Author Topic: Shadowlands  (Read 891 times)

Marco

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Re: Shadowlands
« Reply #30 on: April 10, 2020, 04:23:37 PM »
QA issues like that tend to be clustered, and I think are explained by specific internal process issues (which we don't always get visibility into, but sometimes do).  The ones you cite happened early in BfA launch, when the design team was distracted with a bunch of unplanned work on essences.  Trilliax happened when they made an engine change late in a patch testing cycle.  If they happened all the time I'd be more worried.  Substantial tuning errors upon launch of a system happens pretty much every time they introduce one.

Marco

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Re: Shadowlands
« Reply #31 on: April 16, 2020, 04:56:56 PM »
Torghast is playable on the alpha.  wowhead has a first look article: https://www.wowhead.com/news=312115/first-look-at-torghast-tower-of-the-damned-in-shadowlands

Some notable differences from horrific visions based on the current iteration:

* No timer, until you die a certain number of times on the same floor (3 if solo, scaling to 11 party deaths in a group of 5).  At that point there's a timer in the form of a grue who advances from the beginning of the floor to the end, one-shotting any players it comes across.  If you finish the floor in spite of the grue, you go back to not having a timer.

* No madnesses, since there's no insanity theme.  Instead you get more power as you go along, in the form of anima powers.  To keep this challenging there will have to be difficult mechanics from enemies and traps, but not from interactions between negative affixes and enemy abilities (or terrain).

* Randomized layout.  Not using borrowed city terrain should also make navigation generally less fraught.

Marco

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Re: Shadowlands
« Reply #32 on: April 28, 2020, 12:46:01 PM »
Ion did an interview with a pair of French streamers.  My notes:

* They're still expecting to release in 2020.

* Ion said it will probably be easy to leave a covenant to join another, but there will be some effort cost to rejoining a covenant you abandoned.  It wasn't discussed, but there is also an inherent cost to switching if your progress doesn't carry over from one covenant to another; the nature of that cost depends on how generous their catch-up systems are.  Still, this design should minimize buyer's remorse over the initial choice.

* You can only wear one legendary a time, at least initially.  Ion didn't say whether that number would increase, but he mentioned it being like Legion.

Feedback on Torghast so far has been very positive.  In an earlier interview, Paul Kubit floated a design where you get some number of free entries, and you can earn additional entries through open world gameplay.  Players have strongly asked for unlimited access with a limit on rewards, and in this interview Ion indicated that they were looking into designs along those lines.

https://www.wowhead.com/news=312334/liveblog-of-the-shadowlands-interview-with-ion-hazzikostas-and-zoltan

Marco

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Re: Shadowlands
« Reply #33 on: May 13, 2020, 07:46:22 AM »
There's been a lot of interesting discussion about Torghast recently.  Unlike horrific visions, which are about mastering a fixed scenario under punishing circumstances, Torghast is about adapting to a random challenge while accumulating random temporary power bonuses.  The feedback has been that it's very fun--in the context of the alpha, where you have motivated players who don't care about the rewards.  The challenge is to integrate a mode like this into the live game with associated power rewards.

A few weeks ago in an interview, Paul Kubit floated a system where you got some number of keys per week easily, and could earn additional keys through world content.  The almost unanimous feedback was that players wanted to be able to play unlimited Torghast, with a cap on rewards instead of a gate on entry.

There is a reasonable concern that with unlimited entry, players will "fish" for favorable Torghast runs like some players fish for favorable greater rifts in Diablo 3.  When fishing becomes the "right" way to play, it makes the game less fun.  In a recent video, Taliesin noted that he found himself doing so when running as a shaman, even though he thought of himself as a player who doesn't do that kind of thing.  Fishing is less likely to happen if the random powers and layouts are tightly balanced, but arguably a rogue-lite game is less fun if it's tightly balanced.

In a more recent interview, Morgan Day suggested that there might be multiple modes: an unlimited mode with only cosmetic rewards, and a gated mode that you run to get your legendary components.  I think this design could turn out okay.  The design allows for separate tuning on the prestige mode and the power mode, with the power mode being less random and having shorter runs.  Since you can only equip one legendary, there doesn't really need to be a cap on legendary components, and once you have a legendary you're happy with for each spec or gameplay activity, the power mode becomes irrelevant for a while until a patch opens up new options.  The prestige mode can allow for longer and more random runs, since no one is "forced" into it.  If players wind up fishing for favorable tower runs in the less tightly tuned prestige mode, at least they're not being "forced" to do so in order to gain power.

I saw someone float the interesting idea that instead of using keys for entry to a particular version of the tower, you use them to claim legendary materials at the end of a run.  With that design there is no danger of scuffing a key like you can scuff a Horrific Vision vessel or M+ keystone.  You could play the tower as much as you want in all of its randomness, but would still have to earn access to the power rewards if you wanted to grind out lots of different legendaries.  However, I think that design would be especially prone to fishing, if the amount of power rewards scaled well with really long and successful runs.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2020, 05:15:29 PM by Marco »

Marco

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Re: Shadowlands
« Reply #34 on: July 09, 2020, 11:37:51 AM »
There was a Shadowlands stream update this week, followed by a round of interviews and a major alpha update.  My notes:

* Beta begins next week.  No announced release date yet beyond "fall".

* All modes of Torghast will be ungated, though rewards may be capped (beyond the implicit cap of only being able to equip one legendary at a time).  There will be no timers.

* There will be a mission table, with some evolution based on auto-battlers to maybe make it more interesting.  It doesn't sound like they're planning to make it any more important than the BfA mission table in terms of rewards.  (I do run the BfA mission table on a few characters.  It generates a bit of gold, sometimes in the form of faction rep or consumable runes.  Nothing like Legion, but it's trivial to do once you get it going.)

* Each covenant will have a different associated activity; for instance, Ardenweald has an activity reminiscent of the Mists of Pandaria farm.  They sound a bit like legion class hall activities, which were very optional.

* Heirlooms are losing XP bonuses, as the pace of leveling alts will already be much faster and is targeted at completing one expansion's storyline.  They may get some other perks as a replacement.

Taliesin has a video looking at the endgame reward loop as it appears in the current alpha: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lrz2oftomvI&feature=youtu.be

wowhead has a preview of the legendary crafting UI: https://www.wowhead.com/news=316817/shadowlands-rune-carving-legendary-crafting-alpha-preview

Marco

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Re: Shadowlands
« Reply #35 on: July 15, 2020, 10:10:01 PM »
Beta began today.

While the combined alpha and beta period has varied wildly over the past three expansions (and there was no public alpha prior to that), the time in beta has been a little more consistent: 139 days for WoD, 110 for Legion, 112 for BfA.  Using those as a range puts the release date anywhere in November.

Snique

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Re: Shadowlands
« Reply #36 on: August 01, 2020, 06:27:12 AM »
The launcher has updated its pre-purchase text to say "Coming Q4 2020" where it used to say "Coming 2020". I'll probably buy in, soon.

My father, who pre-purchased more or less when it first went on sale, did not get a Beta invite.

**andius

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Re: Shadowlands
« Reply #37 on: August 01, 2020, 07:15:59 AM »
Does pre-purchasing get you anything that buying it after the launch does not?
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Marco

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Re: Shadowlands
« Reply #38 on: August 01, 2020, 07:16:23 AM »
The Shadowlands progression systems have been taking shape on the beta.  Although the BfA systems will be wiped clean (corruptions on gear go away in the pre-patch, and essences and Azerite won't work while in Shadowlands zones), Shadowlands is introducing more systems than usual at the expansion launch.

* Shadowlands legendaries are like Legion legendaries, but crafted rather than acquired randomly.
  - You can only use one at a time for now.  (Legion allowed you to upgrade to two at a time very early on; that's not the case in Shadowlands.)
  - I believe every spec has access to eight generic legendary powers, four class-specific powers, and four spec-specific powers.
  - Legendary powers are acquired through various gameplay activities.  They are collected permanently and account-wide.  (Obviously being account-wide means less for the class- and spec-specific abilities.)
  - To craft a legendary you need a base item from an armor-crafting profession (or jewelcrafting for neck/ring), two stat runes from inscription to determine the secondary stats, and some amount of Soul Ash from Torghast.

* Covenants provide one generic ability and one class-specific ability.  There are four covenants.
  - Covenants are progressed through earning Renown via world activities (including the covenant campaign).
  - Renown progress is time-gated with a hard cap.
  - Covenant progress is supposed to have "really strong" catch-up mechanics, meaning that renown is faster to earn if you are behind.  No details on this yet.
  - You can easily switch to a covenant you've never been in before; however, you'll then have to catch up on renown in the new covenant.
  - Switching back to a covenant you've been in before will require some kind of task, designed to be onerous enough to keep people from switching around frequently.  No details yet.  Renown progress previously earned in the old covenant is preserved.
  - When flying is made available, it will be unlocked via renown rather than reputation.

* Within each convenant, you have a choice of three soulbinds (two available immediately, one unlocked via renown).
  - Soulbinds are a bit like additional talent trees, with a UI element where you choose a path from the top to the bottom.  The path has seven rows, with 1-3 columns per row.
  - Swapping which soulbind you're using is as easy as swapping talents.
  - Soulbinds can be respecced (changing the path) for a low cost at a specific place.
  - Soulbinds do not change when you swap specs.

* Soulbinds are empowered by Conduits, which are a bit like BfA essences and a bit like Legion relics.
  - You collect conduits via various activities.  Most conduits have multiple sources.
  - Conduits are collected permanently, but are not account-wide.
  - From your collection, conduits can be applied to open slots in the soulbind trees.  A conduit can only be used once per soulbind, but can be used across multiple soulbinds.
  - Within a given soulbind, conduits can only be changed out once per week.
  - Conduits have ranks (implying that we'll probably be re-farming existing conduits in each patch).  If you collect a conduit at a higher rank, it replaces the lower rank in your collection.
  - Conduits and their corresponding slots have three different types: potency, endurance, and finesse.

* Base gear should feel a little more like it did in classic or early expansions.
  - No warforging or titanforging.  (I'm not sure at the moment what is happening with sockets and tertiaries.)
  - Class sets won't be present at launch, but have been announced as returning in a later patch.
  - Gear drop rates have increased dramatically over the history of WoW, and random gear enhancements were a reaction to that.  With gear enhancements playing less of a role, drop rates are being ratcheted back.  For instance, M+ dungeons will normally drop only one item at the end.
  - Lower gear drop rates may increase the relevance of crafted gear, as players will spend longer without M+ or heroic raid drops in some slots.
  - Crafted gear can use optional reagents to determine their secondary stats and increase their power.
  - The weekly M+ and PvP caches are being combined into the Great Vault, which offers one item per week with a choice of items.  So far we have a UI preview for the great vault on the beta, but no blue post.
    . The amount and quality of choices depends on raid, M+, and PvP activity for the week.
    . Raiding offers up to three choices at 3/7/10 bosses killed, with the quality depending on the level of the raid.  (I assume the thresholds will change based on the number of bosses in the current-tier raid.  Castle Nathria has ten bosses.)
    . M+ offers up to three choices at 1/5/15 dungeons completed.  The quality is based on the lowest of your top N runs, so running +2 keys to fill won't be very useful.  Fifteen high-level M+ dungeons is an awful lot of work for one character, so I won't be surprised if the thresholds are lowered.  (I have heard that Shadowlands dungeons are shorter than BfA dungeons on average, but I don't have a real sense of that.)  [Edit: this was changed to 1/4/10 dungeons.  Also, Evitel pointed out in a video that from the datamined strings, the quality could be based on, say, the lowest of your top 3 runs even if 10 runs are required.  I doubt it, though.]
    . PvP offers up to three choices at 100/150/250 conquest points.  The quality is based on your PvP rating (highest bracket win of the week).  [Edit: this was changed to 125/350/875 conquest points.]
    . Overall, earning many choices at a high item level sounds like it will take a lot of work, but it should be common to have 2-4 choices at an item level commensurate with current progression.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2020, 08:44:47 PM by Marco »

Marco

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Re: Shadowlands
« Reply #39 on: August 05, 2020, 05:12:52 PM »
I got a beta invite, which usually happens when a bunch of other people here get one.

Snique

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Re: Shadowlands
« Reply #40 on: August 05, 2020, 05:43:20 PM »
I got a beta invite, which usually happens when a bunch of other people here get one.

+1

Piralyn

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Re: Shadowlands
« Reply #41 on: August 06, 2020, 09:19:37 AM »
I did not get a beta invite due to probably being considered a peasant or whatever. They posted about some Shadow Priest redesign/changes earlier in the week which I don't think have been posted in here:

Quote
reetings,

We’ve heard your feedback on Shadow Priests and spent some time performing more extensive changes to the spec – including changes to baseline skills and talents. Most importantly, we’ve taken a deeper look at Voidform.

Voidform
Along with Insanity, Voidform was introduced in Legion as a central component of a Shadow Priest redesign that explored the fantasy of tapping into dark, mind-twisting void magic for temporary power. From a gameplay standpoint, this was expressed as building up Insanity, entering Voidform, then battling against decaying Insanity to prolong your time in this powerful state. This design has not been a clear winner for several players as we often receive feedback that people do not enjoy fighting the resource decay in order to inflict reasonable damage. On the other hand, we also hear from people who enjoy Voidform but feel it is not transformative enough. Over time, the design has proved problematic and Voidform uptime has dominated the spec, going far beyond our original intention. Now, any talents, items, legendaries, etc. that do not feed into Voidform are considered undesirable. We want time in Voidform to feel more impactful and as a result, we are limiting the time you can undergo the transformation by applying a cooldown. By default, the ability will no longer have the decaying resource mechanic, but that gameplay will be more appropriately placed in the redesigned talent, Legacy of the Void, so that players can have the option to choose the “legacy” feel of Voidform.

Devouring Plague
Feedback suggested the duration of Devouring Plague was too long. While we reduced the duration from its historic 21 second duration to 12 seconds, we agree this still feels too long so we’re reducing it further to 6 seconds. We’ve also fixed bugs that prevented Devouring Plague from scaling with Haste or Critical Strike and we’ve also increased its damage.

General Gameplay
We’re introducing a new passive called Dark Thoughts that adds a baseline proc in the rotation which we feel spices up the general rotation. We want damage over time effects to matter to Shadow Priests, so we’ve made it so Dark Thoughts and other mechanics interact with that core theme.

Talents
We’ve gone through a number of talents and made adjustments in an effort to make choices a bit more competitive in a variety of situations. Unfurling Darkness and Psychic Link support Shadow Priests multi-dotting strength, while Damnation and Surrender to Madness provide tools for Shadow Priests to quickly burst targets down when the encounter demands it.

Lastly, we want to spotlight the new talent, Searing Nightmare. Searing Nightmare can assist Shadow Priests in situations like Mythic+ where higher sustained AOE could be useful.

Thanks everyone for your feedback and your unending passion.

More details in the actual post, but I am fairly heartened by the attempt to remove a "most of your damage comes from cramming as much damage as possible into a small window by extending it as much as possible" pool and spend mechanics. I understand a desire for "high" skill cap specs, but I do not think that papercutting a mob for a minute and a half to then do twenty seconds of intense damage is a very fun playstyle and it is extremely punished by any encounter/enviornmental variable.

There's fun in that on a smaller scale, sure, but the amount of damage that hinges upon maintaining and extending a very short burst window by any means necessary for Shadow and Breath of Sindragosa Frost DKs

Jenilea

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Re: Shadowlands
« Reply #42 on: August 06, 2020, 02:55:12 PM »
I got a beta invite, which usually happens when a bunch of other people here get one.
I also got a beta invite yesterday.
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Piralyn

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Re: Shadowlands
« Reply #43 on: August 07, 2020, 06:22:40 AM »
I did not get a beta invite due to probably being considered a peasant or whatever.

I got one late last night, so I have apparently graduated from peasant--or they're giving them to EVERYONE.