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Blizzard have detailed some very specific plans for tier sets in patch 9.2, including the specific ways to acquire them, the Creation Catalyst coming 8 weeks after patch launch, the fact that the items will drop as tokens and more.
Tier Sets (Source)
Hi friends! I’m a Senior Game Designer on the Systems team. I’ve been working on WoW for 14 years now and I’ve worked through “a few” PTR cycles like this one. In this post, I’d like to talk about some of what we’re doing in Eternity’s End that you’ll see in updates coming to the PTR over the next couple of weeks. We want the return of class sets to be as satisfying as possible, so we’re tweaking different aspects of how you’ll acquire and fill out your Class Set based on your feedback.
First and foremost
From the start of the PTR, we’ve intended to have Set pieces drop from a separate loot table on each boss that drops them, so that you’re guaranteed to see many Set pieces over time. These Class Sets are a highlight of this content update, and we don’t want a run of bad luck to cause a raid team to complete a full clear and realize they only got a very small number of Set pieces. The PTR’s there for testing, and rather unfortunately you all found a nasty bug that doubled the loot tables. Many of you sent in inquiries and bug reports about raid bosses dropping twice as much loot as expected on the PTR, and that assist is appreciated! Once we’ve fixed that bug (again, in the next couple of weeks), you should see the expected amount of total drops from each boss (still with those guaranteed set pieces in a similar ratio to the bugged tables, just fewer total items). Please don’t stop reading here! There’s more.
The Creation Catalyst
We’ve been designing this tier with a future eventuality in mind. If you haven’t heard of it yet, a new in-game gear transformer called the Creation Catalyst will come online 8 weeks after the content update (if all goes according to plan).
The Creation Catalyst will allow you to craft Set gear that you haven’t yet gotten from raid bosses or the Great Vault, and it will also be a swift way to gear up an alt later in the patch. The Catalyst exists as an answer to the problems we’ve had with class sets in the past (where either acquisition was much too fast and threw off content, or painfully slow and annoying). Your voices and frustration with those systems are the reason we’re building the Catalyst today. It’s powered by Cosmic Flux, which you’ll find easy enough to gather for this purpose. Cosmic Flux can and should also be taken to the Runecarver to make Legendary gear.
The Creation Catalyst is going to have an internal cooldown, which is a global charge that accumulates. This isn’t a case where it’s a personal cooldown that you could miss and fall behind – everyone’s got the same number of charges at a given time, so you’re all on a level playing field. This isn’t an arbitrary decision – by putting an accumulating charge on the Catalyst, we avoid making it so that the “right” way to play is to focus on gathering Flux (and not use it for Legendaries, or worry about grinding out as much as humanly possible), so that you can make your full Set the moment the Creation Catalyst unlocks. You’ll be able to make one piece at that time, of course, but then alts and players who come along later in the tier will find that they can create multiple Set pieces right away, which fulfils its role as a catchup mechanism.
We’re switching to tokens
We’ve seen a lot of feedback, both from players on the PTR and our colleagues internally, making the case for Set pieces dropping as tokens rather than discrete items. While both ways of doing it have pros and cons, we’ve decided to have bosses drop Set slot tokens in Eternity’s End. First, let’s talk about the design side of things:
When it comes to designs like this one, we think about all of the different likely scenarios for the player experience. For example, how do Set drops work out for a player who is the only Mage in their raid group? How do we see that going (and feeling) if that person is the only Mage in six consecutive weeks of raiding? What about a scenario where the raid has seven mages? We don’t want it to be more difficult for any particular player in any particular situation to get Set pieces from boss drops (and trades), especially as you go later into the patch and some players who have most of their set are raiding with other players who, for various reasons, have none or perhaps only one.
In addition to the design considerations, there are also technical limitations we have to tackle. Items which are dropped as a token are very different from the perspective of the game code than items which are equippable by a player, and not quite as smart. As a result, some of the work we do to make sure loot was equitable and fair aren’t as effective with them (a lesson we drew from how Castle Nathria played out). As a result, we’d have been sacrificing some important reliability features by using tokens. However, thanks to an heroic assist from our hardworking Engineering team, those restrictions have been removed, and tokens are fully first-class citizens on the back-end.
Tokens aren’t a magic bullet here, but we agree that with these changes, they’ll hopefully feel better and distribute Set gear as equitably (or more so) than discrete item drops would have. This is another experiment – we’ve done tokens in the past, but never with the full structure of parallel loot and the safeguard of the Catalyst. But until we try tokens, we won’t know how successful (or not) they are in that world. So you should see the switch over to Set token drops in next week’s PTR update, and we’ll be listening to your voices as 9.2 progresses.
We really appreciate all of the testing and feedback we’ve seen so far, and we’re looking forward to your reaction to these coming changes. We want to hear everything you have to say about the tier ecosystem – obtaining tier, their effects (many of which have changed already!), trading – both what you like and what you don’t like. It’s immeasurably helpful to us.
Our Mythic+ writer Petko challenged himself to earn Tormented Hero: Shadowlands Season 2 on a fresh character before the end of Season 2. Here's Episode 3 of his journey!
The Great Challenge, from Zero to Hero
Hey guys, Petko here! I have decided to challenge myself before the end of the current season, and earn the Tormented Hero: Shadowlands Season 2 achievement on one of my fresh characters, and since I have done it numerous times in the past, I will guide you through every step of my journey.
In the mini-series, I share my experience and guide you through what you can do to increase your current Mythic+ Rating. The challenge would be boring without some limitations, so here they are!
Rules of the Challenge
If you've missed the previous two episodes of the challenge, make sure to read the articles below. They cover the basics like challenge rules, intentions, end goals, and more.
The Great Mythic Challenge: From Zero to Hero: Episode 1 The Great Mythic Challenge: From Zero to Hero: Episode 2 Chapter 1, Episode 3
As I come closer to collecting the best possible gear across all dungeons, I see a massive difference in the DPS. I went from 235 to 241, although there are still a few pieces that I can obtain and potentially upgrade with Valor Points from Mythic+. For the rest, of the gear, I have to rely on luck from the Great Vault since I have no other source of items but Mythic+.
As I started to break into the +20 key level territory, I've noticed a significant improvement in the player base. Not only do players have a better understanding of their class, utility, and deal higher damage, communication, and MDT theory-crafting, something I never saw below 2,400 rating, also became more prominent. Keep in mind it took a three-week grind to reach this level, even though I had anticipated spending less time, but Alliance pugs are something really special!
Major Challenges and Focus Goals at 2,400 Rating
One of the major challenges I discovered during the keys around +20 level (or around 2,400 score) is that people don't understand the importance of meta picks. Of course, you can do the key without picks like Windwalker Monk or Frost Mage, but they will speed you up the dungeon even if they are below average players, simply because of how good their spec currently is.
It gets significantly harder to complete a +20 key with complete randoms from the Group Finder tool, especially with harder affixes. Number 1 priority is to add people of "value" to your Friend List. In other words, specs/classes/players that have performed well in your past runs. That way, you can check your Friend List before searching for randoms through the LFG tool. Having a conversation about routes before your run is equally important, as there are points, where the group might want to skip specific packs, and if your group doesn't have stealth, you must save an invisibility potion and not use an offensive potion instead. Interrupting major casts is still a common issue, so make sure to save your personals to help your tank survive specific pulls. It is unlikely to deplete the key due to having low damage, it happened only once out of my 20 keys that I ran that week, if I had to give you one piece of advice, that would be, to focus on interrupting and playing it safe, rather than doing something extremely risky. It's unlikely your key will get depleted due to the lack of damage. To me, it happened just once out of 20 keys I ran that week. Focus on interrupting and play it safe rather than engaging in anything risky. You should also have essential addons installed. I have already discussed that in this article, which is still up-to-date and relevant going forward to the next season, take 5 minutes of your time to read it and you will thank me later. What's the Next Goal?
After earning 2,400 rating, my next goal is to get as close to 2,600 rating as possible without joining voice communication such as Battle-net voice-over, Discord, or TeamSpeak. I know it's going to be extremely hard, but I am confident in my own skills. I also believe that as soon as I get closer to +23 keys and above, I doubt I can do that without the help of voice comms or pre-mades.
So my next goal, along with collecting all of my items from all dungeons, will be adding people to my Friend List that I consider "high value". I play most of my keys during the day, and one of the biggest problems I am facing is the lack of players on the Alliance side in the early hours of the day, compared to the Horde side, where such a thing does not exist.
I hope this issue will be resolved with cross-faction play in the next expansion.
I must admit, reaching 2,400 was harder than I had anticipated, mostly, due to my low item level gear combined with no Domination gear, and pre-mades. The challenge taught me to appreciate a lot more what I have. Even if the gear was from Heroic Raiding, it was still a massive upgrade.
Another major concern was gold. I need to find ways of making gold to help me fund Mythic+ consumables.
Stay tuned for the next episode, and thank you for reading!
In the following post, we recapped all class changes that went live in Patch 9.2 Build 42069. Take a look!
Fiery Rush (4-piece set bonus) - While Combustion is active, you burn 1% of your maximum health every second causing your Fire Blast and Phoenix Flames to recharge 50% faster. Priest
Conversation (4-piece set bonus) - Divine Conversation increases the effectiveness of your next Holy-Word-affecting spell by 35% 60%. Shaman
Storm Elemental's Wind Gust now lasts for the duration of the Elemental instead of 30 seconds. Enhancement
Flame Shock and Frost Shock no longer share a cooldown. Class Sets
Heal the Soul (4-piece set bonus) - Your Chain Heal critical hits
reduce the remaining cooldown of one of your totems by 2 seconds. Your Healing Stream Totem, Healing Tide Totem, Mana Tide Totem,
and Spirit Link Totem now also cast Chain Heal with 100% effectiveness when you drop them. Covenant Abilities
Chain Harvest Elemental: Send a wave of anima at the target, which then jumps to additional nearby targets. Deals [ 205% of Spell Power ] Shadow damage to up to 5 enemies, and restores [ 315% of Spell Power ] health to up to 5 allies. For each target critically struck, the cooldown of Chain Harvest is reduced by 5 sec.Generates 3 Maelstrom per target damaged or healed. Legendary Powers
Splintered Elements Normal: Each additional Lightning Bolt generated by Primordial Wave increases your Haste by 8% 10% for 10 12 sec. Restoration Shaman: Each additional Healing Wave generated by Primordial Wave increases your Haste by 8% 10% for 10 sec (development notes mention 12 seconds). Elemental Shaman: Each additional Lava Burst generated by Primordial Wave increases your Haste by 8% 10% for 10 sec (development notes mention 12 seconds). Conduits
Elysian Dirge - Vesper Totem is 60%100% more effective against the target nearest to it. Warlock
Contained Perpetual Explosion - Impending Catastrophe's damage over time is increased by 125% plus 15% for each enemy target hit on the way to its final target, to a maximum of 275%. Warrior
Death Sentence - Execute/Condemn now has a 15 yard range, causing you to charge to targets when used. Execute/Condemn charges you to targets up to 15 yards away. This effect has a 6 sec cooldown.
Creation Catalyst is a new way of crafting Tier Set armor pieces in Patch 9.2 on a cooldown.
One of the features that haven't been tested yet on the 9.2 PTR is called Creation Catalyst.
Creation Catalyst is a new crafting system that lets you craft tier set pieces. It serves as bad luck protection for anyone who can't obtain a particular armor slot and it's also intended for alts who want to quickly catch up on gear later in the patch.
The Creation Catalyst system uses Cosmic Flux (new 9.2 currency) in combination with a non-set armor piece to create a Progenitor armor piece in that armor slot of the same item level. If the Great Vault gives you an item level 265 non-set chest piece, and you've collected enough Cosmic Flux and have Creation Catalyst unlocked, you can create a Progenitor armor piece that activates the new tier set bonus.
In the latest 9.2 patch, new global strings suggest that the Creation Catalyst will have a cooldown/recharge, so the system has its limitations. The following global strings are related to Creation Catalyst:
ERR_ITEM_CONVERSION_NO_VALID_ITEMS - You don't have any eligible items SL_SET_CONVERSION_MULTIPLE_CHARGES_REMAINING - You can upgrade %d more items after this until the Catalyst needs to recharge. SL_SET_CONVERSION_ONE_CHARGE_REMAINING - After upgrading this item, the Catalyst will need %s to recharge. L_SET_CONVERSION_RECHARGE_TIME - The Catalyst is recharging and will be functional in %s
We found some new spells related to the Jailer in this week's 9.2 PTR Build 42069 that reveal some interesting information about the encounter. Are they intended for a Mythic-only phase? The following post contains spoilers.
Some of the spells may be intended for a Mythic-only phase.
The first spell is referencing Azeroth and the Jailer using her energy to create an absorption shield. Maybe it's connected to the Consumed Azerite ability.
Diverted Life Shield - The Jailer draws Azeroth's energy into himself to create a shield to absorb damage. The second spell is an interesting mechanic that marks a player for death and applies Death Sentence.
Death Sentence - The Jailer marks a player for death, inflicting 4 Shadow damage every 3 sec and growing in intensity over time. Upon removal, the player releases dark energy at nearby locations that apply Death Sentence to players struck. If the energy fails to hit at least one player, Death Sentence is applied to all players. Gaining two applications of Death Sentence kills players instantly.