Though the sky is not falling, how this affects players will, in part, determine the justification of this reaction. If this carries through to raids, as the press release suggests it will, it means that when a boss drops an item, you're now hoping for "Warforged Gorehowl w/ Gem slot and Tertiary stats" instead of "Gorehowl." Imagine going to LFR, spending your Seals on rerolls, and instead of getting a duplicate or gold, you get the imperfect version of an item you already have. The disappointment would be even worse than getting gold is now. What this really does is lengthen the gear-chase substantially.
Now your gear runs a spectrum in which you have the poorest quality item being the entirely un-enhanced version. Then you have the item with one of the qualities; warforged, a gem slot, or tertiary stat. Then an item with two, which is even rarer. Finally there is the "perfect" item which is not only warforged with a gem slot, but it has the ideal tertiary stat for you. A Blizzard dev has confirmed that all the factors are random.
|Look ma, I'm a journalist! Many thanks to Mr. Landgren for answering my questions|
Blizzard says they don't expect people to go after "movement speed" sets and the like, as if they don't know their player base which seems willfully ignorant. This is a community that will grind lockboxes for an achievement, or murder thousands of cow-men to please a dead emperor. Heroic raiders seek any advantage they can get and I guarantee that unless items with these stats are obscenely rare, they will become expected. I mean, this is a community that still has an issue of "wanting you to already have the gear from the instance you want to go to in order to get gear." If they are even reasonably attainable there will be pressure on players to attain them.
It could mean that for many players, getting an item in raid or LFR is no longer just a matter of getting the item to drop, but also for the stars to align and the boss decides to drop the right version. Some might see this as a blessing, since it means once you get an item you can still incrementally improve yourself by going after the "rarer" versions. On the other hand, it extends the gear chase. Perhaps we'll be able to use Vlor points or other means to "improve" the imperfect versions of items to lessen this reliance on random chance.