After a long bout of testing and a delayed release from the December holidays, the launch of Battle for Azeroth Patch 8.3, Visions of N’zoth is finally on the horizon, and what a patch it is. From a long-requested rework of the auction house system to the replacement of the warforged/titanforged system on loot drops, there’s a lot to discuss.
The full amount of content arriving includes: a new 12 boss raid known as Ny’alotha, the Waking City, a new legendary cloak to be improved over time, two new allied races in the form of Vulpera and Mechagnomes, the ability for any race to become a Death Knight (with the pre-purchase of Shadowlands, WoW’s next expansion), the addition of the mega-dungeon Operation: Mechagon to the mythic plus pool and a new seasonal affix called Awakened, weekly and biweekly assaults against the forces of N’zoth in Uldum and the Vale of Eternal Blossoms, delving into N’zoth’s horrific visions of Stormwind and Orgrimmar, an extension of the essence system on the Heart of Azeroth, Goblin and Worgen heritage armor, and the ability for your gear to become corrupted with powerful new effects for those that can withstand their downsides.
Beyond all that, you’ve probably heard by now that there are some Brewmaster nerfs coming. Let’s talk about what they are and what impact, if any, they will have on the sturdiest tank specialization.
Battle for Azeroth is following its theme of having relatively few class changes over time in favor of tuning azerite and essences. However, there are still some changes to monks in Visions of N’zoth to mention.
- Bugfix: Gift of the Ox now spawns the correct amount of orbs for players with high amounts of stamina.
- Passive stamina buff reduced to 30% (was 35%).
- Vivify now heals for 101% of attack/spell power (was 95%).
- Base Stagger amount reduced to 90% of Agility (was 105%).
- High Tolerance now increases the effectiveness of Stagger by 5% (was 8%).
- Bugfix: Rank 3 Nullification Dynamo (minor and major) now correctly checks for line of sight when it explodes.
- Worldvein Resonance‘s major effect now also temporarily increases the amount of primary stat gained from standing near lifeblood shards (+300% for 18 seconds).
- Vision of Perfection‘s major effect proc rate increased by 12%.
- The Heart of Azeroth now has an additional minor essence slot at level 75, and two additional Perseverance nodes at levels 71 and 80. It can then be leveled infinitely beyond 80, further increasing its item level and the strength of the essences slotted into it.
- There are seven new essences obtained from Visions of N’zoth content. Two each are specific to different roles (tank, healer, damage), one is usable by all. For Brewmaster, these are Strength of the Warden, Touch of the Everlasting, and The Formless Void. Look for an update to the Azerite Essences guide with more info about them soon!
- Ny’alotha and its related azerite features one new trait that interacts with the corruption stat: Heart of Darkness. The Azerite Trait guide will be updated shortly, showing how it compares with other choices.
Corruption: A Primer
A couple of times now, the word corruption has come up, but what does it mean in patch 8.3? Put simply, it is a test by Blizzard to replace the previous random chance of an item warforging or titanforging to a higher item level when it drops with something different. For any item that drops in Visions of N’zoth, what you see is what you get on the item level, but there is also a chance to “corruptforge” and gain a powerful bonus effect. Some of these extra bonuses are stronger than others. However, it should be noted that items obtained from sources before patch 8.2 can still warforge/titanforge. Fortunately, these old items are capped to an item level of 455, so please don’t run Battle of Dazar’alor hoping for a 460+ Diamond-Laced Refracting Prism.
Great Power, Great Cost(?)
Of course, it wouldn’t be much of an experiment to just give players this level of power without a catch. To offset their incredible strength, there is an additional stat called corruption that will appear as soon as you first equip a corrupted item. The higher this value gets, the more corrupted your character will look and the greater the danger experienced, with stronger bonuses having higher corruption amounts. These dangers start small with the occasional Grasping Tendrils when taking damage. Increase your corruption further, and a Grand Delusions enemy that only you can see could appear and smack you for 30% of your total health! Go too far along the path, and your Inevitable Doom surely approaches.
There is, however, a way to get the benefit of corrupted items while reducing the risk. The new essences of patch 8.3 uniquely provide corruption resistance, lowering your total amount, along with the new legendary cloak, Ashjra’kamas, Shroud of Resolve. If you decide an effect isn’t worth the price, you can have MOTHER permanently remove the corruption and its bonus from the item at the Heart Forge.
Over the next couple of weeks, there’s sure to be a lot of discussion and tuning to decide which corruption effects are the most desirable, along with our own guide and recommendations here on Peak of Serenity. As a starting point though, the three most powerful for damage are likely going to be the bonuses of Echoing Void, Infinite Stars, and Twilight Devastation. Please don’t worry too much just yet if you don’t get any items with these bonuses. Most of all, don’t be afraid to experiment with whatever corrupted items you do happen to find within Visions of N’zoth.
The Stagger Nerfs, AKA “Should I Panic?!”
From the moment the changes to Stagger were first datamined, our Discord server has been flooded with questions of “How bad is this for Brewmaster?”, “Should I reroll to Blood?”, and “Will Brew still be viable in keys?”. This is to be expected; people just see the word nerf and some numbers. It’s hard to find out what they end up looking like in-game. So let’s go over what they really mean, starting with the baseline stamina nerf.
Although the stamina provided to you for simply being in the Brewmaster specialization has gone down before in BfA, it’s important to remember that the Heart of Azeroth has also had a number of extra stamina nodes added to it since patch 8.2, worth 3% extra health each. In patch 8.3, two more of these Perseverance nodes exist, for a benefit of +6% more stamina, and a net gain of 1% over this initial loss. Sure, it can feel bad having to essentially earn back the health that was taken away, and it can also feel like Brewmasters are still behind everyone else in Visions of N’zoth who unlocked the “full” +6% bonus. But, continuing to have the lowest healthpool of every tank is a small price to pay for having a talent that offers percentage-based healing (Healing Elixir), a chance for bonus healing no matter where it comes from (Celestial Fortune), and the highest effective health thanks to Stagger.
Next, the Stagger and High Tolerance nerfs. Truth be told, this is actually the second time in Battle for Azeroth that Stagger has been directly reduced. Back in patch 8.0, Stagger was a whopping 140% of Agility, before being lowered to 105% in 8.1. With that in mind, consider that Brew has always been the go-to tank for progression in every raid of Battle for Azeroth. Many fights used two of them, despite these nonstop nerfs. To further demonstrate what Brewmaster’s defensive capabilities have looked like in the toughest content of BfA, take a look at the chart below, using data from my own logs and simulated item level 475 gear.
In the grand scheme, Brewmaster is only losing a little more than 5% Stagger by the end of patch 8.3 compared to where it stands at the end of 8.2. This is also only in Mythic Ny’alotha. Within lower raid difficulties and mythic plus, the K-value is also smaller which results in the value of Stagger being higher yet as your item level increases! And, since magic Stagger is 35% of your physical Stagger, this change is even less harmful to that value. If you’d like to see the math behind these numbers or all of BfA’s K-values, take a look at the pins within the #craft-brewing channel of our Discord server or visit the spreadsheet itself.
Gift of the Ox
Finally, the change, disguised as a bug fix, that isn’t being talked about as much despite being the most impactful in Visions of N’zoth. I’m talking about Gift of the Ox (GotO). As many of you probably know–or can learn about in our Zen Meditation about it–GotO is meant to generate one healing orb for every 100% of your max health taken as damage. However, your “max health” is calculated using more math.What the formula for your “max health” didn’t consider, however, was the extra stamina added to all azerite armor since patch 8.1, along with all 4 (now 6) nodes of Perseverance on the Heart of Azeroth from patch 8.2. This resulted in nearly 40% more orbs being generated than there should be at higher item levels! Compared to the slight shrink in Stagger, you’re definitely going to feel this fix. This will be especially true in mythic plus. Solo content will more or less feel the same. In places with multiple healers around, like Ny’alotha, however, this change won’t matter quite as much. Want to see the new Gift of the Ox formula? It’s also documented in our server’s #craft-brewing channel!
Patch 8.3 Nerf Summary
So with these changes explained, where does that leave a Brewmaster in patch 8.3? Honestly, outside of the Gift of the Ox change, things are still going to be business as usual. Most high-end raiding guilds are probably still going to run one or two Brewmasters in progression. With alts, swapping to another tank specialization when the fight benefits from Death Grip/Sigil of Chains or Blessing of Protection/Blessing of Spellwarding/Divine Shield isn’t out of the question. Mythic Plus, meanwhile, may cause you to yell at your healer more often for more than just Beacon of Light‘s healing. Perhaps ironically, losing 5% stamina does also mean that Gift of the Ox would have been spawning even more often than in 8.2 if the earlier stamina bonuses still weren’t included. Long story short:
The Big Takeaway
Let’s be honest, getting nerfed usually sucks. However, it’s important to not let these changes be what makes or breaks your enjoyment of Patch 8.3. If you want to play a different specialization or class, there is nothing wrong with that. What does matter is that you have fun with whatever you’re playing. Nothing in these changes really cuts out the fun potential Brewmaster still has. In fact, some of the corruption bonuses are at their strongest in the hands of one, but you’ll have to find them first….Of course, if all else fails, you can always race change to Vulpera.
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