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WoWOct 24, 2019 2:00 pm CT

In patch 8.3 Formless Void Essence lets you copy Essences from other players

It’s a tradition in World of Warcraft going all the way back to Cataclysm and the Dragon Soul raid that the last raid — especially if it has any sort of Old God theme like Dragon Soul or Siege of Orgrimmar did — will have weird items with unusual procs and powers that fit the theme of chaos, madness, and corruption of those selfsame Old Gods. Items like Gurthalak, Voice of the Deeps take those creepy corrupting powers and use them to fight on our side. Now we’re getting a whole new Old God raid in patch 8.3, and with it, new Old God loot like the Corrupted items.

Without shape, without form

One interesting example of this kind of design is the new Essence coming in patch 8.3, the Formless Void Essence. The folks at Wowhead have already done a bit of work outlaying the thing and what powers it has, and they’re interesting — using the Formless Void Essence you essentially have a Swiss Army Essence equipped, allowing you to duplicate the Essences in use by other players. The Major Power of the Formless Void Essence allows you to do some pretty neat stuff.

Replicate the energy in your target’s Heart of Azeroth, gaining access to rank 1 of their currently slotted Major Essence for the next 15 sec. The Formless Void will go on cooldown for 50% longer than the base cooldown of the Essence you replicated. Does not work on passive Essences.

Although it should be pointed out that the cooldown reduces by 10% for every rank of the Essence, reducing the extra cooldown to 30% at Rank 3.

Almost more interesting is the Minor Power of the Essence, which are as follows.

  • Rank 1:  Each time any ally within 40 yds uses an Azerite Essence, gain 379 Main stat for 20 sec.
    Unique: Corruption reduced by 10.
  • Rank 2:  Each time any ally within 40 yds uses an Azerite Essence, gain 474 Main stat for 20 sec.
    Unique: Corruption reduced by 10.
  • Rank 3:  Each time any ally within 40 yds uses an Azerite Essence, gain 474 Main stat  and 92 Haste  for 20 sec.
    The ally who used an Azerite Essence also gains 11 Haste for 20 sec.
    Unique: Corruption reduced by 10.

While in both cases the Essence is listed as going up to Rank 3, there is an apparent Rank 4 for the Essence, which drops off of the Mind of N’Zoth on Mythic Difficulty in the Ny’alotha raid.

That Minor Essence at Rank 3 seems pretty strong to me, although 11 Haste to a raid member isn’t super great, it’s more a nice little perk layered on top of the much stronger Main state and Haste to the person with the Formless Void Essence equipped. Still, there’s no listed internal cooldown for the Minor Essence, so you could theoretically have that bonus almost constantly up depending on how often other players in your raid used their Essences.

Essential Options

What’s really interesting here is how this Essence is intended to be used. CM Nimox made a couple of blue posts on the forums about the Formless Void Essence and its intended use worth taking a look at.

Originally Posted by Nimox (Official Post)

The Formless Void mostly exists for the purposes of flexibility, which is why all roles can use it. It requires a lot of planning, it requires you to coordinate and know who you plan on borrowing what Essence from, and for what situation, and make sure that the cooldown incurred doesn’t interfere with whatever the next situation you have to manage is.

As a note, you can also borrow something from a player of the enemy faction. The targeting is very unrestricted other than the obvious – it has to be a player, they need to have an Essence currently slotted that is valid to copy (fully passives Major Essences are ineligible).

This is a fascinating approach to the design of an Essence’s power. It could be extremely useful for a variety of roles — it encourages a group get together and plan out their Essence use to some degree if, for example, you want to have a Main Tank using it to get something more suited to a DPS for extra threat or a Healing cooldown. The extra cooldown incurred by the Formless Void Essence is the big negative, but if you’re borrowing something you’ll only need once or twice in a relatively long fight it could end up working out for you. The idea that it’s usable on players from the opposite faction is interesting, as it implies a use in PVP. I mean, I guess you could copy an Essence from someone standing around a neutral place, but that feels less useful.

The reason I mentioned planning to let a Main Tank borrow DPS or Healing Essences is the following statement by CM Nimox.

Originally Posted by Nimox (Official Post)

You can borrow any eligible Essence, even if it is not normally available to your current role. For example, a Protection Paladin player can borrow a healer specific thing such as the new Spirit of Preservation, or a DPS specific thing such as Essence of the Focusing Iris.

Using the example Nimox chose, your tank could lay that Spirit of Preservation down on their healer or DPS near them, helping to lower the load during a high damage moment, or could drop the Fire Damage AoE from Essence of the Focusing Iris at a critical moment to get some snap aggro on adds. The Formless Void Essence gives a lot of utility, at the cost of the Minor Power of most other Essences and an extended cooldown (Essence of the Focusing Iris only has 1.5 minutes, but the Formless Void Essence would take nearly 2 minutes to cool down) plus you only get access to Rank 1 of the Essence you’re copying. So it’s a great Essence choice if you want to be a strong generalist, if you’re willing to put the time and work to figure out the best Essences to steal.

And it’s a very strong example of the weird, interesting items we often get when the Old Gods are involved.

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