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Folks over at MMO-Champion discovered some interesting encrypted files that could be potentially intended for the Deluxe Edition rewards of World of Warcraft's upcoming expansion. We're talking about a mount, battle pet, and cosmetics. This post contains spoilers!
The following post is based on speculation and draws analogies from the previous expansion, where Blizzard added the Shadowlands Collector's Edition rewards (mount, pet, and items) in Patch 8.2.5, similar to how these are bundled together. Deluxe Edition rewards are usually themed after the new expansion.
How Does Encryption Work?
Blizzard periodically encrypts game files, such as cinematics, models, database entries, virtually anything they do not want us to find in the game with a key. The files cannot be previewed until we have a decryption key, which is either provided by Blizzard (when they decide to ship the new stuff, like store mounts, cinematics), or bruteforced.
The data / screenshots used in this section come from wow.tools, a site maintained by Marlamin.
There are currently 127 files added in Patch 9.1.5 encrypted with Key 353. Even though all the files are encrypted, it's possible to figure out some interesting facts about the upcoming items:
The battle pet shares 34 animations with the Vulpera Male.
What's more interesting, though, is that 5 spell textures added in Patch 9.2 appear to be referring to an emerald drake mount, which could potentially mean a Dragon-themed expansion in Patch 10.0. These include:
9fx_drakemountemerald_buff_4219051.blp 9fx_drakemountemerald_buff_4219045.blp 9fx_drakemountemerald_buff_4219057.blp 9fx_drakemountemerald_buff_4219041.blp 9fx_drakemountemerald_buff_4219043.blp
As you can see above, one of the encrypted items (File ID 4219053) was removed, which means some of the encrypted goodies may be released separately, according to MMO-C.
We discuss the Patch 10.0 leaks in a separate post.
The 11th week of Patch 9.1.5 is ending soon, so we looked at the current class tier list for Mythic+.
In this post, we're looking at the tier list for Mythic+ based on the data gathered by Benched.me. The site plots all runs available from the Blizzard API (excluding the Chinese region) on a single ridge plot, so the data is different from our Shadowlands Mythic+ Rankings maintained by Petko.
How the Data is Calculated
To rank all specializations, Benched.me uses something called Meta Ratio Score. The "ratio" is between the specialization's representation in the meta vs. its representation in the population. For example, a specialization makes up 3% of all players in the population, but 6% in the meta, which means that spec's ratio is 6% / 3% = 2.
Furthermore, the site defines the "population" as all keys level 2 through 15 and the "meta" as keys 16 and above. Based on that, we break down specs into tiers based on their meta ratio as follows:
S-Tier: Ratio of at least 1.5. A-Tier: Ratio between 1 and 1.5. B-Tier: Ratio between 0.5 and 1. C-Tier: Ratio below 0.5, but greater than 0. F-Tier: Ratio of 0 (the spec isn't present in the high-level bin at all). Class / Specialization Mythic+ Tier List (Patch 9.1.5 Week #11)
Affliction Warlock - 1.64 meta ratio A-Tier
Subtlety Rogue - 1.47 meta ratio Fire Mage - 1.29 meta ratio Windwalker Monk - 1.28 meta ratio Outlaw Rogue - 1.24 meta ratio Guardian Druid - 1.22 meta ratio Restoration Shaman - 1.20 meta ratio Brewmaster Monk - 1.15 meta ratio Holy Paladin - 1.14 meta ratio Marksmanship Hunter - 1.13 meta ratio Frost Mage - 1.12 meta ratio Balance Druid - 1.10 meta ratio Elemental Shaman - 1.08 meta ratio Arms Warrior - 1.06 meta ratio Arcane Mage - 1.01 meta ratio B-Tier
Discipline Priest - 0.99 meta ratio Shadow Priest - 0.99 meta ratio Vengeance Demon Hunter - 0.97 meta ratio Unholy Death Knight - 0.95 meta ratio Havoc Demon Hunter - 0.94 meta ratio Fury Warrior - 0.93 meta ratio Blood Death Knight - 0.92 meta ratio Holy Priest - 0.88 meta ratio Survival Hunter - 0.88 meta ratio Protection Paladin - 0.88 meta ratio Beast Mastery Hunter - 0.83 meta ratio Restoration Druid - 0.78 meta ratio Protection Warrior - 0.76 meta ratio Assassination Rogue - 0.75 meta ratio Feral Druid - 0.72 meta ratio Mistweaver Monk - 0.72 meta ratio Enhancement Shaman - 0.68 meta ratio Frost Death Knight - 0.68 meta ratio Destruction Warlock - 0.66 meta ratio Demonology Warlock - 0.64 meta ratio Retribution Paladin - 0.55 meta ratio SPEC TIER LIST PLOT (PATCH 9.1.5 WEEK #11)
In the following article, we preview interesting loot you can obtain from the Jailer in Patch 9.2.
Jailer Mythic Mount (Speculation)
Even though the Mythic Jailer mount hasn't been officially revealed yet, game files already give us a pretty solid idea about which mount that could be. We think it's the bot mount below based on its unique look and mount special animation.
Here's the bot's unique mount special animation.
Gavel of the First Arbiter
The following Two-Hand Mace drops from Zovaal. It comes with an interesting effect (Twisted Judgment) and shares models with his in-game weapon.
Zovastrum, the Unmaking
The Polearm is a reference to Argus the Unmaker from Legion and "begins the end of things," according to its flavor text.
Chains of Domination
Zovaal also drops a Strength/Agility trinket named after the first content patch of Shadowlands -- Chains of Domination! It comes with an interesting effect:
Chains of Domination - Drive a spike into your target, dealing 0 Physical damage and creating a chain link between you for 20 sec. While the chain persists, 25% of all damage dealt to the target is stored within it, up to a maximum of 0. Moving away from your target will rip the chain out, dealing the stored amount as Shadow damage to all enemies within 8 yds of them. Scars of Fraternal Strife
Another interesting trinket usable by all classes is Scars of Fraternal Strife. It comes with some interesting equip and on-use effects.
Equip Effect: Scars of Fraternal Strife - Affix a Domination Rune to yourself, gaining power at a price. On-Use Effect: Scars of Fraternal Strife - Add another. Worldkiller Iris
This necklace drops from the Jailer and based on the flavor text, it's somehow connected to Heart of Azeroth.
"A living symbol of despair, borne by the nemesis of a doomed eternity. The fate of Azeroth will be shared by all her children."
Ahead of Curve Jailer Mount (Speculation)
This one hasn't been officially revealed yet, but players who defeat the Jailer on Heroic difficulty in Patch 9.2 will receive a unique mount.
I think it might be Carcinized Zerethsteed. This late in the 9.2 cycle, the mount still has a placeholder source and just one tint.
The mount was also advertised in the 9.2 update as a flying spider.
What's your favorite item from Zovaal?
The "season of leaks" has begun as we still don't have any official information on the next WoW expansion, so it's time to take a look at what's out there. There have been two specific ones recently I wanted to go through, despite them being most likely fake, as they actually had some pretty solid (and logical) ideas, so let's get started.
Where Are These From and Why Talk About Them?
Both of these come from the MMO champion forums from now banned accounts, and they both agree on what's coming next: the Dragon Isles. The general premise makes a lot of sense as you'll see, with players clamoring for a more low-level approach and a return to Azeroth since... well basically since Shadowlands, and the Dragon Isles fit that bill and then some. A lot of these are just common sense features anyone would pick just knowing the WoW community even a little, so the various claims of them coming from a "private gamedev discord" or a "disgruntled senior level designer" aren't particularly relevant - what I want to talk about is the actual ideas and the likelihood of them actually happening, regardless of whether these are actual leaks or just someone's imagination.
Leak 1: "The Dragon Isles"
The name of the expansion is straight to the point in the first leak to come along, and this is the more dramatic and less likely of the two (but also a lot more interesting), as its main story point is Azeroth actually awakening. That's right, as a result of the Jailer fight in 9.2 the World Soul is born and its form is a "sort-of dragon", as we go around fixing the planet with her help and the new "World Shaping" system. We also get Black Dragons as a new race, there's new Covenant-like abilities (but not bound to a locked-in choice) which also have special effects depending on the Dragon Isles zone you're in, and the Worldshaping system will see us actually significantly change zones over time.
What's interesting/actually likely in this one:
It talks about the intro cinematic being the biggest so far, with the entire cinematic team working on it for over a year and had a lot of resources moved to it, scrapping Shadowlands cinematics. It's supposed to be a love letter to WoW, mirroring the original cinematic and ending with Azeroth being born. This just seems right in terms of tone and the 10.0 milestone, whatever we do get will be very much nostalgic and looking back 100%, aside from the suggested end which I'll get to a little later. The theme of going back to Azeroth and rebuilding, fixing things and making the plot smaller and more local is an obvious choice both due to the community comments in recent times and the giant 10.0 milestone nature of the expansion. The World Shaping system mentioned is sort of a perfect way to get us back interacting with the world (if it has some big components outside of the Dragon Isles, that is). The new Black Dragon race would have two forms and a lot of customization (horns, scales, tails etc.) which seems like a big draw for the expansion (although I think a new class is much more likely). While Allied Races have deflated the new race hype train, this one seems flashy enough to be a draw and relatively easy to make. No main big villain in 10.0 makes the most sense of it all after the, ahem, "response" the Jailer has gotten. This is again very much in line with community wishes. Giant pre-expansion event with lots of invasions that also has us going back through "lots" of Azeroth-centric dungeons and raids in a "timewalking Season of Mastery". I'm torn on this one. While this is another amazing idea it just seems too big to pull off, but considering the end of Shadowlands is (presumably) going to last quite a while, this one isn't that unlikely and is one I'm really hoping is true. What makes it unlikely
Azeroth being born is both the most interesting and most unlikely aspect of this leak. While it would make perfect sense after what happens in the end of the Shadowlands and fits very well with the 10.0 milestone, it would just cause a lot of trouble down the road (unless we put her back to sleep during/at the end of the expansion), especially since the entire history of Azeroth has been about outside forces trying to get to her. I have to say this would really be a BIG move on Blizzard's part and worthy of a 10.0 expansion, but to me it's just perhaps too big and smells more of someone's really good and ambitious imagination. No new class. This one's almost a deal-breaker instantly, as I don't see any way 10.0 doesn't come with a new class, and since Allied Races were introduced, new races simply are not that big of a deal. No mention of cross-faction content. This is also a big one, as we're almost 100% getting that in 10.0, and not mentioning it seems very unlikely. It actually addresses the Night Elf horror show that's been (and is still) happening in SL, having them try to rebuild Teldrassil (actually featuring a giant version of the MoP farm where you plant trees etc.), so clearly it's a giant fake because of Blizzard's track record with Night Elf stories.
All in all this is a very interesting concept, and I congratulate whoever came up with it (whether it's Blizzard or this lone imaginative leaker). If this was indeed what we were getting with the expansion I dare say I'd be pretty excited (depending on implementation, of course) and it sounds like a worthy 10.0. In any case you ca head on over and read this pretty good work of fiction or actual leak over on the MMO Champion forums.
Just a random drake mount gathering image that I thought fit. Source: Ogumel.
Leak 2: "Rise of the Aspects"
This leak is a LOT smaller in scope and pretty depressing overall, although it does agree with the first one on the theme of the expansion. This one also has a lot more specific details and timings, like the fact 9.2 is releasing late February and the expansion announcement is coming 2 days after the final three bosses of the raid are enabled (so 16 days after 9.2 launch). The rest is honestly extremely bland, with the usual level cap increase, 5 zones based on the aspects, a big Old God temple raid, a new Island Expedition/Torghast "Lair" feature, partial old world revamp for a few zones, cross-faction endgame, and a few more. The only thing that's even remotely interesting here is the new class, the Tinkerer (which has nothing to do with the expansion theme whatsoever), a ranged DPS/tank.
So this one isn't really worth discussing that much as it's extremely low on features and has no creativity whatsoever, and is basically just listing things that are either obvious or community wishes. The class not having anything to do with dragons is especially telling, since Tinkerer is just one of the most wanted/shared fan concepts for a new class, so it got included. You can read more of this one but I'd say don't waste your time, because if this is what we're getting... oh boy is the game in trouble (but it's not so np).
What Will 10.0 Actually Be?
It's no surprise the Dragon Isles are the top pick for the start of the season of leaks, as they've been rumored to be an expansion since, well Vanilla really (with Emerald Dream being a little more popular back in the day). It's actually very likely that this is where WoW is heading, regardless of the accuracy of the leaks, but it's far from the only option. The concept of a "back to basics" expansion is an extremely likely one, and it doesn't have to be necessarily linked to the Dragon Isles, as there are plenty of other options for that sort of content. I'll actually be diving into some of the other options for 10.0 soon, but I have to say that first leak is pretty much what I'd have guessed was coming as well.
What do you think 10.0 will be and, more importantly, what do you want it to be?
Well, it's time for some truly spectacular raid boss action, as Rextroy has a really special one for us today! And this isn't some older boss either, or even one of the first few - no, we're getting the Remnant of Ner'zhul, the 4th/5th out of 10 bosses in the current raid!
With Rextroy you might expect a lot of crazy interactions going on, but this time it's a pretty "simple one", a 245,000% damage boost he managed to find while looking for another PvP 1-shot. A pretty big bug with the Insatiable Hunger DK legendary makes it all possible, as it allows you to stack its damage buff infinitely - or at least it did as it's already been fixed. It still took quite a bit of work to get an actual raid boss down, however, requiring using Proving Grounds to make the buff stack faster, and spending 5-6 hours getting the numbers high enough (even with a special haste set designed to gather Runic Power as fast as possible), with any mistake meaning having to start from the start. But in the end it was all worth it to see a current 4th/5th raid boss instantly die!
Poor Ner'zhul - hasn't he been through enough already? If you're just looking for the fateful moment, it's at 7:28.
And here's the full explanation:
Background: This is probably one of the most broken bugs I have discovered, atleast recently... It is a bug with Insatiable Hunger, the Venthyr legendary for Death Knights.
This legendary makes your Swarming Mist explode at the end, for damage depending on how much runic power you spent while it was active. A thing I discovered after playing around with it, is that if you remove the legendary before Swarming Mist expires, the explosion never happens. But you will keep the damage buff on the ability. This means you can stack up the damage, and delay the explosion until you want it to go off!
I wanted to do it against a raid boss, but it would take a very long time to stack it up (8-10 hours) even if I used benefits such as the Overflowing Chalice. I ultimately decided to go for it, and went into Proving Grounds since it is the perfect location where I can be alone (so no one interferes). I can also reset all my cooldowns on demand, which speeds up the process considerably! I had a specific haste set to stack it up as efficient as possible against the bronze DPS challenge. The time I stacked was about 5-6 hours total.
It was quite horrifying since a single mistake of being being too slow to unequip the legendary, or server lag, or random stuck in combat bug, would make it explode and all progress would be lost! I had some additional DMG modifers such as Fatal Flaw that I played around, but ultimately I didn't need it since the DMG was 25% overkill. I had some friends join me to help with the trash mobs! I also had them battle the boss, just incase I needed the additional DMG boost from DH 5% magic debuff, or blessing of summer.
If you wonder if it was soloable? It definitely was, I could use a cancelaura macro to make it explode instantly, like I did against my friend CarlosMatos in a duel!
Important note: The bug is fixed, reported it right after one shotting the boss and it was solved surprisingly fast Special thanks to everyone for helping me out!
Oh and btw, don't mind my friend Panic saying he want to abuse it for glad, he was definitely joking and is a real honorable guy!... I think