Microblog: Greater Complexity

It seems that with Legion, or perhaps my increasingly aging brain, classes have gotten very complicated. It used to be that a proper guide only had to outline the rotation and stats and talents and be pretty solid. That’s 90% of the way to understanding a class!

But now, there’s legendaries and artifacts to guarantee that no one is working with the same mechanics . There’s tier bonuses and talents that drastically change rotations. There’s a massive and ever increasing array of trinkets, thanks to Mythic+, in addition to the increasingly unique trinkets from raids.

There’s the reality that once I could assume everyone reading my guides was working with the same toolkit, but now that’s far from the truth. One guy might have the best-in-slot legendary, using a different rotation and artifact priority than someone who just reached 110. There’s the lady who’s a pro at mythic+ who has a wide variety of high level tank trinkets. Or there’s the busy dad who only has two legendaries and plays a few hours a week in LFR. Not only do they have different needs, but they’re working with different tools, despite playing the same class.

And the thing is, I don’t think this is a bad thing. As a player, a lot of variation and customization is exciting. But as a guide writer, I can’t keep up. I used to pride myself in presenting complex stuff in a digestible way, but there’s just no way to do that with trinkets and artifact traits, etc. I can’t think of a way to properly display the 16 if-statements that line out a rotation (if you have this legendary, do that, if you have this talent, do these other three things in this order).

With the surging popularity of Discord, I also don’t think it’s necessary. There’s an easy way to seek clarification, with centralized guides and FAQs. That massive community is a living, breathing, and often frustrating guide, and far more simplified and thoroughly complex than I could possibly be. With all these variations, the only way it’s possible to keep up is with the Discord hive mind at your back, communally solving these problems.

I’m still very proud of the work I’ve put into my guide. I tried to solve the problems of cookie cutter talent builds by presenting talents simply. I tried to reduce the if-statements by trimming minor rotational choices and presenting the base one in as few steps as possible. But I’m not proud of how out-of-date it always is, how it doesn’t apply to people who know the class well and just want to understand the meta.

Astute readers might have noticed that the brewmaster and vengeance guides no longer appear in the navigation bar of my site. If you’re especially perceptive, you might have wondered why my class guides stopped appearing in search engine results. I’ve been phasing them out. Maybe they’ll see a return when the next expansion comes around, though I’d love to trim them down even further to be specifically around catching up. We’ll see. But for now I’m just going to focus on my raid tanking guides, TankCast, and survival guides for impending patches.