Starym

Midwinter Interview on Quitting HC Raiding

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Midwinter talk about why they decided to stop harcore raiding, which Legion system were the most troubling and more.

 

Method.gg have another interview with one of the top raiding guilds, but this time the topic isn't quite as triumphant as their previous Exorsus one. As you may already know, four top guilds (From Scratch, Danish Terrace, Midwinter and SNF) quit hardcore progress raiding after Nighthold and the top raiding community in general has been complaining about the AP and legendary systems for quite a while now, seeing as how it very negatively impacts their raiders and is making it harder and harder to keep a solid and well-equipped roster alive. Even the very top, guilds like Exorsus, Serenity and Method have had roster issues lately, and it may affect the race in Tomb of Sargeras as well. Two Midwinter members talked about the situation and how it impacted their guild specifically and here are a few highlights. Also worth noting is that raiders from Midwinter and SNF that wanted to continue HC raiding formed a new guild, Solace.
 

What was THE worst thing about progress in Legion?

Kaowa: The worst thing about progress in Legion is being locked to one spec (mostly as a pure dps) by AP and by legendary items, and in a similar vein, having non-existent talent choices within each spec. The most fun for me during progression, is constantly re-evaluating my choice of spec and talents to better cater to an encounter's demands. The class systems of Legion have all but completely removed that element of the gameplay.

Euphoneous: Farming AP. I had no plans to raid in Legion because I had just started law school but changed my mind about raiding after ToV. Coming back to the game, while behind on AK, and having to farm the AP to get to 54 traits was a truly miserable experience. I’ll probably never step foot in Maw again.

How would you fix these problems if you worked at Blizzard?

Kaowa: For artifacts, make AP apply to all artifacts instead of just one.
The legendary system could be taken a lot of directions but I think drastic changes are needed one way or another - the simplest and most fun solution would probably be to *significantly* increase the drop rates.
There's no simple solution for the talents themselves. They're just going to have to keep iterating until every row across the 36 specs presents an impactful trade-off.

If Tomb of Sargeras wasn’t coming that soon would you change your minds?

Kaowa:: It doesn't matter to me, but I will say the pace of the Legion instances to this point has been too fast for my taste.

Euphoneous: Nope. The time requirement each day/week is just way too high for me personally.

What is the minimum that would have to be changed in the game to make you come back?

Kaowa: For me to re-enter competitive progression, I would need there to be no more than three progression instances per year with no fewer than three months separating any two instances. Furthermore, I would need the "buy-in" for a competitively geared roster (i.e. time spent outside of progression doing farm raids, AP grinding, alts for splits, etc...) require no more than 20 hours a week per raider.

Euphoneous: Reduce the amount of time everyone has to play to keep your main and alts relevant. Add some sort of system where you can choose which legendaries you receive. Drop a shard and let us go to a vendor!

 

Check out the full interview over at Method.gg.

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About the AP thing, I agree with how they put it, with a bit more explanation:

 

The problem here is that a specialization's power is connected directly to the artifact level/power that the specialization has. And this complicates a lot of things.

 

When you look back, the first level of "power" is the character, i.e. a level 60 character is more favored than a level 50 character. Back in the day, it was also considered a major issue to have different sets of gears, not just for roles, but also for encounters (Resistance gear in Vanilla).

 

Blizzard agreed and started streamlining these "power" issues, one stat to cover a few (In the end, it was decided that Stamina was simply the way to go to offer toughness across the board for all encounters)

 

Next up, was the issue with dual specialization (wotlk) (It was made easier to switch) but then you still often had gear for the different specializations. If you were a Warrior, you wanted "Defense rating" as a tank to make yourself crit immune but is entirely undesirable for a dps spec.

 

Blizzard agreed again, and decided to make tanks crit immune baseline (char level + 3 (Raid bosses)), removed other defensive stats as well (Such as parry) so things like crit rating is both defensively (for tanks) useful but still useful for DPS as an offensive stat.

 

The entire problem was almost solved in MoP, with the exclusion of some expertise and hit rating issues (Solved in WoD, at the cost of losing reforging).

 

Now in legion, these extra complications have arisen once again. Gear is dependant on the roles (Artifacts DEFINE your power) but also again on gear (Good tank legendaries are not great dps legendaries, and at the cutting edge level raiding, every 0.1% counts).

 

 

So while WoD almost nailed it on the head as to make all previous problems disappear, this initially seemingly awesome feature (leveling artifacts! Powerful legendaries!) introduced in Legion, ends up being a problem because, not having them exactly right means you cannot perform as well as you _could_ if they were.

 

And then comes the point where people feel forced to keep pushing themselves so they _do_ end up with a max level artifact and _do_ eventually get the legendaries they need. And this causes people to burn out. (i.e. "Euphoneous:  I'll probably never step foot in Maw again."

 

 

Don't get me wrong, I think the idea of artifacts and legendaries is amazing. Being able to become better and better is an addicting mechanic. But perhaps for Mythic raiding, artifacts should always be maxed out and you get no legendary effects. (And it is scaled down to an epic ilvl). Something has to be done for cutting edge content, and my suggestion just now probably isn't the best option, but it is fair.

Edited by Yridaa
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It still really bugs me how they insist on making WQ rewards non-loot spec dependent citing "it'll probably encourage people to try out other specs" but everything else in the game heavily punishes re-speccing. :/

I don't agree with significantly increasing drop rates for legendaries though, what they should do instead (as suggested by a lot of people already) is literally let us target specific legendaries, no matter the circumstances, so you can guarantee your first is your BiS (and second your next best.) At the current rates getting your first two isn't -too- bad, it's just that since you can't guarantee getting your best ones, it often just takes forever to get your best ones, and you're behind everybody until you get there.

Personally I think the rarity of legendaries is fun in a way, I love just getting this super rare piece of loot when I don't expect it, the problem is just that so many legendaries are complete crap and really don't compete with the best ones. Honestly I don't know if they even tried to balance them, did they really think healing yourself for 3% per second while tunneling could compete with 35% CD reduction on your main dps CD? Or something which can make your main damaging ability deal 200% increased damage?

Significantly increasing the drop rates? Either it'll still be too low and people will continue complaining about it, or it'll be nearly guaranteed and then what's the point? It kills the fun of getting a super rare drop, you might as well can the idea and bake the effects into the spec itself instead (looking at you, 2 charges on Dire Beast.) Some of the effects could just be default behavior of the class, while some others could have been artifact traits. For example, I have a trait which increases my critical hit damage by 50% during Trueshot. This is the kind of thing that would be pretty good as an on-equip on a legendary, but they were nice enough to just give it to us as an artifact trait instead. A lot of current legendaries could really use that treatment.

21 minutes ago, Yridaa said:

Now in legion, these extra complications have arisen once again. Gear is dependant on the roles (Artifacts DEFINE your power) but also again on gear (Good tank legendaries are not great dps legendaries, and at the cutting edge level raiding, every 0.1% counts).

Oh yeah you reminded me of another point I wanted to make too. Legendaries should be like tier sets, have legendaries be spec-independent and their on-equip effect change with your spec, so you have better freedom to play another spec without being required to spend even more time trying to get 2 decent legendaries for it.

As for AP, their suggestion of AP applying to all artifacts for your class is great and has been suggested many times, too bad Blizzard will never accept that it's a good idea and actually do it though. They balanced Nighthold around 54 because that's where top guilds were at the time and that was a terrible move... it just requires everyone to do some really crazy things to catch up. They should have instead disabled its effects for the first month or two so that people realize it's not mandatory and don't burn themselves out doing it.

The current AK levels make getting to 34 traits relatively easy if you'd fallen behind but they don't help as much for the final 20... so I feel like Blizzard may have originally intended for us to get to 34 then work our way to 54 at our own pace. If Artifact Knowledge went up to 30-35 from the get go with much higher multipliers, the grind to 54 as a top guild wouldn't have been as bad.

Edited by Ammako
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59 minutes ago, durdyenglish said:

Draenor: Content is too slow, not enough to do!

Legion: Content too fast, too much to do!

Seems like people just want to complain.

That, or there's a middle ground that would work. The Legion complaints might be a bit premature, but if you're arguing Draenor had enough content...

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I think the situation is not so bad as they describe it, at least for most of players. For Hc gaming balance is the key, and at blizzard they know what I am talking about, I was a sc/bw player. In a perfectly balanced game what makes the difference is the player skill.
So rng with legendary items makes perfect balance impossible, I do not have the solution and I am sure it's not easy.

But that's a problem for top 50 guilds, for the rest of us this kind of system is cool, if u don't get bis legendaries u need to push yourself in other ways, I become a better player because I got only utilities. The truth is everyone will complain until we have bis legendaries.

So for sure they need to balance hc raiding but what I don't like is hc guild pug, for most of ppl progression is about hc (old normal) and guilds pug overgeared ppl to skip boss mechanics and that makes the game silly removing all the strategy part from raiding.

This means that now for most of ppl skill is undervalued and boost and luck > all

Also M+ has to be fixed, I cannot get 900+ gear while I've just cleared hc normal, raid progression and m+ progression has to be balanced between them because overgearing raid content it is not fun at all and a lot of ppl cannot or they don't want to do M raid especially when there is a lot of game play differences due to overgearing hc.

Most of the time after some wipes ppl start to saying there not enough dps/hps and that's not true, the fun part is maximizing dps hps and manage damage with strategy and skill, now is just pew pew pew most of the times

Edited by umano
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In previous expansions, legendaries were worked/quested towards.  You KNEW what you were going to achieve.  Whereas the wonder and surprise during the acquisition of the same today are quite the jolt of joy, the fct that the result is pure RNG takes it all away, UNLESS you luck out and nail a BiS item for your preferred spec.

Return the choice to the players, and streamline the legendaries so each one is viable in each spec. Increase the time spent to acquire them accordingly. Taking paladins for example, perhaps your belt is BiS for Ret, yet not so much for Prot/Holy, but it still has spec relevant abilities so it's not wasted and the whole "loot spec" issues is less of a thing.

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I wonder what would've happened if there was a daily/weekly cap on Artifact Power + catch-up mechanics. This could have staggered most of the farming and allow some casual players, secondary specs and alts to not be left behind. Not having a cap on progression causes competitive players to try farming it ASAP at the start of the expansion, causing burnouts and alt-killing.

I think that the old currency systems were a good thing.

The Justice/Valor systems incentives higher tier players to do heroics with lower tiered players just to reach the cap. They could've used the justice/valor gear upgrade system from WoD to decrease the amount of frustration people get from not getting a "Warforged/Titanforged" piece of the gear. It was also a currency to use to buy transmog/heirloom gear.

Blizzard's original reason for the Warforge system was an incentive for higher tiered players to queue Normal/Heroics, and still "maybe" get something out of it. RIP.

The Honor/Conquest currency systems gave PvP players an incentive to keep playing, if you have farmed to Prestige cap, you have no reason to keep on playing except the ladder. Players are farming PvE since the progression systems there is so much better than PvP.

I feel that if you have reached max traits on an artifact, you should have all the legendaries for that spec. Since its like 500 Maw of Souls (Mythic+ level 5-9) runs.

They should implement a "First time completion"  weekly AP reward for each mythic dungeon level, and reduce the amount of AP received from consecutive runs of the same dungeon / lower levels.

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9 hours ago, durdyenglish said:

Draenor: Content is too slow, not enough to do!

Legion: Content too fast, too much to do!

Seems like people just want to complain.

Content is not to fast now. its simple as that...these people push themselves too the limit maxing out around 3 toons each. That isn't content. EN lasted long enough... ToV was short but no one cared about that raid it seems and NH just came out. 

I play one toon...one spec....have had 54 for god knows how long and find it hard to find something in game to do. 

if there was no AP grind/legendary system and the end game was like every other xpac these people would be having a ball.  Content release would be perfect for them. 

The issue isnt the content release...its the burn out from doing the same thing over and over and over and over and over and over...that doesn't sound like content to me. 

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9 hours ago, durdyenglish said:

Draenor: Content is too slow, not enough to do!

Legion: Content too fast, too much to do!

Seems like people just want to complain.

welcome to the blizzard fanbase XD

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1 hour ago, Archimage said:

I wonder what would've happened if there was a daily/weekly cap on Artifact Power + catch-up mechanics. This could have staggered most of the farming and allow some casual players, secondary specs and alts to not be left behind. Not having a cap on progression causes competitive players to try farming it ASAP at the start of the expansion, causing burnouts and alt-killing.

They should have made it work like the Conquest system, tbh.

They said if they just had a hard weekly cap like Valor, it would make people feel like they -need- to get to that cap every week otherwise they are behind everyone else and literally can't catch up. I agree with that, but then there's the issue of people rushing to grind it super hard, making it so everyone else needs to also grind super hard if they want to be on their level.

Afaik Conquest had a weekly cap too, except your cap for the next week increased if you didn't meet the cap the previous week. If they re-used that system, you could've had a hard limit on the amount of AP you can get per week, but still be able to catch up to other people if you didn't cap it every week.

38 minutes ago, demonardvark said:

welcome to the blizzard fanbase XD


If that wasn't a poor strawman, maybe.

Edited by Ammako

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4 minutes ago, Ammako said:

If that wasn't a poor strawman, maybe.

plus one internet for great logical fallacy knowledge

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Perhaps make an AP token that is BoA that you can purchase with Nethershards? Not much of a permanent solution to anything but just an idea I guess

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I guess that would depend on how fast you can farm Nethershards, and how much AP said token would give.

This would only really help for alts though, for which AP is probably the least of your worries (you can reliably farm AP, but you can't reliably farm BiS gear and legendaries.) I think the main complaint here was for changing specs on one character, where having AP items apply to all artifacts rather than only your currently-equipped one would be a better solution imo.

You can already get an alt to max AK relatively easily anyway, if you were gonna farm a BoA AP item on your main because your alt needs AP you might as well just play your alt directly. :p

Edited by Ammako

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so, what was wrong with the old duel spec system?

 

I really enjoyed having ability to run both a single target dps / aoe spec, or a tank/dps specs, or heals/dps specs....and be able to pretty much change on the fly as needed as long as you were not in combat.

Attach AP to the character not the specific weapon so if you are 54 trait, you are 54 trait...regardless of spec.

Just go ahead and do away with the relic system, and overhaul the traits to reattach the power lost, allow 3 extra training slots at the top of the weapon you could assign to whichever traits you wanted to bump...same as it is now, but make them purchasable via AP so that as the AP is attached to character now, and not specific weapon as you spec swap, each weapon has the points allocated as you saw fit for that specific spec.... kinda hard to explain what I mean, hopefully you understand...

 

Remove all legendaries in the game, refund tokens in their place, allow tokens to be handed in for the legendary of your choice based on current spec at time of purchase.

I have the top 5 BiS legendaries for my class, they dropped in order of usefulness and I'm a VERY lucky man, but after the first 2, the other 3 are useless.... however because I'm so invested in that spec, I can not feasibly run in another spec to generate legendary drops for my off specs... I'd MUCH rather have the 2 BiS items for an off spec than I would have #3 #4 and #5 sitting in my bags, doomed to never see the light of day.... its just a comic tragedy.

Raid drop items should be set at a specific Ilevel, and should be the best gear in the game without question, however to fill in some of the holes and help alts and off specs along, the random world drop items, non specific dungeon drops and just non " named " loot should be tokens redeemable for item of your choice of suffixes so that if you end up with a helm token you can choose quickblade, flashfire, etc etc as your spec needed.....as long as they max level below raid content Ilevel, this would serve to get folks moved from " grinding " to Raiding and running Dungeons for the joy it brings and eventually working up into class sets.

 

/shrug

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My idea - Legendaries 'researched' at your AK vendor.

Start "researching" at 110 (youre researching the dang weapon, doesnt seem far fetched to research 'lesser' legendaries), and whenever that RNG rolls your way - you get whatever you're 'researching' completed at your library?

Still RNG - blizz happy

Get what you want - Players happy

Has "lore" behind it - Makes some semblance of sense for everyone

Heart reax only, plz

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I feel like there is a bit of player responsibility that has to be owned up to when it comes to the Mythic race. Players ultimately make the choice at which pace they're going to consume this content. While I understand that these days there exists more incentive than just bragging rights ($$$$), I don't feel like Blizzard is ultimately responsible for people blowing themselves out. That, to me, feels like people devouring their pizza ASAP, then complaining that Pizza Hut didn't make the pizza big enough.

Now, I absolutely detest both the Artifact and Legendary systems as they currently stand. The gap between haves and have-nots is absolutely asinine. How Blizzard could let something that allowed so much disparity between players go live when they have bent over backwards to reduce what they perceived as unfair advantages seems like they not only dropped the ball, but also kicked it out of their own end zone. Similarly, both are borderline crippling for changing specs.

Unless this took a turn they just could not, didn't foresee (and I seriously doubt they couldn't see this coming after Alpha and Beta), it seems like Blizzard put out a completely messed up system for two of the most key features directly affecting players, and what's worse is that they continue to defend their bad choices instead of making obvious quality of life changes (legendaries shift specs like tier gear) and AP counting for all specs. They don't seem to grasp that some legendaries just outshine others, and instead of making meaningful changes, they make very minor incremental ones that only slightly close the gap. For example, I just don't see any legendary overtaking Anger of the Half-Giants for Havoc Demon Hunters, unless they alter things with the class itself, or continue to pile it onto tier gear.

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I'm sure alot of people will disagree with me but...

As someone who started playing this game during vanilla, and has played a few expansions since then, I feel that players just want everything handed to them.  Back in vanilla, there was no dual spec, you couldn't change your talents on the fly, you were geared and spec'd what you were geared and spec'd for.  I really liked that.  I liked that each character had a specific purpose and role in a group/raid whereas now it seems like there is way too much interchangeability.  I understand that this makes groups easier to form and actually helps players who don't want to invest as much time for serious gameplay, but back then you earned everything in your specialization.

The same goes for AP, AK, relics, and legendaries.  Even set gear changes bonuses with your spec now...  I like the idea that if you want to be one of the top Arms Warriors, you need to invest time into that spec to farm the AP and relics.  Oh, now you want to play Fury?  Well guess what, your back to square one, its part of the game.  Why would it make sense to switch specs and have the same gear, iLvl, AP, relics, etc.  If you get rid of AP farm, and make relics interchangeable or whatever, then as soon as you peak in one spec, you essentially peak in all your specs?  People used to switch whole gear sets out for different specs, now most people just need to swap a weapon, swap their talents, and they are a completely different character.  

I'm all for people wanting to play different spec's and classes, but they are just that, different specs and classes.  You should have to invest time into reaching a top level game play in every spec/char you choose to play.  I mean at what point will Blizz just merge all your characters into one, letting you swap your class in "rested areas".  You wont have to level more than 1 char anymore, they can just make your set gear change with your class as well as your spec?  The game will get so dumb, it's already to the point that people re-roll characters just to get better legendaries and stuff like that.

Maybe my earlier days of playing EQ have just made me to accustomed to grinding, but I don't think Blizz needs to make the game any easier to level/gear/AP/etc.  On another note, I DO think that the legendaries should be balanced so its not as big of a hit to RNG a horrible legendary for your class.  Every legendary for your class should be BiS, and if you have more than 2, you should have to pick which ones you prefer for your spec/situation.

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      The team is excited about Mythic+, but at the same time they realize the incentive to run Mythic+ content with a lower barrier of entry has somewhat affected raiding in general and they're going to continue adding new benefits that are distinctly compelling to make sure raiding is still popular. They wanted to disable gear swapping in Mythic dungeons sooner but felt like doing it in the middle of an expansion in Legion would be bad. An entire Mythic+ dungeon is viewed in a lot of ways just like a single boss encounter, meaning no gear/talent swapping even when you drop out of combat over the course of the run. They're always looking for each spec to have a unique combination of strengths and weaknesses in PvP and that's hard in a game with 36 specializations. If you're Class is highly mobile, it's going to have less survivability. On the opposite side of the spectrum, you can expect to be tankier if you have less mobility. The team mainly focuses on increasing strengths as opposed to mitigating weaknesses. The alternative of always trying to bolster weaknesses leads to a state where everyone's kind of average at everything and that's a less interesting game to play in their opinion. With work done to the stat squish system in Battle for Azeroth, future stat squishes should be fairly easy to execute. They've overhauled every single spell and creature from 2004 through 2018 to complement the new system. No stat squish is needed for at least one expansion. Stat squishes are there to prevent numbers from spiraling out of control when there's no gameplay value out of it. Paladins and Druids in the Legion environment already bring plenty of utility, so they decided not to bring back Blessing of Kings and Mark of the Wild in the end. They're going to add more abilities to Classes whenever there's a need for differentiation. Years ago, loot was much harder to come by. Over the years, the game moved away from a space where you just kill a boss or run some content week after week and never see the item you want. Drop rates are now higher across the board, so you're effectively spending less time getting the item you want. Warforging and Titanforging keep some level of interest and potential growth in those repeated clears and create the opportunity for everything to happen, giving you more incentive to continue raiding the same tier. Sco got a Warforged socketed Polearm halfway through progress that was a giant upgrade for him on his tank that made an immediate difference. In a world where loot is more common, the rare opportunities to have these amazing items retains some moments of excitement. You're much better off doing a high Mythic+ rather than clearing old content for a small chance to get an upgrade. This was a problem especially in Legion, where players went back to clear Emerald Nightmare for a chance to get Legendaries or Titanforged versions of Class sets. That wasn't healthy for the game and they decided to move away from that. The benefits of removing Master Loot have outweighed the downsides so far and there are three things: On the lower end of the organization spectrum, there are guilds that go through trials and historically in the Master Loot world, guilds had very strict control of loot and trials were not allowed to get any loot. For the time and effort spent, the trial would get literally nothing out of it if the guild decided to not make the player a part of the roster. On the high end of the spectrum, we've seen top guilds run the same raid over and over to funnel gear to specific mains. Split raiding made it difficult to balance encounters and provide a challenge for Method and other guilds while still being a fun and satisfying progression experience for the majority of Mythic guilds in weeks to follow. Method's item level during the first week of Mythic would be higher than what typical guilds would have to work with a month later. It worked well in Uldir. Bosses like Mythrax, G'huun and even Vectis were challenges for top guilds without needing massive nerfs. Finally, it lets the team itemize in a somewhat different way. When Master Loot was an option, they had to design loot tables around the possibility of Master Loot, so very niche items (useful only to a handful of people) would drop even though there would be nobody in the raid to wear them. They think the raid composition in place since Warlords (LFR/Normal/Heroic/Mythic) is the right for World of Warcraft. LFR/Normal are serving totally different audiences. LFR is not a social or progress experience. Normal difficulty is for friends and family groups. In Mists, Normal difficulty was similar to Heroic today, groups found LFR unsatisfying and Normal as it was then to be too difficult, that's why Normal exists today in its current form.
    • By Starym
      We have some incoming class tuning next week, with some flat % buffs for Feral Druids and Frost Mages, applied to both PvE and PvP.
      Class Tuning for December 18 (source)
      With scheduled maintenance next week, starting on December 18 in American realms, we’re focusing on shoring up a couple of specs that fell a little behind with Tides of Vengeance:
      Druid
      Feral Damage of all abilities increased by 7%. Mage
      Frost Damage of all spells increased by 3%. Both of these adjustments will apply to PvP activities as well.
    • By Zadina
      In Patch 8.1, pet battles in Zandalar and Kul Tiras offer significantly less experience, but they are always up.
      This change is intentional: with the new Family Battler achievement, Zandalar and Kul Tiras trainers can be battled at any time and you don't have to wait for the respecting World Quest to be available. As a downside, you can no longer level pets viably in BfA zones as the experience from these pet battles has been reduced significantly. To offset this, pet leveling stones will appear more often as rewards for pet battle World Quests.
      Kaivax
      This was an intentional change.
      With the new Family Battler achievement, we changed all of the Kul Tiras and Zandalar trainers to allow them to be battled at any time. This makes it so that players can complete the achievement at their leisure, rather than having to wait for a specific World Quest to become available.
      At the same time, we increased the chance for pet leveling stones to be a World Quest reward, and reduced the chance of both battle pet bandages and War Resources to show up as potential rewards from pet battle World Quests.
      (source)