SoD Phase 1: Reflections & Lessons Learned
As SoD Phase 1 is wrapping up, we wanted to do a longer post reflecting on the WCL team's interpretation and thoughts, both from BFD and going into Gnomeregan. This will likely be a longer post to go through some of the reasoning behind why we did what we did, what we learned from that, and how we're planning on approaching things going into Phase 2 of Season of Discovery.
NOTE: WE ARE PARTITIONING BFD FOR ALL REGIONS WITH NA WEEKLY RESET ON TUESDAY 6TH FEB - AT 3 PM UTC!
Like all of you, we went into Season of Discovery release dark. There is no PTR, and all we had to go on was older Vanilla experiences concerning implementing spec detection, complete raid, and more. The Vanilla combat logs had several things missing, and most of our team started working here after TBC was out. There was no talent information in the logs until TBC, and we were unsure what to expect in Season of Discovery logs, and as such tried a Vanilla approach.
Before something is released, we have to do a ton of prep work to support it. This means adding the raid, bosses, the specs, and more. In preparation for another Vanilla version, we decided to continue with our Vanilla Era spec detection, which is ultimately about detecting a player's role, rather than spec. The exception to this was Mages, who used to need separation due to how Ignite worked. This is fixed in Season of Discovery, and no longer needed, but we did not know that before release. You can read about the current state of spec detection in our SoD Spec Detection and Rules article.
At level 25, we've run into some difficulties properly recognizing specs and roles. This is both due to incredibly easy content (e.g. not requiring actual tanks or healers), and not being able to rely on the COMBATANT_INFO event in logs which provides information on which runes were equipped.
What's Changing Moving Forward
Season of Discovery Landing Page
You might've already noticed that we added new navigation and a separate Season of Discovery landing page. This will let us publish Season of Discovery-specific articles and let users more easily navigate to SoD ranks and updates. SoD still exists on the Vanilla site, but this landing page will only include SoD raids and articles.
Tank & Spec Detection
We currently have no plans to add or remove any of the current specs for SoD, but we will be revisiting the current requirements for both tanks and healers. Going into SoD, we used Classic WoW as the basis for the requirements, and in hindsight, that was not ideal. With BFD being tuned so easily you did not necessarily require a tank, and some confusing boss design on top of that, we will be changing the requirements towards something along the lines of these two:
- Did you intend to tank?
- Did you actually tank?
There will be a post on Discord and likely an updated spec article out soon. As tank detection and rules are very reliant on community feedback, please join us on Discord and participate in the discussions once the raid is released.
We have added additional Season of Discovery channels to more easily navigate the relevant discussions. This is #sod-gnomeregan and #sod-spec-rules. These will hopefully make it easier for more of the community to participate in the discussions.
Boss Parsing Rules
An unfortunate side effect of no PTR, not a lot of time to prepare, and then Phase 1 overlapping with Christmas for us, we did not have a ton of resources to dedicate to enforcing boss parsing rules (such as what adds should count, removing downtime on Gelihast, etc). We are planning on supporting more boss rules for Phase 2, and all suggestions are very welcome on Discord or through our support email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Almost all changes are made by community input and suggestions, so make sure to participate in the discussions as early as you can.
Speedruns and Complete Raid
Going into the release of SoD, we were hopeful to not have to do elaborate trash requirements. We were unfortunately proven wrong when people started going out of bounds to preclear all the trash, and that forced us to add trash requirements for speed/complete raid. BFD was an especially difficult raid to support due to a lot of random trash spawns, stealth patrols, and more.
There's also rarely a community agreement on every change made. SoD appealed to a large user base, so we've seen a good mix of players from vanilla era, classic wrath, and retail. These all have different experiences and expectations when it comes to 'speedrunning' and trash requirements. Our philosophy and approach towards speedrunning evolved a ton since the release of TBC and throughout Wrath of the Lich King. Changes such as a time penalty instead of having With/Without Skips categories, generally requiring all the trash you move past to not allow invisibility potion/bubble/summon skips, etc, can be new and confusing to those who have not kept up with speedrunning in Classic TBC/Wrath. We are also limited in what we can enforce through the combat log. In general, we do not want to allow any out-of-bounds exploit/skip.
We will be doing more trash requirements in Gnomeregan also, but without a PTR, it takes a while to create requirements that work well. If you are interested in speedrunning, please participate in the discussions and offer feedback as early as possible.
Thanks for reading this far. We're hoping to take some of these lessons learned into better supporting Gnomeregan in Phase 2 of Season of Discovery.