Yesterday the preview shard was patched with the first build of the new free content addition Elemental Evil! Although they took down the shard because of a severe issue later, the patch notes alone and the corresponding official feedback threads revealed enough to talk about it.
Refining: More of the same.
They will raise every cap: Enchantments and Runestones are going to Rank 12, Artifacts to Rank 120 and Artifact gear probably to Rank 80. They seem to be very happy how the refining system is performing and it’ll stick for a while. To compensate for the heavy increase of RPs needed to achieve the additional ranks (given the current progression, leveling up an Artifact from 101-120 should cost more RPs than 1-100), they are introducing new refining stones and people that had a chance to get a first look said R5s are dropping and the RP rewards form the new HEs are also nice.
Let me start by saying that the refining system isn’t all that bad, what makes it bad is the fact that not enough RPs are rewarded by simply playing the game. Even if you are not exploiting the foundry for RPs like everyone else, you would need to circle through the WoD or any other 60 adventure zone and grind for Dragon Hoard drops. That’s about the only way to level up your gear efficiently. I don’t think people are unwilling to work or grind for their stuff, but being forced to do it in this annoyingly boring way is a big drawback.
Even if they somehow add more RPs to areas the bots can’t touch (expect R5s to be the new R4s because they seem to drop from profession nodes), an issue remains with Enchantments and Runestones. Because they have a fixed cost defined by the Marks of Potency, their price can’t be lowered only by making RP more available.
Without a legit way to farm for the Marks (or AD for that matter), the new BiS will be vastly harder to achieve than the old one.
The second thing they revealed are stat changes and the way Life Steal and Regeneration works. For DPS classes it means that DoT and AoE/proc-heavy builds will have an advantage, because now you want as much outgoing attacks as possible to take out the RNG of the LS heals. CWs with Storm Spell and massive AoE will have an advantage over the GWF, which is more of a heavy hitter. Normally a GWF could heal back to 100% with every IBS strike, now every 10th will do so.
Tanks will need to get a good amount of LS next to Regeneration to be self-sufficient in fights or use a heavy dose of the Fighter’s Recovery daily. But I think it’s clear they want more traditional setups in groups with a tank, a healer and three DPS/buffing classes. A concern for those that main a GF should be the Paladin, which fits the new mechanic perfectly and could take over tanking duties immediately. The devs even said that these changes are aiming towards the addition of the class and it would surprise absolutely no one if the Paladin would start its journey overpowered.
The new stat curves are interesting as well. If you can go deep into a stat without severe diminishing returns, tanks can go real tanky and builds that get a lot of utility from certain stats like crit can also min/max more than before.
The third thing is the cap raise and the new class powers and feats that come with it. What certainly stands out is that TR’s, who are already daze and piercing damage heavy, get even more daze and piercing damage through their new class features. GWF Instigators, who are played by literally nobody, get a nice set of CCs, which could revitalize them for PVP. GFs get a solid DPS class feature in Shield Warrior’s Wrath and we might see some perma-freeze builds based on CW’s Icy Veins.
In a more general sense, a lot of the powers require positioning or gathering allies near you or behind you to make them most efficient. So they are trying to raise the skill cap which was a major request by the playerbase, especially for PVP.
Hopefully the preview shard will be back up soon next week so we can test stuff. In the meantime, stay uncensored!