Mythic Plus dungeons have maintained a solid alternative gearing choice throughout Battle for Azeroth but will be undergoing big changes moving forward. The new affixes and overall class changes have a big part to play in this coming expansion. Season 1 of Shadowlands begins on December 8, 2020 so let’s take a look at what to expect.
All potions have been changed to incur a 5 minute cooldown regardless of being in combat or not. This extends to both combat and utility potions (invisibility, movement speed). On one hand, this evens out the penalty for using an invis pot from missing out on 5 combat potions to only missing out on one but on the other this means you will have to be smarter about which packs to pop them on in dungeons. This change also hurts tanks who relied on speed potions to gather multiple packs of mobs efficiently.
Health potions have also been moved to their own 5 minute cooldown timer but remain separate from combat potions. Healthstones are on a 3 minute cooldown and usable multiple times in an encounter.
Blizzard has decided to change up the affix rotation in Shadowlands; removing 2 affixes and replacing them with 3 new ones. Teeming and Skittish have been removed from the rotation altogether. This brings the total number of affixes to 12, evening it out so each one occurs twice in the full rotation.
Seasonal affixes are carried over to Shadowlands with the first one being Prideful, a single target focus add that spawns every 20% of the mob count bar. This is similar to reaping and the mob has roughly 30% of the health of a dungeon boss of that key level. Once killed, all party members receive a massive buff for 1 minute that grants 30% increased damage, 60% movement speed, and 5% mana regen per second.
The other new affixes are:
Random mobs in dungeons will be buffed by ‘Inspiring Presence’ causing all nearby creatures to be immune to CC abilities. These mobs must be focused down quickly.
Whenever a mob dies, it will spawn a shade that fixates a random player and rapidly loses % health per second. The mob melees for heavy damage and must be CC’d or kited for the duration.
Storming is similar to volcanic except it is more punishing to melee heavy groups. Tornadoes will spawn near enemies and rotate around an area for a few seconds. Getting hit will cause moderate damage and knock you back.
Some existing affixes will also see some very positive changes moving forward as well.
Bursting can now be dispelled and the damage is now a flat amount instead of % health. This damage will scale with key level so it can get dangerous at higher keys.
Sanguine duration was reduced to 20 seconds from 1 minute which should alleviate the frustration of killing mobs in tight corridors.
Grievous is now a flat amount per stack and stacks are now removed one at a time by direct heals
Volcanic no longer deals percent health damage
Orbs will spawn farther from mobs in an attempt to make them easier to see and take down quickly in clustered fights.
The item level drops from the end of each dungeon have been lowered significantly in Shadowlands. Completing a +15 keystone will award item level 210 gear in the end chest. This is 3 item levels lower than heroic Castle Nathria Gear. This is likely to prevent raiders gearing up too quickly and invalidating raid content but it hurts people who used mythic plus as an alternate playstyle. The weekly piece of loot from the great vault chest seems to remain on par with Mythic raiding gear.
Another change is with the great vault itself. Instead of getting one piece of loot you may or may not be able to use as an upgrade, you will get to choose from several options based on the dungeons you ran the previous week. May the odds be in your favor for that one upgrade that evaded you for weeks.
Blizzard has chosen to keep the seasonal feat of strength achievements but it now seems to grant a title and mount from the start instead of in the final season. Achieving Keystone Conqueror will grant a unique title and achieving Keystone Master will award a special mount. Season 1 rewards will grant the title “The Sinful” for completing all keystones at level 10 or higher. Completing all keystones at level 15 or higher will award the Sintouched Deathwalker mount which is a black and green shadow elemental.
The biggest change mythic plus players will face is the AOE cap on all dps classes. This change is likely the reason for teeming being removed from the affix rotation. Some abilities like hunter’s stomp or shadow priest’s mind sear remain uncapped but other iconic abilities are now capped at 5-8 targets. This will heavily influence the pace at which keystones can be completed and will require a more strategic use of the unique covenant buffs in each one. The current meta may also see some drastic changes as favorable classes such as demon hunters received substantial nerfs. The mass un-pruning of classes saw the return of many utility abilities that may also shake the meta.
Rogues maintained a solid choice for most mythic plus enthusiasts in Battle for Azeroth and is likely to remain strong in utility. They are seeing the return of Shiv which will function as an enrage dispel when coupled with the new numbing poison. This will make them an excellent choice when looking to tackle raging weeks.
The changes to bursting and grievous seems to open up more opportunities for the healers who saw low presence in high keystones during BFA. Priest mass dispel and monk revival will be nice additions to your group on these weeks.
The Sugar-Crusted Fish Feast, previously a crucial consumable for healers pushing keys, and dps to top off on grievous weeks, has been met with a level cap of 50 meaning it will no longer be usable in Shadowlands. This coupled with the changes to other mana restoring foods will make healers take longer pauses in between pulls for mana breaks. Mana restore is slow at first and ramps up over the duration spent drinking. It will be interesting to see how this affects the more mana hungry healers like mistweaver monks.
A lot of these upcoming changes look like a promising way to keep mythic plus interesting for a while. Hopefully the new affixes make the MDI more exciting to watch and open up the doors for new class combos and let the underdogs shine for a change!