A guild defeated a Mythic-difficulty raid over the weekend in 30 seconds with four Augmentation Evoker raid members. Let’s do the math.
Even after multiple overall nerfs to its power, the Augmentation Evoker remains a tough cookie to crack when it comes to raid balance. After all, anything that provides flat percentages in power increases is going to be good. And while the numbers pumped out by the new WoW dragon specialization were tuned down recently, it clearly wasn't enough.
The EU raid guild Colour showcased this fact over the weekend, when one of its raiding groups managed to defeat the Mythic difficulty version of Assault of the Za'qali in 30 seconds. Now, you don't need to know much about raiding in WoW to know that this is an impressive feat. After all, some normal difficulty raids take hours of trial and error to eventually take down. And yet, with four Augmentation Evoker players this group was able to beat a Mythic raid in ridiculous time.
Maybe we need more nerfs. Let's look at the numbers.
Augmentation Evoker, raid breaker?
For those out of the loop: The Augmentation Evoker is a new specialization added to World of Warcraft with the spring 2023 patch. It's entire purpose as a player class is to buff and boost players around them. This comes in many forms, including percentage increases to stats like attack power, basic stats like strength, or raw healing. And while there's multiple culprits at work here, the major ability making the magic happen is the spell Ebon Might.
1% of base mana
1.5 sec cast 30 sec cooldown
Increase your 4 nearest allies' primary stat by 10% of your own, and cause you to deal 20% more damage, for 10 sec. May only affect 4 allies at once, and prefers to imbue damage dealers.
Eruption, Breath of Eons, Deep Breath, and your empower spells extend the duration of these effects.
Now, if we aren't careful this whole thing turns into a math problem. And, as a communications major, I simply cannot allow that. However, what you do need to know is that four Augmentation Evoker players in the raid, all buffing one another with Ebon Might, leads to some number silliness. As seen by the table below showcasing Colours' final raid damage numbers, the Augmentation Evoker players led the raid in overall damage.
The four Evokers lead the raid in DPS, with Ebon Might providing the largest statistical bonus per player. However, raid positioning plays a big part in making this magic work. After all, Ebon Might randomly casts on the players nearest and not specific targets. In order to make this work, Colours separated the Augmentation Evokers from the rest of the raid so that Ebon Might would only hit those four players.
What's fascinating about the numbers is that the Evoker's damage burst basically all comes at the end. This is because a number of other raid spells need to come online to make the magic happen, including the mage's Time Warp spell. But, once it does?
Ooh boy, you've got a DPS stew.
Is raiding in trouble?
Of course, this raid boss is very specifically good as a test case for Evoker stacking because of its lack of phases and modes. However, downing a Mythic boss like this and in a very repeatable way will open the door for more silliness like this to happen.
Raid balance has long been a problem for Blizzard, but Augmentation Evoker as a class just kicks that door open. The options seem simple: Either Augmentation needs changed at its core or raiding as a mechanic needs an overhaul. Neither seems like an option available in the short-term, so we may just need to wait and see.
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