Hot on the heels of news that profession patterns will drop off hard-mode 10-man Ulduar bosses comes this even nicer change:
In order to better reward players for completing hard mode encounters in 10-player Ulduar, we will be updating weapon rewards from these hard mode encounters to an item level of 232 in the next minor patch.
Awesome. It's stuck in my craw for a while (I must have a gargantuan craw to be getting so much stuck in it) that Uld 25 normal mode weapons are better than Uld 10 hard mode weapons. Before this change, Uld 10 hard modes dropped exclusively ilevel 226 gear. Meanwhile, Uld 25 normal modes dropped ilevel 226 armor, but ilevel 232 weapons for no discernable reason. Now you can get exactly the same quality gear from Uld 10 hard as you can get from Uld 25 normal, including patterns, badges, and Runed Orbs. The only thing missing is the Legendary, which is only available through Uld 25 hard modes anyway, and would be nice but isn't that big of a deal.
I'd still vastly prefer if 10 and 25 shared a lockout and identical loot tables. I'm also not happy with the relative lack of ilevel 226 drops in Uld 10 compared to Uld 25. Sure, hard modes in 10 drop 226 gear, but only for a few slots. For instance, my DK can only use a weapon, ring, and bracers (and maybe a cape) from hard modes. If I killed the same bosses in 25-man regular mode, I could get a strong 226 piece for every slot. So it's still kind of a mess, though the craftables and badge items help with that. It could be a lot worse, and honestly, Blizzard is doing the best they can with a bad situation (of their own creation). It's too late this patch cycle to truly equalize both tracks, but I'm heartened to see them taking so many steps in that direction. Though I'd prefer things to be totally equal, I could live with the raiding game if it continued with the tier gear difference as long as 10-man hard modes kept up with 25-man normals in every way, including ilevel, patterns, badges, etc.
Thanks for listening, Blizz. You've earned some big points in my mind this week. Keep moving in the right direction. :)