A "stat squish" and "item squish" was implemented to lower the numbers used in the game, e.g. a legendary item previously with a level of 1000 reduced to 265. Unique class-specific buffs are added back, i.e. mages' Arcane Brilliance and priests' Mark of Fortitude. Titanforging—a random event that raises the initial item level of an item gained via drops or rewards—is still in the game; however, if the item is one of those affected by the Heart of Azeroth, then that item cannot be titanforged.
Class abilities were reworked dramatically across the board, with some still needing a serious balance pass. That left many players not only feeling underpowered, but having to learn how to play their characters all over again. Bosses in large-group raid dungeons that were easily killed each week by experienced guilds of players suddenly became challenging again, or worse, completely unkillable, halting forward momentum on old content for a good chunk of the high-end player base.
Once you reach an Alchemy skill of 475, you may begin a quest to learn one of three specializations: Potions,Elixirs or Transmutations. Being specialized gives you a chance to create an extra 1 to 4 (for a total 5) items while crafting in the field you have selected. For example, a Master of Potions may be able to craft more than one [Super Mana Potion] for the same material cost as one.
Island expeditions require groups of three players to venture to islands with randomly spawned enemies and piles of AP. The island expedition ends once they collect a certain amount of AP, and they are granted about 300 AP as a reward — unfortunately, players don’t get any of the between 6,000 and 12,000 AP they collect during the expedition. These missions can take anywhere from three to 20 minutes, and never once offer any real challenge or depth.
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As for the classes themselves, they almost all play like slower and slightly less interesting versions of their Legion counterparts. This is thanks in large part to the loss of one ability from each class that came along with Legion’s own AP dumping system: the artifact weapon, which added a unique ability to every spec in the game. The loss of these abilities left most classes feeling frustrating and incomplete, and though Azerite gear was supposed to be the replacement, it missed the mark completely. There will always be one Azerite trait that reigns supreme for each spec, meaning that the frustration of that particular loop will be unavoidable as long as the system is in the game.
This top-end difficulty was missing entirely from Legion’s first raid, Emerald Nightmare, which was cleared by top guilds in around 11 hours. Meanwhile the first guild to clear Uldir’s hardest difficulty, Mythic, spent somewhere around 70 hours attempting to kill the raid’s eight bosses. Even after all that time, the guild, Method, still had members say they loved the raid, and that it was one of their favorite in recent memory.
If you love running old content for transmog items, you'll love the new legacy loot system. Whenever a player enters a dungeon or raid where they are 10 or more levels above the content, the dungeon or raid bosses drop an amount of loot equivalent to what would have dropped for a full group when the content was current. That means players could earn loot for five people in dungeons and loot for 20 people after soloing a raid. The legacy loot system also drops other gear types, like cloth dropping for a plate wearer. It's now much easier to get the transmog gear you want, and you can also collect gear for your alts on the same run.