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WoWMay 9, 2023 3:00 pm CT

Dragonflight Season 2 shakes up the Mythic+ affix pools — now with even more changes

Ever since Blizzard replaced Challenge Modes with Mythic+ dungeons in Legion, there have been pools of affixes — additional effects like Grievous or Storming that each add additional difficulty to the dungeon beyond just the baseline Mythic+ expectation of “everything has more hit points and hits harder.” These affixes rotate on a weekly basis, and to keep it from getting stale, Blizzard changes things from season to season, rotating the available dungeon pool, tweaking existing affixes, and adding a seasonal affix which always appear at keystone level 10 and above.

However, for Dragonflight Season 2, they seem to be wanting to accomplish something more than the same old pools with the same old affixes but different numbers. Even during 10.0.7’s development cycle, Ion Hazzikostas mentioned they were discussing changes for 10.1, especially around the concept of the seasonal affix. The revised affix system has been in testing on the 10.1 PTR for a while now, but Blizzard has released a new round of changes for Season 2 Mythic+ dungeons which continue to shake up the M+ scene.

Here’s what you can expect from Mythic+ affix pools in Dragonflight Season 2.

Changes to existing Mythic+ affixes in Season 2

It’s worth noting that several of the old affixes will still be present in the system, although the keystone levels that they appear at may change. One of the most notable of these showed up in the most recent PTR development notes — rather than affixes applying to Mythic+ dungeons at levels 4 and 7, they will now apply at levels 7 and 14.

Here’s what’s changing (and what isn’t) in Season 2:

  • Tyrannical and Fortified — nothing has changed here as far as we can tell. You’ll still get one of these right off the bat at keystone level 2, and thus either bosses or non-bosses will have even more health and damage.
  • The level 7 affix pool — that is, the affixes that are applied to keystones of level 7 and above — now includes the following existing affixes, plus all of the new affixes, which are affixes that appear on a periodic basis:
    • Volcanic, in which small volcanoes appear under the feet of the ranged and deal damage and a knock-up after a short period.
    • Storming, in which trash mobs will periodically spawn tornadoes that mostly annoy your melee by popping them into the air, is still here.
  • The level 14 pool is made up entirely of pre-existing affixes, but many of them have changes:
    • Spiteful, in which angry ghosts pop out of dead enemies, fixate on you, and attempt to melee you to death before fading away on their own over time.
    • Sanguine, in which trash mobs will explode into pools of blood that hurt you but heal your enemies.
    • Bursting, in which trash mobs will explode into a damage-over-time effect that stacks on you and your party. (Boy, there are a lot of exploding enemies, huh?)
    • Bolstering, in which dying trash mobs will buff their still-living allies.
    • Raging, in which trash mobs at low health will gain damage buffs until they are finally killed, is still here but it’s been almost entirely changed.
  • Existing Season 1 affixes GrievousQuaking, and Explosive are being retired.
  • Thundering, the Dragonflight Season 1 seasonal affix, is being retired in 10.1, as is typical for seasonal affixes. Season 2 has no seasonal affix at all.

New Mythic+ affixes for Season 2 add some variety

One of the more common complaints about the existing set of affixes is that they mostly involved movement — move to avoid things, move to not overlap, move to clear debuffs, move move move and keep moving! With the set of new affixes, Blizzard wants affixes that have effective counterplay and that weren’t just a pain in the neck specifically for healers. It appears they’re focusing on different parts of characters’ kits, perhaps encouraging them to touch those talents they haven’t dusted off since the revamp, specifically focusing on dispels, breaking out of snares, and crowd control. (And, uh, I guess also on doing more damage very quickly. Look, they’re not all perfect.)

All of these new affixes are part of the keystone level 7 affix pool:

  • Afflicted periodically spawns Afflicted Souls bearing a Curse, a Disease, and a Poison. Healing it to maximum health or dispelling any of the afflictions on it will cause it to fade away; if they are allowed to get off their 10 second cast of Afflicted Cry, they’ll lower your entire party’s haste by 100%! Presently, Afflicted Cry can be line-of-sighted or outranged (although it’s a 60 yard range), and the spawn rate of Afflicted Souls seems to depend on how many enemies you’re fighting at once, with larger packs drawing more souls while bosses seemingly only summon one at a time. This one seems fine, as long as you have folks who are willing to dust off their Remove Curse keybinds and/or the health pools of the enemies remain manageable. Otherwise, this one feels destined to turn into a healer problem — which is exactly what Blizzard stated they were trying to avoid.
  • Incorporeal also spawns short-lived ghosts around the pack of enemies you’re fighting for 20 seconds — not in the pack, because the way to deal with incorporeal enemies is crowd control. They only attempt to do one thing while alive: spam-cast Destabilize. It’s an 8-second cast, and if interrupted the ghosts go right back to casting. However, they are considered to be all creature types — Beast, Humanoid, Undead, Mechanical, everything — and so every kind of hard crowd control in the game can be used to hush them up — Hibernate, Turn Evil, Banish, and so on. This one right now seems to be the best tuned in terms of spawn rate and the most reasonable to deal with. It will require people to do a little thinking beforehand to see if maybe there’s a talent or two they can shift in their class trees to pick up that crowd control they usually don’t, of course. It’ll also be problematic if your group includes several Evokers, since they notoriously don’t have crowd control — Devastation at least has a root in Landslide, and Oppressing Roar can help make other crowd control last longer, but the newest class in the game can’t meaningfully contribute to this affix, ironically. Also, this affix was recently changed so that Incorporeal enemies now fade away when combat with other enemies ends, so if a pack of enemies is nearly dead you can just focus them down instead of patching up the Incorporeal ones.
  • Entangling is the last new affix. Were you one of those people who thought 10.0’s affixes required too much movement? Sorry then, because here’s another one: periodically, vines appear under your feet and slow your movement by 30% until you move 10 yards away and snap the vine. If you don’t break it within 8 seconds, you get stunned for 3 seconds. Yikes. Luckily, this one’s not that hard to deal with for most classes — for example, Paladins can just cast Blessing of Freedom, while Druids can shapeshift out of it to break free — but some folks will just have to hoof it. Luckily, this one received a lot of visual updates lately to make it easier to notice; the game now plays a distinct sound cue when it applies to you, and a visual indicator of the 10-yard range is now shown. The slow might still catch someone out during a hectic boss fight, but it is a lot harder to accidentally get stunned by not noticing the affix applying now.

The following affixes all already exist in Season 1, but are receiving significant changes for Season 2, and all are part of the keystone level 14 affix pool:

  • Spiteful spawns ghosts when enemies die, but now they deal 10% less damage and don’t scale in damage above keystone level 20. 10% isn’t a whole lot on mobs that hit like a truck, but it’s a small mercy for melee players who frequently are already in melee range of the ghost when they appear.
  • Sanguine still spawns blood pools when enemies die, but now they only last for 12 seconds instead of 20. If a trash pack lives long enough, you’ll actually see early-spawned Sanguine pools fade away, opening up more room to kite mobs out of later-spawning ones.
  • Bolstering no longer increases the health of enemies that receive the buff, just their damage. No complaints here!
  • Raging is basically a shadow of its former self now. Previously when enemies hit 30% health they’d gain 50% increased damage until they died. Now when they reach 30% health, they gain immunity to crowd control for 20 seconds. Considering that in many Mythic+ dungeons crowd control, if used at all, is used to set up a pull, this affix seems like no problem at all — the one exception I can think of is if “crowd control” includes interrupts, in which case you’ll want to make sure that once dangerous casters hit 30% health, you finish burning them down from there pronto.

So are these new affixes a success according to Blizzard’s own criteria? I think the answer right now is definitely leaning towards yes — Incorporeal seems to be in the right place as far as having counterplay most classes can participate in, Entangling was made easier to see and easier to deal with, and many of the changed affixes have had their power toned down coming into S2, none moreso than Raging. Afflicted is the only one I’d keep an eye on — it’s very close to turning into the dreaded “healer problem” affix, which was part of Blizzard’s intention in removing affixes like Grievous.

It’ll be very interesting to see a new Mythic+ season start up where the difficulty largely comes from the dungeons themselves, not dealing with the affixes.

Originally published April 5, 2023. Updated May 9, 2023

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