild’s greed was finally satiated by hundreds of those twisted blue tiles, we turned to hills of Mount Hyjal and the dark corridors of the Black Temple for our next challenge. We killed bosses, and we wanted new rewards – but guess what? Because of you, Badge of Justice, we disenchanted the items won from guild first kills. The great pieces of T6 loot, once the stuff of legend, were left to rot. My heart wept for the Kilt of Immortal Nature, for the Guise of the Tidal Lurker. Their beauty went to waste while you triumphed.
Meanwhile, I continue to find you on nearly every raid boss in the game, mocking me. Endless copies of you fill my bags without purpose. I can no longer sell the gems you would procure. I need no Moonkin gear, and you won’t let me transfer you to my warlock alt, who might appreciate your charity.

gerasAnd now, what do I hear? In Wrath of the Lich King there will be not just one descendant in your cruel lineage, but three, one for each new tier of raiding. Can it be true that we will have to collect your kin at each level of our future play? We raiders do not need you. We could get the regular gear out of 25-man instances. Yet, some will always look to you to gain an advantage, and as long as I feel any loyalty for my guildmates, I will be in your thrall, for what group can succeed without a healer? I will run Naxxramas until my branches fall off, even as my guild kills Arthas.

Badge of Justice, I curse you and all your relatives. You wasted all my free time and took the “casual” out of my casual raiding guild. Now, just when I have almost recovered from your foul influence, I hear that you will again blight the landscape of the much-anticipated Northrend. I, for one, will not be glad to see you.

Love and kisses (not),

22 thoughts on “SYTYCB: An Open Letter to the Badge of Justice”

  1. Great post! I love the not so subtle sarcasm!

    I miss the days of tier progression as well, DogOfWar, and I definitely did way too many heroics when 2.4 came out.

  2. Awesome post, really enjoyed reading it!

    That being said, I disagree, only due to personal experience. I was one of the guild leaders of a small guild that was only in T4 and we were getting everyone geared up, so I was able to use the badges for all the new shiny badge loot. Now I am in the top ally guild on my server and because of the shiny badge loot I’ve been able to go to some T6 raids to kill bosses I never thought I would have the chance to see. So I for one am grateful for the badge loot. I do have friends though that keep using their badges for gems to sell to make gold for when the expansion comes out.

  3. I’m thinking this is QFT material. The first batch of badge gear was nice as a supplement to gear you weren’t lucky enough to have drop in Kara so you could start getting into 25-man content, but having so much badge gear of T6 quality was ridiculous.

    You didn’t have to hope a raid boss would drop something nice for you anymore, you had to hope you downed enough bosses to get a guaranteed purchase elsewhere. And, you didn’t have to progress through all the tiers of raid progression to get T6-quality items anymore. You just had to raid the crap out of Badgezhan and heroics. There was no feeling of accomplishment behind it anymore, at least in terms of “I need to kill this boss to get this drop, so that it’ll improve my stats enough to progress onto the next” etc. It was “I need to farm Kara till I’m blue in the face, skip a bunch of content that I’d be over-geared to do as a result, and hop right into the top-end stuff because I’ve got the stats to do it”, and with the lifting of Hyjal/BT attunements, this was made even easier.

    Which is not to say that I begrudge people that have done this. What I think is more akin to “they’ve defeated the purpose of progression through raiding increasingly difficult content to enable you to move onto the next step” by providing badge loot as a shortcut. It shouldn’t be a shortcut, it should be a supplement like it originally was.

    When badge loot was first introduced, I was midway through T4 content or perhaps just starting T5 content. I looked at the items available and said “Well, that would be nice if I can’t get X before I move on, but it’s nothing earth-shattering”. This is how it should have stayed. It should not have been allowed to morph into “I HAVE to have this, this, and this, because it’s better than anything else I can get… ever”

  4. Sydera… tsk tsk tsk.

    You made the tactical error of showing us all how high the bar is. 😉

    Seriously, amazing post.

    As far as the content of the post, I agree as far as you go, but I am also somewhat happy that it allows me to care about loot less. I’ve always seen loot as a means to the end of seeing more and more interesting content, and I’m glad that I’m now limited by how much dedication I want to show to it, as opposed to being limited by the RNG gods.

    I understand, however, the frustration of seeing wonderful T6 drops, and kind of yawning at them because they’re sidegrades from badge loot.

    Anyway, while there are multiple sides to it, I thought you managed to capture the frustrating side of it so well. The images were also hilarious.

    (And, as an aside, is the market for epic gems THAT bad on your server? You’d get 3k gold at least for that many gems on my server, more if you’re a JC)

  5. Thanks for the support guys! I’m glad you liked the style 🙂

    The real story on the badges, of course, is that they had good effects as well as bad. My guild, like Jen’s, made some fast progress with their help. However, our obsession with them was definitely unhealthy, and I really regret all those late night heroics during my sleeping hours! The badges are the item I love to hate, or hate to love, and I really wouldn’t want to repeat the mad dash to collect them out of content that’s otherwise on farm. When I’m done with an instance, I like to leave it behind and focus on the new. That’s much more fun than endless Karazhan.

    @Lassirah–I love the name Badgezhan. That’s too cute! And very accurate!

  6. This post is full of win. I love it and completely agree!! I have a hunter and a priest in the same level of gear … one is drops one is badge.

    I will tell you this, I care about the priest a lot more because it was harder to get and means a hell of a lot more.

    Knurds last blog post..Debate.

  7. I take the other view, Badges of Justice opened up the game to a much larger number of people, especially those not privelaged enough to have started in a position to raid at the level to gear up well.

    The badge gear allowed the core of a raid to overcome challenges that otherwise the raid would have wiped on. It allowed for a proper gearing path for people, other than Tier gear there is not a lot of Paladin gear pre BT / MH for tanking, the tier sets are not MT quality but a basic set and a block set. Without the Badge gear we are sub-parly optimised.

    However what should have been done is to make the release of the gear more tiered, so that it happened in a similar way to pvp gear, release seasons, have people able to advance in terms of gear such that there is a continual flow through the game towards the end bosses. The rate fo this release could be based on the stage of your server, if no one has cleared BT there is no T6 flow, till Kael dies no t5 flow and till prince goes down no t4.

    Make it a world event, that opens up the world to everyone. Let people earn stuff, give a mount or whatever for stupid numbers of badges (20,000 badges of justice = Spectral Kil’jaden mount :P). The PvE progression you talk about is flawed because it stalls people for silly reasons, pvp opens up far more, and thats what we should aim for, is people able to be on the path, if you aren’t on the path why would you play the game.

    2ndNins last blog post..On Raiders and raiding

  8. Great post.

    I do think that Blizzard did learn a little from this iteration of Badges and may fix some of the issues in Wrath so I’d ask to reserve judgment on that until we know a little bit more.

  9. The story of the BoJ is sad, but true. Thanks Syd, for your portrayal of it. Here’s hoping history doesn’t repeat itself.


Leave a Comment