Thoughts on Shadowlands


Possibly a bit off-topic and not sure if it’s already been discussed somewhere. But I was just wondering how the AMR team feel about Shadowlands, the class design and the systems that they are adding?

I think considering what you guys do, it would be interesting to hear, plus any plans/thoughts you’ve had about AMR simming some of the new legendaries/covenants/all the other stuff. Surely having all the systems at launch is going to make your lives more stressful up front - but maybe better overall?

I’ve been putting in quite a bit of time with the beta lately, trying to get a handle on what Shadowlands is going to be like. The beta is still closer to an alpha, though - very unfinished - so I’m reserving a lot of judgement for now.

So far, I’m surprised at how little they are changing the classes and specs. There are only a couple of cases where we will see significant changes in how a class plays. Elemental, Enhancement, Subtlety, Protection Paladin, Holy Paladin - those come to mind as specs actually getting big changes. There are tweaks to most specs - I like that Affliction is getting rid of the quirky Unstable Affliction stacking and getting a new soul shard spender that works similar to how malefic grasp used to be.

Covenants are kind of all over the place as far as interest and power goes. Ultimately I think choice of covenant should be driven more by the story. We’ll see if the game goes live with any clear outliers… but I’m not sure that one ability is compelling enough to be the decider for which covenant I would choose.

I can’t tell yet if the legendary effects on beta are all going to make it to live, or if some are placeholders. Most of the legendary effects are not “new” - they are mostly variations (or in some cases exact copies) of Legion legendary powers, artifact weapon traits, and BfA azerite traits. In some cases that is good… I liked many of the effects they are bringing back. In some cases I feel a little short-changed… like bringing back emperor’s capacitor for windwalker - I don’t think many people liked that in the first place.

At first I was worried the soulbind system was going to follow the same design as the netherlight crucible, azerite, and corruption - mainly this ability to stack multiple copies of a conduit/trait for increased effect. I think that is one of the main flaws of those systems that stifles design and adds unnecessary complexity. I was happy to find that conduits are unique when socketed into your soulbind.

I really wish they would have done more work on talents for a lot of specs… there are so many “dead” talents in this game, but that doesn’t ultimately affect the optimizer very much - that’s just a gripe from a gamer who wants his favorite game to be more interesting.

I still need to dig into anima powers in thorghast and see if that is something people will want the optimizer to help them with. I don’t know the mechanics behind how you get those and if they are a choice or just random.

I am trying to set aside enough time to do some write-ups on our blog as we implement specs in the simulator and optimizer. Hopefully I can help give people as much info as possible leading up to the expansion to pick the spec that will appeal to them the most. I know that “chasing the meta” is a thing in WoW… but it is not a game that really lends itself to swapping characters unless you have a ton of time to play. Especially in Shadowlands… I think most players will find it more rewarding to stick with a character for the most part.

From a gear optimization perspective - our hope is that we can come up with a sort of simulation data/mathematical formula hybrid for shadowlands. This would allow us to create gearing strategies faster. Our goal with that would be to potentially create gearing strategies for more types of fights. We’ve always wanted to go that route, but BfA ended up being too complex a gearing system to make that happen.

We’re also going to be making changes to healers because DPS has become such a part of the expectation for healers in mythic+ especially. All indications are that blizzard is keeping that direction in the game for shadowlands.

We are still deciding how soulbinds will fit into the overall interface - we’re not sure how large the barriers are to changing your choices of conduits (since blizzard hasn’t decided yet) - so I don’t know if that is something that needs to be a part of every optimization or a separate choice players make, potentially with a separate soulbind optimizer that doesn’t necessarily make it totally specific to one set of gear you have on.

Here is a quick moke up if it help :

In green the path selected by the optimizer.
In white a secondary path for the other soulbinds
In red, locked or used socket by other spec for example ?

If you clic on a socket, you get a list with all possible socket in this type “like the upgrade finder thingy, with in bag only ?”.
If you clic on a passif present in the tree, you get a comparaison of the trait in the same row if it really matter or at least a % gain if you take it (compare to not taking it).

Tell me if you like it =D

Yeah, reducing it down to a tree like that could work well - I’d probably give it a lot less visual prominence because from a numbers-perspective it is not that “important” such that I think it should take up that much premium UI space.

I was just wondering if it is going to even make sense to optimizer your soulbind trees to go with a specific set of gear, which will change often as you get new gear. Or, if it makes more sense to optimize the soulbind trees in the context of a more generic set of gear you are aiming for. That really depends on whether or not there is a barrier to getting new conduits and/or changing them frequently.

It will depend on the “%dmg/heal/tuf” of the said socket.
Like if their are really big improvement over the standard gear maybe better to optimize the tree rather than having it “setup” in the setup page like talent.