WoW took the training wheels off me in the last raid and it’s finally fun again

With the current patch 10.2, Blizzard has not only brought a new raid to World of Warcraft, but has also made a number of changes. Many of the most important addons have lost their strongest mechanics. MeinMMO editor Benedict Grothaus was initially skeptical about whether this was the right move. Now he has completed the attack and is thrilled.

Patch 10.2 “Guardians of the Dream” has been active in Dragonflight since November 8th and Season 3 has been running since November 15th. With that came new M+ dungeons and, above all, the new Amirdrassil raid with the final boss of Dragonflight, Fyrakk.

Just before the patch, I had a hard time getting excited about WoW. After 18 years of playing constantly, I simply grew tired.

However, I’m clearly interested in the game that has been with me for so long, especially after BlizzCon. So I was looking forward to the new attack and tried it out right away.

But one thing was completely different this time: many addons lost their strongest functions. With one small change, things like WeakAuras suddenly can’t calculate everything anymore. And that’s a surprisingly good innovation.

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What exactly is different? Actually not much. Blizzard just changed the combat log. Until patch 10.2 it was written “live” in an external file. The add-ons then read this file and calculate its functions live in the game.

The result was calculated reactions to the boss’s abilities – to the point that sometimes you just had to stand in front of a number on the screen. It didn’t have much to do with “playing” anymore. Raiden was more interested in directly analyzing a data table with a better interface.

“Private auras” were already introduced with patch 10.1, with which Blizzard limited the functions of the strongest addons. Now the fight record is only saved after the fight, so the file can no longer be read directly. As a result, many addons lose their biggest strengths because they can no longer provide live information.

And that’s good: I didn’t need to try much harder because I ended up mastering the class very well. But I saw a lot more of the attack. Effects, boss emotes and simply attack design, which was previously hidden behind overlays and addons.

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Add-ons have been a part of WoW for years and I forgot what it’s like without them

Until now, I’ve taken the position that add-ons have generally made World of Warcraft better. And while I still agree that the addons alone were able to improve the boss encounters, I can now see that the game is more fun without (much) help.

In the new patch, Blizzard basically took away from me the opportunity to make even difficult skills, which actually require a lot of consultation, trivial. I have to communicate with my guild again, which is particularly good in Amirdrassil.

Because the bosses here are fabulously designed. Not a single fight in the entire raid irritated me, they all had at least one mechanic that I thought was cool, and I was constantly impressed by most of them.

There were also some new mechanics that work completely differently, for example directly in Gnarl Root or later in Tindral. But even “simple” mechanics like the Volcoross DPS check boss excited me more – simply because I play them and not my addon.

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The new system and I have yet to pass an acid test

So far we have seen or only seen normal and heroic modes. Mythic is still pending and always has the hardest mechanics and skills. The ones where addons actually became “necessary” in the first place.

I really hope that Amirdrassil can stay the course and not become a nuisance when played without add-ons and weaknesses. And that there are no auras of “duty”, without which the fight cannot be managed in a coordinated way, as sometimes happened in the past.

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Overall, I’m pretty excited about the patch, much more than expected. I’m even grinding mythic keystone dungeons again, although old Legion favorites have returned here as well.

It’s possible that I’m still caught up in the initial hype at the moment. However, I see the add-on restriction as a good step, which may not be the last, but which has certainly improved things.

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