VALOR POINTS AND ILVL UPGRADE
Players in Shadowlands have long complained about endgame activities offering few rewards that would justify the time and effort required to participate in them. This has been a particular problem in Mythic+ dungeons, as most of the loot they offered was inferior to what could be obtained from other sources (such as Castle Nathria or PvP). If players tried to progress through the lower-level Mythic+ content first, most of the spoils earned this way soon became obsolete in the high-end meta.
Blizzard listened to those complaints and implemented an ingenious upgrade mechanic for Mythic+ items in patch 9.0.5. People could now choose which of their Mythic+ weapons or armor to raise to a more viable level instead of being effectively restricted to a handful of random high-level drops if they wish to remain competitive. This liberating system is fuelled by a returning currency called Valor.
Valor Points have previously shown up way back in Cataclysm, only to be patched out early into the Warlords of Draenor. Back then, equipment upgrades were only one part of the PvE currency’s utility, along with buying items and certain materials. It could also be earned from many different sources. The new implementation is narrower in purpose and in how the currency may be collected. In the Shadowlands, Valor only comes from two sources: Covenant Callings and Mythic+ dungeons.
The Callings are daily quests offered by your character’s Covenant. After your character joins one of those factions in the storyline, your new allies will add one of those missions on each daily reset. Callings have a three-day time limit and can require collecting certain resources or completing a number of World Quests. Higher-difficulty versions involve a bigger spread of activities – you may need to defeat stronger enemies, loot treasures, and venture into dungeons. In addition to their usual Tribute Chest rewards, each Rare Calling now yields 35 Valor on completion, while Epic Callings give out 50.
Mythic+ dungeons may be a more efficient route. Each complete run will reward you with 135 Valor, regardless of your Mythic Keystone level. You do not need to beat the time limit for it to count either. As a result, farming the lower-level versions is simple if a somewhat tedious method of amassing this currency.
As with Conquest in PvP, Valor from both sources is subject to a growing weekly cap. It began at 5000 points on March 9 and gains 750 points every week after that. There is no need to fret about getting to the cap immediately, however. If you earned less than the full amount in one week, you will still be able to catch up later on. All this system really means is that the Valor you can collect is always limited, so you should make the most of this precious resource.
Once you have Valor, you could use it to improve Mythic+ gear with the help of a specialized vendor in the Oribos hub city. This vendor may be familiar, as it is the same one who handles PvP gear upgrades. Alternatively, you could turn to the Covenant gear upgrade vendor at your faction’s Covenant Hall. All possible item levels for Mythic+ gear have been consolidated into 12 ranks:
|Rank||Highest Item Level|
When you upgrade your gear, its level is raised to the top of the next rank. What it would cost depends solely on the equipment type and slot:
|Valor Price||Gear Type|
|250||Shield, Offhand, Ring, Cloak, Bracer, Neck|
|400||Trinket, Belt, Shoulders, Gloves, Boots|
|475||Helm, Legs, Chest|
|500||One-Handed Agility or Strength Weapon|
|750||One-Handed Intellect Weapon|
There are some important limits to the reward system. First of all, items acquired before the patch was released could never be upgraded. Logically, this includes the March 9 Great Vault prizes, as they were unlocked under the old system, even if they were technically retrieved after Valor was introduced. Also, the higher upgrade levels are gated by seasonal Mythic+ achievements and their requirements:
|200 ilvl||Shadowlands Keystone Explorer: Season One||Complete all Shadowlands Season One Dungeons at Mythic Level 5 or higher within the time limit|
|207 ilvl||Shadowlands Keystone Conqueror: Season One||Complete all Shadowlands Season One Dungeons at Mythic Level 10 or higher within the time limit|
|213 ilvl||Shadowlands Keystone Master: Season One||Complete all Shadowlands Season One Dungeons at Mythic Level 15 or higher within the time limit|
Some in the community have criticized this change as not going far enough, as Mythic+ dungeons still aren’t as rewarding as other endgame activities. Still, most agree that this system is a major step in the right direction. Between the upgrades themselves and their requirements, players will have more reason to delve into the Mythic+ dungeons, breathing new life into this pursuit. Importantly, even more, casual players will find it easier to get something out of the activity, although the best results still call for mastering the Keystones.