Class Utility and the Changes to Buff Scrolls, Speed Pots, Engi Rez and Drums in Shadowlands
05/09/2020 à 01:18
Over the Shadowlands Beta testing process, we've seen a few changes to how consumables and class-specific buffs will work, increasing the benefit that specific classes can bring to a group. We go over how each of these changes may affect you in raid and Mythic+ groups!
We recently learned that
Battle Shout, Arcane Intellect, and Fortitude scrolls are gone
the Engineering Battle Rez is gone
, and that
Drums have been nerfed to 15% haste from 25%
, making them half as effective as the class-specific effects.
This means that:
If you want a Battle Rez, you must bring a Death Knight, Druid or Warlock
If you want 5% Stamina, you bring a Priest
If you want 5% Attack Power, you bring a Warrior
If you want 5% Intellect, you bring a Mage
If you want 5% Magic Damage, you bring a Demon Hunter
If you want 5% Physical Damage, you bring a Monk
If you want Lust, you bring a Mage, Hunter or Shaman
In addition, we've also learned that
potions from previous expansions will not work in Shadowlands
, and the Shadowlands version of
Potion de pied léger
Potion de rapidité de la psychopompe
, is a dramatically nerfed version.
In this article, I'll share my opinions about how these changes will impact high-level PvE gameplay, specifically Mythic Plus and Mythic Raids.
The 5% Class Buffs
Class Buffs in Raid
For most Mythic Raid situations, it's difficult to imagine it ever being correct to be missing any of these buffs. It's possible that in an extremely melee-unfriendly fight, the Warrior and Monk buffs would no longer be important, but other than that situation these buffs represent huge amounts of value. Let's use
Marque du chaos
as an example - even if only half your raid's damage is Magic, which is below average, the simple act of applying Chaos Brand to the boss means the Demon Hunter has contributed 2.5% of the Raid's damage, or half a player's worth of damage. An impact of this size is basically impossible to beat, so basically every high level Mythic guild will seek to include at least one DH in their composition.
It is worth noting that there are effects other classes bring that are similar to these, such as the first Warlock bringing
Pierre de soins
s to the raid. Most other class utility, however, falls into a less binary space than Healthstones and these 5% buffs: The first Warrior brings a 100% effective
Cri de guerre
, and the second Warrior brings a 0% effective one. The first Death Knight also brings a 100% effective
, but importantly the second Death Knight brings an Anti-Magic Zone that's certainly less effective since you already are using one at the best spot every 2 minutes, but it's probably still well above 50% effectiveness. When most class utility is this non-binary style, the diminishing returns create a natural curve where you still want to avoid too many of any given class, but you aren't looking to play EXACTLY one of them.
Binary raid buffs like the 5% buffs create some strange incentives in recruiting, where instead of a guild having roughly 14 DPS, 2 Tank, and 4 Healer Slots open for any given fight, you instead have to make sure to hit that 1 copy of each required class, and then the remaining slots can be filled as normal. Often, the brunt of this pressure lands on the tank and healer spots - if, as in BFA, Windwalker isn't a desirable raid spec, a Mistweaver or Brewmaster must be fit into the composition, leading to a lot of homogeneous tank compositions.
In tiers where these classes are balanced to bring roughly the same throughput as others, this is a big advantage to play one of these classes (and, as the system is zero-sum, a disadvantage to playing the others), as every guild they apply to will either be missing their class and therefore desperately need them, or they won't be, in which case the applicant is judged on the merits of their throughput and skill like any other.
However, in a world where one of these classes is undertuned, recruiting and rostering gets very weird. There is still that 1 slot available for each of the classes, which can lead to enough representation that the spec seems like it's doing well, but in practice every guild will only recruit and play exactly one of that class. I believe this to be a problem - I think it's best when players are judged on how well they play the game, how much throughput they bring, and how well they use the unique tools that are given to their class. There is no skill involved with the application of Chaos Brand. Furthermore, I think this bandaid to guarantee that every raid will always contain, for example, a Demon Hunter isn't actually great news for Demon Hunters - it's not fun to do low damage and to be brought only for your debuff, and it disguises the balance problem by forcing representation. There's also an element of creativity to designing a roster of 20 classes and specs based on the challenge at hand. This element is diminished when you're always required to bring one each of five classes.
Class Buffs and Drums in Mythic+
Here I believe the changes to be a lot less problematic.
Marque du chaos
in Mythic Plus, again assuming half the group's damage is Magic, still contributes 2.5% of the group's damage, but the average player in the group is responsible for 20% of the group's damage instead of only 5% as in raid, which means the Chaos Brand represents an eighth of a player instead of half a player. Furthermore, in Mythic Plus, there are much more clear drawbacks to bringing a certain spec - you only get 5 in your entire group, and each one brings unique utility and damage to the table that can definitely compete with a 5% buff.
Drums, something that is largely irrelevant for raids, is a much more relevant change for Mythic Plus. Now, the first copy of a Lust class doubles the effectiveness of your lust effect from 15% to 30%, instead of the BFA version where they merely upgraded from 25% to 30%. I think this is a reasonable change to make that shouldn't penalize groups without lust too harshly, but does provide a substantial incentive to find one, and is especially helpful for Shaman and Hunters that otherwise don't bring much to the table.
Ultimately, Mythic Plus has always been a place where you only choose 5 specs out of a pool of 36, and 5 classes out of a pool of 12, so not having everything you might want is part of the game. This is becoming even more pronounced in Shadowlands, with the restriction of the class-specific buffs, and the addition of various covenant-locked abilities, but it's really nothing new for M+. A "perfect composition" with access to every possible buff, binary or otherwise, is not realistic, though certainly the classes that bring big value in that department have an edge over those that don't. This is fundamentally a different situation than raid where it is very feasible to bring all 12 classes into a 20 person roster.
Engineering Rez Going Away
This is a something that really only affects Mythic Plus, as most raid groups can easily cover Battle Rezzes across their much larger roster. In high-end Mythic Plus, however, this marks the expansion of an already serious concern when forming a group - there is a very serious penalty if you fail to include a Death Knight, Druid, or a Warlock. Even with the Engineering Rez available in Battle for Azeroth, this penalty was steep, as it brought a 4-second cast time and very short range, in addition to the very small chance of a catastrophic backfire. Without the bandaid of the Engineering Rez, I expect that no serious high-end key pushing will occur without one of these three classes in the group.
The impact of this for players looking to get into pushing high keys will depend on the metagame. If there are multiple specs that have battle rezzes that would be good enough to include without them, it won't matter much, as you'll still be able to break into these groups as an off-meta player, but if there is only one battle rez spec in the metagame, say Resto Druid, for example, and you're trying to get invited to high-level mythic plus as any other healer, you will be completely out of luck. I don't believe this will affect your ability to complete your weekly +10 key, but if your goal is to push higher than that, this is the sort of change that has the potential to completely remove specs not just from becoming meta specs, but from the chance of being competitive as an off-meta spec.
I think it's a good idea to remove the old-expansion potions from the list of variables that affect the next expansion. Doing this allows them to tune or remove potion effects that are problematic, and to create new and powerful ones without the worry of affecting the game for future expansions.
I've written before about the change to a 5-minute cooldown for potions
, and I see these changes as another step in the direction of having potion usage be an important choice, with a set of options designed for that purpose, rather than as an automatic reflex before entering combat.
The nerf to the
Potion de pied léger
effect in the form of
Potion de rapidité de la psychopompe
is also one that I think is reasonable. Lightfoot potion was an incredibly powerful effect, and if it remained at 150% speed it's very easy to imagine the correct move being to only drink Lightfoots and to never drink another potion for fear of not having a Lightfoot available when you needed one.
So there you have it, I like the Potion changes and don't like the Engineering Rez or the Class Buff changes. What do you think about them? Let me know in the comments below!
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