When Blizzard announced some time ago that the tier sets and their bonuses would celebrate their return in the course of WoW Shadowlands, not only we, but the vast majority of players thought it was good. Azerite armor or the half-baked raid sets from the recent past were simply not a satisfactory alternative to the iconic and class-tailored sets. In the past, these set bonuses also ensured that the way individual classes played changed in the middle of the expansion, which kept the specs in question fresh. Then, as the developers did in Patch 9.2 plan to link set bonuses to the respective areas or other content, this is of course particularly good.
Animal sets for everyone!
Now, in the upcoming update, the developers are going a slightly different way than in the past. Because the tier sets will soon be playable via other content than just the raid. However, this is not entirely new. Already in Wrath of the Lichking it was possible to buy individual animal set items via tokens that were earned in heroic dungeons. Patch 9.2 now goes one step further and ensures that everyone who invests a little time gets their hands on the iconic parts. How exactly this will happen is not yet clear in detail, but will be related to the Chriffren der Erste and the new progress system in Zereth Mortis.
That in itself was enough to annoy some long-established raiders. Again, the raid is being devalued a little more compared to other content – one often heard from the community. And that is in principle also correct. Raiden is no longer the only demanding content in the endgame besides PvP. That was the case many, many years ago, but it was done with the introduction of the Mythic Plus dungeons at the latest.
Absolutely okay if …
Personally, I don’t think that’s really bad. If others get something that I already have, then that doesn’t bother me at all in my gaming experience. Although I have to say that I would actually have liked it if they had separate raid and dungeon sets. That would eventually ensure that the spoils from Content X are also the best armor for Content X. A principle that Blizzard actually wanted to pursue and which will probably be forgotten a few months later.
There are, however, a few things that would actually bother me a lot later on. So I hope Blizzard will adhere to a few principles:
Raiders get it completely and the fastest from the raid!
For me, that is the first and most important principle. If the developers now want to take this detour to ensure that ambitious raiders have to grind some other content again in order to get their important sets quickly and effectively, then I not only find that not okay, but also feel like a finger in the direction the raid community. Because in that case it is no longer the case that others also get something, but it feels as if the raiders got something taken away. Of course, that’s not really the case, but that doesn’t make the feeling any better. You shouldn’t forget that as a raider you have to grind often and a lot anyway because of other things.
The system of frost brands at that time in WotLK was actually quite fair. You got your items in the raid and could complete your set with frost tokens from the individual bosses or a heroic dungeon during the day. Hours of grind in Zereth Mortis, on the other hand, does not necessarily have to be.
Animal set items are FIXED items with no variations!
One point in the announcement and the subsequent interview that we had with John Hight and Jeremy Feasel gives me gloomy premonitions. It was conveyed that the new cipher system can also be used to create a tier set item without a raid. You can “upgrade” existing items to set items via a new and unspecified system.
Jeremy Feasel: “… to be able to unlock the ability to turn any item, that you get, that is on an appropriate item level and an upgradable item, into a class set.”
If that means what I fear, then it works in principle exactly the same as with the pedestals, which I can clap on every item of the season so that the item can carry a gem. Instead of a base, it just gets the set bonus.
That would be the absolute worst case for me. Because it would mean that I (and pretty much every other player too) no longer want the four or five set pieces from the raid. Instead, I want the one item from some dungeon with the perfect values on it and then make that a set item. The farm effort for the best equipment would be gigantic and in the worst case I would need several more so that I can change permanently – be it because of the stats or because of the two legendarys.
And what about the optics? I then have upgraded 08/15 armor that has set bonuses. Super. Not!
Instead, the items should be “transformed” rather than “upgraded” via whatever new system.
All of my fears can of course be invalidated or circumvented by a good design on the part of the developer. But let’s be honest, I probably wouldn’t have these fears if the developers had elegantly avoided such faux pas and pitfalls in the past. However, I am optimistic that if in doubt, they will listen to feedback from PTR players on these issues. After all the announcements in this regard, the last drop of confidence would otherwise be gone.
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