Author Topic: Shadowlands 9.1  (Read 159 times)

Kharvek

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Shadowlands 9.1
« on: February 18, 2021, 08:23:49 AM »
Looks like some initial information has dropped that is going to be expanded on at Blizzcon.  Sounds like the usual content drop, new area with new quests, new raid, new dungeon and flying.  ...unless your character is named Brynndolin in which case you'll never unlock flying.  The raid is in Torghast, which is earlier than I'd have expected, I though that would be more an end of the expansion thing, so who knows.  (Then again, maybe the next three raids are ALL Torghast!)

They also talk about unifying the covenants a lot.  I'm betting somewhere baked in that is the 'power creep' facet of this patch which I'm sure there will be.

The new dungeon sounds like how Karazhan and Mechagon were when they first opened, a massive mega dungeon that I'm betting get split up in a future patch to be M+ friendly. 

Snique

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Re: Shadowlands 9.1
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2021, 02:10:50 AM »
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DhnpB3kUHGM&ab_channel=Taliesin%26Evitel

Tali points out that there was a remarkable lack of even simple visuals for any of the new things that were announced for 9.1 at Blizzconline. This makes it seem like the actual patch is pretty far away.

Kharvek

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Re: Shadowlands 9.1
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2021, 10:27:15 AM »
My gut is content is going to slow down from the normal rate.  This current calendar year of releases and everything beyond is now fully in the midst of 'heavily affected by pandemic'.  The stuff that hit last year was likely almost done when any sorta WFH measures hit.  The stuff from here on out has probably had significant development time under those circumstances and likely will cause some amount of delay.  The toughest stuff to work out under WFH is anything that relies on feel, which is I think the real reason there was barely any systems updates.  Those are the hardest things to do right now.  Cranking out assets isn't as problematic.  (Which is a little odd they didn't have a ton to show on that front)

Snique

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Re: Shadowlands 9.1
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2021, 05:42:55 AM »
I both agree and disagree. I think that the pandemic and WFH adjustments have an impact, but I don't think that's a systems thing. My sense is that they learned from last expansion where basically every .x patch brought a new system. In 8.x I felt like I had to re-learn the game each time, often changing talents and gems/enchants to optimize for the latest system. With 9.x we got all the systems up-front (omg so many systems) but now we just get systems tuning rather than whole revamps of the gameplay.

Valor aside I don't expect to see more new systems come out in this expansion. The downside of that is that the systems are now essentially dead ends. Most people have exactly one legendary per spec and it will upgrade when your gold matches the slowly descending price curve. That means you likely have to pass up some significant ilvl upgrades - last night I had to give up a 213 to keep my 190 legendary - which sort of sucks but it has happened before, like with set bonuses.

Likewise soulbinds and conduits are set-and-forget. There's not an exact BIS here but there are generally recognized best and very few reasons to change. It's sufficient overhead that unless you're raiding on the very edge it's likely not worth changing between single-target-best and cleave-best options between fights.

All that makes me think that we'll see some kind of combinatorics coming. For example, we're supposed to gather the convenants to invade the Maw so maybe they'll come up with a way to let us get cross-covenant soulbinds, or maybe do some kind of spell-effect thing that adds onto existing conduits. Like, if you "ally with" some other covenant it lets you add something. Maybe that's a new system? I dunno, maybe I just suck at game design.

Piralyn

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Re: Shadowlands 9.1
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2021, 06:19:31 AM »
I think folks are also underestimating the fact that they were actively working on systems for 9.0 until... the actual day the expansion went live. While they've "cut it close" before, the delay and active iteration right up until go-live is a different order of magnitude. This probably means they had even less pre-emptive work done on 9.1 like they would for follow up patches in the past, especially with the WFH limitations.

The way the game has evolved at this point means they're basically going to have to either add some new systems or extend the existing ones. With gear trickling in at a glacial pace in many cases, and the squishes making most upgrades look pretty minimal, power has to come from somewhere. Whether that's something like the extra set of Artifact Weapon powers they added in Legion or an entirely new system, who knows, but for better or for worse, they've pivoted to most of your character's power growth for an expansion being attached to borrowed power and systems. I don't think 're-grind all the same conduits you already had at a slightly higher item level' is going to compel people to continue playing. It's already felt a little shitty getting conduits to give you back powers you've had in previous expansions.

Given the fact they had basically nothing to show, they're only just now getting 9.0.5 spun up on the PTR, and WFH gutting a lot of efficiency--although it's probably less of a factor for a game designed to be played online and across the world rather than a console single-player primary game--I'd be surprised to see it before like... July. That seems like a very long time.

**andius

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Re: Shadowlands 9.1
« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2021, 03:37:25 PM »
When do people think we are going to get 9.1, I've seem some mention as late as August.
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Marco

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Re: Shadowlands 9.1
« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2021, 10:53:56 PM »
We don't much solid information about that.

It isn't on the PTR yet, and content patches usually spend at least six weeks on the PTR.  So, almost certainly not in April and not in early May.

Beyond that: we know that COVID set back their schedule, and it's easy to believe that setback could affect the 9.1 release more than the expansion release itself.  They usually go into expansion launch with a lot of work done on the first content patch; as recently as Legion, the second full-sized raid was considered to be part of the first "tier" and was in the data files at launch, even if it wasn't completely ready to go.  In addition, they didn't have a lot of 9.1 content to show us at Blizzcon in terms of zone or raid art.  So if 9.1 does come out really really late, it won't be a huge surprise.

Piralyn

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Re: Shadowlands 9.1
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2021, 02:53:48 PM »
We don't much solid information about that.

It isn't on the PTR yet, and content patches usually spend at least six weeks on the PTR.  So, almost certainly not in April and not in early May.

Beyond that: we know that COVID set back their schedule, and it's easy to believe that setback could affect the 9.1 release more than the expansion release itself.  They usually go into expansion launch with a lot of work done on the first content patch; as recently as Legion, the second full-sized raid was considered to be part of the first "tier" and was in the data files at launch, even if it wasn't completely ready to go.  In addition, they didn't have a lot of 9.1 content to show us at Blizzcon in terms of zone or raid art.  So if 9.1 does come out really really late, it won't be a huge surprise.

Yeah, based on the fact that they were still frantically finishing off the expansion in the days (and even hours, in a few spots) right before release--even after the month delay--I think it's pretty reasonable to suspect they had basically nothing ready for 9.1--and a lot of the adjustments that had to be made after release due to feedback probably further siphoned time away. Without even any real art assets or anything basic to show at Blizzcon, I will honestly be shocked if it comes out before July at this rate, which probably will not be great for the long term health of the game, but it's probably better than them trying to ram something through and put it out ASAP.

Piralyn

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Re: Shadowlands 9.1
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2021, 09:59:23 AM »
As if we willed it into being...

Quote from: Blizzard
With 9.0.5 behind us, we wanted to take a moment to update you on the 9.1 content for Shadowlands.

In about 2 weeks, we will have Chains of Domination available for the community on the PTR. Also, raid testing details will be posted a week or so after the PTR is online.

There will be a wide variety of content to check out for Chains of Domination, so as usual, your testing will play a key role in iterating on this update. We canít wait to get this in front of you and look forward to your feedback soon.

Honestly will still not be surprised if it's June or later given how much iteration the base expansion took on--but it's also unclear just how much they're actually going to try to do with this patch. It's certainly not scoped to be like... Selfie Camera 6.1 small, but we'll see how much they actually put out there from the brief description at Blizzcon.

Marco

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Re: Shadowlands 9.1
« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2021, 11:39:50 AM »
9.1 was advertised as having a mega-dungeon, a 10-boss raid, and a new zone (although the nature of Korthia is really unclear).

I checked the PTR lifetimes of modern-era WoW content patches, and they were longer than I remembered, ranging from 62-89 days.  (I'm ignoring 7.1.0's 41 days because it only introduced the Karazhan dungeon and they clearly had it in the can before the Legion release, having trashcanned the last third of Warlords.)  So June 22 is about as early as we can expect this patch, and mid-July wouldn't be surprising at all.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2021, 11:45:44 AM by Marco »

Piralyn

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Re: Shadowlands 9.1
« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2021, 01:43:27 PM »
It will be interesting to see what ends up making it in. Without the nature of the zone being very clear, I'm a little concerned that a Mechagon dungeon and 10 more raid bosses is really going to feel like "enough" to a lot of people after another 3 months. They did mention more covenant stuff--which presumably could mirror the same sort of "additional layer of power" we got in Legion and BFA patches (extra Artifact traits, essences, corruptions, et cetera), but given how much stress they went through trying to balance the covenants at release and even in the past few weeks--and arguably still not close on a lot of classes--I'm not sure how much they're going to want to fiddle with that.

We'll see once the PTR hits, although I suspect it will still be a few more weeks before the full scope of things is in files.

Kharvek

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Re: Shadowlands 9.1
« Reply #11 on: March 31, 2021, 07:22:29 AM »
It's also the flying patch which is solely based on covenant progression so there's definitely going to be more quests.  I'd also be willing to bet they try to expand Torghast somehow, but that's a dicey one since I think a lot of people are pretty sick of it right now, especially the Twisting Corridor stuff that can take longer than a raid.  I think they're going to need to add something to the new zone to keep it interesting once the quest lines are done, or at least relevant.

Also I definitely predict closer to July, but also maybe getting info out earlier to get some kinda buzz.  To my knowledge they're still completely WFH and that'll slow things down.

Snique

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Re: Shadowlands 9.1
« Reply #12 on: April 01, 2021, 05:01:55 PM »
I have to wonder how much the covenant stories are slowing down the whole process. Since covenant stories tie into other content like dungeons and maybe even raids, they may have to go back and revise those stories if stuff gets put in or cut out of instances, which need their own separate development and testing.