Hey everyone! We wanted to get out a sort of primer ahead of the Raid Testing tomorrow to provide context for the sorts of changes you will (and won’t) see as you step into Dragonflight’s first raid, Vault of the Incarnates.
Before diving into what’s different - this post is going to be entirely about the Raid. We’ll have other information before long available on what’s going on with other endgame activities (like Mythic+) at a later date, so we won’t be making any mention of them here just to stay focused on the topic at hand.
Without further ado, here’s what’s in for tomorrow:
- While inside Vault of the Incarnates, Group Loot will be the only method of loot distribution. There is no option to select for yourself or your group to return to Personal Loot.
- Some items, like professions reagents may still use Personal Loot where appropriate.
- Need & Greed UI will return, and we’ll be monitoring feedback to make the rules around when and how players can roll on items be as intuitive as possible.
- While inside a raid, all item level restrictions placed on trading between members of that group are removed entirely. This means that even small item level increases that aren’t upgrades (as is often the case with rings and necklaces, which are budgeted high in secondary stats) won’t be locked to a player even in the case that they roll and win that item.
Item Level Tiering
- There now exists a 3rd item level tier at which items may drop, up from 2.
- 389 is the base item level for Normal difficulty and will drop from Eranog, Primal Council, Sennarth, and Terros.
- 395 is a new intermediate tier (was previously final bosses) that exists now for Wing Bosses - Dathea, Ascended and Kurog Grimtotem.
- 398 is reserved for Final Bosses - Broodkeeper Diurna and Raszageth, the Storm-Eater
- These item level increases still stay within the +13 band for each ‘tier’ of difficulty - meaning that Heroic Base would start at item level 402, just +4 after them.
For a long while we’ve observed that while players love the challenge of powerful wing bosses and ‘mid-tier walls’ like Halondrus, Sludgefist, and Painsmith Raznal - it didn’t make much sense when overcoming those involved challenges rewarded you with the same gear as you got from defeating a Shriekwing, or similar first boss. Our hope is that by introducing new tiers of raid rewards, progressing through Vault of the Incarnates (and future raids) will feel more meaningful as you master the difficult encounters within.
Additionally, we’re experimenting with a number of bosses that possess one item that intentionally drops at a higher item level - usually +6 or +7 from that boss’s normal table.
To be clear: this isn’t titanforging. It will be the same item every time, and will be very slightly rarer to compensate (and pending some new tech, we’ll have the ability to note this in the dungeon journal itself). These can be unique appearances, items with special bonus effects, or a powerful trinket that many people may seek after.
We have a few things we’re hoping to accomplish with this:
- Retain some excitement from early bosses that groups typically master very quickly and no longer become challenging by spicing up their loot tables
- Give more long-term goals for difficult encounters
- Make a larger push towards having Item Level accurately reflect the power of a particular item.
While we added many strong effects to weapons in Shadowlands, it wasn’t easily communicated how good an effect actually was - for instance Edge of Night (the sylvanas daggers) were clearly much stronger than their item level indicated, but they still appeared the same as the rest of her loot table. Our hope is that by being a bit more flexible with item level, we can give ourselves better tools for tuning these effects appropriately and in a way that makes sense to all players intuitively.
For the moment it’s intended that not all 8 bosses posses one, but that’s something that could change in the future. Current examples of unique drops are:
- A pair of special rings from Eranog and Diurna
- An ‘Omni Trinket’ (Str/Agi/Int) from the Primal Council that gets stronger with more copies
- A special bow from the Storm Incarnate herself, Raszageth
That ends the list of things that are exist and are implemented (though tuning for trinkets and special effects are still very work-in-progress). That said, we’d also like to share some plans that aren’t implemented. We’re interested in trying this out for a future beta build and getting your feedback on how it feels.
- Regular non-boss enemies within raids will no longer have a chance to drop Bind on Equip Epic items. Instead, ‘Lieutenant’ enemies - named mini-bosses throughout the raid - will have chances to drop them instead. These would work like LT’s do in current WoW, where you’re only eligible to receive loot from them once per week, per difficulty.
- BoEs would become scaled with group size like regular bosses do. This would guarantee a set number of BoEs each raid per group, assuming a full clear of the instance.
- Lastly, we’d be placing more important items into the BoE pool. This could be anything from weapons to higher item-level pieces to make them more worthwhile to raiders.
The goal of these changes are to reimagining BoEs by making the raid environment itself a sort of ‘9th boss’, with a guaranteed amount of extra loot to reward progressing deeper into the raid or efficient full clears without the need to kill every single bat or Mawsworn off in a corner of the battlefield to get your value. Additionally, this as an opportunity to create clear and understandable rules about how BoEs work, and support them as a reliable source of gear players want, rather than feel like an afterthought.
That’s all for now - please feel free to ask questions and provide feedback both on this post, and as some of you dive into Raid Testing over the next week or so and we’ll respond and clarify as much as we can. Thanks for reading, and enjoy the raid!
The latter. Previously, the best way to target a specific piece of loot was to stack as many similar armor or weapon types as possible to increase the chances of that dropping. Now, even if you’re the only Rogue or Demon Hunter in your group, you have the same chance as anyone else of seeing an upgrade.
While this does mean it’s possible for a bow to drop in a group without a hunter, the belief is that this rewards groups for playing with a diverse set of classes - as well as the normalizing factor above (mail wearers from the last few years know how hard it is to get loot comparatively).
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