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#1 - 2017/03/12 01:38:00 AM
I found a post on the EU forums which I thought was pretty much dead-on. I really couldn't have written it better. It's long, but it goes over how despite Mythic+ being a really good idea overall, the execution leaves much to be desired. Anyways, here's the post. What do you folks think?

https://eu.battle.net/forums/en/wow/topic/17615154146

Feedback for Mythic+ Dungeons
Maybe I should start by saying that in my personal opinion the introduction of Mythic+ instances is probably best change to WoW since its release, coming even before the decision to make all raiding instances available to less than 40 (or, later, 25) players.

However, I am pretty certain that the mechanics of the Mythic+ system were mostly the result of the developer team's brainstorming instead of meticulous planning and well thought-out ideas on how to balance it, with the players taking on the role of guinea pigs to gauge which ideas are working well and which aren't - because I can't imagine that they seriously intended to produce what in many regards can only be called an imbalanced mess. In a way, it's like arena back in BC all over again, where a new concept was a similarly mixed bag.
So I compiled this list of issues that plague Legion Mythic+ content as some sort of customer feedback.

I. Differences between instances

The first and most obvious shortcoming: the gap in difficulty and required effort between the different instances is HUGE. Some instances have trash that's hard to kill, hard-hitting, has plenty of nasty additional abilities, tightly packed, tends to add, tends actively add other packs, tends to burn down the group from afar etc. (all of which becomes progressively more dangerous with rising M+ level and affixes piling up); and have bosses that are tough, hit hard, have group-wide attacks that are unavoidable, are badly tuned ("badly tuned" meaning that a particular boss basically necessitates having better gear than the keystone drops, especially if it's tyrannical we're talking about) etc.
Other instances have trash that can be neatly managed and brought down in a controlled manner; and bosses that are more appropriate for their item level or with mechanics that can be managed without them basically working like a not-so-soft-enrage.

Which leads to a situation where you have instances which are easy and popular because they have very manageable trash and equally manageable bosses, and which might be pretty short on top of that (like MoS) and those where you have dangerous and annoying trash and deadly bosses, which might be very long on top of this (like HoV). In prior expansions, differences like that weren't really an issue because 5 mans weren't endgame content, but now they are.

II. Differences between affixes

1. affixes aren't equally difficult to work with: this is the most fundamental problem. While some affixes are ridiculously easy (bleeding comes to mind), others require a lot more caution and coordination (like bolstering, where all mobs have to be brought down in a coordinated manner without any adds joining in). Also, some affixes weren't designed with their long-term impact in mind: For example, skittish becomes progressively more difficult the higher the ilvl of a group is, because due to scaling the relative share of tank DpS gets progressively smaller (in that regard, the 5% nerf to skittish will be little more than a bandaid that'll probably be obsolete by the time 7.2 goes life).

2. affixes affect classes differently, and in some cases very much so. This is particularly annoying: some classes can basically ignore certain affixes, while for others the same affixes are basically a criterion for excluding them from higher keystones. Overflowing is basically non-existent for shamans, but a real hassle with paladins. Skittish is a joke if you team up with hunters, but an actual problem if your group is melee-heavy (unless it's all rogues).

3. affixes affect instances differently: Most of the affixes have their particular dungeons where they're far more challenging than in others.
Bolstering becomes even more annoying than it already is if groups are mixed (i.e. elites and nonelites together), adds are a common occurence or groups are large. Teeming can be almost unnoticable in some instances (when only minor trashpacks are added) but outrageous in others (when a larger trashpack now suddenly has two units with herokiller potential instead of one). Volcanic is manageable in dungeons where players aren't CCed but can easily be a death sentence if stuns or disorients are common. Tyrannical is basically a c0ckblocker in instances where bosses with mechanics that amount to soft enrages (i.e. if you don't kill them in time, they'll kill you) are poorly tuned. And so on.

4. And finally: Particular affix combos. The highest completed keystones in the world all had the same three combos -bleeding/overflowing/tyrannical, bleeding/volcanic/fortified and a few with bolstering/skittish/fortified. The first was usually for instances with nasty trash, the second for instances with difficult bosses (or if the healer was a paladin), the third were done by hard-hitting tanks supported by rogues and/or hunters. But generally, progress was usually made in either of those two weeks.
Also, bonus point: the tyrannical and fortified affixes are just plain lazy design. I mean, seriously? Bumping up mob health and damage? Isn't that what keystone levels are for?

To make it very very clear: The problem isn't necessarily that affixes make the content "too challenging" to play (though this might play into it, depending on your perspective). The problem is that on a scale from 1 to 10, some combinations of dungeons and affixes are at a difficulty of 2, while others are at a 10, and this at the very same keystone level.

III. Differences between classes

With 12 classes in the game, some differences regarding roles, performance, versatility and utility are bound to exist, and most classes have a few areas where they shine and abilities they can provide the group with (or which make playing with them easier):
- can tank
- can heal
- does ranged DpS instead of just melee
- has long-term CC (poly, sap, root etc.)
- has AoE CC (fear, frost nova, dragon breath, shockwave etc.)
- has instant on-the-fly solo CC (blind, hammer of justice etc.)
- has stealth
- has Hero/BL
- has battlerezz (an ability that's stupidly overpowered in M+, by the way, especially since there isn't a cap the # of uses)
- has another useful group buff (AoE stealth, AoE HP buff etc.)
- can cast resurrection
- can reduce aggro or dump it entirely
- has superior mobility (has a travel form, can teleport/jump/sprint etc.)

Rogues for example have stealth, group stealth, lots of CC, several options to stun and to reduce aggro, and superior mobility. While they are arguably worst off in raids (due to only being able to fill in the melee dps slot, and their perks being mostly inconsequential in that environment), they can be quite useful in instances.
Priests can heal, do ranged DpS, reduce aggro, cast an AoE fear, have resurrection.
Warriors can tank, have AoE CC (a short stun on a short CD and a slightly longer fear on a long CD), have a group health buff and superior mobility.
A hunter has basically everything (except tanking or healing), but has to decide which of it he wants to provide.

In a well-rounded scenario, you would have to bring several classes to the table to cover all bases, with every class having a shot - though generally speaking, some classes have an edge over others simply by virtue of being able to thrown in more utility without sacrificing damage for this.
In a less well-rounded scenario, you can outright dismiss certain classes from the onset because they don't really provide the group with sufficient utility (or because it's more comfortable to not play with, say, melee classes).
In a scenario that is anything but well-rounded, you can simply bring druids for 90% of the tasks: they're top-notch tanks (with an AoE speed buff thrown in), top-notch healers, can do ranged DpS, have stealth, a battlerezz, a normal rezz, CC, an instant stun and superior mobility - and they wear leather (I'll get into why this is important later).
In raids all this doesn't really matter that much because there are enough classes that can do the same (if these skills are needed in the first place), so an individual druid's perks don't become overwhelming. In 5 man instances as endgame content however this status as a swiss army knife seriously upsets the balance and makes druids borderline indispensable since they can fill basically every slot. There's a reason why, according to WoWprogress, 16 out of the 50 highest-rated mythic+ players in the entire world are druids. That's a whopping 32%, or an overrepresentation by the factor ~4 (demon hunters shouldn't be left off the hook either since they're considerably overrepresented as well; though this might also be due to their FOTM-factor).

While I accept that it would be impossible to give every single class the same gameplay experience and the same potential, the way M+ was handled indicates that this time, it wasn't even an afterthought to those who designed it.

IV. Loot allocation

And finally, the loot. Arguably one of the least thought-out mechanics of this sort of content, and that says something given what I've written above.

I mean - I get it. Opposed to raids, mythic+ instances don't have a cap (apart from the only in theory finite number of keystones per week), so there has to be a contigency in place to avoid an item inflation. However, they way it's done right now is anything but a satisfactory compromise.

1. ilvl progression disconnected from difficulty progression

First: The item progression hardly makes sense on paper, let alone in reality. The math behind it is quite obvious: Every two levels, the ilvl of the loot gets another +5 bump, until you've reached 13, when it's every single level. Fair enough. However, this totally disregards the progression of the difficulty level of the instance itself. To illustrate this: At +6, you're dealing with an instance with a single affix and 145% mob health/damage, which rewards you with 855 loot. At +10, you're dealing with an instance that has 3 affixes and 200% mob health/damage, which rewards you with 865 loot.

Now one might argue that during earlier levels, the item progression is supposed to be faster than during later stages, but this ignores one fundamental problem: plenty of +10 instances simply aren't cut out to be done by ilvl 865 groups. Sure, I am aware that the people who beat the first +10 keystones were decked in 865 gear (and probably also didn't have an artlvl 35 main weapon, let alone artlvl 54), these are hardly representative of the playerbase as a whole: they're basically the 5 man-equivalent of mythic raiders (and oftentimes the same people).

What mythic+ instances offer, however, is loot with a baseline quality below what is required to beat it (at least most of the time), which is a depart from the usual WoW-policy of getting rewards which are better than what you need to beat the content where it drops. The only deviation from this being warforged/titanforged-procs, which leads me to the next point.

2. Items too RNG

Loot generation in M+ dungeons is extremely RNG-heavy. Because not only is it the norm that WF or TF is required to make an item a valid choice, it isn't even sure whether an item drop is needed in the first place because the generation is a random pick from the instance table of the instance. And unlike in raids, neither is it possible to rig the system in one's favor by picking a particular loot spec for particular bosses, nor are tokens usable. The weekly chest is even worse - here one gets a completely random item from all loot tables combined, with very high odds of said item being utterly useless (and as opposed to, say, raid items, I get a completely random pick out of all raid loot tables; and also can't give it to someone else who could actually use it).

However, there's one semi-reliable way to improve your results (on top of having a very resilient friends group that likes to do instances with you over and over again): Armor groups.

3. Armor groups

In order to raise the odds of item drops being actually useful, some players (especially if they're more ambitious and goal-oriented) might try to improve their luck by building groups that are more homogenous when it comes to armor type, i.e. armor groups.
Apart from the fact that one might consider it questionable to force players into only playing with certain other classes, it's not as if all armor groups were equal.

- mail got the short end of the stick: only 2 out of 12 classes wear mail, with only shamans being able to fill more roles than just DpS. Well, at least both classes (but especially hunters) bring lots of utility.
- cloth is slightly better off, but not much. At least they have 3 classes out of 12, but only the priest can do more than DpS.
- plate is above average. Like with cloth, every fourth class is wearing plate, but plate wearers are in the fortunate situation to build groups that exclusively consist of plate wearers since they've got a healer and all classes can tank. I wouldn't recommend it (especially because of, but not limited to, that group's complete lack of ranged DpS).
- leather is unfairly pampered here. Because not only are 50% of all tank and 40% of all healing classes leather wearers and one of them has a ranged DpS option, but also because every third class is wearing leather (and, as mentioned, druids are the best class for M+). In other words: it's pretty easy to create an all-leather-group.

The consequence of this: Unless they actively try to form groups with similar armor types, cloth and mail classes will usually have one similarly armored groupmate tops, while leather classes will oftentimes have several groupmates of a similar armor type without even trying (and if they actively try, it'll be easiest for them to go through with that). Plate wearers are somewhere in between. As a result, the average leather wearers will gear up comparably quickly, while the average mail wearer will have a pretty hard time to do the same (it's funny how easily this could have been mitigated by simply making the DH a mail class - or, even better, by changing the M+ loot system to one that is token-based instead of item based).

4. Raiding is better for item progression

And finally: doing raids is simply better for gearing up.
In the beginning of Legion, things were reasonably balanced. If you did EN nhc, you got the same loot as someone who did mythic +4 or +5 (850), if you did EN hc, you got the same loot as someone who did +10 (865), and loot of EN myth quality could be found in the weekly chest (with aforementioned downside). ToV managed to roughly stay inside these benchmarks: If you did ToV nhc, you got the same loot as +6/+7 (855) and +8/+9 (860); ToV hc got the same loot as someone who did +11 (870) or +12 (875), and mythic loot again was potentially available in the weekly chest. Also, ToV having fairly limited loot tables due to the size of the raid contributed to making sure M+ loot remained competitive.
Now, with NH? Well, for starters, NH nhc is on par with +11 (870) to +14 (880), and NH hc leaves M+ in the dust because the first wing is already of the same ilvl as M+15 (885). And this doesn't even take the NH loot tables with the t19-sets and the superior trinkets into account! To add insult to injury, this content (the entirety of NH nhc as well as the first wing of NH hc) is considerably easier than the corresponding M+ instances: I've seen raids where the vast majority of participants would have failed any 3 affix-M+ dungeon, but they nevertheless managed to kill Gul'dan nhc with relative ease and also cleared the first NH hc wing during their first attempt. Given that fact, the way the item progression is handled basically forces people to raid unless they intentionally want to make M+ more complicated and challenging than necessary - NH is simply far too easy and too rewarding to pass it up.

Sure, some people like Meowchan might be able to get almost their entire equip from running +15 and higher. But even then this requires running instances with armor groups and doing them sufficiently often to get their desired piece of TF BiS gear; and probably wouldn't be half as easy if said group didn't have access to raid gear (though I have to admit that this is just an educated guess on my part).

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Phew. That was more than I initially thought.

Truth be told, I don't expect Blizzard to change any of the above (except a bit of affix tweaking and maybe readjusting the loot levels when Tomb of Sargeras goes life). But I sincerely hope that they crunch their numbers and take feedback like this to heart when they're working on their next expansion. Because I was serious when I said that M+ is the best change for WoW; and it's sad if a lot of the potential of this concept is wasted because of shoddy design.

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#37 - 2017/03/14 09:08:00 PM
03/13/2017 07:50 PMPosted by Wildkingdom
Do people actually read all that ? !@#$ it took me awhile to just scroll down.....
Yes - or I do and I guess that's good enough. ;)

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Thanks for copying this over! Good feedback here that I can send on up. I think the point on differences in difficulties between affixes is particularly relevant. Seems a relevant conversation the dev team would be happy to listen to is everyone's thoughts on how you deal with the various affixes (ignore them, smaller pulls, etc), and how those experiences have evolved so far in Legion.

I would also be interested in how you guys rank the affixes in order of difficulty to deal with (this obviously changes as the rank increases, but lets look at say... 5 which is pretty average) in the current environment on live.

I'm also very aware of the differences between dungeons on Mythic+, and Ion has previously touched on the preference for Maw of Souls. I'm not exactly sure what can be done at the moment about the gaps the community sees between them, but I'm willing to take any feedback you guys want to share.

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#43 - 2017/03/14 09:38:00 PM
03/14/2017 02:30 PMPosted by Solthius
My biggest gripe with Mythic+ are the timers. Timers are the reason I didn't like CMs, and it's the reason I really dislike Mythic+ despite loving the concept.
I've seen this point of discussion too, and it's come up numerous times in my own feedback and reporting. Just wanted to say I know this is a valid opinion that I'm definitely aware of.