A Crazy Week of Mythic+: The Impact of Valor Points

The first week of Patch 9.0.5 is behind us and it was a very hectic one, shaking up the Mythic+ community and bringing a new dynamic to dungeon runs. While the patch brought plenty of changes, from class, legendary, Covenant tuning and more, it was (predictably) the Valor Point system that made the biggest impact, with it's somewhat strange implementation in the middle of a season. We'll go over five of the biggest factors that contributed to this pretty crazy week of Mythic+, with our resident expert Dratnos offering some analysis and clarity as well.

Low Keys

The biggest surprise that came with the advent of the Valor Point system is the fact that the amount of Valor gained is not in any way affected by the keystone level. This means that doing a +2 or a +15/+20 will net you the exact same 135 Valor Points. As you might expect, this fact has seen the skyrocketing of low key runs, as +2s all the way up to around +6s have become exceedingly valuable, with high item level and high RIO players farming these fast and easy keys for Valor.

Dratnos' Thoughts
Especially given the tougher combination of affixes with Bolstering and Storming both active on the first week of the Valor system, many players chose to dodge them entirely and focus on these lower level keys and achieve a much higher Valor per hour rate than was possible in higher level keys. In some cases, players could even run into the 10 instances per hour limit as they lowered their keystone - either from whatever came out of their vault down to +2, or from the +5 after every 3-chested +2.

Mythic +15s

But it’s not just lower keys that are in much higher demand, as the optimal gearing route right now (outside of Great Vault drops) seems to be getting the right 210 base drop from +15s and then farming up a storm in low level keys to upgrade said drops 3 times to the 220 cap. The +15 base item farming also takes on another dimension, as specific dungeons hold more interesting loot (relative to your spec), so the more popular specs drive the interest in which dungeons are being run more/are more valued and wanted.

Dratnos' Thoughts
Whereas the +2 farmers preferred the fastest dungeons like Mists and Halls of Atonement, the +15 farming definitely incentivizes players to target dungeons that have specific items they’re interested in. For higher end players who have mostly good items already, the biggest upgrades tended to be powerful trinkets like the Blood-spattered Scale or Inscrutable Quantum Device, which both come from De Other Side and have skyrocketed that dungeon in popularity at the +15 level. Another favorite dungeon is Spires of Ascension for the Empyreal Ordnance or the Overcharged Anima Battery.

Interestingly, Blizzard have recently made a post clarifying the overall Valor caps, which may have been misunderstood by some, which lead to the above low level key farming. In it they clarify that the 5,000 Valor cap is a seasonal one, increasing by 750 each week, so those that rushed to farm will be pretty much done with it after week 1, aside for a few runs each week to get that 750 increase. Here's the full post:

We’ve been seeing some confusion on the Valor system and wanted to clarify a little bit more. The total amount of Valor that can be earned starts at 5000 Valor, and by the following week an additional 750 Valor can be earned, totaling to 5750 maximum Valor.

For more clarity, here are a few examples:

  • A character earns the maximum cap of 5000 Valor on the first week, regardless of what is spent (if any), they’ll be able to earn 750 Valor total the second week.
  • A character earns 1000 Valor on the first week, regardless of what is spent (if any), they will be able to earn 4750 the second week.
  • Any character that hits the maximum amount of Valor and spends it on upgrades will be able to earn another 750 the following week.

Due to the implementation being in the middle of Shadowlands Season 1, the large cap of 5000 at the start is to provide an immediate kickstart with the system as though it has been available for several weeks, any future iterations of the Valor system will start with a different cap.

Hope this helps clear things up a bit!

The Effects on Regular Players

The above two factors have made a big mess of regular progress, especially for people trying to get Keystone Master to unlock the Valor item level cap, and for those just starting out and legitimately trying to progress low keys. Right now the situation is chaotic, as key holders hold even more power than before, since you can get carried extremely easily in both low keys and +15s specifically, as higher ranked/geared players are farming for Valor and those base drops.

Dratnos' Thoughts
It’s become easier than ever to list a keystone and get several overqualified players applying very quickly, especially if your key was one of the higher priority dungeons with multiple desirable items. However, if you had a less attractive keystone or were otherwise applying to groups rather than creating them, the first week of Valor points made it almost impossible to earn an invite as hordes of other highly geared and experienced players signed up instantly to every compelling keystone.

The (Bad) Affixes

Another factor has been this week’s affixes, which aren’t exactly optimal and on any other week would have seen far less play. They probably lowered the numbers we might have seen this week as well, but there were still plenty of runs with the new system motivating players. The next weeks of affixes will probably exacerbate the above issues as they’ll be more lenient and push more players to play, but it should all even out over time as more and more players reach the Valor Point cap.

Dratnos' Thoughts
The first week of Valor points featured Bolstering and Storming, two affixes that were felt by almost every group in almost every dungeon. Some players sat this week out entirely or stayed down at the +2 level grinding Valor Points, and may jump into the +15 keys to farm the 210 items to upgrade in the coming weeks. For less coordinated groups, however, the next several weeks all contain at least one challenging affix, such as Spitefulthis coming week, Necrotic and Inspiring the week after, and Sanguine the week after that. These affixes will be felt differently by different players, and differences in experience between roles like Tanks and Healers and between Melee and Ranged based specs may lead to dramatic shifts in the supply and demand for different roles.

Impact on Boosting

Another interesting topic for this new Mythic+ status quo is how exactly this has all affected boosting communities, as the now readily available horde of well geared and high RIO players itching to carry players with the right keys might have some effects on the going rates for boosts, but there's also factors that may have actually increased demand for the controversial service.

Dratnos' Thoughts
In many ways it’s been easy to list a keystone and find several strong applicants with the advent of the Valor system, which effectively supplants the need for purchasing a boost for some players who otherwise might have been interested. On the other hand, the rewards from Mythic Keystone dungeons have also been dramatically increased as a result of this system being added, and particularly for less geared characters that want items from a keystone they don’t own, the demand for boosting services has gone up. +15 key carries are hovering around the 200,000 gold price point depending on the community - my suspicion is that over the coming weeks that price will drop to as low as 100,000 gold, as one key factor in the price is the supply of players willing to boost others, and there may end up being a surplus of players who will be interested in boosting for fairly small cuts given the alternative is effectively doing it for free through the group finder.

And so as we can see the first week of the new Valor system has been quite a hectic one with many factors contributing to the status quo shifting quite a bit. Whether this new state will remain for a longer time remains to be seen, but considering Blizzard's latest Valor Point cap clarification, it seems likely that once many players are at the cap, things will get back to normal. Low key farms should die down fairly quickly, but those specific +15 dungeons will still be very valuable, as it's going to take a while for players to get the exact item they want, with a full bank of Valor just waiting to go into them as soon as they drop!