Why I think the BRF item level upgrade is good (and wish they'd done it from the start of BRF)


There was a blue post yesterday on the forums from Bashiok saying that BRF items are going to go up by 5 ilvls.
The main purpose of this change is to ensure that killing new bosses in the Blackrock Foundry raid feels appropriately rewarding. We are finding that groups coming out of a couple of months in Highmaul could often have an average item level that was just barely shy of the loot dropped by the appropriate difficulty in Foundry. A core part of the experience of progressing through a new raid tier lies in the sense that even if you didn't manage to kill a particular boss this week, the upgrades your raid group gathered along the way will make things smoother and improve your chances the following week. 
This change will be retroactive, affecting existing items that players may have in their possession. Thus, instead of an item level range of 650/665/680/695 for Raid Finder/Normal/Heroic/Mythic Foundry, the loot awarded will now be item level 655/670/685/700 respectively. At the same time, we will be increasing the item level of the new highest-tier crafted and Apexis vendor items by 5, in order to keep their power unchanged relative to the Foundry raid itemization.
- Bashiok, 14 March 2015 
Watcher clarified Bashiok's post with a number of points

..."tier" in the post - it's being used as a synonym for "zone" 
I thought that may have been just a word substitution.  Because if it really was a separate tier I should have reset EPGP.  But we didn't.

Many players coming out of 2 months in Highmaul were in a situation of having to work to learn and defeat new bosses that dropped loot of roughly the same quality as what they already were wearing. 
We thought that too.  In fact even now I am still wearing my Highmaul stuff.  We did think it was a bit funny that it wasn't much of an upgrade and most of our BRF stuff was being passed over because it wasn't much of an upgrade, and not even a sidegrade.  Tier was all we were going for.

That isn't satisfying and doesn't allow for much power progression.
Sars once said that getting loot was one of the best parts of a boss kill. And it is certainly true - when you kill a boss and nobody takes loot you have that feeling of "Well, why did we bother killing THAT boss."  We say that for Oregorger because nobody seems to take loot from it and it seems to be just a pain in the ass.

Then Watcher gave this example:
...Consider a guild that primarily does Normal mode content and eventually progresses into Heroic. This guild may have been 6/7N Highmaul by early January; they ventured into Heroic and killed 2-3 bosses there, and then went back and finished off Mar'gok on Normal. Along the way, they also got some item level 670 loot from garrison mission caches. Now, Foundry comes out. Just because this group killed a couple of Heroic Highmaul bosses after two months in the zone doesn't suddenly make them a Heroic guild - they will, appropriately, begin in Normal Foundry. But their average item level with mostly 655 items (some 661 warforged), and some 670 items from Heroic Highmaul, is likely around 661 or 662 as a raid group. And that simply doesn't leave much room for meaningful reward. And replacing a 670 non-set piece with a 665 set piece is likely a power upgrade, but also does not feel particularly satisfying.
That is exactly what it was like for us.  In fact, we didn't do normal BRF, and we still haven't, we went straight into heroic BRF because we had cleared heroic Highmaul and that seemed to be the natural progression.  I think of all that sharded loot, and it makes me cry.

It still feels funny replacing my mythic Highmaul stuff with heroic Tier but I suspect that once these changes hit, I won't be using my Highmaul stuff anymore.  I have only 6 items of BRF stuff that I use, when I'm in my "mana conservation" gear, but in my output gear, I am wearing 4 items of BRF stuff.  Once these changes hit, I may be more inclined to use my BRF gear as standard.

Would it have changed the way we played and looted if they had implemented this as soon as BRF hit?  I'm not sure to be honest. We have thought about how to address that issues with people not wanting to pay for minor upgrades (for example, an item drops but it's warforged or has a socket and people don't want to pay full price for that tiny upgrade and the item gets sharded.  What we say now is that if someone has EXACTLY the same item, then they only need to pay the EPGP for the upgrade difference (say it's 500 for the item, but 540 for a socketted then if they take the item it would be only 40 GP instead of 540). However, that's only if the item is about to be sharded becuase nobody is going to use it.  I think that it was a really clever change and I think of all the warforged stuff that I've DE'd... makes me sad.

I'm such a hoarder though -  I have kept everything that I thought was half decent, and though I still think mythic Rune Enscribed Hood still has better stats than a Tier helm, I will definitely play around with both to see what it's like (I am using Chestguard of the Roaring Crowd when I use my Rune Enscribed Hood, and Tier chest for when I'm using Tier helm).  But! I will gladly accept those free upgrades though because they are not to be sneezed at - I wonder if I'll notice a difference?  I'm sure I will :) Aimei tells me my ilvl may go up by 2?  We'll see! It will happen next week (though does that mean not this Tuesday but next Tuesday, because the post went up on a USA Sunday, and isn't that the beginning of the week??).

Comments

  1. When I saw the title of your post I immediately clicked on it because I wanted to read how this is a good thing from someone who's opinion I respect, as I am finding it hard to see how it is.

    I see the point you are getting at and I agree with you. We were much the same (but we never got the last boss of HM), going from heroic to heroic, or at least trying to and failing at first so stepping into normal and getting gear we really did not need. Anyway it is a decent idea to learn the fights on normal first anyway I believe, so no big deal I guess.

    This is just going to make it even harder to get a group together to go back and kill the last boss now. And that is what I hated as is. Being BRF already has better gear itemization for many classes, tier sets, and higher item level, I could not get people to go back and finish HM before, how the hell am I going to get them to want to do that now? This is why I dislike this change.

    The difference between us is that you are accepting that these are two different tiers (not zones as they suggest, tiers) and I am not. Highmaul and blackrock foundry should drop the same gear, or damn close to it, as they were intended to be sister raids. BRF was not intended to be a new tier, but I guess it turned out that way. Now, more than before, and I had mentioned how BRF felt like a new tier already, there is no doubt what so ever now with this gear change.

    BRF and HM are without a doubt different tiers, not just different zones. And I dislike being lied to and then continuously being lied to as they try to convince themselves that they are still sister raids when in fact they are not. Not even close to it, and they push this out to further stress the point that they are not sister raids while saying they are. It is a joke.

    From a "feel" standpoint, I do agree with you however. It sucked having to start at BRF normal and it having basically nothing for us. But that had more to do with it being tuned wrong and less about item level. We should have been able to go heroic to heroic easier than we did. The reason we didn't is because BRF was a new tier, not a sister raid, so we needed to start at the beginning again. This gear chance is being added to help ease that transition to a new tier for everyone.

    In the end, I do like the change from a gear standpoint, I just dislike that they keep sticking to the "they are the same tier" story when they absolutely are not. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

    In the long run it will be a good thing. I just wish the change did not come connected to a pile of lie after lie from blizzard blues towing the company line.

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    1. "Highmaul and blackrock foundry should drop the same gear, or damn close to it, as they were intended to be sister raids."

      Do keep in mind that the gear from the next tier is going to be 30-40 ilvls above Highmaul.

      I do get what you're saying, though -- if it's supposed to be one tier then you'd expect to still wind up using some pieces from Highmaul...but instead it'll all be BRF gear.

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    2. It's my view that HM and BRF are the same tier, because the item level spread between the two is similar to T14, with or without the 5 item level boost.

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    3. But I am still using Highmaul gear. I guess because we did heroic we decided to go to heroic and maybe that hampered us a bit in terms of early tier pieces, even now we're just going onto the last ones and we'll see how that goes.

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  2. I literally started to cry when you started talking about Warforged/Socketed gear being sharded when people could've used it : /

    Overall, the change is fairly minor in an absolute sense but it'll probably significantly alter people's perceptions.

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    1. I think the change makes you FEEL better, and maybe that's what makes a difference? People's perceptions can count for a lot.

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  3. I know replacing mythic HM gear with heroic BRF must feel disconcerting. I had to hang on to 553 Tier gear for some time in SoO while heroic off set gear got sharded.

    My only complaint with this problem is that it happened in the first place, but since I'm not a dev, I won't judge too harshly.

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    1. I guess you can always keep them just in case, and when you move on, shard the stuff. I didn't have that much mythic HM stuff (it was only 2 from cache's and a couple from Kargath) but even then I still had alot of stuff to replace (all my PvP gear) when I hit BRF so I was happy to get those upgrades then.

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