So Battle for Azeroth was released a few days ago and so far it has been something of a blast, it has been really enjoyable to have something to do again in the game after the quiet times at the end of Legion where I was almost only logging in to do raids with the occasional mythic+ sprinkled in.
The start went by rather quickly, we managed to get to 120 directly on Tuesday and still have enough energy after a small sleep break to clear all of the available dungeons on heroic—that left out two dungeons, Siege of Boralus which was locked behind reputation and Kings’ Rest which is only available on mythic. It was really interesting to see the dungeons for the first time since I hadn’t really spent much time on the beta at all though they were for the most part a bit easy, which I guess is to be expected from heroic dungeons.
There were a couple of notable exceptions though, primarly Shrine of the Storm and Temple of Sethraliss1. The end boss in Temple even prompted a respec from Discipline to Holy for me, since I couldn’t quite figure out on the spot how to manage the single target healing requirement of that boss without any mobs present.
Temple of Sethralis
Since these dungeons are new, I should probably elaborate. The final boss of of Temple of Sethraliss is basically a healer fight with other roles being in more of a support position: a mob in the middle needs to be healed to full. The problem is that you can’t heal that mob the whole time since it is immune to healing so first some channelers need to be killed after which you have a short window, maybe 10-20 seconds or so to heal the mob. While this window is open and later on in the fight as well, there’s a rain of frogs going on which leave a debuff behind when they touch a player, reducing that player’s healing by 50%. Since we weren’t completely aware of that mechanic, that probably also played a role in my initial difficulties as Discipline in this fight.
It is still a dungeon where I will probably prefer going in as Holy as opposed to Discipline on mythic+ simply due to the last boss and the healing requirement there, though I am interested to see how that fight scales with higher mythic+ levels.
The dungeon also had some interesting moments with some “true” Player versus Environment elements, where you had to dodge arrows falling from the sky or navigate through a labyrinth of moving lightning orbs. Interestingly, these elements also scaled up on mythic which we did later on, the arrows were much harder to dodge with them being close to impossible to dodge without movement speed increase if the circle spawned on top of you.
Shrine of the Storm
Now the other notable dungeon was Shrine of the Storm. This one was less about the bosses and the environment and more purely some rather difficult trash. There are some particularily difficult mobs in the beginning, a form of water elemental which stuns the whole group, throws you up into the air and then damages you with falling damage. For mythic we figured out some ways to skip most of these mobs which of course was less helpful after some wipes, but it will probably still be a very useful strategy for mythic+.
There was also a rather annyoing mob later that did an extremely painful beam on a single player, which I had some difficulties dealing with though luckily it was heroic and still manageable especially once we noticed the rune the mob left behind which reduced damage taken significantly—at least when people were attentive enough to actually move into the rune.
Beyond that most of the dungeon was smooth sailing, excepting the last boss on mythic but even there we quickly figured out what we needed to do.
There is one slight thing that is annyoing me though, much less so than in Legion but still. As noted, there is one dungeon that is locked behind reputation and Blizzard decided to once again do a reputation gated questline in order to unlock this dungeon. Now my problem comes from the fact that one needs to keep doing world quests in order to acquire this reputation while I would much rather just be able to sit down and farm it out in a group in a single or several sessions. Instead it seems necessary to check in on the world map often to find available world quests for this faction, which I suppose increases the engagement statistics for Blizzard but is a bit iffy as a player. On the other hand, it’s a much lower reputation requirement than in Legion with Suramar which is a big improvement and I guess it is one of the things contributing to me actually having something to do in the game again which is a positive.
Simultaneously, for “slow burn” reputations that one simply wants to get in due time which don’t gate critical content, I do prefer the whole world quest model since we are encouraged to do those anyway for emissaries and Azerite.
Which does nicely bring me to my next point, Azerite armour. Now so far I’m not that convinced by it, since most of the bonuses I’ve seen so far have been rather unspectacular and I can’t use the bonuses on most of my gear yet since the requirement on mythic dungeon gear to unlock those traits is so high even after they reduced the requirements. I am however really curious to see what ends up happening with the raid gear, and there is an interesting trait or two already available so there is certainly promise. I’m also interested to see how the “Prydaz” trait scales, there were some people on the beta noting that it doesn’t scale very well but maybe it will be less mandatory for mythic+ than Prydaz itself was in Legion as a Priest.
All in all, there is still very much wait-and-see going on, mythic+ isn’t available yet and neither are the raids which is the content I primarily enjoy. But the expansion has started of really fun and it is nice to be able to do some of the more casual stuff from time to time without too much stress about time and performance. That said, I’m still looking forward to more content unlocking and getting to do the things I enjoy most, but the start of the expansion has given me a good feeling about coming times and I hope that lasts.
- This is from a healer point of view, specifically Discipline.