On the Public Test Realm for World of Warcraft the development team has Patch 7.2 up for testing. Like others, I do keep track of what's being tested there so I can make preparations and decisions sensibly. I've seen the preview for the new dungeon, and I like what I see so far. The new open-world zone has grindy bits, but that's mostly for gearing alts and returning main characters who've been inactive for a while and need a hand. Flight isn't broken (yet). Nothing wrong with the content, so far, that I've noticed.
What I've noticed (along with plenty of others) is this utterly fucking retarded change to Artifact Power and Knowledge. This change has me wondering if the devs are all out to lunch, or if they've been listening too much (willingly or not) to the accounts or to Activision corporate (or both). The change? To end the current hard cap of 54 Traits to acquire in favor of a soft cap of 71 Traits and no hard cap. Artifact Knowledge had a hard cap of 25 Ranks; now it's 50, and the multiplier goes well past ridiculous, straight past retarded, and into fucking plaid levels of absurdity.
In short, instead of having a definitive end to developing one specific Specialization-defining element of a character's class we now have UN-FUCKING-LIMITED development. Since each Trait on a weapon directly increases the character's power, end-game content thereafter gets balanced around its acquisition, which means that the current You Must Be This Tall To Raid problem will only get worse.
World of Warcraft: Legion is the most alt-unfriendly expansion since Vanilla. The rate of burnout in Mythic Raiding is ridiculous, with World-First raiders (who do the content first, define the solutions, and write the fucking addons and guides) collapsing as a class into a group that can share a couple of rooms at the Hilton come BlizzCon. This is not good. The reason? The Artifact Power grind, something that must have a hard-as-the-mountain definitive end. Right now, it does; it's far too late for a healthy community scene, but it is there. The changes remove even that.
YOU FUCKED UP!
Games must have definite ends. For MMORPGs like this, that end is the hard cap of character progression. This hard cap gets people refreshing the game by playing other Specializations within the same class, or another class entirely. They play on the other faction. They play different Professions. They take breaks and don't play.
And it's that last one that's driving this change. Count on it; the fear of players cancelling their subscriptions for months at a time has been a known complaint within the WOW team for years. Finding ways to keep them playing has been an objective all this time, and since the team now has plenty of former Diablo 3 people on it they carried over plenty of D3 schemes with them. This is another one: unlimited "paragon" progression, with each point conveying power to the possessing character. That's tolerable in Diablo 3, since multi-player is limited to parties of four or less. For a MMO? That shit is cancerous, and cancer kills its host if it is not cut out and sterlized. That's happening right now.
The current hard caps for both Artifact Knowledge AND Artifact development, as they are on live servers, needs to be retained and maintained for the rest of the expansion. The current catch-up systems, in practice, are sufficient to get alts up to speed quickly and viable for end-game content; all that needs to be done is to normalize Artifact Power gains for dungeons at all difficulties so that Maw of Souls is not the only smart option, but rather to make any dungeon worth doing. The rest of the 7.2 changes should be scrapped, used as toilet paper, and then burned in an incinerator.
Games must END. Uncapped progression in a MMO is not that, and the damage already done will only get worse if this goes live. For the good of the game, the business, and the community playing it scrap this shit- NOW!