An Inside Look: Private Auras Spotted in Mythic+ on The War Within Alpha

The last few weeks have been good to all of us WoW players with the beginning of Dragonflight Season 4, WoW Classic Cataclysm, and the WoW Remix: Mists of Pandaria. While there is almost too much choice of WoW content already, we also have plenty of developments in The War Within Alpha. From Hero Talent reveals to getting a first look at some of the new dungeons, WoW fans are eating well right about now.

However, as is expected, not all news is good news. One reveal has quickly incited community reaction like few others, as Wowhead reported that Private Auras will be making a return in The War Within. This time around, they won’t just be limited to a handful of raid mechanics though – Blizzard seems to be doubling down on the concept by also adding Private Aurus to Mythic+ in The War Within.

Is this a good or a bad thing? Will Private Aurus in Mythic+ widen the gap between higher and lower end players further? Read on for our thoughts on the issue!

Table of Contents

Private Aura Recap

Before we dive deeper into what’s happening on the The War Within (TWW) Alpha servers and the ramifications of these developments, let’s quickly recap what Private Auras are.

In essence, Private Auras are a way for Blizzard to mask spell information from players, making it impossible for players to track and display certain information via WeakAuras of any given ability. This could apply to a debuff’s duration, the amount of absorb of a shield, or the stack count of a buff. More importantly, and this is the main reason behind the development of this feature in the first place, players are no longer able to use WeakAuras to “solve” certain mechanics automatically. The only information the player can display is the icon of the buff, debuff, or spell – but what to do with that information is entirely up to the player.

Private Auras make it impossible for a sophisticated WeakAura to automatically assign an order of execution for a mechanic if multiple players are affected by them – that process now fully lies with the player. Or, it would, if there weren't simple workarounds...

If you’d like to learn more about Private Auras and their impact on the Amirdrassil, the Dream’s Hope raid environment, make sure to check out our articles on this topic from February 2024 and October 2023!

Player Reception

Saying the player base has been divided on this issue would be a misrepresentation, as the reception to Private Auras has been almost universally negative. From Race to World First (RWF) raiders to players simply aiming to earn their Cutting Edge achievements, Private Auras ended up being a major frustration for anybody making it to Smolderon or even deeper into Amirdrassil on Mythic difficulty.

The workaround for Private Auras is simple: Press a macro to send a command to the WeakAura to let it know that you are affected by the mechanic the WeakAura cannot track by itself, and it’ll take things from there. Easier said than done, however, as many players struggled to get the Macro working, remember to press it, and more crucially, ensure that everyone in the raid was using the exact same version of the exact same WeakAura. If anything didn’t load correctly, or there were compatibility issues for some reason, troubleshooting and fixing this issue could end up taking hours before the WeakAura would finally work properly.

There is, of course, the camp of players who feel, understandably so, that Addons and WeakAuras have had a detrimental effect on encounter design and that these tools are a major contributor to the rise of pass-fail mechanics in modern WoW encounter design (mechanics that you either do 100% correctly or they raidwipe you instantly), as well as making an increasing number of mechanics less forgiving – leaving players very little time to react and coordinate. This can certainly, in part, be attributed to WeakAuras simplifying and automating the process of assigning and coordinating on behalf of the player or raid leader.

While this is a valid opinion to hold, the goal of Private Auras was never to remove these tools from the player’s hands, but to limit their capabilities. Reaction time, split-second decision making, and the coordination of multiple players being affected by any given mechanic should be up to the players to manage – not an automated system. However, with a simple yet oftentimes frustrating work-around, it seems that this goal has been missed. Repeatedly.

Private Auras in The War Within

Now that we know that Private Auras will return in The War Within, how big of a deal is it, really? With the many mistakes Blizzard made during the first and second iteration of Private Auras that saw many players having to download mandatory WeakAura packages from top guilds who have dedicated WA developers on their squad, it is no surprise that even the mention of Private Auras returning sparked much outrage and negative feedback.

Many players expected the feature to be sunset with the end of Dragonflight, but it looks like those expectations have been turned on their heads. Blizzard is instead doubling down on Private Auras, introducing them to many Mythic+ mechanics. We do not (yet) have confirmation on whether Private Auras will once again make a return for raiding as well, but it would not be folly to assume that that will be the case.

That being said, not all hope is lost, at least not for Mythic+. One of the main issues of Private Auras in raiding has been their ability to coordinate and deal with mechanics on behalf of 20 players simultaneously. Depending on the mechanic and encounter, this is a tremendous task for any one raid leader or group of players to achieve, and playing the release versions of the Volcanic Heart mechanic on Echo of Neltharion or the first intermission on Fyrakk without any addon support seemed all but humanly impossible.

Thankfully, in Mythic+, the level of coordination and depth of complexity on abilities and mechanics is much smaller in scope than in a raid setting, and it is unlikely that we will be seeing even a single mechanic require the macro-workaround that so many of the raid WeakAuras in Amirdrassil required. Although this is still a possibility, most of the Private Auras seem to be applied to mechanics that simply target a single player, or affect all players, and end up just being “get out” or “spread out” mechanics.

As players are still able to see that they are affected, it will only take a little time to build the muscle memory on spell icons and how to deal with each mechanic individually – even if a WeakAura might not be able to tell you to “spread out” or “soak” certain mechanics anymore. Let’s hope the same approach of Private Auras will not return to the upcoming raids in TWW as well.

Why Do Private Auras Exist?

While the return of Private Auras in Mythic+ is unlikely to be a big deal (please don’t make me regret writing this string of words in the future), the question stands as to why Private Auras must exist. And, to be frank, I personally do not have an answer to that question.

WeakAuras are a hugely beneficial tool in helping players deal with visual clutter. They improve accessibility by enabling mechanics to be tied to certain sounds or visual imagery for those who struggle with attention or suffer from certain disabilities, and they typically close the gap between those who are naturally talented at the game and have a vast trove of knowledge to draw from when playing, versus those who do not have or want to spend the time to learn the intricacies of every single enemy, spell, and mechanic.

By removing certain mechanics from being trackable, and consequently making the “solving” of these mechanics impossible to automate, these crutches are being taken away by Blizzard as a side-effect. Private Auras seemingly fail their goal on a fundamental level, as a mechanic is either not complex, damaging or threatening enough to require automation, or, if it is, players will use the very simple yet effective work-around.

In summary, if Private Auras are only effective for mechanics no one wants to automate, but fail to prevent automation in those mechanics that players truly feel they need assistance with, then what exactly is their point? We don’t really know, unfortunately. Until Blizzard clarifies their intent behind bringing Private Auras to an even wider selection of spells and abilities, not just in Raids but now also Mythic+, we will have to blindly put our faith in the people who decided it was a good idea to make Volcanic Heart, Fiery Growth, and multiple parts of Fyrakk’s abilities into Private Auras.


About the Author

Seliathan has been playing Rogue for over half his life, since the initial release of WoW over 19 years ago. After a long career of Raid Leading, Theorycrafting, and pushing Mythic+, Seliathan enjoys creating all kinds of PvE content on Twitch, co-hosting the Tricks of the Trade Rogue podcast, contributing to Raider.IO as Staff Writer, and writing guides for Icy Veins.

About the Editor

VitaminP (VP) is the Content Manager of Raider.IO. VP holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration and has worked for Raider.IO since the formation of its News Section in November 2018. VP specializes in tanking classes and has loved doing competitive Mythic+ on and off since early Legion.