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WoW: Shadowlands 9.1.5 Patch Notes Show AOE Cap Is Being Removed

As revealed in a new batch of patch notes, AOE abilities will soon hit an unlimited number of targets, at the cost of reduced damage.


World of Warcraft: Shadowlands' upcoming 9.1.5 patch is now live on the game's public test realm, and fresh patch notes reveal even more changes coming to Blizzard's MMO that hadn't been previously disclosed.

The biggest of those changes is the removal of the game's area-of-effect (or AOE) cap. Added in Shadowlands, the AOE cap makes it so many abilities which are capable of hitting multiple enemies can only affect a maximum number of targets. That will be going away in 9.1.5, which will see abilities that are currently AOE capped instead doing reduced damage to enemies beyond the first five targets.

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A developer note in the full patch notes explains the reason for the change:

"We've received a lot of feedback that these abilities not hitting enemies in their range in any way creates a feel problem for WoW combat but is also an issue for trivial encounters like farming legacy content," the patch notes state.

The developer note goes on to explain that while overall AOE ability damage will be increasing with the removal of the cap, the damage done to each target will be decreasing.

"This solution means these abilities and their relative classes will still have a very strong niche against packs of 4-6 enemies," the patch notes state. "As always, tuning will change as a result of this shift over the next few weeks based on your feedback from the PTR."

The AOE change is not currently live on the PTR, but will be added in future builds. Also revealed in the patch notes, but not discussed previously, is that weather effects will be coming to the game's two primary capital cities of Stormwind and Orgrimmar. Patch 9.1.5 does not currently have a release date.

When it does finally arrive, patch 9.1.5 will be one of the biggest non-content patches in WoW's modern history, with a long list of fan-requested changes set to be introduced alongside new character creation options. Many in the game's community feel like their feedback is finally being listened to, but not before some of WoW's biggest content creators have decided to move on, in part because of Blizzard's lack of action following the release of Shadowlands.

Others have quit as Blizzard continues to deal with the fallout from a state of California lawsuit accusing the developer of harassment and discrimination towards women. Those allegations have led to the removal of in-game developer references and the departure of numerous Blizzard veterans, including former president J. Allen Brack and former lead level designer Jesse McCree.

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