In Shadowlands, experience gains on individual items were severely curtailed, replaced with set bonuses that mostly worked off rested experience. iLevel scaling was pretty much on par with Uncommon gear items of the same level, reducing heirlooms’ utility to three factors: not having to worry about replacing certain slots, being able to apply enchants that would last for the lifetime of the heirloom, and being able to apply and keep a long-term transmog.
Although the ability to increase usability to level 59 was introduced in 9.1.5, players were frustrated by being able to enter Shadowlands as early as 48 with heirlooms that lagged behind until level 51, when the iLevel jumped from a paltry 58 to a more usable (but still underwhelming) 98. Many players simply stopped upgrading heirlooms because they’d become little better than using drops or crafted gear, and often outstripped by Rare or Epic items from dungeons.
Enter Dragonflight Heirloom Rescaling
Although Dragonflight does not introduce a new Heirloom upgrade item (you can still only use them til level 59), Blizzard has dramatically increased the iLevel on heirlooms for Dragonflight Pre-Patch, starting November 15th.
Now, instead of heirloom gear that matches Uncommon-quality items and is outstripped by Rare and Epic ones, the new heirloom scaling out-iLevels all three. While Uncommon, Rare, and Epic leveling gear has gone up a few points with Dragonflight, heirloom items are, in some cases, nearly double the iLevel of similar level greens.
The green line represents the Shadowlands iLevels, with the huge visible jump at level 51. The blue Dragonflight heirloom line shows the much higher iLevels available at much lower character levels, giving heirlooms a competitive edge they haven’t enjoyed since Battle for Azeroth.
And it’s not just iLevels that have increased; everything scales up, including armor class, stats, and secondary stats. While the set bonuses have not changed (there’s a small nerf to the once-per-level damage of Burst of Knowledge, but nothing to worry much about), and the experience bonuses are no better, the rescaling makes heirlooms worth equipping and even upgrading once more.
For a full analysis of the heirloom changes, we’ve prepared a guide showing more detail about the iLevel changes and what this means for the future viability of heirlooms.
Heirlooms in Dragonflight
And don’t forget: you can earn a new heirloom trinket, the Unstable Elemental Confluence during Primal Storms, the Dragonflight pre-patch event starting November 15th!
Primal Storms Dragonflight Pre-Patch Event