There is a lot to be reported about endgame as well.
Gear Up in Shadowlands
The most significant change in Shadowlands compared to BfA or Legion is going back to old school, dungeon roots of the game.
Surely you can craft stuff, spend thousands in AH, use adventure table, emissary or world quests to gear up, but it’s merely a drop in a barrel. All this income is so scarce that it cannot be relied on, and you actually should jump as a hawk on every next WQ that has better gear than you have.
Long story short, to gear up fast you have to grind dungeons. First you need ilvl 144 to enter normal at level cap, and for heroics you will need 155. Then you can run them until you’re ready for LFR with 170 admission level or mythics.
This is very bad news to me, because I could do only with so many same dungeon runs – I still cannot imagine how people are doing mythic+ in the same content for 2 years. And with so many alts it will be a mere pain.
Dungeons have some very inventive mechanics, and in general have great lore and are beautiful, but they will grow very, very old too soon, not to mention there will be heroic versions of the same stuff later on. Yet I guess I’ll be able to leave them behind at some point, so it’s like a necessary evil: not dungeons, but repetition.
In Legion you had to visit every dungeon like at least 5 times: story quest climax, professions, Illidan campaign, class order hall campaign, and later on Balance of Power. That was simply awful.
In BfA, you could do a dungeon once for quest, and then return to some of them for a profession errand or something if you wish so. That was a perfect amount of dungeons in my life, so Blizzard kinda broke what was working good. Old school in this case also means outdated old.
Focus on Weekly
As I reported previously, the good thing about Shadowlands is a focus on weekly quests rather than dailies. That has not changed: you barely need an hour for an emissary errand and a couple of Maw quests, and you’re so done for the day.
Weekly quests also don’t take a lot: a 1000 anima (which you will get easy and fast if you’re just doing something – anything – daily) and a single Torghast run for 5 souls.
I’m getting acquainted with it more and more, and it’s slowly becoming a frustration thing.
Mind you, I like the general idea. Your character feels a lot more powerful here than in the open world – even my mage is disintegrating everything. I like the variety of traps, quests and floor design, the design of the wings, all in all it feels very immersing both to the prison theme and your mission of liberating souls.
Before we speak further, here are Torghast terms:
Wing = instance zone (for example, spike-themed or fire-themed). Two wings are available every week – pick what you like and/or run both as many times as you want. A wing consists of 6 floors you need to complete, kill a named boss on the 6th floor, and that concudes your Torghast run. Looting the final boss gives you Soul Ash.
Layer = difficulty. You pick difficulty before your run, and once you complete Layer 1, you can pick Layer 2 for your next run in both wings, etc. You can re-run Layers and wings all you want, but you will get Soul Ash from every layer only once per week.
The chokepoint are bosses and extra powers’ random. Layer 1 (layer = difficulty) so far is super easy, you don’t think, you just kill everything in sight. I coped with Layer 2 floors equally easy, but then came the dungeon bosses, and it was suddenly pain.
I was lucky to loot double enhancement for my Ice Barrier for one of the wings, so casting it granted me a shield for 80% of my health bar – and I can do it often. This brought me through the boss of Layer 3 not without pain, but it made the run possible and successful without dying at boss.
Another wing’s Layer 2 was not so generous on anima powers, and I spent all 5 attempts on the final boss, and with 15-20% boss health left in every case I just died. This was most frustrating:
a) My success depended only on the random of anima powers I get during the run
b) As I can beat the trash floors easily, the final boss would just kill me, so there’s no preparation for what awaits in terms of difficulty during the run. I mean: if mobs are giving you some hard time, then you could at least expect the boss to be super difficult. But you clear the floors easily, and boss suddenly would waste all your attempts.
Torghast wing run takes about 20-30 minutes, so there is no way I’m trying Layers up from Layer 1 without gearing up. See for yourself – you have to spend all this time to be trampled in the ground at the finale, and you get NOTHING for your effort. Well, I completed an emissary quest on the way and got an adventure table champion, so it was not exactly nothing in my case. But if my sole purpose was Soul Ash, it’s been a time waste. Was I ready to spend another 30 minutes for an expected failure at the boss? I don’t think so.
Of course there is learning the boss tactics, gearing up and almighty anima powers random, there are groups, and you’re not supposed to beat the whole thing on week 1, but still… I found myself in a Legion’s mage tower situation, where I just rage quit for good, and I did not like it. So far it’s my biggest dissapointment.
Eventually you will conquer Torghast and earn all the Soul Ash you need for the legendaries, but as I said before, for yours truly it’s gonna be the activity of exactly how many runs are required and possible at the current character development level, and no leisure runs.
In general the Torghast tips are as follows:
One, clear all the floors, including smashing all the cans, unlocking all chests and destroying every trash you find. You need all anima powers you may get.
Two, when picking anima powers, prepare for your boss fight. Surely an ability that makes Mawrats explode on kill and damage mobs is fun, but it will not help you with the boss.
By the way, I like the Maw very much :) No mounts becomes a given thing, it’s easy to navigate without constant battles, easy enough to kill enemies, and it’s quite enough time to complete dailies and maybe kick ass of a couple of rares/pop-up activities before Jailer starts harassing you. The ambience here is also great.