I’m going to miss Corruption
With the release of the Shadowlands pre-patch coming on October 13th all of our carefully collected Corrupted gear will be going away. This isn’t the first time that an expansions pre-patch has gotten rid of one of the systems that we had been using as we move into the new frontier. When we left Legion our Artifact weapons were completely de-powered. They still worked for stabbing things, but they didn’t have the variety of fancy talents on them that had made them so powerful. As such, it comes as no surprise that we’d be being put on a more equal footing with the content we’re about to be experiencing in Shadowlands. I’m really going to miss Corruption though.
Don’t get me wrong, when my Guardian Druid suddenly lost the Rage of the Sleeper ability I was pretty upset too. That was an amazing cooldown — so amazing in fact that a version of it is coming back as a Legendary power in Shadowlands. But Corruption had such a big impact on all of my play in Ny’alotha and dungeons that it’s going to be hard to get used to it not being there. Considering that Corruption has only been a mechanic since 8.3, that’s pretty impressive!
I know that Corruption has had a rocky road from its inception. We’ve seen nerfs to high performing outliers like Infinite Stars, Echoing Void, and Twilight Devastation — some of which felt very targeted against me in particular. It’s also caused some havoc in PVP, with Corruption effects forcing players to swap onto errant Mind Flay tentacles, or getting absolutely obliterated by someone wearing an entire set of Infinite Star pieces. There was also the early issues with getting Corrupted pieces at all since armor just randomly Corrupting didn’t seem to happen enough to truly get a good set built of it. Blizzard mostly fixed this by changing the Weekly chest to always award a Corrupted piece, and MOTHER set up her own shop of bespoke Corruptions you could add to your gear. So why did I love it so much?
Twilight Devastation goes brrr
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — Twilight Devastation was immensely satisfying, especially as a tank player with a health pool that was always over a million. Each Twilight Devastation beam would vaporize chunks of enemies in front of me. Not only was it a huge source of extra damage for my party, but it also helped me hold tanking threat against some of the other players and their own Corruption. Watching a fully geared Fire Mage use one cooldown and suddenly become the focus of everything you’re currently fighting never felt great.
It wasn’t just Twilight Devastation that I loved. I had fun playing with all of the different Corruption effects — at least as soon as I got them. I wound up making three or four different sets of armor just to have different combinations at the ready depending on whether it was something I could get away with wearing a high amount of Corruption and taking extra damage, or if I needed things that were better for single target. I had a set for every eventuality now. While my raid leader was explaining fights or making sure that loot got to where it was supposed to go, I was busy tinkering with my gear setups. Swapping pieces to get the perfect amount of Corruption, or trying a new combination to see if I could get extra damage by using more Strikethrough over having an extra piece with Gushing Wound.
Of course like a good raider I always checked with my healers before I ran anything more than 80 Corruption. Failing that, I definitely warned them ahead of time. At least half of the time anyway.
Corrupting yourself out of a rut
It’s really easy to fall into a rut in World of Warcraft. In Battle for Azeroth, we had lots of different things that we could fiddle with to make our character play differently, but I still fell into using the same talents for everything, the same Azerite powers, and the same Essences. I think from the Battle of Dazar’alor onwards the only talents I changed were what kind of crowd control ability I brought (usually Typhoon) and the Druid Affinity that I was using (almost always Restoration). Azerite was pretty much the same — each new season the pieces would get a little bigger as we got into higher item levels, but I still was looking for the same six powers. Each new piece of corruption I got made me excited for each new pull because of how many things it could change.
The same was true of the encounters themselves. As you wore more Corruption and got the negative effects of using so much of N’zoth’s power, no two fights wound up being the same. Have an Eye of Corruption spawn and all of a sudden you’d have to change how you tanked the encounter. Do you stay in and take the damage, or do you move out of it and risk pointing an angry dragon at your entire group? If your Mythic Keystone runs been going really smoothly, what would you say to Things from Beyond showing up while you’re in a tight corridor in Waycrest Manor? Maybe I’m a bit of a masochist — I am a tank after all — but I wound up enjoying the extra challenge of dealing with those mechanics as well. Knowing when to take the hits or to use Mass Entangle and Typhoon to give me space was a fun new facet of strategy.
I saw a few complaints about how strong the Corruption damage effects were, that nothing the player did felt like it was impacting as much as the Gushing Wounds they inflicted because of their armor. But I don’t really see the difference between that and some of the other overpowered items we’ve gotten in the past. I remember the sword from Deathwing causing more than its share of the damage back in the day, and there have always been trinkets that have punched above their weight. I liked weighing the pros and cons of taking on the additional power and choosing which pieces to wear and which not to. Would that extra rank of Twilight Devastation be worth it — even though it would push me up an additional tier of negative effects?
Corruption could be improved
Were there more improvements that I would’ve like to have seen with Corruption? Sure! No system is perfect. Healers never got anything that really equaled the sheer joy of a tank’s Twilight Devastation. The stat increases and cooldown reduction they could get were very effective throughput. If Twilight Devastation had changed for players in healing specializations to instead heal friendly targets in front of you, that would’ve been something cooler than just the raw stats. Or instead of Mind Flay tentacles, you could have Penance tentacles that would attach a healing laser to the most injured party member.
There were also some Ny’alotha Corruptions that were tied to specific weapons that would’ve been really fun to get the chance to play with for classes that can’t use those types of weapons. Maut dropped Sk’shuul Vaz which always had the Obsidian Skin Corruption, but I could never get my bear paws on it since Druids aren’t allowed to use axes. But I really wanted to play with that Corruption, especially considering that I could’ve tracked when the effect was about to go off and planned my Ironfur usage appropriately.
Still, this was very much a Ny’alotha mechanic and since we’ve killed N’zoth and are moving on to other greener pastures I can understand why it’s being left in the past. It just would’ve been nice to be able to break it out for some Timewalking every once in a while.
This was just my experience with Corruption. I know that there are lots of players out there who are happy that their gear won’t be trying to kill them anymore. Either way, I know that we’re going to be feeling its loss with the pre-patch. I just hope that we keep seeing Blizzard trying big new mechanical things like this.
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