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Analyzing the Shadowlands Potion Change - How Will It Affect You?
03/07/2020 à 23:52
Blizzard announced that the rules surrounding potions would change in Shadowlands.
In this article, we'll take a look at the current rules surrounding Potions in BFA and the problems surrounding those rules, and then we'll analyze whether these changes fix these problems, and whether they introduce any new problems. This will be focused solely on PvE, though there are potentially PvP implications in the formats where potions are allowed (such as Battlegrounds).
The Current Potion Rules in BFA
Right now, there are two categories of potion that follow similar rules, but independently of each other. These two categories are Damage/Utility Potions, like
Potion de fureur débridée
Potion de pied léger
, and Healing Potions, like
Potion de soins abyssale
. Using any potion of either category puts all potions from that category on cooldown for one minute, but that cooldown can only begin when you're out of combat.
There is also a category of potion that falls into the Damage/Utility category, but creates a five minute cooldown rather than a one minute cooldown - this is invisibility potions like
Potion d'invisibilité draenique
The Play Pattern and Problems with Current Potion Rules
Because potion cooldowns only begin cooling down outside of combat, the dominant strategy is to "pre-pot," drinking a Damage potion just before entering combat to gain its effect for the start of the fight but also get it on cooldown. In a raid environment, this then allows for a "second pot" to be used in conjunction with cooldowns later in the fight.
For most fights, pre-pots are Damage potions, while second pots are generally Damage potions for DPS, but can sometimes be Utility potions such as Mana potions for Healers, or potions that enhance movement speed for everyone on fights like
Mythic Carapace of N'zoth.
One problem with the current system in raid is that the rules are very punishing if you miss your pre-pot by drinking it after combat begins - this can happen by getting a little greedy and drinking your potion half a second later than you should, but it can also happen if somebody else pulls the boss early.
In high level Mythic Plus, the metagame currently revolves around drinking a pre-pot any time you're about to enter combat and the pre-pot is available, and never drinking a Damage potion during combat except during difficult boss fights. Utility potions tend to be used by Tanks and Healers only, except for specific places where a route involves using them as a group. This can get extremely expensive, as it can lead to upwards of twenty potions being used per keystone.
The New Potion Rules in Shadowlands
valuable research done by Wowhead's Chief Scientist Squishei
, it appears that Health potions are completely unchanged. They remain on a shared one minute cooldown that only begins outside of combat. Damage/Utility potions, however, have had their cooldown increased to five minutes, but that cooldown can begin even during combat.
The Effects of the Shadowlands Rules
Both Raid and M+
You can no longer miss your Pre-pot.
The huge difference in damage based on whether you potted 0.1 seconds before combat begins or 0.1 seconds after is now gone. Some argue that this is a skill-based interaction that is being removed, but it was certainly a frustrating moment and in many cases, the time until you entered combat was not consistent.
You'll need to slightly re-learn your opener.
It'll no longer be optimal to drink a potion right as the fight begins, it'll often be best to save it for the first damaging global after popping your biggest cooldown. This will vary from spec to spec, however.
Effects in Raid
The number of potions per Raid fight will change.
In a sub 5-minute Raid encounter, you will now get only one potion. If a fight is 5-7 minutes, you can get two potions but it'll require you to potion right at the start and then right at the end. If the fight gets over 10 minutes, you can potion three times but again they'll need to be used basically on cooldown.
Most Mythic boss fights hover in the 4-7 minute range during progression, so you'll often get the same number of potions, with a tighter restriction on when the second potion gets used. End bosses of tiers can get close to the 10 minute marker, and end bosses of expansions often surpass it, and at that range you'll have to make a decision between three total potions or two potions used at more precise, targeted moments.
Effects in Mythic Plus
Invisibility Potions have received a relative buff.
They remain on a five-minute cooldown, but they no longer incur a longer than normal cooldown on your other potions. Drinking an invis pot now costs you one damage potion, rather than up to five. Though other Utility potions will be usable less often, their power level
relative to damage potions
will remain the same, as both will continue to have the same cooldown.
Invisibility Potions are one of many ways to execute most skips. The other primary way of getting past enemies without dying is the extremely powerful Rogue ability
Voile de dissimulation
. With the relative cost of Invisibility Potions going down, the relative value of Shroud also goes down, though it remains extremely strong and is still the only way to cover a long distance while both invisible AND fast, via means like
Potion de pied léger
or by the rest of the group being mounted while the Rogue
Some combat-dropping shenanigans will no longer be effective in.
It's currently possible to use an ability like
Camouflage dans l'ombre
to drop combat (provided a Boss isn't active) and then drink a potion, allowing players of the right Classes (or Race) to drink several more potions per dungeon than others.
You can no longer chug Utility Potions in M+.
Tanks in very high level Mythic Plus groups would often use
Potion de pied léger
in many cases as their pre-pot to allow them to group up the enemies in the pull. This may make larger pulls more difficult to gather, and may make threat more of an issue, but tanks will still have the option to use their potion on this, for specific pulls in dungeons, it's just something they can't do as often. Healers could similarly drink potions to restore their mana very frequently.
You might have to be more tactical with potion usage.
This is another hotly debated point - in the post announcing the change, Blizzard argued that "spacing out potion use will place more emphasis on deciding the most important times to use them." However, it remains true that any time you have a potion available and don't use it, you are missing out on total uses of potions throughout the dungeon. Drinking a potion roughly on cooldown, perhaps lined up with (or even macro'd into) your major cooldown may be a good way to get 95% of the way to optimal, though of course there will be specific encounters that are worth delaying a usage to have a little extra damage for. You'll also need to be aware, 5 minutes in advance, of the places where your group is planning to use Speed potions or Invisibility potions.
What do you think of this change? Are there any other effects you foresee?
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