Blizzard's new specialisation, the augmentation evoker, has continued to stir up the game's meta in weird and interesting ways. It acts as a support DPS, with most of its damage coming from buffs to its allies—a completely new playstyle for an MMO approaching its 20th birthday.
It's super powerful—nearly a must-have for high-level content. Yet it's been causing spats in lower-level groups due to DPS meter weirdness and the inevitable baggage of a pick-up-group community used to their personal performance being priority number one.
This bumpy introduction continues with a zany experiment documented by WoWhead. Guide writer, evoker specialist, and streamer Jereico has been cooking up a hotfix-causing strat, bringing two death knights into a raid with 22 augmentation evoker cheerleaders to help them melt face. It's not even an exploit, technically—just a fatal flaw in how the classes are designed.
In their full breakdown of the strat, WoWHead's Squishei explains: "each Augmentation Evoker scales multiplicatively when you add more Evokers during [their burst phase]." On their own, their abilities are powerful, but not much to write home about. Stacked together, however, the damage gets nuts.
This is because bonuses from Ebon Might, Shifting Sands and Prescience—which buff Intellect, Versatility, and Crit respectively—create a swell of damage that's all multiplicative. Fate Mirror also gives a chance for each spell or ability to deal 15% of its damage again.
This all folds into Breath of Eons, which keeps a 10-second tally of the damage your ally deals to a target, then deals 15% of that damage as a critical hit. If you've just got one Augmentation Evoker, this obviously isn't a big deal: the issue is scaling.
In this case, that ally is enjoying 22 massive multiplicative boosts to their base damage, 15% of which is occasionally fed back into the loop. This racks up an absurd amount of pain during their own burst windows, which can push their DPS past ten million.
To make things worse, that colossal damage burst then gets echoed for 15% of its total damage in a 10 second window by 22 players all at once. Add it all together and you get the following face-melt of Kazzara the Hellforged, which is the first boss of the Aberrus raid in World of Warcraft: Dragonflight.
Turns out having 22 Augmentation Evokers in one raid is pretty good. I'm here for this new meta. 💪 pic.twitter.com/2ALKyg7MtQJuly 16, 2023
Looking at the fight on Warcraft Logs and sorting the fight by duration throws it into even starker perspective. Below the blisteringly fast 24 second augmentation-zerg runs, the next highest kill speed is 1:44, with most experienced raiders killing Heroic Kazzara in around two minutes.
In the full video, this combo goes on to chew its way through the entire raid on Heroic difficulty, slaughtering most bosses in under half a minute. The only thing that stops this deathball are transitions when the bosses become immune or highly resistant to damage—otherwise, it's a massacre.
This is obviously not intended, and we can assume a patch is already in the works. It's not quite as simple as stopping stacking entirely, though—that just trades one design issue for another, soft-capping the amount of augmentation evokers one can bring to a raid. Whether or not WoW's new support DPS play style will survive its teething problems is yet to be seen, but I'm looking forward to seeing what else the community can achieve.