Last week, the beta testers were allowed to make the Molten Core and Onyxia's Hoard from WoW: Season of Mastery unsafe for the first time with premade characters. The framework promised by the developers:

  • The world buff ban in raids is active.
  • The debuff limit of 16 debuffs on a target is no longer active.
  • Bosses in Onyxia's Lair and Molten Core have more health.
  • Several raid mechanics have been restored from the original vanilla version.

And how did all these things work out? Well:

  • All fights took noticeably longer (about four times as long as in WoW Classic), but were not really harder as a result.
  • Players hardly noticed any additional raid mechanics. Only Onyxia had a disorienting conflagration spell that didn't exist in Classic. And in Ragnaros, the raid groups had to deal with the sons phases due to the significantly longer fight times (which led to umpteen wipes).
  • Most bosses could still be tanked by Fury Prot warriors, but that wasn't really necessary since the damage dealers didn't generate nearly as much threat as they did with World buffs in Classic.
  • Warriors and Rogues continued to dominate the DpS meter for many bosses.

Sounds pretty sobering, doesn't it? Well, apparently those weren't the final versions of the raid instances yet. Community manager Kaivax announced further changes in the official forum. First, though, he admitted that there weren't that many adjustments to the boss mechanics during the vanilla era (that only came in a big way with Burning Crusade):

  • Onyxia adds the aforementioned conflagration effect to her fireballs when she goes airborne.
  • Golemagg had an earthquake ability at times.
  • Ragnaros used one of his attacks much more frequently, plus he could only be bulldozed each ID for a certain amount of time.

In the course of the first test, Blizzard now wanted to find out how the bosses play when they get those few mechanics back and have significantly more health. The result, which was also expected by Blizzard: This is the only way that the goal of a "greater challenge" cannot be achieved. So with the next beta build, Blizzard will implement further, noticeable adjustments to all encounters in MC and Onyxia's Hoard.

What these look like in detail, Kaivax unfortunately does not reveal. He does explain, however, that the goal of these adjustments will by no means be to have experienced Classic raid groups wipe for days or weeks on end in Phase 1 instances. Nor should you expect mechanics that will make all battles feel completely different. We'll be able to see how this all fits together in the next raid tests next Thursday.

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