World of Warcraft, 28.06.2016

How Titanforged Items Will Affect Raiding

The first titanforged items from the Emerald Nightmare LFR dropped on Beta this weekend and a lot of confusion kicked in, as players wondered how high itemlevels will rise. Well the good news is: Titanforged will not kill Mythic raiding. Not completely.

Basic Introduction to Titanforged Items

For those not following the Beta very closely, here are the basics: Legion will introduce Titanforged items. Those are basically Warforged items but with a much greater upgrade in itemlevel. Almost every item you can get from endgame content (world quests, Raids, Dungeons, PvP crates) can have an upgrade to it’s itemlevel in +5 intervals. Items with +5 and +10 bonus are flagged Warforged, everything beyond is called Titanforged.

To ensure a proper balance, there will be a cap for upgrades around 850 within the first weeks of the new expansion and a cap at 895 once Mythic Raids and Mythic+ Dungeons are open. Every item that can get an upgrade will have a “+” attached to it’s base itemlevel in the dungeon journal or in quest texts.

LFR Loot Can Have Higher Itemlevel Than Mythic

Applied to the base itemlevels of the first raid instance in Legion (The Emerald Nightmare) this means, that loot from LFR can have a higher itemlevel than a basic mythic item without upgrade.

Itemlevel Range across all difficulties in the first Legion raid instance

Itemlevel Range across all difficulties in the first Legion raid instance

Items from mythic difficulty will have a base itemlevel of 880, titanforged LFR items can have 895. If you stop reading here, you probably will believe, that Blizzard just has killed Mythic raiding. When LFR players can get the same itemlevel as mythic raiders, what’s the point with mythic raiding at all?

Well, they haven’t. The system will work in +5 intervals with a decreasing chance for an upgrade with every added interval. Assistant Game Director Ian Hazzikostas – who did a long bluepost on the topic last night – simplifies it as follows:

When generated, these items have a chance to roll a +5 item level bonus. If that roll succeeds, the system rolls again for another +5 bonus. If that succeeds, it rolls again. This process continues until an upgrade roll fails or the global item-level ceiling is reached. That’s it.

So yes: players can get the very best possible items from LFR. But the chance is ridiculously low.

How Will This System Affect (Mythic) Raiding

It will have some positive and negative effects on raiding in general. Let’s dive in:

Effects on Balancing

With the global cap at 895 and the decreasing chance of high upgrades on low difficulties, balancing current and future content is quite easy for the developers. Hardcore raiders with multiple farm kills on mythic encounters will soon settle around 890 or higher, depending on how long the content runs. However the gap to more casual raiders won’t be as large as it was in previous expansions. A guild which only can manage doing heroic raids because of a missing playerbase or skill, will have a chance on higher itemlevels in the long run. This probably could make systems like Valor upgrades obsolete, as weaker guilds can outgear content slowly but constantly by raising their overall itemlevel every week.

This is cleary a positive effect for the complete raiding playerbase.

Rewards for Mythic Raiders

Of course there are some downsides to this Titanforged thing. The fact, that LFR can drop items as good as on mythic raids at least feels bad for every hardcore raider. If you want to be salty you can turn it this way: there is no exclusive reward for mythic raiders left in the game. Well be salty then!

The truth is: if you want to have the best possible gear in the game, you still will have to raid on mythic difficulty. The dropchance for a full Titanforged item on LFR will be so low that there won’t be a single character in whole Azeroth with an itemlevel of 895 which was solely farmed in LFR. Doing mythic raids will reward you 880 items from the start and you will need much fewer attempts to reach BiS gear than on any other difficulty.

Effects on the Progress Race: Farm Everything

For those people who are participating in the progress race for world first or on a smaller scale on their region or realm however, the new Titanforged system will have a big negative impact: If you are serious about squeezing every tiny bit of performance out of your character, you will have to clear every raid and mythic dungeon on every difficulty, every reset. And after that, you will probably do 5 man heroic instances, which do not have a loot lockout.

Of course, this was done in the past as well for trinkets or set pieces. But those were farmed out after a couple of IDs or splitruns. This time it looks like we will do those clears for a much longer period than before. If you would describe yourself as such a type of raider, be sure to get your priorities right: farming Artifact Power will most likely increase your characters power much more effectively than running Heroic 5 mans all night long.

Time /played Not Skill is Rewarded

However, this Titanforged System makes one very bad shift: more than ever before, not playerskill but /played time is rewarded. A player who can afford doing instances all day long will end up on better gear than someone who can’t put the same amount of time into the game. Of course, this is totally fine to a certain point for a MMO. And with play time comes practice and that might increase skill. But maybe Blizzard has taken it too far this time. We have seen many of the top guilds stepping down in raiding hours lately and this content will probably bring up some new faces in the top ranks: simply because they can play longer hours than others.