Redefining Foundations - Part 1
MAJOR Updates to Ascension Fundamentals, Core Mechanics, Values, Balance Philosophies, and More
Over the past year and a half since Ascension’s official release, the game has seen some intense fluctuation. It’s shifted, transformed, and grown with every update. As it has, the game has become better defined through new mechanics, the tweaking of old ones, and the elimination of unsuccessful ones. The goal of these changes is to bring Ascension to a place where players can explore the world they love in whatever way they imagine; in whatever way is perfect for them: a world where they can play however they want to play.
Ascension is evolving, every day, to become closer to that goal. Each update, each balance change, mechanic, new system, custom content, and bug fix is aimed at succeeding in that goal.
With this set of updates, we’re taking a look at some foundational system changes coming to Ascension.
Massive Respec Cost Reduction and Reset
World Events to Legacy Realms
Mystic Enchantment Stacking Limited to 3
Mystic Enchantment System Changes
Complete Re-Tuning of Raids
Massive Respec Cost Overhaul
The gold cost of resetting spells and talents, as well as reset the meter that causes each subsequent reset to cost a little more, has been drastically reduced with this update. The baseline cost of resetting spells and talents at level 60 has been cut in half.
Additionally, the “how many times have you respec’d” meter has been reset this update, meaning you’re back to the cheapest possible resets you can have. While the cost will still increase slightly every time you reset your spells or talents, it’s now MUCH cheaper to experiment with builds, meaning you’re one step closer to creating your ideal hero.
The cost of resetting Spells/Abilities at 60 is now 50g, increasing slightly with every reset.
The cost of resetting Talents at 60 is now 10g, increasing slightly with every reset.
Try a Few Different Builds, it’s Cheap!
The implication of this massive change is that new players will have more opportunities to experiment and explore the classless system without severe repercussion. It will cost less, at the beginning, to change specs, which means players can feel free to try new things and discover the spec--and identity--that is right for them. This change is part of our goal of making the early game friendlier to newcomers to encourage growth across all of our realms.
The Scarlet Crusade at Tyr’s Hand has Been Infected with the Plague!
For those of you looking for a way to stock up on Mystic Orbs, we’re happy to announce that World Events are coming to our Legacy Realms!
World Events are randomized, spontaneous events that trigger on occasion out in the world. When they appear, a announcement will ring out to all players, prompting adventurers to come and clear unique challenges while competing against each other for supremacy. The creatures in the World Event area contain bonus loot, and are designed to encourage many players to flock to one specific area. Like the Hero’s Call and Warchief’s Command boards, World Events are another step forward in giving players a reason to go out into the world, encounter others, make friends, and take down enemies.
At current, the World Event system has about twelve randomized events, each with their own unique challenge, and their own custom mechanics. As you venture throughout Azeroth, be sure to keep an eye out for events near you: they’re a great way to get your hands on Mystic Orbs, and meet new people.
But be careful, Heroes: not everyone you meet is friendly.
Re-Designing the Fundamentals of Armor
On Ascension, the difference between armor types has been pretty quirky. Cloth and Leather wearers could jump up to Mail and Plate level armor values simply by placing two points into the Improved Barkskin talent, and heroes who chose to equip Mail or Plate had their choice essentially nullified by that one talent alone. To put that into perspective, a single talent was destroying the difference between armor classes. Worse, it only made that difference for the heroes who knew the talent existed and chose it. That meant that if a player--usually a new player--didn’t know about this enigmatic talent, they were at an extreme disadvantage.
Having hidden talents that give an immense power boost relative to other talents offers nothing of value to the experience; it punishes less experienced heroes unfairly. But more fundamentally, it’s a balance problem.
Armor types are changing to become more distinct. Damage mitigation will be more appropriately based on the type of armor you wear; Plate armor will grant more physical defense than Cloth armor, and so on (without quirky methods to circumvent it.) Additionally, on a classless server, choosing to wear plate armor will mean something, and cloth will no longer be able to become plate simply by picking a talent. The difference between armor values will be apparent, meaningful, and the gap in damage reduction will not be so large that casters are feeling forced to equip Plate. Heroes can choose their armor type based on what they want to accomplish with it.
- The Armor of all Cloth items has been increased by 160%
- The armor of all Leather items has been increased by 130%
- The Armor of all Mail items has been increased by 20%
- Moonkin Form now increases armor contribution from cloth and leather items by 65%.
Improved Moonkin Form now increases armor by 10/20/30%, down from 14/27/40%.
Survival of the Fittest armor gain changed to 4/8/12%, down from 10/20/30%.
Mark of the Wild armor has been decreased by 20%.
Inner Fire armor has been decreased by 30%.
Devotion Aura armor has been decreased by 30%.
Demon Skin and Demon Armor armor has been decreased by 50%.
Frost Armor and Ice Armor armor has been decreased by 50%.
Thick Hide now gives 4/8/12% armor.
Metamorphosis now increases armor contribution from cloth and leather items by 130%.
Improved Tree of Life now increases armor contribution from cloth and leather items by 30/60/90%.
This will be the beginning of a trend to look at balance as ‘power-per-point’ and relative power. As Ascension moves forward, talents will become more comparable in both their cost and the power they grant: to have all talents comparable in strength, rather than a few that are so good that you MUST pick them, and others that are so bad they never get picked.
With talents like Improved Barkskin providing so much value, it’s really not a question of whether you want to pick it: you have to pick it, or you’re at an extreme disadvantage. These “non-choice” talents, and the idea of false choices in general. The balance on Ascension is evolving to a state where rather than being obligated to pick certain strong talents regardless of your build, every choice you make will become just that--a choice; a sacrifice of one valuable perk to obtain another, comparably valuable perk. In that way, your builds can continue to be personal, unique, and meaningful based on your individual preferences.
Mystic Enchants Stacking Limited to 3
One of Ascension’s most defining features is the Mystic Enchantment system: by expending Mystic Orbs and Runes, players can see exponential power increases in their character via enchantments that boost certain abilities, talents, and spells. These enchantments allow players precision control of their build, creating meaningful choices and the chance for Heroes to tackle the challenges of Ascension in their own way. They add another layer of customization to character building, and allow players unique, personal choices even inside of more general specs such as ‘Ranged’, ‘Shadow’, or ‘Frost’. They are essential for allowing players create their personal hero, and play the game the way they want to play.
Over time, something remarkable has become increasingly clear: balancing Mystic Enchantments is really hard! With over a thousand Mystic Enchantments currently in the game, being able to stack so much exponential power onto one ability makes Ascension fundamentally impossible to balance.
Although it had its benefits, the result of a 5 stack enchant system was the inability to make effective balance changes, exponential power gaps between old and new players, and imbalanced PvP. This was a crippling foundational design.
To rectify this issue, the stacking limit of Mystic Enchantments is changing from a maximum of 5 to a maximum of 3.
Three of the Same Name, and That’s All
This change has been phenomenal on our Season 2 realm, Bloodscalp. There, you can see more engaging PvP, a wider variety of player builds, and the ability for effective balance changes.
Mystic Enhancements are becoming a modest butmeaningful addition to a player’s build--a method for players to distinguish themselves from others, and cement their identity through their spec. Rather than being the foundation of a player’s power for a build, Mystic Enchantments are shifting to serve as tools to refine your build: the build you want to play. With the Mystic Enchantment Stack Cap down to 3, you'll see a lot fewer builds that just stack Mystic Enchantments that affect one spell, and a lot more specialized, unique, personal builds.
The 3 Stacking Enchant overhaul is the first step towards reducing the overall sheer power that Mystic Enchantments provide to builds. While Mystic Enchantments will still play an important role on Ascension, the overall impact they have on player power will be shifting from ‘intense’ to a more moderate level. Moving forward, you’ll see outlier enchantments that are extremely powerful relative to others will be brought more in line. Creating an environment where there is less of a power gap between the newest and the oldest players.
Mystic Enchantment General Changes
In line with your new found ability to test a variety of builds, there are a myriad of changes coming to the Mystic Enchantment system to allow players more opportunity to find and apply Mystic Enchantments. These changes are intended to encourage active-gameplay, creativity, lessen the time it takes to complete a build, allowing you to experiment with the full capabilities of your fully-realized specs.
This one is better explained in list format, so here’s that list:
The Drop/Roll Chance of Legendary Mystic Enchantments has been Increased by 200%
The cost of rolling Mystic Enchantments with Gold has been reduced by 15%
Increased Mystic Enchantment experience gain by 200%
Upon reaching level cap, heroes will receive starter Mystic Runes via Mail
Added tutorial systems to assist new heroes in learning the Mystic Enchantment System
...and more in the Future!
Changes to Call Boards to include Mystic Runes as a prize
Changing Mystic Rune costs to scale with i-Level
Raid Retuning Overhaul
With the above changes coming, there’s no question that Ascension raids will need a bit of re-tuning. As with any change to a core mechanic, the branches of the game will need to adapt to the shift that the trunk has made.
An Apt Image
As the foundations of Mystic Enchantments and Armor Values change, the basis on which raids are balanced will shift as well. ALL raids will actively be rebalanced, and continually adjusted as needed, in accordance with the other core changes made.
That’s all for today, Heroes! We hope you’re excited for the changes, and we’ll see you out on the battlefield.