Tokens for Tier

Start with the tangent: Rag down! Unfortunately post-nerf but still down. Next raid in review I’ll talk about the post-nerf vibe.

Everyone is abuzz about T13 gear not being available through Valor Point purchase in 4.3, it will only be available through raiding.

Warning: long post.

Before I get into my thoughts on it, I realized that the only place I had seen this tidbit was in a paraphrased article on MMO Champ so I had to track down the original leak. There are blue references on the forums to it, but it’s not part of any official announcement I could find. The MMO article did link back to an interview between Greg Street (Ghostcrawler) and Ten Ton Hammer. This appears to be the source.

The Blue Words

Per GC in the TTH interview:

One of the different things about the rewards this time around is all of the tier sets are in the raid itself. Players won’t be able to use Valor Points to buy stuff this time around, they actually need to defeat the raid bosses. That gear will drop on the first couple of bosses and, in the grand tradition of Warcraft bosses, Deathwing only drops weapons and these weapons are slightly more powerful than the rest of the raid tier in terms of item level.

From Zarhym on the official forums:

Ultimately, we recognize that making these set pieces available only as raid drops leaves players much more subject to RNG drop rates/loot rolls, but we have a couple of plans to try and alleviate the sense of burden that stems from the randomness of token drops.

The way tier 13 pieces will be obtained in the 4.3 raid won’t be unlike raids past, meaning players will still need to roll on multi-class set tokens. That said, we’ll be tweaking the tier 13 10-player drop rates a little bit (for the better) relative to the 25-player version, given that these tier pieces can’t be purchased from vendors for Valor Points.

In addition, due to tier pieces not being offered for Valor Points, another thing you’ll see in patch 4.3 is a much wider array of desirable non-set loot (covering more slots than prior patches) available from the vendors, for those players who are unlucky with specific token drops, or who aren’t interested in raiding — although, once you get more details about the Raid Finder, we hope you’ll find interest in having a go.

I felt this warranted its own response in a separate thread, but for those who missed it, here’s my response to the original thread about tier 13 pieces being raid drops only:

“Keep in mind we do intend to allow tier 13 set pieces to drop for those using the upcoming Raid Finder. Similar to the difference between normal and Heroic versions of tier sets, the Raid Finder set will have a lower item level than the normal and Heroic counterparts.

Set pieces from all three difficulty levels can still be mixed and matched for the 2- and 4-piece bonuses.”

To summarize:

  • Valor points will not be used to acquire tier, but will most likely be used to purchase filler for many gear slots while we are waiting for the RNG gods to favor us with the correct tier token dropping and then winning the roll.
  • They are increasing the drop rate of tier tokens for 10-man raids.
  • Tokens should be dropping early in the raid (first few bosses).
  • You will be able to get T13 tokens from the Raid Finder.
  • Including the RF set, there will be 3 different ilevel tier sets. They can be mixed and matched for set bonuses.
  • There have also been hints that we will be able to participate in full raids with our guilds AND use the RF to get in the same raid in the same lockout period (much how the dungeon tool today allows you to specific-queue for a dungeon and may give you that dungeon again randomly in the same day).

Personal Tier History

Looking at posts around that time frame, I was raiding Naxx 25 on a fairly regular basis, even leading PUG raids for it. “New” Naxx was my first raid, having gotten a late start on the whole “end game” thing.

I wasn’t entirely happy about the emblem change then, but since I didn’t have the years of hardcore 40-man raiding behind me, I didn’t feel it fair for me to really strike out strongly against Blizzard about the change of making tier available for purchase. But tier was my personal sacred cow. It is my personal proof that I had been there, done that, and triumphed. Or at least was in T7… since then it’s just been proof that I can do heroic dungeons.

Tier 7 through 12 History

Tier 7 – 10 and 25-man sets. All 5 pieces were available through boss drops in Naxx. Gloves could also be obtained from Sartharion. Gloves and legs could drop off Archavon. 10-man gloves and chest could be purchased with Emblems of Heroism and 25-man legs and shoulders could be purchased with Emblems of Valor.

Tier 8 – 10 and 25-man sets. All 5 pieces were available through boss drops in Ulduar. Emalon could drop gift gloves or legs. 25-man head and chest could be purchased with Emblems of Conquest.

Tier 9 – 3 sets: T9 (ilevel 232) available through Justice Points, gloves and legs from Koralon for 10-man; T9 (ilevel 245) from Justice Points AND a trophy drop from either 10-man heroic or 25-man, gloves and legs from Koralon 25-man; T9 (ilevel 258) purchased with armor tokens (non-slot specific) from 25-heroic.

Tier 10 – 3 sets again: T10 (ilevel 251) available through Justice Points, gloves and legs from Toravon 10-man; T10 (ilevel 264) required 251 piece AND a Mark of Sanctification, gloves and legs from Toravon 25-man; T10 (ilevel 277) required the 264 piece AND the heroic mark to upgrade.

Tier 11 – return to 2 sets: normal and heroic, regardless of 10 or 25 raid size; normal head and shoulders from BWD/BoT with the other 3 only available from Justice Points, Al’Akir eventually “tuned” to drop random pieces, gloves and legs had a small chance to drop off Argaloth; heroic pieces only available from heroic raid bosses, all are specific tokens except from Al’Akir (Essence of the Forlorn could be turned in for any slot).

Tier 12 – normal and heroic sets, identical pattern to T11: normal head and shoulder from FL, rest from Valor Points, small chance for Occu’thar to drop gloves and legs; all heroic tokens are from heroic bosses. No “all-slot” item type token available.

So that Tier 13…

We’re back to 3 sets, a la Tier 9 and 10 (one from the RF, one for normal, and one for heroic). We’re back to availability of all pieces from raiding just like Tier 7 and 8 or Tier 11 and 12 heroic.

They have stated that we’ll still have the multi-class token system.

I’m fine with the class tokens. It does mean that it is possible for our hunter to go another tier without ever seeing his shoulders, but it also breaks up the rolls a bit. My biggest problem with the trophies in tier 9 was that everyone was rolling on every trophy. Sure, no trophy ever really went to waste, but depending on loot distribution systems, it was possible for people to get completely cockblocked. At least with class tokens it limits every single drop going to the same people. Unless they’re really lucky with their token dropping all the damn time.

They have NOT stated (and this is where I think they have an opportunity to squelch a lot of potential grief and gnome sacrifices to the RNG gods) that the tokens will be slot-specific.

What I would love to see is a class-token for any slot, like Tier 10 upgrades were.

Theoretical example time.

Let’s say that the first 5 bosses drop class and slot specific tokens. So Boss 1 drops a glove token, boss 2 is legs, boss 3 chest, boss 4 shoulders, and boss 5 is helm. Let’s assume that we down the first boss in the first week and add a new boss to the repertoire every week, taking 5 weeks to learn and down all 5. Let’s also assume that we somehow have the magic raid composition to match the tokens that drop and no tokens are wasted until each individual has at least 1 of each spot. And we’ll also assume that the helm (last piece to be dropped) is not BiS for any of the raiders. And since we don’t have any new numbers, we’ll stick with our 1 tier token per 10-man boss. And we’ll exclude the chance at extra RF drops.

If no tokens are wasted, all bosses are downed each week in an ascending pattern, and no one needs the helm, it will take 13 weeks to gear a 10-man raid in 4-piece. A little over 3 months. In a perfect world.

If they need the helm, add just 1 week for there to have been 10 helm token drops. Not too bad.

BUT. That’s assuming that no tokens are wasted. And that a new boss is added steadily each week.

We know that class-specific tokens eventually start favoring one mark or completely excluding another. Every guild has their horror story of that tier where Conq/Prot/Vanq NEVER dropped.

It may be a few weeks before the next boss is conquered. The first boss will soon become, “Pally/priest/warlock gloves *again*. All the pallies have prot/heal/ret gloves, the priests have heal/DPS… we have no warlock tonight… roll for vendor!”

If the drops are open for any of the 5 slots, at least a third of the raid has a chance at getting geared – and getting their Best in slot is not dependent on the raid being able to down a specific boss.

Assuming no tokens are wasted with this non-slot specific model, it would take only 10 weeks to get 40 tokens to the raid.

BUT AGAIN. That’s assuming that no tokens are wasted. And that a new boss is added steadily each week.

They’ve already threatened that this content will be harder. I don’t recall how long it took us to down the first 5 bosses in FL, but I remember Alysrazor being quite the bitch for some time.

But compare that to the 7 weeks it currently takes with the VP cap at 980 to be able to purchase 3 of your T12 pieces without ever stepping foot in a raid. If you can get lucky on a Majordomo kill, you’re in your 4-piece. (That’s actually how my mage got 4-piece, pugged in a 25-man and got lucky.) Or even easier, get lucky in BH.

And Valor? Or the Raid Finder set?

The gear available from Valor will probably fill most tier slots, I’m thinking everything but shoulder and weapons will have some sort of reasonable filler piece. The trinkets will be OK, but no where near BiS.

I have a sneaking suspicion that to get gear as fast as we could under the VP system, we’ll need to make heavy use of the Raid Finder.

Funny enough, they made 10 and 25 share lockout so that people didn’t feel compelled to run all the content every week and get burned out… guess what we’ll be doing again. Except this time in PUGs!


I appreciate the return of having to raid for my raiding gear.

I think that there does need to be some tweak to the token system to prevent as many wasted tokens as has frustrated players in the past (and was one of the main considerations when they went to a vendor system for gear). My personal preferred method, if they are keeping class-specific tokens, is to make the tokens good for any slot.

I think that the VP gear will be good enough to tide people over until they can get their tier, and will be perfectly serviceable for anyone that doesn’t want to raid.

But I do think that we’ll be pressured into running more content via the Raid Finder to try and close the gap as quickly as possible.

7 comments on “Tokens for Tier

  1. Now that I’ve gotten over my initial shock, I’m going to wait and see the specifics of this before I go full-blown nerdrage, but it still has me very worried. Not limiting tokens to slots is a good idea, and I hope they implement it. It’d help a lot.

    Ultimately, it will all come down to the Raid Finder. If it’s as easy and pain free as the Dungeon Finder, the tier issue likely won’t be too much of a problem for me. But I have my doubts–I’d really like to see it succeed, but raids are very complex, and I don’t know if 25 random people will be able to pull it off. It’ll still really suck for people who don’t want to raid, though.

    I can’t help but wonder what this will do to the Dungeon Finder, too. Tier gear is, at least theoretically, the best there is and is an excellent impetus for people to run dungeons. Despite Blizzard’s assurances, I’m not convinced the non-set valor gear will motivate people very well. The only thing I can see that might do the trick is weapons–and I’m not talking dinky, dungeon-equivalent weapons here; I’m talking the same ilevel as Raid Finder or even normal mode drops.

    I could be wrong. I hope I am–random dungeons are perhaps my favourite part of the game, and they’re pretty much the only thing I can do with my characters at max level, considering I hate PvP and raid PUGs are freakishly rare.

    The one thing that I do keep coming back to that really bothers me about this, though, is the question of, “Why?” What problem does this fix? WotLK let people buy entire sets from emblems, and the game thrived. This all just seems utterly unnecessary.


  2. I suppose the issue of people entering raids unprepared is a valid concern — I’ve often felt that raids aren’t ultimately very challenging but just have an extremely steep learning curve — but I don’t think restricting gear is going to help that. What we need is a better way to train people to raid. The Raid Finder easy mode is the best potential solution to this I’ve seen so far; here’s hoping it actually works.


  3. zarigar says:

    Heh, I read this as Tokens for Tir.

    So, off-tangent, LFR stuff. Are they going to be “easier” than the normal raids or just drop lesser quality stuff? Or both?


    • My assumption has been that the LFR version will be roughly analogous to the nerfed raids, except available immediately. But I don’t really know…

      I know it won’t include raids from previous expansions (sad face), but it might include other Cata raids. I’m not sure. I hope so. I wanna do FL, dagnabbit.


    • Leit says:

      I suspect they’re just going to go the same route of “smaller numbers”. They might nerf the mechanics too – similar to the mechanics differences between HC and Normal – but I really get the impression that this is just to deal with the segment of the population that considers normals too hard and want to casual their way through. As such, I doubt they’d put too much effort into a different experience.

      Then there’s also the issue of player ego. Nerfed numbers? Those happen. But effectively not even doing the same raid? That’s just fodder for elitists to put down LFR players. And there’s also the idea that they wanted LFR to be a training ground, which it patently can’t be if you can’t learn to deal with mechanics.

      Arioch, it has been concretely stated that at release only the current tier will be available. Don’t know if that will change, though.


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