We ended up doing some mythic+ after the raid yesterday as is somewhat usual, and it reminded me of something that had bothered me in Legion and is back in Battle for Azeroth though the other way around; namely the big difference between the fortified and tyrannical affix. Now, they make different parts of the dungeon stronger so it seems obvious that there would be a big difference between them, but the bigger thing I feel is not that there is a difference but that one of them always feels disproportionately harder than the other; in Legion that was tyrannical with some bosses simply one-shotting you if you didn’t have enough gear or later on if you simply played the wrong class or spec, in Battle for Azeroth however it seems to me that fortified is the much worse affix.
I think this change is due to Blizzard’s changed design direction with dungeons in Battle for Azeroth, putting more of an emphasis on making the trash interesting and actually having abilities to prevent the kind of insane large pulls that we saw towards the end of Legion especially in the Mythic Dungeon Invitational and while I think this design decision was a valid attempt at fixing that and something that is hard to change again for Battle for Azeroth, it does make the dungeons feel like much more of a slog for normal groups during fortified weeks as well as strenghtening the skip-focused metagame at the MDI which I think is more harmful than the one focused on large pulls. While those large pulls felt pretty insane to the averge player and even relatively high-end ones, they still required excellent execution and usually came with high risk while simply skipping the mobs while not risk-free is considerably less risky as well as from an esports perspective, being much less interesting to watch—this is probably also why so many players I know enjoyed the Reaping affix so much since it provided the opportunity to kind of re-live that feeling of making a huge pull and surviving it while also providing a nice opportunity for more multitarget focused classes to shine. I also feel that having very intense trash that constantly requires a high level of attention along with bosses that also tend to be mechanically intense even with fortified makes running dungeons much more tiring than it was in Legion and somehow also a bit less fun, and skips aren’t all that interesting either nor as generally available especially the ones done at the MDI since those often rely on the Night Elf Shadowmeld ability which you rarely have for the complete group on live especially since most of the higher-end activity is on Horde and not Alliance unfortunately.
Now, Blizzard has attempted to counter this skip-focused meta in the new season with the introduction of Azsharas’ emissaries that are often placed so that you have to vary your route or simply preventing you from doing a normal stealth or invisibility skip due to them having truesight, but I’m not sure this is a change in the right direction. As noted above, I don’t feel that the whole dungeon being this intense gauntlet of always complex encouters be they trash or boss actually contributes to a good dungeon experience, as a player it is actually nice having a bit of a lull during the trash while preparing for the next boss-fight with maybe some more interesting trash sprinkled in at times but not every single pack—looking at you, MOTHERLODE!!!.
Along with this, there is the general problem of the very high variability in the difficulty of different mythic+ affixes with this week being Grievous again which is just a pain to handle as a discipline priest making me much less eager to run significant amounts of mythic+ this week which I find a shame since it’s an activity I actually quite enjoy so being discouraged from participating in it doesn’t feel particularily good but this seems like something Blizzard isn’t particularily intent on changing.
Overall, I think that with Battle for Azeroth, Blizzard went a little too hard in the other direction with dungeon design and I hope we end up meeting somewhere in the middle with the next expansion where bosses one-shotting you doesn’t become a hardcap on how high of a key you can do that specific week like it was in Legion but trash still feeling more manageable even in large groups than it is now in Battle for Azeroth. If Mechagon is any indicator of future design changes though, I don’t think that is very likely given the trash in there but we’ll see with the next expansion.