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Petko's Thoughts on the New Season 3 Affix: Encrypted

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Our Mythic+ guru Petko shared his thoughts about the new Season 3 affix Encrypted!

Analysis on the Season 3 Seasonal Affix - Encrypted

Hey everyone! As you guys have seen for the past several days, the new Seasonal Affix was introduced on the PTR servers and is named Encrypted Encrypted.

So, what does the affix actually do?

It's quite simple: there are 3 Relics (or so-called "mini-bosses" located in random packs across the dungeon (we don't know if they will be in a fixed location like Tormented Tormented yet) and you will receive a buff depending on which mini-boss your group decides to kill first.

  • If you kill the Wo Relic and its Wo Automa first, the whole party will gain Decrypted Wo Cypher Decrypted Wo Cypher, increasing your Haste by 20% for 45 seconds.
  • If you kill Vy Relic and its Vy Automa first, the whole party will gain Decrypted Vy Cypher Decrypted Vy Cypher, giving you a 25% cooldown reduction for 45 seconds.
  • If you kill Urh Relic and its Urh Automa first, the whole party will gain Decrypted Urh Cypher Decrypted Urh Cypher, increasing your movement speed by 150% for 45 seconds and giving you Stealth (similar to a Rogue's Stealth), but only if you defeat the mini-boss and you are out of combat.

What else does the Encrypted affix do?

Outside of the buffs that they grant to the party, each of the Relics impacts the nearby boss and non-boss-enemies. In addition, each of them, also has a unique abilities, such as:

  • The Wo Relic will have an active aura of 15% damage reduction towards nearby non-boss-enemies — Defense Matrix Defense Matrix. Keep in mind, this does NOT affect boss fights, only trash packs. In addition, while the mob is alive, it will only attack the highest aggro target (the tank) and will cast Burst Burst every once in a while. If you fail to interrupt it, the whole group will take AoE damage, depending on how high the key is (the ability's damage scales with keystone level).
  • The Vy Relic will have an active aura of 15% Haste towards non-boss-enemies — Acceleration Field Acceleration Field. Keep in mind, this does NOT affect boss fights, only trash packs and it disappears upon defeat. This is by far the most dangerous "mini-boss" and you should avoid Fusion Beam Fusion Beam at any cost. The Vy Automa teleports in a random location before casting it, and it can quickly turn lethal once you cross above the +16 keystone bracket. In addition, it will cast Shoot Shoot on random targets, so if you are low health, you might want to use a defensive or just top yourself up with Cosmic Healing Potion Cosmic Healing Potion.
  • Last but not least, the Urh Relic will cast Energy Barrage Energy Barrage onto your party until defeated. In addition, the Uhr Automa also has some unique abilities such as Force Slam Force Slam and Deconstruct Deconstruct, we refer to this "mini-boss" as the tank-buster since it makes your tank's life significantly harder.

How do you choose what Cypher (buff) you will get?

As complex as it sounds, it's actually really simple. Each of the Relics' auras will be active upon engaging the pack of mobs (all 3) are present in a random pack of mobs). To gain a specific Cypher buff, you must first kill the Relic with the bonus you desire. As an example:

  • If I want to gain the Decrypted Wo Cypher Decrypted Wo Cypher buff, I first have to kill the Wo Relic before the other two relics. Upon doing so, Wo Automa will spawn which will grant me the Decrypted Wo Cypher Decrypted Wo Cypher upon defeat.
  • If you recall from earlier, Wo Automa has only one special ability, which is Burst Burst and it should be a priority to interrupt.

This applies for all of the Automas, depending on what your party needs (Haste, cooldown reduction or movement speed + invisibility) you can "manipulate" and kill the Automa with the specific buff first.

How will the Encrypted affix impact the current Mythic+ meta?

My first impression of the affix is that it will be a lot more "pug-friendly" compared to Prideful Prideful and Tormented Tormented as it will provide you with Cyphers (buffs) on each boss, making Tyrannical Tyrannical much easier to handle. It will "force" us to pull specific packs due to the Relics being present there since upon obtaining, the power spike will be huge and therefore it will save us time in the long run. Again, this could change depending on Blizzard's decision to balance the Seasonal affix, but as of now it seems like a lot of classes that have Haste as their first or second to best secondary stats will benefit a lot.

During the past few days, I have extensively tested Encrypted Encrypted on the PTR servers and I can confidently say that you want to go for Decrypted Wo Cypher Decrypted Wo Cypher 99% of the time unless you specifically want Decrypted Urh Cypher Decrypted Urh Cypher to skip specific packs of mobs. This is, however, quite important because you no longer need to hold your potion cooldown for Potion of the Hidden Spirit Potion of the Hidden Spirit or have a Rogue for Shroud of Concealment Shroud of Concealment. Hence why I refer to this as a "pug-friendly" affix even if you want to include some skips throughout the dungeon.

Incoming changes and further development

Recently, Blizzard has shared with us some insights on what they are planning to do prior to the launch of the Mythic+ season and all the questions surrounding the tuning of Encrypted Encrypted.

Blizzard Logo(Source)

Lots of good thoughts above, thank you! Some quick callouts:

  • All buffs will have multiple effects in the next build. One of those will include mana regen.
  • It won’t be in the next build, but we intend to make boss relics respawn after a wipe.
  • I spoke broadly about why we favor haste for this type of effect, but definitely recognize that there are cases like tank mitigation & glacial spike that play differently. Curious to hear how you feel after trying the updated buff effects.

So there are a few important notes to take from this official response:

  • Having "multiple" effects can only mean that the buffs will be an even higher priority, thereby forcing us to take a specific route/paths in the dungeon so we can benefit the most out of them.
  • Addressing a major issue in Mythic+ and that is Mana regeneration for healers; since the removal of Sugar-Crusted Fish Feast Sugar-Crusted Fish Feast at the end of the Battle for Azeroth expansion, healers have been struggling to regain Mana back in a timely manner. This issue, however, is to be addressed with the following updates in the next major PTR 9.2 Build.
  • When you wipe to a boss, the Relics currently disappear, which can make the boss fight significantly harder, especially if Tyrannical Tyrannical is present. We now have a confirmation that this will soon change and Relics will in fact respawn as soon as the boss appears, which is great news!

Final Thoughts

It is yet early to have a finalized decision about the affix itself, but so far I can say that this has been the most fun affix this expansion and I am looking forward to the final tuning of Encrypted Encrypted. One suggestion that I have for the balancing team is to potentially look for increasing or changing the value of Decrypted Vy Cypher Decrypted Vy Cypher since it's the worst out of the 3 options. With the recent class changes, I am looking once again to prepare a tier-list for all roles (DPS/Healer/Tank) in Season 3 and help the World of Warcraft community with a better understanding of the next "meta" picks. Make sure to also follow our Weekly MDT article as we will post routes every week for the upcoming Season 3 of Mythic+ in Shadowlands.

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