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Starym

Exploit Vs. Clever Use: the Rextroy Interview

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39784-rextroy-vectis-solo-in-05-seconds.
 

The community is split over Rextroy's solo kills, especially the recent ones in Uldir, and the age-old argument over what constitutes an exploit and a bannable offense has returned. Everyone has their own opinion on the matter, but Blizzard has stepped in and given their opinion, with Rextroy receiving a 1 month ban earlier today. We were already in the middle of an in-depth interview with the man himself when the ban hit, so we're going to be splitting in into two, with today's focusing on the ban itself, as well as what he thinks of the exploit vs. creative use of game mechanics issue. We also get to hear about how he could have used the mechanics he found to one-shot Mythic bosses, but instead decided to do it on Normal.

 

What are your thoughts on the ban in general?

Well it feels quite bad, but I was prepared to someday be banned for the things I do, most of my major solo kills use some kind of "cheese" or unintended interaction between abilities. However, it was never to gain any competitive advantage over other players. I do really wish I knew what the exact reason I was banned was (if it was for Vectis… killing people in Stormsong, stacking traits for one shotting people in Arena or something else)


Do you feel like more of a beta tester for Blizzard? You’ve said in the past that you send the reports in advance of posting your videos.

I don’t send reports on all the videos, I only do it on the major ones that could be exploited for competitive gain (the Vectis one and one earlier back in Legion, when you could turn immune to damage and solo bosses).

One thing I need to clarify about the monkey - guard one shot combo that I saw people talk about is my use of it in Stormsong Valley VS Uldir. I did use the same tactic a few weeks ago to one shot people in Stormsong. I didn’t bother to report about it back because I never thought it were anything major. You could spend 30 minutes to gather up guards, to turn into a slow moving one shot machine that couldn’t chase anyone that didn’t engage. And that had 2 easy counters: killing the monkey and other alliance players. At the time I just thought that it was something silly broken for WPvP (like a lot of other things), I didn’t think about the Uldir strat back then and that it could be used in bigger ways than expected.

When I discovered about the raid warlock summon tactic, I kept trying it until I got the timing right. I had my friends wait probably 8 hours in total until I finally got it down (I have really good friends!) This cheesy strat however, I realized could be used for Mythic progress etc, so I asked WoWhead if they could help me get in contact with someone from Blizzard, which they helped me with!

I reported it to them and they fixed it within a few hours. After that I uploaded the video since it's quite an insane bug and I was sure most people would enjoy seeing it, however wouldn't be able to take advantage of it. (And no I got no ingame advantage from it, I don’t care about the 355 trinket since I got great 365 ones)

Now to get back to the point, I guess I feel a bit like a QA tester, however I don’t fault Blizzard for having these bugs not fixed. They are quite out of the box and most people wouldn’t think of them.


Is 1 month too much for a first infraction?

It's my first infraction, and I would have liked a warning!... Or at least an email saying the exact reason I got banned.


How did the ban make you feel?

Well I did get a bit surprised since I talked to a US customer manager about it, and the team seemed alright with my videos, and since I made sure to have it fixed before uploading the Vectis kill so no one could abuse it…

I am currently appealing the ban, seems like the EU devs suspending me didn’t know that I had contact with them from US. Will see where it leads. However, if the ban stays I feel a bit uncertain what things that are ingame are considered exploits, and which things are considered clever use.


So the big question at the center of everything: what is an exploit and what is creative use of game mechanics? Do you consider what you do exploiting/cheating?

This is one of the questions I am sure a lot of people wonder about and that I can’t give an answer to, don’t think anyone can. I don’t actually consider what I do exploiting. I personally consider exploiting using tactics to gain an unfair advantage in a competitive sense. Nothing (in my opinion) that I have done so far has been with a competitive advantage. My solos back in Legion usually took 6-9 hours to defeat a single boss. Vectis one shot took A LOT of hours to get the timing right (it also took a lot of time from my friends helping me, who didn’t get any loot) and Mother solo also took a long time to bring all the worms. All of this could be done much MUCH faster with a standard group.

If I had used the tactic (with the monkey and a group of friends) to one shot mythic bosses and gain gear and achievements from it that I needed, I would consider it exploiting, since I would be using it to gain an advantage.

Now some people can bring up the point about the Last SurpriseLast Surprise one shot. I don’t consider that an exploit either since it really is just stacking up 3 traits… That would be like a talent being OP and people using it would be exploiting. Is using something overpowered an exploit?


At what point do you feel an exploit should be punished with a ban?

This is really hard to tell, there are a lot of exploits which aren’t ban worthy by my own definition. Such as the SpellstealSpellsteal incident back in Legion in Black Rook Hold (spellstealing a buff to gain a huge damage increase in a competitive sense). According to my own definition it is an exploit... but it is such a simple and obvious exploit (using a class ability) so that it in no way deserves a ban. It is more of an oversight from Blizzards part.

If you found something huge, game-breaking that would take days for Blizzard to fix and would ruin things such as the Arena ladder, World First Mythic Race, crash the server and you intentionally use it simply to maliciously grief the things listed then I would consider it ban-worthy.

However, I wouldn’t say most other things are ban-worthy. I really enjoy the creativity players have when they find things. If I were a game developer and people found unique ways to play through challenges I put in front of them I might fix their method (if it is broken), but I would approve of them thinking outside the box and discovering things, never ban them. It would be my own mistake for letting it slip into players hands. I do wish Blizzard would put a better definition when it comes to clever use and exploits. It feels really vague right now.


Do you have any alts you’d continue your solo attempts on in this month (or in general if you got perma-banned)?

I didn’t have any major solo plan this month (I did think about some m+), but Uldir wise I am temporarily out of ideas. Might discover some of course, but thought about focusing on some guides / PvP. I will most likely wait out the monthly ban if it ain't appealed and then return afterwards. If I someday were perma banned I'm quite positive I would create a new acc (I wouldn’t give up on Rextroy easily tho!)


You don’t actually “profit” from these kills in terms of gear, correct? Your gear is above the one you get from them and you presumably have a raid group that’s on Heroic or higher difficulty?

I currently got 368. So far I haven’t benefited gear wise from any of my solo kills (both in Legion and BfA). Have read a lot of people saying I exploited to get the trinket from Vectis but I could happily delete it since I don’t feel I got any use of it. I got 365 trinkets right now.


Have you ever run across anything as ridiculous as the Vectis trick/bug? What would be your second and third favorites?

Vectis is surely one of my top ones, however there are two back in Legion I felt really happy about finding.

The first one is a bug when you became immune to damage taken inside the Antorus raid. I could if I wanted to solo a lot of Mythic bosses but I reported it and just demonstrated it on normal High Command (it never went viral tho, most likely because BFA was around the corner).

My Khadgar “solo” was also hilarious, both of these videos I linked were such ridiculous bugs but also really fun ones. They were amusing to edit as well!

I kinda want to give an honorable mention to my Kin’garoth solo. I attempted him for quite a long time to try him the normal way (outlive the berserk) and then someday I figured out the strat to bug out the adds and get him down, felt really good finding out about that strat!


Are you/will you be trying Mythic+ solos?

Fun thing is that I was going to attempt +8 Motherlode today but then I noticed I got banned… But yes I plan to attempt quite a few of those, will be fun trying it out! I also look forward to future raids to see the boss mechanics / ways around them.


Will you continue to test out the limits of bosses and try to kill them in the weirdest ways possible in the future?

Definitely! One of the best feelings is finding out these strange tactics and sharing them with the community (after a fix has been applied if it is too major)!

It is like the iconic Kazzak Reckoning bomb and Naxx Mage solo videos, people seem to really enjoy those and I feel like it can strengthen the WoW community / keep people interested in the game. Because if people notice these things they can be inspired to play in other unique ways… If you get my point!


Do you think what you do benefits the game?

I do think so. I doubt World of Warcraft lost many people because of my videos but hopefully a lot of people stayed / started playing again because they were inspired. When it comes to bug finding I'm sure it benefits the game as well, since Blizzard will know about it for the future and be more on their toes when they release things.


What would you say to the many community members that reported you and, well, basically hate you because they think what you’re doing is wrong?

Well I don’t agree with their opinion that what I did was wrong, it is not like I broke anything or gained any major advantage of it. Just simply showed off a cool unique mechanic. I didn’t try to ruin anyone's game!

With that said I was once much more strict and much less “clever”, always used to play the exact way the game was intended but since I started soloing seriously / finding out all the weird ways around things, I do explore the “clever” part of the game a lot more. I still got a strict sense of not using any exploits for competitive advantages, I am sure some of our community members think I do use it for those reasons but it is not my intent.

 

That's it for part one and we'll be back next week(ish) with the second, focusing more on Rextroy's WoW background, inspirations for starting up soloing and more.

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Can anyone remember the post or instance where (I think Ghostcralwer) something was actually 'a clever use of game mechanics'?  I want to compare that with everything I've been seeing recently. I just can't remember the instance it was actually used in.

 

As an example, when they fixed the MOTHER 'exploit' where you can start in the 3rd room by just out healing the fire and bringing her to that room for the extra damage debuff to kill her.  How is that different from when Ghostcrawler originally uttered the rods 'clever use of game mechanics'

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31 minutes ago, Krazyito said:

Can anyone remember the post or instance where (I think Ghostcralwer) something was actually 'a clever use of game mechanics'?  I want to compare that with everything I've been seeing recently. I just can't remember the instance it was actually used in.

Molten core, there was and add near the entrance of the instance in BRD who, if mind controlled, gave a player a nice Fire Resist buff for 1 hour. You have to MC and buff every single member every try tho, but it was worth the hassle

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THis, again, only proves how disconnected Blizz is from the playerbase.

They could pay this guy for figuring out severe bugs (or just leave him be, he‘s reporting it before releasing videos after all) but instead they choose to ban him for no real reason given apart from exposing mistakes they made.

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for me it depends on what the intent of doing the exploits is, if hes showing how its done and reports it so it can be fixed easier then nothing should happen but on the other hand if hes doing the  exploit just to down the bosses for gear and does it every week then yea that should be banned.

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He states he doesn't care about gear in the interview and that it may be a mix up of EU not having contact with the US officials he has spoken to, or perhaps a ban for an unrelated situation. 

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Rare Patron

I understand why they banned him. He got so much attention that they had to sent a massage to show exploits will be punished.
But seriously why dont they hire him and the others for beta-tests? They find bugs, the devs and testers didn't think about.

Edit: I just read that he got unbanned.

Edited by Vorguz

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It's a shame that the ban got removed.  In this interview he admits to using the exploit in open world pvp.  this is against the very essence of the game and for other player's experience.  The pvp videos were posted weeks before the videos of him using the exploit in raids.  

 

He says that he only posts the videos once he gets the OK from blizzard that they fixed the issue.  those raid exploit videos came out days ago.

 

so if he was doing his usual due diligence, he wouldn't have had this pvp video out weeks ago.

 

Blizzard did the right thing in issuing a temp ban.  the severity of it for a first offence (that we're aware of) was seemingly a bit harsh.  i would have thought a 3 day might be enough to send a message.  

 

all they have done now is set a precedent that you're allowed to exploit in wpvp, and i'm sure we'll see a world full of bugs and people streaming them taking advantage of them when they re-release Classic.

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        As I understand it the ban was lifted. But if I had to guess, assuming that communication between EU and NA teams was good. The ban could have had more to do with the world pvp than the boss solos that he made sure were fixed prior to releasing footage. 

        It isn't my job to determine what is a bannable offense, but I definitely think that there should be a clearer line of communication between banned players and Blizzard. It is only fair to have a good explanation of why you are banned.

 

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On 9/25/2018 at 11:28 PM, Ghoullove said:

THis, again, only proves how disconnected Blizz is from the playerbase.

They could pay this guy for figuring out severe bugs (or just leave him be, he‘s reporting it before releasing videos after all) but instead they choose to ban him for no real reason given apart from exposing mistakes they made.

Exactly... banning someone for exposing Blizzard's mistakes is utterly ridiculous... they should be thanking this guy or giving him free game time. Just another example of how out to lunch Blizzard has become with the development of the game...

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      Blood of the Enemy Blood of the Enemy Blood of the Enemy Blood of the Enemy 3 Collect Coalescing Blood of the Vanquished from PVP Island Expedition, Brawl, BG and Epic BG Wins. Blood of the Enemy Blood of the Enemy Blood of the Enemy Blood of the Enemy 4 PVP Island Expeditions, Battlegrounds and Brawl wins in Season 3 or 4. Blood of the Enemy Blood of the Enemy Blood of the Enemy Blood of the Enemy 25. Aegis of the Deep
      Imbues you with the protection of the elements.
      Rank Source Major Power Desc Minor Power Desc Major Power Actual Minor Power Actual 1 Ankoan - Honored.
      Unshackled - Honored.
      Aegis of the Deep Aegis of the Deep Aegis of the Deep Aegis of the Deep 2 Ankoan - Revered.
      Unshackled - Revered.
      Aegis of the Deep Aegis of the Deep Aegis of the Deep Aegis of the Deep 3 Ankoan - Exalted.
      Unshackled - Exalted.
      Aegis of the Deep Aegis of the Deep Aegis of the Deep Aegis of the Deep 4 Ankoan Supply Caches earned through Paragon reputation.
      Unshackled Salvage Crates earned through Paragon reputation.
      Aegis of the Deep Aegis of the Deep Aegis of the Deep Aegis of the Deep 27. Memory of Lucid Dreams
      An empty mind is a wasted tool.
      Rank Source Major Power Desc Minor Power Desc Major Power Actual Minor Power Actual 1 Complete the quest "A Brief Respite."
      Complete the quest "Down into Nazjatar."
      Memory of Lucid Dreams Lucid Dreams Memory of Lucid Dreams Lucid Dreams 2 Vendor - Speaker Utia - Mezzamere
      Vendor - Atolia Seapearl - Newhome
      Memory of Lucid Dreams Lucid Dreams Memory of Lucid Dreams Lucid Dreams 3 Vendor - Speaker Utia - Mezzamere
      Vendor - Atolia Seapearl - Newhome
      Memory of Lucid Dreams Lucid Dreams Memory of Lucid Dreams Lucid Dreams 4 Vendor - Speaker Utia - Mezzamere
      Vendor - Atolia Seapearl - Newhome
      Lucid Dreams Lucid Dreams Memory of Lucid Dreams Lucid Dreams 28. The Unbound Force
      Destructive forces swirl around violently, waiting to be released.
      Rank Source Major Power Desc Minor Power Desc Major Power Actual Minor Power Actual 1 Ankoan - Honored.
      Unshackled - Honored.
      The Unbound Force The Unbound Force The Unbound Force The Unbound Force 2 Ankoan - Revered.
      Unshackled - Revered.
      The Unbound Force The Unbound Force The Unbound Force The Unbound Force 3 Ankoan - Exalted.
      Unshackled - Exalted.
      The Unbound Force The Unbound Force The Unbound Force The Unbound Force 4 Ankoan Supply Caches earned through Paragon reputation.
      Unshackled Salvage Crates earned through Paragon reputation.
      The Unbound Force The Unbound Force The Unbound Force The Unbound Force Everything we know about Essences in Patch 8.2.
    • By Stan
      Powers on Azerite Armor will unlock instantly and progression is moving to Essences in Patch 8.2. You can find more info on Essences in our Essence guide. Here's a preview of the new intro questline which involves MOTHER, Magni, and Spiritwalker Ebonhorn. This article contains spoilers.
      The intro quest becomes available right after you establish your foothold in Nazjatar. Magni informs you that MOTHER has apparently found a way to heal Azeroth.

      1. Essential Empowerment
      You learn that the Chamber of Heart has been repaired in your absence.

      2. MOTHER Knows Best
      MOTHER finished her awesome calculations and Magni tells you to talk to her. A not yet implemented cutscene begins to play and MOTHER introduces Essences.
      3. A Disturbance Beneath the Earth
      MOTHER sends you to Highmountain to recover a dragon essence from Neltharion's Lair. By combining dragon essence with sufficient quantities of Azerite within Heart Forge will cause previously undiscovered abilities to manifest within the Heart of Azeroth.

      You'll find Navvarogg and Spiritwalker Ebonhorn at Snowblind Messa.

      Ebonhorn discovered some sort of disturbance and you must investigate its source.
      4. Take My Hand
      The essence discovered by MOTHER may be an echo of power of the dragonflights. You must act fast before the essence falls into the wrong hands. Talk to Navvarogg to get teleported to the area.
      5. Calming the Spine
      The power of the black dragonflight echoes around you, and the earth is reeling in response. You must seal the Azerite Fissures in the Dragon's Spine. You find out about the presence of a stone lord from Deepholm.

      Once you close all fissures and complete the quest, it's time to confront the stone lord. He won't give up the essence without a fight.

      6. Dominating the Indomitable
      You then loot Petrified Ebony Scale. This will be your first essence and serves as an introduction to the new system in Rise of Azshara.

      7. A Friendly Face
      You must now bring the dragon essence to Magni and MOTHER. Navvarogg has prepared an exit for you, but near the entrance, you'll notice a Blacktalon Watcher in stealth spying on you. We covered the presence of Wrathion's Agents in Rise of Azshara in this post.

      Upon arriving at the Chamber of Heart, Ebonhorn is ready to meet Magni and MOTHER.


      8. The Heart Forge
      The final quest is offered by MOTHER and you must use your Heart of Azeroth to activate the Heart Forge. You will receive rank 1 Petrified Ebony Scale and The Heart Forge achievement.

      Don't forget to check out our Patch 8.2 hub for more details about Heart of Azeroth changes coming in Rise of Azshara.
      Essences Intro Playthrough
      MOTHER finished her calculations and the Heart of Azeroth questline continues in Patch 8.2.
    • By Stan
      Heart of Azeroth is going to be updated with a new Essence system, allowing you to unlock combat-related powers (an active ability and passives). You can learn more about Essences in our guide. Here's the official blog post explaining changes coming to the legendary neckpiece.
      Blizzard recently unveiled improvements coming to the Heart of Azeroth system in Rise of Azshara and you can find the recap here.
      Magni and MOTHER are going to rebuild the Chamber of Heart in Patch 8.2, because Titanic Essences begin to coalesce everywhere in Azeroth. You, as a player, will begin collecting these Essences and unlock new powerful customization options for your Heart of Azeroth.
      The Heart Forge will be usable right after you unlock your base in Nazjatar. Essences can be used at the Heart Forge to unlock various abilities and function pretty much like talents. There's a new interface which allows you to swap out the abilities/passives. Each essence has a Major slot component (active ability) and a passive one. 
      Click here to learn how Essences work!

      The Major slot opens right after you complete Magni's questline in Patch 8.2. The two Minor slots will open at Heart of Azeroth level 55, and 65 respectively. Essences can be obtained through world quests, PvP, and raids.
      Essences will have four ranks.

      Rank 1 provides an ability based on your role (tank, damage dealer, healer). Rank 2 & 3 enhance your Essence's Major & Minor effects (e.g. more charges). Rank 4 adds a flashy visual to the spell that will make you stand out. The new system will restrict characters from collecting Essences meant for roles their Class cannot fill, meaning a Death Knight can't collect a healer Essence, but a Paladin will be able to collect all three.
      The new system looks really promising and we can't wait to test it out on PTR starting next week! We'll be posting all unlockable Essences and spells soon. Until then, tell us what you think about the system and partial return of Legion Artifacts!
      Blizzard (Source)
      Azeroth’s need has never been greater—and now more than ever, Speaker Magni Bronzebeard and the titan watcher MOTHER need your help to heal the world’s grievous wounds.
      In Rise of Azshara, we’re introducing a new system for the Heart of Azeroth that will provide additional power customization options: Essences. You’ll collect these Essences by taking part in a variety of content, and infuse them into the Heart of Azeroth using the new Heart Forge in Silithus, giving you access to new abilities and bonuses. 
      The Speaker’s Quest Continues
      Once you’ve established a new hub in Nazjatar, one of the new areas in Rise of Azshara, you’ll receive a summons from Magni to join him at the Chamber of Heart. There, you’ll learn that MOTHER has completed her calculations related to what's plaguing Azeroth, and determined a way to heal her well ahead of her original 77-cycle estimate. New forms of power have begun to coalesce and manifest around Azeroth’s wounds, and MOTHER has discovered that these “Essences” are compatible with the Heart of Azeroth. To make use of them, she has created a new device in the Chamber of Heart that can harness that incredible power: the Heart Forge.
      The Essence of the Heart Forge
      The Heart Forge lets players infuse their Heart of Azeroth with Essences to grant new combat-related powers. Once you’ve collected a new Essence—obtained by participating in a wide variety of content—you’ll head to the Heart Forge to infuse your Heart of Azeroth with it, “learning” the Essence and permanently adding it to your collection. Much like Talents, once you’ve learned an Essence, you’ll be able to apply it or swap it out through a new Heart of Azeroth interface within rest areas, cities, or when using items such as the Tome of Quiet Mind.
      Each Essence has both Major (generally active) and Minor (passive) abilities. Upon completing the initial quest from Magni, you’ll open a single Major slot in the Heart of Azeroth. Placing an Essence in the Major slot grants you that Essence’s Major active ability, which is added to your Spellbook. You’ll also gain the benefit of any Minor passive abilities from the Essence.
      There are also two additional Minor slots in the Heart of Azeroth that will activate the Minor (passive) abilities of any Essences added to them. The first Minor slot will become available at Heart of Azeroth level 55, and the second Minor slot will become available at Heart of Azeroth level 65.

      In Essence
      Essences are acquired from a variety of content in Battle for Azeroth. You’ll earn your first one by completing the quest line with Magni, but you’ll be able to earn others through completing specific activities, such as PvP, raids, or World Quests.
      Each Essence has four ranks that provide new effects. Rank 1 provides a unique ability based on your role (damage dealer, tank, or healer), while rank 2 and rank 3 provide enhancements to both the Essence’s Major and Minor effects. Rank 4 adds a flashier cosmetic effect to the spell, providing a unique visual that will make you stand out from the crowd. Once an Essence is learned, you’ll be able to hover your mouse over the Essence in the user interface to see what you get with the next rank. And because of how Essences are collected, it’s possible to receive and infuse a rank 3 Essence without having learned rank 1 or 2.
      It’s important to note that while many Essences are role-agnostic, some of these are only usable by a specific role (tank, healer, or damage dealer). Characters who can spec into multiple roles can collect any Essences that are appropriate for those roles, but the system will restrict characters from collecting Essences meant for roles their class can’t fill—for example, a Warrior couldn’t collect a healer Essence.
      More Azerite Gear Ahead?
      Essences add a whole new layer to the Heart of Azeroth system, in addition to the Azerite Armor that you already have. With all the content coming in Rise of Azshara, there’s  are sure to be some new Traits to discover and gear to collect along the way.
      Last Update: May 10th
    • By Stan
      Azeroth's Undying Gift is a new tank Essence from the Eternal Palace raid and in this preview, we're looking at its major and minor powers and how they improve with each rank. Check out our Heart of Azeroth Essence guide to learn more about Essences. 
      Essence Effects & Sources
      Rank 1 (Hardened Azerite Formation)
      The Essence is obtained from the Eternal Palace raid by combining 9 Aqueous Reliquary which drop from Radiance of Azshara, the Queen's Court, and Queen Azshara. The Item created is based on your current loot specialization.
      Major Power: Azeroth's Undying Gift - Reduce all damage you take by 20% for 4 sec. (60 sec cooldown) Minor Power: Hardened Azerite - When you fall below 35% health, gain 2,177 Armor for 8 sec. This effect may occur once every 150 sec. Rank 2: Recrystallizing Azerite Formation
      The Essence is obtained from the Eternal Palace raid by combining 18 Aqueous Reliquary which drop from Radiance of Azshara, the Queen's Court, and Queen Azshara.
      The active ability has a shorter cooldown and the minor power effect can occur more frequently.
      Major Power: Azeroth's Undying Gift - Reduce all damage you take by 20% for 4 sec. (60 45 sec cooldown) Minor Power: Hardened Azerite - When you fall below 35% health, gain 2,177 Armor for 8 sec. This effect may occur once every 150 120 sec. Rank 3: Tempered Azerite Formation
      The Essence is obtained from the Eternal Palace raid by combining 36 Aqueous Reliquary, which drop from Radiance of Azshara, the Queen's Court, and Queen Azshara.
      The active ability reduces damage by 40% for 2 seconds and another 20% for 2 seconds, and the minor power grants more Armor, compared to the previous rank.
      Major Power: Azeroth's Undying Gift - Reduce all damage you take by 20% 40% for 4 2 sec, then 20% for the next 2 sec. Minor Power: Hardened Azerite - When you fall below 35% health, gain 2,177 4,354 Armor for 8 4 sec, then 2,177 Armor for the next 4 sec. This effect may occur once every 120 sec. Rank 4 (Dazzling Azerite Formation)
      The final rank of the Essence is a cosmetic visual update to the active ability and drops from Mythic Queen Azshara. It has the same powers as rank 3.
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