The Great Vault will replace bonus rolls in Shadowlands, ending bad luck protection as we have known it
One of the most enduring legacies of Mists of Pandaria has been the bonus roll system, which gave you another chance to roll for loot when a boss died, literally an additional chance to roll against the boss’ loot table. The bonus roll has, over the course of its existence, used a kind of currency as a token: as long as you had one of the various kinds of Seals of Fate — Seals of Wartorn Fate in Battle for Azeroth for example — you could use one to get a bonus roll, which could give you gold, artifact power, or an actual item for your talent specialization.
This has been a godsend for players who were unlucky and it’s been one of my favorite pieces of bad luck protection since its inception. The bonus roll system hasn’t been perfect — far too often it resulted in gold or AP instead of a drop — but there have definitely been times it’s saved me from yet another fruitless exercise in killing a boss and getting nothing to show for it, an experience that haunted my steps for years.
Bonus rolls were a rare beacon of light in a process that often seemed designed to make you unhappy: namely the punishingly random loot system of World of Warcraft.
So of course it’s going away in Shadowlands. As you may have already deduced from the preceding paragraphs, this is not a change that I’m happy with.
I’d like to take a step back on this subject and look at the big picture.
As has been observed in the Beta, loot quantities overall are reduced in Shadowlands. Following the proclamation “let loot be loot”, we’re entering into a world without Warforging and Titanforging, where getting an item from relevant content should feel rewarding on its own more often, without needing to hope for random upgrades.
Bonus rolls no longer exist, and the Great Vault captures the value they used to provide to raiders. Non-raiders should also factor in the Great Vault, as completing a Mythic Keystone +15 will award a choice of up to three item-level 226 pieces from the Great Vault.
Currently in the Shadowlands Beta / first tier of the expansion, PvP loot for top ratings caps out at item level 226.
While outdoor world gameplay and professions offer a range of epic gear, the very strongest loot in WoW comes from the three organized multiplayer endgame progression paths: Rated PvP, Mythic Keystone dungeons, and raiding. The design intent is for all three paths to provide parallel progression over the course of a tier, while providing players who engage in multiple paths at a comparable level a faster advancement experience. For example, we’re currently targeting item level 213 for Challenger-level PvP, Heroic raiding, or Mythic Keystone dungeons at the +7 difficulty.
Of course, there could be further adjustments to all of this in the weeks to come before Shadowlands launches.
An end to an era of bad luck protection
I understand that there may be some redundancy between bonus rolls and the Great Vault system. And I understand why Blizzard would feel like bonus rolls were primarily used to try for upgrades like Titanforged or Corrupted items, and with those kinds of random upgrades no longer in the game, we don’t need bonus rolls.
I get that argument. This isn’t me stamping my feet and demanding my toy back — I find it unlikely that the bonus roll will return, especially since the Great Vault is already in the game and we’re getting the expansion in around a month. There’s even some logic to the idea of the Great Vault as the expansion of the weekly reward from Mythic+ taking over that role.
No, my real point here is that the original purpose of bonus rolls to serve as bad luck protection may be met to some degree by the Great Vault, but the way it did so is different and it won’t provide the same feeling. If you’re using the Vault as a PVE-focused player, it adds items for every objective you complete each week. A new piece of loot goes in the vault when you kill 3, 7, and 10 raid bosses, or 1, 4, or 10 Mythic+ dungeons.
But completing objectives only adds loot choices. Though more loot goes into the vault with each objective you complete, but you can only get one piece of gear from the Great Vault per week. If the Vault doesn’t reward you with any choices that are worth using — say you only kill three bosses that week, so there’s one piece of loot in the Vault and it’s a pair of boots you already have — that’s that.
Bonus rolls might not give you any loot. Or they might give you a piece you already have. Or they might give you several items. In Shadowlands, Blizzard seems to want to slow gearing down and make it harder to get an upgrade, possibly in reaction to how gearing got by the end of Battle for Azeroth.
But I feel like we’re losing out on the bad luck protection aspect of bonus rolls and this is a change that didn’t need to be made. The Great Vault and bonus rolls could easily have coexisted, and the extra layer of bad luck protection would only have benefited players who found themselves at the end of a week of raiding or Mythic+ with nothing to show for it. And frankly, that feeling of “I completed this challenging group content and got nothing” is one of the worst feelings available.
The Great Vault will definitely provide you with something, and perhaps that’s enough — but I feel like trading the bonus roll for a guarantee of one item a week is less than ideal. But at the same time, I do recognize that for many players, a guaranteed something once a week will definitely outweigh the chance of more from bonus rolls. I just wish we could have both and don’t really see a reason why we can’t. Bonus rolls are more flexible, they apply in more circumstances — you can use them in five player dungeons that aren’t Mythics, for example. What about players who don’t raid or run Mythic+, why can’t they get any bad luck protection?
At any rate, that’s the plan going forward in Shadowlands — the bonus roll, that holdover from Mists of Pandaria, will be no more and the Great Vault will be the only source of added reward from and bad luck protection in the upcoming expansion.
Farewell, bonus rolls — at least I won’t have to remember to buy seals once a week anymore.
Please consider supporting our Patreon!
Join the Discussion
Blizzard Watch is a safe space for all readers. By leaving comments on this site you agree to follow our commenting and community guidelines.