Blizzard has now officially commented on the latest beta tests. They wanted to see how a pure 100% health buff and a few restored mechanics would make the boss fights more “challenging”. However, they were told otherwise, that these changes are not challenging enough for the year 2021 and therefore do not correspond to their ideas of a “Season of Mastery”.
First, thank you to everyone who hopped on the Season of Mastery Beta last week and helped us test out our first adjustments to Molten Core and Onyxia.
Going into Season of Mastery, our philosophy was to take a light touch when it came to changes to raid bosses and mechanics, and focus instead on restoring versions of raid bosses that existed in the game at one point or another during the course of original World of Warcraft. As we were peeling back the layers of data from early versions of the game, it became obvious quickly that the list of actual changes to most content in Molten Core and Onyxia was extremely short. Onyxia had a conflagrate/disorient effect on her Fireball attack during the air phase, Golemagg had an Earthquake ability, and Ragnaros did a fire splash more frequently, with a weekly timer to limit the number of attempts a group could make.
Some of these mechanics are more impactful than others, but overall, we suspected that the total impact of the changes would likely not be meaningfully felt by players in 2021 who have an enormous amount of experience in these raids.
Regardless, we were determined to start small and see how it felt first. So for that first round of Beta raid testing, we went with a blanket 100% health buff and that handful of restored mechanics. As we watched Beta testers in-game and listened to the reactions to our changes and restorations, it confirmed what we already thought going into this test – merely raising mob health and restoring a few removed mechanics was not hitting the mark we wanted for a season focused on faster progression and “more challenging” content.
As a result, with the next upcoming Beta build, we’re making some significant adjustments to almost every encounter in Molten Core and Onyxia’s Lair.
To be clear, we don’t intend these or any future changes we make to Season of Mastery raid encounters to increase the difficulty of the content to a point where experienced, prepared raid groups will have to wipe for days or weeks to progress on it. We also don’t intend to change the fights so much that they become completely unrecognizable or fundamentally different from their Classic versions. Our intent is to provide something subtle and fresh to go along with the Season of Mastery that feels very much in keeping with the spirit of the original encounters.
We’ll let you know when we’re ready to update the Season of Mastery Beta, and we’re going to open raid testing again on Thursday at 2:00 p.m. PDT, and we’d love it if you could join us to check out what we’ve been working on.
As always, don’t hesitate to let us know what you think, and please use the in-game bug reporter (default hotkey: F6) to report any bugs you encounter.
-The WoW Classic Team