Wednesday, March 2, 2016

New Alpha Build with News on Second Artifacts and Secondary Stats

A new Alpha build is being deployed for Legion, and with it we get some interesting new tidbits.

First off, Feral Druids will now be playable, leaving only three specs left to be enabled. We still don't have Azsuna or Suramar available, so here's hoping that happens soon. If I recall correctly, there's only one more dungeon to open up, which is Suramar City (likely given a new name the same way Suramar Catacombs became The Arcway.)

One of the big questions people have had, particularly for those of us who main Healers or Tanks, is how one will get one's secondary artifact weapon. The news is: "early." Blizzard says that you'll be able to acquire your second artifact weapon early in the leveling process. Personally, I think it would make the most sense to simply allow you to get it once the normal class quest chains tell you to go to the new zones. I'd happily delay my sojourn into Stormheim (or whichever zone I go to first) in order to go get the Ashbringer, rather than trying to make my way with Truthguard solo.

The other bit of news is a little bit mathy. Essentially, Blizzard wants to flatten out the curve on secondary stats in order for low-geared people to feel that their spec is working properly earlier. This is probably most pronounced on specs that rely on critical strikes, such as Fury or Fire. You'll be getting to higher levels of crit, haste, mastery, and versatility earlier on, while future gear will scale a bit more flatly - you'll still see your percentages improve, but secondary stats won't go up exponentially, while (if I understand correctly,) the real power stats - Agility, Intellect, and Strength - will continue to climb exponentially, providing you with the power you're looking for. To be clear, they're doing this not to make end-tier raiding feel underpowered. My understanding is that the final tier of Legion should feel comparable to the final tier of Warlords in terms of haste/crit/mastery. But a fresh level 110 character should be able to quickly get gear that makes them feel capable, even if the net damage/healing output are in line with, well, someone fresh at the level cap.

It's now March, so I'm hoping that we'll get a release date either this month or next. I'm predicting a June release to coincide with the movie coming out (I expect a launch a week or two after the movie, to get Warcraft on peoples' minds and so that people aren't going to skip the movie so that they can just play the new expansion.)

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