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Patch 9.2: Tips & Tricks for Pushing IO Score



Pushing your Mythic+ rating (IO Score) is a challenge that many players love to undertake. In this article, we’ll share some insight into the best ways of going about this, as well as some of the reasons why this goal is so common.



Table of Contents






How Mythic+ Rating Works



In Patch 9.1, Blizzard implemented IO Score directly into the game itself and called it Mythic+ Rating. Prior to Patch 9.1, Raider.IO’s scoring algorithm had existed but was only accessible from the Raider.IO Addon or website. Although the Raider.IO Addon remains a fantastic tool that’s worth downloading, Blizzard’s rating system being directly implemented into the game made it worth Raider.IO switching from our own algorithm to Blizzard’s. This way, your IO Score is the same whether it is viewed in-game or on our website.

The rating system has a few subtleties, but it’s fairly simple to understand the basics. Essentially, each dungeon will award you points for the highest level key you complete of that dungeon. Additionally, you gain a few extra points (⅓ as many per key level) for the level on which you complete that dungeon for the opposite level 2 affix, Tyrannical versus Fortified. You can earn up to one extra keystone level worth of IO Score by 3-chesting the dungeon (completing it in 60% of its timer), and you can lose IO Score by depleting the keystone (potentially even earning 0 points if you’re in there for several hours). There are also bonus points awarded each time the keystone level passes a breakpoint where a new affix is added. This bonus is equal to a full key level, or two key levels when the Seasonal affix gets involved at keystone level 10.

While knowing all of the math involved in scoring is unnecessary, there are a few heuristics that can help you anchor your IO Score. To earn an IO Score of 2500 and Shadowlands Keystone Master: Season Three, (which is the highest level behind which Valor upgrades are gated), you’ll need to average out to a +15 in time in each dungeon on both Fortified and Tyrannical. This IO Score is higher than last season, but it’s actually the same keystone level requirement; there’s just more available IO Score in Season 3 with the addition of the two new Tazavesh dungeons.

As mentioned in our recent inside look on Patch 9.2, Shadowlands Keystone Hero: Season Three, a new achievement, is one way you can earn the right to purchase the Vessel of Profound Possibilities to upgrade all of your conduits to maximum level. This requires a Mythic+ rating of 3000 or the completion of every dungeon at level 20.

Beyond this is the “Encrypted Hero” title, which will be based on Mythic+ rating that lies in the top 0.1% of players — a very high bar that will likely be somewhere in the upper 3000s by the end of Season 3. To follow along as the cutoff for this achievement shifts over the course of the season, click here here for the current projected IO Score for each faction and region.

However, you don’t need to be aiming for these pinnacle achievements to glean something from the Mythic+ rating system. At regular intervals on the path to 2500, there are breakpoints that will let you upgrade your Valor gear to higher item levels. Beyond that, there is also an intrinsic value to be gained in improving your own abilities and challenging yourself to increase your rating. Long before Blizzard assigned any in-game rewards to Mythic+ rating, players devoted themselves to pushing keys as a primary goal of their gameplay. Rating aside, it is important to derive enjoyment from the journey and not just the destination!



Tips and Tricks for Pushing IO Score



UI & ADDONS


First off, you’ll want to equip yourself with the tools that will help you succeed. The RaiderIO addon is a fantastic way to add some extra information about your progress and help you keep track of your friends and potential group members.

The Mythic Dungeon Tools addon is also extremely useful for creating, sharing, and importing routes for dungeons. Additionally, there are many useful WeakAuras that can help you tremendously in Mythic+ such as affix WeakAuras for Quaking and Bursting; general dungeon WeakAuras like this Shadowlands Dungeons pack, or specific WeakAuras to help with certain mechanics like Tazavesh Console. This one handles Hylbrande’s console mechanic in the new Soleah’s Gambit wing of Tazavesh. In general, it’s a good idea to consider picking up recommended WeakAuras from your party, and it can be worth doing some research to see if anything you’re struggling with has a helpful WeakAura associated with it.

It’s also wise to make sure that you have some general UI optimizations aimed at Mythic+ that help prioritize information and sort out things that are extraneous/distracting. For example, clean nameplates that work well in AoE situations and display useful information (such as how long a mob will be stunned for) while hiding unimportant information (such as debuffs that are always active like Challenger’s Might) help to avoid clutter in your UI. Many players also like to use the Focus function in the game to increase the reliability of their crowd control and interrupt effects. Creating a macro to focus either your current target or your mouseover, then creating macros to cast your interrupt or CC effects on your focus, can go a long way towards never missing a kick or priority damage. For more information on this, you can look at this pastebin, which has a section on the Focus Kick setup I personally use, as well as several other useful AddOns and WeakAuras.


GROUPING DECISIONS


While many players opt to pug their Mythic+ groups through the Group Finder, playing with a consistent group is a fantastic way to develop your skills and see better results in Mythic+. However, for many people, this is either much easier said than done or outright impossible due to scheduling constraints or play style differences. Using the Group Finder effectively can also lead to great results, and there are players who earned Tormented Hero entirely by using Group Finder last season. Developing a network of friends/guildies that do Mythic+ in a way that is compatible with your goals is a great idea, even if you don’t form a permanent group. Often, it can be as easy as hitting the “add friend” button after a good keystone run.


DUNGEON & AFFIX CONSIDERATIONS


When you’re deciding which keystones to attempt, it’s usually a good idea to pick your lowest level key and focus on that one, though there are some dungeons that are slightly harder than others and may naturally end up a level behind. At the top end, Plaguefall and The Necrotic Wake tend to have an extra level or two available due to the nature of those dungeons and the ways the dungeon contributes to the damage requirements (i.e. Kyrian Weapons in The Necrotic Wake or Spires of Ascension, Plagueborers in Plaguefall, etc.). Many players at all keystone levels find Sanguine Depths and Theater of Pain to be the dungeons with their lowest completed key levels. Remember that IO Score is earned on both Tyrannical and Fortified weeks, and it’s hugely valuable to go from a +0 to even several keystone levels below your average. Therefore, work on filling any completely empty dungeon scores above all else.

Deciding which weeks to push keys can be another challenge. Once we have the full Season 3 affix calendar, we’ll have a pretty good idea of the best “push weeks” for high keys, but it’s worth noting that sometimes the best week for attacking +30s is not the best week for average groups doing +15s. Affixes like Raging and Bursting tend to be favorites for those very high keys since, when managed well, they have minimal impact on the timer. However, these affixes can also come with high wipe potential for groups doing lower keys due to the demand for coordination and team synergy. This way, you may find affixes like Necrotic and Bolstering that force a slower path to, counterintuitively, be safer for your group.

In general, I’d categorize affixes as follows:

  • Low impact for almost all groups: Volcanic, Storming
  • Low timer impact, ideal for coordinated groups and high keys: Spiteful, Raging, Bursting
  • High timer impact, forces slower pathing, very bad for high keys but fine if you’re at a level where depletes come from wipes rather than the timer: Necrotic, Bolstering
  • Moderate to high impact depending on how your group handles it, what the other affixes are, and what the dungeon is: Grievous, Quaking, Sanguine


Tyrannical and Fortified are also very important considerations, though you will need to become proficient at both if you want to really maximize your potential Mythic+ rating, (since both will contribute to it). Historically, Tyrannical has been between one and three keystone levels harder than Fortified, but changes made over this expansion have brought the two mostly in line and within a keystone level of each other at the high end. Many lower-end groups find Tyrannical to be the easier affix since it concentrates the difficulty of the dungeon into a small number of boss fights that can be mastered rather than the trash pulls. However, your experience here might depend on how well your group composition deals with AoE versus single-target situations.



Conclusion



Mythic+ rating is a vibrant and challenging goal to pursue in WoW. Whether you’re looking for in-game rewards or the joy of climbing the leaderboard, it’s definitely worth giving it a shot if you have the opportunity. Don’t be too hard on yourself when you encounter setbacks or go weeks without upgrading a key — it happens to everyone! Try to remember that IO Score is designed to enhance your experience in Mythic+, not eclipse it. Good luck out there!



Links




About the Author


Dratnos hosts the The Titanforge WoW Podcast. He’s also an Officer in the World 36th guild poptart corndoG, and a commentator for events such as the MDI and the Race to World First! He streams on Twitch, where he likes to review his friends’ logs.