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A Farewell Interview with Mione, the Solo Artist

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Some sad news on Battle for Azeroth day, as the game's most well-known and probably best soloer of all time announced retirement. Mione has been going 1 on 1 with World of Warcraft's bosses and getting World Firsts for over 10 years now, since Wrath of the Lich king, and soloing dungeons since Vanilla, so it's a sad day indeed when such a great player leaves our community. The Lich King, Yogg +0, Firelands Ragnaros, Garrosh, Archimonde, Gul'dan, M+15 in time, M+22 to name just a few, the sheer number and difficulty of the fights soloed is staggering, so let's all join together in once more congratulating Mione and saying goodbye (or perhaps, until we meet again).

After finding out that it was over in BfA, we had a long chat with Mione to see what happened and why, and ended up talking extensively about power creep, the status of "most well known soloer in WoW", favorite and hardest boss solos, soloing raids vs. M+, Scholomance soloing in Vanilla, an optimal boss stitched together from other boss abilities and much, much more.

You’ve said you're leaving WoW behind. Now that Battle for Azeroth is here are you really done with the game, and do you think you could one day come back?

Being “done” with the game is a strong word, especially when we’re talking about something like WoW. But as far as I’m currently aware, yeah, I think my journey is over. As to coming back… if we’re perfectly honest, I had already quit playing/raiding/etc. a few months before I soloed +15 in time in April. I came back and played on the MDI realm for a few days with the sole objective of completing that, and didn’t touch the game at all since then. So I may come back just to pull off a few eccentric things in the future, you never know, but I heavily doubt I’ll ever go back to organized play, raiding, etc.

Was there anything in particular in BfA that put you off or was it simply time to move on?

I did have problems with game design, but nothing in BfA made me particularly more happy or unhappy than usual. The obvious things people like to whine about, titanforging, weekly chest RNG... they’re annoying, but eh, have seen worse in plenty of games.

I could write an essay on this but I don’t want to do that, especially in what’s probably my last time talking about WoW, so I’ll keep it short. Soloing things has always been extremely fun, to the point where going through the other annoyances the game threw at me was worth it. Ever since WotLK, in fact, it’s been my primary motivator, more than raiding or anything else. But the absurd power creep between tiers, which only gets more and more absurd as time goes by, has made soloing less and less enjoyable to me. Trying to desperately squeeze an extra +0.5% DPS suddenly becomes a lot less attractive when you can just come back next week with an extra concordance point.

Think of it this way.. The power creep has gone so far, coming from times where soloing bosses from 2 expansions past was difficult (most Vanilla content never got soloed during BC) to the point where I’ve soloed an entire raid before the next expansion came out (MSV in MoP). I’ve soloed a final boss of an expansion before the next expansion came out (Garrosh in MoP). I’ve soloed the final boss of a tier during the following tier (Gul’dan in Legion). What’s left for me to do, really? Soloing a final boss while it’s current? It shouldn’t ever happen, and even if it does happen one day, it will either be 1) an exploit of some kind 2) ridiculous power creep that’d just leave a sour taste more than a feeling of accomplishment.

That power creep is mostly due to the catch-up mechanics in place that makes the whole game more or less anew every time a major patch drops. It was a bit less pronounced in the past, but has really reached ridiculous levels in more recent expansions (Cata and especially MoP were when it really began, imo). Catch-ups are cool and necessary, or you end up having to do 40 AQ40 scepter quest chains in a row to merely access recent content, but catch-ups shouldn’t make everything irrelevant as soon as a new patch drops. DPS shouldn’t multiply by a factor between 5-10 within only three raid tiers. That’s absurd.

Did you try out the BfA raid/M+ bosses on the beta or check them out through videos?

Not at all, I’m afraid. My BfA experience has extended to leveling in the first zone when it was still a so-called “alpha” (the alpha and beta words have little meaning today). I know there’s a dungeon in all caps. That’s about it, I couldn’t even tell you what the name of the BfA raids are, and apparently people are upset because someone burnt a tree or something idk. I completely disconnected from WoW news in general.

You’re the most well known soloer in WoW’s history. How does that make you feel?

I’ve been both happy and unhappy about that. Happy because I’ve seen so many people get inspired and it’s just so nice seeing people push themselves trying to beat bosses. Unhappy because it’s caused too many people to put me on a pedestal when it’s really not a competition of any kind. I’ve had a few… weird interactions with some people in the past, to put it lightly, lol.

What’s funnier to me is when non-WoW communities somehow end up referencing my WoW stuff. The funniest anecdote is when I watched some Overlord episode (spoilers ahead), that one episode where Ains goes full p2w and uses a bunch of cash shop items to solo Shalltear, I went to the subreddit thread discussing that episode, and somehow the discussion ended up with people talking about how OP characters like that could never exist in a real mmo, of course I eventually got name dropped in that comment chain lol.

Silly anecdote aside, the best part of being the most well known soloer has been being able to meet a bunch of people who share the same interest. One of my best friends met that way is Wan, who did incredible stuff as a Monk during MoP/WoD. It has also taught me that as with everything else in life, popularity doesn’t mean much. A few of my most well-known ‘feats’ are barely worth mentioning to me (Arthas was incredibly boring in retrospect and was basically an interesting p1 + an absurd DPS check and nothing more), while some more obscure things that went completely under the radar were incredibly more interesting. Of course the reasons for the Arthas solo being so much more iconic and well-known lie within Arthas’ character itself and are thus obvious, but the point stands nonetheless.

How does soloing raid bosses compare to soloing M+, which do you prefer, which do you think is the better solo activity and why?

Overall I tend to prefer M+, but there are two main points that directly contradict that:

  • Sometimes a boss is simply amazing
  • Obtaining m+ keys is a major pain in the butt.

Nonetheless, overall M+ offers you more flexibility, trash in WoW is rarely just boring meatsticks and do have some nuance to them, there are a lot of different routes you can try, especially in dungeons where invis potions are viable. A lot of packs that are trivial in a group become really annoying when solo, and vice-versa. You go from having a bunch of interrupts/stuns/etc. to having only yours, while heavy AoE damage mobs don’t cause too much trouble as a solo tank. A good example would be DHT, with bears and sabers becoming relatively easy to handle compared to how annoying they are in a group setting (oneshotting squishies), while the imp+satyr packs towards the end of the dungeon are annoying. The big pull at 1:40 in this video is a pull you’d only dream of doing in a regular run that’s perfectly reasonable when soloing.

Meanwhile I’ve wiped to a single imp+satyr pack once <.<
The big pulls on the +15 in time all the way until Domatrax are also a good example of min-maxing and adapting my pulls to my cc capabilities and cooldowns.

Bosses are usually more straightforward, and a bit more binary; but that’s why certain bosses really stand out from the rest when you can really utilize your toolkit. The reduction in player toolkits, that wasn’t accompanied by a reduction in player power level at all (note the difference between the two), has been a major contributor to my disinterest in the game. You can still handle a lot of crazy situations but most of the time it’s just because you have the tools to brute-force it, and there’s little nuance in general. Healing more or less linearly scaling with the number of targets is also a pretty significant factor, adds used to be threatening if only due to auto damage, nowadays they’re simply a resource to be exploited for more dps (Spellblade Aluriel being a prime example of this, where I even spec out of AoE talents in order to keep adds alive for longer), outside of <potentially threatening ability> of course. AoE rotations being virtually the same as single-target rotations (at least as a tank) also reduced a lot of the fun there was in balancing between the need to kill/cleave adds more or less quickly to survive, while still meeting the dps check. Nowadays you just brute force it and either you can brute force it or you don’t.

Let’s go back a bit, to the beginning. What drew you to WoW in the first place and then to specifically soloing content?

Aaah the beginning, when I was still a little nooblet. I played a lot of wc3 on battle.net, back then, and hanged out in some clan/public channels. A lot of friends met there ended up transitioning to WoW so I followed because why not. Got hooked instantly. Not going to lie, life going badly in that time period probably helped getting hooked.

The first time I remember really soloing something was back in Vanilla, when I soloed Scholomance on my mage (my main back then). It involved kiting, lots of kiting, tons of kiting. Enough kiting to vomit kiting for the rest of your life. Rattlegore in particular had to be kited by falling down in the holes between the dragon room and the boss room, blinking through the boss when it catches up to you, and repeat. You’d dps it down with fireblasts only since you were constantly on the move, it took ages. Disgusting. Don’t get me started on the skeletons immune to non-Holy magic that had to be killed using Stratholme Holy Water. That being said, it was FUN! So fun that I remember it fondly to this day. Keep in mind, I’m also the kind of person who kindly remembers early diablo 3 inferno and getting oneshot by Rakanoth over and over with his teleport thingie, so take this with a grain of salt.

My second experience with soloing was later, in BC. I was playing a shaman during that expansion, and since I’ve always been the kind to experiment, I was trying out this weird build with just enough points in enhance to dual wield caster weapons and the rest in actual elemental/resto talents. It was a funny spec (that was surprisingly effective in PvP, I should add) that had skyhigh spellpower and access to mana sustain through shamanistic rage, it could offheal decently while still retaining not too shabby damage. I went into BC dungeons and soloed them from time to time when I was bored, until some patch inevitably nerfed fun and made all spellcaster weapons main-hand only...

But it only really began in WotLK when I started soloing Karazhan for fun just a few days after I got to 80, still wearing blue/green gear. I found it sooooo enjoyable I went to other raids and so on. I was documenting it all on my blog, mostly for my own sake at first, and it garnered interest.

You’ve had many successes with your Death Knight and Demon Hunter, which do you prefer soloing on and which would you say is your favorite class overall?

In Legion, DH, I don’t like the recent DK playstyle with the switching of Death Strike to RP instead of runes and all the changes to accommodate Marrowrend. Overall, WotLK DK was probably the most enjoyable, though, with all the different builds you’d use.

Blood was strictly the best for pure HPS/DPS on a single target, but Unholy was much better at AoE damage while keeping similar healing, it also offered access to ghoul tanking for off-tanking annoying adds etc, which was the only way to solo certain bosses back then. Frost was mostly useless for soloing but had a small niche with dualwielding (Viscidus) and most importantly Acclimation which proved useful on Baron Geddon very early in the expansion.

On my DH, it was more straightforward, but some of the accessible content (high m+, mythic Archimonde mostly) gave a few ways to express some creativity. Archimonde made me use legendaries I’d otherwise not use; m+15 in time really stretched my character’s outputs to the limit. The 80/20 rule applies particularly well here, there’s “only” +20% damage and healing different between a m+13 and a m+15… yet it took me barely 2 attempts to solo a +13 in time, with the first attempt having a really stupid death somewhere. It took me a bit more to do a +14, two hours or so if I recall correctly. +15, though? Took me 3 to 4 days of straight-up attempts. It’s not a simple matter of “just deal 10% more damage lul”, anyone who’s done high m+ knows exactly how the slightest things can completely change a run, if a pack takes too long suddenly that means that patrol isn’t skippable anymore. Maybe you run out of cooldowns before that big pull dies. Maybe you can’t pull X and Y together anymore without dying. Etc. Everything had to be re-calibrated and re-tailored specifically.

Of all your solo achievements, which was your favorite, which was the most difficult and which would you REALLY not ever want to do again?

It’s a bit too difficult to narrow it down to a single boss sorry ?
Favorites were Yogg-0 25-man, Normal Ragnaros (Firelands), Heroic Morchok, Will of the Emperor, Elegon and Heroic Elegon, Garrosh, Mythic Archimonde, and Shade of Medivh (upper Karazhan). As well as an unknown boss from a MoP challenge mode called Yan-Zhu the Uncasked, the final boss from Stormstout Brewery.

Most difficult was probably doing a +15 in time, or Garrosh, hard to rank. They both were extremely long encounters (if you take the entire +15 as a single encounter) with a lot of precision required. Garrosh was more about positioning (p3 axes), ingenuity (dark simulacrum shenanigans), and reaction time (Xuen cloak procs could ruin an entire attempt if you didn’t react instantly and turn your back away from adds so it didn’t kill them, and playing without the cloak wasn’t a possibility due to the absurd DPS check), while the +15 was about figuring out the exact limits of my character on every single pull for 25~minutes straight (final 10 minutes are straightforward bosses), and executing almost perfectly the entire time. I say almost because there are still a few mistakes here and there that annoy me when re-watching, but ehhhh.

Honorable mention to:

  • Heroic Protectors of the Endless (done during WoD beta) which was a mix-match of positioning, dealing with the state of the class at the time, controlling adds, managing cds, having to deal good dps, etc.
  • Heroic Mimiron (done during Cata) which was an insane dps check and was visually very hectic.
  • Madness of Deathwing (done at the start of MoP), crazy hps/dps numbers required
  • Spirit Kings (done towards the end of MoP), used every trick in the book to abuse Vengeance to its very best and included some kiting during part of the enrage with swiftness potions etc.
  • Normal Cenarius (done during Nighthold). To this day I don’t think anyone has ever noticed a small detail I used which allowed me to beat the boss so early in the expansion, which I’ll spill here for the first time: the helpful adds released by Malfurion can deal damage, but only through invisible autoattacks that have no animation to speak of and with a very limited range. Different adds have different autoattack values, and green dragons have the best ones. Nothing particulaly amazing that’s going to kill the boss for you, but it can easily shove off an extra 3-4% off the boss in last phase. So that’s why I’m constantly positioning weirdly as well as doing weird wave choices on Cenarius that don’t make much sense survival or DPS wise. Most importantly, p2 being the main hurdle of the fight, I wanted to time the phase transition right after a green drake spawned so it could deal as much damage to Cenarius as possible before eventually despawning, and getting that timing down properly meant using that little trick as much as I could during p1 in order to avoid further waves with less favorable spawn combinations.

There are a lot of little tricks like this that can be used in plenty of fights or even M+, during my m+15 in time attempts I noticed something quirky going on with Maiev and I got a little disappointed to see that it only works up to +15 on Tyrannical and up to +12 on Fortified (due to the %scaling on a max%hp damaging ability she has). If you’ve ever wondered why you always get a few bursting stacks at the start of CoEN on high keys, well, it’s related to that. This screenshot comes from one of my test runs, and while not apparent at first glance, you can see through my focus target that I somehow made Maiev come all the way to the final boss to make her whack him in the face ?


The one I’d never do again is…. Immerseus! What a surprise! Anyone who has ever gone on a SoO transmog run knows how annoying this boss is, and, well, guess what, it was even worse back in 5.4! The enrage wasn’t beatable, but, unfortunately,  I figured out the enrage could be timed out by standing really far and self-healing with bandages/etc against some of the residual damage you’d take regardless of range. That enrage lasted 30 minutes… and then you’d have to do the fight itself, which, with the absolutely pitiful DPS you’d have at the time compared to the boss HP, would take multiple hours. Unfortunately the self-healing required you to actually be present at your computer and spam death and decay whenever available to generate runic power (and spending it with Conversion, a never otherwise used talent that consumed runic power and restored health). Oh and by the way, even after this 30 minutes enrage timing out thing was done with, you still had to go sit out of range after every other Whirl in order to reset tank stacks. All in all, never again. If you’re going to make an immobile boss and give it a spammable ability when noone is in melee, please at least make sure that spammable ability has no range limit.

If you could stitch together a boss based on your favorite mechanics, what would that look like?

Tricky question, and I’m not going to fall into the trap of playing armchair bossfight designer.. So I’ll keep at a few main points.

First, I *loved* the concept of the Elisande fight. Different “timelines” interacting with each other leads to an endless pool of possibilities. In practice it wasn’t exploited enough (probably for fear of overwhelming players, which would be very understandable), and it mostly ended up being “don’t fill the room with stupid void zones that will annoy us later” and “this p1 ability carries over in p2”, but if I had to design something myself it would definitely have this kind of split timeline interaction, but both ways: you’d want to redirect certain abilities from p1 in order to facilitate your future self’s life in p2, but you’d also want to soak or redirect certain abilities from p2 in order to not kill your past self from p1 (think past selves Murozond ghosts that you’d have to protect from harmful abilities, except more refined). Maybe you’d want to use coolodwns in p1 at times where nothing happens, just to protect your p2 doppelganger from something happening at the same instant in the split timeline. Those kind of weird, masochistic interactions that reward careful planning.

Second, I loved Imperial Vizier Zor’lok, also known as leftleftleftleflteft. Needless to say, it’d have some dodging required, and you can quickly imagine the mess that’d become if combined with the first point.

Third, no split and stack boring mechanics. I loathe those mechanics. No Thaddius/Maiden of Vigilance “one person messed up, wipe raid instantly” mechanics either. A player mistake would be punished by a player death and no more than that. It’d just be tuned tightly enough that those mistakes would be punished.

Fourth, no hard enrage. Soft enrage over time that simply makes the mechanics harder and harder to survive (reducing the gap between dodgeable abilities, increasing their frequency, making them overlap more, etc) and thus punishes individual mistakes while rewarding higher dps. People often say that the top players are so good they cannot be punished by mechanics anymore, so the only way to gate them is sheer numbers. I call complete bull on that, mechanics can always be made faster, more difficult to read, more precise, requiring better reaction time, etc. I do not know a single game where the top players are perfect. Even Faker makes mistakes in League. Even some highly advanced speedruns that took months upon months of dedication manage to be improved and beaten eventually. I’ll never be convinced there is such a thing as a skill cap that people like to claim has been reached.

What was your process like for choosing what to solo next? How did you decide that boss x was ripe to be taken down at a certain time/level/item level? Did you just try them all and then get a feel for the fights or can you determine what’s doable from regular raids with other people?

I usually try to get a feel of every fight even when it’s clearly not soloable yet (unless it’s difficult to access or something, I usually don’t want to bother anyone with those shenanigans), and try out various strats, especially to bypass enrage (in which case it might become doable early on). It allows me to see quickly what works, what doesn’t, and if I’m missing something obvious or not.

It’s common sense for the most part though, if I just struggled beating the enrage on boss X and I know boss X+1 has an even harsher requirement odds are I probably need to wait.

Which expansion would you say was best for soloing? And what’s your favorite expansion overall?

For soloing, MoP, hands down. Early MoP was the most fun I had. The Cata raids had so many good fights from a soloing perspective and the DK class still had access to a plethora of tools (ghoul tanking, still a decent amount of cooldowns, etc) to work with, and the Yogg-0 25-man behemoth from WotLK was yet to be conquered.

My favorite expansion as a player though… let me put it this way: the game was absolutely worse in most regards (not all, especially community-wise, but most), nonetheless ... vanilla. Why? Because the game isn’t just a game, it came at a period where the internet in general was very different, youtube barely existed, twitch didn’t exist.... That general feel of knowledge being transmitted by word of mouth instead of having the insides of the game dissected before it even reaches live servers…. I miss that, and it made the game way more enjoyable, regardless of the quality of the game itself.

The Mage Tower in Legion was basically a solo challenge for regular players, what did you think of it and Blizzard adding content like this into the game? Was it too easy for you to finish up and do you think an even harder version should be set up for soloers like yourself?

Aha, the mage tower, I knew that question would come up. I think it was fine with its difficulty. Don’t get me wrong, I did find it on the easy side. Not faceroll easy at all, but not really hard. When it came out, I basically woke up one morning, turns out mage tower popped during the night, and I was done by 8am or something. Veng DH having a particularly easy time with the knockbacks played a part too, I’m sure.

But the fun of soloing is, imo, to solo things not meant to be soloed, which means it’s perfectly acceptable for some content to be out of reach (for now), and some of the best feelings I’ve had came from moments where I did things I thought I wouldn’t ever manage that early. The mage tower by definition is meant to be soloed, which means there is no out of reach content in theory. At best, you’ll just do what was expected of you. So it was fine with its relatively low bar of difficulty imo, and while I like such additions to the game, I don’t think there’s room for much harder…. maybe more in the sense of group content with an optional solo ladder, where no one really knows if it’s even possible to solo since it wasn’t intended to be soloed in the first place, and the higher you go the better. Think PotD/HoH if you’ve played FF14. But once you get into that mindset you realise that *all* content in this game is potentially solo content eventually which makes the above suggestion redundant... so they’re already adding plenty of solo content imo ?

More gimmicks like some of the fights in Brawler’s Guild would be fun. Would be better with fixed gear, though.

While soloing is what you’re most known for, is it your favorite thing to do in WoW?

I’ve covered this already above, but absolutely. The main driving factor that kept me playing - if I didn’t find that niche I would have quit ages ago.

What other games will you be venturing to/have been playing and why?

I’ve been playing some ff14 for a few months now. Old habits oblige, I’ve been having fun soloing old content there too, including a bit of stuff I didn’t find anywhere on youtube ? but I’ll keep a much lower profile on that game than on WoW if possible. It’s my retirement home (quite literally, since I snatched a house plot against all odds in my first month of playing, and no, it’s not in Goblet) and I intend to keep it that way. The relative anonymity is enjoyable, it’s very refreshing to be able to join a random pug or comment on random streams without being asked “wait you’re *the* mionee??”

Any messages for your fans?

Please stop collecting dust, I’m tired of my CPU overheating. No but seriously, thanks for all the kind words I’ve received over the years. Every traveler eventually meets the end of their journey, but that doesn’t mean you can’t keep reaching for new heights~

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Didn't it take him 8 hours to solo the +22? I don't see that as impressive personally as it's just wipe make a small improvement then rinse and repeat with some luck thrown in there.

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What an incredible person. The pure dedication needed to solo such stuff must be insane.
Sad to hear he will quit WoW. But maybe we will hear more from him playing other masochistic games?
(He even watches Overlord... He got even more sympathetic)

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6 minutes ago, lIllIl said:

Didn't it take him 8 hours to solo the +22? I don't see that as impressive personally as it's just wipe make a small improvement then rinse and repeat with some luck thrown in there.

At +22 defeating any pack of mobs is an achievement in itself, let alone bossses.

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1 hour ago, lIllIl said:

Didn't it take him 8 hours to solo the +22? I don't see that as impressive personally as it's just wipe make a small improvement then rinse and repeat with some luck thrown in there.

well sure, wipe after wipe to fix mistakes, but purely what about the raid bosses , mustve done same thing its just the fact he was able to do it solo is the achievement


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oh god he mentioned maiden *vomits* raid leading that through mythic progression was like trying to heard ferrets. 

also my mind is fuzzy, what was the catch up mechanic in cata?

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4 hours ago, Tri said:

oh god he mentioned maiden *vomits* raid leading that through mythic progression was like trying to heard ferrets. 

also my mind is fuzzy, what was the catch up mechanic in cata?

I don't totally remember either, but I know I used it. I came back after a 9-ish month break and in one summer including leveling, was geared to fight Deathwing (without being carried through raids like the BC/Wrath method was)

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Great news post @Starym, evocative of old Manaflask journalism days :) Mione will be missed, hopefully comes back to kick ass at some point or another!


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I completely agree on the Brawlers Guild comment.  Some of the most fun I've had was trying to beat those fights with gear that was just barely suitable for the challenge.  I'd like to see more of that (with better rewards).

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Uncommon Patron

Some great points.

Vanilla was great more because the internet was different which made the game, and interactions with players, more enjoyable.

Power creep at the rate it has had to get to, to please the player base, sucks. I, like Mione and others, get satisfaction from over coming hard challenges - barely scrapping by makes me feel powerful. Vocal majority of players get satisfaction from getting gear with bigger numbers and 1 shotting mobs - feeling noticeably more powerful.

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      Here's a detailed preview of Bel'ameth, the new Night Elf capital coming in Patch 10.2.5.
      Obviously, this week's 10.2.5 PTR build only brought the very first unfinished iteration of the Night Elf city, but we can already see some familiar names of NPCs from Teldrassil.
      You can watch MrGM's latest video to explore the new city in more detail.
    • By Staff
      Catalyst charges will be granted weekly in Patch 10.2.5. Currently, on live servers, you gain 1 charge every two weeks.
      Blizzard is increasing the frequency at which you gain Renascent charges in Patch 10.2.5. You will receive 1 charge automatically every week instead of every two weeks.
      REVIVAL CATALYST Renascent Dream charges are now granted weekly (was every other week).
    • By Starym
      A smaller batch today after yesterday's behemoth, we have class, dungeon, PvP and anniversary improvements to check out!
      November 29 (Source)
      Evoker Augmentation Fixed an issue that made it possible for Sands of Time to fail to extend Ebon Might. Dungeons
      The Everbloom Lady Baihu and her Kirin Tor Battle-Mages no longer trigger on-death affix effects in Mythic Keystone difficulty. Items
      PvP Class set items that were obtained from the Great Vault or converted at the Revival Catalyst and were previously on the Veteran track should now be using the Champion track. WoW’s 19th Anniversary
      Emeriss and Lethon's Aura of Nature debuff now deals significantly less damage.
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