- Author: Passion
- Date: January 4, 2023
- Expansion: WotLK Classic
Something players have been asking for since the announcement of increased item levels for Ulduar is a bigger buff to Tier pieces. Currently Ulduar 25 drops items between item level 232 and 252, with the latter being reserved for hard modes and the final few bosses. Tier sets notably fall at the lower end of this scale, being exclusively item level 232. This makes them 20 item levels lower than the best gear available.
Together with this, set bonuses have also for the most part not been adjusted. As an example, the Shadow Priest Tier 8 set has gone from item level 226 to 232, but its 4-piece chance on hit of 240 Haste is still identical. This doesn’t make Tier sets wasted, and some or maybe even most classes will want to use them either because they don’t have access to Hard Mode items, or simply for set bonuses.
A Blue Post by Aggrend covers a lot of the thought process behind not buffing Tier sets further. The primary reasoning comes down to the difficulty of gearing an entire raid in item level 252 gear from Hard Modes. A lot of raids will simply be unable to clear all Hard Modes, and those that do will still have to appropriately distribute the limited loot from them.
This is an important consideration that a lot of players fail to take into account. Item level 252 gear is sparse. There may be an option for every slot, but you have to compete with everyone else that can use it, as well as even have it drop.
Tier sets are going to drop, they are guaranteed. They might not be for the right class, but every week you will get a steady stream of them, giving players a simple route for gearing, even if it won’t last the entire Phase.
The full post and explanation by Aggrend can be found below.
We talked about this a fair amount before the holidays and sort of went back and forth about what to do with Tier Sets, and in the end, we’ve decided that it will not see any further adjustments past the normal 6 item level bump. There were definitely proponents of buffing it further on our team internally and we’d like to share some of the reasoning why we are leaving it the way it is. For simplicity I am only going to make reference to 25-player item levels for the remainder of this post.
When discussing this internally, one thing we kept coming back to was that, for most guilds, the jump from 232 to 252 will not be quick and most groups can expect to be wearing a lot of 232 gear for most of the time that Ulduar is current content. The reason for this is twofold;
- The hard modes are actually fairly hard and clearing all of them week 1 is not a given for all guilds. Some will clear them all quickly, most will not.
- Ulduar is not itemized like ToC and ICC heroic are, e.g. there is not a full hard mode loot table for every boss, and when you complete a hard mode kill, you will only recieve a single extra piece of ilvl 252 loot from most bosses.
This means that if you are looking at your BiS list and plan on getting a full set of 252 gear, and if you assume every other person in your 25 player raid wants the same, you’ll be looking at over 33 weeks of full clearing all hard modes to fully gear your raid out in 252. This is also assuming zero “waste” in terms of disenchanting duplicate or unwanted items.
I think some folks have been looking at the 252 gear and fixating on that as they are thinking of their BiS lists. In reality however, some of those 252 pieces will be “chase” items you may be seeking for many weeks or months and may never get based on RNG or loot competition. And really, that’s fine. That’s a very “classic” model and gearing up first in 232 and then slowly replacing those pieces with the rare but highly desirable 252 gear should give the gear progression in Ulduar a long and satisfying arc. This is how this worked in the original Ulduar as well, the only difference being that hard mode items were perhaps not as compelling considering their modest power gain over normal, especially when compared to the very significant increase in challenge for Hard Mode bosses.
So, could we have bumped tier to keep it relevant longer? Yes, but ultimately, we are increasing player power significantly as it is, and we feel like we are in a really nice place when you combine the pre-nerf boss difficulty with the ilvl bumps we have now. Hard modes will be really, really, hard for many guilds coming into ulduar in mostly full 213 gear but will get steadily easier as 232 gear is gathered. If we inject too much more power past that 6 ilvl normal jump or add additional drops to hard modes as some players have suggested, it could cut the legs off of that Hard Mode progression much faster than we’d like.
Time will tell how it actually plays out, but for now, the team is very happy with the difficulty vs. reward within Ulduar in general. It’s likely your tier set gear isn’t your ultimate BiS for the phase, but it may still last you many weeks or months while you work towards those hard mode items and are waiting your turn to get them. We think that will feel pretty good and provide a great sense of progression within the phase as you take those stepstone upgrades.
I hope that helps clarify our thoughts on this. Sorry for the length of this post and thank you for taking the time to read it. In previous communications we stated we’d like to spend more time explaining the “why” behind certain decisions, and as we’ve seen a lot of debate about this issue, we felt this was a good topic to chime in on. We really appreciate the feedback we’ve gotten for Ulduar so far and are super excited to see it go live in the not-too-distant future.
Thanks to everyone who joined us on PTR for Ulduar testing and we hope everyone had a great holiday!