Today, we’d like to share some of our rewards plans for Season 4 regarding the acquisition and effectiveness of Raid gearing overall. As we head from 9.2’s Class Sets & Creation Catalyst into Dragonflight, our team has been doing a lot of thinking about our rewards philosophies, including acquiring loot and how it might be improved. Season 4 presents a unique opportunity for us to try some experimental changes that might be too volatile for a regular season, but could still provide us with valuable data and feedback we can use to improve the game long-term. It’s worth noting that the systems we’ll be talking about today are designed around specific goals to fit with Season 4’s shorter runtime - it’s very possible that even if they’re received well, they may undergo significant iteration to match the cadence & intended progression of a normal season of content. Regardless, we want to show that we’re interested in continuing to approach rewards from different angles, and listen to player’s desires for increased bad luck protection and making sure in-game rewards feel like they’re matching player’s efforts. Without further ado, let’s get into some specifics!
Raid Vendors & Limited Currency
Season 4 will feature a trio of broker vendors suspiciously skulking around the Great Vault. Each of these brokers has wares from one of the three Shadowlands raids: Castle Nathria, Sanctum of Domination, and the Sepulcher of the First Ones. They will sell trinkets, weapons, and other special items from their respective raid. Each of these items will have the same price: a single Puzzling Cartel Dinar each, with a catch. You will only be able to get 3 Puzzling Cartel Dinar for the entire season. After spending your last Dinar, the brokers leave town and take their wares with them. Items sold by these vendors will be at the Season 4 Normal ‘Fated’ item level range of 278-285, depending on the item.
To acquire them, enter any Shadowlands Raid after Season 4 begins to start a 3-part questline. These quests will require you to kill a certain number of unique Fated bosses while the Season 4 Raid Affix is active. The quests reward you with one Puzzling Cartel Dinar upon completion and will progress to the next part of the quest (To clarify, unique means killing the same boss during that same week won’t give credit - killing the Tarragrue on Normal and Heroic in the same week will only give 1 kill). At the moment, this is set to require 30 kills, 20 kills, and 10 kills, making your 2nd and 3rd coin come even faster as time goes on - ending up at week 3 being the earliest instance of receiving a Dinar, and week 6 being the earliest you could see the last one.
This system initially came about to mitigate the rotational nature of Season 4’s raids. Each player has fewer chances to see any individual piece of loot when Fated Sylvanas or Fated Jailer is only killable every three weeks, so we really want to see how players respond to the idea of having a limited but deterministic way to target individual pieces from raids. We all have a story of going months and months on end, killing a specific boss every week without ever seeing a desired item drop, and our hope is this goes a long way to curbing extreme bad luck in the worst cases. At the same time, we don’t want to shortcut the experience of actually playing the game - it shouldn’t be possible for someone to simply buy their Best in Slot setup from a vendor week 1 of a given season - and it’s very possible that this implementation still undercuts some of that sense of progressing your character. That said, we’ve heard calls for something like this, and feel Season 4 is the best time to try it out.
Heroic & Mythic Upgrade Items
Additionally, we’re exploring ways for Raiders to upgrade Raid loot as they move up in difficulty. In Season 4, killing bosses on Heroic or Mythic difficulty will drop a ‘shard’ of an upgrade item, and upon collecting enough (currently 20) will combine to upgrade Fated gear to their Heroic or Mythic versions respectively. Unlike the Puzzling Cartel Dinar above, which has a quest you must complete to earn them over time, these upgrade shards will begin dropping on Day 1 of the season and at a 100% droprate, allowing you to capture effort progressing week over week from the get-go. These upgrade items will work on any item with a ‘Fated’ tag, including those sold by the broker vendors previously mentioned. The upgrade system combined with the Puzzling Cartel Dinar vendors will allow players to effectively buy up to 3 pieces of Heroic or Mythic raid gear, assuming you’re doing difficult content enough to build reserves of upgrade shards to begin with.
While having a Heroic or Mythic upgrade item still requires you to have the base item drop for you in some way, this means that the option of running other raid difficulties to get your desired piece is available for people wanting to go the extra mile. Similarly, this allows guilds that start from Normal and move into Heroic, or Heroic and move into Mythic the ability to carry some of their favorite items with them as they progress. Often, if a guild can’t hit a specific breakpoint while progressing (like say a new boss kill, or a Great Vault threshold), it can feel like the time spent reclearing up to those points can be wasted effort. We hope that this creates more value for simply killing bosses with your group, while also allowing those who dip their toes into higher difficulty (like, say, a guild that can only do 3 mythic bosses per week) the ability to ‘save up’ to a moment of excitement that both rewards your effort over time, as well as making it easier to make deeper strides into achieving your raiding goals.
Season 4 is an exciting time where we’re trying lots of things WoW’s never done before, and we’re similarly excited to see how these systems play out for raiders engaging with the new Fated affixes when it all goes live. We’ll be monitoring feedback closely and answering more questions in the thread, so let us know what you think!