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Val'anyr being scaled up in patch 3.2

In an unexpected turn of events, the latest patch 3.2 build on the PTR is giving Val'anyr a buff, and something of a nerf to accompany it. If you didn't see it in the official notes, here's the detail regarding Val'anyr before I dig into it:
  • Val'anyr, Hammer of Ancient Kings: This item's stats and level have been increased to match the power level of healer weapons coming from the Coliseum 25-person normal difficulty instance. In addition, each time Val'anyr is equipped, Blessing of Ancient Kings will be placed on a 45-second cooldown before it can occur.
Well, now! What is this? Blizzard scaling up a Legendary? Unheard of... until now! You could call it a pleasant surprise, but it's more pleasant than surprising. Val'anyr's raw stats were never very impressive. In fact, when the weapon stats were first revealed, a lot of people were rather underwhelmed! The proc is downright incredible, enough to give it more longevity than you'd ever expect, but the stats themselves were only a bit better than other weapons you found in Ulduar. Considering the weapon is a Legendary, that's more than a little bit odd. Legendaries are often (but not always) heads and tails above the competition in their tier of gear stat-wise. I could be completely off-base, but I'm pretty sure that's what they're trying to fix. A legendary weapon shouldn't last you forever (or even an entire expansion), but it should probably last you at least half a tier of raiding, shouldn't it?

Like I said though, the proc is incredible, so you would be keeping the weapon around for that, not for its stats. Which is what the nerf portion of the Val'anyr change addresses. Once healing weapons have finally outpaced Val'anyr, what most players would have ended up doing is equip Val'anyr until Blessing of the Ancient Kings has procced and expired, switch in your other weapons while the proc's inner cooldown passes, then throw Val'anyr back on when the proc is able to be used again. That sounds like a hassle, but you can bet your dupa that Healers would jump through those hoops to make the most out of the proc. There are still healers that use the Scarab Brooch on certain fights, and Val'anyr's proc is almost a straight lift of that.

So the buff and nerf go hand in hand here. The buff is to give the weapon some longevity through Tier 9, and the nerf is a measure to make sure it's not being used forever. Or at least if it is being used forever, you're making an active choice to do so. You don't get to pair the proc with a weapon that has better stats. You use it, or you don't. I suspect Healers will be using it right through the end of Wrath of the Lich King, and possibly beyond. But when we're hitting the endgame of the next expansion, Healers probably won't forego the stats on a level 90 epic weapon for the Val'anyr proc, except in extreme circumstances. If you could use both in tandem, level 90 healers would be going back to Ulduar every single week to churn out a Val'anyr to pair up with their Godshammer of Godhealing from Nazjatar or whatever crazy place we end up visiting in the next expansion.

For those interested, here are the stat increases we'll be seeing on the weapon:
  • 3 more Stamina
  • 3 more Intellect
  • 34 more Spell Power
  • 3 more Critical Strike Rating
  • 3 more Haste Rating
And that brings the weapon up to an ilevel of 245, up from 239. That takes it from slightly-above-ulduar to being on par with Coliseum loot, sans 25-man hard mode.
Patch 3.2 will bring about a new 5, 10, and 25 man instance to WoW, and usher in a new 40-man battleground called the Isle of Conquest. WoW.com will have you covered every step of the way, from extensive PTR coverage through the official live release. Check out WoW.com's Guide to Patch 3.2 for all the latest!

Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion

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