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Season of Discovery: XP Buff, Mount Discounts, Gold Buffs and Future Phase Plans

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Blizzard have shared a lot of info on upcoming buffs in Season of Discovery starting next week, as well as plans for future phases! There's XP and gold buffs, as well as a discount for mounts coming next week, and we also found out that future phases will have a 20-man raid size! Blizzard also delve into itemization changes at the final phase level cap of 60, with new items coming as well as old ones getting revamped, so let's dive in!

Blizzard LogoSoD (Source)


The WoW Classic team wanted to take a moment dig into a few adjustments we plan to make next week as well as share some details about how the next few phases of Season of Discovery will handle endgame raiding and our thought process around this.

XP Buff and Leveling

When we first concepted Season of Discovery we knew we wanted alts to be a major fixture of the experience, and so we decided to add an XP buff, Discoverer’s Delight, into previous level bands at the beginning of each phase. This is great for existing characters that were not yet at the current level cap or were new characters created after the phase changes, but if you went into phase 2 with several characters at 25 already, it can be a little daunting to level them right now. We’ve been considering ways to help with this over the past several days and we’ve made adjustments to our existing plans.

  • Starting next week (March 5th, with maintenance), the Discoverer’s Delight XP buff will be enabled on all realms, increasing XP gained from levels 1-39 by 100% (up from 50%).
    • We had always intended to increase Discoverer’s Delight to a 100% buff from 1-39 when phase 3 launches, so this is merely moving this change forward from the start of next phase, to a mid-point of this current phase.
  • Alongside Discoverer’s Delight adjustments, we’ll also be reducing the cost of normal racial mounts and mount training by roughly half at level 40. We do not have changes planned for epic mounts at 60 at this time.
  • Lastly, we will also be increasing the base gold reward from all quest rewards while players are level 1-39.
    • Please note that this bonus gold will NOT be in effect at level 40, meaning this will not impact the XP->Gold conversion for quests completed at the current max level. This will help equalize things and make questing while leveling a bit more lucrative, which will help players with things like purchasing new skills and buying their mount, since they will be leveling twice as fast.

Going forward, we are also looking at leveling adjustments for when phase 3 launches and the level cap raises to 50. We’d also like to continue to make mid-phase adjustments like this to help smooth over the leveling curve for alts a bit, or help those leveling a bit slower to get that nudge over the finish line. We think alts are great and we want you to feel good about playing them, and we think this will help.

Raid Size at level 60

Recently a hot topic of debate is the raid size at level 60 and we’ve been watching the commentary on this closely. To help quell confusion, here’s a look at exactly what to expect in the net few phases in terms of raid size:

  • The yet-to-be-announced level 50 raid will be a 20 player experience
  • Molten Core will also be a 20 player experience in Season of Discovery

Past that, we are still discussing exactly what raiding in the later tiers of Season of Discovery will look like in terms of raid size.

For a bit of background, when we first concepted Season of Discovery we felt that it was perfectly natural for a version of Original World of Warcraft to have 40 player raids. This is partially because the development time needed to scale them was not planned within the scope of what we set out to accomplish on the aggressive schedule we have, but mostly because 40 player raids felt like such a defining characteristic of Original WoW and are utterly unique to this version of the game. It wasn’t really even in consideration to eschew them entirely.

When we set out to create our level-up raids however, we did feel that asking people to field 40 players would be a tall ask at level 25. We wanted these first few raids to be somewhat easy to form pick-up groups for as well. As a result, we decided on 10-player experiences instead for the first two level-up raids. As we’ve played the game ourselves and watched how players approach community building, we’ve realized that we’ve set some communities up to potentially struggle a bit by asking them to recruit up from one or two 10-player raid groups to a full 40, should they choose to. As a result, we wanted make it clear now what our plans are to start “bridging” from 10 player raids to higher raid sizes.

While overhauling all 40 player raids down to 20 would be theoretically possible, this may be prohibitively difficult and detract significantly from the other features and content we have planned to implement in a post-60 Season of Discovery. We are doing some investigation now to help us understand what would be needed and what the framework of the Original WoW data can support in this regard. There are some features that just cannot currently exist in Original WoW as well, such as Flex Raiding, so we are constrained in exactly what we are able to do here. Molten Core is definitely unique here in that it is simple enough mechanically and under the hood that it would be relatively easy to pare down to a 20 player experience.

Itemization changes at level 60

One thing we’ve also not talked about yet is our thoughts around level 60 endgame rewards and the very significant changes we have planned there, and that may also be a key piece of context missing to help illustrate our philosophy on different raid sizes in Season of Discovery.

  • We currently plan to revamp many items from dungeons and raids (including the existing 20 player raids) at level 60, as well as adding new items across all phases of endgame. We have a ton of exciting playstyles that are new or were traditionally seen as “off specs” that have been given life in Season of Discovery and will come into their full power at 60. We want to itemize well for as many different builds and playstyles as we are able to in the time we have.
  • We currently also have plans to make adjustments to the difficulty of all raids, as well as the power level of rewards available. This does not mean making raids harder or easier across the board relative to player power, but looking individually at each experience and defining what those experiences are about and what their purpose is.
    • Theoretical Example: A raid that may have traditionally been considered to be “catchup” raid such as Zul’Gurub could see adjustments that bring their challenge level up slightly, but also greatly increase the quality and diversity of the rewards so that they feel like a viable progression path alongside other current content in that phase, such as Blackwing Lair.
    • On the flip side, we also always wanted to make sure that any 40 player raids that exist remain approachable (i.e. able to be completed in pick-up groups) and that they maintain that “soda and pretzels” feel of 2019 Classic raiding, where you could bring almost any group composition or experience level and have success.

We think that adjusting the quality of rewards to a more consistent level between different raid sizes could help provide a larger “menu” of activities to do that all feel rewarding or worth doing to a wide variety of players or playstyles, and add a lot of fun things for players to chase to increase the efficacy of their chosen Season of Discovery role or playstyle.

Ultimately, we recognize that not knowing what’s coming can be a cause for anxiety. We also recognize that what we set out to create and the audience we created it for have grown and evolved in the short time since we announced Season of Discovery. It’s also difficult for players outside of our development process to understand what the true “endgame” is for SoD without us being extremely specific, but it is a bit too soon to really share the nitty gritty details on every aspect of the level 60 endgame. Some things are still in concept, and other things will change based on other future learnings and where your feedback takes us. We want to arrive at a place where, ideally, if your guild wants to strictly stick to a smaller raid team of 20 people the rewards are compelling enough that you don’t feel “behind” a team focused on 40 player raiding.

We want your feedback!

In closing, what we’d really like to hear from you is feedback on what you want. While we think that 40 player raiding is important to Original World of Warcraft, we are also interested in doing the thing that will create the most enjoyment to the most amount of players, but ideally not also remove enjoyment from another large contingent of players so long as it is feasible to do. This is one of the great challenges of being the custodians of this game. There are many people who want very different things from Season of Discovery and Classic at this time, and our team has constraints in what we can accomplish as we are moving full speed through these releases. We are going to continue to do our best to strike a balance and compromise between a great many perspectives, while still trying to keep key aspects of Classic WoW, Classic. The best way we can do that and prioritize the right changes is for you to share your feedback and constructive suggestions with us to help us forge the right path forward together.

We appreciate the time everyone has taken to comment on this and other issues. We hope to hear from you on this, and we hope to be able to share even more information very soon. Thank you!

-The WoW Classic Dev Team

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