The problem with visual clarity has been in the game for a long time and has gotten better with improvements in projected textures, as well as the implementation of "swirlies" and the "spell density" setting. However, it seems like Blizzard is still taking a step backwards every time they move forward.
The issue is the most prominent in raiding, obviously. While setting "spell density" to "essential" helps filter out raid / party members' effects, it does not reduce your own. Covenant abilities are the worst offenders here. For example, my Venthyr DK signature spell's effect is an intense red glow (for those curious how it looks), which makes it difficult to see some Castle Nathria mechanics, as they all share the red Venthyr aesthetic (for example, it is near impossible to see Sire's Phase 2 red swirlies that spawn after killing each Cabalist). I can see the same problem happening in future raids for other covenants that will share the same colour aesthetic.
So, what can be done then? Obviously, satisfying visual feedback for spells is very important, but it cannot come at the expense of visual clarity. Simply using more different colours is also not a great solution, as that could go against a cohesive theme / aesthetic. Here's what I think would help.
- Making boss mechanics have clear and emphasized edges. Soaking mechanics are a good example of this and are usually very easy to notice. Having a clear circle makes the mechanic stand out more compared to other effects, as well as making it clearer whether you are standing in it or not. Emphasizing the outer edge of the swirlie texture (instead of it fading out softly) would also improve it, in my opinion.
- Instead of merging spell effects into one another, having a spell "strata" with raid mechanics always taking the top layer would go along well with my previous suggestion. It would be preferable to have a clearly distinct effect with a clear edge on top of another, less important effect, than having them both merge into a confusing mess.
- Adding the option to reduce your own spell effects in the "spell density" setting. Usually seeing your own spells is a lot less important than seeing raid mechanics. I understand why hunters need to clearly see their Wild Spirits area clearly, but there is no reason why it has to be a blindingly blue pancake on the ground. This might be fine for ranged DPS, but for those 5 people who play Survival it must really suck.
I know I am not the only person annoyed by this. This whole post was prompted by my guildie ranting on discord about the venthyr DK ability, and me feeling the same thing, and then realising that the Necrolord ability would be even worse in a Maldraxxus themed raid with green raid mechanics. Covenant abilities generally look amazing and feel impactful, but what good is that, if it leaves you frustrated as well?
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