Mythic Azshara's Stealth Nerf to Soaking Wards
Two weeks ago, reports of a stealth change to ward soaking started to appear about the Mythic Azshara encounter. Details of this change have emerged, so we want to highlight the exact stealth change that was made to the encounter on August 19th, and explain why this makes the Ward Soaking mechanic of Mythic Azshara much easier.
What was the Stealth Nerf?
When empowering or draining the last tick of a Ward, only one player will receive a stack of
, instead of all players currently soaking.
This caused "fake stacks" to appear on your raiders, where they'd receive stacks of
, but didn't actually drain/empower a ward because it was empty/full.
Here's an example explaining how the Ward interaction previously worked before the hotfix.
Take Azshara's Ward (BLUE) and imagine that there is exactly 1 stack left to drain the Ward completely.
Now Raider #1 and Raider #2 enter the Ward at the exact same time and start to drain the Ward.
There is now 0 stacks left in the Ward, but both Raider #1 and Raider #2 have 1 stack of
Despite there only being 1 stack in the Ward, the raid generated two stacks of
In other words, whenever a Ward is fully empowered or fully drained, the last tick previously gave "fake stacks" of
to any additional players soaking. After the hotfix, this no longer occurs, and now only one player will get the final stack when soaking the final tick of a Ward.
Because Azshara drains or empowers Wards at an approximate rate of 1 stack per second throughout the entire fight, this causes this scenario to happen very often on Mythic difficulty when soaking wards is very important.
Impact of the Nerf
This Nerf makes the Ward soaking mechanic of this encounter much easier. Ward health is more consistent across all pulls due to the lack of fake stacks on players. This allows raid leaders to assign Ward Soaks, without having to worry about having more than one person in a Ward a time and taking "fake stacks".
For example, in Phase 3 when Greater Reversal of Fortune happens, this ability lasts 30 seconds. This means that Azshara will empower the ward with 30 stacks and you only need to assign 30 stack soaks, plus a couple extra for Tidemistress casts. This equates to about 7 players soaking 5 stacks each and you don't need to worry about having only one person soaking at a time, because "fake stacks" no longer can be applied. Before the hotfix, all 7 of these players could have soaked their 5 stacks, but depending on when each of them soaked, all the stacks could not have been drained.
Azshara's ward, when full, provides a bonus 200% damage to all of Azshara's minions and herself on Mythic, so it's very important to keep Azshara's Ward drained at all times. This caused some guilds to throw additional people in the Blue ward to make sure it's drained pre-hotfix, soaking "fake stacks", but ensuring that the damage intake of the raid remains as low as possible. Now, only the exact number of stacks will be given, allowing soaks to be diverted into other places. As such, Ward health as a whole is much healthier on average. It also allows raider leaders to assign specific soaks to players, accounting for the amount of time that Azshara spends by each Ward, to achieve a desired result.
The odd part of this hotfix was that it was unannounced but also that it occurred on Monday, August 19th. This was the first day that guilds noticed a change. This also came on the same day as two other Queen Azshara nerfs, though those were not directly targeted towards Mythic Queen Azshara.
Ancient Wards now energize slightly slower for smaller raid sizes on Normal and Heroic difficulties.
Fixed an issue that allowed Arcane Vulnerability to apply when the victim wasn't in line of sight of Queen Azshara.
This may not have been reported, despite being a large nerf to the fight, because it might have been classified as a bug fix. It was probably unlikely that the Wards were supposed to give "fake stacks" to players, but regardless it probably still should have been reported in the hotfixes that occurred on the same day!
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