We don’t want level-85 players to have a reasonable shot at level-90 dungeons and raids (or PvP opponents) just because that content is balanced for gear that isn’t much better than what the level-85 players have.
What a truly baffling sentence. Ghostcrawler is reflecting on the exponential attribute power progression in WoW, and I think this sentence says, "We don't want level 85s doing what is designed for level 90 characters." He never goes into the reason this is a design mantra for WoW, but I can't help but think of the movie Idiocracy:
Unquestioning and steadfast in their decisions, the WoW designers make seemingly contradictory choices. Why doesn't GC want level 85's to do higher level content? I could only assume it's so players do the leveling "content" first. Yet they constantly assault the leveling game, "The amount of experience needed to gain levels 71 through 80 has been reduced by approximately 33%." That's a patch note from the recent PTR, and those keeping score will know that they've already reduced that experience curve before.
It's almost as if Ghostcrawler trusts no design of WoW-past, not even his own. Only the current design and content is relevant to Mr. Street.
The article goes on, discussing various methods which could bandage WoW's broken attribute system, and then he unloads this gem: "If your answer is that stat budgets don’t have to grow so much in order for players to still want the gear, our experience says otherwise." Silly plebes with your naive remedies; I have data to dismiss your predictable suggestions!
Ignoring the arrogance, what metrics could they possibly have to discredit this simple solution? They can't use data from PTR, because that has bitten them in the ass before (There are huge discrepancies in motivation between PTR and live realms. Honor item costs had to be adjusted after players were getting them in a few hours on live realms.). They can't compare vanilla raiding to BC raiding because there are way too many variables. The only timeframe that I think they could refer to would be the beginning of the Burning Crusade, when after much bitching by players, they increased the attributes on T5 gear to make them more "worthwhile" than T4. (Aside: People don't know what they want, often desiring the opposite of what they say.)
But even this event isn't in a vacuum. Let's assume that after T5 attributes were increased, Blizzard saw a huge swell of players entering T5 raids. Ghostcrawler would like to say this was caused by an increase in reward value. What if players simply finished the T4 content and moved on the T5? What if players had every intention of doing T5 for the marginal rewards, obliged to work their way there slowly by using T4 as a stepping stone? With the margins highly increased, raid leaders rightly assumed T4 was useless and skipped it. Blizzard is in the business of making content obsolete as quickly as possible.