I saw this coming a while back and even posted on Reddit recently kind of hinting at the issue but not quite sure how to put it so I simply asked “where does Blizzard get their item levels?” I even asked “How did we manage to get as high as 403 (patch 4.3)?” iLevels were somewhat respective of their levels and now at level 85 we’re at 400+… it just seemed weird levelling up a new toon and going from blues at 58 to greens at 61 that were 50 iLevels higher instead of just a linear line. I knew that tiers etc played a role in this, but I’d wondered why they hadn’t resolved it on each concurrent expansion.
Blizzard posted a Dev Watercooler blog post about this exact issue today.
That’s the current trend of item levels vs player levels. You can easily see the little upward bend at each expansion level cap where there will be tiers of gear. And rightfully so, you don’t want to max out and have no gear or goal to work towards. You also don’t want to have slightly better gear to work towards. The reward needs to be obtainable and it needs to be worthwhile. So you may have a 50-iLevel jump from 70 greens to 70 tier gear… and on top of that there’s higher tiers and higher iLevels of gear above and beyond your entry-level epics.
Now with the iLevel starting at 400+ in the next expansion, Blizz doesn’t want level-85 players to have a reasonable shot at level-90 dungeons and raids (or PvP opponents) just because that content is balanced for gear & isn’t much better than what the level-85 players have. So they’re going to have to continue this trend or do something about it. There are two ideas floating around at Blizz and they’re the Mega-Damage solution and the Item-Squash Solution.
Mega Damage Solution
“The first solution could include changes like adding commas and the like to large numbers. We could also compress all of those 1000s to Ks and all of those 1,000,000s to Ms, much like we do with boss health today. Internally, we have been calling this the “Mega Damage solution” because instead of your Fireball hitting for 6,000,000 damage, it would hit for 6 MEGA DAMAGE (queue the Arcanite Ripper guitar solo).”
Another issue with this is computers are going to have to compute calculations in the tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands every second instead of the hundreds or thousands. Even today, tanks can hit the ten digit threat cap on some encounters.
This one I’m more in favor of… although I think with people leaving wow left and right would probably seal the deal for a lot of folks and cause a lot of them to quit…. I highly doubt we’ll be seeing this solution, but nevertheless here it is. Not doing this, however could lead to the need for scientific notations for damage outputs.
The above image represents the proposed change. They would compress the big item level increases that occur at level 60, 70, 80 and 85. The Mists of Pandaria gear would still grow exponentially from patch to patch, but the baselines would be a lot lower. Health could go from 150,000 back down to something like 20,000. The big risk of this approach is that players will log into the new expansion and feel nerfed… even if all the other numbers are compressed as well.
“In other words, your Fireball will still do the same percentage damage to a player or a creature that it does today, but the number would be smaller. Logically, this seems like it would work, and it does. But it feels weird. When we tried this internally, everyone agreed that it just felt off throwing a spell for hundreds of damage when you are used to it doing thousands of damage.”
So then what does that mean?…
They’re going to have to come up with some sort of a solution or just continue to find ways to glaze it over and band-aid it together until the game has lost enough players that it doesn’t really matter.
What do you think is a good solution? What do you think should be done, if anything?