More Frequently Asked Questions about the New Upgrade System

Q: This seems awfully complicated. Why can’t you just give us more Valor?

A: One of the philosophical underpinnings of this system is that we want to encourage players to challenge themselves when they want to improve their character’s power. Farming low-level keys is not challenging for most players who routinely time keys in the teens or higher. There are a lot of moving pieces to this system because it’s been engineered to handle all kinds of situations in an effort to more closely align “doing the optimal thing” with “doing the fun thing” while still keeping the base player experience simple. And some of the complication is there specifically to minimize the losses for making mistakes; we don’t want people punished for upgrading the “wrong” thing.

Kill stuff, get Flightstones. Kill hard stuff, get Crests too. Take Flightstones and Crests to item upgrade vendor. Item upgrade vendor tells you how much it’ll cost and upgrade the gear as long as you can afford it.

If you didn’t read the big post from last week at all, but you took an item to an upgrade vendor and read the tooltips for Crests and Flightstones, you’d get enough of the gist to use the system just fine.

Q: The article you wrote talks about how gear from Mythic raid bosses can be upgraded in the intro. Then it goes on to detail how gear can’t be upgraded once you get to Mythic raid level.

A: Yep. Sure does. That should have said “or a Heroic raid boss”. Oops.

Q: Does this system and its hardcaps mean that I have to get the same item again from every upgrade track? I need to farm my BiS trinket at Veteran, then again at Champion, then again at Hero?

A: While that’s certainly an option, it’s not required, no. Getting an item on the Veteran upgrade track means that item can be upgraded to Veteran 8/8, which is the same ilevel as Champion 4/8, which is only 4 item levels lower than Hero 1/5. If you upgrade your gear to Veteran 8/8, you’ll be more than ready to do content that drops Hero-track gear.

That said, this is a known concern and we’re looking at options. I can’t promise any specific results, because there are a lot of moving parts going on here, but this is under active investigation. We won’t be making any changes to address this concern in the very early weeks of the patch, but if it turns out that the data bear out this concern, we will step in. Thanks to player feedback, we have developed a contingency plan.

Is this “Chimes says don’t delete your trinkets from +2 keys!”? If you like. We’re being careful here with the rollout of this new system. It might mean that those items will still be useful later and it might not. This is not a promise at all, but if I were still a player on the other side of blue posts like this, reading those words a blue poster just typed, I would keep mine around just in case.

Q: Okay, but we don’t know where exactly Hero-track gear comes from. For that matter, we don’t know where each level of Shadowflame Crests will come from either. Can you clear that up?

A: Sure thing. In retrospect, that would have been good to include in the initial blog post. I omitted it because it seemed like the post was already longer than most players would want to read and I wanted to focus on the system itself. But yes, how players will get the items to interact with the system is worth specific inclusion, so here goes. Please keep in mind that these details, like just about everything else on the PTR, is subject to change. As a reminder: 15 fragments combine into a full Crest.

  • Whelpling’s Shadowflame Crests:
    • Outdoor content will have Whelpling’s Shadowflame Crest Fragments all over. World quests, random treasures, non-elite unique creatures, etc. And some sources that haven’t been revealed quite yet. There shouldn’t be any shortage of these Crests for folks who want to go collect them and this is the most likely situation in which players will hit the Crest acquisition cap.
    • Mythic Keystones up to +5 will drop Whelpling’s Shadowflame Crest Fragments. There’s a significant bonus for timing the key; you get 5 fragments for completing, but 12 if you complete in time.
    • In Aberrus, Raid Finder will drop Whelpling’s Shadowflame Crest Fragments. Most bosses will drop 10 fragments, but end bosses will drop 15 (which can be made into a full crest immediately!).
  • Drake’s Shadowflame Crests:
    • Outdoor content will have a limited quantity of Drake’s Shadowflame Crest Fragments. Elite unique creatures in the outdoor world will be the most common source, but the weekly wrapper and some scheduled content (somewhat analogous to Dragonflight launch’s Community Feast or Siege at Dragonbane Keep) will offer a healthy amount of them. These will be more limited in outdoor content than Whelpling’s Shadowflame Crests, but dedicated players will be able to collect multiple Drake crests per week.
    • Mythic Keystones from +6 up to +10 will drop Drake’s Shadowflame Crest Fragments. There’s still that significant bonus for timing the key; you get 5 fragments for completing, but 12 if you complete in time.
    • Normal Aberrus will drop Drake’s Shadowflame Crest Fragments. Most bosses will drop 10 fragments, but end bosses will drop 15.
  • Wyrm’s Shadowflame Crests:
    • Mythic Keystones from +11 to +15 will drop Wyrm’s Shadowflame Crest Fragments. Unsurprisingly for those people who read the earlier sections: there’s a significant bonus for timing the key; you get 5 fragments for completing, but 12 if you complete in time.
    • Heroic Aberrus will drop Wyrm’s Shadowflame Crest Fragments. Most bosses will drop 10 fragments, but end bosses will drop 15.
  • Aspect’s Shadowflame Crests:
    • Mythic Keystones from +16 on up will drop Aspect’s Shadowflame Crest Fragments. And yes, there’s a significant bonus for timing the key; you get 5 fragments for completing, but 12 if you complete in time.
    • Mythic Aberrus will drop Aspect’s Shadowflame Crest Fragments. Most bosses will drop 10 fragments, but end bosses will drop 15.

For clarity on all of the above: these crests do not have a chance of dropping. They will drop every time. Crests acquisition is purely deterministic. (In some outdoor-content situations, there is quantity variance, but even in those circumstances they will always show up as long as you’re not at the acquisition cap.)

Please note that Shadowflame Crests are intentionally available at some key levels below the gear that would require them for early upgrades. For example, a +11 Mythic Keystone dungeon provides Wyrm’s Shadowflame Crest fragments. This allows players at this level of play to upgrade their Champion-level gear (also earned from +11 Mythic Keystone dungeons) above the 4/8 level, and creates a reason to run this more challenging content above the +9 keys that also drop Champion-track gear.

  • Veteran-track gear
    • Available in limited quantity in outdoor content. Suffusion Camps and the weekly wrapper quest will offer gear on this track.
    • Gear on this track will drop from the end-of-run chest in Mythic Keystone dungeons up to +8.
    • Raid Finder Aberrus will drop gear on this track.
  • Champion-track gear
    • The new World Boss will drop gear on this track. Under limited circumstances, players will be able to get this level of gear from Suffusion Camp activities.
    • Gear on this track will drop from the end-of-run chest in Mythic Keystone dungeons from +9 up to +16.
    • The Great Vault will award gear on this track for Mythic Keystone dungeons up to +7.
    • Normal Aberrus will drop gear on this track. Very rare items from Raid Finder Aberrus end bosses will also be on this track.
  • Hero-track gear
    • Gear on this track will drop from the end-of-run chest in Mythic Keystone dungeons from +17 and up.
    • The Great Vault will award gear on this track for Mythic Keystone dungeons from +8 up to +15.
    • Heroic Aberrus will drop gear on this track. Very rare items from Normal Aberrus end bosses will also be on this track.
  • Mythic gear
    • The Great Vault will award gear above the upgrade system’s range for Mythic Keystone dungeons of +16 and higher.
    • Mythic Aberrus will drop gear above the upgrade system’s range. Very rare items from Heroic Aberrus end bosses will also be above that range.

Q: Why cap item upgrades at all?

A: Because this is a (nearly) universal system, it includes things like outdoor gear. We’re going from a world where the Valor system only lets people who play a lot of M+ upgrade their gear to a world where everyone gets to upgrade their gear, even folks who are focused on outdoor play. The challenge here is that we’re still creating specific gear ecosystems for competitive players. We don’t want to create a world in which players need to run off-season M0s to get their BiS gear. We don’t want players feeling like they need to watch world quests to find the trinket that they need for raiding. And we don’t want to create incentives for players optimizing for Mythic raids to spend extra time to do Normal raids in order to get their best items. We want players to get their best rewards when they’re challenging themselves, and we want to minimize the amount of farming easy-to-them content that you need to do.

Q: These item names–Flightstones, Shadowflame Crests–are really specific to Dragonflight. Why not give them names that would work for a more evergreen system?

A: Well, for starters, this system isn’t evergreen. This is a system specifically for 10.1 and Season Two. It’s certainly designed with the potential for it to be evergreen, but it’ll be evaluated over the course of the season. We can’t tell you whether it’ll be here in Season Three because we don’t know yet.

There is a tentative plan for naming these upgrade components going forward, though. If the system continues in Season Three, we’ll swap out “Shadowflame” for an adjective more appropriate to the theming of that season. So in Season Three you’d collect a Season Three version of Flightstones, plus Whelpling’s [NEW ADJECTIVE HERE] Crests, Drake’s [NEW ADJECTIVE HERE] Crests, etc. Each season would change the adjective on the crest. Each expansion would change the name of the levels of crest to something more appropriate to that expansion’s theme. And the name “Flightstone” would probably change to something thematically appropriate as well.

I want to stress that this is a tentative plan and could easily change. And that’s assuming we keep the system. Right now, speaking only for myself and not the rest of the development team, I think it’s very likely we keep it and make small iterative improvements. But I can also see a world where it’s not quite the improvement to gearing that we’re looking for and we either return to the previous system or try something new for Season Three. The simple truth is that none of us can see the future, but this is what we’re trying for Season Two.

Q: For Shadowflame Crests, are we limited to how many times we can get them or how many times we can use them?

A: The cap is on acquisition. Every time you would get a crest fragment, the game tracks how close you are to cap and only gives you enough to reach the cap. So if you’ve already earned 140 whelpling crest fragments in the first week, and you would get another 12 crest fragments for finishing a +2 Mythic Keystone in time. Because you’re 10 fragments away from the cap, you’ll only get those 10 fragments.

Once you have crest fragments, you can combine them into Crests freely. And once you have the Crests, you can spend them freely at item upgrade vendors. The cap increases by 150 fragments (10 crests) weekly.

The cap does not apply to rewards from one-time quests (you’ll always be able to get those, and they won’t count against future earnings either) or from downgrading your Crests with Vaskarn in Loamm.

It’s great to see so much discussion about this system and hearing what people are looking forward to and worried about. I’ve been watching a lot of videos and reading forum threads and commentary on a bunch of different websites. And I encourage y’all to keep discussing it. Thoughtful, critical, and constructive player feedback is catnip for game developers.



How is the Revival Catalyst going to work with this?

1 Like

Independently. The upgrade system doesn’t care whether something is a tier piece or not.


Will all these items be eligible for Revival Catalyst, or will there still be exclusions?

Assuming the Aspect’s Shadowflame Crests section is a typo? Mentions Wyrm’s and Drake’s Crests under it not Aspect’s.

I’m still slightly confused.

Yep. Fixed. Thanks for pointing that out.

is the highest end-of-dungeon loot still going to acquired at a +20 key or higher

Is there a particular reason you couldn’t just set thresholds for players with a certain M+ rating where valor only came from higher keys, to dissuade them from running +2s like degenerates for their valor?

Excuse me for my skepticism, but in the past it’s taken weeks or even patch cycles for “data to bear out player concerns” – should we expect the same extended periods of time to go by before you act on this particular concern, or will you surprise us by not waiting weeks to go by before stepping in?


It’s simple to understand, but it still doesn’t feel simple. having 4 tiers of upgrade levels and multiple currencies will always be more complicated than a single tiered system with a single currency such as 1/13 and valor. It’s just more straight forward.

Also adding bag clutter when it’s already in a bad spot is not great feeling either. bags this expansion are worse than they’ve ever been, even with a 36 slot reagent bag. Tiered reagents, tiered consumables, and now tiered upgrade tokens. tier tier tier, that’s what this expansion feels like and it’s clutter. Even if i had 40 slot bags I’d still been crunched. Please consider this in future updates.


The heroic and mythic raid drops are still listing the same as normal raid drops for the shadowflame crests. I’m presuming that’s also a typo.

Several people I know have expressed alarm and confusion about this system regardless of the “quicknotes” version of this post from earlier. Have you considered calling the new system “Valor 2” or something similar to keep people from having gut-reactions to something new and potentially confusing? I think the userbase is insanely sensitive these days to change, even if it is meant for player accessibility, and something like keeping the name of the system Valor will help cool heads.

Also I agree that the “tier system” shouldn’t exist. If it means 24 upgrade levels, so be it, but tiers are confusing to people.


Generally having one upgrade path for M+ made sense, this system had to be expanded because it’s not just M+ anymore. If you take into account the current system, there are technically 7 different types of gear levels/tiers now(M+, the four raid difficulties, world, and M0/non m+ dungeon gear), excluding pvp, this is simplifying the process for players that do all content. I definitely agree on the bag space comment though, I wish this was just a currency in the tab, though players already complain about that too.

1 Like

Can I be fully honest with you once again? I did not read a single reason for this to exist other than more complexity for upgrading gear and more currencies to farm/grind out. Literally no other reason. Like absolutely nobody asked you to add MORE upgrade types into the game when we presently have 3 already in the game and that doesn’t include the random gear currencies scattered around the isles from Primal Storms etc. This is the core problem with this team. Creating solutions to a problem that doesn’t exist which then causes more problems. Just stop. You have so many other problems with DF you could be focusing on fixing and dealing with instead of doing something like this that, to reiterate again, is not needed and was not asked for.


I noticed on the PTR that the item to upgrade crafted item level requires crests as a reagent; essentially combining Valor and the current crafting upgrade items. Will more Crests drop in comparison to Valor to counter this or will gearing just be slower?

1 Like

Why not just make valor exponential? This would make lower level keys still worth is for people that require that gear and make high keys more efficient for farming high level gear upgrade. No one wants to reaquire gear especially if they get unlucky and have to farm keys 30+ times at every level for a drop.


You whining about the system isn’t going to magically make it go away. So either accept it, or leave. You don’t have to stay.

You don’t have to like the system. You can offer constructive feedback on what you want to see changed. But whining and moaning is going to accomplish exactly nothing other than you mildly venting. Not all feedback is constructive feedback.

You speak for no one but yourself. You could add up the entire population of the WoW forums and it wouldn’t comprise anything more than a small fraction of the whole.


I do think having some way to upgrade between tiers would solve the reacquire gear issue while still costing resources to upgrade if people do decide to get the piece from 2’s. Maybe making it so when something gets 8/8 you can use the next tier’s currency to upgrade it to 4/8 of the next tier?


Honestly this just like extra complexity for the sake of it. If it isn’t broke don’t fix it. Why do you keep messing with perfectly fine systems?


From what they are saying, we need 15 Fragments to make a crest and we can get 150 Fragments a week, going up in cap by 150 each week. So we can get essentially 15 upgrades each week but that is assuming the higher level versions of the Whelping Fragments are also 150 as a cap.