Patch 8.1 is upon us since yesterday which I think makes for a good opportunity to talk about some of the changes.
It’s a bit of an odd one, since it somewhat significantly changes class balancing and some abilities while some guilds are still progressing in Uldir, making the experience for the latecomers potentially more difficult which makes me somewhat unsure of how I feel about this. The most prominent example would probably be Zul, since with Rogues getting changed basically because of that fight it does make the fight somewhat more difficult to execute—we still killed the boss easily enough but the fight did last a bit longer than before.
There is also somewhat of a hidden boss buff for Zek’voz, at least in guilds that have a Discipline Priest. Because Evangelism now has a slightly longer cooldown—15 seconds longer, from 75 seconds to 90 seconds—it is no longer ready for every dance on mythic, I ended up with it on approximately 10-15 seconds of cooldown remaining when I wanted to use it. This makes the fight require slightly more coordination between healer cooldowns for guilds still progressing there though the fight is easy enough that it shouldn’t be a real problem anyway. Beyond that the change to Evangelism didn’t really feel noticeable to me since I usually wanted to use it in conjunction with Rapture anyway which has a 90 second cooldown, making the change somewhat moot. Mentally though, the difference is suprisingly big and does mean I’ll be a little more careful of using the ability opportunistically.
In general, I think the nerfs to Discipline felt manageable, it’ll take some time to get used to for sure and the increased mana cost of Power Word: Shield might actually mean that our gearing priorities change slightly against haste since one of the big benefits of haste was being able to blanket the raid quicker which is now much more mana intensive. The general reduced throughput isn’t really something I felt in fight though it was somewhat apparent on the healing meters on all bosses except for G’huun oddly enough. It could just be that it was a off-night for me as well, so I guess we’ll know that better once the next raid comes out.
Now there were some other moderately interesting things in the patch as well, for example the continuation of the war campaign though I haven’t really had the time to take a poke at that yet. Another big change was now crafted BOP items require skill in that profession in order to be used; this was hotfixed to only apply to new recipes coming with the next raid but it’s still an interesting change. It means it will no longer be possible to pick up a profession, say tailoring, craft some fancy pants in the first raid week or two and then drop tailoring and learn a more useful profession like alchemy since those fancy pants would end up being unusable after unlearning tailoring. This seemed to be mostly popular in the higher end guilds so it shouldn’t affect most players but is a somewhat interesting change nontheless.
Another thing of note was the addition of achievements for completing all mythic+ dugeons in time on +10 and +15, unsurprisingly this was bugged. Now unfortunately we didn’t have quite as much time as hoped last week so we were aware that we wouldn’t be getting the +15 achievement, but we also didn’t get the +10 and for some of us it was even displaying zero progress towards completing the achievement. Hopefully this ends up being fixed shortly, would be rather annoying to have to hunt for keys for the dungeons again. Especially so since we can no longer delete keys, run a dungeon and get a new set of keys which was possible up until the patch hit.
Just a minor side rant, that’s one of those changes I find somewhat hard to understand and I’m hoping a question to that get answered on Friday. I understand that it was technically a unintended consequence of the buggy keys in the first week of BfA with them carrying over from Legion that lead to this but it was something that in a sense was actually a very useful feature to people who prefer playing with a set group. We only have five keys per week we can use and getting unlucky can very realistically mean we don’t see a dungeon at all in a given week. This was annoying enough before from the perspective of Raider.io/Wowprogress score since trying to push that was the primary reason we kept doing mythic+, but it’s even more of a problem now with the defined seasons from Blizzard and actual in-game rewards tied to them. Simple bad luck could mean missing out on those which I don’t find a particularily good design decision especially since they now intentionally patched out something that alleviated that problem.
Beyond that though, I honestly can’t quite say what the patch brought since quite frankly the game isn’t holding my interest quite as well as it was in Legion which I find very unfortunate. It’s a hard thing coming from the (subjectively) best expansion to one that just overall feels meh. I’m not even necessarily saying anything is completely broken it just doesn’t feel motivating or inspiring and just that tad bit more boring than what came before and that’s enough for it just to feel bad.
The next raid will hopefully fix that a bit with some actual new interesting content to do and as far as timing goes the holiday season is about the best time of the year for the game to feel a bit boring since usually there’s enough other stuff going on so that one doesn’t notice that too much.
Here’s to better times for World of Warcraft in 2019!