Around the middle and end of Cataclysm, it was discovered that Dev discussions regarding the idea of a “gear crunch” were circulating. In brief the main idea behind this “crunch” was to scale the stats on gear to artificially bring down player healing and damage numbers. The ultimate aim was to attempt to decrease the overall “numbers” that a player put out when going from levels 60 to 70, 70 to 80 and 80 to 90 respectively. The reason cited by Blizzard was that as numbers got higher and higher, the data that needed to be processed by the servers would continue to increase at a drastic rate. Ultimately it was decided that the servers Blizzard had could cope and the idea was not brought up again.
Now, we’ve possibly seen an early test of this gear crunch in the form of iLvl scaling, in Challenge modes and soon in Battlegrounds. As Blizzard scales the iLvl on gear, it also has a direct effect on our damage or healing. It’s allowed them to extend content such as challenge modes and gave them greater control over the whole PvE/PvP debate. So it seems like they are working towards a gear/iLvl crunch of some sort…but there’s one thing that says otherwise…The loot system in MoP…let me explain:
Artificial iLvl acceleration
In the course of a raid tier, a raider can gear in a few ways:
- Valor items
- Running raids
- Running LFR
- Running world bosses
- Buying/crafting gear
- Bonus for rolls
Now, of these 6 things, 3 will eventually result in gear outside of the normal raid boss drops (if you consider world bosses the same as normal raid bosses).
In terms of iLvl, Tier 15 LFR gear is roughly on par or better (stats wise) then heroic Tier 14 gear. This means that a new alt can gear up fast through LFR and has almost no reason to do tier 14 content once they reach iLvl 480.
Valor items are basically used as filler for gear slots. If you can’t find a suitable item in your raids, you can fill that gap with a valor item. And of course Bonus rolls give you a second shot at gear from a boss. Three or more times a week.
What does this all mean? In short, characters are gearing up extremely fast. Now this is by no means bad, in fact I suspect the reason Blizzard implemented the bonus roll system was do we spent less time on farm bosses and pushed forward quicker. This was to compensate for the shorter time we’d be spending on each tier.
So we’re gearing faster…so what… Well…given the iLvl jump from tier 14 to 15, it is significant…especially when we consider that it wasn’t all that long ago Blizzard was talking about a gear crunch. We already have top players in the world pulling close to 1-million crit damage in raids and we’re not even onto the last tier of the expansion.
Why the Dev would do such a total 180 on this…I don’t know, all I can say for now is the numbers are gonna get bigger and more ludicrous…hang onto your hats.
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