My Brewmaster is at ilvl 850, even if he is near the bottom of the popular charts. My DH is just around ilvl 840. Both are around 18 pts into the main artifact. Neither have set foot in a mythic dungeon or LFR. Neither have had a drop from a world boss either. This is entirely from world quests.
I’m somewhat curious as to whether this is a problem or not. Certainly, I can increase my ilvl, but why? I can clear anything in the world without real issue. I am above what’s needed for mythic dungeons. What’s left are raids and mythic +.
I have little interest in mythic +. I think the idea is sound, but ehh, I don’t play WoW for the stress of beating a timer. Raids are a little different. WQs have given me more than enough gear as compared to LFR. LFR would only be for the lore. Normal raids might be an option, what to get the artifact appearances and some level of challenge. Heroic raids mean little to me.
So the main gearing question seems to be moot here. I can get all I would need just by playing casually. Sure, I won’t hit ilvl 880, but there’s no reason for me to do so. It’s a conscious design decision, certainly. Where LFR was practically seen as a gearing requirement, this expansion has provided multiple paths that are a better time investment. It’s now back to the original intent – let people see the content. That’s a good thing right?
I am still of the opinion that the best system for gearing is badgeing and tokens. Both still allow for the RNG to apply to some degree but take a large sting out of bringing alts up to part later on. There is a reason nearly every game since WotLK came out has this alternate gearing method – it works. Badges make all the content relevant, regardless of your level or gear (FF14 does this wonderfully). The downside was the tokens were only ever found in dungeons, making the gearing for said dungeons a challenge.
Tokens avoid those times where in vanilla you’d get a shaman head piece drop on an Alliance raid. The ability to turn in a token, while still in the raid, is the best of both worlds. Gear drops, it’s useable by a lot of players, and immediately equipable (though not enchanted or gemmed).
It Feels Better
I like the WQ gearing model. It isn’t as sudden as what badges provide, and due to the random upgrade feature, you can really luck out. It makes leveling an alt a rather easy affair. You can’t jump into raids the day after 110, but that’s never the point. And the WQs send you to dungeons for better drops as well, so it’s really a multi-path solution to a very old problem. Heck, some of the WQs require a group to clear, so there’s more social aspects to it as well. It reminds me a fair bit of the rift-hunting at max level within, uh, RIFT.
Overall, I think this system is a dramatic improvement on those that came before. It’s an integrated system that links all the other functions of the game. It forces people out into the world, and has very natural integration with group content. It doesn’t feel like the progress is too fast, or too slow. And with the random upgrade feature and chance at a legendary, it doesn’t feel punishing without reward. Lots to learn from this.