Updated: Big Changes to Your First Weekly Keystone Coming in Patch 9.0.5

Update: Blizzard have changed the way the system will work, removing most of the issues with the system, as the first weekly key will now be the exact same level as the highest you've completed in time from the previous week!

One of our goals in 9.0.5 has been to address a situation we introduced in Shadowlands with Mythic Keystones never de-leveling. We received a great deal of feedback on our planned adjustment, which is currently outlined in the 9.0.5 patch notes. With this proposed change, we would reintroduce an awkward dynamic where it wouldn’t be possible to sustain running a single Mythic Keystone dungeon per week, even if you always cleared the dungeon in time, because decay would necessitate re-leveling your keys every other week.

When we created the original logic for Mythic Keystones in 2016, we wanted to make sure that players were getting Keystones that appropriately suited their proficiency in Mythic Keystone dungeons, and we wanted to reinforce the importance of clean and well-executed dungeon runs. Having Keystones decay from one week to the next accomplished both of those goals. However, in Shadowlands, we introduced the Great Vault and more Season-driven tracking of performance in Mythic Keystone dungeons, and we unintentionally disabled the logic for de-leveling Keystones, but the reasons for the original design still apply.

We feel that the game should compensate players who consistently succeed at a certain difficulty by giving them keys that start at that level the following week, so we’re working on an update to 9.0.5 that should alleviate that concern while still satisfying the goals of the original system:

In a given week, if you finish a Mythic Keystone dungeon in time, the next week’s Great Vault will contain a Keystone of that same level.

So, for example, if your highest Mythic Keystone completion during week one is a +15 that you completed in time, you will get another +15 Keystone from the Great Vault to start week two. If you run that +15 during week two and fail to meet the timer, however, and complete no other +15 (or higher) Mythic Keystone dungeons the rest of week two, you will receive a +14 Keystone from the Great Vault to start week three.

Thank you for your feedback and understanding.

Original article:

Today we got the full patch notes for 9.0.5, with it's big new Valor Point system and a lot of tuning in many other aspects of the game. More importantly, we found out that the patch is arriving with the next reset. One particular section stood out to us in the patch notes: the way players get their first weekly Mythic+ keystone will be changing, which will have effects for both high and low-end players, and pretty much everyone in-between.

The change is actually a return to the previous system, as players will no longer be getting a consistent level keystone each week, 1 level below the highest keystone they have completed in the entire season. Instead, players will need to be more active on a weekly basis again to preserve higher level keys:

The formula for determining the level of the first Mythic Keystone players receive each week has been adjusted.

  • Previously, players would always receive a Keystone 1 level below the highest they completed so far in Season 1.
  • After this change, Keystone level will continue to decrease by 1 per week until players again complete a higher level Keystone.
  • For example, a player who completes a level 15 Keystone will receive a level 14 Keystone the following week. If they do not complete a 15 or higher Keystone that week, they will receive a level 13 Keystone the week after.

This reversion has sparked a lot of negative feedback and dissatisfaction over on the WoW Reddit, as players feel they will have to put in more effort for the same results. That said, the Shadowlands Keystone Master and related new achievements will be more valuable come 9.0.5, as they are directly related to the item levels you will be able to upgrade gear to using the Valor system, so this may be one reason for the change. We asked Dratnos, our resident Mythic+ expert, to weigh in on the relevance and impact of this particular upcoming change:

Dratnos' Thoughts
This change will have a different impact depending on how you play the game. If you do several keys per week at around the same level (say, 4 or 10 keys at around +14 per week for the Great Vault, for instance), it's likely you won't notice this change at all. If, on the other hand, you do one key per week (say, on an alt that just does one +14 per week), you'll no longer be able to sustain yourself off of just that one keystone, and you'll either need to upgrade your key and then complete the upgrade or find someone else who has the key at your desired level. For top teams, this is also impactful, as there will once again be incentive to "weekly no leaver" the highest key you can manage the week before any week you intend to push, rather than being able to rely on your performance from a previous push week.

Though these effects are all neutral or negative, it's worth noting that there are some who will be positively affected by this - if you got boosted through a high key and find yourself getting a key well beyond your level each week, for instance, that is now no longer going to be a problem. Of course, you could just lower the keystone before, but this process is annoying and if you needed to lower a key by a huge amount, you could have run into the 10 instances per hour limit.

How exactly this change will play out remains to be seen, and we won't have to wait too long to see it play out, as the patch is arriving this Tuesday/Wednesday, so get ready!