Vengeance Patch 7.0 Survival Guide

The Legion is returning to Azeroth, and demon hunters are coming to hunt it down with Vengeance.

This is a guide for the first few weeks of Vengeance, before we unlock level 110. As demon hunters unlock their talents between 99 and 110, they only get to experience two talent rows while stuck at 100. This simplifies the class significantly, so we’ll be playing a very different class between August 9th and August 30th than we will soon after Legion launch.

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Vengeance and Brewmaster Comparison

Vengeance and Brewmasters are two vastly different tanking specializations. Everything from their active mitigation to their fantasy are at odds, but despite that, many brewmasters are thinking of trying the new cool thing, so here is how they compare.

(This is not a guide that’s going to tell you what class is objectively best. That changes with balance tuning, and I’ve always encouraged people to play what they want. You’ll do the best playing the class that you’re motivated to master. This guide is just to help you figure out what that class might be.)

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A Sunnier Musing: Stat Apathy

Some may wonder why I no longer have stat priorities in my guides. When I released the new Legion class guides, I instead opted to link to other guides for that information. (Excluding the brief period where each stat priority was that picture in the header.) The short explanation is this: in Warlords I got overwhelmed by all the stat priority questions from random people, to the point where I now cringe whenever any stat topic comes up. Getting asked the same question a million times by a million strangers expecting a million different answers wore me down. In an effort to avoid a similar situation in Legion, I’m delegating.

But there’s a longer answer, having to do with how I find stat priorities in modern WoW boring (and I’m okay with that).

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New Soul Cleave (That Scales with Pain)

Vengeance Demon Hunters received a subtle change to their biggest spell, Soul Cleave, a few weeks ago:

new-soul-cleave

Previously, Soul Cleave cost exactly 40 Pain. Now it costs between 30 to 60 Pain, and heals and deals damage proportionally to the Pain consumed. (Soul Cleave doesn’t show up well in datamining, so I don’t blame you if you missed the change.)

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First Draft of the Quick and Dirty Legion Dungeon Guide is up!

My raid tanking guides for previous expansions have been pretty successful, so I wanted to expand them to dungeons for Legion.  Right now they just include simple tanking strategies for normal mode, but I will expand that to heroic and mythic once I get more testing in.

I’ve been working on this guide for quite a while, and using it a lot for myself because there are a lot of bosses to keep track of and it’s easy to forget what they all do. I hope it’s helpful for those in beta, or for those who aren’t, something to keep in mind when you experience these dungeons for the first time after August 30th.

For easy reference, you can find this guide in the “Legion Beta Guides” sidebar to the left, and once the expansion releases, under “Quick and Dirty Tanking Guides”.

Quick and Dirty Legion Dungeon Guide

Thoughts on Guides for the Quick and Dirty Audience

A few month’s ago I wrote about the two major audiences I see reading WoW guides. To quote myself:

Guides generally have two different audiences: “I want to jump in and play” and “I want to understand”. The vast majority of a guide’s readers will be in the former group, what I’ll call the quick’n’dirty players. They can range from new players who want to tank a 5 man with a freshly boosted monk, to experienced players who want to try a new class, to casual players who want to spend their precious few hours of free time playing a game instead of reading about it. They are interested in getting an introduction that is easy to digest and follow. Cookie cutter builds are targeted to this type of reader, and they often get frustrated when the answer to their customization questions is presented as subjective. They build the body of a readership and are really important for establishing an audience.

The latter group, the “I want to understand” people, or what I’ll call the comprehensive players, are more interested in why these choices were suggested and how to master the spec they are already familiar with. These are a smaller group that usually starts out as the quick’n’dirty type, but eventually want to know more. They may want help solving a particular problem, or they want to customize their character to their liking, or they simply want to be better at the game. They want explanations for everything, beyond the “do this”. Cookie cutter builds can actually harm this group because cookie cutter builds don’t offer nuance. A talent row that is actually competitive might come across as inflexible because the majority of cookie cutter builds suggest a single talent. Brewmaster healing talents and resource talents often hit this wall, because each row has a popular choice (Chi Wave and Ascension, currently), but there are good reasons to change that choice when need arises.

Today I want to talk about that quick’n’dirty audience, and how to better meet their needs. Right now my Brewmaster guide is sort of in the middle of catering to quick’n’dirty players and comprehensive players, which disrupts its ability to serve either group particularly well. To focus on the larger group, I want to find out what the majority of my guide readers look at, and use that information to craft a better experience.

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On Talent Restrictions, Social Friction, and Cookie Cutter Builds

Blizz, I need your help.

A few months ago there was a little movement among guide writers (you can see my contribution here) on how to discourage cookie cutter talent builds and advocate for individual experimentation. For one, swapping talents is just fun — you feel smart when you pick the right one, and it’s more rewarding when there’s an interesting choice and opportunity cost with that talent tier. Two, players will probably do better when they are encouraged to find talents that work for them and their current struggles, as opposed to the general “best in slot” talent. I mean, Blizzard knows all these things. Some devs even retweeted my arguments. But that all lies in contrast to the significant barriers that will be placed on talent swapping come Legion:

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