I must say I enjoy the expansion so far but in a way it feels like I’m enjoying the hope of it fulfilling its potential more so than the actual implementation.
I love the underlying ideas. They’re entirely optional, provide good income of mats and gold for those who want to bother and it’s more engaging than those terrible old missions everyone just used an add-on for to auto-send everything.
The reality however is that the mission tables seem terribly balanced, both as such and between Covenants. They are broken for people who progressed in the story beyond a point where the post-nerf troops are able to do anything – leaving you with … nothing to do but fail missions until the failed mission XP levels your followers? Terrible UI – I have no idea at all what my odds of winning are, what damage the enemy does on a normal attack or any indication at all for what would be a good strategic decision. It feels like a really complicated game with no manual. Followers you acquire late (locked by story for example) start at level one, bringing the level of your neutral troops down and being super hard to level since you got no low level missions anymore due to the way the mission table progresses…
And then there is this awful “heal all” button that costs like a gazillion anima of which you won’t have anything oozing out of your butt unless you do all anima world quests. And even then… The placement of that button next to the “start mission” button is just… give the guy who put that s*** there a slap on the back of the head please. Holy crap.
2 months into the expansion it feels like not much has happened to address these issues.
So I’m not raiding this expansion, meaning the only thing I can add here is that the community seemed to be somewhat salty with raid drop frequency. It feels in line with what I will say about Mythic+, which is what I am doing 90% of the time.
So I just got my Keystone Master (all on 15+) and I am somewhat at a loss. My gear is mostly 207+ (overall ilvl 215), with 2 slots being 200 and 203. An M+ dungeon takes between 30-40 minutes with a real chance of someone leaving at any point during a single screwup. If you time it you get 2 items, otherwise 1. These are 30-40 minutes of nail-biting stress (like a 40 minute mythic boss battle) and if you make a single mistake you are rewarded with 1 item for 5 people.
Listen… I get you wanna slow down and all. Go a bit back towards classic. Take a chill pill. Don’t get everything day1 and then whine there is nothing left to do and all. I commend that. I like the slower pace. But at some point you just sit there, look at the 35 anima you got as reward for ageing twice the rate over the past 35 minutes and somehow are oddly happy that maybe at least your RIO got boosted to allow you into higher groups. What is that, you actually got a 20% chance item? Aww shucks, it’s a slot that I already got covered with better stats.
Like I know classic itemization is different and all, but since this change in loot frequency aligns with you saying that you tried to learn some lessons from classic I feel it is fair to assume that this is one of those changes and thusly feel justified in comparing them.
So when I do a 50 minute Stratholme run I got a good shot at getting some item (even if I cannot use it). Every run I see some 5 items drop and can roll for them. There is also trash loot and all sorts of worthwhile stuff in there, like essences, a mount, rares, random epics … there’s just a ton of reward bell ringing going on and it’s a lot less stressful than M+ is.
As it stands, doing additional M+ feels utterly pointless. It’s stressful and not absurdly fun. I LOVE dungeons but the whole
*RIO application for getting accepted into groups
*people leaving during runs
*runs feeling doomed or pointless after a single mistake (depends on the group obviously. If you got the DPS to plow through packs you can afford more mistakes but let’s not pretend like every group has 5 fully functioning brains in them)
getting crp all at the end of this mental marathon (it is a very stressfull experience for a prolonged period of time. I don’t care if anyone on the forums does not know what stress is or enjoys this particular kind of stress so much that they like it. It’s draining. It’s work. Even though it can be terribly fun it is also very stressful.)
*pouring over 1000g in consumables into every run, potentially entirely wasting it if someone leaves
stuff is just super unfun. And working through that pile of s*** for 35 f***ing anima? Really? REALLY?
It also brings along the “problem” of armor class stacking. Screws over certain classes in trying to gear because gear is so rare that people want to maximize their trading efficiency and thusly won’t bring certain classes.
At this point it seems to me like my best option to progress my char is PvP. Yay.
I haven’t really enjoyed PvP since the introduction of Arena to be frank. I enjoyed rBGs but apparenty the community is not on my side with this so I don’t think I need to say too much about this. I’m not a fantastic PvPer but I am also not using my keyboard to turn.
Long story short: The PvP balance seems absolutely awful. Plenty of posts on this. PvP could probably benefit from losing Covenant abilities altogether but what I really wanna say here is that I’m not even a big PvPer and I’m frustrated at how slowly Blizzard fixes stuff. We just got a nerf to Convoke. After like 3 months. And that was an insta deleto button like holy shoot.
I wonder if my Priest will ever stand a chance against 3 Sub Rogues CCing my mates and deleting her in a global. It’s just terribly unfun. Maybe you don’t care about my opinion but alas here it is.
For what it’s worth, I do enjoy the bursty nature of Shadowlands PvP. If there is healers around at least. Obviously as stated some classes feel totally out of line but outside of the cheese it feels kinda good.
So I’ve talked a little bit about M+ before related to gearing but there’s something else I’d like to toss out there: Lose the f timer
Now I do know there are a lot of people who enjoy the competitive ranking and that’s fine and I believe there is absolutely a place for that with idk maybe the keystone master achievement and mount reward, huh. But for your normal every day M+ run, the timer is so utterly toxic.
Benefits of a timer:
- A way to gage player skill to assess what +level they can or cannot do
- A competitive score board
- Possibility of big emotional pay-off when beating timer
Downsides of a timer:
Elitism isn’t even bad at this point anymore, it’s encouraged. You don’t wanna take chances of Donald to screw up your key so you go with people who have proven that they can do the content you wanna do. Frankly, no blame on the players here, but it’s a pretty bad experience to try and bring RIO up when people constantly reject you out of the warranted fear of losing their timer.
A stressful experience. Like even when you set out to “just complete the dungeon and take your time” there is this ticking clock in the corner of your eye. I won’t harp too long on this. Timer = Stress. If you like adrenaline that’s cool (I do certainly, but I also like the option of crawling through a dungeon). Taking your time is disincentivized by downranking your key and reducing the loot you get, so while there might be some stoics out there who genuinely aren’t bothered with the timer, I’d wager for the vast majority of people it’s nothing that fills them with joy.
Possibility of big emotional let-down when failing the timer
People leaving after mistakes cause they are playing for RIO and finishing not on time is not worth it
Small mistakes can ruin runs. This is especially detrimental to players who still need to learn. The whole experience is anti-learn. Make 1 mistake, key is trash. Find a new group.
Now player skill can be gaged in more ways than their ability to rush through content and a scoreboard could be built out of other factors than a success-determining timer (maybe a timer that isn’t tied to anything but a scoreboard and the +5 +10 +15 in time meta achievements). The emotional pay-off goes both ways and then I just wonder if a timer is actually the thing to go for here.
Imagine no timer. The M±Waldo opens a Thorgast-like layer selection menu in which you can select any difficulty you have unlocked (by completing the former - with some dungeon-wide spillage so someone with NW+15 would never be required to do TOP+2 to progress or whatever - details). Then a totally normal dungeon (think M+0) starts. With normal trash loot, boss loot, being able to replace a player if they suck too hard or their house is on fire.
The limiting factor in this mode is just the difficulty. If you think slogging through a +15 waiting for bloodlust between every pull then getting some 4 items for that 4 hour investment seems like a good idea then go for it! The difficulty scaling would be harsher so that a +15 would be harder, but you’d have all the time in the world to figure it out.
My best experience in past years has been my first +10 run in Legion. We just wanted to finish it for the chest and we were all trash geared (as you can see with my char I’m usually ahead of the curve a bit so my first +10 was I think second week so gear was still kinda meh). It was a Halls of Valor with Tyrannical and the first and second boss were just so cutting edgingly hard! But we all wanted this, so we stuck around and learned those fights to perfection, using personal CDs and whatnot. It felt so good to overcome that. With a timer? First wipe, screw that I’m out. 0 learning, 0 reason to stick together. Dungeon is ruined.
I am aware that that was also a timed dungeon but special circumstances made people wanna stick around through the timer and get that done. Blizzard should fish for that experience. And every run could be like that if you could find a difficulty that your group is comfy with and then work through it. Make strategizing before pulls an option over learning a route by heart. I mean I’m not even an M+ hater, I’ve got several MoP server top rank titles. I can enjoy this. But I feel a whole lot of others cannot and furthermore 40 minute gauntlets are not exactly an every day relaxation.
I’ve got clips from the classic relaunch where some friends and I were laughing our asses off trying to jump up to a window in BRD for like 10 minutes. Failing can be so much fun but strict timers prohibit any sort of mistake and put pressure on people.
Imagine Mythic raiding being Heroic raiding with a timer that allows for 2 boss wipes and nothing else. “Sounds fun”. Yea? Sure as a challenge – but not as a main path to progress your character, week after week – having people leave mid first boss because he sees to many slackers in the damage meter and what have you not.
The whole concept of M+ derived from challenge modes. A mode meant to be played once (per char) and not for progression but solely for the leaderboard and the tmogs. So this was fine with a timer! But as a mode of end game progression I feel like this just isn’t a great way to do it.
Make it hard (scaling up with ++es that is). Make it tyrannical + fortified every week. And sure, keep the other affix rotation. And then just make it like mini raids where you can get together with your crew and earn some phat loot at whatever pace you desire. Feel accomplished when you finish instead of feeling frustrated if the tiniest thing goes wrong.
Please consider redesigning M+ without a timer. Thanks.
I’ve given that feedback before but I might as well put it here for completion’s sake.
Love the concept, love it on my mage, loved twisting corridors, but…
- Balance. Some classes’ solo experience is just a slog fest and some classes’ anima powers are boring and or weak.
- Time investment. It does feel very slow at times
- Replayability. I enjoy it when it’s at it’s best but I don’t see myself ever putting the time into e.g. twisted corridors again ever because even if playing with 100 anima powers is awesome, sinking like 2 hours into that for absolutely no rewards is just not an option. Have the end of layer bosses give 250 anima or sth (probably better 75-250-500 so people don’t just farm the first layer). Have the end boss have a chance to drop a random mount or anything. Why would you let this content be a one and done? The different mixtures of anima powers make for endless replayability but it’s just too much of a time investment for no payoff at all. Hell, even Ash isn’t a long time motivator seeing as you can only wear one legendary and once you got your BiS and maybe an off spec one the motivation to farm ash is dwindling.
The Maw (the what now? I amost forgot about it)
Loathed farming rep there. Was much smoother once I got the mount but at that point I was also almost done with the rep grind. Got 2 sockets out of it. Never going there again. 7000 Stygia for 1 socket? Why? WHY?
Like I could see myself do a Maw run when I get an upgrade, gather some 1500 Stygia to socket the item and cool. I felt like I had something to do, it’s no longer super arduous due to the mount and I get a small power increase from it. What’s not to like? But farming this utterly repetitive content every single day for a week to get 1 socket? Are you out of your mind? It’s really not that cool, guys. It looks bland, it’s somewhat hard to navigate, there is only so many different rares and dailies there… I don’t want this to be the content I have to farm every. Single. day. Now you can say “then don’t do it!” well I am doing just that but I find it kinda disappointing. Like even considering how slow upgrades seem to come if I get 1 upgrade a week I better have farmed that whole week for Stygia so I can socket it. And if I don’t wanna do it every day it feels like it’s hardly worth doing at all.
It’s hilarious that there’s also this conduit upgrade thing you can buy for 2000 Stygia as if anyone would waste that much Stygia when it’s so slow to farm.