Today, after lots of reading and talking, and making a whole darn spreadsheet, I'm ready to talk about how item upgrades are going to work in Patch 10.1 Embers of Melthorian. As in, actually explaining things. You can help support the channel by hitting the like button and subscribing for more commentary. And if you're interested in this spreadsheet, I'm going to provide a shared link below that will be updated periodically as we learn new information.
There are a few big changes that I want to put out front and center. Valor is gone, as are Storm Sigils. Nearly all gear in Season 2 will have between 5 and 8 upgrade levels, that includes gear from World quests and even raid content. Those who are familiar with upgrading dungeon Gear with Valor, upgrades are no longer limited to what your highest Mythic plus score is.
Item Level Brackets in Dragonflight Season 2
I first want to walk you through the guesstimated item levels that we can expect to see this coming season. I'm going to assume that we're going to follow a pattern almost identical to Season 1, and I've been looking at the 10.1 PTR as well, so hopefully this will be easy to understand even if we don't have every source available.
Heroic dungeons may drop item level 385 gear. Mythic zeroes may drop 398. Mythic 2s will drop 402s at the end of a run and award item level 408 gear in the Great Vault. Ragefinder will drop a range of 402s to 411s depending on which boss you're killing, and the rest should be familiar: tougher stuff drops better loot, it gives us higher Vault stuff, until we get to the very end here on the right. Mythic 20s are expected to spit out to item level 447s from the Great Vault.
Mythic raids will give at best item level 450 gear from the Final Bosses. Very rare gear is returning in Season 2, so while there's going to be another outlier piece that breaks past the item level 450 barrier, it's a cloak, so good luck rolling for it.
This gives a little bit of context to what I'm mostly going to be talking about, and that is item level upgrades in Season 2. How does it work? How confused am I gonna make you this time? I'm gonna try and simplify things as best I can.
What are Flightstones and Crests?
Throughout Season 2, you will earn Flight Stones. It's a kind of currency that you get from doing any sort of dragonfly content in the season, with the amount that you get depending on how difficult the challenge is. There is a Flight Stone cap, and it's pretty high, and there's also no limit to how much you can earn in a day, a week, or a season outside of that cap. You're also going to earn Crests of different quality, again it depends on the difficulty.
These do have a cap, and you can only use 10 of each kind per week. Together, these Flight Stones and Crests are used to upgrade gear at your typical upgrade vendor. Flight Stones aren't so different from Primal Chaos in that regard, and Crests aren't so different from the different qualities of infusions used for crafting.
How upgrades work
I said I'm going to try to take it slow and simulate what this experience is going to be like. Let's say it's the start of Season 2. You defeat a rare mob and get a rare piece of gear with an item level of 376. Cool. This is considered Explorer-level gear and has an upgrade level of one out of eight.
These outdoor rares and dungeons, you should be collecting crests or at least fragments of crests to make into a whole. At the moment, you need 15 fragments to create one. Thinking back to the likes of higher-end raids and Keystone dungeons, it's a similar feeling to obtaining those Primal Focus items to put together.
So, okay, you're working your way through upgrading your Adventure level gear, getting flight stones and crests until you've maxed out their levels and you're getting stronger. You're learning your class and, of course, you're getting more gear. In the meantime, you happen to complete a plus two key and get an item level 402 piece.
This gear here isn't an Explorer or an Adventure level of gear; it's veteran gear and can again be upgraded to new heights. Well, yet again, going forward, you're going to need crests of each upgrade. In this case, of Veteran gear upgrading from levels one through four, you're gonna need those whelpling crests. But for five and higher, you'll need Drake crests.
And where exactly does one earn these different sorts of crests? The idea here is that they are level-appropriate, meaning crests and their fragments will drop where the content is relevant. So, whelpling crests, as you can see, they're gonna drop from raid finder and Mythic Keys levels 2 through 8. Drake crests will drop from normal raids and key levels 9 through 16. And you know, we go down to the right.
How this is different from Valor?
I want to put some focus on the veteran level gear, which ranges from an item level of 402 all the way to 424. That spans from Raid Finder gear all the way to the end of normal difficulty raids.
Now, this creates scenarios of growth where a player could collect gear through raid finder difficulty and eventually graduate themselves to the end of normal. But they don't necessarily replace their gear. Even if they're unlucky, they can upgrade it through flight stones and these Drake crests earned from normal raids. Here's what's also cool: let's pretend that you had a shield drop on a normal run.
No one else happens to need it, so you keep it. But you know the stats aren't that great. What you can do though is go back to raid finder or even a keystone dungeon between levels 2 and 8 and try to get a better shield. And let's say that you do.
What you can do is upgrade that shield to be at the same level as the shield that you didn't really want. And here's what's going on: as you get gear, when you put it on, your character will remember its item level. And two things are going to happen when it comes to gear upgrades.
First, flight stones used to upgrade similar gear to the maximum level that you've ever equipped will be discounted by half. Also, you no longer have to use crests to upgrade that gear to that same level because you've already got to it. So, it's okay if you want to go back and run easier content for the sake of getting the item that you want.
The catch is that you can only go back so far. If your average item level is in the 430s and you want an item level 430 shield, well, you're going to be stuck in playing in this hero territory. You're not going to be able to run twos for upgrades. For some who don't mind farming twos for gear and then running dozens of keys for the Valor to upgrade it all the way up, that's kind of a bummer.
I'm not gonna judge just yet because the information is super fresh, but it's a question that I wanted to bring up.
What I like so far
Here's what I like about this whole upgrade "bruja": when you're not staring at a spreadsheet, this is actually pretty simple. In practice, you play the game, you get gear, and you upgrade stuff.
There's no need to wait if you don't want to, you can apply the stuff right away. I really like that we don't have to worry about Mythic plus score in order to upgrade items. I just need to play at my level to earn items and then upgrade them to my level. I like that getting gear at a high item level will let me unlock future crest requirements.
I'll give another example: let's pretend I'm a fury warrior and I manage to make myself a crafted Mythic level two-handed sword. If I happen to get another two-handed sword to drop within this hero bracket, I'll be able to upgrade it to a 5 out of 5, and no crests are needed. And I even get a flight stone discount for two-handed weapons across my whole account.
I really like that gear matters for a little bit longer. Folks who just do World content may find that trusty sword to last four weeks instead of just hours or a day.
People who play in the veteran and Champion brackets will find useful gear across multiple difficulties, not just for tier set bonuses, but because they can upgrade this gear to stay relevant. Everyone is going to get a piece of the action here.
I think it'll be really cool that a few hours of play can potentially yield a power gain for folks through one incremental gear upgrade. And it's not much, but it feels more tangible than endlessly farming up artifact power. Doing it this way hits kind of a mental tick for me personally. That's okay cool, I'm working towards an 8 out of 8 or a 5 out of 5, and I can use my excess crests on other things.
Questions and concerns
But I also have concerns and questions. Arena-minded Mythic plus players are probably going to be a little bit upset if they're farming for a specific piece of gear that, oh shucks, they're gonna have to play at what looks like 17's minimum, and they can't just farm two's and upgrade the drop. I'm sure that's why crafting has become that much more exciting.
And also, where do Aspect crests lie in the whole scheme? As mentioned before, they don't seem useful as upgrades, and they're more likely to be used for Mythic level crafting.
With this current information, people are going to be a little bit lost and confused with this whole thing. I mean, there are four different crests and four different fragments of said crests and two Enchanted crests used for crafting.
I'd like to say that it's just obnoxious, but I've seen comments that people are quitting over just that. I don't know if it's true, I just thought to point it out. And then of course, there's the account-wide ability of things. The flightstone discount is nice, but some critics aren't going to rest until crests and flight stones and gear are freely tradable.
And I'm not ready to weigh in one way or another, as if my opinion matters so much. Yeah, so I hope I did a better job of explaining things, and again, you can check out the spreadsheet on your own if you like. It would be great if you were to favor me back by liking this video, subscribing for more, and catching me live. I'll see you next time, folks.