Starym

Mobs Scaling with Item Level Explained

Sign in to follow this  

25 posts in this topic

JFEEaB3.jpg

Watcher explains the logic behind the mechanic, how it will be tweaked and why it wasn't in the patch notes.

Update: there was a followup post that explained the three major changes that have gone live for the mechanic.

___________________________________________________________

As players have noticed, 7.2 brought with it a huge change that wasn't quite mentioned in the patch notes, namely that creatures now scaled not only with your level, but with item level as well. Game Director Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas steeped in and confirmed this was indeed intended, but also took some time to explain why the mechanic was implemented, why it wasn't mentioned in the patch notes and clarified that it may be a little too steep at the moment. It's a lot to read, but well worth it, as it seems the devs are paving the way for what WoW will look like in many future expansions, going for a very open-world scaled to your power level environment, that is so very popular in the single player RPG genre.

Blizzard LogoWatcher (source)

Apologies for the delay in getting information out on this - our initial focus was on putting out other patch-day fires.

Yes, this reflects a deliberate change, but it's also not working exactly as we intended. The scaling may be too steep, and the fact that unequipping a piece of gear can ever be helpful is a bug in the system. We'll be looking into making changes to correct this in the very near future.

Power progression is an essential part of the WoW endgame, and the last thing we want is to undermine that. We stressed the importance of that progression when discussing how the level-scaling system worked in Legion around the time of the expansion's launch, and explained why we then had no plans to scale foes' power based on gear. But as we've watched Legion unfold, we've come to observe some side-effects of our endgame content plan and the associated rewards structure that made us reconsider.

We've never had the initial outdoor world content stay relevant for this long in an expansion before. By the end of Mists of Pandaria, for example, the mantid of Dread Wastes that had once been reasonable foes were completely trivial. They'd basically evaporate if a raid-geared player looked in their general direction. But there wasn't much reason besides achievements or completionism to revisit the Klaxxi dailies once Isle of Thunder was out or, later on, Timeless Isle. And the enemies in those later zones could be tuned to a proportionally more challenging baseline difficulty.

But in Legion, while the new content in Broken Shore is the focus of 7.2, and we've made sure that the core outdoor rewards (both dropped and from Nethershards) are superior to the rep-related rewards from the original factions, the intent is not for the Broken Shore to completely replace the rest of the game. You'll still go back to the other Broken Isles zones for emissaries, Legion Assaults (coming next week!), Order campaign quests, improved world quest rewards, and more. And as 7.1 and 7.1.5 progressed, we could see that even with Nighthold gear the pacing of combat was getting a bit silly - what would happen once new content made that level of gear more common, and once the Tomb raid pushed limits even higher?

To reiterate, power progression is an essential part of the WoW endgame. We absolutely want you to feel overpowered as you return to steamroll content that once was challenging. But there's a threshold beyond which the game's core mechanics start to break down. When someone trying to wind up a 2.5sec cast can't get a nuke off against a quest target before another player charges in and one-shots it, that feels broken. And even for the Mythic-geared bringer of death and destruction, when everything dies nearly instantly, you spend more time looting corpses than you do making them. You spend an order of magnitude longer traveling to a quest location than you do killing the quest target. You stop using your core class abilities and instead focus on spamming instants to tap mobs as quickly as possible before they die.

Our goal is basically to safeguard against that degenerate extreme. We tune outdoor combat for a fresh 110 around a 12-15sec duration against a standard non-elite, non-boss enemy. It's great for gear, over the course of an expansion to cut that time in half, or even by two-thirds. But once you get down to a duration of one or two global cooldowns, the game just wasn't built to support that as the norm. (Note that this is an current-content endgame concern; running legacy content for completion/transmog/etc. purposes is a totally different story.)

The intent of our change in 7.2 was to smooth out that progression curve a bit, not flatten it out, and certainly never to invert it. If you get a great set of item upgrades that make you 5% stronger, maybe the world gets 1-2% tougher. Perhaps instead of getting 400% stronger over the course of the expansion relative to the outdoor world, you only get 250% stronger. But you should always be getting more powerful in relative terms, and upgrades should always matter. From some reactions so far, it sounds like we may be off on that tuning. And as noted above, the fact that unequipping items can ever be helpful is a bug that we'll be investigating and fixing.

Finally, there's the natural question of why we didn't patch-note this. It was not to be deceptive; we know it's impossible to hide a change from millions of players. But the system was meant to feel largely transparent and subtle, just like level-scaling does if you don't stop and really think about it, and so we did want players to first experience the change organically. Your feedback and reactions and first impressions of the system are more useful in this particular case when they are not skewed by the experience of logging in and actively trying to spot the differences. Thank you for that, and I look forward to continued discussion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Eh. Not sure I agree. It does seem badly tuned at the moment... I had weird moments on on the Broken Shore where I was traipsing along killing without a care in the world, then targeting something else and getting roflstomped.

Then again I considered it badly tuned at 110 anyway. You're 109, got a pace going, working your way through a quest, then you ding... and suddenly you're fighting for dear life. And likely losing. The difficulty jump is pretty nasty.

It seems kind of rude to just throw it in without warning us... and moreover, without testing. This should have been on the PTR and patch notes, and feedback considered before deciding to take it live.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, solitha said:

Eh. Not sure I agree. It does seem badly tuned at the moment... I had weird moments on on the Broken Shore where I was traipsing along killing without a care in the world, then targeting something else and getting roflstomped.

Then again I considered it badly tuned at 110 anyway. You're 109, got a pace going, working your way through a quest, then you ding... and suddenly you're fighting for dear life. And likely losing. The difficulty jump is pretty nasty.

It seems kind of rude to just throw it in without warning us... and moreover, without testing. This should have been on the PTR and patch notes, and feedback considered before deciding to take it live.

I agree, but they did acknowledge it isn't well tuned atm, so hopefully it'll improve soon.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A person in my raid group noted that it's not just at max level either. He can see the changes on his 100s as he equips and unequips gear. I rather dislike that.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You implemented it - Fine. You failed at balancing this thing at the start - also Fine. The One thing that is not explained why people who do not play in DPS specks must Suffer? Why restoration Druid or Holy priest must suffer for that decision? 12 - 15 second - i doubt that there were included Tanks and Healers... If this is a 12 second fight for a current DMG dealer with average ilvl 880. Then Resto/Holy will spend one minute to kill a single useless mob. 1 min to kill a flower that spawned from herbalism...

That change forces you to spend double or triple time on your world quests, just because someone failed to correctly generate item levels and scaling. I personally believe that there is more ways to increase difficulty at the end game, than this.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry, this is bullshit. Why should i progress with my item-level if i get no benefit against enemies from it?

WoW lives (and dies) with farming items/ressources. Removing the advantage from high-end-equipment will ruin all other releated components of the game...

Completely! Fail! Blizzard!

Edited by Floristix
  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not sure how i feel about this. Yes i like a challenge, but this doesn't seem like a great change imho, it defeats the whole purpose of an mmo and gearing up, which is to be more powerful and feel stronger. 

For those who don't raid or mythic+, whether mains or alts, there is now zero point in gearing up toons. Gearing up is to make it easier to kill stuff, to make your toon more powerful, and this totally negates that. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What's the point in getting good gear then? For example i invested 1000h into a character (gearing) and i need the same time to complete a World Quest as fast as a fresh 110 newbie?

First i could take 1-2 mobs with my boomkin on low gear, then at better gear i can pull a lot of mobs and down them. Now its the same b%&@!$it

Blizzard STAHP PLZ!

 

Edited by Dvanom
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

People are losing their heads over this but what do you expect in the type of content that we have in Legion? World Quests are meant to be relevant throughout the expansion and we're not in a strict Timeless Isle or Tanaan Jungle type scenario where they can just increase the HP/Dmg of that subset of mobs.


His argument stands and the reasons for doing this stand as well.

What would you have them do while still keeping the base Legion zones and World Quests relevant?

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your better gear lets you do better in dungeons and raids.

It made no sense for world content to be completely trivialized mere hours after hitting Lv. 110 (considering Mythic dungeons give 865 along with LFR giving 855-865 gear, with ToS LFR giving -even- higher level gear, you could hit the point where world content was completely trivialized very quickly.)

There is a difference between "progressing your character so you can feel stronger" and "removing all difficulty by completely overgearing world content."

What I don't agree with is scaling applying to Lvs. 98-109, it should only apply at max level. I also think something should be done for healers so they don't have to go dps or take forever to kill world content. They took the time to try and increase healer dps in Legion so they could do world content properly, this change seems counter-productive in that regard.

Edited by Ammako
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't object to the change accept for exactly this.  Drops need to increase with Ilvl accordingly then as well, be it gathering nodes, skinned reward, loot dropped, etc..   Otherwise, mats will become scarce. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Do the rewards and loot scale, too? Or is this yet another way to make the already awefull daily grinds even more anoying?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't get some of these comments tbh, did you not read the whole post? Increasing your ilvl aka getting better gear WILL make it easier to kill stuff outdoors, it just won't make it as easy as it does now. You'll still get the same benefit in dungeons and raids (the REAL reason people gear up) and you'll (more slowly) improve on killing things outdoors as well. Am I missing something?

A real good point is the healer perspective though, as I don't think tanks will have any issues with this since their DPS is pretty good already. But on the other hand I'm not sure how many healer players don't have decent DPS offspec gear already, and if that gear is lower ilev then it all works out anyway.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, Starym said:

A real good point is the healer perspective though, as I don't think tanks will have any issues with this since their DPS is pretty good already. But on the other hand I'm not sure how many healer players don't have decent DPS offspec gear already, and if that gear is lower ilev then it all works out anyway.

As a Healer, why should I be forced to go into DPS, which I hate, to take down mobs? I realize healers will always kill at a slower rate than DPS, but it shouldn't be 10 times as long. On top of that, my DPS spec has a high item level just because it shares so much in common with my healing spec. But I don't DPS, I heal. So now, in order to play content I have to learn an entire new spec that I've neglected on purpose in order to progress. I imagine many people would be upset if they were forced to take a specific spec in order to do content. As a beastmaster hunter, how would you feel if you now have to go survival in order to quest? As a Resto Shaman, I now have to essentially go Enh because Ele isn't nearly as good. But I don't want to be a melee DPS. It's just forcing us into specific things that aren't exactly even.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Stitches said:

As a Healer, why should I be forced to go into DPS, which I hate, to take down mobs? I realize healers will always kill at a slower rate than DPS, but it shouldn't be 10 times as long. On top of that, my DPS spec has a high item level just because it shares so much in common with my healing spec. But I don't DPS, I heal. So now, in order to play content I have to learn an entire new spec that I've neglected on purpose in order to progress. I imagine many people would be upset if they were forced to take a specific spec in order to do content. As a beastmaster hunter, how would you feel if you now have to go survival in order to quest? As a Resto Shaman, I now have to essentially go Enh because Ele isn't nearly as good. But I don't want to be a melee DPS. It's just forcing us into specific things that aren't exactly even.

 

I'm mainly a tank(demon hunter tank to be specific, with a brewmaster monk and blood DK alts) But I have a holy paladin that's 10 item levels lower than my main which is at 894-896 ilvl depending on spec as I write this.

 

On my paladin, I ONLY like holy. I don't like ret, I don't like prot. Which is why I agree with you and feel super bad for all main healers out there. When I go on my paladin do world stuff, I feel incredibly weak. Because killing stuff takes forever. And now it will take even longer. I don't want to have to play ret on a HOLY paladin just to do world quests.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would like to mirror the sentiments/concerns of the previous few posts, regarding tanks and healers having a much more difficult time with this ilvl scaling.  I have a DPS main, and it always felt very satisfying and positive to have world quests become easier to kill.  It made the game much more enjoyable to run "murder train" through a section that used to be difficult, when I was a lower ilvl.  World quests are only meant to be progression content to a newly minted 110; it isn't supposed to remain progression content throughout the expansion.  Part of me wants to like this change, and I understand the reason for this initiative, but the end result is that the daily grind that the vast majority of players were already complaining about just became much more of a time-sink than it already was (which, in turn, equates to much more stress on actual progression players, who are trying to remain competitive).

 

Now multiply that for tanks and healers...  Trying to complete world quests as a Holy Priest/Paladin or a Prot Warrior/Paladin took about 2-3x a long as a DPS class before this patch.  With this change, tanks and healers will fall behind or be forced to play specs that they have no interest in playing (that aren't fun for them).  Perhaps if there were more alternative WQs that focused around objectives, rather than killing mobs, this concern would be alleviated.

Edited by Ancalagon
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I dunno I usually stay Holy on my pala when wquesting and have no issues, all i have to do i swap 1 talent for crusader strike and I'm all good with world quests. Sure it's slower than ret, but not by that much and I don't even have a particularly high ilev either. I can understand that it can be annoying with other classes healer specs tho, but it's ALWAYS been like that, just ask someone that played healer in vanilla and they will laugh at you and your complaints today :D

But yea I didn't mean to diminish healer issues with this change, I just think people in general are taking it waaaay out of proportion. After today's fixes it should get better for everyone tho.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, Stitches said:

As a Healer, why should I be forced to go into DPS, which I hate, to take down mobs? I realize healers will always kill at a slower rate than DPS, but it shouldn't be 10 times as long. On top of that, my DPS spec has a high item level just because it shares so much in common with my healing spec. But I don't DPS, I heal. So now, in order to play content I have to learn an entire new spec that I've neglected on purpose in order to progress. I imagine many people would be upset if they were forced to take a specific spec in order to do content. As a beastmaster hunter, how would you feel if you now have to go survival in order to quest? As a Resto Shaman, I now have to essentially go Enh because Ele isn't nearly as good. But I don't want to be a melee DPS. It's just forcing us into specific things that aren't exactly even.

Healers were never meant to be damage dealers. I could understand if you had to swap an entire set of int gear because you need strength for you DPS spec, but you dont. Simply change specs and go. If you decide to quest as a healer, you have decided to take the decreased ability to do damage and have to deal with slower kill times. I would be pissed if healers could simply go out into the world, kill things as quickly as my hunter, and never die because they can simply spam heal themselves. My opinion, you quest as a healer, you deal with the time, so no sympathy there. All of my healers have a few points in there DPS weapon and I quest with them as DPS just fine. Nice change of pace, in fact, from when I am healing dungeons, raids, and PVP.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I do agree with the 98-109 level issue however. Especially for all of the investment made for twinks by some. That 101 gear at ilvl 830+ is insanely expensive, and now worthless.

Edited by Sharknad0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm sorry but i must say that I don't understand all this problem over doing open world content as healer, you want to kill stuff switch to dps, it's easy and free of charge, you you want to heal stuff, go pvp or do dungeons or raids, unless you want to pvp on open world, but in that case i don't think the mobs scaling will be the issue there, if it is, you're doing pvp wrong

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 29/03/2017 at 5:00 AM, Dantalian said:

You implemented it - Fine. You failed at balancing this thing at the start - also Fine. The One thing that is not explained why people who do not play in DPS specks must Suffer? Why restoration Druid or Holy priest must suffer for that decision? 12 - 15 second - i doubt that there were included Tanks and Healers... If this is a 12 second fight for a current DMG dealer with average ilvl 880. Then Resto/Holy will spend one minute to kill a single useless mob. 1 min to kill a flower that spawned from herbalism...

That change forces you to spend double or triple time on your world quests, just because someone failed to correctly generate item levels and scaling. I personally believe that there is more ways to increase difficulty at the end game, than this.

Actually what you're saying is basically this: I'm a DPSer but i can't tank those strong mobs and can't heal neither, damn it blizard. I'm a tanker, i can tank very well, but i take forever to kill those mobs, damn it blizzard. I'm a healer, i can heal very well but i can't tank neither do DPS, damn it blizzard. Before you say a thing like this, you should look all the options there is like actually changing to a DPS spec if you wish to do DPS. It would've been actually pretty nonsense a healer do as much DPS as a DPS does.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Similar Content

    • By Stan
      Forbes recently interviewed Morgan Day about Mythic+ and the Mythic Dungeon Invitational and here's a recap of the interview.
      Check out the full interview over at Forbes
      Interview Highlights
      Changes are coming to the MDI in 2019 and you can find an overview in this post. The beginning of MDI closely lines up with the introduction of Reaping and Season 2. Mythic+ is extremely popular and half of the players at level 120 are engaging in Mythic+ content. Certain creatures within dungeons have mechanics that quickly ramp up damage and it was necessary to put a soft cap in those instances, because the fights would become impossible on Tyrannical. There's a fix set of affix combinations that activate each week. The Fortified + Teeming affix combo hasn't been adjusted for Season 2, because Infested that caused a lot of frustrating pulls in combination with said affixes is going away and with Reaping coming in, the system is going to take care of itself. Monsters summoned by the Season 2 Reaping affix don't gain Fortified themselves, but the creature will spawn at half the health of the creature that dies, so it will gain a small percentage of Fortified. There are currently no plans to come up with a system that allows easy key re-rolling. Instead, they'd like to adjust dungeons and bring the huge outliers down a bit. They adjusted King's Rest about a month ago.
    • By Stan
      Improvements to Azerite Armor are coming on January 22. Blizzard added a new outer ring with two spec-specific traits to all armor acquired after Mythic Season 2 starts and the new raid opens. You will be able to get the new gear from PvP Season 2, Battle of Dazar'alor, World Quest Emissaries, and from the Titan Residuum vendor, who sells upgraded wares at a higher cost.
      New Azerite powers will become available in Tides of Vengeance Part II. Check out our updated Class guides for more details. 10 more ranks of Azerite Knowledge will be added over the course of January 22 through March. The catchup has been disabled for now, but it will commence soon. Reaching Friendly, Honored, and Revered and with Champions of Azeroth will unlock the appropriate quests to upgrade your Heart of Azeroth for all characters on your account. The cost of Azerite Reforging has been reduced from 72 hours to 24 hours. Blizzard (Source)
      Since the launch of Battle for Azeroth, players have been empowering their Heart of Azeroth and collecting Azerite armor to gear up for the battles ahead. Since then, we’ve made a variety of adjustments to the system—and we have a few more updates coming with the second part of Tides of Vengeance on January 22 that we’d like go into more detail on today.
      With the release of Battle for Azeroth Season 2, we’re introducing new epic Azerite pieces that you can acquire through a variety of methods, including Season 2 PvP, the Battle of Dazar’alor raid, World Quest Emissaries, and from the Mythic Keystone vendor Thaumaturge Vashreen in Zuldazar and Boralus. These new items will have a fifth ring with additional new trait options and is available at Heart of Azeroth level 15.  
      This new outer ring provides two choices of traits per specialization, giving players an opportunity to find items that have traits they particularly want—and the freedom to create new and interesting combinations that may not have been possible before. This additional ring of traits makes each item have a larger impact on your character’s overall power.
      Outer Ring:
      Powers that reside in the new outer ring provide two additional trait options for each of your character’s available specializations.  Example:
      Moment of Repose (Discipline) (Passive) Pain Suppression applies Atonement to the target and instantly heals them for 15,313. Second Ring:
      Powers that reside on the second ring from the outside will often be influenced by where you collected the piece of armor they’re found on. These powers can also be associated with specific class specializations.. Example:
      Seductive Power (Passive) Your spells and abilities have a chance to conjure Bwonsamdi’s spectral visage, beckoning you closer. If you approach him, gain 57 to all stats for 5 minutes, stacking up to 5 times. If you fail to heed his call, lose 1 stack. Third Ring:
      These powers generally benefit the performance of your in-game role—they’ll provide damage increases for DPS classes, increase damage mitigation for tanks, or bolster healing output for healers. Example:
      Bracing Chill (Passive) Your heals have a chance to apply Bracing Chill. Healing a target with Bracing Chill will heal for an additional 2,574 and move Bracing Chill to a nearby ally (up to 6 times). Fourth Ring:
      These are defensive or utility-oriented powers for your class. Example:
      Vampiric Speed (Passive) When an enemy you harmed dies, you heal for 6,361 and gain 93 Speed for 6 seconds. Fifth Ring:
      Azerite Empowerment is the power that resides at the center, and increases an armor piece’s item level by 5.  New Traits to Discover
      You’ll also find new location-specific traits that scale with item level and are available on gear from the Battle of Dazar’alor raid, including:
      Bonded Souls : Your spells and abilities have a chance to trigger a Soulbond for 15 seconds. During Soulbond, every 5 seconds you and your nearest ally are both healed for 3,456 and gain 141 Haste for 5 seconds. Seductive Power: Your spells and abilities have a chance to conjure Bwonsamdi’s spectral visage, beckoning you closer. If you approach him, gain 26 to all stats for 5 minutes, stacking up to 5 times. If you fail to heed his call, lose 1 Stack.  Treacherous Covenant: Your primary stat is increased by 151 while you are above 50% health. You take 15% increased damage while below 20% health. Azerite Knowledge
      With the start of Season 2, we’re also adding 10 more ranks of Azerite Knowledge over the course of  January 22 through March. Each rank of Artifact Knowledge increases the speed at which your Heart of Azeroth levels up.
      Tides of Vengeance Recap: Trait Updates and Additions
      With the launch of Tides of Vengeance on December 11, we replaced many of the Azerite traits we weren’t happy with and continue to iterate on various elements of the system to provide variety and flexibility in player gear choices.
      NEW TRAITS IN THE DARKSHORE WARFRONT
      It’s a good time to keep an eye on the shifting tides of the Darkshore Warfront. We added many new Azerite Armor traits that are just waiting to be collected, including:
      Ancients' Bulwark: Standing still grants you Deep Roots, increasing your Versatility by 179. Moving instead grants you Uprooted, healing you for 259 every 1 second. Apothecary's Concoctions: Your damaging abilities have a chance to deal 1,262 Plague damage over 6 seconds, and your healing abilities have a chance to restore 2,415 health over 6 seconds. These effects are increased by up to 100% based on the target’s missing health. Endless Hunger: Your Versatility is increased by 179. Moving near an enemy’s corpse consumes their essence, restoring 1,815 health.  Shadow of Elune: Your spells and abilities have a chance to increase your Haste by 465 for 15 seconds. At night, you also gain 10% movement speed for the duration. HEART OF AZEROTH LEVELING AND GEARING UP
      Reaching Friendly, Honored, or Revered reputation with the Champions of Azeroth faction now unlocks the appropriate quests to upgrade your Heart of Azeroth for all characters on your account.  
      The cost to change Azerite traits has been reduced from 72 hours to 24 hours.
      We’ve also added a new way for players who participate in Mythic Keystone Dungeons to gain specific Azerite Armor. These players will be able to earn a new currency—Titan Residuum—which can be used to purchase specific items from Thaumaturge Vashreen now located in either Zuldazar or Boralus. You can read more in our forum post.
      Season 2 and the Battle of Dazar’alor are just around the corner—are you ready for the challenges that await?
    • By Stan
      The Gates of Ahn'Qiraj opened on January 23, 2006 for the first time ever and players who banged the gong gained the "Scarab Lord" title and the Black Qiraji Resonating Crystal mount. In remembrace of the event, Silithus has been updated with content that allows both factions to compete against each other and the winning faction gets to fly their banner next to the Scarab Gong for the rest of the year.
      Blizzard (Source)
      On January 23, 2006, a bloody war was triggered by a simple sound: the banging of a gong. No rallying fanfare, no bloodthirsty yell; just an eerie silence. Those long, uneasy seconds of dread. The calm before the storm.
      Standing shoulder-to-shoulder before the Scarab Wall, no one could have predicted what would happen—an epic ten-hour battle that claimed the lives of thousands of Azeroth’s bravest—or fully comprehended the effect it would have.
      ACTION FIRST, FACTION SECOND
      That’s not to say the battle at the gates of Ahn’Qiraj came as a surprise. When the menace of C’Thun turned into an urgent threat, leaders across the world pored over plans and forged unlikely connections as pressure mounted. Both factions knew war was coming and personal glory was a hubris no-one could risk. Any notion that one army could defeat General Rajaxx and his colossal battalion was soon abandoned as fantasy.
      It was a unique time: scattered armies with varying allegiances were thrown together and faction pride was put aside. Let’s be clear: the battle at Ahn’Qiraj was won purely on the principle “united we stand, divided we fall.”
      WARMONGERING VS. GOLD HUNGERING
      This uneasy alliance was not without its critics. Some showed their disapproval by shunning the war effort altogether, but others expressed opposition through acts of aggression. Rogue elements on both sides, unwilling to stomach this perceived betrayal of their faction, did not sit idle. Just as neutral auction houses became a tool for factions to share resources, they also became virtual battlegrounds. Crucial resources were picked up for next-to-nothing and sold on for personal gain. As with all wars, those who profit aren’t always the brave.
      The sheer scale of that war effort is almost unimaginable when we live in a time of extended storage and fast mail. But back then, backpacks and cloth stacks were smaller. Getting precious resources gathered, sorted, and sent took many hours. And it took several weeks to source bandages, food, and equipment—resources that were in high demand and would soon dwindle.
      THE IMPORTANCE OF REMEMBRANCE
      We would do well, in these dark times, to remember the courage and spirit of those who were there at the Gates of Ahn’Qiraj. We must have long memories if we’re to make quick work of the demon forces we now face.
      From January 21–23 we ask that you join us as we remember the fallen and celebrate the victory. All of Azeroth are invited to a special holiday, ‘Call of the Scarab,’ where we will gather to perform acts of remembrance and share our factions’ pride.
      Players who are in a different phase can speak to Rhonormu near the gong to enter the correct event phase.
    • By Stan
      The second part of Tides of Vengeance hits live servers next week. Blizzard just released a survival guide to guide you through all the content that will be available starting January 22.
      Tides of Vengeance Part II
      The next content update arrives on live servers on January 22. What's new?
      New Raid: Battle of Dazar'alor opens on Normal/Heroic difficulty on January 22. Mythic and the First Raid Finder Wing open a week after on January 29. Check out the official preview of the raid, boss guides, and updated Class guides! Azerite Gear Improvements: You'll find a new fifth ring with spec-specific traits on Epic Season 2 Azerite Gear. This does not apply to old gear and your priority should be to upgrade your Azerite Gear asap. Mythic Season 2 Starts Titan Residuum Vendor will offer new wares at an increased cost in Mythic Season 2. The Infested affix will be replaced with Reaping. Blizzard's overall increasing dungeon difficulty and rewards in Season 2. More information can be found here. PvP Season 2 Starts A new PvP Season awaits the boldest of adventurers. Preliminary Season 1 Title Cutoffs have been posted. Game Director Ion Hazzikostas posted a blog post with details about what's (not) changing in Season 2. Artifact Power catchup is disabled right now and will commence on January 22. Blizzard (Source)
      There’s plenty to look forward to when Tides of Vengeance Part 2 goes live on January 22. Watch our Survival Guide to learn more.
      New Raid: Battle of Dazar’alor
      The Alliance will strike at the heart of the Zandalari empire—while the defenders of the Horde will rally to their new allies’ defense—in an epic new raid, Battle of Dazar’alor. This new raid provides both Horde and Alliance players with unique encounters for their faction—along with the opportunity to play through events from the opposite faction’s viewpoint.  Learn more.
      PvP Season 2 Begins
      PvP Season 2 will begin and introduce an updated Conquest reward schedule, mounts, and gear. Players who earn 500 Conquest points in a given week through PvP activities including Arenas, Battlegrounds, and Assaults in War Mode will be still be able to choose a piece of gear from each week’s selection; in addition, they’ll now earn a Quartermaster’s Coin, which can be collected and ultimately used to upgrade pieces from this season’s Sinister Gladiator PvP set. Learn more.
      Mythic Keystone Dungeon Season 2 Begins
      The new Mythic Keystone Dungeon season opens opportunities for new rewards and a new challenge with the new seasonal affix: Reaping. High-level Keystones will now summon Bwonsamdi, the Loa of Death, to wreak some spectral havoc upon players’ dungeon run. As heroes kill enemies, the vanquished spirits will continue to linger in the mortal realm. At certain points throughout the dungeon, Bwonsamdi will resurrect these twisted souls, who will swarm the unfortunate adventurers in a final act of vengeance. (Blog coming soon.)
      Azerite Armor Updates
      With the release of Season 2, we’re introducing new epic Azerite pieces from PvP Season 2, the Battle of Dazar’alor raid, World Quest Emissaries, and from the Mythic Keystone vendor Thaumaturge Vashreen in Zuldazar and Boralus. These new items will have a fifth ring with additional new trait options. Learn more.
      Content Difficulty and Rewards Changes
      With a new season upon us and the Dazar’alor raid dungeon opening, we wanted to share some additional information on the changes coming to a variety of dungeon and outdoor world encounters including increases to both difficulty and rewards.
      New Maximum Item Level: With great challenges come great rewards and the maximum possible item level will go up to 425. Battle for Darkshore Warfront: Battle for Darkshore rewards will also increase to 400 from both the outdoor boss and from Warfront quest that can be completed once per cycle. The difficulty of the Warfront will increase however, and the item level required to queue will increase to 335. These changes will go into effect after the current Warfront cycle has ended. Until that time, players will still receive Season 1 rewards. World Quest Emissary Rewards: World Quest Emissary weapon and armor rewards will also now scale up to 385 based on the player’s own item level. Rewards from the original Battle for Azeroth Launch World bosses will remain at item level 355 to stay on par with Uldir. Dungeon Rewards and Difficulty: The difficulty of Heroic and Mythic dungeons will also be increase as follows:  Normal–340, Heroic–355, and Mythic– 370(baseline) Mythic Keystone Dungeons and PvP: During the first week of Season 2 Mythic Keystone Dungeon rewards will be capped at Mythic 6 quality (item level 385). PvP Season 2 end-of-match rewards will be capped at 385. Seals of Wartorn Fate: Seals of Wartorn Fate are not being reset and this same currency can be used for Battle of Dazar’alor and Season 2 bonus rolls; the cap on how many can be held at once remains at 5. For additional insights on these changes, read the developer forum post.
    • By Stan
      Arena World Championship (AWC) and the Mythic Dungeon Invitational (MDI) will return in 2019 with a few twists. MDI will be split into two regions and for the first time, players will be able to crowdfund both events and increase the prize pools by purchasing in-game toys in spring.
      Blizzard (Source)
      Today we are very excited to share details for the 2019 Arena World Championship (AWC) and rebranded Mythic Dungeon International (still MDI!), including increases to both programs’ prize pools, which will come from a portion of the sales of two new toys. Let’s get right into it.
      Arena Returns for 2019
      We are pleased to bring back the Arena World Championship in similar form as last year—just with a few fun twists. Here’s a visual representation of the system in 2019:

      North America and Europe: The NA and EU regions will have two Arena seasons each, with six cups per season. Each cup will see teams battle for their share of a USD $10,000 prize pool. This represents an increase over last year’s competition, with more cups and more chances for players to win. Like last year, each cup will award points. For each finals event, the top four point-earners per season from both NA and EU will compete for a USD $100,000 prize pool. The first cup begins on Feb. 8; signups start today and will close Monday, Jan. 28, at 10 a.m. PDT/6 p.m. CET.
      Asia-Pacific, China, and Latin America: These regions also will run cups based on the Arena World Championship ruleset. Signups for Korea, Taiwan/Hong Kong/Macau, Australia/New Zealand, China, and Latin America will kick off later in the year. Keep an eye on regional channels for more information.
      Arena World Championship Finals: At the end of the year, we will celebrate the global scope of Arena with the AWC Finals. Invitations will be extended to:
      1st place from NA and EU Season 1 1st and 2nd place from NA and EU Summer Finals Top point-earner from NA and top point-earner from EU Winners of the China, APAC, and Latin America finals. Introducing the Mythic Dungeon International
      An invitational no more, we are pleased to announce the Mythic Dungeon International for 2019—a seasonal competition that will showcase the world’s best dungeon-running teams. We decided to update the name of the program in order to better reflect its increased scope and global reach. The Upgrades
      MDI will be split into two regions: MDI East (China, Korea, Southeast Asia, Taiwan, and Australia/New Zealand) and MDI West (North America, Latin America, and Europe). Here is how the year will flow:

      The Proving Grounds are a qualification period open to any player with a Blizzard Battle.net account in good standing. Think you’ve got what it takes to be Mythic Dungeon International champions? Grab a team of five players and prove it! All you and your team need to do is complete five level 14 Mythic Keystone Dungeons in time between February 26 and March 12. (Note: Keystone level is subject to change, and will be determined sometime after the start of Season 2, on Jan. 22.) If successful, you and your team will be granted access to the Tournament Realm, where you will be able to create max-level characters, equip them with the items you feel are most optimal, and build out talents as you please. You and your team will have access to the Tournament Realm for the duration of the season.
      Each season, those who have gained access to the Tournament Realm via the Proving Grounds will be able to participate in Time Trials—a limited number of attempts at the week’s dungeons during a designated time period, of which your team’s best results will be submitted automatically. Each week will alternate between East and West, beginning with the Time Trial in ending in the week’s Cup, a double-elimination bracket featuring the top eight teams for that week’s region. All teams on the Tournament Realm will be able to run in their region’s Time Trials every alternating week, which means more opportunities to participate in Cups.
      Each Cup for MDI East and MDI West will be broadcast live on Twitch each weekend across six weeks. There is a USD $12,000 prize pool per Cup, as well as MDI points. Points will be awarded each week according to results, which will be used to determine who will be invited to each end-of-season LAN final. The end-of-season LAN events will be cross-regional, meaning the best teams of MDI East and MDI West will meet to race for their share of USD $100,000. The Proving Grounds for MDI Season 1 for both East and West will begin the week of February 26, when keystone affixes roll over. Closer to the event we will share more information about how to participate, qualification specifics, and more. NEW TOYS FOR ME? I PROMISE I WON’T BREAK THEM THIS TIME!
      As both Arena and MDI grow, we want to give fans a chance to further support the programs—and have some fun along the way! Soon we will introduce two new in-game toys to our shop (details to follow). A portion of the sale of these toys will contribute to the prize pools for both WoW esports programs.
      These toys will go on sale in the spring. As the proceeds will contribute to the year’s final LAN event prize pools for AWC and MDI, those prize pools will be announced later this year.
      We can’t wait to get things started. Be sure to follow World of Warcraft on Twitter and Twitch to stay up to date on all the latest WoW esports news, and bookmark WorldOfWarcraft.com/esports so you don’t miss a thing!