WoW Wednesday: Classifying Corruption

Corruption is an odd name of the game when it comes to World of Warcraft’s new patch, “Visions of N’zoth.” With any form of player character progression, a system that directly influences player gearing and customization has positives and negatives. However, when it weighs heavily on how your avatar functions on a fundamental, it is inevitable to find flaws in it. This week we will discuss Corruption, it’s place in player power, and if the system functions on a pure level.

The first question to address is, ‘What is Corruption?’ Replacing the Warforging and Titanforging systems, Corruption is the new ‘power increase’ mechanic designed to make player-gear more enticing. Functioning similarly to the previous systems, Corruption has a low chance to proc on any gear obtained through drops, such as Raiding or in some rare cases PvP. However, taking elements of the failed Benthic System from Nazjatar Corruption instead carries with it varied powers.

Coming in three different tiers of corruption (From +10 to +40). Each tier has certain effects tailored to it, with the lowest resigned mostly to stat bonuses. The highest, however, have incredibly powerful effects ranging from massive area-of-effect attacks to gushing bleeds. Some weapons, such as Sk’shuul Vaz, feature effects which draw on player’s already impressive stats to magnify their power and throughput.

This Corruption grows over time with the more corrupted item pieces you equip. Starting at zero and potentially scaling infinitely, every twenty levels imparts another greater impediment. Starting at just one corruption, your character will occasionally be halted by grasping tentacles, with later additions creating stunning mirror images. When your corruption maxes out you will not only gain increased power output, but you will rapidly take a deadly amount of damage. Corruption creates a risk-reward system based on what you’re willing to undertake with your current gear choices, while offering mitigation via the new legendary cloak and Heart of Azeroth Essences.

Initially there was quite a bit of trepidation with this system. Benthic gear was notoriously broken throughout Azshara’s Eternal Palace and Nazjatar for its special abilities. Such gear could easily be acquired and powered up while imparting benefits that outclassed even Mythic content loot. Where Ion Hozzikostas, World of Warcraft’s current lead developer, stated that item level should be the indicator on what is superior gear, the mathematics of stat multiplications and resistance increases against certain attacks made Benthic Gear a greater asset than any could dream of. Such is the issue, to an extent, with Corruption.

From its early days of implementation, the system has seen radical and controversial changes. The Public Test Realms saw massive widespread changes in terms of Corruption and number crunching up until launch. Even now, at the time of writing, traits like Infinite Stars dominate the current Corruption Meta. Classes that often underperform, such as Arms Warriors, who lack steady AoE and cleaving in Raid Teams are now preferred for most compositions, as Infinite Stars can proc on high-multi strike abilities such as Bladestorm and during Sweeping Strikes (both of which strike multiple targets rapidly) when coupled with DoTs and bleeds.

This was pushed to its apex of an issue when Corruption received nearly a dozen changes across the various tiers and abilities during the previous reset. This reset, in the middle of the Mythic Ny’alotha race between the world’s top Raiding Guilds, disrupted entire team makeups and individual character decisions. Let me paint for you such an example:

Intending to push your gearing curve you and your friends run Mythic +15 dungeons all week. Like Titanforging, Corrupted Gear only has a pittance of a chance to drop. It is incredibly unlikely, unless you are running multiple dungeons in short bursts and clearing well above the time limit, that you will see many pieces drop. Instead you’ll need to rely on your weekly Mythic+ Cache to deliver the guaranteed loot drop. If you’re lucky enough to receive an item type that CAN have Corruption, you need to hope that it is of the optimal tier within a certain range of Corruption.


Now, suddenly, the next week all of your hard-earned best-in-slot pieces are useless due to heavy nerfs. That is what happened during the Mythic Ny’alotha race, and to many players worldwide.

That is, if you are fortunate enough to avoid a crippling bug that occurred during the patch’s early weeks. Several players (including myself) were ‘locked’ into their loot types from week to week since launch across multiple sources. Some players could only get Trinkets from their Mythic+ Cache (which cannot become corrupted), while others could only get boots from Horrific Visions or pants from other sources. Meaning that, if you were unfortunate enough, you could essentially spin your wheels gearing for weeks and never see a piece of corrupted gear.

While I reached out to Blizzard to deal with my version of this bug, and there are many forums detailing similar instances, this is not a ‘known issue’ at this time. Despite internal team-members suffering from the exact same issue, this currently is not on Blizzard’s radar.

On paper, Corruption is a VERY good system. It rewards creative choices and maximizing what you can do with what you acquire. A greater issue comes, however, at the sheer exclusivity of Corrupted gear. If you have average luck, or especially a streak of good luck, you can quickly find yourself soaring past all barriers to your class’ ability to perform. However, if you are particularly unlucky, you’ll find yourself falling behind in short pacing.

Does this mean Corruption is necessarily a bad system? Certainly not. Most issues here could be addressed with simply making Corruption standard across ALL items, including the option to purge gear. Corruption does, in many aspects mathematically, fundamentally break your class role which is something that has been demanded by the player base since the ability pruning of Warlords of Draenor. That possibility of pushing a class beyond its apex role through gear customization opens a realm of possibilities about how even Tanks, who have an impressive amount of utility already, can change how they fundamentally process encounters.

In terms of fundamental mathematics, Corruption requires some time to gestate. This was a system that, frankly, required another month or two of testing. But given that it becomes more accessible and manageable, perhaps with higher tiers locked behind more difficult content, I want to see it return. N’zoth’s influence across Azeroth, and particularly our equipment, makes not just for interesting storytelling but a fun new way to approach class-balance and utilization. This risk-reward system where numbers aren’t always clear but are instead focused on fun experimentation makes for a more interesting product overall.

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WoW Wednesday: What’s New in Season 4?

Ny’alotha awakens and with the rise of N’zoth comes Season 4 for Battle for Azeroth! As the last Old God begins to unfurl the lengths of his millennia spanning plans, champions of Azeroth gird themselves for a war for the fate of the world. With Season 4 officially beginning this week, we’ll be diving into everything that’s new with its release.

Ny’alotha, The Waking City

First and foremost is the release of Battle for Azeroth’s fourth and final major raid tier, Ny’alotha, The Waking City. With its newfound freedom, N’zoth has begun his long awaited siege on the waking world. Enroaching upon the Forge of Origination, Azeroth’s land-scouring reset button, and the Engine of Nakk-Shalak, its power source, it is only a matter of time before the Old God removes all hope. Desperate to end the threat before everything its lost, Magni Bronzebeard, the Speaker for Azeroth, and Wrathion the Black Prince prepare a desperate gambit. In order to destroy N’zoth forever, they must besiege his very seat of power and hope that the corruption does the hearts of its heroes…


Following the previous raid tier, Azshara’s Eternal Palace, Ny’alotha, The Waking City continues to follow a linear progression system in its boss encounters. While there are several ‘choice’ encounters that players can rotate through, each of the raid’s twelve boss encounters are mostly linear in their progression.

Following previous concepts from the final raids of Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor and Legion, Ny’alotha features an immense host of cosmetic rewards including one that will only be available until the Shadowlands pre-patch. Rewarded for defeating N’zoth on Heroic and Mythic difficulties only, the Uncorrupted Voidwing will close a loop with the Black Prince that remains unanswered. With the corruption of Twilight Dragons and their servitude to the Old Gods, what future does the doomed flight have in Azeroth?

New essences will also abound for players venturing into The Waking City. Similar to the Aqueous Reliquaries of the Eternal Palace, Encrypted Ny’alotha Texts can be combined to form the raid’s Heart of Azeroth Essence. These Texts will only drop from five bosses, including The Prophet Skitra. Like previous raid-progression systems the amount of Texts you can collect per week will increase with higher difficulties. Mythic will reward the most week-to-week.

Looking for Raid Wing 1 and Mythic Difficulty will open the week after your region’s particular launch of Season 3. Players are advised to complete the introduction storyline and gain the first few ranks of their new legendary cloak, Ashjra’kamas, Shroud of Resolve, before entering. You can read up on that and the Horrific Visions systems from our previous coverage.

Step Into the Arena!


Battle for Azeroth 
Season 4 brings a new and glamorous title to the mix, “Corrupted Gladiator.” With the rollover into the next season of Rated PvP, both personal and matchmaking ratings will normalize and return to zero. This means a fresh start for all players seeking to carve their name into the halls of conquerors.

Returning to Season 4 is the graduated Elite Gladiator System, rewarding players who advance their rating with progressive unlockables for your Elite Notorious Gladiator sets, as well as the seasonal tabard, enchantment, and cloak. Those looking to claim the Gladiator Title and the Corrupted Gladiator’s Proto-Drake must also win an additional 50 games in the Elite bracket (2400+). Those looking to claim the “Corrupted Gladiator” title must place in the top 0.1% of rankings in their region, as well as claim 150 victories in 3v3 Arenas during Season 3. The returning Gladiator’s Dreadflame enchantment appearance will still be attainable for those who hit 2100 rating in Season 4.

Returning to Season 4 are temporary seasonal “Elite Class” titles. These titles will be awarded to players who reach the Elite bracket. Several PvP exclusive Essences will continue to appear in Conquest Chests at week’s end, including Conflict and Strife. Others such as Blood of the Enemy can be unlocked through several PvP encounters. Like their PvE counterparts, these Essences have various ranks and may require improving your personal rating to unlock higher tiers.

At this time, Gladiator PvP sets from Seasons 1, 2 and 3 will be unavailable to purchase until a later date.

Marvelous Mythic+

With the start of a new season comes a plethora of adjustments for the Dungeon Delvers of Azeroth. Whereas there is no scaling adjustments akin to Season 3’s brutal changes, difficulty and health will increase more in line with what players are used to from previous seasons. Key depletion will, however, be far more intense, and failed dungeons have the potential to scale down by multiple ranks. A host of Mythic+ dungeon mechanics, including several found in King’s Rest and Freehold, are seeing nerfs due to the heavy and punishing damage they can rapidly deliver. The Quaking Affix has also received a massive change; no longer will players be able to damage themselves but the damage increase for their fellows has increased from 20% to 40%!


With N’zoth’s growing reach across Azeroth and the waking world, a new Mythic affix has been introduced as the Seasonal Affix: Awakened. Similar to last season’s affix, Beguiling, each Mythic 10 dungeon and higher will have a series of pylons scattered around the instance. Whenever these pylons are interacted with, you will be dragged into the dreaming world where a Lieutenant of N’zoth and his minions are contained. After they are defeated you can return to the waking world, allowing you to potentially skip large swaths of the dungeon! But beware: each Lieutenant left alive will join the final boss when you face them.

Additionally, the Season 2 affix, Bwonsamdi’s Bargain, will return on dungeons that are Mythic 9 or lower to encourage you to play depleted keys. Mechagon, 8.2’s megadungeon, also enters the Mythic+ rotation with its two major halves divided up. The Junkyard will feature the exterior portions of Mechagon and its first four bosses. The Workshop will feature all encounters inside Mechagon City itself, and is more boss heavy than it’s predecessor. Hard Mode will not be eligible for players engaging either wing in Mythic+.

Upgrading Gear Tables!

Alongside the opening of Ny’alotha, The Waking City, players will find new loot with increased item levels in their weekly activities. Baseline rewards in Normal, Heroic, Mythic and Mythic+ content have been increased by 30 item levels, putting them on par with previous raid tier rewards.

Gladiator PvP Gear now begins at item level 430 in both the Conquest Chest and regular rewards from Rated Player vs. Player activities. Like last season, players will be able to choose from at least four different rewards in their weekly Conquest Bar. On weeks when the gear rewarded is neither a piece of Azerite Gear, trinket or weapon, players will be able to choose between two different item slots of gear.

Emissary rewards for World Quests have likewise been increased and several items may re-roll or update their stats with the star of the Season. Throughout Season 4, gear may have the chance to become corrupted by N’zoth’s growing influence, and bring with it dangerous new rewards. These can be mitigated by venturing through Horrific Visions, which are vital to your progression in the new Season. You can read more about it here!

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WoW Wednesday: Conquering the Horrific Visions

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.

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