Kil'Jaeden from World of Warcraft's Broken Shore cinematic

Blizzard has recently announced that they will be adding a bunch of Mythic Keystone changes with the upcoming 7.2.5 PTR update. As is tradition with anything related to World of Warcraft, half of these changes are brilliant and will greatly improve the overall gameplay, while the other half are the ravings of madmen that seem to only offer negatives.

But before I influence your opinion with my own, allow me to first show you what exactly the developers are changing. You'll find the full announcement post over at the World of Warcraft forums, but here's the 'short' version:

The first big change is that we’re getting rid of the depletion mechanic. We’d originally imagined that getting ahold of a Keystone would be more of a barrier than it is, but in reality, there are so many players participating that it’s generally not too difficult to find someone with a Keystone you’d like to run. In that environment, depleting a Keystone is more of an annoyance than anything else – especially when it happens for reasons outside of your control (such as a player disconnecting). Instead, we’re going to try the following:

Completing the run on time will have the same results it currently does in 7.2: you’ll get a new Keystone for a random dungeon that’s 1-3 levels higher than the one you just completed, based on how quickly you finished.

If you complete the dungeon but don’t make the timer, you’ll get a Keystone for a random dungeon that’s 1 level lower than the one you just used.

If you don’t complete the dungeon at all, you’ll have a Keystone for the same dungeon that’s one level lower than the one you just used.

However, because of this, players tend to look for lower-level Keystones that they can easily stomp through, instead of higher-level Keystones that are appropriately challenging for their gear and skill. That, in turn, affects who they’re willing to invite. AOE damage output is preferred over everything else, because the only concern is how quickly you can clear through easy trash packs. And gear requirements tend to outpace what actually drops: if you could find upgrades in a Mythic 6, you’ll have a hard time finding a group, because the Mythic 6 groups are full of players who are capable of clearing 10+ and are just looking for an easy 3-chest. With that in mind, here’s the changes we’re planning to test:

You no longer receive additional chests at the end of a run for completing it quickly.

When you finish a Mythic+ dungeon, the chest at the end will contain two items and an appropriate amount of Artifact Power.

If you beat the timer, regardless of how quickly, there will be a third item in the chest.

Keystones can still upgrade by 2 or 3 steps, so you can quickly get to a difficulty level appropriate for you.

The removal of the depletion mechanic is a great thing indeed as it completely sidesteps much of the frustration that comes from grouping with random people. Unfortunately, the rest of the changes are complete nonsense. In an effort to prevent highly geared players from steamrolling through lower dungeons they are reducing the amount of loot by 50%, which is supposed to help... I guess? And to further emphasis how ridiculous this idea is, Blizzard will also be adding an easy way to downgrade your key (simply leave the instance to deplete it and get a key that's a level lower), which means even more highly geared players farming lower dungeons since keys are now infinite! And best of all, they still haven't added any incentive to run high level Keystone Dungeons given that loot stops scaling at 10 (15 once TOS comes out)!

On the positive side, all of these changes will be going through the PTR first before arriving onto the live servers. We can only hope that Blizzard sees the error of their ways and makes it so that pushing higher and harder dungeons is more rewarding than farming lower and easier ones.