Changes & Experiments to Raid Rewards in Dragonflight Season 1
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
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:

Group Loot:
  • 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.

Loot Trading
  • 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.

Unique Drops
Additionally, we’re experimenting 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.

Bind-on-Equip items:
  • 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!
This article was originally published in forum thread: Changes & Experiments to Raid Rewards in Dragonflight Season 1 started by Stoy View original post
Comments 108 Comments
  1. Biomega's Avatar
    Interesting compromise.

    It's not quite ML, but it's more freedom to distribute if a group feels like it; while also retaining some safeguards against people outright stealing loot.

    I'm sure the WF raiders are just thrilled with the prospect of having to do >9,000 split runs, but them's the breaks And of course there'll also be MASSIVE community farms for those BoEs.

    It's nice that they're trying to streamline things so there's both consistency and longevity. I'm not so sure about the impact of those +0.5 tier special drops - I get their philosophy, but the thought of an already powerful trinket now also being a half tier higher while increasing the RNG to obtain it... that doesn't sit too well with me. Also no clarification on how this impacts whatever version of the Vault they're putting in. RNG for high-rolling that once-a-week lottery even more seems awkward to say the least.

    But it's overall a good thing they're trying to shake established rules. That in itself is already progress.
  1. TobiasAmaranth's Avatar
    As a pugger:

    Group loot only for raids is... depressing sounding. But worst that can happen is I get kicked for hitting Need when they didn't want me to, I guess? Though it sounds like everyone will always roll Need and then hold hostage items for the sake of trading with others for things they want. /shrug

    Flexible item levels sounds okay I guess. Super items sounds okayish too. Hopefully this will kind of reduce people's drive to min-max to really extreme levels at mid-level content.

    BoE change to mini-bosses is pretty cool. My favorite change on this list. The BoE farming groups were kind of annoying since I always had better stuff to grind, be it progress in the raid, or reputation and world quests. Or just basic profession stuff. That'll maybe keep things easier to deal with. Less Fomo feeling.
  1. Alcsaar's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by TobiasAmaranth View Post
    As a pugger:

    Group loot only for raids is... depressing sounding. But worst that can happen is I get kicked for hitting Need when they didn't want me to, I guess? Though it sounds like everyone will always roll Need and then hold hostage items for the sake of trading with others for things they want. /shrug

    Flexible item levels sounds okay I guess. Super items sounds okayish too. Hopefully this will kind of reduce people's drive to min-max to really extreme levels at mid-level content.

    BoE change to mini-bosses is pretty cool. My favorite change on this list. The BoE farming groups were kind of annoying since I always had better stuff to grind, be it progress in the raid, or reputation and world quests. Or just basic profession stuff. That'll maybe keep things easier to deal with. Less Fomo feeling.
    Group loot only is completely bullshit. Now there are two layers of RNG - hoping the items I need drop, and then hoping I can win a roll against X number of other people, potentially people who don't even need the item but are just need rolling to use it as bartering. That isn't a positive change.
  1. Holdodlig's Avatar
    This is a terrible news. It feels like nothing is good to keep here.

    Group loot in the current WoW environnement is a disaster as it will simply make boosts be more worth it. It will be way harder for the average player to gear himself in raid as he won't have his guaranteed drop from personal loot. Also it's worth noting all the abuses people will be able to do. Guild groups rolling for their friends and giving them all the goods while getting a few more PU just to increase the loot pool of the raid.

    The beefed item is just a cheap version of Vanilla / BC's legendaries which were just random drops from bosses. I would have loved unique quests and achievements for them tho, instead of "kill the council in a specific order" like we had in MoP.

    I'm also scared about the "we'll add more BoE drops and ways to be sure to get them". You can already call it, people will have IDs on every BoE eligible monsters and will just kill every lieutenant with their army of low geared alt. This will only shift the balance of BoE farm to the guild with the biggest amount of reroll instead of just people investing time to farm these BoE. Also, more important BoE ? Feels like a way to sell more tokens to me. But the whole "we revamped professions" and this just now feels like a "hey, buy token please" plea.
  1. Biomega's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Alcsaar View Post
    Group loot only is completely bullshit. Now there are two layers of RNG - hoping the items I need drop, and then hoping I can win a roll against X number of other people, potentially people who don't even need the item but are just need rolling to use it as bartering. That isn't a positive change.
    Isn't that how it already worked with personal loot, though? You just didn't see the roll, but it happened. The only thing that's different is that with PL, the raid comp mattered for the chances of seeing particular items - now it's random, and you can't just stack 20 shamans or whatever and have massively increased chances to see the item you want if it's on the shaman loot table.
  1. Alcsaar's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Biomega View Post
    Isn't that how it already worked with personal loot, though? You just didn't see the roll, but it happened. The only thing that's different is that with PL, the raid comp mattered for the chances of seeing particular items - now it's random, and you can't just stack 20 shamans or whatever and have massively increased chances to see the item you want if it's on the shaman loot table.
    I haven't seen any proof that this is how personal loot works - but even if it was, why bother changing it at all then? What exactly is the issue with keeping personal loot if it is the same outcome?

    The answer is because it won't be the same outcome.
  1. Biomega's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Alcsaar View Post
    I haven't seen any proof that this is how personal loot works - but even if it was, why bother changing it at all then? What exactly is the issue with keeping personal loot if it is the same outcome?

    The answer is because it won't be the same outcome.
    Because as I said, the way the roll worked wasn't the only difference, and I also mentioned that having automatic rolls doesn't account for passes.

    I'm not saying everything is the same, I'm just saying that on a mechanical level, there is more similarity than you'd think and it's not nearly as different as it appears in many situations.
  1. Alcsaar's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Biomega View Post
    Because as I said, the way the roll worked wasn't the only difference, and I also mentioned that having automatic rolls doesn't account for passes.

    I'm not saying everything is the same, I'm just saying that on a mechanical level, there is more similarity than you'd think and it's not nearly as different as it appears in many situations.
    There is a difference as far as human response goes though. Like they said, need roll optimization isn't perfect - and it never will be. People will need roll on everything they can, and use it to barter for other things. They will need roll for friends. They would rather take an item and disenchant it for a few hundred gold in shards then give it to some one in the raid who actually needs it if its a PUG.

    At least with personal loot there was less animosity. All this does is introduce animosity and nothing of value otherwise.
  1. Scoli's Avatar
    What's wrong with personal loot? It's like one of the progressive features retail has implemented that's actually good. Takes away so much toxicity from the group environment and makes balancing the pace at which players obtain loot much simpler.

    They should just build upon personal loot and let players open up a group-wide Need or Greed window for any items they received and don't need. Hell, could even give players a reward for doing this as well to incentivise using this system.
  1. Biomega's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Alcsaar View Post
    There is a difference as far as human response goes though. Like they said, need roll optimization isn't perfect - and it never will be. People will need roll on everything they can, and use it to barter for other things. They will need roll for friends. They would rather take an item and disenchant it for a few hundred gold in shards then give it to some one in the raid who actually needs it if its a PUG.

    At least with personal loot there was less animosity. All this does is introduce animosity and nothing of value otherwise.
    It's a trade-off. PL also had fail cases where people got an item they didn't want and couldn't trade it, or where there's tons of geared people from particular loot tables but very few undergeared people from others, who then had a much harder time gearing up because loot was skewed towards people who didn't need it.

    It's not a straight better vs. worse, but assuming averagely composed groups and average player behavior, there'll be very little effective difference. They just have different extremes.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Scoli View Post
    What's wrong with personal loot? It's like one of the progressive features retail has implemented that's actually good. Takes away so much toxicity from the group environment and makes balancing the pace at which players obtain loot much simpler.
    My guess is that they're trying to find a compromise that avoids PL + free trade, which is a scenario that would promote armor/class stacking and lead to options that allow some people to gear ABSURDLY quickly.
  1. Cierah's Avatar
    While it is no fun not getting loot via personal loot you know it'll break through at some point. Have personally been on the losing end of N/G for an entire raid tier. Never support that garbage loot system again.
  1. Biomega's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Cierah View Post
    While it is no fun not getting loot via personal loot you know it'll break through at some point. Have personally been on the losing end of N/G for an entire raid tier. Never support that garbage loot system again.
    Are you sure that's not just data bias? Are you accounting for all the items you passed on, too? Since those would still be loot in PL, just loot you don't want. But seeing loot pop up tends to register differently with people than not getting loot, even if it's effectively equal in outcome (you did not get an item you ended up using).

    In groups of average composition, the chances to SEE a particular item should be identical between both systems. The chance to WIN it would not be, since PL is effectively everyone who can loot it rolling need, while in GL some people may also greed/pass. And GL should not allow people to roll need that couldn't just have gotten it via PL, so it doesn't change on that end. Which means the average group gives you a better chance with GL, not a worse chance.

    This changes of course once the group comp is not balanced, but skewed towards certain loot tables. A group with 5 hunters and 5 priests will have very different loot than a group with 9 hunters and 1 priest. There it becomes a lot more likely for you to see hunter loot, but of course it also becomes harder to win that loot.
  1. exochaft's Avatar
    Putting the Group Loot and loot distribution issues aside (although they can dovetail into what I'm about to say), these changes seem to be made for two reasons. The first is a more cynical take: these changes are designed to keep people in the raids longer. The second 'benefit of the doubt' take: they're trying to solve the problem of why less and less people are raiding. Regardless, Blizz seems to be missing the point.

    Now the reasons why such thing are trending towards bad changes will depend on what level you raid, but we can simplify this to some degree. If you are raiding, there's generally two reasons you do (especially at the mythic level): you want progression or you want loot/BiS. If we take this from the mythic raiding level, I'm certain there's quite a few people who have experienced raiders suddenly stop showing up or quit mid-progression once they get their BiS or all the loot they want... this is because their goals were never progression, only BiS, and typically progression takes much longer than getting BiS or close to it. Usually thoses who remain are those invested in progression, where either BiS doesn't matter or it's a means to getting that progression. Now, the changes proposed here try to bridge this gap to some degree but in a very negative way. The changes will just make getting BiS take even longer and be more random, which ironically will piss off both BiS seekers and progression people.

    So when it comes to mythic, what's the problem generally boils down to is that completing progression takes way longer than getting full/near-BiS, and the time and effort required to get there via mythic raiding has generally gone up over time. Instead of making loot potentially take longer and more random to acquire what you want with chase items like you would in an ARPG, I feel the opposite approach should be taken: shorten the progression time, or remove the conflict between getting your BiS gear and progression completely. One possibility is to ramp back on the difficulty involved in mythic raiding, which could be easing up on the artificial restrictions (removal of raid ID and other hindrances) or tuning things to be more sane for more people to finish the content in a reasonable amount of time. My ideal scenario would be divorcing gear grind from mythic raiding completely, where the ilvl cap would be heroic raid gear across all content while the upper echelon content (like mythic raiding) would not reward higher ilvl items... maybe more quantity of items, cosmetics, mounts, anything not power related. At that point, those who want to focus on mythic progression will almost certainly be grouped with those of the same mindset, while making tuning of the raid way easier because attaining full heroic ilvl gear is relatively quick and an easy baseline assumption.

    All in all, I'm leaning towards the more cynical answer that they're just trying to stretch out time spent on content. Either way it's pointing towards tackling a problem while not understanding that even beyond the gear grind goals of some raiders there's people who just want a raid tier to end in a reasonable amount of time. Even the last RWF for Shadowlands demonstrated that even the top people can get insanely frustrated when content takes too long, and that's their job... imagine everyone else who plays the game as a leisure activity. The focus should not be trying to solve raid participation issues through giving people more reasons to stay in the content longer, it should be making the content feel good and potentially be done with it in a reasonable time that doesn't make the content feel like a chore. Unfortunately, none of the proposed changes in the blue post indicate that Blizz even recognizes the source of the problem while trying to shoehorn an outcome that would likely drive more people away from raiding.
  1. saixilein's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Holdodlig View Post
    This is a terrible news. It feels like nothing is good to keep here.

    Group loot in the current WoW environnement is a disaster as it will simply make boosts be more worth it. It will be way harder for the average player to gear himself in raid as he won't have his guaranteed drop from personal loot. Also it's worth noting all the abuses people will be able to do. Guild groups rolling for their friends and giving them all the goods while getting a few more PU just to increase the loot pool of the raid.

    The beefed item is just a cheap version of Vanilla / BC's legendaries which were just random drops from bosses. I would have loved unique quests and achievements for them tho, instead of "kill the council in a specific order" like we had in MoP.

    I'm also scared about the "we'll add more BoE drops and ways to be sure to get them". You can already call it, people will have IDs on every BoE eligible monsters and will just kill every lieutenant with their army of low geared alt. This will only shift the balance of BoE farm to the guild with the biggest amount of reroll instead of just people investing time to farm these BoE. Also, more important BoE ? Feels like a way to sell more tokens to me. But the whole "we revamped professions" and this just now feels like a "hey, buy token please" plea.
    I dont get how all this is bad cause it doesnt affect you as a player. You domt have amy disadvantages if players buy boosts or something.
  1. Ielenia's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Alcsaar View Post
    Group loot only is completely bullshit. Now there are two layers of RNG - hoping the items I need drop, and then hoping I can win a roll against X number of other people, potentially people who don't even need the item but are just need rolling to use it as bartering. That isn't a positive change.
    If you think about it a little, the "layers of RNG" don't really change. What I mean by that:

    As you claim it'll be in DF:
    • First, the item you want needs to drop.
    • Second, you need to win a roll against X number of people.

    However, if you look at it objectively, that's technically similar to how it works right now, only in reverse order:
    • First, you need to win a (hidden) "roll" to be one of the few that gets loot.
    • Second, the item you win needs to be the item you want.
  1. sensei's Avatar
    ‪Yeah, no. Don’t need this shit. Just make personal loot have no trade restrictions and we’re good. The only reason personal loot is annoying at times is the random Soulbound gear you can’t trade away. If that awful trinket with a higher ilvl than your current trinkets drops it should be your call to give it away if you don't plan to use it. ‬
  1. YoFro's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by exochaft View Post
    My ideal scenario would be divorcing gear grind from mythic raiding completely, where the ilvl cap would be heroic raid gear across all content while the upper echelon content (like mythic raiding) would not reward higher ilvl items... maybe more quantity of items, cosmetics, mounts, anything not power related. At that point, those who want to focus on mythic progression will almost certainly be grouped with those of the same mindset, while making tuning of the raid way easier because attaining full heroic ilvl gear is relatively quick and an easy baseline assumption.
    Yeah no. Sure world first racers would still be up for it but Mythic being purely cosmetic would more than likely cut people who want to raid by a lot. Making it even harder to find people that aren't just looking to be carried to a cool mount. Plus once people got those mounts and cosmetics they would also quit. Try keeping a guild together when half your raiders skips a tier because those mounts and cosmetics suck this raid tier. Player power being tied to end game content is important in mmorpgs. Might as well remove all gear from mythic plus too and just give out the lame armor they did for challenge modes in MoP.
  1. lordjust's Avatar
    I personally don't like group loot because of the randomness of the loot itself. There will be situations where some loot drops that nobody can use, not only don't want to use but can't. With personal loot and loot spec I had the option to choose what loot I want. Want to switch to tanking or just want to fish for some trinkets for the tank? Switch lootspec to tank. With group loot we're back to whatever drops, drops and if it's 3x the same tank trinket then that's that.

    Also lootcouncils will return. They won't be as bad as with master loot because you can at least roll need but there will be drama, especially in pugs. In classic pugs everyone is rolling need on everything, even if they can't equip it (will be lessened with loot roll restrictions) and the same will happen on live because that's how it was before personal loot was forced on us.

    In my opinion it would've been better to just stick to personal loot and lift the ilvl restriction. Yes, you could gear a character very fast with split runs and armor/lootspec stack but with how slowly you get raid loot at all I don't think it would've been that bad apart from the fringe cases of WF guilds.

    Now I'm waiting to see what system they implement as a bad luck protection (which was the dinar system this season).
  1. SinR's Avatar
    BOE Change is pretty bigly yuge.

    I like it.
  1. Flame6's Avatar
    Not a fan. Plate boots will drop, 10 people will roll need, but only 2 of them actually need it. The rest are just guildmates who are going to trade the item to their friend. So it's a 1 in 9 chance instead of a 50/50

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