Tier what?

In the coming patch, we have three new ilevels of loot from the Coliseum, namely 232, 245 and 258. Currently we dont know which of the four modes will feature which ilevels of loot. It is easy to assume that the loot will be arranged as: 10<10hard/25<25hard. In other words, 10-man raids will be a full tier below the 25-man loot. In fact, WoWInsider made a very nice table that shows it.

Like most other people are sure to, I looked it over and thought “looks reasonable”, but deep down in my subconscious mind gears were ticking. At first glance, the table seems entirely reasonable, until you take a look at the ilevels themselves. It is worth noting, that when Blizzard announced the level difference between sets, they were also careful to say that they wanted to avoid ilevel inflation. Even so, they have approached this two-tiered system in a very inconsistent manner.

Ilevel difference between Naxx10 and Naxx 25 is 13 ilevels. Ilevel difference between Ulduar10 and Ulduar 25 is 7 ilevels, except for weapons which is 13 ilevels. Between T7 and T8 there is 19 ilevels, but between T7.5 and T8.5 there is only 13. Conversely, if we accept the arrangement as suggested by WoWInsider, there is 13 ilevels between T8 and T9, but 19 ilevels between T8.5 and T9.5. Confused yet? I know I am.

Further, Ulduar 10 Hard is 7 ilevels above Ulduar 10 while Ulduar 25 Hard is 13 ilevels above Ulduar 25 (except for weapons, where the difference is 7 ilevels).

Now, it’s entirely possible to say “that’s Blizzard fixing their own inconsistencies” and be totally correct. Provided that WoWInsider is correct, we have a constant separation of 13 ilevels between tiers of loot. Suppose that this is the case. And that the difference between tiers will remain 13 ilevels. The result will be that 10-man T10 is going to be the equivalent of 25-man T9 from hardmodes. What that means, is that a hardmode T9 25-man raider will be fully geared for Icecrown Citadel, in fact they will be geared as if they have it on farm, before they have even started the instance. Unless of course Blizzard decide to make another quantum leap up the ilevel ladder.

Alternatively, T9 hard will be equal to T10 normal, for both 10 and 25 man versions. This doesn’t seem to make much sense however, since it’ll mean that people who have done hardmodes will find few to no upgrades in the next level of raiding. I doubt it’ll happen this way since it would trivialise the progression in the next raiding instance, something I think Blizzard wants to avoid in the interest of keeping their raiders busy for longer.

So, to sum up the situation. Hard mode ilevels started out as having about half the improvement that a full tier had. Come patch 3.2 they’ll be a full tier above the normal mode loot. Which means 2 effective levels of difference between T9 and T9.5hard. Furthermore, if the 13 ilevels between tiers is correct, T10 10-man normal loot will be equal in level to T9.5 25-man hardmode.

A few questions spring to mind at this stage:

  • Is it intended that 10-man raids be used as gearing up raids?
  • Is it intended that the challenges in 10-man raids be faced with 25-man geared people?
  • Will the ilevel separation remain at 13 for T10 or will they institute a bigger jump to create complete separation from the tiers?
  • If the previous question is answered with “yes” or “13”, will ilevel caps be instituted for 10-man raids and/or their achievements?

The answers to all of the above are still very much up in the air. In time, they will be answered of course, but for now all we can do is speculate. What do you think?


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