The New Era of 80-84 Reviewed by Momizat on . During Cataclysm, the 80-84 bracket remained one of the best-kept secrets of XP-off. Depending on your playstyle, class, and spec, you could make strong argumen During Cataclysm, the 80-84 bracket remained one of the best-kept secrets of XP-off. Depending on your playstyle, class, and spec, you could make strong argumen Rating:

The New Era of 80-84

During Cataclysm, the 80-84 bracket remained one of the best-kept secrets of XP-off. Depending on your playstyle, class, and spec, you could make strong arguments for a variety of levels and gear combinations. Mastery brought tremendous bonuses to some class/spec combinations. Icecrown Citadel raid gear set bonuses offered interesting alternatives, Cata questing gear and Cata BoE gear allowed more stat flexibility, and most professions made worthwhile contributions. Reforging created significant fine-tuning possibilities. Finally, going to 84 rarely offered the advantage that novice players assumed.

Thanks in part to Blizzard’s decision to compress a full expansion’s worth of stats into half of the normal leveling space, stats and abilities scaled in extreme ways. Most secondary stats radically degraded toward the higher end of the bracket (losing 56% at 83 and 66% at 84), invalidating the stats gain on item level 333 gear available at those levels, compared to the item level 275 PvP gear players could obtain at 80. This is why experienced and knowledgeable 80s snickered at 84s in the bracket. Unless an 84 knew which class/spec/gear combinations could capitalize on primary stats, 84s actually came out weaker than their level 80 counterparts. Taitaih once pointed out that players who went to 81 or 83 caused a greater threat, because they often had a much better knowledge of class/spec combinations that could truly take advantage of playing at those levels.

By far, 80-84 offered the most complex play choices of any XP-off bracket in Cataclysm.

Actual games varied in quality. 80-84 quickly gained a reputation for the strange combination of stratospheric burst and unkillable players. In reality, many players who didn’t purchase Cataclysm unknowingly ended up in the 80-84 XP-off bracket, diluting the average level of knowledge, skill, and gear in a given battleground. Amidst the difficult and inconsistent PuG 80-84 battlegrounds, the good games reached a tremendous level of intensity that attracted players throughout the lifespan of the expansion.

A quick glimpse through the WoWhead MoP database shows a decidedly different future for the 80-84 bracket.

When Mists of Pandaria goes live, MoP BoE blue gear will appear in the bracket. It’s too early to know how much will remain included in MoP’s release, but for now, MoP blue gear item levels range from 409 at level 80 to 442 at level 84. At all levels, stats surpass current 308-333 gear by over 260%. Not all slots have 433 or 442 options, but even the MoP green options outclass current Cata and Wrath gear by a significant margin.

When MoP arrives, the most optimized choice for any player in 80-84 will involve getting the one best option available for each slot regardless of whether or not the armor type matches. A plate caster in cloth? At 260% above Cata plate stats, you bet. 80-84 may become the single most homogenized XP-off bracket in WoW. That said, reforging could nullify the importance of gear diversity. Add in the 5th tier of talents, the 3rd set of glyphs, and the desperately needed baseline resilience, and the 80-84 bracket could retain its stellar complexity.

Even in the face of drastic disparities between players, 80-84 in Cata surpassed a lot of expectations. While it’s too soon to tell what will happen to 80-84, we do know the bracket will look nothing like it did before 5.0.4. For now, the bracket anticipates major changes as MoP BoE gear appears on the horizon.

About The Author

Bwappo's first twink began in 2.4 (early 2008). Finding little information on the internet concerning resto shamans, Bwappo wrote his first guide. After years of active participation at PwnDepot, TwinkInfo, and the WoW battleground forums, Bwappo still enjoys XP-off PvP and loves to get players thinking about the intricacies of World of Warcraft. Theorycrafting, insights about twinking motivations, bracket organization, and community standards all find their way into Bwappo's work. With multiple twinks spanning nine different brackets, Bwappo writes to help fellow twinkers make the most of what WoW can offer.

Number of Entries : 24

Comments (8)

  • Astroclaws

    Sorry but I completely disagree. I thought 80-84 of Cata was the most uneven pvp bracket in the history of this game.

    Scaling imbalances created a situation where fully geared Level 80′s could be one-shotted by Level 84′s.

    You also had armies of Level 84 blood dk’s with 120k hp. The Level 83 players you mention, like frost mages, also bursted down most 80′s easily.

    I’m all for trying to find the silver lining in things, but the reality was this bracket was the worst ever.

    • Bwappo

      I’d argue that the unnevenness stemmed from most players who didn’t understand the advantages and disadvantages of different aspects of the bracket. Heck, even a “fully geared” 80 of any stripe wasn’t common. In my time in 80-84, I never saw a fully geared 80 get one-shot. Though to be fair, a fully-geared arcane mage at any level in that bracket could two-shot just about anyone if left to freecast. Frost mages followed pretty closely. 84 blood DKs were nigh-unkillable, but didn’t hit hard, same as 84 holy paladins.

  • Taitaih

    Personally loved 80-84s. Could totally be a BG hero in this bracket with numerous classes. 84s were a challenge, and usually most of them weren’t the best players ever.

    I played a lot solo and I played with my guild, DLY. Every game was different in this bracket, even with the imbalance of 84 tank classes like Ferals and Blood DKs. There was never a boring moment.

    I loved it, I loved the challenge of trying to drop an 81/83/84.

  • Mooglytonkers

    Check out my Hunter “Nardblaster” on Greymane. Well over 100% crit with buffs, an unbuffed mastery in the high 70s…. no way would I level him to 84. Anything gained other than a few HP would be given back as I get scaled down.

    • bwappo

      Look at the dps difference of the Wall Guardian’s Longrifle compared to yours. To get that extra 320 dps at 80, you would need 4480 more attack power, which is more than half of your entire current attack power. That’s before factoring in the stats difference between weapons. How about Gerp’s Perfect Arrow, an 84 trinket? Forget the amazing on-use, and just look at the 697 crit, which is more than a third of your entire crit rating at 80 — from just one trinket! While going above 80 certainly drops your secondary stats by a significant amount, the tremendous power of MoP gear more than makes up for it. If CharDev comes back up, try making one for an 84 hunter. I think the results will astound you.

    • Bwappo

      I’ve had a couple other 80s challenge me on this as well. After doing more research, it turns out that the gain in secondary stats as a result of the primary stats boost (e.g. crit from int or agi) makes enough of an impact to counterbalance the massive increase in dps/hps from gear. In other words, while going to 84 provides some advantages, staying at 80 can give a player enough extra burst in most cases to compensate for the throughput loss.

  • Ant Faulkner

    Worst bracket ever.

    Unless you have a group of friends prepared to run u thru Pandaria dungeons or hunt for Pandaria rares, this sucks, bigtime. Never had less fun.

  • zandyer

    Zanderon- Earthen Ring 80 twink warrior, personally I love this bracket, for pvp and I love it for the PVE likewise. I admit that it’s not very even, I two shot(sometimes one) most clothies that are level 80 and not much more difficult for leather/mail/plate. It’s impossible to heal through the burst damage that goes on in this bracket. It’s fun and i’ll continue to play it.


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