The most recent PTR build introduced an early version of our Corrupted Items system, and we’d like to highlight a few aspects of how the Corruption system works, and our goals as we iterate on it.
How Corruption Works
Items from Ny’alotha, Mythic Keystone dungeons in Season 4, BfA PvP Season 4, the Heroic Darkshore Warfront, and other new sources of loot that are updated with Season 4 will not be able to Warforge or Titanforge. Items from older content will retain an effective “ceiling” of item level 455, as they do today.
There will be a chance for these new items to be Corrupted by N’Zoth. A Corrupted item has a powerful beneficial property, similar to many of the Benthic effects seen in Nazjatar, but has a new detrimental stat: Corruption. Items can have varying levels of Corruption, with the amount of Corruption present correlating directly with the power of the beneficial upside (for example: an item might give 4% Critical Strike damage and 10 Corruption, or 6% Critical Strike damage and 15 Corruption).
Corruption represents the influence of N’Zoth, which will have negative effects on the wearer. As Corruption increases, a series of drawbacks are activated. You might remember how Corruption worked on the Cho’gall encounter back in Bastion of Twilight – that was a source of inspiration here. The drawbacks currently on the PTR are works-in-progress and not-yet-tuned, and we have changes already implemented in the next PTR build. Our general intent is for low Corruption to activate a minor effect that most people can play around without too much difficulty, medium levels of Corruption to activate a couple more effects that have a higher skill cap (nd may be more situational in where and when someone can handle having them active), and high levels of Corruption to be prohibitive, and virtually never worth it.
Gear that makes your character worse when you equip it doesn’t sound terribly appealing, but fortunately there will be a few ways of dealing with Corruption. The legendary cloak that players will earn from Wrathion early on in Visions of N’Zoth will negate some Corruption, and can be upgraded through entering and completing Horrific Visions to provide even more of a bulwark against Corruption.
Early on, we expect that players might wear one or maybe two pieces of Corrupted gear at a time. Later on, three or four pieces might be manageable. The vast majority of the gear players wear, even later on, will not be Corrupted. And these perks aren’t planned to be slot-restricted, so if there’s a specific power you want, there should never be a concern that your item needs to roll with that affix to be useful.
We also never want an item that would otherwise be an upgrade to feel unusable as a result of being Corrupted, so any Corrupted items can be taken to the Heart Forge and purified without restriction . If you get that trinket you’ve been hoping for, but it’s Corrupted with a beneficial effect you don’t like, or wearing it would push you above a Corruption threshold you’re comfortable with, just purify the item and carry on.
With itemization, we’re always looking for opportunities to create moments of excitement and choices and options to customize your gameplay to suit your playstyle and the content you choose to play. Warforging created some of this by allowing useful rewards to come from a wide range of content, and ensuring that there was almost always at least the chance of an upgrade from any repeat boss kill or other source of loot. However, as we’ve seen and heard clearly in feedback over the past years, it has also brought significant downsides: Progression feels less rewarding, as players killing a raid boss on a new difficulty for the first time often disenchant much of the loot because they have equal or better Warforged items from lower difficulties or other sources. In addition, the feeling that a given item could have Warforged more and been even better can leave a sense of disappointment at what should have been a clear reward moment. And the sense that these systems are out of players’ direct control makes it harder to work towards a clear goal or state of completion.
The Corruption system isn’t a permanent addition to World of Warcraft, but it is an extension of the theme of N’Zoth’s pervasive and growing influence over Azeroth. As we explore this over the course of the PTR, we’d love to hear feedback about the initial round of powers showing up on items, Corruption drawbacks that may be excessively punitive, and the system as a whole.
Please feel free to reply with your feedback here in this thread. Thank you very much!