Season 2 Domination Mythic+ Affix Speculation – Awakened 2.0 with Anima Powers?

Season 2 Domination Mythic+ Affix Speculation - Awakened 2.0 with Anima Powers?

We got our first look at the Season 2 Domination Mythic+ Affix in the recent 9.1 PTR build and today, we’re speculating what the Season 2 Mythic+ could be! Could it be like Awakened 2.0?

Datamined Domination Affix

  • NEW SL S2 Affix
    Defeat the Jailer’s forces to gain cool powers!

Summary of Speculations

What do I think SL S2 Affix will be? Here’s a summary of my speculations for the upcoming affix.

  1. The affix will involve Anima Powers that you drop when defeating the Jailer’s forces. The Anima Powers will not be RNG.
  2. The Jailer’s forces will not be tied to % Trash Count.
  3. You will be forced to deal with the Affix — it will be unable to be ignored or Shadowmelded off.
  4. Some aspect of the affix will change week to week.

Below, I’ll give my explanations on why I’m speculating that the affix will have these qualities.

Domination Affix Speculation

No RNG Anima Powers

Based on the datamined tooltip, I do suspect that Anima Powers are involved as many things appear to line up.

  • The icon of the affix is called “spell_animamaw_orb”
  • The placeholder description mentions cool powers, and we know that the season is Domination themed after the Jailer
  • Anima Powers show up in Torghast, Tower of the Damned and the upcoming 9.1 raid and it would be iconic for Anima Powers to be part of the Mythic+ season involving the Jailer.

Altogether, Anima Powers are an important part of Torghast and the Jailer. Depending on what and how Blizzard implements Anima Powers into Mythic+, they could be a huge benefit! Speaking on implementation, let’s talk about how I think the Anima Powers could be put into Mythic+.

The defining features of Anima Powers in Torghast is being able to choose from sets of Powers, with the sets being randomly formed. I mentioned above that I don’t think that the Anima Powers will be truly random. Torghast benefits from random sets of Anima Powers, as it leads to some form of replayability in a capped difficulty system. While you could argue that Mythic+ could benefit from more changes from run to run, I don’t think Blizzard would force that through random Anima Powers.

Typically, Blizzard forces changes on a weekly basis, through an affix rotation (Normal or Seasonal). The Prideful affix in S1 of Shadowlands, notably did not have any weekly changes, though it was likely intentional to avoid players having to learn the new dungeons and weekly rotations of Mythic+. I think it’s possible that Blizzard will have weekly sets of Anima Powers that will alter the pool of Anima Powers from week to week. This would keep things deterministic and allow planning, while still shaking things up from week to week, something which the Prideful affix doesn’t provide.

We saw that Anima Powers are used in the Heroic Tarragrue Encounter, and these are random. However, this is the first boss of the Sanctum of Domination raid and was tuned to be killed completely without Anima Powers. In this case, Blizzard seems to be tuning the boss for no Anima Powers, and just letting people go wild with the first boss of the raid. Comparatively to Mythic+, Blizzard is expanding the upper end of the scale to include rewards from +20 Keystones and an in-game Mythic score in an infinite scaling system. I suspect that due to this, Blizzard will be keeping Anima Powers more reigned in and be using a more deterministic system, while still allowing players to choose from a set of Powers. This would help Blizzard tune the Anima Powers properly and players can still choose between powers, but can also base decisions on what they know is coming. Lastly, Mythic+ keystones are timed, and if Anima Powers were truly random, some players would feel the pressure to choose an Anima Power as fast as possible. If Anima Powers are more deterministic, players can plan for what choices they’re going to get and work around the set choices ahead of time.

Lastly, I don’t think class-based Anima Powers are going to happen. It’s a lot of work that would be needed for class or even spec Anima Powers and the balance of the Powers across classes would probably be wildly different. Look at Torghast at the moment and see how different some spec’s Anima Powers are compared to others. I think it would be an amazing thing to see, as it would be a tuning knob for different classes and specs to help shore up weaknesses, but it would require a lot of time and effort. The one thing that I think could be more possible is a couple role-based Anima Powers, as Anima Powers that benefit a specific role will be much more easier to balance. The Prideful affix was pretty well received all around, as its benefit affected all roles — I think some Tank or Healer role-specific Powers could happen!

Anima Powers Selection on Heroic Tarragrue

No More Trash Count Breakpoints

From the datamining, we know that the SL S2 Affix will have Jailer’s forces. I don’t think these Jailer’s forces will be tied to Trash Count Breakpoints, similar to the 20% breakpoints of the current Prideful affix.

Overall, I do think that Prideful was a relatively successful affix, but I do think that there’s pros and cons to Trash Count breakpoint affixes like Prideful and Reaping. Some of the critiques of the affix are:

  • Pulling extra packs completely changes your Prideful timings. This can be frustrating when someone facepulls an incorrect pack.
  • Puts a lot of constraints on Route creation, as you want to make sure the that you get optimal Prideful timings. This usually involves making sure that a Prideful always spawns before a boss.
  • Routes don’t change week to week later in the Season.

While some players probably like some of these aspects of Prideful, other players can find Mythic+ routing to be stale and static due to the “requirement” that Prideful spawns before each boss. I suspect that Blizzard will try to address these concerns, by moving away from Trash Count breakpoints in the SL S2 Affix affix. I’m sure we’ll see this type of affix return in the future, but it’s a good thing to take a break and switch things up.

I think the Jailer’s forces will already be present in the dungeon and have deterministic spawns, similar to Beguiling or Awakened.

No Skipping the Seasonal Affix

Prideful also had a big flaw from a design perspective — you could completely ignore the affix and the mob that spawned from it and it was often beneficial to do so. Especially at high levels, the Prideful affix also scaled rather poorly. We covered Prideful skipping as one of our Mythic+ Tips of the Week, but essentially you could skip Prideful by using Potion of the Hidden Spirit or Shadowmeld. At the beginning of the season, the Prideful mob also didn’t have True Sight, but that was hotfixed in… and well it didn’t really do much.

Going forward, I think Blizzard will be really trying to make sure that the affix can’t be completely ignored. Awakened was the closest thing to a non-skip affix as any Seasonal mob that you didn’t kill would automatically be ported to the last boss. While players did end up dealing with the affix, there was the option to just have your healer kite the Seasonal mobs while on the last boss and I have a feeling Blizzard didn’t really like that either, but this strategy was only really used in the MDI.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see Blizzard implement something similar for SL S2 Affix and the Jailer’s forces, where any one you don’t kill will make the final boss harder. Assuming the affix is tuned correctly, this would make it an interesting decision what to skip and what to play: Kill Jailer’s Forces to gain power but lose time, hoping to gain it back later, or skip Jailer’s Forces losing the Anima Power, but gaining time.

Week to Week Changes

At the beginning of Prideful, the affix created some interesting routing decisions. However, as time has gone on, the routes are relatively set in stone and figured out. The only thing that changes from week to week is the affixes and a lot of the time, this doesn’t affect what you’re pulling or your Route.

Some players might like the current state, but now that players have a had a full season to learn the Shadowlands dungeons, I think Blizzard will be shaking things up on a new Season and implementing weekly changes for the SL S2 Affix affix. That could be anything from weekly rotations of Anima Powers, Jailer Forces creature types or Jailer Forces creature locations.

Conclusion – Awakened 2.0

In conclusion, most of my speculation comes from improvements or changes to perceived weaknesses in the Prideful affix to shake up the Shadowlands dungeons.

  • New routing decisions.
  • Week to week changes during the season.
  • Not Skipping the Seasonal Affix.
  • Less Pressure to create a perfect count route that has 20% breakpoints at optimal spots.

That largest thing that I think was done well and will continue from Prideful is the risk/reward balance. Blizzard has been getting better at this from Seasonal affix to Seasonal affix.

  • Infested and Reaping were pretty much entirely negative affix.
  • Beguiling was a mostly negative affix, though Blizzard started to give some benefit for dealing with them. In this case, a meager amount of Trash Count.
  • Awakened was a much more balanced affix. You could trade time for a skip past certain amounts of mobs. You could also make the last boss harder to save more time.
  • Prideful was slightly weighted towards negative, as the buff that you got from Prideful generally didn’t outweigh the cost of killing it. However, the Prideful buff benefited all roles (Tanks, Healers and DPS) and was useful and fun!

In my opinion, I suspect that SL S2 Affix will be like Awakened 2.0 (with Anima Powers) based on the reasons that I listed above. Now, it is possible that the upcoming Seasonal affix could be more similar to Beguiling with some improvements, but the affix was not particularly well received by the community and needs some larger improvements that needs to be fixed. Awakened was also a well received Seasonal Affix in Battle for Azeroth and I could imagine that a modified version with Anima Powers would be very interesting. This would add an actual power incentive to dealing with the affix, rather than just a time/skip incentive, which is something that more players would have fun with.

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