After a very long wait, it’s finally time to discuss Battle for Azeroth patch 8.2: Tides of Vengeance. Being the midway point for the expansion, Tides of Vengeance is bringing some sizable chunks of content. This includes: two new zones with catchup gear, a new raid, a new mega-sized dungeon, a new mythic plus seasonal affix, the continuation of the war campaign, another “tier” of profession crafts, Tauren and Gnome heritage armor, a mount equipment slot, and a new development with the Heart of Azeroth in the form of an active ability for almost every specialization! For Brewmasters in particular, this includes a new way to convert Purifying Brew into damage through access to Hot Trub in PvE!
For the most part, there isn’t a lot of class balancing in patch 8.2. Rather than tweaking class abilities, with a few exceptions, a lot of the character tuning this time around is being handled by the changes to the Heart of Azeroth–more on that later–and gear. What few changes we have received directly are listed below.
- Bugfix: Summon Black Ox Statue (Dave/statue) will no longer default to totem slot #1 on the back end. This fixes a somewhat rare bug where players using the talent Invoke Niuzao, the Black Ox (Angry Dave) would despawn their Angry Dave if they placed a statue while it was active. The side effect of this change is that you can no longer just macro /canceltotemslot1 to despawn a Black Ox Statue you’ve placed; instead you will have to right click the totem or risk changing your macro to cancel all totem slots and possibly despawn Angry Dave if he’s active.
- The power of damage and healing effects on Battle of Azeroth items now increases more per item level. This includes weapon, trinket, and armor effects, but does not include azerite traits.
- The honor talent Hot Trub now will split its damage evenly among all targets hit.
- Hot Trub now only deals 20% of purified Stagger as damage (was 30%).
- Double Barrel now increases the damage of your next Keg Smash by 50% (was 15%).
- The Heart of Azeroth now caps at level 70
- Pieces of azerite armor obtained in patch 8.2 have the same requirements for their traits as patch 8.1 items. The final node to add 5 item levels to a piece does require higher heart levels, capping out at 65 for mythic-level shoulders.
- Most sources of azerite have been increased, including island expeditions, emissaries, mythic plus, and PvP.
- Paragon reputation caches now award their azerite on quest turn-in, not when opening the box.
- Patch 8.2’s new raid, The Eternal Palace, contains three new azerite traits: Loyal to the End, Arcane Heart, and Undulating Tides. Azerite armor from the new mega dungeon Operation: Mechagon has one new trait: Clockwork Heart. Our Azerite Trait guide will be updated soon enough with more info on these.
A Change of Heart
Feature-wise, one of the key pieces of content to be found in Tides of Vengeance is a new and improved system with the Heart of Azeroth. Through the efforts of Magni and MOTHER, a possible solution to heal the world now exists. The apparent solution is a forge for the Heart of Azeroth, created to enable players to socket in essences found around Azeroth. These essences each provide powerful major and minor effects. Once unlocked, players can have one major essence effect (along with its minor effect), plus two more minor effects at heart levels 55 and 65. A rested area allows one to freely swap between unlocked essences, along with Tomes of the Quiet Mind. What’s more, the essences also come in multiple ranks that add additional effects to both types of power. There is even a fourth, legendary level of each essence that will alter their major effect appearance for the truly dedicated to show off! However, a number of these essences and the powers they grant will be unavailable until July 9th/10th when season 3 starts. But, on patch day, you will receive your first essence in the form of a Petrified Ebony Scale.
You can expect an article here on Peak complete with math to break down precisely when to use each essence by the time The Eternal Palace opens, so keep your eyes peeled! Until then, below is a list of what content to focus on to obtain each essence as a Brewmaster. Note that the in-game interface tells you where to obtain everything when moused over. These are also only their rank 1 tooltips.
- Aegis of the Deep/Depth Forged Aegis; Ankoan/Unshackled reputation (Alliance/Horde factions within Nazjatar).
- Anima of Life and Death/Fetish of the Dark Caverns; Mythic Plus. Locked until season 3.
- Azeroth’s Undying Gift/Hardened Azerite Formation; The Eternal Palace, patch 8.2’s new raid. Locked until season 3.
- Conflict and Strife/Finger-Bone Trophy of Battle; Weekly rated PvP. Locked until season 3.
- Memory of Lucid Dreams/Pearl of Lucid Dreams; Leveling up bodyguard npcs in Nazjatar through world quests and combat.
- Nullification Dynamo/Null Force Containment Unit; Rustbolt Resistance reputation (a new faction within the Mechagon zone)
- Ripple in Space/Time-Lost Battlefield Memento; World PvP, especially in Nazjatar
- Sphere of Suppression/Sphere of Suppressed Force; Honor from any PvP activity
- The Crucible of Flame/Petrified Ebony Scale; Leveling up your Heart of Azeroth and doing a questline with Magni and MOTHER
- Vision of Perfection/Engine of Mecha-Perfection; Operation: Mechagon, patch 8.2’s new megadungeon. Locked until season 3.
- Worldvein Resonance/Volatile Worldvein; Island Expeditions
So without discussing the new raid, dungeon, affix, zones, or profession tweaks in Tides of Vengeance, what is there to think about in class changes? For starters, the bugfix involving Summon Black Ox Statue and Invoke Niuzao, the Black Ox is the result of how a new azerite essence interacts. Vision of Perfection’s major effect is a chance to cast Invoke Niuzao, the Black Ox even if you aren’t talented into it. As a result, the despawn bug would potentially happen more often now than ever before. It has actually been around since at least patch 8.0, and may have existed even in Legion! That’s how rarely seen this bug was. But, as a fun story about why we have the public test realm instead of only hotfixes, the initial fix for this error allowed players to summon up to five Black Ox Statues, shown below. This won’t be the case on the live realms in Tides of Vengeance, but what the fix does mean is that you cannot easily macro a way to despawn Dave anymore, as previously discussed.
Next, the Hot Trub nerfs. This potent pvp passive has really only seen nerfs since its initial release in patch 7.0, and with good reason: it allows a Brewmaster’s Purifying Brew to deal damage based on the amount purified. Before some of its Legion nerfs, a Brewmaster could almost solo an entire raid of players with a couple of well-timed Purifying Brews, as the character Pharmacist demonstrated back in 7.0.
Of course, until Tides of Vengeance, this power was restricted to PvP…but soon players will be able to use it in PvE with the help of the azerite essence Conflict and Strife. What this all means for Brewmaster damage as a whole more or less requires an entire Zen Meditation, unfortunately. Needless to say, without the damage splitting in aoe, we would have been more ridiculous than Protection Warriors who also received nerfs this patch! For now, expect to see plenty of Brewmasters using the Conflict and Strife essence for damage at the start of season 3 until we puzzle out how much damage it’s actually providing compared to other options.
Finally, let’s discuss the implications of the scaling buff to all non-azerite gear with extra effects coming in Patch 8.2. This change may end up being more significant than even the essence system when it comes to the raw power increase given to players. What makes it especially noteworthy is that these buffs are greater at higher item levels! For example, using a 425 Diamond-Laced Refracting Prism for comparison, one can see that it is a buff of approximately 61% in its effect strength (before accounting for Celestial Fortune’s interaction with absorbs). But, if that prism was only item level 415, the level of buff would instead be ~41%. An amount that is still significant, but definitely not as massive. If this trend continues into the item levels offered in The Eternal Palace raid, then it is entirely possible that an item with a strong effect could be worth sacrificing a LOT of stats–and therefore item levels–to equip instead. Suddenly all that gear from mythic Crucible of Storms (Trident of Deep Ocean) may be worthwhile after all…but hopefully not.
So, is it worth it to come back to Battle for Azeroth to try out Tides of Vengeance? Honestly, until season 3 starts on July 9th/10th, there’s not much there to entice you if you’ve already moved on to something else. The main pieces of content available on patch day will be a few essences here and there, some story quests/rares in Mechagon and Nazjatar, new profession materials to farm, heritage armor for some, and a couple of new island expedition maps. Otherwise, it’s back to the same old ap/rep grind, albeit with some new world quests and pet battles. That being said, players are unlocking flying this patch if they earn Battle for Azeroth Pathfinder: Part Two. Overall, if you aren’t intending to raid in The Eternal Palace or want to see the megadungeon Operation: Mechagon, there probably won’t be enough content to sustain you. If you are though, you may want to hop back in and see how things go for the next month or two. You may end up content with the content after all.
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