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Jdotb BFA Q&A #17 - Reaping, Zandalari and Kul Tiran Racials
14/1/2019 em 21:14
In this week's Jdotb Q&A, he gives his thoughts on the new Seasonal Affix Reaping, Zandalari and Kul Tiran racials and more!
Watch live video from jdotb on www.twitch.tv
Check out our previous BFA Q&As with Jdotb!
Part 1: Pre-Season 1 Preparations
Part 2: Learning Skips, Personal Loot
Part 3: Azerite Traits, King's Rest Advice
Part 4: Azerite Armor, Infested and Teeming
Part 5: DPS Roles
Part 6: Tank Meta, Arcane Torrent
Part 7: Mythic+ Currency System, Class Buffs
Part 8: MDI All Stars
Part 9: Mythic+ Healer Balance, Regional Class Preference
Part 10: Explosive, Underrot, Tol Dagor Changes
Part 11: Reaping, Grievous, Boss Difficulty
Part 12: Shadowmeld, Season 2 Item Levels
Part 13: 8.1 Thoughts and Role Rankings
Part 14: 8.1 Dungeon Changes, Keystone Deletion
Part 15: Remaining Issues in Mythic+
Find him here:
Jdotb Q&A #17
What do we finally know about Reaping?
A new PTR build came up this past week introducing Reaping, the seasonal affix for Season 2 which will replace Infested on keys going forward. We’ve learned bits and pieces about Reaping over the past few months, but the details of it remained frustratingly vague until now. The community only has a couple weeks to play around with Reaping before it comes out on live servers; on one hand this is kind of fun because it means that all teams will be learning it on the fly instead of coming into the season with prebaked strategies (like teams did with Infested after extensive time on beta); on the other hand, Blizzard’s track record of introducing new M+ mechanics has been so-so at best. I suspect we’ll see lots of crazy stuff the first few weeks of Season 2 while teams try to figure out optimal Reaping routes and deal with any potential bugs that Reaping introduces.
Let’s walk through the Reaping mechanic basics. Each time you kill a mob, there will be a ghostly apparition that appears over the corpse. These apparitions will hang out until you hit one of the Reaping mob count thresholds (20/40/60/80%), then they will materialize and come sprinting towards you en masse. There are three types of Reaping mobs (hereafter dubbed “Reapers”): a melee variant (Risen Soul), a caster variant (Tormented Soul), and a miniboss-esque variant (Lost Soul), with the majority of the mobs being of the melee variety. Risen Souls will simply bang on the tank and leave a magic debuff, Reap Soul, that deals 2% of max HP per stack every 3 seconds (and can be dispelled. Tormented Souls continuously attempt a 5 second cast, Grave Bolt, that can be interrupted and deals 25% of a player’s max HP. Lost Souls cast a frontal cone periodically that reduces a player’s HP by 20% for 1 minute if hit, and upon death Lost Souls cast Expel Soul that leaves a bunch of swirlies on the ground that will knock players back and reduce damage and healing by 10% for 30 seconds.
Every mob in a dungeon is presorted into one of the three Reaper types, so there won’t be any RNG when it comes to which Reapers you get. The HP values of Reaper mobs will be 50% of their original HP values, and Reapers will have the same model as their original mob (just silvery) despite being one of the three Reaper types.
The Reapers don’t appear to be affected by other affixes, though we’ll need to get some more testing with different affixes to verify that. But they don’t heal from Sanguine, something that every other M+ mob in the game to date has done (including Spawns of G’huun), so hopefully the Reapers operate independently from other affixes. This was how Infested should have worked as well, and it was frustrating to have Spawns healing from Sanguine or applying Necrotic or getting Bolstering stacks. So this is a positive sign, both for this seasonal affix and hopefully moving forward.
Reapers will not aggro other mobs when they activate and run towards you, so you don't have to worry about mobs you've skipped getting pulled to you as well. You can also avoid aggroing the Reapers with stealth or Shadowmeld, and if they aren’t in combat with anything they will return to the spot they originally spawned. They don’t have stealth detection, so you can stealth past them, but they have a big aggro radius, so you’ll need to be careful if you’re trying to avoid them. If you manage to reset some of the Reapers, they’ll hang out at their original spawn until you hit the next threshold and then they’ll aggro again as if they were a new Reaper. For example, if you Shadowmeld a 20% Reaper, it will go back to its spawn point until you hit 40%, then it will aggro as if it was a 40% Reaper.
At first glance, Reaping appears to be much more “fun” that Infested. Whereas Infested fractured your pulls and made you pull smaller, Reaping is definitionally about big pulls - you get swarmed by lots of minimal mechanic mobs that you just need to blast down. Maybe there will be some quirky ways to deal with Reaping that rely on aggressively resetting the Reapers and never actually fighting them, but my guess is that Blizzard will rework the affix that force encounters if the community finds ways to consistently avoid Reapers. So for the players that like to blow stuff up (and who among us doesn’t?), Reaping will be a breath of fresh air compared to the micromanagement required by Infested. I’ve been reluctant to jump on the Reaping bandwagon so far even with how gross Infested has been -- the devil you know being better than the devil you don’t and what not -- but this looks like a win for Season 2.
Are any of the new Zandalari or Kul Tiran racials especially interesting for pushing high keystones?
Along with Reaping, the new Zandalari and Kul Tiran racials were unveiled on the PTR this week. We’d had some very basic information about the racials, basically what we could glean from the names of the racials themselves, but this was the first time the fully fleshed out racials were shown to the public. Some of the racials are still being finalized, and some have already been flagged by Blizzard as needing more work, but we’ve now got a pretty good idea of what both races bring to the table.
The Zandalari have a couple of racials that would see some use in M+. The first is Regeneratin’, a 4 second channel that heals 25% per second on a 1.5 min cooldown. As of the writing of this Q&A, the channel is not interruptible (which is clearly busted), and Blizzard has already gone on the record as saying that it intends for the spell to be interrupted by damage. This diminishes the value of the racial for tanks, since there probably won’t be many instances where you aren’t going to get hit for 4 seconds and also need to be healed, but even one or two ticks would be noticeable. For DPS and healers, the heal would obviously be very good, though the PvE value of a channeled heal compared to things like Arcane Torrent or Berserking is probably about even at best. The PvP implications of it seem clearly good, and barring serious nerfs to the ability it seems like a fantastic racial for arena, but I’m not necessarily sold on its weight in PvE.
The other potentially impactful Zandalari racial, which is still somewhat TBD, is Embrace of the Loa. The racial is actually 6 different racials smushed together, and you get to pick which one you want active. There is something for everyone in here: chance for your heals to do more healing, chance to put a bleed on your target, chance to get more health and armor when taking damage, etc. The versatility of the racial makes it interesting because it can be rotated based on what content you’re doing, e.g., maybe I want a DPS racial when I’m blasting M+ but flip to a heal racial when I’m doing raid progression. None of the options stand out in terms of effect, so it will strictly depend on the actual numbers; if the bleed is a strong bleed, pick Zandalari, and if it’s a weak bleed then don’t pick Zandalari.
Overall, I don’t necessarily see anything about Zandalari from a M+ perspective that would necessitate a switch from your current race, but the heal could be great for PvP, and Loa racial might end up overtuned.
Kul Tirans, on the other hand, look like they have a racial that actually gives you some utility. Haymaker is an instant cast 3 second stun and knockback on a single target, perfect for Sanguine week and probably pretty nice in PvP to create separation. This is at least worth investigating.
They also have Brush It Off which gives 1% vers and causes you to heal for 2% of any damage you’ve taken over 4 seconds, as well as Rime of the Ancient Mariner which reduces Frost and Nature damage taken by 1%. I’m not super up-to-date on my tank racials, but these seem like they could be very strong in terms of effective health.
The problem that Kul Tirans face in terms of M+ adoption is that it doesn’t matter how good their racials are in a vacuum. What matters is whether anything they offer is better than Shadowmeld. And that appears to be a resounding “no”, especially as Reaping enters the rotation. Shadowmeld is such a strong racial for M+ that it seems silly for any class that can be Night Elf to ever consider being anything else. But Kul Tiran might be a suitable choice for PvPers or raid tanks.
How will item level scaling affect the M+ dungeon runner?
With the new content coming in 8.1.5, we’ll also get a bump in ilvl. The current tiers of gear (LFR/Normal/Heroic/Mythic) will all get cranked up 30 ilvls, so where we now get 385 from Mythic Uldir we’ll soon get 415 from Mythic Battle for Dazar’Alor. Obviously that will make us more powerful (much more powerful), and the enemies we face will become more powerful to compensate, but is there anything to especially keep an eye out for as the power creep begins?
There are some things that you’ll notice, such as your secondaries, that will just straight up feel better as your ilvl goes up. More haste means faster cast times, and classes will always feel more fluid and dynamic when they can cast faster and more often. Same with crit -- it’s fun to get the big crit numbers popping up on your screen, and for classes that have procs tied to their crits, then more crits also means more fun procs. That’s the nature of an expansion. Your characters feel objectively better and stronger as each patch rolls out.
But the big thing to watch out for from a M+ perspective is the rate of scaling between your health and your damage. When the expansion began your stamina was, relatively speaking, as high as it was going to get compared to your damage. As our ilvl starts progressing, our other stats will begin to increase faster than our health (a chunk of which is base health that doesn’t scale at all), and we will steadily begin to experience more and more one-shot mechanics. The reason for this is that our damage scaling will allow us to pull more and kill it faster, and the keys we can time will stop being dictated by whether we can clear them fast enough and start being dictated by whether we can survive them. Bosses like Skycap’n and Eudora and Golden Serpent will start literally killing people in one shot on Tyrannical. It won’t matter that you could easily time the rest of the key -- the bosses will dunk on you.
In Legion, this scaling effect was somewhat mitigated by gear swapping. The one-shots in some circumstances be mitigated by avoidance, and if not avoidance then with gear like Felshield Emitter or Prydaz. The unfortunate future we’re likely going to contend with in BFA is that you’ll start prioritizing Azerite pieces less for their Tier 1 traits and more for their Tier 3 traits. Does this piece have Resounding Protection? No? Can’t wear it then since I need to be able to survive a 200k Powdershot.
It may not happen this tier, but it almost certainly will before BFA is done. And we may again see a meta dominated by classes with self-healing and defensives rather than damage. If I have to play holy paladin this expansion I’m going to lose it.
Comments on Week of Jan 14 Affixes
The affixes this week will be Tyrannical, Bolstering, Explosive and Infested.
Dungeons Most Affected by Tyrannical
Temple of Sethraliss
- Aspix and Adderis will be rough. Aspix’s Static Shock will drop the entire party’s health fairly low on Tyrannical weeks, and Conduction is going to leave someone at low health right before Static Shock goes off. Galvazzt will ramp in difficulty the longer the fight goes on, and if his Consume Charge goes off it will probably kill at least a few people. Avatar of Sethraliss is already a marathon fight, and now Pulse will squeeze healer mana that much more.
- King’s Rest is filled with bosses that do punishing single target damage to the group. Golden Serpent’s Spit Gold will continuously swap targets and put pressure on the healer for the entire fight. Mchimba’s Drain Fluid is rough to heal through, and the target needs to be topped ASAP after it ends or they might get stuck with the movement speed debuff when Burn Corruption comes out. Kula’s Severing Axe is does a ton of damage over a long period of time, requiring the healer to constantly spam heals on the target. Personal defensives are very valuable on Tyrannical.
- The Triad gets infinitely more dangerous when it’s allowed to use its abilities multiple times, which is almost assured on Tyrannical. Immunities will be a big help on this boss. Goliath will hit the tank extremely hard, and resetting your stacks will do quite a bit of group damage. Lord and Lady Waycrest will also rough up the tank, and Lady Waycrest’s Wracking Chord will do an annoying amount of party damage. Gorak Tul’s adds start to become an issue the longer he lives, so your party will need to stay on top of using the Alchemical Fires at appropriate times throughout the fight.
Dungeons Most Affected by Bolstering
- Waycrest has its share of pulls featuring lots of small mobs with a few big ones, such as any of the pulls with Devouring Maggots, Jagged Hounds or Blight Toads. You’ll need to be careful not to burn down all the fodder. Even the pulls with mobs that are closer in health still have mobs that are different enough in health that it will be hard to kill them simultaneously.
- The trash in Motherlode has lots of nasty trash abilities that are already lethal, so whichever mobs are still up at the end of a pull are likely able to kill party members from full health. And Motherlode has lots of big pulls, so Bolstering is going to get stacked up pretty quickly. Be especially careful with Mech Jockey’s Grease Guns and Venture Co. Earthshaper’s Rock Lances.
Shrine of the Storm
- The Tidesage Initiates and Dredged Sailors can Bolster another mob very easily, so pay attention when pulling them. Abyssal Eels should be burned down evenly as they have a DoT they put on anyone in melee, and one mega Bolstered eel can shred someone if the DoT is already up.
Dungeons Most Affected by Explosive
Shrine of the Storm
- Shrine features a lot of trash pulls with high mob count which will obviously spawn a lot of orbs, but the boss fights are where this affix is the most dangerous. When Aqu’sirr splits into his smaller Aqualing forms, you will need to keep an eye on three different mobs that are spaced around the room. Council and Stormsong aren’t terrible, but then you’ll have to deal with Vol’zith. Vol’zith becomes incredibly frustrating on Explosive because each of his adds can spawn Explosives, and they will be spread out across the room. If you’re trying to keep the Whispers of Power debuff for the whole fight (as you should be), any of the Explosive orbs going off might kill you, so Explosive makes this fight stressful.
Temple of Sethraliss
- Another dungeon where Explosive is only an occasional issue, but it can easily wipe you on some of the bosses. Aspix and Adderis will each spawn Explosive orbs, and this can be extremely dangerous because a lot of classes have incidental cleave abilities that will chain to the boss if you target the orb. If that boss happens to be the boss with Lightning Shield, you’ll get zapped. Adderis also melees players near him while Aspix is active, so any melee trying to kill orbs near him might get whacked. Avatar is the real headache in here, though, as each add on the fight can spawn orbs, and the adds are always spread out around the room.
- There are a lot of big pulls you’ll want to do in Motherlode, and most of them feature random damage abilities from the trash that hurt quite a bit already so any Explosive orb that goes off might kill someone. Explosive can also gum up some of the stealth skips that groups like to employ after the second and third boss.
Dungeons Most Affected by This Week’s Affixes
Shrine of the Storm
- Explosive will cause issues both on trash and on bosses in here, as many of the pulls are big and several of the bosses will spawn orbs around the room. Bolstering will further punish you for pulling big, so it’ll be tough to go fast. Adding Tyrannical into the mix means you’ll have to stay sharp with Explosives for long periods of time on boss fights.
Temple of Sethraliss
- Temple’s bosses are some of the scariest in M+, and Tyrannical makes healers chew through their mana. Explosive will punish you on Avatar, and it can cause someone to accidentally tag a Lightning Shield on Adderis and Aspix. The trash packs aren’t huge so Bolstering won’t get wild, but the mobs tend to have different health values so you’ll likely end up with a Bolstered mob with a fair bit of health left if you aren’t careful.
- The trash around Raal’s room will be a pain with Bolstering and Explosive, and Triad, the Waycrests and Goliath will all hurt. Thankfully none of the bosses are overly affected by Explosive, but this place will be frustrating.
Dungeons Least Affected by This Week’s Affixes
- Most of the packs in Underrot are reasonably sized so you won’t necessarily end up with huge Bolster stacks or tons of Explosive orbs. Be careful with the tick pulls, as they can quickly get out of hand on these affixes, but outside of those the affixes should be decent. Cragmaw’s Tantrums will start to hurt on Tyrannical, but none of the bosses are especially dangerous.
- You’ll have to be careful with Bolstering on the Saurid packs, but otherwise most of the pulls don’t have a ton of mobs, and the health values of the mobs you’re pulling will be similar. None of the bosses are much affected by Explosive, and Yazma is the only boss in here that gets noticeably more difficult on Tyrannical.
Siege of Boralus
- If you drag Spotters around and use Sighted Artillery to clear trash packs, this dungeon can in some ways actually get easier on Bolstering week. There are some bigger pulls in here that can make Explosive an issue, but most of the trash dies fast. Viq’Goth will take a while on Tyrannical, and you’ll need to have good rotations on the tentacles, but otherwise the bosses aren’t terrible on Tyrannical.
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I've been hating Shadowmeld ever since I made a Tauren druid in BC and realized it basically allowed them to Vanish like a rogue, which is class functionality that never seemed like it should be on a racial. There has never been anything comparable on the Horde side, especially in PVP - having to wildly click to retarget all the time is just something Allies dont really have to deal with unless they are fighting a Rogue. About time it got the Blood Elf treatment.
And yeah, all the Ally crying about racials has been very strange to listen to all that time :/
Personally, I think belf racial shoulda stayed a silence/interrupt. BUT a 100% heal every 90 seconds is insanely OP. There's two other self heal racials in the game and both are FAR weaker. Draenei get 20% of their health every 3 minutes, and undead get 35% every 3 minutes but only if there's an undead or humanoid corpse nearby. From a strict numbers stand point, the Zandalari racial is 10x stronger than the Draenei and over 6x as strong as the Undead while being more versatile than the latter. Even if you only get a single tick of the heal, it's still 2.5x and 1.5x as strong respectively.
I've been hating Shadowmeld ever since I made a Tauren druid in BC and realized it basically allowed them to Vanish like a rogue, which is class functionality that never seemed like it should be on a racial.
That's some really poor memory there, because at least until wotlk shadowmeld was not usable in combat.
My only real issue with reaping is that it pushes the burst aoe classes even more than before. The meta will likely remain 2xmelee and one 'utility' ranged for the burst aoe and aoe stuns. This would be fine if Blizzard actually tuned classes based off of m+ and not just raids so we could see some variation or if we could switch gear or talents mid dungeon to make up for the deficiency. It's frustrating playing classes that can do good single target and poor aoe with one talent set, mediocre single target and mediocre aoe with another talent set and poor single target and good aoe with yet another set when other classes get to have it all with one setup.
Not a single person told you that you had to only keep one set of gear for all situations. Classes are being balanced around traits, not raids. Meaning, you have decided to stick with the cookie cutter meta raid traits and haven't thought twice about whether you could actually deviate from that setup outside of raid, when almost every single class has stronger azerite traits than archive when reorigination isn't being used. Restore your gear, set up your spec for M+, not raid, then you'll notice a huge difference.
Classes are extremely balanced right now, outside of raid traits. Each class brings to the table something specific, that's how M+ has always been at high key levels and always should be.
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