Reduce the item level between raiding tiers

This is just an idea that has been floating around in my head for ages.  So I thought i’d throw it out there.


Gear in WoW has a level, generally called an item level or ilevel, associated with it.  This varies depending on the source of the item and increases as new content is released.  For example tier 9 (25 man raids) had an item level of 245.  Tier 10, for 25 man raids, had an item level of 264.

Increased item level means increased stat budgets.  The rate at which stat budgets increased was high in Wrath resulting in high gear inflation.  Just think of how rapidly tank health pools or damage output increased between these two tiers of raiding and you’ll get a feel for the effect of gear inflation.

I suggest this difference be minimised.  The homogenisation of 10 and 25 man raiding gear will assist this as there will be no requirement for the split between 10 and 25 man item levels.

I’d suggest an increase of item level of about 6 between tiers. So if, for example tier 11 raiding dropped item level 320 gear then tier 12 should drop 326 gear.  The heroic tier 11 raids could drop 323 item level gear.  It doesn’t have to be 6 item levels between tiers but it should be much less than about 20 levels difference in Wrath.

There are two main advantages of this idea.

Firstly is that older raid content remains valuable even when it it not the current progression tier.  You could for example raid tier 11 when tier 12 was current and get items only slightly less valuable than the cutting edge tier.  This would encourage guilds to raid in the older tiers for more than just gimmick raid weekly quests or similar.  Helping to gear up new players should be more fun and less, “do we really have to go back and do content without challenge or and chance of benefit for us?”

Secondly there would be far less need to ratchet up the drops in older content, for the example heroic 5-mans, every major patch to attempt to retain players interest in them.  Although this would somewhat decrease the number of players running heroics 5-mans, it would reduce the incidence of extreme over gearing of these instances, which happens in Wrath.

Both these advantages would allow the reformation of the concept of raid progression, all be it in a less extreme form than in Burning Crusade.

I’m sure there was more, but the rest of the idea has escaped me (curse you lack of sleep).

Gobble gobble.

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5 Responses to Reduce the item level between raiding tiers

  1. KiwiRed says:

    Some genuine progression would be a wonderful thing – certainly more appealing than the scorched earth approach to raiding we’ve inherited from Wrath’s super-casual-friendly approach, which has been reinforced by four months in ToC and almost ten months of ICC so far.

  2. Donny says:

    Halleluja, spread the word!!!

  3. Naithin says:

    A lower gap in ilvl’s however also means they can’t crank the difficulty up in subsequent raids. Unless the difficulty is purely in the mechanics, which would mean the earlier tiers of raids would have to be absolute snore-fests to not cause it to go off the SWP end of the scale nearer the end of the expansion.

    Unless of course, they reintroduced gating. I would not oppose this, but it would mean enforced runs for all alts or new characters in the old content to progress their locks through each tier until they’re caught up.

    Although really I think that 13 ilvl’s between tiers is not a problem. The problem Wrath had with 13 ilvl gaps was that you had: 10m, 25m/10m heroic and 25m heroic at each tier.

    Meaning that the actual progression path instead of being 10m-10m heroic-next tier 10m (and the same, seperately, for 25m) ended up being: 10m -> 25m -> 10m heroic -> 25m heroic.

    Meaning within a single tier you could leap a huge number of ilvls (to use T10 as example, you could go from 251 -> 264 -> 277, 26 ilvls in a single tier. xD

    Cataclysm 10m and 25m will drop the same loot. 10m heroic and 25m heroic will be the same loot. So instead of having 26 ilvl gaps between tiers, it really will only be 13. (Well, actually it might be higher, but it’ll be the cata equivalent of 13, and not 2x as much as intended like we have in Wrath)

  4. Lujanera says:

    I can see two other very interesting effects of reducing the ilevel gap between tiers:

    1) ilevel would no longer dominate itemization. Often enough, the large increase in stats from one tier to another would be greater than the gains in finding ideally itemized gear. Even when a 264 item has a bad socket bonus and too much haste, it may still be better for a disc priest than a nicely set up 251 item.

    2) Following on from #1, Gearscore might be a weaker indicator of gear quality than it presently is. This might have interesting effects on raid pug formation since making intelligent choices about hit/haste/crit balance might be more important than simply saying “264>251”. I think this is unlikely to happen, though, since it appears Blizzard is trying to bring the value of various stats closer together in the upcoming expansion.

  5. BobTurkey says:

    @Naithin – good point about difficulty, although i’ll be surprised if the first raid in cataclysm isn’t pretty easy like Naxx was.

    @Lujabera – good point. I remember wearing a wands with hit rating for most of my time even though they had big chunks of hit rating on them.

    I’m not sure I agree about the stat part though. They have if anything simplified (reduced number of stats) it but magnified the difference between them. For example for priests intellect is very powerful (more so than Wrath), while mastery and haste are less so (than Wrath).

    Gobble gobble.

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