Updated Mon, Jan 28, 2013 by Messiah
Some very interesting news came out last week concerning one of my favourite parts of World of Warcraft. I am talking about the gear that we all collect in raids, which is some of the best in game, and how patch 5.2 will be changing the raid loot structure and distribution.
For those that have not read the forum post from Crithto, you can find it right here:
Now that you have had a chance to review it, let's look at the major components of the change and what they may mean for all of us raiders. The two main things to consider in Crithto's post that will affect raiders are:
With this new system of raid loot there will be 5 different potential pieces of gear in your upgrade patch for a character. Which does provide some additional upgrade opportunities. This is an interesting change for several reasons, some good and some bad, in my opinion.
First up the bad things that I can see. With 5 different levels available it will separate the haves from the have not's even further. While not a huge deal in a guild or for hard core raiders, it could very well make it harder for raiders looking for a PUG to play with to find one, since the item requirement that will be looked for will likely be inflated, based on the higher quality gear that is available. Also players could start viewing the normal gear as lesser gear and only looking to get the thunderforged gear as an upgrade. This could come into play when applying to raid guilds for players.
There are several good things about having additional steps of gear available that counteract the bad. Having additional levels of gear and additional upgrades as an individual is always a cool thing. It provides additional upgrades to get excited about as a player, which is the best thing about loot. Another positive thing about these additional gear levels is that they effectively counteract the removal of the item upgrader from the game for this patch.
One of the best things that I like about having the 5 different levels of gear is that it should make it a little easier for players to make the transition from normal to heroic mode fights. While the randomness of actually getting the higher level gear will likely prevent it from helping the hardcore guilds that push heroic modes right away, it should help out all the guilds that get to heroic mode later on in the patch cycle. This is a great thing for all those guilds that just need that little bit extra help.
The new higher level of loot is going to be a very rare drop rate in 10 player raids, and a slightly less rare drop rate in 25 player raids. The exact drop rate has not been decided yet by the look of it, but if you really want to get the new Thunderforged gear, then your best chance is going to be in 25 player raids.
While some 10 player raiders may complain about this, they need to remember that they can get all the same loot, just at a lower rate. Historically players in 25 person raids got better loot than those in 10 player raids, all that disappeared a while ago. When that happened if became easier for players to just run a 10 man raid instead of organizing a 25 man raid. Due to the far simpler logistics involved with 10 man raids, 25 player raids have been on a steady decline.
With this change it could help bring back a desire to organize 25 man raids in many guilds. To me that makes this an interesting change, and one that frankly was kind of needed. My only concern is that Blizzard gets the drop rate correct with this feature so that the higher level Thunderforged items do in fact drop noticeably more frequently in 25 man raids so that people do take note of it, and do attempt to run more 25 man raids.
Overall I like the changes coming to raid loot in patch 5.2, due to the reasons discussed above. While there are some downsides to additional levels of loot, I believe they more than offset by the positives. Team that up with a feature that helps push players to organize and participate in more 25 man raids, and it is pure win.
I do however have an observation, a question, and a slight concern, regarding these new levels of items. They didn't really fit above, so here they are in my last word section.
First of the observation, this really does allow a far bigger item level break between the LFR players and the Heroic players. Currently LFR raids provide up to ilevel 483 gear while heroic raids provide up to ilevel 509 gear. This equates to a difference of 26 ilevels or roughly a 6% difference. Under the proposed new system the LFR raids drop ilevel 502 gear while heroic raids can drop ilevel 541 Thunderforged gear. This works out to a difference of 39 ilevels or roughly a 7% difference. While it is only a 1% difference, that difference will be noticeable.
Secondly, the question. If the Thunderforged gear is only slightly better than the regular gear, in this case 6 ilevels, it seems pretty similar to the benefit that item upgrading provided. Item upgrades boosted your items by 8 levels which seems pretty much the same thing. This makes me ask the question, is this change just for changes sake? The difference between 6 and 8 item levels is almost nothing, why not just allow item upgrades instead of a new semi-random upgrade feature.
Now comes the slight concern, what happens with these items when item upgrades are once again allowed? If upgrades will be allowed later to this gear, what happens then? To get the most advantage going into the next raid patch, will hard core players be expected to have the Thunderforged gear and then have it upgraded. Will Blizzard now have to inflate raid gear in the next patch to compensate for this? After all, currently the heroic gear is just higher than the new LFG raid gear, if this continues to the next set it will mean that all items will now need to increment an extra 6 levels. Will that inflation cause an issue longer term? Like I started with, it's a small concern now, but could it become a bigger issue long term?
I have had my say on the new patch 5.2 raid loot changes, now it's your turn. Have you say in the comment section below.