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World of Warcraft - Two Weeks After Patch 8.3

By Robin Baird on January 27, 2020 | Columns | 0

It’s been just shy of two weeks since World of Warcraft's Visions of N’Zoth patch landed on servers, which seems like an appropriate point to check in on what’s become apparent in those two weeks. Aside from the extreme bugginess after the patch launched, the rare daily escapades 2.0, and the auction house revamp mostly breaking the auction house, the rest of the patch has gone well. The Heroic Visions are generally fun and interesting and raiding has gotten off to a solid start as well. Though, it’ll be interesting to see how the Mythic race proceeds this coming week. That said, now that everything has gone live and we know Blizzard isn’t planning on doing an 8.3.5 patch, I have some real concerns.

Corrupted Gear, An Interesting but Flawed Idea

Most of the time, I love risk vs. reward systems in games because when done well, they provide room for a lot of interesting choices on the part of players. Corrupted gear is a risk vs. reward system, but it doesn’t feel enjoyable. For anyone who isn’t aware, gear now has a chance to be corrupted which adds a powerful positive effect at the cost of your character suffering increased amounts of corruption. When you reach certain thresholds of corruption, your character will suffer specific ill effects. Of course, these harmful effects aren’t constant; they also have an rng aspect to them.

Personally, as a tank, all of these corruption affects seem bad in a progression raiding setting, especially considering two have a chance anytime I take damage. From what I have seen, they don’t seem to happen very often which makes choosing the risk of corrupted gear appealing. However, having reduced speed or spawning an extra thing to wail on me could be detrimental at the wrong moments. So, for progression, I am playing it very safe in terms of how much corruption I can stand.

You might be wondering at this point what the problem is since I did say I generally like risk/reward mechanics, and the problem is a bit of a surprising one. I honestly believe the legendary cloak and the time gating on it is a real problem here. By doing the Horrific Visions of Stormwind and Orgrimmar, we can gain items and increase the rank and corruption resistance our cloaks provide. However, the max level the cloak can be leveled to is limited each week. On its own, I like the time gating of the cloak because it reduces the pressure on me to “OMG DO ALL THE THINGS NAO” and lets me focus on the parts of the patch I enjoy. Also, anyone who is behind the curve won’t be affected by the time gating so it also works as a way to make it easier for players to catch-up (the max level increase each week is lower than the number of times a player can feasibly enter a vision each week).

Where this becomes a problem is since I know in the future, I will be able to withstand more corruption I’m developing a sizable collection of awesome gear I can’t currently use. I’ve been lucky in raids so far and have received some lovely pieces of equipment, but they are just chilling in my bags which feels bad. Sure, I could cleanse the gear and use it, but the corruption effect on it is nice and I may never see that gear piece with corruption again. So, I’m incentivized to hold onto it for now which seems like an unintended outcome.

We’re Doing this for How Long?

The Battle for Azeroth Alpha started at the beginning of February 2018 and then launched August 2018, which gave it a six-month alpha/beta cycle. As you might recall, the launch of BfA was not great. Especially once we saw more of the Azerite Gear system, which wasn’t even implemented until right before launch. Of course, we could be looking at the same timeframe for Shadowlands but if so, we’ll need to see the Alpha kick up in a week or two. Now it’s possible Blizzard has just been super on top of keeping everything under wraps and unspoiled this time around and we could get the Alpha any day now. Honestly, six months in Visions wouldn’t be so bad.

I’m not sure I want the same schedule we had with BfA though. One of the significant issues BfA had was the fact Blizzard didn’t have the time to iterate on feedback the way they should have. Some of it was us not getting azurite armor to mess with until way too late, but also there was a good amount of changes which came with 8.2 people had been asking for since the Alpha.  So I want them to take as long as they need to so that Shadowlands is in as good of a spot as it can be before launch. I don’t want to be waiting around for fixes to underlying issues from Alpha again. Of course, if we are expecting more than six months, the Visions patch is going to get incredibly stale.

However, I wouldn’t put my money on Blizzard being on track for the same timing as they were for BfA because I don’t think no leaks is at all likely. I mean, there’d at least be whispers about an incoming Alpha. I’d even wonder if part of the reason there’s no plans for 8.3.5 is because they need to put everything towards Shadowlands to catch up to where they wanted to be in the production of it. This is probably a good choice if this is the case, but I still worry.

But 8.3 is Fun

I know I’ve harped on my concerns a bit, but I’m honestly having a lot of fun with 8.3. In general, there’s a good balance of things I can do every day if I want, but I don’t feel overly pressured to have to do them as I did in 8.2. So far, I am loving the new raid and enjoying the fights there, which are some of the most interesting fight mechanics I’ve seen in a raid in a long time. As frustrated as I am with the corruption system and as concerned, as I am for the next expansion, for now, things are good.


Arlee

Robin Baird

Robin loves RPGs, MMOs, JRPGs, Action, and Adventure games... also puzzle games... and platformers... and exploration games... there are very few games she isn't interested in. When it comes to MMOs she focuses on WoW and GW2 but will pick-up other games as they catch her fancy. She's a habitual returner to FFXIV because that game is an all-around great MMO.


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