Alpha testing 01

Hey ho,

Today I want to talk about testing in World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth. This post might be extremely boring to some. If you notice sudden tiredness, watch a kitten video somewhere or do something else. You were warned.

While reading tooltips gives an impression of the spec, sometimes these tooltips aren’t enough to truly understand what is going on or is about to happen. For example, the Primal Elementalist talent doesn’t state which abilities become available to all summoned elementals. Therefore one needs to summon them to read their spells. However, it’s not the main goal of this post to write down tooltips. I want to show you how I’m trying to find our hidden effects, unintended behaviors and cool interactions. Of course this wouldn’t be possible without the help of other SE&L members Doublejay, Mis, Slanderman, and Wfarr. Their experience and viewpoints are invaluable to me.

First things first. I need a target. I could simply head into the world and fight some pests there but these foes usually fight back, move around or do some other test disrupting stuff. To prevent that, it’s easier to fight a target dummy of choice. But because boss target dummies are scaled up to the matching expansion bosses, I won’t be able to properly hit them until I reach level 120 in the Alpha. To circumvent this the level 85 target dummies in Orgrimmar are decent. Depending on what I’m going to test I’ll need to be aware of damage scaling based on level difference, but for now that doesn’t bother me.

These four are going to become my best friends for many hours to come.

With the target problem out of the way I can start thinking about what I want to test. I want to make sure to at least have seen all usual aspects of spells and talents. This means that I’ll have to think about what behavior I expect and how to see whether that happens or not and how to forcefully look for that. Starting with our basic spell toolkit and only active abilities to not screw with those, it’s time to hit the dummy.

Flame Shock: is an instant cast with a 6 sec cooldown, 15 sec duration dot, which pandemics on application to up to 20 seconds. It deals initial damage on application and ticks every two seconds. Its tick speed is hasted. Its damage can crit.
How to test? Cast Flame Shock until all of these aspects are verified. Nothing unexpected happened. I paid special attention to a potential tick reset on recast, but it seems like the ticks continue as expected which is good.

Lightning Bolt + Overload: is a 2 seconds cast with a potential background event (Overload). Main cast generates 8 Maelstrom, Overload 6. Both can crit independently. A main cast crit does not increase the overload’s damage. Overload damage is based off base damage and needs to crit on its own.
How to test? Hit dummy until all these cases happened at least once. Nothing unexpected happened.

Lava Burst + Overload: is a 2 seconds cast with an 8 seconds cooldown with a potential background event (Overload). Main cast generates 12 Maelstrom, Overload 9. Both should always crit if Flame Shock is on target. A main cast crit does not increase the overloads damage. Overload damage is based off base damage and needs to crit on its own.
How to test? Hit dummy until all these cases happened at least once. Additionally make sure Lava Burst does not crit 100% of the time without Flame Shock on the target. Unexpected finding: Lava Burst does seem to always crit. No Flame Shock necessary. Either the tooltip is wrong or the spell is currently broken. Bug found. Nothing else caught my eye.

Earth Shock: is an instant cast with a 6 seconds cooldown, spends up to 75 Maelstrom. Successful spending of multiples of 25 Maelstrom apply the Fulmination debuff on the target. Each 25 chunk applies one stack of that debuff.
How to test? Hit dummy with Earth Shock at different Maelstrom values. While Earth Shock indeed spends Maelstrom it doesn’t deal increased damage. So it seems that the damage scaling based on Maelstrom spent is currently broken. Unexpected observation: Earth Shock spends either zero, 25, 50 or 75 Maelstrom. This means that if used at 74 maelstrom, only 50 maelstrom will be used for the Earth Shock. That’s good, if Fulmination generation is the new focus for Earth Shock and making that very efficient. But it’s somewhat unexpected because Earth Shocks tooltip doesn’t hint at that behavior. Additionally, Fulmination stacks up to 10 stacks and lasts 10 seconds.

These examples should suffice for now to show that testing can be quite boring, but still yields valuable data. ES damage scaling is broken and it’s spending MS in full 25 steps. Lava Burst is always criting.

I went through all our abilities and talents. This is what I found:

Epicenter stacks from successive casts Chain Lightning casts instead of only being set to the actual number of enemy hit by it. This might be intended but was still unexpected. It’s a great idea to allow preparation for add spawns.

Primal Elementalist deactivates / breaks the new passive effects of our DPS elementals.

Primal Elementalist Fire Elemental lasts 60 seconds instead of 30 seconds.

[I speculate that these empowered elementals simply aren’t updated yet.]

Volcanic Rage triggers Flame Shock cooldown. When Flame Shock is already on cooldown Volcanic Rage resets the cooldown of Flame Shock to its full duration.

Molten Fury currently only increases the MS generation of Lava Burst, not of Lava Burst Overloads.

shakira#6291 mentioned in discord that Fulmination seemed to behave strange in a dungeon run with another Elemental Shaman. It turned out, that Fulmination stacks are shared by Elemental Shamans, while only the one who applied the debuff first is able to see it. Thanks at shakira#6291 and Elemntlmastr#5412 for helping out on Alpha to test that on target dummies.

The healing prediction of Healing Surge is way off. This problem exists for retribution and protection paladins and shadow priests too.

That’s it for the first test report from Battle for Azeroth Alpha. Let me know if you like this kind of post and what you yourself found if you have access.