Ny’alotha, the Sleeping City, has awakened. N’zoth, the God of the Deeps, has been freed from his titanic prison. Now finally under his full command, the armies of a reinvigorated Black Empire threaten to reshape all of Azeroth according to his twisted design. Nightmares infest the waking world, and now champions must fight against a corrupted monstrosity that fights not with soldiers alone; it fights inside your very mind. This week we’ll be taking a look at your chief method of progression in the new Patch 8.3, “Visions of N’zoth,” in the Horrific Visions system.
Horrific Visions are a new type of flexible content for 1-5 players to progress through. Intent of exposing Azeroth’s champions to the corruption in order to better mitigate it, Wrathion returns to assist. Using the horrific dreams of N’zoth, he opens a gateway to one of many possible futures for players to assault. Featuring two weekly rotating maps, Stormwind and Orgrimmar, heroes will begin by only being able to strike at one district of the city at a time. Fighting the minions of the Old God, they will also be battling rising corruption. Defeating the section’s main threat, dying without anyone to resurrect you or losing all of your sanity to corruption will immediately end the Vision.
As you adventure through the Horrific Visions, you will also receive aid from the Black Prince himself. Inspired by his masterwork in Pandaria, Wrathion will create Ashjra’kamas, Shroud of Resolve. This is an upgradable cloak with 15 individual ranks. Each will improve its stats and item level, including the amount of Corruption you can safely have on your gear, AND the sanity resistance you’ll have inside Horrific Visions. This cloak will become vital to improving your runs through the Horrific Visions, as higher ranks will increase the amount of time you can stay inside while also permitting easier entry to the more dangerous zones.
Queuing for Horrific Visions becomes the challenge, as while you can queue as many times as you like those runs are based on how many Vessels of Horrific Visions you can acquire. One of these is required for each time you wish to run a Horrific Vision and is only awarded once through completing one Major N’zoth Invasion per week. You’ll largely only be able to collect 30’000 Coalescing Visions, the currency for your Vessels, per week unless you grind every mission per day. In unlocking all of Patch 8.3’s features, including Horrific Visions, you’ll receive a large amount of Coalescing Visions and this will allow you to jump-start your runs.
Maximizing how many times you can run visions will become a priority for those looking to rank up Ashjra’kamas. Each rank requires legendary quest items dropped by powerful enemies inside the Horrific Visions, and only a handful can be earned each time you enter. The first six ranks can be completed within the first week of Patch 8.3’s launch, with additional ones unlocking weekly. This means that you can stockpile extra Coalescing Visions and spend them on additional runs in the next week. However, as you further increase the power of the Shroud of Resolve, the requirements will become greater. You may require multiple items that perhaps only drop in one section of the city, while multiples may drop in more dangerous sections.
Completing objectives and slaying enemies in these visions will earn you Corrupted Mementos. This currency is explicitly used to purchase rewards tied to the Visions. The main expenditure for players will come in the Titanic Research Archive. Unlocked after your first run through the Visions, the Research Archive is similar to Chromie’s Talent Tree for “The Deaths of Chromie.” Progression in this tree will cost several hundred thousand Corrupted Mementos but will also grant much more ease for those traversing the Horrific Visions. Such effects allow players to use ‘Sanity Restoration Orbs’ which resurrect allies and restores Sanity while active. Others can grant you a full resurrection, effectively giving you a second chance to take the greatest rewards from your run.
These may not be enough to save you, however. The deeper you progress into these Visions, the greater the toll it will take on your mind. Each city section in the Horrific Visions has a Madness associated with it. These Madnesses each have different effects to impede your progress and will change from area to area. Rotating weekly, these are drawn from each area’s specific pool of Madness Effects, acting similarly to Mythic Keystone affixes. Some will cause simple effects, such as damage-dealing pools of bad. Others will create images of your avatar that will fear all members of your party.
Even as you maximize your Ashjra’kamas and select every trait on the Research Archive, you’ll still have more to do in the Visions. Completing your first Vision and clearing the hardest areas will award you your first Faceless Mask. There are 5 masks in total, and each can be selected and deselected prior to your entrance into a Horrific Vision. All must be unlocked before they are used, but each has a similar purpose. On top of increasing the Health and Damage of Enemies, as well as the drop of Corrupted Mementos, by 20% they also have a potentially deadly effect. One reduces your total sanity, while others increase the damage of creatures by 200%. All can be stacked together and used to double your potential rewards.
And the rewards are indeed great for completing the Horrific Visions. Completing your first each week will reward you with a piece of item level 420 gear, as well as up to 6000 Corrupted mementos. Completing your first will also grant you a new Essence for your Heart of Azeroth, which can only be progressed the further you adventure. Progression for Ashjra’kamas is done solely through the Visions and is vital to your power scaling; at Rank 6 you’ll gain an ability to instantly dispel the Corruption effects caused by your gear, while at Rank 12 you’ll gain a passive proc that increases your primary trait EXTENSIVELY. Upgrading it past Rank 15 will halt stat gains but increase Corruption resistance for your gear.
All of these rewards, however, scale depending on the difficulty. Equipping more Faceless Masks can reward you with gear up to item level 470, just five shy of what can be awarded through Mythic+. Further progression will also allow you to chase further ranks of your Essence, as well as complete several achievements. Some will award you more Faceless Masks, while others will reward you with titles and mounts. Completing everything your Visions have to offer will unlock exclusive rewards with Wrathion, including a new backpack transmog for your cloak.