I've run in Icereach for a few years now, and while I like the guildies I have and want to stay, the meta-game is a horrific mess. It favours veteran players with more time and resources than sense. I seldom join my guild nights without wondering why *anyone* enjoys playing U50s (and for me, it is 100% about the people in my U50s guilds, otherwise I wouldn't touch the campaign ever again in its present toxic state).
Edited by kiwi_tea on January 13, 2023 3:24PM
Players who regularly run in Icereach are encouraged, both by guilds, and by the regular solo players, to gold out their gear (particularly weapons). This is because of the powerful way gold gear scales in U50.
Newer players, stepping fresh into Icereach, find themselves faced with months of grind to keep up with vet players who are golding out gear sets to swap to every few levels. Compounding this is the fact that monster helm sets like Zoal's are, through extreme inaccessible grind in IC, available to players in U50.
The rare pleasure of U50s is helping brand new players learn the basics as they level up their first toon. The design of this campaign, at present, is organically hostile to newer players because it *severely* rewards veteran players. While there are proc sets that over-perform in U50s, like Plaguebreak, these really aren't a major issue compared with campaign's heavy skew towards seasoned players.
The two biggest things ZOS could do to liven up this campaign, and increase accessiblity, are:
[*]Restrict Icereach gear to no higher than blue (or possibly purple, but capping at blue would be more accessible for complete newbies, and match the gear drops from normal level dungeon farming).
[*]Ban all monster helms in Icereach. Currently some are inaccessible (the least grind-y ones), and it is completely arbitrary. The former restriction to blue would inherently ban all helms
This would allow newer players to compete in an environment where the main barrier to entry is really collecting sets, not months of grinding gold materials or money. It would still feature a proc-set meta that resembles a "lighter" version of the vet experience. It would bring the focal point of the campaign back to learning and perfecting basic mechanics. I have dyscalculia, so I unfortunately I am not in a position to do the maths on how capping at purple or blue might affect players positively or negatively.
Many of the players who currently dominate U50 would continue to do so, because they play well. However, they (and a minority of extremely toxic "twinkers") wouldn't have an insurmountable edge over anyone who hasn't played for a minimum of 10-12 months. It would make this campaign the kind of entry-point to PVP that the game currently lacks due to the punishing design aspects of U50 PVP.