Recently there was this little conference called Gamescom, maybe you’ve heard of it? Well Blizzard treated Gamescom like a mini-Blizzcon, rolling out new features of most of its games, excluding Diablo, which only means we should see something big at Blizzcon 2016 for that franchise. However, many were surprised to see Blizzard rolling out news for Legion’s 7.1 content patch (the first major patch of the expansion), including the news that Karazhan will return as a 5 player dungeon on a weekly lockout. Ion Hazzikostas also revealed that in patch 7.1, gone were the days of addons helping to position players – a change that will heavily affect the raiding community.
For example, when you faced off against Kromog in Blackrock Foundry, one mechanic of the fight was each person needed to be in his grasping hands without overlap, well a particularly smart addon (that if everyone in the raid was using) would communicate and automatically navigate you to which hand is yours – pretty much trivializing that mechanic. In fact before that addon, my guild wiped for 2 nights on it, but once we installed the addon, the boss was defeated easily. Another example is Archimonde in Hellfire Citadel. One of his mechanics, Wrought Chaos, has the player who is affected fire a large beam of fire in the direction of a player who is affected by Focus Chaos, also impacting anyone caught in the middle. The addon Deadly Boss Mods, would point an arrow at the person you would hit if you were affected and the person with Focus Chaos would know they need to move to not have the arrow go through the raid, effectively trivializing this encounter’s mechanic.
In patch 7.1, addons that direct you in such ways described above will no longer work, and won’t be allowed per Hazzikostas. Now of course many people have been expressing concern that “Blizzard creates encounters around what addons can do”, which was recently debunked in another interview with Hazzikostas at Gamescom. Blizzard states they test all raid encounters around the stock UI, and if they see a particular mechanic is too hard they would nerf it. However, people with addons trivializing those encounters (like Kromog), means Blizzard cannot see via their analytics that an encounter was challenging – they just see the community completing the content. They did state that this change will only affect addons trying to utilize positional details in instances and not popular addons like TomTom, which helps direct folks around in the open world to a set of coordinates.
What does this really mean to the player? Well, positional mechanics won’t be trivialized by addons that clearly point you in the right direction. Won’t this make some raid encounters a bit more challenging? Of course, but that’s part of the fun, right? If you just steam rolled the content then we would just be sitting around for 14 months while they release another expansion (OK, that was kind of a low blow). On the other hand, we have some incredibly smart and talented addon authors out there, and I know we will still get some heads up displays or warnings that we are standing in the wrong location and we should move to avoid standing in fire. I think everyone needs to take a deep breath and lets see how it goes; though I personally would have preferred they make the change out of the gate with 7.0. That said, I’d rather them make sure it was right before breaking my other 20 addons and not giving the proper heads up to addon authors like Deadly Boss Mods to make the right changes prior to this change going live.