An Inside Look: Encrypted - Patch 9.2 Seasonal Affix (PTR)

This week marked the moment that Mythic+ enthusiasts have all been waiting for: Encrypted, the new Mythic+ affix of Season 3 was announced and added to the PTR for testing! We dove into some dungeons right away to take a closer look.

Despite being on the PTR for less than 48 hours, Encrypted has already received substantial community buzz, ranging anywhere from skepticism to outright joy:

So what is Encrypted and how does it function? What does it mean for Mythic+ in Season 3? Today, we’ll be analyzing everything we know about Encrypted in its current iteration. Read on for our inside look!

What is Encrypted?

In short, there are 3 relics, 1 mob, and 3 potential 45-second party-wide buffs to obtain.

Spread out throughout the dungeon, you'll see 3 floating relics: Wo, Vi, and Urh.

These relics will be present in some trash packs (about ⅓ of the packs will have them), and at all bosses. They represent mobs you can kill, and they don't have a lot of HP. While the relics are active, they do provide a small buff to the mobs near them — as seen by the glow around the NPC. However, at first testing, these enemy buffs do not appear to be substantial.

While alive, the Urh Relic will deal periodic damage to all players via Energy Barrage; the Wo Relic will buff surrounding mobs with Defense Matrix, reducing their damage taken by 15%; the Vy Relic will buff surrounding mobs with Acceleration Field, increasing their haste by 15%.

After you kill these 3 relics, you will fight an Automa, which is a relatively easy mob to manage. The important thing to keep in mind here is that which Automa spawns is controlled by whichever relic dies first.

Once you kill an Automa, there are 3 potential buffs, depending upon which Automa you spawn:

  • Decrypted Urh Cypher: 200% spell and ability cooldown rate and 10% health and mana for 10 seconds. (Urh killed first)
  • Decrypted Wo Cypher: 150% movement speed, 15% reduction in damage taken, and out of combat stealth for 60 sec. (Wo killed first)
  • Decrypted Vy Cypher: 15% increased haste and periodic damage and healing procs for 45 sec. (Vy killed first)

Implications and Analysis

Now that we’ve touched upon the basics, we can see that Encrypted comes with a wide degree of player options and numerous possibilities for dungeon routing.

Let's dive into the details and potential ways to manage Encrypted.

As it stands on the PTR now, my guess is that most of the time you'd want to kill the Wo relic (the square one) and fight the Wo Drifter since it doesn't do much outside of its interruptible spellcast of a group-wide damage ability every 20 seconds or so. This mob is very easy to deal with (the other two aren't much harder though), and the 20% haste buff that it grants seems to be the best reward for most cases.

It may be possible that some specs benefit more from the 25% cooldown reduction of the Vy cypher — perhaps if the 11 seconds off of your major cooldowns means that you can get a few key abilities back up for an important moment, such as the burn phase on Ingra Maloch in Mists of Tirna Scithe. However, I doubt that this will be a very common situation, and the Vy Automa is a much more annoying mob to deal with than the Wo Drifter.

The Urh Automa is potentially somewhat dangerous to your tank in higher keys since it periodically applies a 5 second 25% damage taken increase, and does a slam you need to move out of. Regardless, the Urh Automa is not too deadly, and the movement speed buff is an underrated effect that will be great for covering long distances where you can't mount (i.e. De Other Side).

One consideration for Urh is that the stealth effect is pretty hard to set up. This is due to the fact that the combined health of the relic and the Automa is less than the healthiest mobs in most pulls, so you’ll need to be careful to make sure the Urh Automa dies last if you want the stealth effect. If you do manage to pull it off, it can make skips much more worthwhile, especially in groups without a Rogue for Shroud of Concealment.

Some interesting tidbits:

  • Relics have about one third as much health as the small slimes in the first boss room of Plaguefall (pictured above)
  • Automa are also very squishy, about double the HP of the same slimes
  • Relics aren't connected, so you can pull each of them individually
  • Theoretically, you can pull Relics without pulling the adjacent boss

Past Season Comparisons

So how does Encrypted compare to past seasonal affixes? Does it need any tweaks before it goes live?

I think there should (and likely will be) some changes to Encrypted before it arrives on live servers. For example, the Wo and Vy effects are too similar to each other, which risks the Wo relic becoming the dominant choice. This way, I'd like to see them come up with a different effect altogether that would lead to a more situational choice. Even so, I've already found the affix to be a very refreshing change of pace since it's the first time this expansion that we'll be able to play the dungeons without massive lethal threats (like Prideful or Incinerator Arkolath) that can take over the dungeon and destroy runs. The Automa are fairly low impact and give a nice bonus, so I think that the current iteration of Encrypted is a great place for this affix to land.

Compared to the BFA seasonal affixes, Encrypted feels like Reaping in the sense that it contains relatively low-impact, low-health enemies for players to manage. The movement speed increase and 10-second stealth awarded with the Decrypted Urh Cypher is also slightly reminiscent of Awakened, which was a widely beloved affix due to its creative routing opportunities.

So far, Encrypted doesn't seem to bring the frustrations of Infested or Beguiling since none of the features of the affix appear to interact horribly with existing packs or shoe-horn you into a specific route. It's somewhat similar to Infernal, the Legion Timewalking affix, in that it's present for each boss fight. But unlike Infernal, you deal with Encrypted DURING the boss fight (unless you carefully pull the Relics without getting in combat with the boss, which is possible but I don't think will be worthwhile). The trade-off is that Relics and Automa are much less dangerous than Infernal minibosses and, of course, you find them within trash pulls as well as bosses.

Closing Thoughts

And there you have it — Encrypted, the newest Mythic+ seasonal affix coming with Patch 9.2! It seems to be a solid affix so far, as it shares similarities to past seasonal affixes while standing out as a unique affix with much creative potential. In the end, the success and reception of Encrypted will come down to numbers and tuning, so we’ll keep our eyes peeled for more data to come.

What do you think of Encrypted? Check out our poll below to share your thoughts!


About the Authors

Starym is an old-school raider with a wide history of World Firsts under his belt. He is a long-time news writer and interviewer for Icy Veins and formerly Manaflask. Having raided in the Race to World First (RWF) until the end of The Burning Crusade, he has been covering the events since Cataclysm and the RWF has become his greatest passion in WoW. A (Tauren, obviously) Warrior main at heart, when pushed, he will admit to loving Diablo more than WoW and, thus, should be punished.

Dratnos hosts the The Titanforge WoW Podcast. He’s also an Officer in the World 36th guild poptart corndoG, and a commentator for events such as the MDI and the Race to World First! He streams on Twitch, where he likes to review his friends’ logs.

VitaminP (VP) is the Lead Editor & Assistant Producer of Raider.IO and has worked for the organization since the formation of the News Section in November 2018. Although VP is currently focused on pursuing her Masters of Business Administration, she specializes in tanking classes and has loved doing competitive Mythic+ on and off since early Legion.

Hulahoops has been playing WoW since Vanilla. She has recently shelved Retail to go back and re-experience TBC in all its glory, but will one day make her way back to the Shadowlands. In her hey-day, Hulahoops could be found raid-leading in Mythic Progression, or competing in the MDI with her team Angry Toast. Hulahoops is a Holy Paladin in every sense of the term: she moderates the Hammer of Wrath Paladin Class Discord, and she was a practicing Lawyer for 7 years. Judgment isn't just a spell! Hulahoops decided to put the law books away and follow her passion for gaming and esports by joining the team at Raider.IO. In her capacity as General Manager, Hulahoops oversees events, content, and more!