Method Jdotb Q&A #18 - BFA Dungeon Difficulty Ranking, Class Meta in BFA
Our latest Q&A with Method Jdotb is now live which includes his thoughts on the difficulty of BFA dungeons, what the class meta is going to look like for M+ and more!
Don't forget that you can loot your Mythic+ cache for 1,000
, even if you didn't do a key last week!
Check out our previous Q&As with Jdotb:
Part 1: Immunities, Legion Class Balance
Part 2: Legion Trinkets, Tank Externals
Part 3: Time Saving Strategies, Multiple Gear Sets
Part 4: Professions, Pushing +20 Keys
Part 5: Addons and UI, Racials
Part 6: Specific Affix Advice
Part 7: Tyrannical Shade of Xavius, Healing Meters
Part 8: Resto Druid Weakauras, Disc Priest in BFA
Part 9: Catweaving, Trinkets
Part 10: MDI, Esports Organizations
Part 11: MDI Prizes, World First Race
Part 12: Push Weeks, Necrotic Affix
Part 13: Shotcalling, MDI LAN Finals
Part 14: Infested, Gear Swaps
Part 15: MDI LAN Finals, Raider.IO Scoring System
Part 16: BFA Dungeon Impressions, Mythic+ Chest in BFA
Part 17: Top Classes in BFA, Dispelling Raging Affix
Jdotb is streaming Mythic+ keys on the Battle for Azeroth Beta as a Disc Priest!
Watch live video from jdotb on www.twitch.tv
Method Jdotb Q&A #18
Looking back at Legion, is there anything you wish you had done but you didn’t have time because of your goals as a pro player?
I started my fledgling streaming career back in August 2017 (and to be honest, it hadn’t dawned on me until I started writing this sentence that I’m coming up on my one year anniversary), and the reason I started streaming was because I figured some people would want to watch the stuff I spent all day doing, namely M+. If at any point I’d felt like I was spending time in WoW doing things I didn’t want to be doing just for the sake of keeping my viewers entertained, I probably would’ve given up streaming without much hesitation. So I don’t necessarily have regrets when it comes to Legion content per se, but sometimes you do wish that there were more than 24 hours in a day so that you could squeeze in a few extra things.
I wish I had more time to run M+ keys with people outside my group of Method teammates. When you run with the same people all the time, you develop a shared vision of how dungeons should be run and what mobs should be pulled. When you jump into new groups, you get exposed to some new strats which may be terrible or may be genius, but either way it gives you a new perspective on a dungeon and forces you to look at things with fresh eyes. It’s one of the reasons I’m having a lot of fun on the BFA beta servers right now -- there are no established routes through the dungeons yet, so each group you join is constantly iterating and applying new tricks they’ve learned recently.
On a related note, I would’ve liked to roll a toon on EU servers to play with some of the transatlantic M+ crews. Streaming has given me an opportunity to meet a lot of our EU M+ counterparts, and it would’ve been a lot of fun to get spend some time with them. Unfortunately the effort required to start a fresh account then level and gear up a new character in Legion was daunting, and I could never really justify investing that kind of time. Fortunately, all beta accounts are on one of two NA servers, so I’ve gotten a chance to play with a lot of my EU buddies these last couple weeks, and the experience has been magical.
But for the most part, I got out of Legion everything I wanted to get. I didn’t really have a desire to maintain alts, so I didn’t. Some gold from Argus sales would’ve been nice, but I don’t spend much gold so it was never a priority. I don’t care about collecting achievements or mounts or toys, and my PvP days are long behind me. I earned two Mage Tower appearances and probably won’t ever use either of them.
If I’m being completely honest, had Legion not introduced M+ I don’t think my WoW subscription would’ve lasted past Avatar in Tomb of Sargeras. And even Nighthold probably would’ve been six months of logging in exclusively for raid and logging off immediately after. I spent a lot (like a LOT) of time playing WoW in Legion, and almost all of it was M+ -- and that’s exactly the way I wanted it.
What is your favorite and least favorite part of the 8.0 Patch?
BFA seems like a fairly polarizing expansion, so there’s a lot to like and not like about the 8.0 pre-patch being dropped into our laps today. Perhaps unexpectedly, I don’t have a lot of strong opinions one way or the other about BFA; so long as it includes M+, I’m a happy camper. But there are a few things about BFA that moved the needle.
My favorite part of BFA is the handling of the loot system. This includes both the move to forced personal loot and the removal of tier from the game. My focus in WoW is strictly on M+, and being forced to raid to get the gear necessary to compete at the highest M+ level was a constant aggravation in Legion. Most high end guilds will funnel gear to the DPS, so as a healer that was showing up to get loot for M+, the system was failing me abysmally. And one of the big reasons why raiding was considered necessary was because the tier gear was generally so strong that no amount of raw ilvl could outweigh it. With tier being removed in BFA, you can now get almost all the loot you need for M+ solely by doing M+. Raiding will help you get the loot faster, but it won’t necessarily offer you access to exclusive pieces of gear (though trinkets are still a big deal and might warrant some raiding each week). I know I’ve rubbed some people the wrong way on these topics in the past, and I don’t mean to instigate, but as someone that is playing the game with M+ in mind, these changes are very liberating.
My least favorite part of BFA is, ironically, also the loot system, specifically the RNG of it. A new wrinkle added to the weekly M+ cache is that it can now reward between 1 to 3 items, meaning that an especially lucky player could net a dozen items from their weekly cache in a month while someone else might get only four. Titanforging was one thing, but when you start adding RNG to the number of items that drop, then you’ve placed way too much importance in luck. Considering that the contents of the cache are heavily weighted towards Azerite pieces and weapons, a good cache haul for a few weeks in a row might well determine which character you decide to main for the expansion or at least that tier.
As I said earlier, as long as M+ is around in a recognizable form, I’m not going to get too worked up about BFA. But this expansion does seem to be tied strongly to loot.
It looks like there is already a strong meta coming into play for early M+. DH, Pally, Warlock, Outlaw Rogue are all so strong. Is Blizzard not doing enough to prevent this from happening? The game isn’t even live yet and already things seem to be set in stone if you want to push high keys.
The timing of this question is great because all of these specs got nerfed by varying degrees this week. Warlock damage has been reduced considerably; pally AoE got whacked hard by a nerf to Consecrate; Vengeance got some nerfs to its AoE (though it’s still impressive); and Outlaw is already looking like it might lose its crown to Subtlety before everything is said and done. The meta is a fickle thing, and it doesn’t take much to push classes up or down. Warrior was a burst AoE god in Legion until it suddenly wasn’t, and Windwalker went from a bench rider to MVP overnight. People tend to quickly forget, but warlocks started Legion as persona non grata and couldn’t buy their way into keys at any level. It wasn’t until Nighthold rolled around that they suddenly became WARLOCKS.
The classes people are playing on beta aren’t necessarily the classes they’ll be playing on live. A lot of people hear hype around certain specs (Outlaw was a big one) and want to see what’s up so they play around on those specs. So you see a bunch of rogues running around on beta and think to yourself, “Oh my God, everyone is a rogue.” But in reality half those guys are going to play a different class in BFA and never touch rogue again. Raiding is also a mitigating factor because most guilds are going to want diversity in their roster so there will be some people that WANT to play rogue but won’t be able to because their guild already has three rogues.
And it’s definitely premature to predict a meta at this point because the groups on beta have only just begun to scratch the surface of what’s possible in M+. Most groups are topping out at the +12-13 range, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see keys two or three levels higher than that routinely being done within the first month of M+. Until teams get to that point, it’s impossible to say which classes will be strong in those circumstances. Will immunities be make-or-break? Will snares be super important? Is an AoE stun practically required or just nice?
Another thing that doesn’t get discussed often is just how much damage Blood DK did to the Legion meta. Virtually all of the top keys featured a Blood DK (usually alongside a Holy paladin), and when you get that kind of ubiquity at the tank spot, the rest of meta begins to gravitate around that constant. Classes that worked well with Blood DK became the most popular. But in BFA I think you might reasonably expect to see at least four tank classes capable of making runs at world firsts (Monk, DH, DK, Paladin) if the class balance went live as it is on beta currently, and that will open up opportunities for more comps because each tank has certain strengths and weaknesses that can be leveraged. Having actual choice for your tank class will do a lot to keep the meta fresh.
Some classes will always have an edge in M+ because of utility that can’t really be buffed or nerfed. Rogues have Shroud of Concealment, and as long as they have it, they will have a significant advantage over other melee. Warlocks have Demonic Portals, and it will enable some skips that no other class ability can. But that utility always takes a backseat to damage potential, and if those classes aren’t performing well on the meters then no amount of utility will get them brought to a key. And as Blizzard showed with multiple balance patches this week, damage output can be here one minute and gone the next.
BFA Dungeons ranked by Mythic 0 difficulty as of July 17
Now it’s time to give you the 411 on on which dungeons are most likely to leave you pulling your hair out. I’ll be ranking the dungeons with no affixes since each affix affects dungeons differently. This also disregards M+ timers and instead focuses on how much of a struggle it is to simply finish the dungeon. The list will run from easiest (since I know that’s what you’re most interested to know) to hardest.
- Atal’Dazar has developed a reputation as the easiest M+ in large part because of it’s super lenient timer. But it’s also just a very painless dungeon. The bosses are simple for the most part with the only real challenge coming from Atal’Dazar’s final boss, Yazma. There are a few dangerous trash packs, but the open layout of the dungeon gives you a lot of flexibility in deciding what you want to pull and when.
- This is a very open dungeon that will allow you to skip large parts of it on Mythic 0. The bosses are not overly complex -- only the Council o’ Captains will require any real investigation of the dungeon journal to figure out what’s going on. There is a bit of an RP event before Council that will require your group to interact with certain NPCs, but a quick read through Wowhead’s Freehold dungeon guide will tell you everything you need to know.
Shrine of the Storm
- Shrine is another dungeon with bosses that are straightforward and trash that isn’t particularly scary. This dungeon is linear so there aren’t a lot of opportunities to decide what you do and don’t want to pull, but you can use invisibility potions to get past the few rough packs of trash. The last boss, Vol’Zith, does have some unique mechanics that will split the group up and require your tank and healer to do some respectable DPS, but you can finish the fight quickly on Mythic 0.
- Another sprawling dungeon with lots of trash that’s able to be skipped. The first boss, Coin-Operated Crowd Pummeler, will require your group to have a least a fair bit of aim to kick balls at the boss. The last boss, Mogul Razdunk, also has some positional requirements that can wipe your group quickly if you don’t know what’s going on.
- There aren’t a lot of good ways to skip trash throughout most of Underrot, and some of the trash mechanics can be tricky if you don’t know what you’re doing. The second boss, Cragmaw, has a legit healing check when it casts Tantrum, and the third boss, Sporecaller Zancha, will be a lot harder if your DPS don’t know where to drop their Upheavals.
- Tol Dagor is a very cramped dungeon so it’s difficult to skip anything. The first two bosses are simple enough, but the last two, Knight Captain Valyri and Overseer Korgus, have some abilities that can quickly kill party members. Korgus especially is a boss that will likely require some pre-planning by groups because of his positional requirements.
Siege of Boralus
- Some of the trash in here hits fairly hard, and all the bosses feature some mechanics that can wipe the group if people aren’t familiar with them. The final boss, Viq’Goth, has some in-depth mechanics that you’ll want to read about before attempting.
- Waycrest’s bosses are for the most part simple, but many of them hit hard. The exception to the simple boss rule is the Heartsbane Triad which features three different NPCs, each of which has a unique aura that gets put on the group. There are a lot of easy ways to wipe on this boss, so expect a learning curve. The trash in Waycrest is also hard to kite because of the narrow hallways, and certain mobs only spawn when you walk over a point in the dungeon (which you won’t recognize until you do it a few times).
Temple of Sethraliss
- Temple features several annoying mini-games, including dodging lightning orbs (fun for anyone with latency) and carrying orbs around a room. These puzzles aren’t necessarily difficult, but they will slow you down. The first boss encounter in temple, Adderis and Aspix, showcases the single hardest hitting ability in M+: Static Shock. Static Shock currently hits for about 70k damage on Mythic 0, and it hits the entire group. For reference, my 360 ilvl priest has roughly 130k health on beta. The last boss, Avatar of Sethraliss, is a unique boss fight that requires your healer to heal up an NPC as the fight goes on. It’s a length fight that can be very mana intensive for healers. The trash in Temple has some nasty cleaves that will surprise melee, as well as casters that will deal significant damage.
- I haven’t seen anyone get a King’s Rest M+ key this week, and I suspect it’s because King’s Rest was taken out of the key pool to be reworked. This dungeon was clearly overtuned from the outset, with some of the trash dealing outrageous damage, and some bosses that are not pushovers. The last two bosses, Council of Tribes and Dazar, require a lot of movement and some knowledge of what’s going on. I wouldn’t be surprised if this dungeon sees some significant changes before launch.
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