WoW Heirlooms still don’t provide bonus XP, but they now have higher ilevels and better scaling
The Shadowlands redesign of Heirloom gear, which removed XP bonuses, has made Heirlooms a lot less apealing. After all, that XP bonus was the primary benefit of wearing Heirlooms, letting you zoom through the levels on your alts. The new versions extended your rested XP, but did very little for you once they ran out. And since Heirlooms are also expensive to level up, if you’re wearing a full set of Heirloom gear you’ve dumped a fair chunk of gold into the process. In short, the Shadowlands redesign turned Heirlooms from useful leveling tools into a big goldsink with limited benefits.
On top of that, the quality of Heirloom gear just wasn’t great during Shadowlands, where it could easily be outclassed by quest rewards. Heirloom gear has always leveled with you, increasing in ilevel as you increased in level. This was another big benefit of having a full set of Heirlooms: you didn’t have to constantly hunt for new gear while leveling. But revamped Heirlooms weren’t scaling well, so quest greens or at-level crafted gear were often better.
But that’s changed in the Dragonflight pre-patch. The new scaling for Heirloom gear smooths out the leveling curve, so there’s no longer a sudden, jarring increase between level 50 and 51 — where Heirloom scaling used to jump from ilevel 58 to ilevel 98. Now the level 50 gear is at ilevel 145 and level 51 is ilevel 148, so you have solid gear at every level without those awkward jumps. The gear itself is also stronger all the way to level 59. Level 59 heirlooms in Shadowlands topped out at ilevel 148, now Heirlooms reach ilevel 183. That’s not amazing gear at level 60, but it gives you a good place to start.
If your primary reason for wearing Heirlooms was the experience boost, that’s unchanged. Instead of making Heirlooms help you level even faster, Dragonflight is simply making leveling to max level faster overall, no matter what gear you equip. And with the increased item level on Heirloom gear makes it a lot more competitive for alts, who won’t find better rewards from quests. So right now it makes a lot more sense to spend the gold on upgrading Heirlooms, because you know you’ll get good use of them all the way to level 60.
While there’s still demand for Heirlooms add bonus experience again, I don’t think it’s in the cards. Blizzard wouldn’t be working so hard to increase leveling speed overall if it was just going to re-add Heirloom XP bonuses back into the mix. We’ll see if these rebalancing changes to Heirlooms are enough to counteract the negative impression their cost and lack of original purpose created over the course of Shadowlands, but I think it’s a good step at the least.
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