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The class changes continue on the beta, as it's an intense week this time around, with Warriors getting Colossus Smash and Warbreaker changes, with Arms being in the focus.
Changes, September 23 (source)
In our latest updates to Shadowlands, Colossus Smash and Warbreaker (if talented) will apply Deep Wounds from Arms Warrior’s Mastery. This change is aimed primarily at giving Arms an additional option for applying Deep Wounds in multi-target scenarios via Warbreaker, without having to rely solely on Bladestorm and Cleave (if talented), and to have Deep Wounds be reliably applied to both Colossus Smash targets whenSweeping Strikes is active.
This change should be testable, but will not yet be reflected in the Deep Wounds tooltip.
A new Beta build is about to arrive and we have some changes to multiple Demon Hunter Covenant Abilities.
This week’s Shadowlands builds come with a tuning pass to each of the Demon Hunter Covenant abilities.
The Hunt had recently been redesigned to have a lower cooldown DoT application to 5 targets, and the removal of the teleport and fury generation bonus. We’ve since the tuned the ability to be more competitive with Sinful Brand.
Similarly, Elysian Decree has had its damage increased significantly.
While we like the thematic texture of Fodder to the Flame, we’ve observed your feedback about the way it ties a very mobile class to a specific area. We think this could be an interesting tradeoff, but the benefits of standing in the pool of demon blood need to be compelling.
Stay tuned as we iterate on this idea further.
We're on to Warlocks, as our expert Motoko shares his extremely positive thoughts on the DoT king of WoW, Affliction, as it's getting some great new features and is set to be an excellent spec in Shadowlands! He goes over the new and changed abilities and talents, Covenant choice, legendaries and even Conduits to give you a really good overview of the spec which is poised to be a top contender if tuning holds.
Exciting Changes for Affliction Warlocks in Shadowlands
Following the recent expansion trend, Warlocks gets yet another substantial rework in at least one specialisation, and it is Affliction's turn in Shadowlands. A seemingly marginal change of a new spender had a dramatic impact on the gameplay, the feel and the strengths. Increased AoE and multitarget burst capabilities, and a very strong execute synergy with one of the Covenants make Affliction in Shadowlands a specialisation extremely promising in terms of versatility, desirability and last but not least, enjoyment.
Unstable Affliction no longer consumes a shard and is now limited to 1 application at any given time with an extended duration of 21 seconds (similar to what has been in the past). It still generates a shard if the target dies while the debuff is applied (rank 2). the Contagion passive which granted 10% additional damage on targets afflicted by Unstable Affliction has been removed.
Dark Soul: Misery does not trigger a Global Cooldown.
Demonic Circle is now baseline, instead of a talent choice.
Fear has a second rank where you no longer suffer spell pushback while casting the spell.
Shadow Bolt now applies Shadow Embrace (without the talent which has been removed), increasing your damage dealt to the target by 3% for 12 seconds, stacking up to 3 times.
Shadowfury now has a 1% mana cost.
The cast time of your Demon Summoning has been increased from 2.5 seconds to 6 seconds.
New Abilities and Talents
Malefic Rapture is the new spender, both in single and multi target, enabling burst windows on any target in line of sight as long as they are affected by at least one periodic damaging effect. The damage scales with the number of unique effects present on each target.
Curses are back in the menu. Curse of Exhaustion, Curse of Tongues and Curse of Weakness are now baseline Warlock spells that can by applied with the limit of 1 per target.
Ritual of Doom has returned, with a 1 hour cooldown in exchange for up to 15 minutes of Doomguard as extra pet.
Fel Domination is a new baseline cooldown that reduces your next summon demon cast time by 5.5 seconds, removing the associated shard cost.
The Inevitable Demise Azerite trait has been ported as a talent in Shadowlands, replacing Death Bolt (now a pvp option) in the first row.
Sow the Seeds now embeds a 3rd additional seed, compared to the Battle for Azeroth iteration.
Howl of Terror has been reintroduced as talent option in the 5th row, instead of the now baseline Demonic Circle.
Dark Caller is a new talent in the 6th row taking place of Shadow Embrace which is now a baseline passive.
Kyrian Ability - Scouring Tithe
Deal (100% of Spell power) Arcane damage instantly, and (144% of Spell power) over 18 sec. If the enemy dies while affected by Scouring Tithe, you generate 5 Soul Shard. If they survive, Scouring Tithe's cooldown is refreshed.
A periodic damaging ability with a relatively high maintenance that contributes to Malefic Rapture damage. Its flexibility lies in being able to trade the DoT uptime for 5 extra shards whenever you can snipe a dying target, which can potentially enable you to cast 10 Malefic Raptures in a short timeframe for incredible burst.
Designed mostly as a single target option, the shard gain part gives this spell some multi-target scaling, resulting in a well rounded option in any kind of situation.
Necrolord Ability - Decimating Bolt
Hurl bolts of decimating magic at your target, dealing [4 * (50% of Spell power)] Shadow damage and increasing the damage of your next 3 Shadow Bolts or Drain Souls by 200%. Decimating Bolt's damage, and the bonus to Drain Soul/Shadow Bolt both increase as your target's health decreases.
A straight forward single target nuke that empowers your next 3 casts of a normally weak filler, in the case of Drain Soul translates into absurd single target and especially execute potential. An extremely popular (and overtuned) choice in Beta, this ability emphasises Single Target damage potential with relatively low maintenance and the flexibility of a generous buff timeframe.
Night Fae Ability - Soul Rot
Wither away all life force of your current target and up to 3 additional targets nearby, causing them to suffer (100% of Spell power) Nature damage over 8 sec. For the next 8 sec, casting Drain Life will cause you to also Drain Life from any enemy affected by your Soul Rot, and Drain Life will not consume any mana.
Consumes 20% of maximum health when cast.
Perhaps the most controversial and undertuned ability among all Covenants, Soul Rot attempts to turn Drain Life into a spell that is part of the rotation. While the synergy with the Inevitable Demise trait is strong (and potentially a nightmare to balance), the spell itself is nothing but underwhelming. It supposedly encourages casting Drain Life during the duration but Inevitable Demise stacks will be consumed after the first channel, not to mention since Soul Rot is yet another periodic damaging effect, you want to cast as many Malefic Raptures within those 8 seconds as possible, while still being able to channel at least 1 Drain Life when talented with Inevitable Demise, before the debuff expires.
As of now, while the ability is definitely interesting in its design and has a unique niche of 2-4 targets, it does not have enough appeal to justify the choice over other Covenants, and this issue is somewhat mitigated by the Inevitable Demise synergy for Affliction, meaning it is incredibly mortifying on the other 2 specs.
Venthyr Ability - Impending Catastrophe
Call forth a cloud of chaotic anima that travels to the target enemy, dealing (100% of Spell power) Shadow damage to enemies in its path. When the anima reaches the target it explodes, inflicting either Curse of Weakness or Curse of Tongues, and dealing (261% of Spell power) Shadow damage over 12 sec to all nearby enemies.
The more AoE focused covenant ability, Impending Catastrophe is poised to become the go-to option for multi target scenarios like dungeons, where on top of a reasonable AoE Damage over Time, it also allows the application of a second curse once a minute. The damage over time component synergises with Affliction's Malefic Rapture and can also be extended by Summon Darkglare, making the Covenant a very attractive pick for any aspiring Warlocks in the Shadowlands.
Among all the legendaries available in Shadowlands for Affliction Warlocks, the following ones are the most interesting and promising (in no particular order). You can check out all Warlock legendaries here as well.
Malefic Wrath greatly boosts the power of Drain Soul, creating an extremely powerful synergy with Necrolord Covenant ability Decimating Bolt and turning Affliction Warlocks in arguably the strongest single target spec during execute.
Sacrolash's Dark Strike is back from Legion and coupled with the talent Absolute Corruption looks to become a must have in any situation where slowing multiple targets permanently is necessary.
Wrath of Consumption offers yet another damage increase for multitarget, empowering the Warlock whenever targets die while affected by Agony.
Perpetual Agony of Azj'Aqir offers a flat 20% shard increase, which translates in 20% more Malefic Rapture or Seed of Corruption casts.
Conduits in Shadowlands
Many conduits have been introduced in Shadowlands to allow further customization and additional power, below are listed the Affliction specific options:
Corrupting Leer has the potential to turn affliction into an AoE powerhouse with a 20 second burst window every 2 minutes gameplay loop, particularly interesting when coupled with Venthyr's Impending Catastrophe and Dark Soul: Misery for dungeon runs.
Cold Embrace increase the damage bonus of Shadow Embrace from essentially an extra stack at level 1 to an increase of 6.75% overall damage at rank 15.
Focused Malignancy increases the base damage of Malefic Rapture on targets affected by Unstable Affliction, giving Affliction yet another means to boost its single target output.
Rolling Agony is mostly a quality of life change, reducing the amount of global cooldowns required to maintain Agony, which can be a big deal in situations where there are a high number of targets and Affliction becomes a very busy specialization, often limited by its own global cooldowns.
Affliction is shaping up to be a powerhouse of a specialization in Shadowlands, with increased capabilities in multitarget, burst, AoE and execute compared to Battle for Azeroth. While ultimately the tuning will dictate who will be on top and who will be toned down, its current toolkit will ensure that no matter the changes, playing Affliction will be a safe bet due to the flexibility of a spec that can perform well in virtually any scenario while also offering high mobility. The newly added Malefic Rapture is a fantastic addition: it is compelling, it gives Warlocks an increased fluidity in the rotation and a satisfying AoE spammable nuke with enough room for optimization, that turns an otherwise plain specialization into an exciting, fun and rewarding experience.
Other Spec Highlights:
Balance Druid Restoration Druid Beast Mastery Hunter Arcane Mage Outlaw Rogue Elemental Shaman Enhancement Shaman Shadow Priest Protection Warrior
It's finally time for more substantial Monk changes on the beta! We have some Global Cooldown removals, buffed damage, more AoE targets, bug fixes, a Covenant ability redesign and a lot more coming!
Monk Changes (source)
Hello, Monks! We have a slate of changes and updates in this week’s Beta build.
Energizing Elixir has been removed from the global cooldown. Spinning Crane Kick ’s damage is now increased by up to 6 unique targets (was 5) struck by Tiger Palm, Blackout Kick, or Rising Sun Kick, up to 60% damage (was 50% damage). Haste now affects the periodic of Crackling Tiger Lightning . Weapons of Order has been redesigned for Windwalker Monks. Now, for the next 30 seconds, your Mastery is increased by 13%. Additionally, Rising Sun Kick reduces Chi costs by 1 for 5 seconds, and Blackout Kick reduces the cooldown of affected abilities by an additional 1 second. Faeline Stomp now deals Nature damage (or heals if Mistweaver) to targets in front of the Monk when cast and continues to deal additional damage to targets caught in the Faelines. Bug Fixes
Fixed a bug where Rising Sun Kick and Whirling Dragon Punch were not contributing to Xuen’s Empowered Lightning. Rising Sun Kick Rank 2 has been restored and increases the damage of Rising Sun Kick by 70%. Works in Progress
We’re aware of balance concerns Windwalker Monks have about dual wield and 2 handed weapons. We’re considering different options to address the problem, and we’ll have more to share in the future. We’re also aware of many bugs related to Storm, Earth, and Fire , particularly in relation to other spells. We’re making every effort to improve the reliability of this ability.
We have one of the weirder events in WoW happening right now over on the Khadgar server, although this one isn't quite the planned "pre-expansion event" type thing. Many players on the server have logged in as they always do only to find a reverted state of their character screens, with deleted characters being back, their mains and other level 120 characters being back in some point of either the Mist of Pandaria expansion (with levels varying from 80 to 90 and more, probably to the state they were in at that time), race changes reverted, new characters disappearing, basically everything went back to a specific time point. That's not all however, as some players are even getting these old copies just added to their accounts, so they have their mains at the normal BfA level as they left them, but then ALSO have that same character at level 85 on the character list (and playable).
While the exact cause of the issues is still unclear, Khadgar did have a failed server connection attempt last week and is scheduled to retry that connection tomorrow. But what is certain is the Shadowlands level squish has just taken on a whole new meaning for the folks on the server.
Blizzard are aware of the issue and luckily the original, max level characters are safe (and presumably so are all the other changes made since MoP), and they are working on the issue.
Khadgar Issues (source)
I thought it be best to consolidate the active threads on this matter into one. This allows you to only have to keep an eye on a single thread instead of multiples. I’m going to lock the other threads here and refer back to this one.
As many of you are aware there appears to be an issue, specific to the realm of Khadgar it seems, where several characters have “deleveled”. It is something that our teams are aware of and it is under investigation. The original higher level characters do not appear to be gone, so our teams are looking into what caused the issue, how to prevent it going forward, and how to return access to the higher level characters.
Right now we encourage anyone experiencing this issue to submit a ticket for tracking purposes.
When we receive an update we’ll pass it along here.
Big thanks to WhyTroyWhy on our discord for giving us the heads up on this, and hopefully the issue gets resolved soon for Khadgar players.