Brilliant. Fucking brilliant. I still grin like an idiot every time those Blizzard designers pull something like this out.
TL;DR version: normal and Heroic mode raids will occasionally drop a ssssuper epeen six ilevels higher version of any normal loot drop, and that these upgrades will “proc” slightly more often in 25-man raids.
I just… I don’t even know where to begin. I’ve yet to read any other blogs since hearing about this change, so I’ll just assume as usual they’re all screaming about how this is the worst change to WoW since they nerfed Hogger, but I think it’s awesome.
First of all, it’s a decent “soft” reward for 25-man raiders. [Or, y’know, a slap in the face if you’re not.]
It means that nobody will ever, ever, ever be able to complete their best in slot gear set within a raid tier. You would never be totally “done” even with farm bosses in terms of loot upgrades unless you already got extremely lucky.
I can’t recall any situation in WoW which squeezed so much epeen out of so few ilevels. The 4.1 Troll 5-mans back in Cataclysm came close with their Epic quality loot having only 7 ilevels over the terrible, terrible Rare quality gear from the previous 5-mans. As with that example, the six ilevels are almost beside the point; it’s the big sparkly “Thunderforged” text at the top that lets everyone know how awesome you are as a player, and the security of knowing that it’s the best gear ever ever by a small margin.
It definitely adds excitement to the loot dropping process. Instead of “we killed a farm boss and he dropped an item nobody could use and another item everyone already has”, you’ll occasionally have “we killed a farm boss and HOLY SHIT HE DROPPED A THUNDERFORGED ITEM that nobody could use” and the raid bonds over a mutual bitching that their luck is terrible and the Thunderforged items they need never drop.
I wonder how much this will devalue non-Thunderforged drops in players’ minds…