Well, that was nice. For the first time since I took this column over, a sudden change to the information I was talking about happened BEFORE I published the article not a few hours afterward to make me look like a right tit. Feels nice, although I do feel like this is the end of an era somewhat. Yes, this week’s column will be looking at the recent Mythic+ changes as well as the information mined from the new PTR of 7.2.5, so with that, Mythic+ and whether its changes are either the best thing or a nail in WoW coffin.
Recently, Lore took to the forums to announce the upcoming changes to the Keystone system in 7.2.5, the basics of it all can be broken down into the following bullet points:
- Completing the run on time will have the same results it currently does in 7.2: you’ll get a new Keystone for a random dungeon that’s 1-3 levels higher than the one you just completed, based on how quickly you finished.
- If you complete the dungeon but don’t make the timer, you’ll get a Keystone for a random dungeon that’s 1 level lower than the one you just used.
- If you don’t complete the dungeon at all, you’ll have a Keystone for the same dungeon that’s one level lower than the one you just used.
First of all, these changes are solid and in my opinion needed. While being punished for failing on the timer always felt like the intended method of risk vs reward, depleting a key for someone disconnecting or just trolling (I lost a +14 this way once) was always a sore point and a massive negative for the M+ system that made pugging in any context a risk, especially on the higher difficulties. The punishment for failing or missing the timer, on the other hand, is still a setback especially if the loot you want is from that particular M+ since the stone you get for losing will still be random and worst case, your group can quit and go out and back in at the lower keystone (you can still go into the lower KS and hope for some titanforging luck).
However, one change made wasn’t as well received. You see, that is not the only Mythic+ change being made:
- You no longer receive additional chests at the end of a run for completing it quickly.
- When you finish a Mythic+ dungeon, the chest at the end will contain two items and an appropriate amount of Artifact Power.
- If you beat the timer, regardless of how quickly, there will be the third item in the chest.
- Keystones can still upgrade by 2 or 3 steps, so you can quickly get to a difficulty level appropriate for you.
This overall for lower level groups will end up being a nerf to the total amount of loot gained from a 3-chest clear on the current build, and as we all know, less loot usually equals a bunch of people on the forums going bat guano crazy and throwing their waste at the walls while howling like spider monkeys.
It seems that the changes themselves are being made to stop people from just languishing at the 6-8 level of Mythic+ and hoping for a titanforge, rather they are aimed at players trying to get their keystones higher and higher with lower risks for failure and more loot at the levels where people usually only get 1 chest anyway, which is usually after 10+.
For players dedicated to progressing in Mythic+ these changes will no doubt be a big help as players will find themselves being rewarded much more for playing higher and higher and large risks will not have as big of a setback when something goes wrong. While this will eventually signal the end of the 3 chest boost groups, players at lower end gear will have a much easier time finding these groups as players with better gear will end up having a much better time in higher end dungeons, especially after the launch of 7.2.5 and the increases of the top item level keystone from +10 to +15.
This has been confounded this week by the addition of a new stipulation for players past the threshold of +15, updated today by Lore, the new change states:
One additional change we’re making that should hit in the next PTR build, with the goal of providing some extra incentive to run difficulties past the item level cap.
For every Keystone level above 15, you’ll have an increasing chance for the final chest to contain additional loot. This chance scales linearly will roll over past 100% and accumulates pretty quickly: at level 20, you’ll be guaranteed 4 pieces of loot, plus a 5th if you beat the timer.
Pushing the difficulty higher and higher will now be the imperative for getting more loot rather than just finishing it faster.
While these changes are controversial, I personally am actually a fan of them. The change from time-based loot to completion lets newer players, or just less experienced ones, have a much better reason for digging into the mid-tier of the M+ systems as less high geared players will be taking up the spots for fast 3 chest farms. Add to this the total amount of loot is still up in the air as this is, after all, an upcoming feature rather than one set in stone, so the amount of loot given for a completion could go up as of the time of writing (and probably will now I’ve said that).
But at least now it seems there is less need to just do one 10+ per week for the weekly chest and forget about the rest.
PTR – Build 24076
We also saw a new PTR build land this week. While not a massive patch, it does add several new features and items that have the community talking. The full notes and various data mining can be found at MMOChampion here as copy pasting them will just make my editor want to punch me.
But the highlights of the patch are as follows:
Heirloom Upgrades and Flight Plan Toys
Two new upgrade items for leveling heirlooms have been added for players to unlock heirlooms from level 100 to 110, these items cost 5000g for armor and 7500g for weapons for players who for some reason haven’t realized they have artifacts now. In addition to this, a new set of toys coming in at 15000g each have been added that allow players to teach alts every flight plan in the Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor. There are 4 of these; two for Horde, and two for the Alliance.
Set Tier Bonus Changes
This one is a looooong list but a few classes will have their old set bonuses from tier 19 nerfed, such as Ret Paladins going from 10% on Holy Power spenders to 7%, in order to lessen the need to keep ahold of their old lower ilvl tier in the next tier of raids and beyond, as well as big changes for several tier 20 set bonuses, including Shadow Priests who went from having the worst set bonuses possibly ever with increased damage and cooldown reduction of Shadow Fiend, one of the least interesting cooldowns in the game, to having possibly the best:
- Item – Priest T20 Shadow 2P Bonus NYI – Mind Flay damage increases the damage of your next Mind Blast by 3% and its Insanity generation by 100. Stacks up to 10 times.
- Item – Priest T20 Shadow 4P Bonus NYI – Insanity drains 25% slower while in Void form.
While these are not yet implemented for testing, 25% slower Void Form insanity drain is an insanely powerful new addition which I can see being nerfed to 15% before it hits live servers. All of these changes are, again, on the test realm so expect them to constantly be in flux. Offer your feedback to Blizzard as ever if the changes are good or bad and try and do it without screaming like an infant this time guys.
Diablo-Style Legendary Rings
The final, and perhaps most interesting, change comes with the new class legendary rings added in the new build that, rather than buffing a spell or adding a new effect, grant players a talent from their tree, allowing them to have two from that slot.
Currently, only a handful of classes have these rings and even so they seem to not yet be in working order (the Demon Hunter one is activating the wrong talent, for instance) so complete feedback on them is not yet something I am comfortable giving at the moment but the idea of them has me intrigued. The legendary system has been a mixed bag of angry ferrets so far, being either great or the worst depending on your class, spec, and loyalty to RNGesus, praise be the mighty roller of dice, but adding a way to alter your spec as a whole rather than just fiddle with your spells individually or offer a flat buff is an interesting take that works well in Diablo.
I will wait and see before I pass judgment on these but personally I’m just happy I’m not a theory crafter because the idea of having to work out if a second talent or a buffing legendary is higher DPS scares me somewhat.Related: Blizzard Entertainment, Legion, MMORPG, PTR, PvE, World of Warcraft, WoW Wednesday