WoW's telegraphs are so cluttered that even the best guild in the world is using darkening potions during raids so they can fight more effectively

Orc man looking pensively at camera
(Image credit: Blizzard)

 World of Warcraft: Dragonflight has its fans and detractors, but on one point a huge number of players agree: the game's telegraphs, the visual and audio cues that show what a given character is about to do, have become harder than ever to see. Some abilities have similar colours to the environment, while with others the hitbox behind the visual pizazz isn't clear at all. Conveniently enough, however, Dragonflight arrived with a new kind of consumable that the world's best players are using to see through the fog.

The following clip is from Team Liquid's recent attempt at a world first Raid clear, during which one of the team pops an Inky Black Potion as they fight a boss: an item that "darkens the world around you" for two hours. Team Liquid is using this to make it easier to see the abilities being used during the raid.

"The fact that the best guild in the world needs to use Inky Black Potion to make abilities easier to be seen just shows how big of a problem fight clarity has been this expansion," said WoW player Profoundsoup, kicking off a big discussion on the game's subreddit. This player reckons it's reached the stage "where it's damn near impossible to tell where the hitboxes start and end."

PCG's resident WoW master Sarah James recalls some chat about the telegraphing in Shadowlands, though it's not something she had an issue with. The thread also goes into example dungeons from the Legion expansion as well as Dragonflight—so it may be unfair to put this all down on the latter expansion—but there are abilities specific to Mythic+ dungeons (WoW's hardest tier) that are the real issue here.

Team Liquid is obviously a top team, and thus is going to use everything it possibly can to get any in-game advantage. Perhaps the wider issue will be that, when the top guilds are doing it, then all the wannabe top players will be picking it up too, and expecting everyone to turn up with an inky black potion.

The admittedly self-selecting WoW players talking about this highlight dozens of areas where the game has problems in this regard, with the most frequent comparison being to Final Fantasy 14 (which has clearer encounter telegraphs). A particular bone of contention is the lack of consistency across different effects, which even experienced raiders seem to find confusing, all summed up by one player's exasperation as others discussed adding a defined edge to swirly effects:

"And even then," says 8-Brit, "Is it a soak? A tank split? An avoid? Who fucking knows because they seem to use the same visual for fucking everything! And it changes every fight!"

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."