Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Well, The Nerfs Are Better This Time Around (5.4.8 SoO Item Level Upgrades)

If you haven't seen this yet...
Gear changes are coming! First, in Patch 5.4.8 (which is currently in testing on the PTR), all upgradable epic items introduced to the game in Patch 5.4 will be given the option to upgrade 2 more times for a grand total of 16 item levels. This change will be applied to all items found on the Timeless Isle and in Siege of Orgrimmar. For instance, if you have an item level 553 Greatsword of Pride’s Fall and its Upgrade Level is 2/2 making it item level 561, once the new patch goes live it will display 2/4 and allow you the opportunity to bump it up to item level 569. Whether you’re working on a newly boosted character or progressing through Siege of Orgrimmar, we hope this change will provide you with the extra punch you need to take down your foes.
In practical terms, here's what it means:

If you've been diligently earning and upgrading gear, the day of the patch you can boost your overall ilvl by 4 by upgrading half of the your items (the most powerful ones first) due to saving 3000 Valor and earning another 1000.  Then you can upgrade the rest over a period of 4 weeks.  This is why I'm guessing that they WON'T reset valor -- so the people who get the biggest benefit are the people who don't need Valor currently (because they've been farming and upgraded their gear already).

If you're progressing constantly still and have pieces you've been upgrading and thus not valor capped, you can still focus your upgrades on more important items (and special items like Warforged which you probably won't replace for a while) but you'll get less of a benefit (but will eventually rise to the same bonus).

If you're undergeared/new, you can focus your upgrades but practically everything needs to be upgraded and will be replaced so you won't get much benefit until your gear is more constant (since you're already desperately spending all valor each week).

Or, in other words, the more stable and upgraded your gear is (which directly correlates to either farming full clears or being stuck on a boss and farming the previous ones for a while) the more of an immediate benefit you'll get.  Over the long time everyone will get the full benefit but you get far less if you're not at the point where you need a nerf to help you get the next boss down.

I'm of three minds on this (yes, three).

First, Blizzard swore they weren't going to do zone-wide nerfs and would instead do targeted nerfs.  So, they lied.  Which is irritating because it makes it very hard to trust anything they say on this sort of thing.

Second, I don't really like the fact that Cutting Edge achievements are going to be available with a further nerfed Garrosh.  A further 8 ilvls across your character is about a 12-16% power increase (more in some cases) which is equivalent to a 11-14% nerf.  Firelands nerfs came way too soon.  Dragon Soul nerfs made the timing of Firelands nerfs look amazing (like 8 weeks with winter holidays during that time).  But now?  We're like eight months into the tier.

If you can earn a Heroic Garrosh kill by the time the patch comes in a few weeks, great.  But still offering it after 9+ months into a tier WITH a 10%+ nerf on top of that seems ridiculous for an achievement that is supposed to be a status symbol which is supposed to make heroic raiders not care as much about nerfs like this!  It's extremely weird. least the way they're going about it is better than anything in the past, for several reasons.  There were three major issues with the zone-wide nerfs.

A. you didn't do anything, it just happened.
B. if you were stuck, better off just waiting for the next 5%.
C. if you just formed a raid and stepped into the content, you benefited from the nerf.  It was meant to be for people who were ALREADY progressing and getting stuck, to push them over the edge...not to help characters who hadn't stepped foot into the zone before.

As you might guess, this method conveniently addresses ALL three of those problems.

A. you have to actually upgrade your items by earning the valor and obtaining the items in the first place.
B. there is no future nerf planned (that we know of and I'm fairly confident there won't be given this nerf) until 6.0, so sitting around won't help.
C. as mentioned above, this benefits people who have been farming/upgrading gear already the most -- it'll barely help a new alt for a long time.  So it will actually help the guilds who need (perhaps even deserve) it the most.

On a side note, I've seen some people suggesting valor upgrades be cut to 125 each or that items drop at 2/4 upgraded already.  This would be a BAD thing because it cuts against the point from earlier -- that this is meant to help the guilds who ALREADY have mostly upgraded gear because they've been progressing and farming.  If you haven't been working on the content then you don't get much of a nerf to the content -- but you WILL if you keep working and farming.  That's the "beauty."

All in all, I'm not thrilled by it (mainly due to Blizzard saying they WOULDN'T do this and because Cutting Edge will still be available) but it doesn't leave as sour a taste in my mouth due to their exact method -- which is massively better than ICC/FL/DS.

Dare I point out, though, that if Blizzard timed their expansions properly that WoD would be out already or out within a month or two and thus this wouldn't even be an necessity?


  1. While I largely agree on points 2 and 3, I disagree with point 1. Watcher said they had no zone-wide aura nerfs planned. This was probably not planned at the time; claiming that they lied is not something you can prove. The wording of the tweet seems quite precise as to give wiggle room here, and they never mentioned that targeted nerfs were the only things they would do either, just perhaps do if they thought it was needed. But if overall progression has stalled and there's no one boss that sticks out...

    Plus if you want to be pedantic, this isn't a zone-wide aura nerf technically. If you don't do anything to upgrade your gear further, you get 0 benefit. It's close, but not quite, as you yourself point out.

    1. By the same argument, they could flat out reduced the HP/damage of every boss by 10% WITHOUT an aura and it *technically* wouldn't have violated their previous statement since there *technically* is no aura.

      But the fundamental point is that they said they would be doing targeted nerfs on specific bosses if there were issues instead of broad nerfs...and then they went ahead and did broad nerfs. Even if you want to claim it *technically* wasn't a lie then at the very least it was misleading. Which still doesn't make it any easier to trust Blizzard on statements like that -- and if you find yourself in a position where you're trying to convince someone that you *technically* didn't lie that's probably a bad thing.

    2. Ignoring the technical point (because yes, you are correct there), plans change. They never promised anything. They just said they didn't have any plans at the time. If we're going to hold them to a higher level of commitment than they're actually making, the devs won't say anything in the future.

    3. I get that plans change, but we got ZERO indication they were even CONSIDERING changing their minds. Went completely 180.

      "Nope, no general nerfs."

      One month later...

      "LAWL, totes general nerfs."

      Even on Twitter Watcher kept talking about how to help people stuck on bosses rather than nerf the raid.

      By the same logic, if Blizzard says "We have no plans to make hunters a tanking/healing class only" that could mean they're considering making hunters a tanking/healing class only and it would be unfair if we objected when they announced they were changing hunters.

      Because they never promised they weren't changing hunters.

      "If we're going to hold them to a higher level of commitment than they're actually making, the devs won't say anything in the future."

      Let me ask you this: if they'll completely 180 a month later on a big issue like this...what good does them saying anything do? We can't trust it at all by your logic, so them saying something means absolutely nothing.

    4. I mean, it just seems like you're saying that unless Blizzard triple pinky promises to do something (or not do something) then we should assume what they said has no meaning because it could easily change the next day or week with no warning.

      I get your general point, but there's a big gap between "It's possible we might do a general nerf but for the moment we have no plans" and "No plans for a general nerf, if anything we might do targeted nerfs."

    5. Given that's basically what Ghostcrawler said every time someone tried to call him out for "promising" something, yeah, I think we're stuck with just assuming they can change their minds at any time unless they triple pinky promise.

      I agree that the generic nerf is definitely a change from their original statement, but I pretty much take every last thing they say with a large grain of salt. This isn't the first time they've 180'd in the span of a month, and won't be the last time.

      Makes me wonder if they really are better off just not talking about their current intentions/thoughts/plans.

    6. "I agree that the generic nerf is definitely a change from their original statement, but I pretty much take every last thing they say with a large grain of salt. This isn't the first time they've 180'd in the span of a month, and won't be the last time."

      I wouldn't be annoyed if they decided to do some targeted nerfs as they mentioned it was a possibility. I wouldn't be annoyed if they mentioned they noticed progression slowly and were considering if they needed to do something. But this just came out of the blue on a major issue -- it's as big of a deal as them coming out and saying "You know how warlocks wanted a tank spec? We're going to give them it."

      "Makes me wonder if they really are better off just not talking about their current intentions/thoughts/plans."

      If they'll change it without warning in a 180 direction...then yeah, better off not talking. Talk WHEN they change something but don't ever say "Our plans are " if you're willing to 180 on that in a short time spawn.