Before I start, I just want to make the disclaimer that the iLvl boosted gear in Warlords isn’t Ironforged. Nothing’s been datamined as to what it’ll be called, so don’t call me out on calling it differently. I just thought Ironforged would fit better than Savageforged.
I was catching up with my podcast listening this week, and on Episode 49 interviewing Preach, they started talking about Warforged gear and the need of it in Warlords. Preach and Bay talked about how warforged gear (and tertiary stats in general) should not be on mythic gear, but is ok on normal and heroic. The idea behind warforged gear is to give those raiders that little bit of edge to beat an encounter they’re stuck on, and to give raiders an incentive to continue raiding the same place even when they’ve completed their BiS lists.
Blizzard are trying to remove this notion that people will get full BiS lists by including a chance for bonus perks to appear on gear, such as:
- Bonus iLvl (such as Thunderforged, Warforged),
- An extra gem socket,
- Avoidance (reduced AoE damage taken),
- Indestructible (immune to durability loss),
- Leech (gains healing from damage or healing dealt),
- Speed (increases movement speed, additively).
Gear will have a chance to have up to three of these properties, though the last four in the list are mutually exclusive, so you’ll never have a piece of gear drop with both Leech and Speed on it, for example.
This leads to it being very difficult to get that BiS list, and that top-end raiders will have the thought process that anything less than the best is trash. Preach was saying that he farmed BT for months before he got a pair of boots, and mentioned that if the system for warforged was implemented back then, he would have quit the game if they weren’t warforged or whatever. And I get that it’s a little disconcerting at times when you farm for an item so long that it seems a bit meh to not get the upgrade after however many weeks of farming – though in my case I was just happy that the Immerseus trinket finally dropped on my Druid.
On the other hand however, I knew what my BiS list was at the start of Siege, and I can remember thinking when other leather intellect items that dropped I just thought they were garbage and just disregarded if they were an upgrade or not… I nearly lost a mediocre upgrade just because it wasn’t the “final product” I was looking for, even though I had no competition for the gear – we didn’t even have any real points system in place, so it wasn’t like I was losing the potential opportunity later on in the instance for trinkets or whatever where I would have had competition. As it would have it, I still have that inferior piece of gear, so if I was stubborn I’d still be rocking around in Throne of Thunder gear, and it’d be even worse if that were the case in Warlords if I knew all I wanted was gear with bonus iLvl, a gem socket AND speed, let alone a specific pair of bracers which have mastery and crit on them, instead of another pair that only has haste and multistrike, or whatever.
It’s a good argument to say that you’ve killed the boss on its hardest difficulty, so let the best gear drop all the time – WITHOUT having those bonus perks being allowed on that mythic gear. I know that there were fights like Lich King heroic where, once downed, many people never wanted to attempt him ever again. Imagine that week 1 you downed him, and your weapon dropped on just plain heroic. Now on week 2, the weapon drops again, this time it’s Lichforged! Oh well, you got the weapon last week, so that other guy gets dibs on it. However, the longevity of the tier diminishes when you know that you’ll be getting the best gear when it drops. How would you put an incentive on top end raiders to continue raiding once they’ve defeated the big bad, other than simply getting full BiS (also being the main point that Blizzard wants to get away from in Warlords).
One thing I do agree with in their discussion is the world first race. It would be a bit unfair if Method managed to get all Ironforged weapons and trinkets next tier, while Blood Legion languish behind with just indestructible pieces. I don’t know how difficult it would be to program, but I would probably restrict bonus gear from dropping until the end boss of that difficulty has been killed. That way the world first race is still affected by what gear itself drops, but not whether or not 6 casters get Warforged Purified Bindings of Immerseus in the first couple of resets, whereas the competition has not even had a single drop. If that’s not possible, then just restrict those kind of drops in the first two or three weeks of a wing opening – at least on Mythic where the competitive raiding is.
I do personally like the method of not having a BiS list so you always have something to strive for, and to keep the raids relevant, so I would be sad if Watcher listened to what Bay, Ana and Preach had to say and took out the gear perks from mythic raiding. Admittedly we are seeing much less gear check bosses and much more mechanically challenging bosses these days, where it’s down to players’ skills to execute tactics correctly instead of killing a boss before it gets really angry, so theoretically we shouldn’t need those different perks in the first place to kill the bosses, but what I think players such as those in the podcast fail to see is that people who are progressing at the moment aren’t going to be the people who are consistently performing at the same level of play as them, putting out as much throughput as possible while executing mechanics. Sometimes that little % extra is all it takes across the board of 20 people to get over that small lump in the encounter they’re struggling with.
I’ve never gotten a full BiS. I’ve aspired to it and gotten closest to it in Dragon Soul, but even still, I always will enjoy getting upgrades and watch my little orange bar creep its way up the meters. I’m not entirely convinced that tertiary stats and random gear perks are the best way to go, but I don’t really know the way to extend a raid’s lifespan with today’s raiding community being as good as it is. The main barriers to progression in the past were buggy bosses or resistance checks – both of which we don’t really see in today’s raiding. Mechanically the fights are far more complex than they’ve ever been, but once those mechanics are overcome it’s just a dance after that. Could we have more random encounters, like Halfus? Paragons were at first shaping up to be like that, but appeared to be pulled late into the development cycle for them. Perhaps making the raids a little more alt-friendly, so that people can encounter them and progress in a new light? It worked well in Dragon Soul, and I’d probably say the biggest setback for that idea in Mists was how powerful the legendary cloak was, and how much people hated to do the chain once already gone through once.