So that part of the expansion cycle is with us again, the endtimes. The raid is cleared, there is no new content on the horizon beside the next expansion and the general interest towards the current content is rapidly waning.
We are still going somewhat strong and maintaining our weekly raids though we have those down to one per week now, but aside from that it’s mostly just the occasional mythic+ run along with the weekly alt-run that keeps us coming together and playing together.
The reduced activity has given me the opportunity to actually participate in the aforementioned alt-run and I’ve actually taken and geared my paladin well enough to be allowed to join in there which has been rather fun. My paladin I tend to play as a tank so getting to play another role again has been fun as well though surprisingly stressful even in a raid environment which I wasn’t expecting—usually I find raids more relaxing to tank than mythic+ but this somehow hasn’t quite been the case with Ny’alotha so far though I’m getting there with my comfort level.
This has also given me the opportunity to see how much of the raid I had been ignoring mechanically since these things didn’t really directly concern me though in at least one case it would have actually been useful to know. Three specific things come to mind: Shad’har tank mechanic; Ra-den phase two tank mechanic; N’Zoth Psychus phase.
Now the Shad’har tank mechanic is essentially don’t let your co-tank get two different types of debuffs which while quite simple as a mechanic and not something I need to concern myself with when not tanking is something that tripped me up the first time there.
The Psychus phase again is very relevant as a tank since I’m directly responsible for positioning Psychus correctly so that the debuff gets applied as well as ensuring the pool on the floor spawns correctly, and it’s also very good to know as a damage dealer so the correct tentacle is getting damaged it is largely irrelevant as a healer except for impacting how and where I move though even that is more down to environmental awareness than anything else.
The Ra-den tank mechanic however is something that might have been somewhat useful to know even as a healer though to be fair our tanks did call it and as such specific knowledge of how it works wasn’t important. But essentially, in phase two, Ra-den applies a debuff that does damage to the tank which scales with their current health at the time the debuff was applied. Knowing not to heal the tank before the debuff gets applied is of course important because of this, but as noted it got called anyway and I wasn’t focusing on healing the tanks in that phase so how and why it was important didn’t really register until way after progress was over.
All of this has however made me even more interested in maintaining more alts in Shadowlands if possible so that I have reason and opportunity to gain this insight earlier on in the content when it might actually prove relevant to progressing those bosses on mythic.
Speaking of Shadowlands, we are slowly also getting more information to how the upcoming expansion will work and while my outlook remains perhaps more pessimistic than most I’m trying to keep an open mind.
The systems on the surface actually look quite promising, I’m looking forward to seeing interesting legendaries again and Thorgast could end up rather fun if implemented correctly especially considering my recent experience with another roguelike but I’m just worried they’ll suffer from the same problem that the Mage Tower in Legion and the Horrific Visions in Battle for Azeroth: being gated behind world quests/dailies. To me, this just adds a completely unecessary level of stress and frustration to the experience especially when playing multiple characters.
My other really big worry are the Covenants since even with the updated information of the initial switch being easy but returning being difficult I’m really worried about how Blizzard will manage to balance the abilities in a sensible manner as well as tying cosmetic rewards to gameplay since that will probably mean I won’t really have much of a choice in the matter. With luck those two things will align however I don’t feel that is overly likely. The optimal case is of course all of the abilities being close enough together that one can actually choose freely and this is more likely for the healers anyway than for damage dealers or tanks, but it is still something I’m looking at with more worry than excitement at the moment.
I think that actually sums up my general feeling toward Shadowlands: a mix of worry and excitement, though definitely more of the former; I’m looking forward to what’s to come but wary of getting overly excited.