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M+ Record Holders: An Interview the Champs, Pt. 2

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It's back to the World Record holders in Mythic+, with part 2 of the interview focusing on the future of the system in Battle for Azeroth, what they'd like to see changed, thoughts on the Mythic Dungeon Invitational, how raiding fits into the M+ picture and more. Check out what JdotbShakib, Darkee, Mittbitt and Marvink have to say.

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It’s undeniable that Mythic+ has been one of the biggest features of Legion and we know it’s coming back in Battle for Azeroth. What would you guess Blizzard will be changing come the next expansion?

Darkee: I expect to see new affixes and hopefully the removal of some of our current affixes. I think dungeons will (hopefully) be created with m+ in mind so we don’t have certain mechanics being nerfed by 90% just to make the dungeon completable.

Jdotb: I think a lot more thought will be put into balancing classes holistically and not just for dps/hps. M+ really exposed some of the class disparities when it came to survivability and utility. Things like defensive cooldowns, immunities, battle resses, stealth, crowd control - access to those abilities is as or more important than how much damage you can do on high keys. Blizzard constantly struggles with class identity vs homogenization, and there obviously isn’t one right answer, but I wouldn’t mind seeing some baseline stuff given to every class (a powerful defensive cooldown on a 90s or less timer, e.g.) A lot of that can be solved with items like bloodlust drums that provide a substitute. I’d like to see some more items that fill in those gaps in class utility.

Mittbitt: Blizzard could be adding more of an incentive to do Mythic + to attract more people for all levels of keystones to influence doing some sort of competitive PvE outside of the set raid times.

Shakib: A m+ ladder with rewards at the end of a season (somewhat based on the current arena system). Also maybe a CM reward like in MoP I think it was where you would get a title if you had a top time at the end of the xpac.

 

What are some of the changes you’d like to see in the M+ system?

Darkee: I wish there was a way to re-roll your key. Getting Maw 27 and 28 over and over is really frustrating.

Jdotb:  It would be pretty cool to get a more robust reward structure for m+ a la PvP - mounts, titles, transmog, leaderboards, etc. M+ has become enough of a fixture in the PvE community to stand on its own merits and be considered a distinct thing. It would be nice to get some Blizzard-sanctioned validation.

Marvink: An incentive to push. The cap on rewards is too far below what I’d love to see as progression content. I want them to also remove the flat increase affixes (Fortified and Tyranical) and put more focus on dungeon altering affixes (new or old). Let the dungeon speak for itself instead of putting such a large focus on bosses or trash week after week.

Mittbitt: For the most part I am happy with how M+ works, however I would like to see less of niche class mechanics such as hunters being able to permanently trap adds on Moroes and continuously avoiding Garrote stacks, or the almost necessary immunities for Mana Devourer in Upper Karazhan. Lastly, I would like to see more of an effort to fix certain bugs that have already been “fixed” such as the “Streetsweeper” ability on the first boss of Court of Stars hitting you regardless of your positioning occasionally, or the second Blink Strikes from Nal’tira in The Arcway hitting a player that was preemptively moving.
 

Do you think there’s a chance we might see older dungeons eventually get remade into M+?

Darkee: I think it’s an interesting concept but I do not think it will happen any time soon. Their priority should be on achieving a closer balance in current dungeons + classes instead of re-balancing old content.

Jdotb: No, nor would I want it. The amount of effort required to balance the older dungeons with an eye towards infinite scalability would be tremendous. I don’t think there would be much demand for it; most everyone I know hates being made to timewalk every few weeks for a coin. And a large part of pushing high keys is being intimately familiar with a dungeon. I don’t want to have to learn potentially a hundred new dungeons inside and out.

Mittbitt: I think that there is a possibility we might see older dungeons eventually remade into M+ if done carefully, similar to Scholomance and Scarlet Monastery during Mists of Pandaria Challenge Modes.


Is the base design of the dungeons in Legion done well enough to support M+ or do you think there’s still a lot of improvement to be made?

Darkee: I think certain dungeons should have their time changed. I listed Maw and Seat as the 2 hardest dungeons, but that is only because their timer is just too short. Both dungeons have very punishing trash and boss fights with multiple phases that take forever to kill.

Jdotb: Most of the dungeons feel “fair” at high levels. Some of the timers could stand be to adjusted again (the Karas are too lenient, Maw and Nelth’s are too tight, etc.), and there’s some RNG you can’t really outplay (Hyrja and Xavius come to mind, as well as CoS buffs and Arcway doors). But for the most part the dungeons scale well and have a good mix of avoidable mechanics and mechanics that you just have to eat with either ilvl or creative cooldowns/trinkets/legendaries.

Marvink: I really like Legion dungeons, they all have an identity of their own and feel unique. They have left enough space in the dungeons to really come up with some crazy strategies, pull and skip wise, and nothing too linear.

Mittbitt: I believe that the base design of the dungeons in Legion is plenty to support M+, however I think that the RNG element of some dungeons can be a bit intrusive, such as in Seat of the Triumvirate the placements of the three wardens that must be killed to unlock the second boss can determine whether or not you have enough time in the run. A few other examples would be getting left or right side in Arcway can save a lot of time, such as if we got left side in our 27 Arcway we could have had much more time left at the end of the key, or what buffs you get in Court of Stars can substantially make the bosses easier. My last example is Shade of Medivh getting two Ceaseless Winters versus getting two Guardian’s Images, which can greatly influence whether or not the boss is killable on a very difficult key.
 

What do you think of addons in general? They’ve almost always been a core part of the game but now Blizzard is actually designing fights around them. Do you think it would even be possible to do some of these high M+ fights without them?

Darkee: Most dungeon boss fights are simple enough that fight timers are all you need. There are some very powerful weakauras that help with certain trash mobs (like showing current shoot target above nameplate + yelling at you if you are targeted with shoot from ANY archer, not just the one you are targeting).

Jdotb: Addons are very helpful for m+ but not nearly to the same extent as raiding. Some of the mythic raiding mechanics are so involved that addons are virtually required for most guilds (let’s hear it for Wrought Chaos on Archimonde). Some of that owes to 20 people vs. five people, but m+ bosses are just less complicated as a rule. This is a good thing because it allows addons to do what they were meant to do (give you information that doesn’t exist or isn’t easily seen in the base UI) instead of “breaking” fights because the developers intended for the fight to be chaotic. Addons in m+ are certainly helpful but people could still do very high keys without them.

Marvink: Addons aren’t really a necessity in M+. More are designed around trash than bosses, but even those aren’t needed. Mostly just an attempt to stop the one shots. A lot of bosses have been designed with energy bars as timers which really helps the core game stand on its own. The amount of times we’ve also ran these dungeons just turns things into muscle memory.

Mittbitt: I think addons are great and allow for a more unique customization of the game, depending on what players are looking for. Addons are also are a great tool in learning the Mythic plus timing of abilities. I do think it would be possible to do some of these high M+ fights without addons, but as we continue to play we typically continue to add more addons to track things so we do not have to micromanage everything on our screens the way it is laid out in the default setting.

Shakib: I think addons have their place in the game at this point although I don’t think Blizzard should design bosses around addons. They should disable addons they don’t want us to be able to use in my opinion.

A M+ boss fight usually only has 3-5 mechanics per boss so it wouldn’t get out of control. I don’t have many weakauras apart from ones that tell me what cooldown’s I have going on so the only addon I would suffer a bit from not having is littlewigs boss timers. But that’s usually trackable with a combat timer or energy levels on a boss. So yes I think m+ boss fights would be fine without addons.


Would you like to see less focus on addons in future expansions?

Darkee: I think Blizzard has done a good job of stepping in and removing certain addons that trivialized entire boss mechanics (like some of the various Star Augur addons). At this point they design boss fights with addons in mind, so I don’t think they are an issue.

Jdotb: As a healer, I’ve never been particularly impressed with the base UI. It’s been improved over the years but still leaves a lot to be desired. I think addons are a necessary and vital part of playing the game at the highest level and feel like if an addon trivializes a fight then it was probably a poorly designed and/or gimmicky fight to begin with.

Mittbitt: I would not like to see less focus on addons in future expansions, I have no issue with addons and would actually like to see more addons and more creativity in addons such as some of the weak auras available for mythic plus.
 

What do you think about the M+ raider.io addon specifically and some of the issues with it?

Jdotb: The raider.io addon came out after my days of pugging m+ ended so my experience with it is mostly secondhand. I understand the frustration with being reduced to a single number that determines your entire worth, but at the same time there aren’t many tools available to the people making groups to fairly evaluate other players. So the addon is probably making the best of a bad situation. I also suspect that some people aren’t as good as they think they are and the raider.io tool is simply the first time they’ve really had look in the mirror and face facts.

Marvink: I understand the ‘want’ to have a higher qualified group when running a dungeon, and the addon allows to have a better sense of what each player has at least accomplished in some regard compared to nothing. I think a large part of the issue is the 100 slot cap on the leaderboard, making a lot of runs the average person does not even count for score, and thus making it harder to get in to groups because of that fact.
 

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What do you think of raids being necessary in order to accomplish high M+ runs? Would you prefer if you could get all if your gearing done in M+ only?

Jdotb: The necessity to raid for gear is probably the biggest frustration for the m+ community. It used to be the same way for PvP - there were trinkets and tier sets from raids that were so good for PvP that you had to raid. Blizzard addressed that with templates in PvP, so they at least recognize it was a problem. Removing tier sets from BfA was a big step in the right direction, and hopefully m+ers won’t feel obligated to raid in BfA. I know Blizz wants to create incentives for people to do participate in all the content, and I don’t think the m+ community would mind banging out a heroic raid once a week. But being in a mythic raiding guild is a large commitment, usually 12+ hours a week, and if you don’t want to be there it sucks for both you and the guild you’re in.

Mittbitt: I think raids being necessary in order to accomplish high M+ runs is fine as long as Blizzard wants to keep M+ less prioritized than raiding. Many people are discouraged from high keys because there is no incentive to push. I enjoy having to raid in order to obtain some gear for M+, however would prefer it if most slots were not taken up by legendaries and raid equipment.

Shakib: I personally don’t hate raiding, I just don’t like spending 15-20 hours a week doing something I enjoy less. Which is why I’m currently in a 2 day guild for 7 hours total. I would prefer getting pretty much all of my gearing from m+ a bit like it was for challenge modes where gear would cap at the heroic dungeon ilvl. I only had to raid a couple times to get the op items from the raids (mirror of the blademaster, soul capacitor…) then I could just do what I love doing.
 

Just how different is it to do high M+ compared to doing Mythic raids?

Darkee:  Pushing high m+ is much harder coming from a melee perspective. Almost all dungeons contain enemies that have some sort of aoe/frontal/on-death mechanic that will one shot you. You have to be 100% focused for every pull to stay alive. Most raid mechanics are so spread out that you have plenty of time to prepare, and deaths come from laziness or greed.

Jdotb: As a healer, the difference is substantial. Part of the draw of m+ for me having the entire healing job to myself. I’ve never liked having to coordinate healing cooldowns with other healers, and good healers in raids are always going to keep an eye on the hps meters and probably play sub-optimally at times to make sure they stay near the top. In m+ you don’t have to worry about padding as a healer, you just focus on keeping people alive.

M+ also affords me the opportunity to play all aspects of my class. I spend large portions of some dungeons dpsing, I use my crowd control abilities like root and typhoon frequently, and I even occasionally tank mobs during skittish week.

The pace of m+ is also much more enjoyable to me. I’ve never been a fan of wiping 30 times in a row to a boss in one night. That isn’t particularly fun. You might fail a key in m+ but that probably only included a few wipes at most unless you were doing something way over your head.

Mittbitt: High Mythic + requires a lot of coordination, communication, and gear swapping. It is similar to Mythic raiding at a certain key level, however with fewer people, and we are able to design our own strats that constantly evolve.
 

For groups trying to get into higher M+, how much of a hindrance is the fact that you need tier sets?

Jdotb: I don’t think it’s a huge barrier to entry atm. Most people that do m+ at a high level come from a raiding background and still raid in a mythic guild.

I think Blizz tries to make tier sets good enough that you’re always going to want to use it regardless of ilvl, so it’s safe to say that tier is important. Some sets are obviously better than others, and some sets are more or less useful in m+ specifically, but for the most part tier is going to give you significant advantage. The importance of having mythic raid ilvl on your tier is less important.  You could still push very high keys with some heroic warforged/titanforged tier, and most people that are skilled enough to be doing high keys won’t have a problem finishing heroic raids.

Mittbitt: Tier sets are unfortunately a large hindrance regarding high keys. Tier sets and legendaries make it a challenge to get into pushing higher keys.
 

If you had to choose one activity that makes it to BfA, would it be raiding or M+?

Jdotb:  M+ hands down. I think if you were rebuilding WoW from the ground up, m+ would be the default PvE content. It’s so much friendlier to casuals (takes less time, takes less people, takes less preparation). I really feel like raiding is a thing that only exists because of tradition. When WoW launched it was still new and cool to be in a group with a lot of people, and MMOs really pushed that angle. Now online multiplayer is the norm. It isn’t a unique selling point. Raiding was neat because it was a spectacle, but it hasn’t been that in a long time.

Mittbitt: If I had to choose one activity that makes it to BfA it would be M+, however M+ does not provide the same benefits as raiding where two tanks are enough for 18 other people.
 

Somewhat related to raiding, what do you think of the reward structure of M+?

Darkee: I think the reward structure of m+ is in a good place. Most of my non-tier/non-legendary slots are filled with gear obtained from m+.

Jdotb:  I wouldn’t mind seeing m+ move towards raid-style gear lockouts where you can only get loot off a m+ boss once each week but the base ilvl would be higher. The lottery aspect of m+ isn’t particularly appealing, and the vast majority of the time you end up with a chaos crystal. I would prefer having a legitimate chance at getting an upgrade once a week over the current system.

Marvink: I would like a larger reward for higher M+, but I understand the current structure doesn’t give any room for improvement in that regard. Hopefully in BfA they can make that adjustment.
 

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The MDI was a big deal this year, what are your thoughts on the format, what you’d like to see improved, changed etc?

Darkee: I think the key level should be higher. Doing level 17 keys just meant bringing classes with high burst aoe damage and stomping through the dungeon. If there was a big m+ tournament right now, it should be at least level 25 for fortified and 23 for tyrannical keys.

Jdotb: I think the first MDI was in a lot of ways an experiment for Blizzard. They announced the MDI very suddenly (and in the middle of ToS progression), and up to that point there was no indication from Blizzard that m+ would ever be anything other than sort of filler content. So hosting a tournament for m+ caught pretty much everyone off guard. I think Blizz wanted gauge the appetite for m+ with a quickie tournament, and clearly there was interest from the community.

Because of that, I’m guessing Blizz went into the first MDI without investing too much into it and probably considered it a learning experience. The collegiate tournament that TESPA sponsored a few months after the MDI already boasted some updates to the UI to give more visual information to the viewers, and I’d expect more of that. Healing and damage meters were a good start, but it would also be nice to see timers on some of the big cooldowns for the group, maybe what trinkets/legendaries everyone has equipped, etc. Obviously you don’t want to make the screen too noisy, but people want to be able to keep track of these things.

There were some gripes about the regional format, i.e., that the 32 teams selected weren’t really the best 32 teams because each region had to have 8. I wouldn’t expect that to change, though, because Blizzard is going to want to keep each region engaged in the tournament. It’s an understandable business decision.

The casting was fine -- none of the personalities were experts on m+, but that made sense because m+ had never been aired before. I would expect to hear some more detailed analysis in the next MDI. Overall I thought the MDI was great and needs little tweaks rather than any kind of big fundamental changes.

Marvink: I didn’t like how different the qualifying and actual tournament were. Pushing high keys and speeding through lower keys are vastly different. From a tournament standpoint, racing is the go to and the qualifiers should be associated with that in some regard, not just how high you can go.

Shakib: I personally really enjoyed watching the tournament. The format is fine as it is. Maybe the lvl difficulty should increase as the tournament goes on. The main downside of the m+ tournament was the short notice that players had to get a team together and practice. You basically just picked 4 other people that wanted to do it and started the qualifying process a couple weeks later if I remember correctly.

Please free Quebec :)
 

What’s the best thing about the Mythic+ system?

Jdotb: The infinite scaling. There is always another mountain to climb. You don’t have to sit around twiddling your thumbs for months at a time like raiders after the last boss is dead.

Marvink: It adds end-game replayability outside of raid times, which get reduced to a single day for a long period of farm time.

Shakib: There’s always something else to do. A new challenge every time you beat a dungeon. Having 13 dungeons makes it so even if you get 1 world first there are 12 more to get and even if you have all 13 you can try and get an even better time.
 

If you could change one or two things about World of Warcraft overall, what would they be?

Darkee: I would add a titanforge cap at base mythic raid level. There is no reason for an item dropping in normal antorus to be better than that same item dropping in mythic. Then you would probably need to scale any warforged mythic raid gear down to base mythic raid gear in any M+ dungeons so that M+ only players aren’t at a disadvantage.

Jdotb: Less consumable gold sinks. More footwear options for trolls.

Mittbitt: If I could change something about World of Warcraft, it would definitely be the titanforging system. I think it is great in allowing players to have something more to look forward to other than getting the item they want, however the range on titanforging has gotten out of hand. With the range of titanforging levels there is almost an infinite amount of grinding to do, where players such as myself still need to farm ToS in hopes of receiving high itemized tier.

Shakib: Fix invisibility potions on demon hunter :(
 

Thanks a lot for the interview and taking the time to share your Mythic experiences and views with us. Before we go, do you have any shoutouts?

Darkee: Shoutout to peakofserenity.com for helping new monks learn the class along with consolidating a bunch of useful information for experienced monks as well.

https://www.twitch.tv/shakibdh
https://www.twitch.tv/jdotb
https://www.twitch.tv/darkee7

Jdotb: All the original m+ slammers and old school Narnia crew. Thanks for doing thousands of carries with me before it was cool. And a big thank you to my Jdotbabes on Twitch, I love you guys.

Marvink: Shoutout to Hadrionz who filled in nicely as our tank the last few days of the week to time a few more high keys and end the week on a high note with another 27 in the bag.

Mittbitt: I don’t feel right shouting out any specific people, however there have been many friends that have gotten me to where I am now in World of Warcraft and I’m thankful for having met all of them.

Shakib: Thank you to all my viewers for the incredible support recently and to all my teammates for being there every single day :)

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7 hours ago, Fethnaid said:

No answers from Shakib? Reason his stuff wasn't included?

Hmm, that's weird, I mustve saved a different version of the doc.. Sorry about that, will add them in now.

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      While in the form of a Skeletal Mage, your Frostbolt, Fireball, and Arcane Blast are greatly enhanced, and your spell damage is increased.
      Shifting Power
      Draw from the ground beneath you for a period of time, dealing Nature damage over time to nearby enemies.
      While channeling, your ability cooldowns are reduced.
      Monk
      Weapons of Order
      For a short duration, your Mastery is increased by a percentage. In addition:
      Windwalkers’ Rising Sun Kickcooldown is reset instantly, and your Rising Sun Kick reduces the cost of your Chi abilities.
      Brewmasters’ Keg Smashcooldown is reset, and enemies hit by Keg Smash take increased damage from you (stacks up to a set amount).
      Mistweavers’ Essence Font cooldown is reset instantly and heals nearby allies on channel start and end.
      (Work in Progress)
      (Work in Progress)
      (Work in Progress)
      Paladin
      Divine Toll
      Instantly cast Holy Shock, Avenger's Shield, or Judgmenton several targets within range (based on your current specialization).
      Ashen Hallow
      Hallow the target area, dealing Shadow damage split among enemies and restoring health split among injured allies over time.
      The land remains filled with anima, causing additional Shadow damage to all enemies. You gain the benefits of Consecration while within the area.
      (Work in Progress)
      (Work in Progress)
      Priest
      Boon of the Ascended

      Gain the Boon of the Ascended, granting access to Ascended Nova and Ascended Blast, and increasing your movement speed. Both abilities damage your enemies, heal your allies, and build power that will erupt in a powerful explosion of damage and healing at the end of Boon of the Ascended’s duration.
      Mindgames
      Assault an enemy's mind, dealing Shadow damage and briefly reversing their perception of reality.
      For a period of time, the next damage they deal will heal their target, and the next healing they do will damage their target.
      Unholy Nova
      An explosion of dark energy heals nearby allies and infects nearby enemies with Unholy Transfusion.
      Unholy Transfusion deals Shadow damage over time. Enemies who damage this target receive healing.
      (Work in Progress)
      Rogue
      Echoing Reprimand
      Deal Arcane damage to an enemy, extracting their anima to Animacharge a combo point.
      Damaging finishing moves that consume the same number of your combo points as your Animacharge deal damage as if they consume 7 combo points.
      Slaughter
      Slaughter the target, causing Physical damage. The target's anima mixes with your lethal poison, coating your weapons for the next 5 minutes.

      Slaughter Poison deals Shadow damage over time and steals a percentage of healing done to the target.

      This also awards combo points.
      Serrated Bone Spike
      Embed a bone spike in the target, dealing Physical damage over time until they die.
      Attacking with Serrated Bone Spike causes all of your active bone spikes to fracture and strike your current target, increasing initial damage by a percentage per spike.
       
      (Work in Progress)
      Shaman
      Vesper Totem
      Summon a totem at the target location for 30 seconds. Your next 3 damage spells or abilities will cause the totem to radiate Arcane damage to enemies near the totem and your next 3 healing spells will heal up to 6 allies near the totem.
      Casting this ability again while the totem is active will relocate the totem.
      Chain Harvest
      Send a wave of anima at the target, which then jumps to additional nearby targets. Deals  Shadow damage to enemies and restores  health to allies.
      For each target critically struck, the cooldown of Chain Harvest is reduced.
      (Work in Progress)
      (Work in Progress)
      Warlock
      Scouring Tithe
      Deal Arcane damage instantly and additional Arcane damage over time. If the enemy dies while affected by Scouring Tithe, you generate additional Soul Shards. If they survive, Scouring Tithe's cooldown is refreshed.
      Impending Catastrophe
      Call forth a cloud of chaotic anima that travels to the target enemy, dealing  Shadow damage to enemies within their path. When the anima reaches the target it explodes, inflicting a random Curse and dealing Shadow damage to all nearby enemies.
      Decimating Bolt
      Hurl a bolt of shadow magic at your target, dealing Shadow damage and increasing the damage of your next Incinerates, Drain Souls, or Shadow Bolts.

      Decimation Bolt's damage, and the bonus to Incinerate, Drain Soul, or Shadow Bolt both increase as your target's health decreases.
      (Work in Progress)
      Warrior
      Spear of Bastion
      Throw a Kyrian spear at the target location, dealing Arcane damage instantly, dealing additional damage over time, and generating Rage.
       
      Enemies hit are tethered to Spear of Bastion's location for the duration.
      Condemn
      (Replaces Execute)
      Condemn a foe to suffer for their sins, causing Shadow damage. Only usable on enemies who are above 80% health or below 20% health.
      The primary target is weakened, preventing a moderate amount of damage they would deal to you.
      If your foe survives, a portion of the Rage spent is refunded.
      Conqueror’s Banner
      Brandish the banner of the Necrolords, increasing your movement speed and causing Mortal Strike, Raging Blow, and Shield Slam to grant you Glory. Killing an enemy grants additional stacks of Glory.

      Reactivating this ability plants the banner in the ground, granting an increased amount of maximum health and additional attack speed to you and your allies within range of the banner. Lasts additional time per Glory, up to a maximum amount.
      (Work in Progress)
      We look forward to sharing more information as development continues, and we hope this preview helps you find the Covenant that’s right for you.
      Which Covenant is your current choice? Join the discussion on the forums.
      Latest Shadowlands News
      Shadowlands Developer Update PvP Vendors Return in Shadowlands
    • By Stan
      Blizzard revealed in the Shadowlands Developer Update their plans to add PvP vendors back to the game with changes to PvP currencies, as Conquest becomes a spendable currency in the new expansion.
      In Shadowlands, Conquest points can be used to buy specific items from vendors in the new capital city of Oribos. On top of that, you will be able to upgrade gear using Conquest points, similar to how Benthic gear upgrades worked with Manapears in Patch 8.2 (Rise of Azshara).
      More information about the new system will be available when we start datamining the first Alpha build.
      Blizzard (Source)
      Also of note are some changes to PvP currencies—notably, Conquest is once again a spendable currency earned through Shadowlands Rated PvP. Players will be able to use Conquest points to purchase specific items of their choice from a vendor in the capital city of Oribos (in an easy-to-find location, naturally). Conquest can also be used to upgrade that gear further (similar to how Benthic gear worked with Manapearls in Rise of Azshara). We’ll have lots more information to share on the details of this system, as well as our broader endgame itemization plans, as the alpha rolls on and we reach max-level content. Latest Shadowlands News
      Shadowlands Developer Update
    • By Stan
      Shadowlands Alpha starts later this week when the first batch of invitations will be going out. Available for testing will be Bastion and the Necrotic Dungeon. Don't forget to opt in for Beta in the meantime!
      Highlights
      Changes to all 12 classes will be obvious the moment players log into the game. The goal of Shadowlands is class unpruning, so expect changes to spells, talents, and resources. Blizzard improved the quest interface and added a 3D indicator of tracked quest objective locations. Conquest is a spendable currency in Shadowlands and players will be able to use Conquest points to purchase specific items of their choice from a vendor in the capital city of Oribos. You will also be able to use them to upgrade gear similar to Benthic gear and Manapearls.  Blizzard (Source)
      It’s been five months since we first revealed our World of Warcraft: Shadowlands expansion at BlizzCon 2019. The whole team has been hard at work transforming the vision we laid out last November into a reality, and we can’t wait to share our progress with all of you.
      Later this week, we will send out our first round of invitations to a closed alpha test for Shadowlands.
      This first batch of invitations will mainly go out to long-time WoW players with active accounts in good standing, as well as Blizzard friends and family, along with a limited number of content creators and journalists. This initial wave represents only a small fraction of the pool of testers that will ultimately gain access to the test in the coming months—if you’re interested in helping make Shadowlands better, sign up using the Beta Opt-In link on the Shadowlands home page. Later on, as we engage in focused PvP and raid testing, we’ll also do some targeted invite waves that prioritize players with extensive experience or expertise in those parts of the game.
      When the alpha servers go live, we will have the full level-up experience in the zone of Bastion available, along with its accompanying dungeon, the Necrotic Wake. Testers who are interested in checking out our revamped new player experience can play through the Alliance version of the new zone and tutorials. We’ll aim to roll out new content on a regular basis throughout the test cycle—later in April we hope to offer the zone of Revendreth, as well as a look at Torghast, Tower of the Damned, our endless dungeon experience. We will continue to unlock content such as zones, dungeons, and endgame questlines when they’re ready for feedback, using template characters as needed to focus testing and feedback on specific parts of the game. Once everything has been released into the test environment, we’ll officially move into a beta phase, wiping all characters and kicking off a larger round of invites for an end-to-end test of the entire Shadowlands experience.
      While content will be rolled out methodically over the course of the alpha, many of our underlying systems changes will be apparent from the moment players first log in later this week, and there will be hints of others that are still in progress. A few examples:
      Players of all 12 classes will immediately see changes in their Spellbooks, Talents, and in some cases even their resources. We’ll have a separate blog coming out in the coming days discussing how we applied the class design philosophies we laid out at BlizzCon 2019 and giving key examples of the sorts of changes to expect for each class and their specializations. Unlike the last couple of expansion alphas, where the conversation with the community often began with us saying “Let us know which spells you miss most…” this time around we’re eager to hear whether we’ve gone too far with “unpruning.” Maybe a bunch of folks actually really hated Eyes of the Beast all along—who knows? We have been making improvements to our quest interface, with an eye toward better distinguishing major quests that are required to advance the narrative from optional side quests that tell more localized stories. Our work-in-progress 3D indicator of tracked quest objective locations will be available to use, which aims to reduce the need to bring up the map when navigating the world and help more clearly identify when an objective is above or below you. We’re also rolling out a system that allows players to set a personal waypoint on the map as well as share that pin in chat channels, so that you should no longer need an add-on to convey exactly where Rustfeather just spawned. Also of note are some changes to PvP currencies—notably, Conquest is once again a spendable currency earned through Shadowlands Rated PvP. Players will be able to use Conquest points to purchase specific items of their choice from a vendor in the capital city of Oribos (in an easy-to-find location, naturally). Conquest can also be used to upgrade that gear further (similar to how Benthic gear worked with Manapearls in Rise of Azshara). We’ll have lots more information to share on the details of this system, as well as our broader endgame itemization plans, as the alpha rolls on and we reach max-level content. As our community and fansites dig into the game files that are packaged with the client in the coming days, you’ll also doubtless find bits and pieces of data relating to endgame systems like Soulbinds, Covenant Sanctums, and crafted legendary items. Much of those features remain a work-in-progress and, especially in an alpha setting, the game’s data contains numerous experiments and discarded ideas, so please take what you might find via datamining with a grain of salt. We remain guided by the core philosophies that we articulated at BlizzCon: player agency and empowering choices. We can’t wait to share details of these systems with you as soon as we’re able—one of our main lessons learned from past expansions is the vital importance of carving out a large window in our alpha and beta for feedback and iteration on these endgame systems.
      Thank you for your patience, and we’ll see you soon (no TM) in the Shadowlands!
      Ion Hazzikostas
      Game Director
      Join the discussion on the forums here.
      Shadowlands Alpha starts this week with the first zone Bastion available for testing!
    • By Starym
      We've all heard about the man who's finished the game very recently, getting all the currently available achievements and claiming that he can now finally play the game. What you may not have known is that this is his second time to do so, as he also finished Legion World First back when it was current! We took some time out to talk to Xirev about his impressive... ahem... achievement, and found out a whole lot more about his process.
      He talks about the worst things he's had to endure on specific achievements, the 1100 days played across all his accounts and characters, when and why he started this endeavor, his first achievement complete expansion, some very negative comments he's gotten about his accomplishments, his overall thoughts on BfA as someone who's spent a lot of time in its every nook and cranny, and a lot more!
       
      When did you decide to start actively working on getting all the achievements in the game? 
      I started caring about achievements in Cataclysm, but working on the achievement What a Long, Strange Trip It's Been in Wrath of the Lich King was what first introduced me to doing them - I didn’t end up finishing it until Mists of Pandaria though. In Wrath of the Lich King I did achievements for the rewards that they gave, in Cataclysm I started actively doing any achievement that I could regardless of the reward - it was mostly rep grinds in the beginning.
      Every expansion after Cataclysm increased my conviction to try to get everything, and in Warlords of Draenor I was fully committed to finish it all, as it was a very good expansion to do that sort of thing since there wasn’t much new content added. Seeing people AFK in Orgrimmar in their corner that they always stood in showing off their gear, mounts and ton of achievements was a big motivating factor to want to strive for the same thing. 
       
      You had also completed Legion as the first with all achievements, was that your first “complete” expansion and (then current) max achievement points? 
      Warlords of Draenor was the first time I finished with everything but it was a while after other people did it. I’ve been in the top 10 of achievement points since the start of Legion all the way until now. Sometimes being very far ahead of even the second place as can be seen here:


      What would you say the general ratio is of the achievements you got on a single character vs. what you had to do on others to get them all complete and how much /played do you have on your accounts?
      I have most achievements on my main Mage, if I at one point did an achievement on another character I would go back and do it on my Mage again just to have everything done on one character. My /played on my Mage is 565 days total and 117 days at 120. Total playtime on my main account is 974 days and I have a second account with 303 days. Some of that time is overlap, but definitely not all of it. I also have a third account with 32 days but that’s all overlap with the other two. So I’d say total across all of the accounts is somewhere around 1100 days.
       
      What would be your top 5 (or more) worst and/or most difficult achievements to get? 
      What comes to mind in BFA is Most Minis Wins, that achievement made me take a 2 month break from playing because I wasn’t getting the last one I needed. I ended up getting it on my first try the day I came back after the break.

      Catchin' Some Rays also took quite a lot of time and was really frustrating because at the start of the expansion the drop rate was really high and people got it within 50 casts - I put it off for too long and they significantly reduced the drop rate, so it took me close to 8000 casts to get it. Knowing I could have gotten it much faster made that achievement especially sour in my mouth.

      Existential Crisis from Mythrax in Uldir was probably the hardest raid achievement ever added before they fixed it. The description of the achievement and what you actually had to do to earn it was completely reversed and it took around 200 wipes to get it, which is harder than most Mythic bosses.

      You’re only as strong as your weakest link and it was hard to find people willing to spend time on trying to do it.

      The high rated PvP achievements are definitely the all time hardest to get though.

      How was BfA in terms of the new achievements added compared to previous expansions?
      I’d say it was pretty similar, maybe a bit more than Legion. If you consider the 500 Honor Level achievement as being added in BFA (was added in the prepatch) then the time investment needed to finish all achievements significantly increased for people who did not farm a lot of Prestiges on different characters in Legion.
       
      How does it feel clearing everything on that list out? You joked you can then finally start playing the game, but does completing all the achievements make you feel “done” with the game or does it give you more freedom to do what you like?
      It feels like when it’s your birthday, you don’t feel much different from the day before. Sure, there’s some sense of relief of “I’m finished now” followed by the realization that the main factor of why I’m playing the game has suddenly disappeared. I have finished all achievements in the game multiple times in BFA already, same thing in Legion, with each patch I end up with everything so I’m kind of used to it by now. It’s no longer about striving for something, it’s all about maintaining which isn’t as fun I think. What I did when I was done with everything in Legion was to play Final Fantasy 14 for a month followed by working on collecting transmog and such for the addon All The Things. I have not done much if any All The Things collection in BFA apart from the things I usually do.

      I’m not sure what I’ll do this time around though, probably just continue doing the things I was doing before.
       
      What is your favorite WoW activity? 
      Going for all achievements, not doing the achievements themselves, just the collective effort of doing all of them.
       
      What was the path that you took to getting this done? Did you have a very specific way in which you approached it or did you just play the various content and then narrowed it down as you completed specific ones?
      At first I mostly went for achievements that awarded something, then achievements that indirectly rewarded something (like reputations), after that I kinda picked a category and worked my way through it as much as I could. So for example when I decided it was time to do fishing I’d only do fishing achievements until they were all done.
       
      When a new expansion comes up, do you actually play it “normally” just to enjoy it for a while, or do you head straight into the achievement hunt? 
      I think doing the achievements is playing the game normally, they guide you towards doing all the different activities the game has to offer, and as I don’t have a certain preference to what type of content I play the game for it is normal for me to just do everything that is on offer. They don’t take you that far off the beaten path. I usually never prepare beforehand when a new expansion or patch comes out, I like going into it and figuring out what I want to prioritize and focus on while it’s live. It would probably be better if I did prepare but I don’t think it’s that worth it.
       
      What were some of your favorite achievements to do (and not just the really easy and fast ones ? )
      It kind of depends, achievements that I was able to do while watching a show or something were the ones that felt the most satisfying to do because it was almost like I wasn’t even playing the game while finishing a long achievement. Others were fun to do just due to how hardcore I went about doing it, like doing 4000 daily quests in 2 weeks by figuring out which daily quests were the fastest ones to do on as many characters as possible each day, and then just bruteforcing the 10000 daily quest achievement.

      Farming PvP WQs on 45 characters to get 90k honor per day to finish the 500 Honor Level achievement was also fun to do. It wasn’t super necessary though, as I started at 350 Honor Level the day the prepatch came out because I had done a lot of Prestige farming in Legion. I would have gotten 500 by now without doing the WQ grind anyway as I’m at 673 Honor Level as of right now.

      Achievements that no one really had an idea on how to do and having to figure it out on your own are fun as well, like Naxt Victim which by the looks of the Wowhead comment I made about it helped a lot of people out.
       
      As someone who’s spent possibly the most time dealing with the specifics of the expansion, what are your thoughts about BfA in general and what would be some of your favorite and least favorite things about it?
      BFA has been pretty bad for my motivation I feel like. Island Expeditions completely broke my will to farm things outside of achievements, the sheer amount of stuff and incredibly low drop rate just made me feel like it just wasn’t worth the time to farm, I would rather just play another game instead. Low drop rate pets and mounts from rares that just take ages to get is also something I don’t like, Soundless, Rustfeather, Arachnoid Harvester, I feel like the drop rate is too low and it just forces you to keep spinning the slot machine until you get it. Paragon reputation boxes were bad in Legion and they are bad in BFA as well, it is probably what I dislike the most about the game right now. The fact that you have to farm paragon reputation on both factions to get everything is also simply ridiculous. 

      The amount of gold sink mounts they’ve put into the game this expansion is also something I don’t like, they’ve removed all the methods I had to earn passive gold and put tons of mounts that cost a lot in, and that also made me stop caring about getting all mounts and such.

      I usually play a lot of alts and more than 50% of my total played used to be across alts, but now in BFA I’ve barely played them at all, I don’t even have all classes at 120. They made the incursions too weak compared to the Legion assaults so I didn’t feel like I had an efficient way of leveling my alts with just a few minutes every day. The corruption system is also something I dislike, mostly because I’ve been really unlucky with it. If there was an easier way to get the corruptions you wanted it would be better. Some goods things about BFA have been the essences I think, Memory of Lucid Dreams completely saved Fire Mage after they basically cut the spec in half in BFA. The raids have been pretty decent I suppose, losing master looting wasn’t that great though.
       
      Are you looking forward to Shadowlands?
      Sure. I know that if I don’t have much time to play because of other circumstances I will still probably have enough time to finish all achievements and I’ve been going for this a long time so might as well continue.
       
      Knowing how much effort it’s taken you to get here, if you could go back would you do it all over again?
      Well that’s kind of tricky. I feel like I have gotten to know myself better because I’ve done this, but also it is a lot of time invested. I’ve gotten a lot of insensitive comments about mental health and me wasting my life, but just because I have tangible proof of my “wasted” time it doesn’t mean I waste more time than others. I’ve just had a very specific goal that I’ve achieved as efficiently as possible, no one is able to be 100% productive all the time. I feel like it has helped me try harder at university and striving towards achieving my goals in life. I have not failed a single exam during my time at uni even while playing a lot. So yes, I would do it again and I’m satisfied with what I’ve accomplished.
       
      A very positive end to the interview, and we'd just like to congratulate Xirev on what he's accomplished once more and are looking forward to him getting there again in Shadowlands!
      You can also head on over, watch and follow him on his twitch and twitter pages:
      https://www.twitch.tv/xirev https://twitter.com/XirevWoW

      Other Icy Veins interviews:
      Valdihr of Classic Journey Interview + Unique Icy Veins Art Piece
      Exploit Vs. Clever Use: the Rextroy Interview
      A Farewell Interview with Mione, the Solo Artist
      Hurricane, Awesome WoW Trailer Creator Interview
      Crafter's Spotlight: Djarii, Makeup Artist
      The man with all the achievements talks to us about how he got there and a lot more.
    • By Stan
      UPDATE: We caught up with Xirev and had a chat about his accomplishment, which you can check out here.
      Xirev from Vashj (EU) has earned all 3,927 achievements that are currently available in the game. Congratulations!
      Xirev from the <Colour> guild managed to complete all achievements in World of Warcraft that have been added so far which must have taken a lot of dedication. He currently owns 484 out of 555 mounts and all battle pets.
      On reddit he joked that now he can finally play the game. Congrats!

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