Artifact Power and Patch 7.2
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Artifact Power has been a hot topic lately, both around the community and within the development team. With Patch 7.2 on the horizon, introducing both new artifact traits and additional Knowledge levels, we have been reflecting on the way the system has unfolded during the first months of Legion, and evaluating changes based on the lessons we have learned thus far.

First off, a look back at where we started.

From the outset, Artifact Power was intended to serve two intertwined purposes: First, it offered max-level progression that was not entirely item-driven, along with choices and elements of character customization as players traversed their trait trees; second, it was meant to serve as a universally desired, consistent reward from all types of content.

In crafting the systems that delivered Artifact Power, we weighed the merits of hard caps versus a smoother system of diminishing returns. We had extensive experience with hard caps, through multiple past iterations of currencies like Valor Points and Conquest Points, and wanted to avoid several of the downsides of that approach. For example, a cap inherently feels like more of an expected quota, where missing a week or falling short of the cap puts you clearly, and potentially permanently, behind the curve.

Instead, as everyone knows, we settled on an open-ended system of diminishing returns. Without any hard caps on how quickly players could earn AP, it was essential to have some sort of limiting mechanism on the gap in power between players of different playstyles, and different levels of time investment. We accepted the admittedly complex design of Artifact Knowledge because it solved this problem, effectively reining in the size of this power gap. Players trying to progress past the expected artifact level for their Knowledge would run into those rapidly diminishing returns, while those who played less than that would have Knowledge as an accelerator to help them catch up to the cutting edge. When Emerald Nightmare was new content, while the average raider was at 20 or 21 points, the most dedicated might have been at 24 or 25 – a relatively modest gap.

Now, where things went wrong…

We feel that we made two major missteps with the Artifact Power system that increasingly manifested themselves as we got deeper into Patch 7.1 and 7.1.5. And both of them served to undermine that core goal of ensuring that the gap between players with different levels of time invested into the system could not grow too large.

First, the cost of ranks in the 20-point final trait remained relatively flat, as opposed to the rapid exponential scaling up to that point. This meant that someone who spent twice as much time gathering AP as I did would have roughly twice as many ranks as me. Instead of the 24 vs. 21 gaps we saw in Nightmare, a number of hardcore raiders entered Nighthold with 54 points, while others were just beginning that final progression and found themselves with nearly 10% less health and damage, equivalent to being almost a full tier of gear behind. Players who switched specs or characters along the way found themselves in a similar position. The power gap was larger than ever before, which created a sense of obligation and a number of negative social pressures that the system had previously tried to minimize. In short: We’re not at all happy with how this worked out.

A common suggestion is to simply reduce the amount of Artifact Power required to fully unlock the artifact in 7.2. This would not solve the underlying problem, but would rather reduce its duration while heightening its intensity, as competitive players sprinted to finish their Artifacts in order to be “ready.” But then we would inevitably tune around that completed power level, and other players would simply be playing catch-up the entire time. And in the long run, Artifact Power would not be serving its intended purpose of ongoing parallel progression. A capped-artifact player who goes a week without getting any item upgrades ends the week literally no stronger than before. Part of the value of the artifact, both for personal progression and guild progression, lies in ensuring that everyone is at least a bit stronger next week than they are right now, and a bit closer to overcoming whatever obstacle stands in their path. Our goal is for Artifact Power to always be of some interest as a reward, whether from a World Quest, or as a consolation prize when failing a bonus roll.

Instead, we are focusing on fixing the mistake of flat cost scaling at the end of the progression, and instead keeping the increases exponential throughout, while also strengthening Artifact Knowledge as a core pacing and catch-up mechanism. These changes should be visible in an upcoming PTR build.

This is done with the primary goal of reducing the power gap based on time investment, while preserving Artifact Power as an endgame reward that everyone values. If the leaders in Artifact Power were only a few points ahead of a more typical player, rather than crossing the finish line when most were just leaving the starting blocks, players with less time to commit would not be as disadvantaged in competitive activities. If a Warlock were choosing between having 48 points in a single spec or 44 points in all three specs if they’d split their efforts evenly, the barrier to playing multiple specs would be significantly reduced. We are still tuning the curve for 7.2 trait costs, but we’re currently targeting scaling such that someone who earns twice as much AP as me will have an artifact that’s only ~1.5% stronger; someone who earns four times as much AP as me should only be 3% stronger. On the whole, this should be a massive reduction in the power gaps we see in the live game today.

The second problem with our initial implementation was that repeatable sources of Artifact Power (Mythic Keystone dungeons in particular) dominated time-limited sources such as Emissary caches and raid bosses. The fact that a large portion of the community evaluates their Artifact Power needs using “Maw runs” as the unit of measurement is ample evidence of this failure. We very recently deployed a hotfix to increase AP earned from Nighthold in order to make raiding, with a weekly-lockout, better compare in efficiency to repeated Mythic Keystone runs. And in 7.2, we’re more thoroughly addressing this issue by adding a significant amount of AP to the weekly Mythic Keystone cache, while somewhat reducing (and normalizing based on instance length) the AP awarded by repeated runs. These changes are being made to narrow the gap in AP earning, and thus power, based on time investment.

All of the above changes are aimed at allowing players the freedom and flexibility to decide how they want to spend their time, and which goals they wish to pursue, while limiting the difference in power between players who arrive at different answers to those questions.
This article was originally published in forum thread: Artifact Power and Patch 7.2 started by chaud View original post
Comments 125 Comments
  1. jinreeko's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Airwaves View Post
    Hope this change works out. The moment 100% raid attendance no longer became enough I started to lose interest in WoW. To the point I almost want to quit. I fucking hate AP.
    Yeah, there have definitely never been other obstacles raiders have been obligated for other than showing up for raid. Goddamn Team 3!!!
  1. Requimortem's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Supercool View Post
    I would say there's a large proportion of casual players who are simply happy with anything that makes raiders upset, because they believe that fun in WoW is a zero sum balance and buy into the fiction of WoD having "catered to" raiders on hand and foot rather than simply raiders managing to not get screwed quite as hard as everyone else. Ergo if it makes raiders mad, it must be good for everyone else, right? Right?
    I sincerely doubt that's the case since Warlords of Draenor was fairly casual friendly. Virtually everything could be done through your garrison and I don't remember anything other than Archimonde being close to "challenging"--the same can't be said for Legion.
  1. reid8470's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by ComputerNerd View Post
    A cap will always be black or white, you meet it or you don't.
    They have a stacking on daily world quest chests of 3 days--I don't see why the same couldn't be done for weekly content-gated tokens. Maximum loot of 2 per week, with it increasing to 3 or 4 in the next week if you only looted 1 or none the previous week. The benefit of a cap is players are rewarded for playing a patch, rather than making them feel obligated to grind out in preparation of a patch. Look at ICC where Paragon killed Lich King HM prior to anyone having Shadowmourne; top players aren't pushed into hard grinding and the more casual players have a stable, time-convenient stacking buff that slowly assists them with clearing content.

    1) Penalises any player that isn't a demon hunter with only two specs, unless you duplicate the result at which point it is unfair to anyone who isn't a druid.
    Then have it be 100% into current spec and 50% into both inactive specs and specs on your other characters. Anything.

    2) Simply another cap with the expectation that you meet it.
    Hardly asking players to meet much by winning some BGs, arenas, running a M+, running some mythics, etc. If you have 5-7 options to obtain and token and only need 2 per week, it's very reasonable. A cap that people are expected to meet is only a problem if it's tedious to obtain, but someone who runs BGs and arenas is going to get them from playing. Someone who raids is going to get them from running M+ and killing raid content. Someone who plays casually doesn't even need them, but could obtain them from regular mythics, pet battles, anything.

    3) Though it offering some improvement with the variety of sources for each.
    It's a night and day difference. If people get tokens from simply playing what they normally play, I don't see how it's a problem.
  1. Granyala's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by azurrei View Post
    but hey, bashing on LFR is the in thing so whatever makes you feel better about yourself, go for it.
    I love to bash LFR, but not because it gives epics to people.
    I bash it, because it's an absolutely horrible experience (I only realized that once I stopped raiding and "relied" on LFR to see the raids).
    You get plopped into it on some random boss. Hit some loot pinata for 5 minutes and then *poof* you are back in Dalaran.

    How the F*** is that "story presentation" ?!

    If you want to see story presentation of an LFR like raid, take a peek at FF-XIVs 24man raids.

    On top of that, LFR makes you feel how crappy your character actually is. I am an ex mythic raider, so I know how to play my class. Seeing people pulling double of what I can do is disheartening. Why would I even TRY to play well, if no matter what I do, I will be so far behind that it won't matter anyway?
    This does not breed the wish to be better. It only breeds "yah I can go afk / watch a movie. They will kill the boss for me".
  1. Ivyrise's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Granyala View Post
    I love to bash LFR, but not because it gives epics to people.
    I bash it, because it's an absolutely horrible experience (I only realized that once I stopped raiding and "relied" on LFR to see the raids).
    You get plopped into it on some random boss. Hit some loot pinata for 5 minutes and then *poof* you are back in Dalaran.

    How the F*** is that "story presentation" ?!

    If you want to see story presentation of an LFR like raid, take a peek at FF-XIVs 24man raids.

    On top of that, LFR makes you feel how crappy your character actually is. I am an ex mythic raider, so I know how to play my class. Seeing people pulling double of what I can do is disheartening. Why would I even TRY to play well, if no matter what I do, I will be so far behind that it won't matter anyway?
    This does not breed the wish to be better. It only breeds "yah I can go afk / watch a movie. They will kill the boss for me".
    Ex-mythic raider doing 1/2 damage of LFR casuals? You must have went in underpowered and undergeared. Not sure why you would be disheartened with people pulling twice your DPS when you know you're severely undergeared. Also unclear to me why an ex mythic raider like you would take LFR meters seriously.
  1. Whitedragon's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Onikaroshi View Post
    Not to mention you cap day one and don't even log in besides raid like.... oh yea... like wod...

    I pay monthly for this game, I like things to do on a daily basis.
    To be fair i never noticed that happening mostly because it went in 3 major groups giving people a few choices.

    First you had the Reset day group who did everything on Tuesday or Wednesday.
    Second you had the Weekend warriors who tended to do things on Friday or Saturday.
    Then you had the last minute group who where a conglomerate. that hit things up late Sunday or Monday.

    I have rolled with each of these groups in the past and even when I let things ride until the last minute, there where always people there for you.
  1. Laciaty's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Requimortem View Post
    ...What?

    I know overwhelming ignorance is par for the course in this community but I find it astonishing that you could be that oblivious. This expansion is in no way directed at casuals. You have your seemingly endless grind for Artifact Power, random chances at getting a Legendary which may or may not be utterly useless, you're forced to raid to progress your professions and even the appearances/alternate colors of your artifact weapons require a stupid amount of work. World of Warcraft has never been more unfriendly to casual players.
    1) you're forced to raid to progress your professions - i admit i quit a couple months ago, did they add profession recipes in NH? when i was playing most you had to do was normal dungeons for base recipes, mythic dungeons for higher rank recipes

    as far as the rest of your post - that depends on whether you care about the rewards that are gated behind raiding or just want to have fun... i've got a couple casual friends who really like this expansion cause whenever they log in they can do a mythic / m+ dungeon which progresses their character someohow and have a chance to give them good (for their level) loot

    for me, at a point when i decided that i just dont have the time for farm 'required' for raiding i told my GM im quitting and havent logged into wow since
  1. Noctim's Avatar
    Artifacts and AP where the recycled attempt to implement the old Path of the Titans approach.

    Short idea:

    Once fully unlocked, new artifact power for a specific item is only obtainable via Raid (LFR/Normal/Heroic/Mythic) and boss drop. LFR gives less AP than Mythic, but all in all it's more or less capped.... and somehow similar to the old valor points....

    this whole system is flawed...
  1. Scorpio9's Avatar
    Tl;DR:

    Putting effort in this game is not worth it.

    "someone who earns four times as much AP as me should only be 3% stronger." ikekd.

    I remember the days nobody complained about somebody who put in the tremendous effort to run MoltenCore 40 to get full blue or at least single purp was waaaay better than than one who didnt.
  1. rowaasr13's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Twiztedterry View Post
    does every single AP WQ That pops
    I don't understand ... AP burnout
    10/10. Would read again.
  1. Kanj's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Kallisto View Post
    Problem is a hard cap will be most people getting everything done on reset day, then those who are busy for whatever reason that week and can only come on for the weekend/Monday (or Tuesday in Europe) will be out of luck. Weekly capped currency has shown this time and again where people just can not be fucked to help out others if there is nothing in return for them.

    So essentially someone comes in and goes "Hey guys, I got a mythic + stone for x." will be basically met by crickets if it isn't first couple days after reset. That's a worse game design than we have now.
    It's a bit like people on welfare suggesting higher taxes. It's nice for the people on welfare, but the people giving the help, or to continue in the example, pay the taxes, are screwed over. I am in no doubt sure that if diminishing returns on AP goes through, there'll be a lot of top end guild who'll have to step down after next tier due to too much farming required.

    Besides that, there's still the gear you can get from M+ or the legendaries. Suggesting AP is the only reason people do M+ isn't right, the grind for AP lasts a couple of weeks for the people who really grinds it and then it's over.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by RuneDK View Post
    pretty much, the AP grind itself honestly isn't terrible. Yes the difference in throughput ended up being massive which should be fixed...The legendary game still to me is the biggest problem of this expansion.
    As someone who've got Aggramar's Stride and Sephuz as his best options, I agree completely.
  1. RuneDK's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Kanj View Post
    It's a bit like people on welfare suggesting higher taxes. It's nice for the people on welfare, but the people giving the help, or to continue in the example, pay the taxes, are screwed over. I am in no doubt sure that if diminishing returns on AP goes through, there'll be a lot of top end guild who'll have to step down after next tier due to too much farming required.

    Besides that, there's still the gear you can get from M+ or the legendaries. Suggesting AP is the only reason people do M+ isn't right, the grind for AP lasts a couple of weeks for the people who really grinds it and then it's over.

    - - - Updated - - -



    As someone who've got Aggramar's Stride and Sephuz as his best options, I agree completely.
    Jesus that sucks man =/. I am lucky enough to have one of the higher end shaman ones for both raiding and M+...my other two just suck balls.
  1. sponge5307's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by enzi View Post
    AK lvl 25 cap is the biggest problem imo and they will fix it in the next patch.

    I'm not sure what else they have planned, maybe mythic+ AP nerf? Either way, the problem as they have described it, especially with HP is a huge problem and it's good to know that they are working on it.
    Nerfing AP from Mythics would not be a good idea. A lot of the lower gear players rely on being carry or it makes the group a lot easier. If they nerf AP gain form mythics I am pretty sure a lot of more gear players will no running help or run carry groups. I got carry on both my toons and I see no issue with that. You start off needing help from more gear plyers, they ran you thorugh mythics and you get gear now you can help others gear up as you are getting AP back.

    Is like why m+ 0 is actually harder than a +2 to +4 becasue it offers little to no reward for gear players to run +0. If AP is nerf from M+ it will just make it harder to new players to get better gear. Not a good game design.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Saverem View Post
    Great change! Reducing AP from repeated M+ runs is a godsend!

    Both sides win on this. The casuals don't have to worry about getting left behind while the hardcores don't have to worry about running 1000 MoS on 4 alts to stay ahead of the curb.
    Casual are usually the ones looking for carry so no it will hurt them. Image if there are 50% less carry groups or a well gear tank no longer joining your group since he gets nothing out of it. Yea more people not able to complete m+ = more people complaining. Lot's of ppl stillr un m+ even though they outgear the level due to the AP power.
  1. Saverem's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by sponge5307 View Post
    Casual are usually the ones looking for carry so no it will hurt them. Image if there are 50% less carry groups or a well gear tank no longer joining your group since he gets nothing out of it. Yea more people not able to complete m+ = more people complaining. Lot's of ppl stillr un m+ even though they outgear the level due to the AP power.
    So then the casuals will have to do the M+ that fits their gear/skill level instead of relying on their betters to cheat the system? I still see no problem.
  1. Fennixx's Avatar
    I find this funny. When there was caps (such as valor caps), people complained. When there was no reason to leave Garrison, people complained.
    And now, we always have something to do... And people complain?

    AP, rng legos and WF/TF is the reason the game is so alive atm
  1. Zenfoldor's Avatar
    I think MANY of you don't understand how this works. I believe indeed the biggest problem here is that the design is too complicated for a casual observer(or shitslinger) to comprehend.

    Let me list off some of the silly arguments against this move, in this very thread:

    1. It won't help my alts!! - LOL, really? You do understand that as AK builds(faster until you are caught up, for your alts, plus multiple catchup mechanisms) you, your alts, and your new characters will all end up at the MEAN. Mean means average. That means that your alts won't be nerfed because of this change. Ironically, this change is the exact opposite of what you believe, and in fact is one of the few changes that allow your alts to catchup. On top of that, Legendaries are gonna basically be tokens/nothing next patch(not confirmed, but highly likely) so now your alts will be near 100% of your mains on AP and legendaries in a couple of weeks after dinging, they will also have flying. You see, Artifact Knowledge increases the rate you learn AP, so your alts will be able to do in minutes, what took months before.......your other specs will be in an even better position.
    2. The game is catering to the hardcore - Really? Because the other complaint is that it is catering to the casuals. This change does not cater to either group. The hardcore will still be able to grind to get an increase over scrub n00bs, it will just be a smaller gap that can be achieved. Also, the grind will be longer than ever for them if they really want to get good, because new points are balanced around a mean AK. That means OCD "people"(trying not to use a pejorative here) who cannot stand not having the absolute max will have no end to their grind(good, screw them, this game is not designed around your bullshit, because your RL cannot understand that 1% increase is within the margin for error, the game will not make concessions for your raid leader) and n00bs will not be able to whine that they can't keep up and are gimped, because they are too freakin' casual to actually play the game, but too much of a millennial to understand why they don't deserve everything for free.
    3. I can't BELIEVE they are reducing maw runs, fuck that - You just don't like change. Check it, AP needs to be slightly valuable, to keep you playing week to week and to give you a reward for running RNG shit with no other reward. However, you shouldn't have to grind maw of souls for AP, ever. It shouldn't be that valuable. AK keeps it valuable for a length of time, then lessens its value. If you wanna run maw, run maw, but you will not get a 10% damage buff from it. Just play the mean unless your required to play more, otherwise you are inefficient. It's ideal.(PS: Your time spent halves its value roughly every 2 weeks)

    Anyway, just some quick thoughts. Oh, I could go on, but if you read each opinion, you got people that "hate" this for every conceivable wrong reason you can imagine, and I submit they just don't understand the basic concept of cyclical gating. If anything, Blizzard shouldn't put such complex concepts in a game with a community that can barely understand simcraft.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by JIMM- View Post
    i love how they are STILL ignoring the biggest problem with legion , legendaries.

    seriously just end the AP grind already, at least for those with 54 for their specs to free them up from their spec (torture chamber) n allow them to invest into the remaining 2 specs they might want to try out.

    bring back valor upgrades if there is a need for players to feel slight power upgrade.

    blizz is impressive at delivering no results n be completely ineffective , in the end this announcement and their future plan fixed exactly nothing and the problem will continue to persist.

    I absolutely love how they improved their communication n presence but if they refuse to fix problems they acknowledged (looking at you, legiondaries), in the end its all fucking pointless.
    I don't want to single anyone out, but this is the reply type I'm talking about.

    First, there is the assumption that legendaries will not be addressed. It's been made clear they will be, so inaccuracy or incorrect assumption number one(FYI, with the legendary tokens in the PTR, my guess is a timeless isle type system that lets you farm all your legendaries relatively quickly, but we will know more soon).

    Second, the legit opinion that the AP system should be moved back to the valor points system with a weekly(or daily) hardcap. That's a fair opinion, nothing wrong with that, but it does fail to address the negatives with that system which were cloudily outlined in the OP(but which do exist and are many, I won't bore you with them, but PM me if you want a list of why that hard cap system isn't ideal in the game today).

    Finally, he doesn't say this outright, but I get the feeling that most people believe that this will hurt the ability to play an alt or alt spec. In reality, this change(with its not-linear time based scaling) is really the optimal way to create a universal catchup mechanism for your alts and allow you to reroll. All your toons will be at a mean AP, no matter when you roll them(because 1. Your alts have quicker ak than your mains and 2. There are 20+ levels of catchup to get them close to your main immediately)

    It's much ado about nothing, the change is vastly positive for alts and alt specs, and indeed will create an environment where one can reroll without consequence and catchup with only gear over the course of a few weeks.(assuming my legendary guesses are close to accurate, we will know soon)
  1. sponge5307's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Saverem View Post
    So then the casuals will have to do the M+ that fits their gear/skill level instead of relying on their betters to cheat the system? I still see no problem.
    Yea the issue we have now is that if you have a+2 key and try to hold a group most likely some people won't know what they are doing and they are a bit undergear which might not be enough dps/tank doesn't have have hp damage reducation or healers boing OOM or not enough HPS. and case a wipe. Worse might be even be able to complete the run. Having at least 1 to 2 over gear in the group it makes the run a lot smoother. Is like heroics having a higher level gear party allows more mistakes to be made.
  1. Saverem's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by sponge5307 View Post
    Yea the issue we have now is that if you have a+2 key and try to hold a group most likely some people won't know what they are doing and they are a bit undergear which might not be enough dps/tank doesn't have have hp damage reducation or healers boing OOM or not enough HPS. and case a wipe. Worse might be even be able to complete the run. Having at least 1 to 2 over gear in the group it makes the run a lot smoother. Is like heroics having a higher level gear party allows more mistakes to be made.
    It's impossible to be undergeared for a +2 unless you just hit 110. You'll be fine in there with a group of 830s. My DH is in 860 gear and all he's done is world quests, the world bosses, and a few LFRs.
  1. Exxxa's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by longevity View Post
    they just don't get it at all
    They lost it long time ago. Just look at this flying mess. They have no idea what they want. You either design the world and future worlds for flying, making for example flying dangerous, so you have to choose if you want to fly and take a risk or use ground mount. OR you dont have flying mounts at all and just design the world for ground mount. But they have noone at the team that can take a real decision they listen to much to the community.
  1. Twiztedterry's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by rowaasr13 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Twiztedterry View Post
    does every single AP WQ That pops
    I don't understand ... AP burnout
    10/10. Would read again.
    You did read where I sad my Brother is the one who does all of the AP WQ's, right? I simply do what I want, and my main's Artifact is at 46, IIRC

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