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Starym

The Classic Conundrum: Nostalgia vs. Difficulty (vs. Civil Discourse)

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With the Classic beta now out it seems every related article somehow manages to spark the eternal war of "Vanilla was the best WoW sucks now" and "lol nostalgia goggles, Vanilla sucked, enjoy your two weeks of Classic". I have to say, even though I understand the principles behind the battle and the reasons people behave and talk this way... I actually REALLY don't get it on a deeper level.

I've been playing the Classic beta a little (and I do mean a little, the new Diablo season has me in its grips hard) and I can't see what the big fuss is about. It's Vanilla. That's what it is, that's what it was, that's what was expected and that's what we're getting. Sure there are bugs, upgrades some people didn't want and upgrades other people did want but didn't get, but in the greater scheme of things that's such a small part of the whole, it's barely worth talking about. So why are some people so insanely intent on ruining others' fun?

Ok, so read the sentence above and tell me which WoW you think I was talking about?

Because the thing is, that sentence applies to both sides and it drives me crazy. Most comments about either Classic or Battle for Azeroth end up in mud-slinging matches for no real reason other then one side is being negative about the other side's favorite version of WoW. And the funny thing is, there are way, WAY more commonalities than differences in there, after you remove the ego of "my WoW is/was better yours sucks". In the end, no matter what anyone says, they are talking and arguing and fighting about it because they care about WoW.

To get back to Classic for a bit, this is what I think is happening. Players who prefer the old ways (and full disclosure, I'd count myself among them, but to a smaller degree than most) complain/talk about the negative sides of modern WoW and Battle for Azeroth in general. While they do this they also talk about how things were better before and often mention Vanilla as a reference point. People who enjoy BfA now feel attacked by this and so they retaliate. Hence, liking Classic means you either have nostalgia goggles on or have no idea what you're talking about and will hate the same things you say you want 2 weeks after you start playing it. It's an amazing thing, where literally each side is doing to the other what they feel is being (wrongly) done to them. I feel like writing this is the most redundant thing I've ever done, and yet I also feel that it needs to be said, because it seems some people just don't get what they're doing, or at least I hope they don't (some do and are doing it on purpose but there's trolls everywhere so there's no point in even discussing them).
But let's actually talk a bit about Classic, shall we?
 

Nostalgia?

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I was actually a warrior in Vanilla, but the lure of 2h Windfury is too strong

Well, yes.
Logging in for the first time, being welcomed by THAT login screen and THAT music... You can't not be taken back if you've played Vanilla, and especially if you've played 2 years of it non-stop all day every day. I probably stayed 10 minutes in character creation just because of the music alone (and trying to get my character looking exactly as it did back then - although I wasn't a shaman then). The whole intro experience was especially amazing for me since the Tauren starting zone was my first encounter with WoW in the EU beta, and a little bit of that spark did return. But is that all Classic has to offer? A trip back in time when we were wowed by the game for the very first time?
Well, no.
 

Difficulty or Tedium?

The main topic for Classic at the moment would be whether the game is actually harder or just has more redundant activities you have to do before doing the stuff that's really fun. This is actually a good discussion to have, and not just for WoW, but gaming in general. The main sticking point for now, as most people are on (relatively) low levels is the breaks between killing mobs, especially for mana users. In the beginning it's actually refreshing having to think about what you can and can't pull, not just running into a bunch of mobs and killing them in *insert current optimal time to kill Blizzard determined is the most fun*. The food/drink breaks after a few (or even one) mobs provide time to actually look around the scenery and the mobs you're facing, and while there isn't much strategy involved at these levels, you still at least pretend to plan out how you're going to get to that quest mob without being killed by the 4 random ones surrounding them. Not being able to pull whatever mob you want, and actually having to check what mobs are there when you don't have interrupts yet (casters tend to be a nightmare) is definitely more difficult in a real way than what we have today. As a caster, having to actually think about which spells to use based on mana cost (and perhaps even using lower ranked ones) is definitely more difficult and requires more engagement with your character than we have in modern WoW.

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Me after 1 plainstrider

However, after a while the novelty of it wears off and you do start getting a little bored of all the eating and drinking (and wondering why your character isn't getting to Kul Tiran levels of fat), especially if you hop on to BfA for a bit in between. The difference is huge and once you're used to just slamming into 5 mobs and downing them quickly it can get a bit boring to just pull 1 mob at a time and then wait and wait. The really low levels aren't that different between live and Classic in terms of gameplay however, as the small amount of abilities means combat isn't exactly the most exciting thing in either. On live you get past that pretty quickly, but it takes a while longer in Classic (especially if you're playing solo).

In Classic, playing different classes actually feels different in more ways than just their abilities, at least if you think about it a little. Playing a priest, you really want to find a group because that's what the class was designed for, which is both good and bad - you're stuck very slowly leveling if you're solo, emphasizing the frustration of the slow pulling, but having different classes require different gameplay can be good. If you want to play a priest you're going to have to be more social by default, just whisper the guy you see killing stuff next to you and go level together, you'll immediately have a better time of it (this part is particularly exacerbated in the beta, as there are fewer players).

In the end, while it may be a huge cop-out, it really does come down to personal preference. Some people will simply not be able to handle the huge downtime between pulls, not being able to buy a new skill rank because you spent all your money on food and drinks (mages were popular for a reason back then), the very slow pace of leveling, and a whole lot more frustrations and not user-friendly features. On the other hand, the experience really is significantly different enough from modern WoW that it does feel enough like a "new" game, or at least a new and different expansion. An expansion that has many more differences than the last 3 or so, something that's both new and old and familiar. And, yes, it also offers massive quantities of nostalgia for those of us that played Vanilla, but what's so wrong about that?

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After the first 2, I actually forgot to take more screenshots, so here's Stan barely being able to afford skills because of his nasty water addiction.

A simple truth

The simple truth behind all of this bickering and squabbling is that there really isn't a bad way to enjoy a game. You like the feeling of Classic taking you back to your young(er) days and that rush of falling in love with WoW for the first time? You like the slower pace of both combat and leveling? You like that the social aspects of the game take a front seat? Good, enjoy it! You prefer modern WoW and BfA with it's tons of improvements, smoother design and more player-friendly features? Great, enjoy it! It doesn't matter whether you prefer modern WoW or Classic or WotLK or whichever your personal high-point was (it was Burning Crusade and Legion for me), you're not wrong. You literally can't be. No matter what anyone says in all these heated discussions, they care about WoW, in whatever form they prefer it. So why can't this be enough of a commonality for us to have a civil discourse?

I wanted to talk more about Classic here and my experience with it, especially relating to my Vanilla days, but somehow I kept writing about this rift that's forming in the WoW community. I can't seem to shake it, and for all the many, MANY times WoW was diagnosed as "dying" (and never did/never will), this one actually worries me. Some people have worried that Classic servers will split the community because BfA and Classic can't play together and few people will have the time to play both, but I'm worried it will REALLY split the community on a more philosophical level. At the moment WoW is back to being the most watched game on Twitch, beating out Fortnite and the rest, so shouldn't this be a happy moment for all of us that care about the game? Regardless of whether you enjoy BfA, or are holding on for the next expansion to fix things, or can't wait for Classic, can we at least TRY to keep things civil? We can disagree all day long, and I'm the first to put my opinions out there, but just don't accuse people of being... whatever it is you think they are. Argue facts, discuss calmly (or well, at least try to), and if you see the other person isn't doing the same, just politely stop talking to them. It's that simple.

Next time I'll hopefully be talking more about the game itself than the narrative around it, but until then: enjoy what you enjoy and don't get sucked in to discussions about how you're wrong to do so.

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12 minutes ago, Starym said:

there's trolls everywhere so there's no point in even discussing them

But that's really it, it's usually a member of one side of the argument trying to get a reaction out of the other and the other doing the same to members of the opposed side whenever they get the opportunity. Blizzard themselves actually gave us the reason, though by complete happenstance, through Taran Zhu on the Isle of Thunder all the way back in MoP "I see now why your Alliance and Horde cannot stop fighting. Every reprisal is itself an act of aggression, and every act of aggression triggers immediate reprisal." The same can be said of both Classic and current WoW advocates.

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17 minutes ago, Durf24 said:

But that's really it, it's usually a member of one side of the argument trying to get a reaction out of the other and the other doing the same to members of the opposed side whenever they get the opportunity. Blizzard themselves actually gave us the reason, though by complete happenstance, through Taran Zhu on the Isle of Thunder all the way back in MoP "I see now why your Alliance and Horde cannot stop fighting. Every reprisal is itself an act of aggression, and every act of aggression triggers immediate reprisal." The same can be said of both Classic and current WoW advocates.

Im not sure it is anymore. It definitely was at some point, but now I see people that you CAN reason with get into these fights. It's been happening more and more (especially since BfA) and my concern is it's just gonna grow.

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52 minutes ago, Starym said:

After the first 2, I actually forgot to take more screenshots, so here's Stan barely being able to afford skills because of his nasty water addiction.

I hate Silverpine Forest so much. Spent my last 2 Silver to travel back to Undercity and am heading to Barrens 😄. I can barely complete a yellow quest in there and having the only rez at the Sepulcher is all but fun.

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I felt like this post was partly in response to things I posted yesterday (that's my ego talking), but either way, I'd like to participate.

I think Classic, for me in this instance, is more fun because it's more challenging (go ahead and try pulling three mobs just 1 or 2 levels above you at once), it requires more social interaction which I personally prefer, and the slower paced game means you are really investing a lot of yourself into the character.

Again, these are all personal opinions/beliefs and don't fit everyone.

As it pertains to BFA, I think the big difference between the two is a generational gap that has nothing to do with gaming itself. I think we can all be honest about BFA being more about quality of life and that's great, but also embraces a mindset that comes with its own inherent pros and cons. 

I get that we live in a "mobile device world" where people want things now, don't care about interacting with others (I could debate all day long about how social media made us FAR less social), and just want to get their reward and move on. But some of us who love Classic do so because it's not about Classic. We like the slower life, the feeling of earning something more "tangible" (I get the irony), and really want to reestablish what it felt like to create online friendships that lasted for years. 

It's OK to love Classic and it's OK to love how Warcraft is today without hating on either one. We're different generations of people who care about different things and just like in life we're all experiencing it in our own way. Celebrate Classic because it's bringing people back to Warcraft which can lead to more stories. Celebrate BFA because it continues to build upon an epic story.

We are Groot.

Edited by OldManKrypton
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Right, wrong. Love it, hate it. Left, right. Pro, con. Here's a procedurally generated, ambiguous .gif image in lieu of a response.

 

The 140-character era gives little room for a nuanced opinion.

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Well, i really dont care that fight. I played wow beta (not now, back in old days) and i was so addicted. Blizzard has done good things with all the expensions, but i will defenitely give a try to vanilla. Leveling felt so much more rewarding. As mentioned, community was much more present, and hell, i liked it! It wasn't that anonimous as it is today. Ok, some dungeons took a lot of time and i dont know if i will spent it again. But it felt heroic and more social. 

I dont know why ppl bitching each other. BFA is not classic and classic is not BFA. Does it split community? Might happen. Does it matter? Don't think so. Probably ppl coming back just because of classic. And yeah, could happen classic hysteria will be gone 2 weeks after release. Thats not worlds end 🙂

Edited by Allseye

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5 hours ago, OldManKrypton said:

I felt like this post was partly in response to things I posted yesterday (that's my ego talking), but either way, I'd like to participate.

I think Classic, for me in this instance, is more fun because it's more challenging (go ahead and try pulling three mobs just 1 or 2 levels above you at once), it requires more social interaction which I personally prefer, and the slower paced game means you are really investing a lot of yourself into the character.

Again, these are all personal opinions/beliefs and don't fit everyone.

As it pertains to BFA, I think the big difference between the two is a generational gap that has nothing to do with gaming itself. I think we can all be honest about BFA being more about quality of life and that's great, but also embraces a mindset that comes with its own inherent pros and cons. 

I get that we live in a "mobile device world" where people want things now, don't care about interacting with others (I could debate all day long about how social media made us FAR less social), and just want to get their reward and move on. But some of us who love Classic do so because it's not about Classic. We like the slower life, the feeling of earning something more "tangible" (I get the irony), and really want to reestablish what it felt like to create online friendships that lasted for years. 

It's OK to love Classic and it's OK to love how Warcraft is today without hating on either one. We're different generations of people who care about different things and just like in life we're all experiencing it in our own way. Celebrate Classic because it's bringing people back to Warcraft which can lead to more stories. Celebrate BFA because it continues to build upon an epic story.

We are Groot.

See here's the thing though. I like both. I'm (relatively) old and I LOVE oldschool hard games with a slow paced reward scheme and actual effort required and I love (some) new games that have the more direct approach to rewards. It's all about the execution and people get bogged down in this silly philosophical debate when both can work very well. Just look at Legion. It had many of the same issues BfA has, but it also executed them much better and had a whole lot of other amazing features. It wasn't aimed at a different audience than BfA and I'd be willing to bet Vanilla fans did/would enjoy it very much.

And yea, I definitely read your comment before this, but it wasn't the only trigger, honestly it's mostly facebook comments that end up in the same quagmire over and over again, things here on the site are usually more civil.

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Most people are going to level a character to 35 and then give up.  There aren't enough quests to level.  It takes too long to go between areas.  You have to spend days grinding in one location in places where there are some gaps in quests.  Getting 55 to 60 is rough.  This game will have a small player base at level 60 of dedicated people.  But the vast majority of people will be like "wow, it sucked pretty bad back then"

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32 minutes ago, madagent said:

Most people are going to level a character to 35 and then give up.  There aren't enough quests to level.  It takes too long to go between areas.  You have to spend days grinding in one location in places where there are some gaps in quests.  Getting 55 to 60 is rough.  This game will have a small player base at level 60 of dedicated people.  But the vast majority of people will be like "wow, it sucked pretty bad back then"

You aren't wrong that it's tough and that it will have a niche player base. But that player base will be close-knit and awesome. (I hope)

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Vanilla was the best because of the rapid growth, isolated server communities, and bugs. Classic isn't Vanilla, but reading Reddit posts from beta players that never played Vanilla is glorious.

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I've played vanilla like a madman, with passion and time investment.

After getting tired of certain aspects like dkp, guild dramas, stun lock rogues, 1 shot mages and others, I've finally quit and came back only recently for BFA.

I can tell you that the game improvement are stunning, from graphics to features.

The game is far for perfect, but i would not go to vanilla and LFG spam in chat even if you'd pay me.

That being said, its great that "hardcore" players have a place to go now (and leave us sane people alone) 🙂

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WOW now is great and has improved alot over the years but every expansion had its own things with its pros and cons, i personally think bfa will be better with some features with some other expansions but its my personal preference. Of course there will be old school people hyped to try the vanilla but i don't think it will be that big. Most classic players left along time ago (probably in cata and mop) and new players wont like the tedious and slow pace of the classic, plus people might not realize it now but there is little to no content outside raids in classic/tbc. with today's information every one will FINISH the classic in no time.

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There is great value to be had in vanilla, even in 2019:

1) It is a way to rerun content that literally is not present in the game anymore. I'm talking about the 1-60 quests that were revamped in Cataclysm.

2) It can be a way to catch up with old friends, or catch "the one that got away" for the majority of the population who never cleared Naxx, or even one of the earlier raids, and would like a second shot.

3) The community that enjoys classic generally has a very different mindset than retail players and is willing to go to great lengths to create their own content in the sandbox the games gives them. That, plus the current streaming metagame could make up for some hilarious / interesting WoW Classic storylines that are not tied to Blizzard developing them for us.

In short: classic is certainly not retail WoW but its going to be really enjoyable for a number of reasons regardless. The best thing is that you get it for free with BfA so might as well just play whatever you like, I'll be splitting my time between both 😄 😄 😄 

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On 5/19/2019 at 7:48 AM, Starym said:

In the end, while it may be a huge cop-out, it really does come down to personal preference.

I would never call that a cop out.  Its the truth.  Simple, honest truth.

Its the reason there are some people who complain there are 35 different kinds of deodorant.  Not everybody wants the same things.  Its good there are options.  

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I started out with Vanilla back in 2006.

Some people may be nostalgic about the social aspects of the game back then (Guilds in particular), but there were no distractions such as social media, etc., so a lot of people played to be social.

Leveling and reputation were a massive grindfest. I think that those who were not around then, or those who forgot, will be the first to complain, demand changes or quit (Classic).  The grass is always greener.

Many others remember how difficult and time consuming it was getting to level 40, before it was made so fast and easy and way before paid boosts. Basically, being at a top level did not mean the same as back in the days.

Today, we are spoiled.  Heck, you can even pay for someone to carry you on raids and get top gear.   Way too many achievements (Reputations, gear, etc.) are very easy to obtain.

I know many of the people clamoring from Vanilla, will simply quit playing it or fill forums here there and everywhere with complaints about how much the grind blows.

That said, as time allows, I will no doubt be playing Classic, just for fun and nostalgia.  Times change and whether we like it or not, we must move on or be left behind.

Enjoy!

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If you like classic, play it.  Just stop acting like you're better than everyone.  Remember that your so-called "watered down" or "easy mode" or whatever you mistakenly want to call current WoW is the reason you have classic.  Without many of these changes to please the majority, you vocal minority would be looking for a new game to play by now.  For WoW to have lasted this long as a monthly sub game is unprecedented, and it's lasted by catering to the majority.   You couldn't accept things like Mythic difficulty, you wanted to enforce your playstyle on everyone.  There, you have it, classic WoW.  Go there, STFU and leave the rest of us that still enjoy the game alone.  

Some of you will enjoy the challenge, and good for you.  Most of you will start begging for quality of life improvements within a month or so and rationalize it as "well, it's not as bad as (other QOL improvement)."

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I listened to a Guild Mate rant and rave about how Vanilla WoW was the absolute best over the weekend via Discord.  Along with him belittling the Elite Classes: Death Knight and Demon Hunter.  He also mentioned how underwhelming it is to play Paladin in BFA as Protection Specialization.  I kept quiet, rolled my eyes, and let him continue.  With the release of Classic I hope he can find his reprieve and peace there.

As for me I enjoy playing WoW as it is now and I do enjoy several of the Classes that I've leveled through Legion and into BFA along with several of the quality of life systems that were introduced.  I did not want to debate with him on the topic.  There was no need to imo because in their mind they have already made up their decision a long time ago on how the game should be played.  In the past I've played a few Korean MMO's and I do not miss the grind for leveling nor do I miss the horrid RNG for loot along with the constant farming for PvP set pieces.  During that time I did try WoW, before TBC, and really did not like it one bit.  The game then felt clunky and unfinished in more ways than one to me.  I felt I was constantly farming more trash mobs (1 at a time) than actually questing to even advance further in the same map zone.  Didn't pick WoW up again till MoP and stopped again till the release of Legion.  

This will always be two sides of the same coin: people are going to love Classic or people are going to shrug it off and not play it at all.

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15 hours ago, JestersTear said:

If you like classic, play it.  Just stop acting like you're better than everyone.  Remember that your so-called "watered down" or "easy mode" or whatever you mistakenly want to call current WoW is the reason you have classic.  Without many of these changes to please the majority, you vocal minority would be looking for a new game to play by now.  For WoW to have lasted this long as a monthly sub game is unprecedented, and it's lasted by catering to the majority.   You couldn't accept things like Mythic difficulty, you wanted to enforce your playstyle on everyone.  There, you have it, classic WoW.  Go there, STFU and leave the rest of us that still enjoy the game alone.  

Some of you will enjoy the challenge, and good for you.  Most of you will start begging for quality of life improvements within a month or so and rationalize it as "well, it's not as bad as (other QOL improvement)."

A lot of misdirected, unwarranted hostility here. Don't be the one to start drama in a forum thread that has none, especially when you're telling people to "stop acting like you're better than everyone." Don't participate in the flaming, just ignore those people that you are describing.

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Kinda speaks to the fact that there is a very vocal part of the userbase who are totally toxic. Seems to me it may be VERY small part, but being way more vocal, they SEEM to be a much larger percentage.

As for Classic, jury's out for me... only had a way short time (did 5 mins worth of playing that took about 40!) to play as I did get allowed in for the Stress Test. Now this is only level 1-4, but the one thing that bothered me was you ONLY get any credit for being first tag. There were a TON of players running around (figures, my guess is they were all the Street Test folks like me) so it was VERY hard to get any first tags. I DO remember back when all quest items could be swiped away from me (druids) and later in my WoW life they changed that and what a relief it was. I suspect QoL is going to be a big issue... my guess is BIG strides have been made and doing without them will be very jarring. See a quest item you need? Druid flies in, swipes it and you get to wait for, what, 5-30 minutes?

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      The initial rank of the Essence can be obtained from Mythic 4+ End-of-Dungeon Challenger's Cache in Season 3 or later.
      Major Power: Anima of Death - Draw upon your vitality to sear your foes, dealing 10% of your maximum health in Fire damage to all nearby enemies and heal for 5% of your maximum health per enemy hit, up to 25% of your maximum health. (Instant, 2.5 min cooldown) Minor Power: Anima of Life - Azerite energy courses through your veins, increasing maximum health by 995 every 5 sec, stacking up to 10 times. This effect is lost if you fall below 35% health. Rank 2 (Fetish of the Deep Dungeons)
      The first upgrade is obtained from Mythic 7+ End-of-Dungeon Challenger's Cache in Season 3 or later.
      Major Power: Anima of Death - Draw upon your vitality to sear your foes, dealing 10% of your maximum health in Fire damage to all nearby enemies and heal for 5% of your maximum health per enemy hit, up to 25% of your maximum health. (Instant, 2.5 min cooldown) Minor Power: Anima of Life - Azerite energy courses through your veins, increasing maximum health by 995 +++ every 5 sec, stacking up to 10 times. Gain a stack of Anima of Life when you kill an enemy that yields experience or honor. This effect is lost if you fall below 35% health. Rank 3 (Fetish of the Hidden Labyrinths )
      Combine 15 Focused Life Anima  from Grand Challenger's Bounty (weekly Mythic chest) in Season 3 or later.
      Major Power: Anima of Death - Draw upon your vitality to sear your foes, dealing 10% of your maximum health in Fire damage to all nearby enemies and heal for 5 10% of your maximum health per enemy hit, up to 25 50% of your maximum health. (Instant, 2 min cooldown) Minor Power: Anima of Life - Azerite energy courses through your veins, increasing maximum health by 995 2,771 every 5 sec, stacking up to 10 times. While at 10 stacks, heal for 1,751 health every 5 sec. Gain a stack of Anima of Life when you kill an enemy that yields experience or honor. This effect is lost if you fall below 35% health. Rank 4 (Fetish of the Gilded Catacombs)
      Complete the Battle for Azeroth Keystone Master: Season Three achievement in Season 3 or later to get the final cosmetic upgrade for the Essence. Effects will be the same as on the previous rank.
    • By Stan
      Associate FX Artist Luis Aguas, who's responsible for animating 8.2 Essences, has uploaded some Rank 4 animations to Artstation. Rank 4 Essences only provide a cosmetic upgrade to the visuals of the Major Power on an Essence.
      Essence of the Focusing Iris (Rank 4 Animation)

      Azeroth's Undying Gift (Rank 4 Animation)

      Purification Protocol (Rank 4 Animation)

      Artifice of Time (Rank 4 Animation)

      Anima of Life and Death (Rank 4 Animation)

      Aegis of the Deep (Rank 4 Animation)

      Life-Binder's Invocation

      Nullification Dynamo (Rank 4 Animation)

      The Crucible of Flame (Rank 4 Animation)

      The Unbound Force (Rank 4 Animation)

      Sphere of Suppression

      Vitality Conduit (Rank 4 Animation)

      (Source #1, Source #2)
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