[Cataclysm] Why I hate heirlooms, and what’s in store for them in Cataclysm.

Oh the angst! Oh the torment! Oh the purples and the blues!

Last week Blizzard CMs commented that they will aim to return to the ‘blues from heroics, epics from raids’ model in Cataclysm. I had thought that this was fairly unremarkable as announcements go – raid gear has always been better than heroic gear at the start of a WoW expansion. And yet, a lot of players feel that they’re being told that they will be less special in the next expansion than in the current one. That’s the power of colour.

And another colour which should cause more outrage than it does is gold, the colour of WoW heirloom gear. Heirlooms are great. They are the ideal levelling gear for an MMO, particularly for players who don’t like to fuss over gear which they’ll only replace in a level or two. You give them to a level 1 alt, and they will increase in stats automatically as the character levels. They will always be roughly equivalent to a decent blue dungeon drop of the right level. And if that wasn’t enough, some heirlooms also grant huge xp bonuses to levelling characters.

But why is that bad, you ask? It’s great. But in order to get them, you need to level a character to 80 and do heroic runs. Fine for those of us who were going to do that anyway, but not very fun for a player who wants to just solo slowly and then level a few alts.  (It’s a classic example of forcing players to do content they don’t want in order to get a reward to use in the content they do like.) People complain when they are forced to PvE for PvP gear (or vice versa) so why are we forced to endgame for levelling gear?

The answer as to why is because help for alts is an easy, desirable reward to give out which cannot ever unbalance the end game. But wouldn’t it have been even neater to give tokens from the levelling random dungeon runs which even low level players could turn in for heirlooms. Have dungeon blues be better than equivalent level heirlooms to give levelling players some choices. Have a small chance for heirloom tokens to drop from random lower level mobs. Make cheap heirlooms which are the equivalent of nicely itemised green drops  — they might not be special but a player never has to worry about upgrading them while levelling.

There is a balance of how much advantage an old player can or should have with an alt in comparison to a new one. It’s definitely cool to be able to ease the level grind on the second or third time you do it. But I think heirlooms would be more fun if they were more accessible to everyone. No one wants to be outgeared so severely even at level 1!!! Or maybe, for the alts, being able to feel superior to the noobs is the point …

We don’t yet know much about heirloom availability plans in Cataclysm. There was mention that guilds might be able to provide members with heirlooms. This would solve most of my issues with them, if true.

Heirlooms in Cataclysm

So for anyone who is curious, here are the known facts so far:

  • Current heirlooms (1-80) will continue to work.
  • Heirlooms with an xp bonus will stop giving that bonus past the max level of the heirloom. (eg. no xp bonus from 80-85 using current heirlooms)
  • There will be level 85 heirlooms which will work from 1-85. You will again need a max level character (probably with spare heroic badges) to buy them.
  • Blizzard would like it to be possible to send heirlooms from one server to another (you can already post them from one faction to another on the same server) but we don’t know if this will be possible.

35 thoughts on “[Cataclysm] Why I hate heirlooms, and what’s in store for them in Cataclysm.

  1. I like heirlooms for the 20% XP bonus, but I’m not really that keen on their stats – they’re a bit too overpowered for my liking. My level 28 tank was able to progress through Razorfen Kraul with a mage and a rogue and NO HEALER, just because he was decked out in full (except the bow) heirlooms. A healer and a tank with heirlooms can pretty much 2-man all the 1-60 instances.

    So yeah, I agree with this:
    “Have dungeon blues be better than equivalent level heirlooms to give levelling players some choices.”

    It would be nice to have a choice of weapon, shoulders and chest when levelling, even if the heriloom does become better again in a few levels.

    • Low level dungeons are ridiculous AoE grind fests because they’ve been nerfed into the ground, not because you have good heirloom gear in a couple of slots.

      • They’re not because various classes don’t get AE all that early. Sure, if you stack a paladin tank with a bunch of mages, I guess …

    • Ya I think you need to do some more research about heirloom gear. You don’t have to grind countless dungeons to get heirloom gear. Also heirloom gear is not meant to be easy to get, your not supposed to get a whole set in one day. Plus everyne should have to level at the same us, I feel like an old man shaking my cane at kids but I remember when I didn’t get my mount till level 40 and then it got knocked down to 30 and now 20. but i digress

      So everyone should not have any advantage when begening. Only after you reach level cap, then geting gear should be a priority over heirloom gear.

    • idk i think scince us lvl 80’s have worked hard to get there and worked hard to get our gear to be so amazing in PVE and PVP that we should have awsome gear for our alts even though it cost some heroism,and stonekeeper shards it is like a way of telling people “yes i made it to 80 and imma do it agian

  2. I very much agree with Andy. I use heirlooms to boost xp not because of the stats. In fact I sometimes feel that I am cheating myself out of learning to play my class, since I can get by with just frostbolts.
    The idea of different grades of heirlooms is an intriguing one.

  3. But if someone wants to solo slowly, why would they want heirlooms to speed up their levelling anyway?

    I like heirlooms, but I rolled an alt on a different server recently, and actually not having heirlooms there has its advantages too, as you can enjoy gear upgrades much more often and don’t outlevel the zones as quickly, so you can actually finish all the quests before they go grey. I’d think that if someone really doesn’t like doing stuff at level eighty and just enjoys levelling, they’d want to enjoy it that way too.

    • It’s partly a reward that would be fun and useful for their alts. If someone likes to solo then that’s a nice and fairly desirable reward to get.

  4. I see your point Shintar, but I think having even one or two players in heirlooms can ruin it a bit for new players with no access to them, since the newbie will feel like a bit of a spare wheel.

    Moreover, although I want heirlooms so I can level quickly, but I don’t want them to be so overpowered that all low level instances become an AoE grindfest just like the 80 heroics.

    I think what I’m trying to say is I want the 5man instances to be places where people practice group skills in preparation for endgame, places where the challenges faced are tougher and of a different nature to those one encounters solo. I don’t find levelling/questing particularly fun, but I do very much enjoy challenging group instances.

  5. Btw this is also why I’m really looking forward to the new 81+ instances in Cataclysm – nobody will overgear them, there won’t be in-depth tactics available (at least for a while), and so everyone will be in the same boat learning what bosses do etc. On top of that, the heroics at 85 will for quite a while feel suitably difficult, just like the Wrath ones did at the start.

  6. You can get PvP heirlooms for Stone Keeper’s Shards from Wintergrasp, and you can get the PvE heirlooms by doing the Argent Tournament dailies. You don’t have to set foot in a dungeon if you don’t want to, so your information is a bit apocryphal there.

    The bigger chasm between the haves and the have nots is the blues-from-dungeons-purples-from-raids policy. We’re going back to the old raider elitism, just when we thought we’d been rid of that particular blight from the vanilla game. I have no problem with being a tier, or a couple of tiers, behind, but what they’re saying is that if you get blues from heroics at 85, and you don’t raid, *your gear will never ever get better for the life of the expansion*. Fun, huh? Non-raiders might as well get heirlooms and level more alts, because there’s no damn point in playing your main once you’ve reached that lofty pinnacle.

    You talk about being forced to run heroics. How about being forced to raid?

    • “but what they’re saying is that if you get blues from heroics at 85, and you don’t raid, *your gear will never ever get better for the life of the expansion*”

      If you don’t raid, why do you need better gear? Just for the sake of having shinier armour?

      • WoW is a gear-based game. Every end-game activity is incentivized with better gear. If you don’t raid, if you don’t have time or can’t conform to a raiding schedule, and there’s no gear upgrade path, where’s the progression?

        You’ve apparently also never been kicked out of a random for a low gearscore. The fact is that it happens, no matter who is in the wrong, and the new loot policy will make it worse.

        If raid gear is only for raiding, make it only equippable in a raid instance. That should solve your problem of players overpowering the content too.

      • I would still argue that “gear progression” is not really progression at all.

        I raid, yes, but for the past four weeks our raid group has been trying to crack Sindragosa, with no resets. Progression for us is downing bosses, the gear is merely a bonus that makes further bosses a little easier.

        And while I haven’t been kicked from a random for having a low gearscore, I most certainly have had healers and DPS quit on my tank when I show up with 25k health unbuffed, and people bitch at me for not being able to hold aggro against their ICC-geared DPS.

        Regarding your raid-gear-for-raids point, that actually could be a good idea. Perhaps it could require the presence of 5 other people to make it “activate” or something, or have its stats automatically lowered (or other people’s raised) to the average for the group?

        That all said, I still do want to know what you actually DO once you get to 80. I’m not being picky or anything, I genuinely am interested in what a level 80 player does if they don’t raid.

    • I’m sure heroics will stay one tier behind the latest raid instance. I’ll be very surprised if blues stay blue for long.

      But the real issue with 5 man instances is that you should be getting new ones alongside every 10/25 man raid! That should be the 5 man progression (IMO).

      Oh and re: Argent Tournament tokens. I didn’t mention that because in order to be able to buy heirlooms with those, you need the Crusader title (ie. exalted with all the home city factions) which I kind of find rather more onerous than the heroics. YMMV but I did crusader on 2 alts which was at least one too many 🙂

  7. Time spent leveling is not an accident — Blizzard has adjusted quest rewards and XP per level to adjust the leveling curve to be where they want it.

    In other words, a non-heirloomed character takes as much time to level as Blizzard wants a first character to spend leveling. Subsequent max-level characters are allowed to “skip ahead” with the stat boosts and XP bonuses of heirlooms.

    • But what will that mean in Cataclysm, where older players will be able to get the 20% bonus through the new reworked low level zones in Azeroth?

      Will using heirlooms mean you miss content? is the level curve tuned for them anyway?

      I don’t know the answer, honestly.

  8. Personally, I have a decent heirloom arsenal but I’m almost happier doing without. You can use heirlooms to push the envelope on what you’re capable of doing (e.g. orange-conned quests), but the rest of the time they run the risk of trivializing content. If the leveling content is actually interesting – which the Cataclysm revamp is supposed to ensure – then 20% more time spent on it is a bonus, not a penalty.

    That said, I could support the satchel of helpful goods from the low level dungeon finder dropping tokens that can be used to purchase lower quality heirlooms (perhaps capping out at level 60?). Also note that heirlooms are a guild reward, so that could play a factor for new players if there’s a way to get the required guild rep at a low enough level.

  9. They also said Worgens and Goblins will be able to use 1-80 Heirlooms in Cataclysm. But for 80-85, they will need to upgrade that gear in order to stay competitively geared. I don’t get that.

    Does that mean the Heirloom will not provide a 20% increase in XP after level 80, or that it will scale to 80, but not beyond. If it is the later, I will still use Heirloom items, even on my main, because it will help me get through content faster, I mean why go through 20% extra content for leveling when you can go through that 20% content later at your leisure and gain additional gold instead of XP?

    • I believe that once you hit 81, you can’t use any of the current heirloom gear. The stats won’t scale up any more, and it won’t grant bonus XP any more.

  10. I agree. I think heirlooms should have the same stats as normal level gear. I use them only for the XP gains. I like that you need an 80 to use them. I think the first time you level it should go slower and force you to do more so you can learn the game and figure out what character types you like. Once you have paid your dues I do not think you should be super powered but you should be able to level faster.

    • So, pay your fees and get an instant level 80, perhaps? I still say that Blizzard should sell level capped characters directly. Alternatively, sell heirloom gear for cash.

      “Paying your dues” is pretty clearly grinding to me, and I find it distasteful.

  11. Heirlooms are a rewards for players who want to level alts .
    It is a reward for leveling a character to level 80 in my opinion . Since I leveled my character and done all dungeons I don’t need to do them anymore so they give me heirlooms so I don’t to them . Simple . Heirlooms for new player are you insane . This a reward that I have been in the boring content 1-80 and past it already . All newbie have to pass by it too , as any players that have high lvl characters .

  12. I know this is an old post, but I think you are incorrect in your analysis that you have to run instances to get hierlooms and that the solo player is somehow screwed. The argent tournament has the ability to buy heirlooms using thier currency and IMO is the easiest way to get them now that the prices per hierloom are high with 4.03. Argent is totally soloable and requires no instances to get the heirlooms.

  13. Heirlooms are easily obtained without the use of dungeons or groups. Blizz has accomodated those people who would rather solo with Argent Tournament and Champion Seals. Before you blast them for “forcing content” you should make sure you are aware of all the avenues to get the content/items you desire. Sure its takes time, but that is the point. Enjoy.

    • Maxing out all those reps isn’t especially quick. I wouldn’t really call it easily obtained. And if you read the post you’d see I did mention the argent tournament.

  14. Read a bit of your spiel on heirlooms you’re wrong. If you want to level slowly and make several alts than do so. Heirlooms were not targeted for you. Unlike you said heirlooms are not for players to go back and level in content they like but to hurry the time it takes to get a new character back to the content they like which is heroic dungeons and or raiding.. you wouldn’t have enough emblems or points for heirlooms otherwise. That’s why there is an xp bonus.

    • Some people like heirlooms mainly because they like always having blue equivalent gear available for their alts, plus never having to worry about replacing it as the alt levels – it reduces the hassle. There are some issues with xp % on heirlooms, so really it’d be better if users could switch the xp bonus on or off. For example, if you want to level an alt with some friends who don’t have heirlooms, they’ll be struggling to keep up.

  15. Actually Andy, my rogue and a hunter 2 manned RFK before WotLK was even thought of. it is a very easy dungeon that can be 2 manned with almost any 2 classes. Heirloom gear is mid-level blue gear so if you are level 25 and get a blue item, it will probably be better than the heirloom gear for a level.

    Yes the XP bonus still exists passed level 80 but the stats do not change. you were all misinformed

      • At least, the stories. Even pandas (The pandaren was a lil’ joke in Warcraft 3. The audience loved it so much, and the Devs even wanted to slip pandaren’s into the Burning crusade, but couldn’t for legal reasons.)

  16. This guy uses the word “Forced” a lot, but i’m not entirely sure he knows what it means. What i’m saying is, saying WoW is forcing you to get heirlooms so you can level another alt is like saying: “I’m a big-shot CEO at the top of the ladder, making thousands of dollars a day, but I want more, so i’m being forced to get a second job and mess up my already complicated schedule, because I want more money.” Seriously, forced is too strong of a word to use here. Everyone who gets heirlooms does so of their own free will, and they say Blizz forced them to as an excuse for why they spent a few days straight grinding for unnecessary gear. And then people say “Hey, could you just put on normal gear for BGs? Your heirlooms give you an unfair advantage” And you’ll say “If you dont like the game, don’t play it.”. You sure could have used that advice when you were grinding for days at a time, gritting your teeth at how slow it is getting JP, eh? Geez..

    • Honestly, people complain that the game’s content is boring, it’s pvp isn’t balanced, the dungeons and raids are easy, so, what the fuck are you here for? All you do is put a negative attitude to the game, and people who enjoy the game’s story, lore, gameplay, and experience like me are shunned, as if we’re not supposed to enjoy the game we invest years of our lives into. Why pay $15 a month if you’re jut gonna complain, and sit in SW/org? The game may be getting easy, but the sad fact is, it’s because of people using heirlooms. Blizzard sees how something that makes the game easier is so successful, and impliments more easy crap. But, I digress to my original point. This game is about a perilous battle for survival against all odds. The burning legion, the scourge, the opposing faction, the old gods, the titans wanna put us down, crazy fakking mages… It’s about a battle of wills, and the evil that good men must do to stay alive. It’s about opposing a greater power because it’s right. What if Thrall and Jaina hadn’t made that pact in the third war? Would the Horde have Orgrimmar? Would the game even have a relevant basis for a storyline? The only thing people pay attention to in a beautiful game like WoW is grinding to make gold, using that gold to get better gear upgrades, and using those upgrades to be better than others. It’s disgusting, really. Do you wonder why so many people are leaving? It should be obvious with all the assholes lying around, talking about how horrid the game is, but staying because they just have to trade pixels for pixels.If you’re gonna complain about the game, gtfo. Nobody needs you, your elitism, or your negative attitude. (Not necessarily directed toward the author of this article.)

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