You won’t have to wait until BlizzConline to find out what’s next in store for World of Warcraft. While Patch 9.1 is still hiding under the veil of secrecy, Blizzard posted details of what’s coming in a smaller March patch for the MMO.
Patch 9.0.5 began testing this week and will bring some quality-of-life improvements to Shadowlands. Blizzard is bringing back the Valor Point system to provide another path to relevant gear rewards, tuning legendary items and covenant class abilities, and tossing a marker on your map to let you know when you have Great Vault loot to collect.
“This update will be a bit different from our usual patches,” the studio said. “It’s focused almost entirely on systems, responding to community feedback about rewards, doing tuning that requires the sort of notice and iteration that a PTR allows, and fixing a range of bugs that are beyond the scope of our ability to hotfix. We know everyone is eager to hear about the next chapter in the Shadowlands saga and what new adventures and rewards it will bring, and we’ll have a lot more information on that in the very near future. In the meantime, we’ll use this patch to get changes into your hands faster than a large content patch would allow.”
Note that the return of Valor points sounds a lot better until you actually look at the details.
“We’ve seen a lot of feedback about the pros and cons of the various sources of gear in the Shadowlands endgame. After a rewarding first few weeks, we know that many dungeon-focused players reached a point where the only relevant rewards from the system come from the Great Vault. While the Vault should represent a major goal and the source of the best rewards the endgame has to offer, we want to find a way for the loot from the chest at the end of a challenging Mythic Keystone run to feel relevant, without bringing back random upgrade systems such as Warforging, which partially solved this problem in the past. We also want to provide a more consistent reward for the effort for players who do not receive an item at all.
“The framework for a system that attempts to address these goals should be present in this first PTR update, subject to ongoing tuning and refinement. Gear from Mythic Keystone Dungeons is now upgradeable, initially with a cap of item level 200, which players can raise to item level 207 by completing all eight Shadowlands dungeons at Mythic 5 or higher. This will award a new Keystone Explorer achievement, while the existing Keystone Conqueror achievement (for all +10s or higher) will increase the cap to item level 213, and then to item level 220 by completing the Keystone Master achievement for all +15s in time. The currency used to upgrade Mythic Keystone gear is Valor, which is earned from completing Mythic Keystone dungeons, or by doing covenant Callings, with a weekly cap. Upgrade costs will vary by item slot and will be consistent across all item levels.”