Posted in World of Warcraft

Beta, pt. 2

This past week I ended up participating in some more raidtesting along with a quick run of a Mythic+ dungeon as well as some quick addon development. I finally ended up getting frustrated enough with the healing experience on the beta, and ended up seeking out and fixing the couple of errors I was encountering with Clique in order to be able to actually play the beta with sensible keybindings. The fix was actually rather minor which I’m happy about since I’m not overly familiar with the Clique codebase and since it means I get to test the new expansion properly, though it does mean I’m sligthly frustrated to have waited so long to give it a shot since all these problems could’ve been over ages ago. To be fair, during the fixing I was relying on reports from other people regarding what changes Blizzard has made to the API which might not have been available as easily at a earlier point in time, so maybe it was so easy because I ended up waiting so long to fix it.

Mythic+

The dungeon we did was Halls of Atonement and it ended up rather surprising me with its ease especially since I was still figuring out the keybindings at the time. To be fair, we did not end up managing to complete the dungeon in time and seemingly the only affix that was active was Fortified even though it stated it was a +10 dungeon so maybe all of the scaling was completely broken but still. If it was indicative of what a +2 will feel like come release with some heroic blues it all seemed to be in line with expectation.

Raid testing

The past week I also participated in all of the raid tests, rather than just the one I had participated in the week previous, and well, the new raid is looking rather nice. Sure, there are tuning problems and bugs but that's what we're there for.

The most fun boss of the bunch so far to me seemed the Council of Blood, I liked the flair of the intermission where you have to participate in the dance since from the little story I've played so far it felt like it fit the theme of the place perfectly. Beside that though, the fight did feel rather hectic and I'm really curious to see how it ends up on mythic since it already had so many things going on—maybe this is one of those cases where we only get the numbers tuned up and no real additional mechanics. I might be biased though, since it's the only boss in testing these raids so far that we have actually killed.

My definite least favourite boss of the bunch was Shriekwing, which seems to be the first boss of the raid—gets a bit confusing at times since there is actually another bossfight that takes place in the same room and you just get ported to the correct boss anyway. There was an annoying tendency on this boss for people not to be in line of sight of me which is understandable since it plays such a huge role in the fight and dodging out of the boss' line of sight at the correct time is crucial, but it does make for a very annoying experience as a healer. Luckily, this is the first boss of the raid so it will probably be trivial anyway but those reclears could get a bit annyoing. The second phase also seemed like it could be interesting, the boss basically went into a rage which you needed to wait out where it took almost no damage and periodically did a sonar pinpointing people which you had to hide from.

The other two bosses, Huntsman Altimor along with the Stone Legion Generals, somehow felt a bit more bland though still fun even if the Huntsman once again introduced the twist of there occasionally being an add that needed healing instead of just being able to focus on the raid. This is probably also partially due to the bugginess and tuning of these two encounters, so final judgement is as always reserved until mythic.

Holy

For this week I also took the opportunity to test out holy a bit more again and I have to admit it does feel rather good to be playing the spec again even if I at the same time feel it is probably not the most sensible choice. It all does still feel rather weak and I don't have nearly as much time to dish out damage as was available in Legion but there is still a familiar comfort to it all. To be fair, it's probably also the better choice for new content where the damage patterns are still rather unknown.

All the returning abilities have made it a bit more interesting to figure out what is the optimal play in different situations as well, so that is a welcome change.

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Beta

Last week I ended up getting access to the Shadowlands beta and while I haven’t done much testing so far what little I have done has been interesting. The first thing I noticed has been the reintroduction of several spells, known beforehand of course but still interesting especially since I now get to consider where in my toolkit those spells fit in and more importantly where I get to bind them—for this it will actually be rather nice to have the beta so I have all of that figure out before I have to stumble around with it on live.

With this introduction of several new spells looking for keybinds, I ended up rather sorely missing Clique since it meant that several keybindings I was used to being able to access were no longer accessible to me leading to something of a dearth of available binds; drawbacks of beta-testing I suppose.

Finally, actually getting into the content and playing it, once more the lack of haste hit me though for some reason not quite as badly as in the transition between Legion and Battle for Azeroth (except when I played Shadow for a short while, there it felt really painful to have almost no haste).

What I have done on the beta so far is the second evening of raid-testing the past week as well as a couple of introductory quest runs into Torghast, and so far it all seems rather promising if a bit disorienting with the aforementoned lack of certain keybindings leading to rather more relearning than usual. Of course, the content is all new and I haven’t really had to bother with the daily grind aspects of it so I guess there is a certain tendency towards optimism in it all, but it does somehow seem surprisingly nice even if I am still not quite sold on having to give up on transmogs I could be interested in, in order to enable me to actually get the abilities that I feel benefit me the most which is a situation having to choose a covenant still puts me in.

Also, there is a smaller irritation I have with the covenants, namely the flight between their base of operations and what seems to be the central hub of the expansions, I’m not sure the extra travel between these two places which will both be visited rather frequently by players is completely justified.

Beyond that, it’s a bit too early for me to give any more concrete feelings on the new expansion and it is all still a work in progress I endeavor to help make better where I can find the time so I’ll reserve final judgement for the release version but I do have a hint of more optimism in me towards the new expansion than I had previously, we will see how long that lasts.

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Longing

I have been feeling a bit of a nostalgia hit recently, having seen some gameplay from Shadowlands where a holy priest was played and really wanting to give the spec a shot again. So far I’ve ended up deciding against it, since I’m still somewhat familiar with the state the spec is in and there isn’t really any content that I do where changing specs would make sense along with my last impression of the spec in this expansion being somewhat negative with it just feeling so powerless in comparison to Legion.

It feels a bit strange how something so innocuous has managed to trigger so much desire in me for something I know I won’t actually enjoy all that much in the end, and perhaps consequently the most sensible approach would be to give it a short shot so that I have it over with so to speak and then not have to think about it again. The problem there becomes, the recent thinking about wanting to play my old spec has also rekindled feelings of wanting to play my old race, night elf, which of course isn’t something quite as easily manageable.

I still find the connection I feel there to be somewhat remarkable, especially now that I have over two years of quite active—probably more active than at any point prior to Legion—play on Horde. To be fair, at the same time it still somehow feels that I’m finding my feet a bit here, not when it comes to the community or the guild I am in as I quite like those but my character. Her latest iteration is, as mentioned here before, vulpera and while the race does feel quite nice to play and having the roll back is really cool, I still find myself somehow missing both being a blood elf but even more being a night elf. Now the former is of course still an option though I think toys or consumables for swapping appearance are the more sensible alternative there rather than a race change again, the latter is sadly still quite definitely off the table unless we get to start raiding cross-faction.

In the end these will probably be feelings I end up not acting upon since while they are valid they conflict with other desires I have that take priority, and I do also really quite enjoy both playing vulpera and discipline as well. Though to be fair, as far as specs go, I do have a bit more freedom to experiment so maybe a raid here or there as holy isn’t such a terrible idea, especially one of the boostraids since the spec might even be slightly better suited for that environment; more easily allowing for healing such large groups. In addition, I was also considering trying shadow again for at least an instance or two which does mean I need to look into the gear needed for that as well. I guess I have more things to consider than I thought…

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End-of-expansion blues

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.

Raiding

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.

Shadowlands

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.

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We did the thing

So progress is over for this expansion, we killed N’Zoth yesterday with a moderately decent performance of only 219 tries in total.

The fight itself is a big improvement on the heroic version, with actually some rather interesting parts going on for healers with all the damage coming in though it ends up feeling somewhat finnicky with how precise all the timings one needs to hit are; a mistake a minute or so earlier with a wrongly used cooldown might lead to deaths later on. Still, it does make the whole thing feel a bit more like a precisely executed dance than anything else, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing though it can get frustrating when progressing the later parts of the fight with simply how long it takes to get there. Having to maintain a decent level of concentration for 10+ minutes before one even gets to the new and interesting bit can be difficult at times.

The secret phase was also something of a disappointement, with not that much going on aside from the usual healing and damage. Sure, there is the dance where you dodge a couple of swirlies and yes some people have to disarm the bombs, but overall it felt more like a bit of a lull between all the activity in the other phases while still requiring somewhat precise execution on timing, namely when the mob dies.

Overall though, the fight did end up feeling like a good end to the expansion, even if there might have been some fights earlier on that were interesting and the patch overall didn’t really “save” the expansion as one might have hoped. Now I guess we just need to wait for the alpha or beta to start in order to see how Shadowlands is progressing, though I am more pessimistic than optimistic of its prospects at the moment.

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Vulpera

So as mentioned, I was rather disappointed by the confirmation at BlizzCon that we won’t be getting cross faction play, mainly because I was hoping to get the chance to play Night Elf again but of course having the opportunity to play with some friends who are still Alliance was also a factor. With the release of the new patch however, that has lessened somewhat with the Vulpera being available.

So cute

They are obviously a completely different feel to Night Elves, but still, I think they are the first Horde race I can feel at home with though admittedly it is early days and time will tell. Just hoping we don’t get another raid like Dazar’alor where one gets turned into the other faction, since Mechagnomes are the Alliance counterpart and while I do find the concept cool, they just aren’t my jam at all. Though the race changes in Dazar’alor were somewhat random anyway, not following the counterpart rules of the Orb of Deception at all—played Forsaken, got turned into Human instead of a Night Elf for some reason.

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Benediction

I managed to find the Eye of Shadow in the auction house to a somewhat reasonable price of around 360 gold, and off I went to the Eastern Plaguelands in order to complete “The Balance of Light and Shadow” for the final part of the puzzle: the Splinter of Nordrassil. This was definitely the most difficult part of the whole ordeal: Molten Core is rather trivial and perhaps half the raid needs to be somewhat awake in order to get through it in a reasonable time and you just need to get lucky with the drop in order to get the eye from there; the Eye of Shadow mostly requires patience, either through farming or having enough gold; but this final part actually requires you to do something alone, or well, I did it alone at least.

To expand a bit on that, I saw some old comments saying other priests could actually help with the quest, as long as:

  • they only helped by healing and not doing damage
  • they also have the Eye of Divinity in order to see the NPCs
  • they don’t move, since apparently even moving potentially triggers the failure state

There was another priest queuing for the quest after me, but he decided not to risk it and assist me and I managed to complete it anyway which was nice.

The quest itself is somewhat curious, waves of ghostly NPCs spawn that you have to keep alive while they get bombarded by skeletal archers as well as melee skeletons that spawn, the melee skeletons will also aggro you once you start healing so some way to deal with this is recommended, I ended up using Oil of Immolation which made rather quick work of them and saved me a lot of mana. I also saw recommendations to use Stratholme Holy Water but that feels somewhat overkill since one would need a group to farm it and the oil made short work of the skeletons anyway. What I definitely would recommend however is a couple of big mana potions, the quest has you pretty much constantly in combat and healing so you will probably be stuck inside the five second rule meaning mana will be a problem; using Renew worked well for me, downranked to rank three as well as max rank.

What makes this quest curious however, is that while you are essentially spothealing a raid, you don’t get any of the usual UI elements which you would normally use to do this and instead have to completely rely on the nameplates. What makes this somewhat more annoying are the debuffs which the standard nameplates don’t display meaning you do also have to keep an eye on the NPCs themselves in order to see if they are diseased or not—curing the disease quickly is vital since it deals quite a lot of damage.

Overall the quest proved a positive surprise since I’m not actually expecting to find much difficult content in Classic which was nice, though the biggest challenge being actual UI problems as well as proper consumable usage does dampen that somewhat. The unecessary waiting between tries forced by the 20 minute or so respawn of the questgiver is also somewhat disappointing but still a lot better than the original two hour one, that was actually something I was very happy to see has been changed in Classic—or maybe it was changed in one of the later patches, not sure, though a lot of old comments indicate the timer used to be two hours.

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End of Year

So the year is slowly coming to an end with the holidays approaching and we had our last raids on Sunday and Monday, retail and Classic respectively. There will probably still be some non-mainraid activity going on, potentially an alt raid on Friday and an optional Classic raid on Monday the 23rd, though it will be interesting to see how far we get since I’m assuming attendance won’t be especially high.

Current progress on the Naxxramas set from Wrath of the Lich King

In the meantime, I think I’ll continue farming some transmog, with my current target being finishing the Naxxramas 25-man set. Only the gloves are still missing and they quite stubbornly refuse to drop, had an especially unlucky run yesterday with two pairs of set-gloves actually dropping from Sartharion but neither pair being the Priest ones unfortunately.

Another thing on the agenda will probably be finally getting the +15 achievement from mythic+, have somehow completely neglected that so far this season and it’s rapidly coming to a close so I’ll slowly be in somewhat of a hurry to complete it. Still, only 5 dungeons are missing so the bigger challenge will probably be finding the correct keys rather than actually completing the dungeons themselves, at this point in the season most of us are rather overgeared for +15 keys so they tend to go rather smoothly when we aren’t fooling around too much. I’ve also had a couple guildies mention they are happy to help, so getting the group together shouldn’t be a problem, it’s more the actually engaging and asking people that will be the “challenge” I think.

So that’s retail, as for Classic, I’ll have to keep my eyes peeled on the auction house since I got lucky and won the roll for Eye of Divinity on our previous Molten Core run which means I need the Eye of Shadow in order to do the quest for Anathema/Benediction.

Screenshot of Das Auge der Offenbarung - the Eye of Divinity
Das Auge der Offenbarung – the Eye of Divinity

Unfortunately, we actually somewhat recently transferred over from our overpopulated and Horde-biased server to a somewhat smaller server where we avoid both the rather long queues—an hour or two during the weekends and evenings—as well as the constat gank squads in the open world which is nice but the new server being smaller means both that the Eye of Shadow is somewhat more expensive here as well as a bit less available meaning it isn’t simply a quick matter of buying the trinket I do have to do some waiting. I did briefly try farming it with a guildie with no luck, unfortunately the droprate isn’t the greatest either and the mobs have a sufficient amount of health to make farming them somewhat tedious.

Still, I’m sure I’ll end up getting the trinket eventually, and probably still this year, but it is something of an unexpected setback in the sense of something I hadn’t considered while we were changing server.

All in all, I’m rather looking forward to this small lull in activity going forward, even if the two raids a week haven’t been exactly bad and actually quite fun so far, it’s still nice to have fewer things on the todo list for a while. Especially so considering 8.3 will probably be hitting sometime early next year, which means a lot more farming coming up with the cloak as well as new levels on the neck.

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Paladin Epic Mount

Yesterday we ended up doing something interesting in Classic, namely helping a guildie finish up their Paladin epic mount quest. Due to us all being much poorer back in the day, this was something I never did end up doing during the original release of the game and as such was something of a new experience for me.

The final part of the quest

Now, of course, me playing a Priest and not a Paladin I didn’t get see all of the quest, only getting some snippets here and there of the quests that we did in dungeons and even then I’m not sure I participated in all of the fun but still, it was interesting to see what all needed to be done as well as the Paladin-specific final event in Scholomance where we had to fight through waves of shades and finally a Death Knight in order to free the spirit of the horse.

This final event proved surprisingly interesting, mostly when the caster shades arrived since they spawned and started casting on the nearest person it seemed, leading to a close call with myself and another party member before I managed to shackle one while we killed of the rest. Aside from that though, the event wasn’t overly taxing though this was probably partially due to our somewhat strange party composition consisting of two healers—myself and the Paladin.

Everything before the final event was mostly in the category of “do the dungeon normally, but the Paladin needs some quest items or needs to activate something for a quest” which meant it wasn’t really overly interesting from an outsider perspective though doing the dungeons was fun as usual.

Still, it was all well worth the experience and fun and now our Paladin doesn’t get left behind while running to the raid since he too has a fast mount so that’s an added bonus!

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Fast kitty

Screenshot of Night Elf on Swift Frostsaber

So I managed to get myself a fast kitty in Classic, in other words the epic mount. It was actually surprisingly easy, considering how short a time Classic has been out and I haven’t really done any moneymaking activities in the game, mainly just ran dungeons. Sure, those dungeon runs were fairly successful and with a mage so my costs were low—not even water—but still, wasn’t expecting it to be this profitable especially consindering I played back in the day and was always pretty poor, always sitting around 50-100 gold.

Because of that, felt nice being able to achieve this in Classic, something I never managed back then only buying my epic mount while leveling in Burning Crusade though there I did later manage to afford the epic flying mount.

In general though, the epic mount seems much more common than back then, not sure if this is due to the patch we are playing or if players are simply that much more skilled or knowledgeable these days, I know that’s the case for me but it’s still interesting to see. What probably also helped me is that I’m just a lot more motivated to play the game now than I was back then somehow, and actually set goals and achieve things. My playstyle used to be a lot more aimless with several breaks which probably is what caused me not to achieve too much back then.

Still, with how seemingly easy it is to get the epic mount now, I would recommend it since the extra movement speed is nice even for someone like me who spends most of their time in dungeons or raids. It’s also one of the few sensible places to invest one’s gold I find, so that helps as well.

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Classic

World of Warcraft Classic was released pretty much exactly two weeks ago by now, Tuesday morning at one in the morning. The launch uptill pretty much the last few days actually went surprisingly poorly considering how well Blizzard handled both Legion and Battle for Azeroth, with the game being unplayable for most people due to the queues on the servers. Basically if you didn’t log in sometime before midday you probably weren’t getting in in a reasonable amount of time which at times proved problematic for me with the queue being longer than the time until the next raid. I was rather disappointed to see this, since Blizzard had specifically deviated from the way the original game was launched and introduced layering in order to avoid this very problem, but apparently they didn’t go far enough with this approach.

Beyond that pretty much utter failure on Blizzard’s part, Classic has actually been a ton of fun and it has been interesting to see how differently people approach the game now that everything is a bit more well known than it was at the start as well as how the different pace of modern games seems to influence it as well. I think the most notable example of this are the “bombing runs” of dungeons that seem to really start when Scarlet Monastery becomes available and then continues in Zul’Farrak and later in Blackrock Depths. It seems to basically boil down to the Legion-style of large AoE pulls of packs which then get nuked down in order to level up quickly, not really doing the dungeons for the loot but for the experience. It is quite an effective method, especially with the amount of players on the servers since all of the outdoor content is very heavily farmed, so having your own instance to farm is quite a bit more efficient. I’m sure some of the professional levelers have more efficient methods of leveling, but for the more normal player like me this has been a very effective and fun way of keeping up the pace.

Gear in Classic tends to be a bit of a mishmash, but I kind of like the idea of you just looking like an adventurer that has picked up the gear most fitting to the task.

Doing the dungeons, it has also been interesting to see how my approach to healing in them has changed or rather stayed the same. I’m still trying to get in as much of my healing as possible through Greater Heal only, in order to stay as manaefficient as possible—the big difference to back in the day is that due to how big the pulls are I still end up running out of mana with this strategy, while that only used to happen when we had a really bad pull back in the day. Actually kind of used to pride myself on being able to do dungeon runs without needing to sit and drink, but that just isn’t realistic when you pull several packs and the tank is in need of pretty much constant attention.

Something else that’s a bit different this time around is that I’m now assining spell damage and healing a somewhat higher value than before, since it does seem to be one of those stats that no one really realized was good back in the day. I still really like spirit, but it of course doesn’t help much when my primary task is spamhealing the tank though that is getting to not be as important as we have moved into Blackrock Depths since we can’t quite do the pulls we did in Zul’Farrak and we also kite the mobs a bit more than before. Still, my higher priorisation of spellpower probably means I will need to start thinking about downranking at some point, something I purposefully avoided back in the day since I didn’t feel like stepping into the five second rule more than necessary was a good idea hence trying to only use my most powerful and manaefficient spell but spellpower naturally changes the HPM calculation on all spells.

Personal experiences aside, I also have to say, overall with the implementation aside from the queues Blizzard has been fairly successful keeping most things as they were along with some small interface improvements like the new raidframes which I don’t really mind since basically everyone used an addon for those anyway. There is a small list of things I’ve found so far that they’ve missed though:

  • K was completely unbound instead of being bound to Skills like it used to be
  • T was also unbound instead of being bound to auto-attack
  • As introduced in Legion, you can’t buy partial stacks from vendors which at times is somewhat annyoing especially with water or the like
  • Warlock pets despawn too quickly, making me unable to ressurect them

Now, admittedly, all of these are very minor things and the first two are easily fixed by going into the keybindings, but they were still things that stood out to me as deviations from the original.

The final deviation is of course the Battle.net integration and layering, but both of those were pretty much forseable so they’re not really worth mentioning—and layering is getting removed at some point in the future anyway so.

All of that summarised means I’ve actually been quite happy with Classic at the times I’ve gotten to play the game and this has lead me to putting in quite a significant chunk of time into the game which has been a rather welcome diversion from Azshara progression. Here’s hoping Blizzard sees this as a success as well and considers Burning Crusade servers since from the people I’ve spoken with quite a few of them would probably enjoy those even more it for many having been one of the best if not the best version of the game.

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Queen Azshara kill

We did a thing

We did the thing a few days ago actually, just been too busy with Classic to post. I don’t really have much to say about the boss really, except that it’s probably the most complex and annoying boss I’ve played so far and from a healer point of view not overly fun, which was kind of to be expected when the world first was with only two healers. Still, finally getting the kill felt really good, probably even moreso due to that!

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Quiet times

So despite our Queen Azshara progress still being in full swing, not much has been happening lately for me in World of Warcraft. Sure, there was that heroic Eternal Palace run that was rather fun, and my hunter has finally managed to find herself a new weapon after a long search but aside from those things it has been bussiness as usual, a bit of mythic+ here and there but overall not that much going on.

I did also finally stop slacking and got my neck up to 60 for rank three of the Crucible essence since it seems I had somewhat underestimated the damage potential of that one—or maybe I just didn’t want to spend the time farming Azerite—since I figured it could prove useful for the Azshara fight considering it isn’t that healing intensive. This puts me way behind the average in my guild, with several members already having pushed to 65 for the second minor essence, but I’m fine with that since I know I have neither the time nor the motivation to get to 65 before the progress is over and after that it doesn’t really matter anymore and before 65 there are no more significant gains for me to reach even if getting 62-63 should be fairly trivial without too much time investment.

Regarding time investment, one of the reasons I haven’t had so much time to spend playing World of Warcraft is that I’ve spent the last month or so at our summer house, enjoying the company of my parents as well as helping out with some of the projects they have going on here. It’s been a nice time overall even if I’m not quite as engaged with the projects as they are and I think the change of pace and priorities from city life does me good even though it does make some things more difficult, like finding time or things to write here.

I’m also looking forward to/dreading the launch of Classic, since I think it will be a nice distraction from the current state of the game as well as something that can instill some form of joy in some of the changes implemented since then that one tends to take granted now. There is however one big niggle with that whole thing: it seems most of my guildies want to start on a PVP server while I was looking to start on a PVE one which makes me have to think whether I join the people I know I’ll like playing with and have more readily accessible for spontaneous game sessions on the PVP server or if I go with my preferred server type and have to find new people to play with there. It’s a tough choice since if their interest vanes quickly and mine doesn’t I’m kind of stuck on a server type I don’t enjoy but on the other hand if I go off alone I can’t really join in on potential spontaneous post-raid (retail) dungeon runs (Classic) making it more of a consious effort to play Classic. I still have a few days to decide and have my name reserved on both servers, so that shouldn’t be a problem at least, but it’s still an unfortunate choice to have to make.

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Eternal Palace heroic?

So with me playing the Hunter more frequently in recent times and many of the people I play with on Alliance not necessarily being active raiders currently, there was some interest in taking a poke at the new(ish) raid and see what the bosses in there were capable of and it also gave me a good opportunity to potentially get some more gear—unfortunately no luck with that.

We started out with a core of seven players, meaning we were a few short of being able to reasonably enter the raid necessitating looking for randoms to fill out the ranks. This lead us to the decision of going with the more PUG-friendly raid-size of 20 players, with the usual 2/4/14 setup—two tanks, four healers and 14 damage dealers. The bigger raid size allows for more individual mistakes from each player which tends to be a very good property to have when you are relying on players whose capabilities you have no idea of.

The raid started out well enough, with us killing Sivara on our first attempt though admittedly with heavy losses—it seems the decision to bring a larger group paid off, since several people clearly had no idea what they were doing in this encounter. I tried my best to explain the general tactics to our own group on TeamSpeak, knowing that they had little to no experience in the raid and this seemed to work out well for them for the most part.

After a successful kill we moved on towards the next boss, Behemoth, who did provide us with one wipe since several of our randoms did not seem familiar with the healing immunity magic and consequently didn’t get the buff allowing them to be healed—one of our own had also missed out on us killing the pufferfish on pull, meaning they didn’t get the buff at start and also ended up dead. A short couple of raid warnings later on the second pull we managed to down the boss with no casualties which was a relief since I don’t find the boss particularily interesting to play.

Radiance of Azshara again went smoothly, without many casualties and I believe only one try needed to kill the boss. To be fair, this boss’ mechanics are more standard faire than Behemoths’ and anyone who did some dungeoning in Legion and remembers Wrath of Azshara from Eye of Azshara knows something like 80% of the mechanics on this boss already, making success with inexperienced players more likely.

This, however, is where our moderately good run ended. We unfortunately got stuck on Lady Ashvane trying the relatively standard two-phase tactic but unfortunately not quite making it with our best try being with around 500-thousand boss health left. I probably should’ve done some more stringent pruning of people who weren’t performing or perhaps switched to the potentially more easy-to-execute three phase strategy if we had people failing, but the wipes eventually lead to the raid dissolving with the extra players we had found leaving. Luckily, this nicely coincided with a healer we know coming online who we knew and was reliable, so we decided to continue the raid in tighter setup of 2/2/6 though still needing two random damage dealers—for Ashvane we actually ran 2/1/7 since we still wanted to make the damage check for two phase and we knew our healer could handle healing it alone.

We rounded up the evening by killing Orgozoa without too much fuss and Queen’s Court with a lot of fuss, and I have to say though the first half or so of the raid was much easier with the larger group it was much more fun having mostly people we knew in the raid and being able to communicate properly even when we were having significant problems such as at Queen’s Court.

Overall I had a rather fun time doing some “casual progress raiding” in a somewhat more relaxed atmospehere than my normal progress raids, where while I did know the encounters many in the raid did not and I also had to play them very differently, not only because I was playing a completely different role from normal but also because of the small raid size towards the end necessitating me more frequently playing and paying attention to mechanics that I could probably normally safely ignore in heroic—it might actually be rather fun if we get this small raid going on a somewhat regular basis, at least for a while, and there seemed to be interest in doing so. Here’s hoping we find enough people to get going next week without having to look for extras!

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Za'qul

So, well, we killed Za’qul. And, well, it feels like there isn’t that much more to say about the fight from a healer perspective that I haven’t already said. It’s basically: keep the tanks alive, handle the bursts of damage from the dreads preferably with some sort of damage reduction cooldown—making Priests and Paladins good—and for the rest, just play the mechanics. Sure, there is some jumping between the different realms—specifically the fear realm in the later stages—but even there you just have to follow the rest of the group and go down at the correct times.

This means the fight is a bit boring to talk about since it’s all more in the execution than any specific exciting mechanic, and while the fight does get a bit more intense with time it isn’t overly intense. We also ended up running four healers for this fight, though I could see the rekills starting to get done with three healers quite quickly, since there really isn’t that much healing to go around. So overall, a bit of a disappointment after Queen’s Court, but still we got him down which is always nice.

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Hunter

So I’ve mentioned having leveled my Hunter on Alliance before and in recent times due to some old friends who still play Alliance having returned to the game, it has given me the opportunity to play her a bit more and try out being a damage-dealer for a change, a role I very seldomly play in World of Warcraft. The experience has actually been a surprising amount of fun, with us doing mythic+ a couple of times per reset and Marksmanship proving to be a suprising amount of fun even with Barrage not being as good of a spell as it was in early Legion making the spec a bit less fun.

Screenshot of Lyrre the Hunter on the character selection screen
The not so Hunter-y looking Hunter

There is however, a bigger frustration I have with the spec and that is the somewhat silly way AoE damage works, with one target being good, three or more clumped targets being good, but two targets ending up as basically single target which can be very frustrating depending on the dungeon and the tank since one gets the feeling one isn’t contributing as much as one should on two-target pulls. From what I know, this is the primary reason our hunter in the mythic+ group I had Horde-side earlier in the expansion was playing Beast Mastery—a spec I do not really enjoy at all, and he I believe also didn’t find as fun as Marksmanship—which I feel is unfortunate. It’s a very strange feeling, seemingly being unable to anything sensible on certain packs.

Another slight frustration with the Hunter doesn’t really come from the class but rather from bad luck, with me not having looted a single new weapon in the three or so weeks that we have now been doing mythic+, leaving me to run around with a world quest reward weapon with very suboptimal item level and somewhat suboptimal stats. It’s frustrating especially knowing that we have several times done dungeons where an upgrade could have dropped and me at times even using a bonusroll in hopes of simply getting something decent yet constantly simply having the bad luck of not getting an upgrade.

Despite those frustrations, the experience overall has been rather positive and somewhat more relaxing than my tanking adventures—though those are enjoyable as well—and has given me the opportunity to do something completely different amidst the current mythic progress which is a welcome change.

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Queen's Court

Hofstaat der Königin, in English Queen's Court, mythic achievement

So this is actually a bit of old news, but we managed to kill Queen’s Court on mythic!

The fight is actually a perhaps surprising amount of fun, being one of the more hectic fights so far as a healer with a somewhat constant barrage of high incoming damage on the group through the sparks along with the edicts that at time makes executing on healing cooldowns rather tricky, especially Repeat Performance as a discipline priest since it forces you to change the way you apply Atonement by silencing you after two consecutive casts of the same spell. This was fairly easy to work around by alternating between Shadow Mend and Power Word: Shield, but it was just another thing to keep eye on in a somewhat hectic fight.

Still, it’s also a fight that one can actually learn with the sequence of edicts being known and the bursts from the sparks being fairly predictable so once you get it down it starts feeling, well not easy but at least manageable.

Now with the kill being a few days old, means we have also had a decent amount of tries on Za’qul, which to be fair actually feels a bit more boring so far than Queen’s Court. The problem really, is that while there are some pretty large bursts of damage early on through the fears the rest of the time it’s mostly a case of doing damage even as a healer and playing mechanics—mainly the tentacles that on mythic come in threes—which just doesn’t feel quite as interesting as the previous two bosses. It does get better on in the later stages of the fight with the stacking debuff, but it feels like mosts tries so far we are losing people to the “simple” stuff of tentacles or simple bad luck with the spawn of the Maddening Eruption landing in the middle of the tentacles causing a wipe. So the fight is still tricky, it’s just that we haven’t consistently gotten to 40% where the fight really begins in earnest and the way there is something of a slog. Still, those last 40% will probably prove very interesting indeed and I’m looking forward to our progress there.

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Orgozoa

We managed to kill Orgozoa yesterday, and honestly my thoughts from the PTR kind of still stand. The fight is really rought to heal, yes, and has to be executed well purely from a mechanical standpoint, but as far as really interesting things actually happening during the fight? Not really overly so.

Phase two still really felt like the easier one of the two, mainly because from a healer standpoint you are basically back at the beginning of phase one with almost nobody having the debuff. Sure, there are some other things to watch out for like the stomps and we did have a few deaths and consequently wipes to those but that I think is mostly because the area of that ability is somewhat unclear and people had to learn that, but overall phase two just doesn’t have that much more going on—always having the adds there for DOTs was nice as a discipline priest though, getting that extra healing going on.

And phase one, well, it got really rough towards the end even with us five-healing it, but it feels like such a slow burn that while it is challenging it doesn’t really feel exciting or overly dangerous most of the time with potentially the exception being during the Arcing Currents when players have to spread out in order to avoid spreading the Incubation Fluid to unaffected players so they are outside of many area healing spells yet take a burst of damage, but even those weren’t really lethal if the players were topped properly. That was still the primary point we lost players especially towards the end where almost the whole raid needs constant healing so it is something to watch out for.

After we killed Orgozoa however, we did have a decent amount of time left to get a few trys in on the Queen’s Court which proved much more interesting. Now, I was slightly skeptical of the fight at first because even though some of the decrees can be annoying on heroic like Repeat Performance, they’re mostly somewhat ignorable. On mythic however, the pure damage coming in from the orbs along with the much tighter timing on both the decrees as well as things like the charge made the encounter much more interesting than I was expecting. Also, there always being a decree active and them rotating in a set manner makes the fight more interesting as well, since that allowed the designers to put in really harsh sequences like the orb explosions during Deferred Sentence which then very quickly gets followed by Obey or Suffer. That combination really ended up being the most difficult part for us so far and the one which I think we will need to work on the most.

So I think we have some very fun progress ahead of us, once we manage to reclear everything this reset.

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Method Queen Azshara world first

So Method managed to snag the world first on Queen Azshara as is somewhat usual, though it seems to have been a rather close race with Limit this time around, moreso than the last couple of ones.

That however, isn’t really what I wanted to talk about, but rather the somewhat unusal setup they ended up running for the boss, namely: only running with two healers on the first kill of the last boss of a raid. Now, playing a healer myself this is obviously something that doesn’t feel overly nice since it means that more healers will be benchend than usual and to me it already felt rough having three healer bosses since I like my fellow healers, but also from what I know this is somewhat unprecedented and it feels like it points towards some heavy flaws in the encounter design of Queen Azshara for this to be possible at all.

One large contributing factor to this being possible was the maximum health reduction debuff that you need to take in order to keep the different seals charged which mean there has to be overall less damage coming in or it would simply be oneshotting players. This was also a large contributor to Method’s decision to run two discipline priests I think, since shields give you that extra buffer on that low health—of course, discipline also brings with it some decent extra damage, and them already running only two healers indicates every extra bit of damage is welcome.

But secondly, as noted above, the fight on heroic as well just feels like it has very little incoming damage, with me on our kills generally spending more time doing damage than healing. Sure, there is some decent burst in the last phase but aside from that the fight felt kind of boring from a healer perspective and I guess that is now simply getting validated even on mythic which I think is sad to see.

It’s odd, all of this makes me kind of not look forward toward Azshara that much, since it makes me feel like maybe the fight won’t be that interesting. Now granted, Method still needed several hundred pulls to get the boss down, so I’m not thinking it will be easy, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the fight will be interesting which is unfortunate for the end-boss of a tier especially for one with so much lore tie-in. I guess I’ll have to see once we get there, but for now my excitement for the end-boss is down somewhat though we still have a long way to go so there’s time to change that—I also somewhat doubt we will be running a two healer strategy since we only have one priest at the moment, but we’ll see.

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Fortified and Tyrannical

We ended up doing some mythic+ after the raid yesterday as is somewhat usual, and it reminded me of something that had bothered me in Legion and is back in Battle for Azeroth though the other way around; namely the big difference between the fortified and tyrannical affix. Now, they make different parts of the dungeon stronger so it seems obvious that there would be a big difference between them, but the bigger thing I feel is not that there is a difference but that one of them always feels disproportionately harder than the other; in Legion that was tyrannical with some bosses simply one-shotting you if you didn’t have enough gear or later on if you simply played the wrong class or spec, in Battle for Azeroth however it seems to me that fortified is the much worse affix.

I think this change is due to Blizzard’s changed design direction with dungeons in Battle for Azeroth, putting more of an emphasis on making the trash interesting and actually having abilities to prevent the kind of insane large pulls that we saw towards the end of Legion especially in the Mythic Dungeon Invitational and while I think this design decision was a valid attempt at fixing that and something that is hard to change again for Battle for Azeroth, it does make the dungeons feel like much more of a slog for normal groups during fortified weeks as well as strenghtening the skip-focused metagame at the MDI which I think is more harmful than the one focused on large pulls. While those large pulls felt pretty insane to the averge player and even relatively high-end ones, they still required excellent execution and usually came with high risk while simply skipping the mobs while not risk-free is considerably less risky as well as from an esports perspective, being much less interesting to watch—this is probably also why so many players I know enjoyed the Reaping affix so much since it provided the opportunity to kind of re-live that feeling of making a huge pull and surviving it while also providing a nice opportunity for more multitarget focused classes to shine. I also feel that having very intense trash that constantly requires a high level of attention along with bosses that also tend to be mechanically intense even with fortified makes running dungeons much more tiring than it was in Legion and somehow also a bit less fun, and skips aren’t all that interesting either nor as generally available especially the ones done at the MDI since those often rely on the Night Elf Shadowmeld ability which you rarely have for the complete group on live especially since most of the higher-end activity is on Horde and not Alliance unfortunately.

Now, Blizzard has attempted to counter this skip-focused meta in the new season with the introduction of Azsharas’ emissaries that are often placed so that you have to vary your route or simply preventing you from doing a normal stealth or invisibility skip due to them having truesight, but I’m not sure this is a change in the right direction. As noted above, I don’t feel that the whole dungeon being this intense gauntlet of always complex encouters be they trash or boss actually contributes to a good dungeon experience, as a player it is actually nice having a bit of a lull during the trash while preparing for the next boss-fight with maybe some more interesting trash sprinkled in at times but not every single pack—looking at you, MOTHERLODE!!!.

Along with this, there is the general problem of the very high variability in the difficulty of different mythic+ affixes with this week being Grievous again which is just a pain to handle as a discipline priest making me much less eager to run significant amounts of mythic+ this week which I find a shame since it’s an activity I actually quite enjoy so being discouraged from participating in it doesn’t feel particularily good but this seems like something Blizzard isn’t particularily intent on changing.

Overall, I think that with Battle for Azeroth, Blizzard went a little too hard in the other direction with dungeon design and I hope we end up meeting somewhere in the middle with the next expansion where bosses one-shotting you doesn’t become a hardcap on how high of a key you can do that specific week like it was in Legion but trash still feeling more manageable even in large groups than it is now in Battle for Azeroth. If Mechagon is any indicator of future design changes though, I don’t think that is very likely given the trash in there but we’ll see with the next expansion.

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Lady Ashvane

We managed to squeeze in a kill on Lady Ashaven yesterday, on the last day of the reset bringing our total of first week mythic kills to four which I think is a rather respectable number this time around.

Lady Ashvane mythic achievement
It’s sometimes interesting seeing the translations of the names of the characters, with how Blizzard manages to keep the name similar both in feel and meaning

On the surface, not much changes with this fight from heroic with the primary difference being higher damage and healing requirements but in the case of this boss that was more than enough since the tuning is really rough meaning you basically can’t afford any deaths—that you can’t instantly battle ress at least—or you will not have enough damage to kill the boss in time. The bigger difference—for me, personally, as a healer—was the rather hefty amount of incoming damage as well as the fact we were only playing with three healers on this boss making every single healer mistake or general mechanics fail that much more critical, having just one extra coral patch up after phase two basically instantly spelled a wipe. I guess there is one significant difference to heroic there, when you laser the corals away in phase two they actually spawn a couple of spots on the ground that need to be soaked, if not they spawn new corals which spells a bad time.

In general, I found the fight suprisingly fun since there was almost always some upcoming timing I had to keep in mind and the rotation between phase one and two provided a bit of change in what I had to be watching, and because the damage check was so tight I actually got the opportunity to focus a bit more on doing damage during the lulls in my own cooldown usage which provided some interesting additional challenge since my damage actually mattered more than in other fights.

After the kill we had a little time left over to take a few pokes at the next boss, Orgozoa, and I can already tell that fight is going to be fun since during the few tries we did the healing requirement on individual healers seemed similar if somewhat lower than Ashvane with the difference being us having five healers on Orgozoa and only three on Ashvane. I even managed to go completely out of mana on one of our pulls which is impressive considering the fight lasted maybe three minutes or so which has me somewhat worried but simultaneously excited what that fight will bring, I guess I’ll find out this reset if we manage to clear out the previous bosses in a reasonable time.

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Mythic week

So mythic week for the Eternal Palace started on Wednesday and we have managed to get stuck on Lady Ashvane as was to be expected I think with her being the first “proper” boss of the raid because she has something of a difficult damage check even while running only three healers. I believe our best try ended up somewhere along 40% with us managing to get to the third phase two and some way into it but that’s nowhere close to killing her since as far as our timings go, we are trying to kill her in the third one and we don’t quite have the damage for that yet. Still, I think we had a rather good showing for only three hours of raiding on Thursday, having killed the three first bosses along with heroic clear on Wednesday.

The first three bosses proved easy enough

Wednesday in general was an interesting day, with a large part of the guild along with me deciding they wanted to farm mythic+ in preparation for the raid which meant I had to get up earlier than usual in order to be online when the servers reset. It was a fun time though the loot gods were not with us, with our group getting pretty much no titanforges and very few upgrades in general. I might want to do some more mythic+ on the weekend in order to prepare for the next raid on Sunday, though shouldn’t be quite as important for me since my gear is for the most part quite up-to-date and we didn’t really have healing problems on Ashvane as of yet though I guess it could enable me to do some more damage and it seems that Orgozoa could require a bit more healing again since I believe we want to run five healers for that boss.

Essence collection starting to come along

I’ve also had the time to run Operation: Mechagon again giving me the blueprint for rank two of Vision of Perfection which was welcome for Ashvane—using it there for the little extra damage it provides and the cooldown reduction also proved useful—though I have to say I’m not a huge fan of the time gating there, would prefer something more farmable but I guess timegating is the name of the game for essences, either through limited reputation or weekly things like the mythic+ chest or Mechagon with the exception being that one very grindy battleground essence that I’m happy I don’t need to get since I’m not a huge fan of PVP.

In general, I think that’s something Blizzard failed on in regards to the essences, depending on “luck” you might be forced (read, heavily insentivized) to do content you might not enjoy at all in order to get the essence that is actually good for your class and spec in content you do enjoy doing. Simultaneously, I do think it is good that there is some incentive to try out different forms of content in order to see if they have changed enough that you might like them now but this approach just seems unecessarily heavy-handed.

Overall, the mythic week has started out very fun with finally some proper fun new content to do along with a renewed interest in mythic+ from my guildies which means more opportunities to run dungeons which I also enjoy so if it goes on like this I’d call this week a success.

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Operation: Mechagon

Yesterday we went ahead and cleared Operation: Mechagon on the live realms with hardmode and it was quite the contrast compared to the PTR experience, feeling somewhat easy even though we had the hardmode active which we didn’t for the most part on the PTR.

The biggest change I noticed was by King Gobbamak where the damage from the quake he does had been heavily reduced, not really even needing healing to keep anyone from dying as long as nobody got hit—still a good idea to top up the group but not nearly as intensive as on the PTR. The trash before King Mechagon had a similar nerf, where it still does significant damage but is much more surivable without instant reaction from the healer or using the absorb shields from the other adds.

Another interesting thing was the hardmode on K.U.-J.0., where you get a stacking slow debuff which ends you at 80% reduced movement speed. Since the fight is rather dependant on being able to spread apart as well as line of sight the boss, this proved somewhat tricky to work around though there was a nice corner to the left of the boss’ spawn—when you are looking at him standing in the room—where it was rather easy to do. With weaker gear or less damage I would think this might still prove somewhat tricky though, we didn’t need to play the movement mechanics overly much since we were able to kill the boss fairly quickly.

Finally, the big challenge came by King Mechagon himself, where the hardmode actually caused us a fair amount of wipes since the timing for it is somewhat brutal. The hardmode activates a instakill mechanic on the boss that charges up (down?) with time, the energy bar of the extra boss serving as a timer and the mechanic firing when the bar gets depleted. This happens fairly quickly, however it can be stalled with the interruption sequence. This flashes on the skulls on the side of the room when the cannon is at 35 energy and the buttons become clickable at 10-15 energy or so giving your group approximately 5 seconds to enter the correct sequence to prevent a wipe.

We solved this by giving each of the buttons a world mark and assiging one of the damage dealers and the healer to one of the buttons, then having them call out their world mark color after they had pressed the button to inform the next one that it was their turn. We also had a dedicated player watch the sequence and call it, so the rest could keep focused on mechanics—in phase one this was the tank since they had a good view of the buttons and didn’t need to focus on the other mechanics as much, in phase two one of the melees was responsible for calling this since they needed to move away from the boss anyway in order to arrive at the button in time. This worked well though it required some practise since the timing was really tight. I’m curious if an addon ends up being developed for this, since communicating it through voice almost felt too slow with very little room for error which I feel might be a bit too punishing on more casual groups which I feel should be able to complete this boss at some point.

Overall, the dungeon was fun and I look forward to seeing it on mythic+ at some point as well as maybe trying for the no-death achievement there apparently is rewarding rank four of the Mechagon essence, which is good since in the meantime I will probably need to run the dungeon a few times in order to unlock the previous ranks of the essenece since I think it could end up being rather good for some fights or mythic+.

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Flying

On Friday I finally managed to get Pathfinder Part Two unlocking flying which was a relief especially since I seemed to be a bit behind the curve on that with several guildies unlocking it already on Wednesday and Thursday with one outlier unlocking it already on Tuesday.

Battle for Azeroth Pathfinder Part 2
Finally!

To be fair, I took the lazy way out of only doing the “normal” daily things in the form of daily quests and world quests and completely skipping out on the hidden sources of reputation gain in the new zones in the form of fishing and rare hunting among other things—what other things I don’t know since I didn’t really want to put in the extra effort for small reputation gains. One small extra thing I did do was the pet battle world quests though those in and of themselves don’t give that much extra reputation, defeating each of them the first time provided a quest item for a decent chunk of extra reputation—especially in Nazjatar where I think you get 250 reputation per turn-in—which was a boon as otherwise I would probably have had the required reputation a day or two later.

Flapping again

The first thing I ended up doing with my re-found freedom was inviting a friend for a round of azerite world quests since I had been completely neglecting those in a small protest against Blizzard’s insistence to keep flying annoying to acquire. This small protest is probably in vain and more likely to hurt me than anyone else but still it felt good to do. Still, being able to fly again is just nice and I’m very happy that ordeal is now behind me so that I can enjoy the game more and be less annoyed by the trivial things in it. Luckily I won’t need to worry about not flying until the next expansion—hopefully, unless they again introduce a no-fly zone which I doubt—and that makes me look forward to new content even more since I won’t have to explore it on the ground.

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Raid difficulty

I recently rediscovered Blizzard Watch which I used to read with some regularity a couple of years ago maybe but after that I stopped actively reading most World of Warcraft news sources except for MMO-Champion for patch news. Reading through some of the WoW articles over there I stumbled upon an interesting one titled “This raiding tier is not fun for a number of reasons. Is casual raiding dying?” which got me thinking a bit especially with the unrest in my guild over re-killing Uu’nat which was partially motivated by the difficulty of the boss and thus not wanting to play it again.

Now, I tend to enjoy difficult content and dislike trivial content as a general rule, though there are times when I just want to sit down and do some mindless content to pass the time. I also find it somewhat difficult to see normal and heroic as difficult, especially considering I boost both Crucible of Storms and Battle of Dazar’alor on heroic with something like half or one third of the raid being essentially dead weight. Still, we also have gear that probably significantly exceeds that available to the average normal or heroic raider which does make a big difference.

All of this made it really interesting for me to see the perspective that normal and heroic raids might be overtuned for the playerbase they are designed for at the moment, since for me and most in my guild they feel kind of trivial at this point even when they are released—again, we tend to go in overgeared into these raids so maybe that is to be expected. I can also very well understand that a player who has been playing for a very long time might be getting overwhelmed by the simple amount of mechanics they need to pay attention to per boss, since those have been increasing pretty drastically with time. Compare pretty much any Classic or Burning Crusade, probably even Wrath of the Lich King boss with current earlier tier bosses that tend to be easier and the amount of mechanics the bosses have have gone way up. The article makes the same point, stating that the time they need to spend mechanics has gone way up with Battle for Azeroth.

Now from a egoistical personal perspective, this is a good change since it means I have more access to difficult content which I enjoy, but at the same time I’m already raiding mythic which is the place people looking for difficult content are supposed to go and I also still find the earlier difficulties somewhat trivial outside of the PTR so having those earlier difficulties be too difficult for casuals also isn’t really benefitting me or anyone in any real way. There is one argument I can see for making normal and heroic more difficult than before and that is keeping it more in line with mythic so that the jump when going from heroic to mythic doesn’t become too big for players wanting to step into the next level of content, however this introduction has generally been done by having the earlier bosses be easier and them getting more difficult the further you get into the raid giving something of a smooth learning curve for people stepping into a new difficulty therefore I don’t really see this as a strong argument.

Even for me, there is also the flipside of difficult content, namely farm. World of Warcraft is an MMORPG after all, and that means that gear is a significant part of the experience as well as part of preparing for the next raid which means that the previous raid needs to be farmed in order to give the group the best possible chances when going into the new one. This also means that if every single boss has a high difficulty or high chance of wiping the raid due to individual fails it means that farm becomes more sluggish which also isn’t really fun since once you have killed a boss a couple of times it kind of moves into the trivial content category where you know what to do and expect and don’t really want to spend overly much time on that singular boss. I think that’s what is at the heart of the reluctance in my guild to rekill Uu’nat as well: somewhat significant time investment for something that doesn’t really provide us a tangible advantage and is more just a gesture of solidarity. Now I find that gesture really important personally but for others it’s just about getting the first kill as a group and what happens after that with mounts or achivements isn’t that important so I can kind of see that perspective even though I still find it rather rude towards our fellow guildies.

This all also makes me wonder how Azshara will be, since our short experience on the PTR seems to indicate the fight will be rather intricate even on heroic as there were already a somewhat significant amount of mechanics that you need to pay attention to just in phase one-first intermission-early phase two which would mean that the fight will possibly again prove somewhat difficult for your average casual guild which might prove very problematic for the game in the long run since casual guilds tend to be the lifeblood of the game where new players enter the game and then potentially at a later point move into more hardcore guilds or if they find themselves content there stay—I, too, have spent a significant time in casual guilds throughout my time in World of Warcraft and there have been very fun moments in there and without those times I wouldn’t be playing where I am today and would probabl have stopped playing before getting to where I am.

So in the end, this article provided me with an interesting perspective that I hadn’t really thought about since it isn’t really relevant to me or something I run into while playing, which is why I tend to really like reading blogs and the like from players who are playing the game in a different way than I am since it provides a new perspective and gives me something to think about, while also allowing me to question the assumptions I have about the game and its players. Hopefully the concerns in the article get appropriately adressed by Blizzard in the next expansion—I think it won’t be possible to change the way the raids are designed this expansion since it would be somewhat jarring for the new raid to feel significantly easier than the previous one since there has so far been a general progression towards harder raids as an expansion goes on with something of a reset with the first raid of a new expansion—and that the game overall starts getting more interesting again.

World of Warcraft

8.2 changes

So it seems the weekly reset brought with it some changes to Nazjatar, namely fewer elite naga required for the bounty quest—believe it was 15 before, was only 5 now—as well as the requisition quests showing the areas of the map where you can find the items which is rather nice since it means I didn’t have to look that up somewhere else. Small changes but were still nice to see and makes it a bit less annoying to do the daily stuff in Nazjatar.

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8.2

So patch 8.2 Rise of Azshara has been out for a week now being released last Wednesday and it feels so far we have seen the worst parts of the patch. Now, it was to be expected with a new patch that it would include lots of new world content and a renewed requirement to farm Azerite—neck level 55 being the goal for my guild—but the implementation of these new world quests as well as daily quests—wasn’t expecting to see those again—leaves something to be desired. Many of these require finding or killing something somewhat rare, like hunting six chests in Mechagon or killing 3 rare mobs in Nazjatar which means with bad luck you can end up running around the zone for half an hour without getting any progress on these quests which makes for a somewhat frustrating experience, and these type of quests seem to be a daily occurrence in the new zones.

Some of these quests are made significantly worse because they require you to interact with normal items in the world, like collecting the Sea Stars in Nazjatar or the construction projects in Mechagon and since these are under normal circumstances expected to be something of a rare thing or something thought to be a benefit for many players—the construction projects—only one player can interact and gain quest progress at a time meaning not only are you randomly running around looking for something that isn’t overly common and the quest doesn’t bother specifying where to find it but you are also actively competing against your fellow players since them getting progress means you don’t get any. This effect seems to be at its worst when you need to collect the Sea Stars in Nazjatar since you generally need ten of them and they don’t exactly spawn often, so even if you do know where to look it takes a while running around the area to get them all.

Another somewhat mean example of daily quests was in Mechagon on Monday, where you needed to contribute 1000 spare parts, which wouldn’t have been too bad if I hadn’t converted most of my spare parts into boxes of spare parts in order to save on inventory space—spare parts stack up to 250 and a box requires 250 parts to craft and also stacks, how far I don’t know, but I’m assuming 20 or so which saves a lot of space—and in addition to that you needed another 260 or so spare parts in contributions to a construction project worst part of which was that finding one construction project wasn’t enough and only got me 76% of the progress towards completing the quest.

In addition to this, something that slightly annoys me with the new zones is the amount of content that you need to stumble upon or look up in a guide. For example, you can unlock two extra world quests in Nazjatar per day by going to the pylon in the cave in the murloc village to the east of Nazjatar and doing a short quest chain—only two or three quests. These world quests give you an extra 150 or so reputation per day which while trying to get to exalted as quickly as possible in order to unlock flying is something of a big deal yet there is no indication that all of this content is there meaning those that don’t find it on the first day are permantently behind.

Now, I understand that these zones are meant to include a lot of exploration and to a degree being forced to run around these zones more does contribute to that goal but it feels rather frustrating to have something so central as flying gated behind this type of content that is quite frankly annoying to do along with the unclarity of how to go about doing it, and I know missing out on a couple of world quests for a couple of days isn’t the worst thing especially since there are many other hidden or luck based sources of reputation similar to that available in these zones. Despite that, these zones for me feel more frustrating than fun since the content they encourage me to do feels more frustrating than fun which makes me dislike them and demotivates me from playing the game a bit and that is not a good feeling to have from new content. Luckily this all will pass once I’ve farmed the reputation and can start ignoring these zones but I don’t think that Blizzard’s goal was having people looking forward to not having to do these zones anymore right from the start.

All of this is put into an interesting perspective when contrasted with Classic, since there it was the norm not to get too exact instructions on where to go in order to complete a quest, just a general direction where you can find the things you need and off you go. Of course, this generally lead to people looking up where to find things on the internet instead of discovering it themselves and the quests did provide some indication in what direction you were supposed to be looking instead of none like the quests in the new zones—one example of this being the bounty quests which just ask you to kill X amount of mobs yet give no indication where they are to be found, neither in the quest text nor a map indicator. It kind of feels that the developers were trying to replicate some of that Classic feeling through these quests but forgot the crucial part of at least giving some indication where to go.

Anyway, it shouldn’t be too big of a problem getting all of this done before the raid releases on mythic which is the important part, so maybe it isn’t that bad in the end though it still doesn’t feel nice having content that feels frustrating even if it is just in the short term.

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Cross faction play

With the new war campaign quests released with patch 8.2 including rescuing Bane it seems to be made moderately clear that many of the central characters are somewhat tired of the faction conflict—Jaina, Thrall, Thalyssra, Baine and Lor’themar as some notable examples. This kind of teases the potential of either an upcoming patch or the next expansions including cross faction play since if the NPCs are working more together than before—one of the arguments they already present is the fact that we have already worked together many times before—it would make little sense to maintain the faction barrier as a gameplay mechanic. In a sense, it also feels somewhat fitting that following the expansion that puts the main emphasis—in the beginning at least—on the faction conflict we get one where we kind of properly start joining forces and working together on a more permanent basis.

It also makes a great deal of sense in the light of Azsharas involvement as well as her being controlled by an old god as these are usually threats that we end up banding together to defeat. Another point potentially pointing towards this is whatever unkown force caused Vol’jin to appoint Sylvanas as warchief—everyone including himself had been assuming it was the Loa however they all seemed to deny it as well as several other death related characters and we left off with Vol’jin going into the realm of the dead to figure out what exactly happened there which seems somewhat risky since even getting to the point of figuring out that he indeed was being controlled by some mysterious force lead to several attacks against him as well as the player so letting him go along and adventure alone somewhere where we can’t really reach him doesn’t seem like the best move but does make me curious to see what that story is foreshadowing; it felt like something more than another old god since it had to do with the realm of death and they tend to be more void aligned but we will have to see.

Now this is all speculation on my part and I am curious to see where the story goes regardless, but I am really hoping this will actually be the case in the near future for a few reasons. Primarily, I just really want to play a Night Elf again since I just really like Night Elves and that’s my primarily annoyance “having” to play Horde. Secondly, “having” to play Horde. The faction imbalance at higher levels of PvE play is really bad which means that for anyone wanting to seriously participate in high-end PvE content be that raiding or mythic+ it gets really difficult to do so if you play Alliance making it not much of a choice since you will have great difficutly in finding others to play with and this problem seems to be getting worse over time—as an example, I know of at least a couple high-end guilds that transferred from Alliance to Horde at the end of Legion due to recruiting problems but have not heard of any transferring to Alliance even with easier access to the Hall of Fame being something of a small carrot. Recruiting is just hard enough as it is without making it even harder by playing on the minority faction—now I say minority faction even though from the stats I’ve heard the overall faction balance is decent and just the high-end is skewed but that doesn’t really help when you want to do high-end content.

I will actually be somewhat disappointed if Blizzard doesn’t end up implementing this in the near term—next expansion at the latest—since it would seem to be a clear indicator that they don’t see this faction imbalance as a problem which would seem odd. It’s also a problem that will get bigger the smaller the playerbase is since recruiting and finding groups will get harder even on the majority faction and probably close to impossible on the minority one and as it seems that World of Warcraft is in a slow decline—it is a really old game after all—this seems somewhat inevitable.

But I guess we will have to see, so nothing to do now but wait.

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Paladin

With timewalking being active a friend of mine asked if I wanted to level a character from 110 to 120 since it was apparently supposed to be easy to level through timewalking and this indeed proved to be true—I think we averaged two dungeons per level.

I used this opportunity to level my Paladin whom I rather liked playing as Protection before though not so much Holy since somehow the toolkit just felt lacking to me being used to playing Holy Priest. This ended up actually being a rather fun time after the first dungeon where I needed to get used to my keybinds again and rediscovered my abilities—one thing that surprised me was that Protection Paladins have bubble again, I believe it was simply a 40% damage reduction in Legion though I’m not quite sure anymore. What also contributed to the fun—for me at least—was it being The Burning Crusade timewalking—my favourite expansion after Legion—and the scaling being somewhat difficult again making smaller pulls with a bith of line of sighting necessary. It also really made me miss being able to effectively level through dungeons again, it was so much more fun than questing. Another cool thing about timewalking while leveling up with a character one played in Legion, is being able to use the “legiondaries”—the random legendary equipment from Legion—the whole time since your level gets scaled down so it stays active.

Tanking with a Paladin again was really fun as well, the Paladin was actually my first tank that I leveled back in Wrath of the Lich King when the mana management for them became a bit more sane and the easier time with keeping aggro made me more confident to try tanking. The ability at the time to easily generate area threat with Consecration along with friends wanting to take a poke at Horde characters and me consequently wanting to play a Blood Elf sealed the deal—Warriors not being available to Blood Elves at the time and Blizzard already having killed my interest in tanking with a Death Knight when they nerfed dual wield tanking. This makes me think, one of the things I would probably actually want to try with Classic is playing a tank—along with re-experiencing old school Priest healing—since I never really tried it back in the day though the time investment required for leveling makes me wonder how much I actually want to try this.

The whole shield and Consecration based tanking style I still find fun and in general I find myself strongly preferring tanks that can actually block—so Warriors and Paladins—over other tanks having played a bit of both Death Knight and Druid tank somewhat recently even. I also have to admit, Avenger’s Shield is also just such a fun ability to use and I makes me a bit sad to lose the legiondary that gave us extra damage and bounces to the shield since just seeing it fly around felt fun and satisfying. This all makes me actually want to play my Paladin more than my Warrior at the moment and the gearing and Azerite hurdle shouldn’t be too bad with the upcoming patch especially since it seems we get to easily unlock Azerite level 35 and the new Essences without much grind—well, the early essences at least. So that might very well be my secondary project for next reset, getting some questing in with my Paladin in addition to my Priest so that they both are at a decent point when it comes to essences, though this should apparently be easier with the Priest since from what I hear the best Discipline at the moment can be acquired through questing in Nazjatar which shouldn’t be too bad as long as there is no time gating—I don’t know if there is, haven’t really done much on the PTR outside the raid tests since farming the same content several times happens often enough on live for me.

I guess all of this means one more reason for me to look forward to the new patch and the next reset, I’m also curious to see how much I actually end up getting to use my Paladin since my Warrior so far hasn’t seen too much use—unfortunately doesn’t have enough gear at the moment to confidently tank alt keys for the guild and haven’t really been motivated to gear. Hopefully I get time to play both tanks a bit more, but I guess we’ll see that in the coming weeks.

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Uu'nat, take two

With last reset being The Restless Cabal this reset it was time to take our poke at killing Uu’nat for a second time and unfortunately it did not go as well as Cabal did. Admittedly, we had many more new players in for Uu’nat than Cabal among them a new tank that I believe had never played the boss on mythic before so it was quite understandable that we did not end up killing the boss again—at least in the one evening we’ve had time to try so far. For me though, it was still fun seeing the boss again and getting some more raiding in—especially since it would have otherwise been only one raid day—even though I do enjoy the occasional pause in raiding the boss is still fun and we do have good reason to try for a rekill for some of the people that made significant contributions to progress but couldn’t be in on the actual kill.

What did somewhat disappoint me however was the attitude of some of our raiders, questioning why we were there again and seeming to be very unmotivated by the whole raiding thing which made me internally question why they then were in a raiding guild at all if they don’t like the activity. The worst example of this was one of our raiders stating they would only be raiding one day a week and only Battle of Dazar’alor until the new raid comes out which felt very rude and inappropriate. There are some attempts at discussing matters further so I’ll have to see where that goes, but overall something of a strange reaction I think.

That also seems to somewhat put into question if we will actually be able to get enough people together for next reset to try for another rekill, if not I find that a very rude way to show that these players don’t really care about their fellow raiders, something of a “I’ve got mine and you don’t matter to me” which I don’t really find an appropriate mentality to have in raiding. To be fair, it being summer does make it more understandable that players might not be available for raiding as much as the rest of the year and that does make me a bit worried about how we will manage the progress starting in a couple of weeks but that doesn’t really excuse the mentality or the statements made.

If we do end up having enough people to try for the rekill again, it should in theory get a bit easier with the Essences becoming available—of course this depends on people actually having and taking the time to unlock those essences. I just hope this all ends up being a minor footnote and not something of greater relevance since it is behaviour that seems to annoy quite a few of our raiders and I hope it doesn’t end up having bigger consequences for the future of the guild.

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PTR Adventures

So this weekend had some more raid tests open on the PTR, Azshara Heroic on Friday for a couple of hours and all of normal except Azshara for the rest of the weekend and we took a poke in there again. Now the bosses we killed last time around all went down easily, after all they are the early bosses so that is to be expected. Now there had been some changes to the Blackwater Behemoth which overall made the fight significantly easier, though unfortunately they had disabled the use of the artifact fishing pole—or its effect rather, nothing happens when you equip it during the fight. But this time around the damage on that fight was much lower and the pushback also had a much shorter duration, making the fight much easier than before.

Orgozoa

The rest of the raid however, was a bit more interesting. The first new boss on the list was Orgozoa, who actually proved to be a decent challenge to us since we didn’t quite understand the mechanic at first and weren’t sure how to handle the intermission. Now the primary mechanic, at least from a healer perspective, is the Incubation Fluid that he spits on a random player. This is a DoT that lasts for the rest of the phase and deals rather significant damage. That alone wouldn’t be so bad since the debuff wouldn’t spread too quickly since the boss doesn’t use the ability that often but the boss also periodically casts Arcing Current on a player with the debuff that chains up to three targets and spreading the debuff which meant that by the end of the phase we actually had quite a bit of healing to do.

The boss also spawns three adds at a time that were rather easy to deal with though they do leave after them a pool that needs to be soaked—in our case the tank could soak all of the pools alone—or they will explode wiping the raid, this mechanic was actually present on the trash on the way to the boss.

Finally for phase one, the boss occasionally does these circles on the ground and you need to move out, it can get rather tight since it’s basically a “dance” mechanic where most of the room fills up with them and you need to move out until they disappear and then new ones spawn. This goes on a couple of times and the fight goes back to normal—the only thing to watch out for here is that people stay properly stacked or spread so that the debuff doesn’t jump to new people.

Then there’s the intermission which just seemed to be a case of run down the spiral quickly enough in order to interrupt the boss or you wipe, watch out for the mushrooms that knock you back on the way down.

After the intermission comes phase two, and honestly I can’t really say anything overly memorable about it even though I ended up healing it alone since our other healer died on the way down. The debuff from phase one seems to be back, but only one player ended up getting it so it was really easy to heal through. I guess the adds changed from mind benders to naga, or maybe both? Didn’t do much from what I remember, though that might change on higher difficulties. Once we got into phase two, we killed the boss and in general we didn’t have that many wipes here but I’m still interested to see the boss on mythic especially with how the damage was in phase one to see how extreme it will end up there—especially since we were only thirteen or fourteen while playing this boss so the room will feel much more full with a 20 person raid.

The Queen’s Court

The next boss was The Queen’s Court consisting of two bosses: Silivaz the Zealous and Pashmar the Fanatical as well as Queen Azshara a bit in the background toying with the players.

This boss in retrospect actually surprises me with the amount of mechanics there were that were relevant on normal since my expectation at least is that there are maybe a couple main mechanics for normal and the rest start being relevant on heroic and up but on this boss there are actually two different fail checks which can instantly wipe you along with the spear throw from the melee boss that will probably instantly kill a single player if not soaked properly—same idea as the charge in King’s Rest for example, the more people in the way the less damage the actual target becomes, though do keep an eye out where you stand if you get targeted since it leaves a damage effect on the ground.

Now, the first mechanic which could wipe you is one of the abilities Azshara uses, Queen’s Decree and more specifically Form Ranks. This spawns—for us at least—three circles in the middle of the room each of which need to be occupied by one player and if they are not when the decree expires they explode dealing damage to the whole raid with the damage at least on the PTR being such that all three circles being empty wipes the raid.

There was a second decree that while not quite as bad could still potentially kill players who didn’t know how it works or notice that they had it, Deferred Sentence. This decree gives you an increasing amount of stacks that are reduced when you move however you take damage from moving, but if you don’t move all of the stacks explode at once at the end for some decent damage. This wasn’t too bad on normal but I could see this killing people on mythic especially depending on what other sources of damage are active at the same time.

The second potentially wipe inducing mechanic were the Potent Sparks, three of them spawned around the room and started slowly losing health and when they die they explode dealing damage to the whole raid and apply a debuff increasing damage taken from that explosion by 100%. So not a new mechanic, but still you need to kill them staggered so that the raid doesn’t wipe. These never really posed a problem since it even seemed that the debuff might be missing on normal and our damage dealers did a decent job of making sure they didn’t all explode at the same time anyway so the damage we did get from the normal explosions was easy to heal against.

Beyond that, the boss had some other funky decrees and random damage, but nothing overly noteworthy since they were all quite easy to get the gist of the first time one was affected by them. There was a particularily annoying decree though, Repeat Performance, which silenced you if you cast the same spell twice in a row. This wasn’t too bad as a Discipline Priest since I could just weave healing and damage but it seemed to annoy some of our damage dealers a lot.

Za’qul, Harbinger of Ny’alotha

Now for the final boss of the evening, since we tested Azshara on Friday and the normal bosses on Saturday. This one seemed rather overtuned especially for our group size which did make it a very cool boss to play but also meant that we unfortunately did not down it—also thanks to it getting rather late and people wanting to go to sleep.

This was probably the most fun boss we tested even including Azshara since there was actually a decent bit going as well as some interesting mechanics for healers, namely the fears.

Phase one

Phase one of the boss is fairly straightforward and doesn’t last for too long, from 100% to 85%. Some adds spawn that you need to kill and a few players get feared—interestingly, for us even at the end when we were playing with ten, three people got feared which seems to indicate that even for small groups three healers might be preferred. Now the fear lasts for eight seconds and is dispellable, so if that was all it wouldn’t have been too bad for us, simply one person that was running around a bit longer since we only had two healers, but what made the fear probably our main cause of wipes was the fact that it explodes when it runs out or get dispelled and for a lot of damage—three simultaneous explosions killed pretty much anyone who wasn’t a tank.

I’m somewhat sceptical that the fear will remain with that tuning in the raid, since every single application would seem to require some pretty heavy cooldown usage to be manageable—remember, only eight seconds between the first and last blast at best—and I’m doubtful that is all that possible with how often the fear comes. I’m expecting that at least on normal the explode damage when dispelled gets removed, seems like that would end up as a heroic or mythic mechanic to give the boss that extra bit of something.

Phase two

In phase two all the players get sucked into the Fear Realm where everyone gets a stacking debuff which dealt a minor amount of damage, stacking up every 20 seconds. For the most part, this phase was over so quickly that the debuff wasn’t relevant, but in phase four you need to re-enter the Fear Realm in order to kill the adds from phase one since they don’t take damage otherwise, and the debuff puts a bit of time pressure on that especially for smaller groups.

The second new thing was a debuff put on a couple of players which left spots on the ground so you had to keep moving while placing them in order not to die. It also made the available space in the already somewhat small bossroom smaller, so I can see this being problematic on mythic and for bigger raid groups since I’m assuming more people get the debuff. It also seemed a bit buggy or overtuned, since you always seemed to take the damage when a spot got put down, usually there is a grace period for the player with the debuff so they have time to move out—will have to see if that gets changed, if not it puts a decent amount of extra strain on the healers.

The debuff is especially bad if it comes in conjunction with the fear which we had happen a couple of times, both debuffs on the same player with pretty consistently lead to their death. Any players with the debuff as the fear came were also more likely to die since the damage from the fear explosion along with the damage from the debuff was tricky to heal against.

Finally for phase two, occasionally a tentacle comes from the side of the arena and tries to poke the raid. The area for this was decently big and the effect always seemed to go towards the middle, so keep an eye out on rifts that form on the sides of the arena. The damage was healable for us, but might very well be a one-shot on higher difficulties.

Phase three

Phase three doesn’t have that much new going for it, you can enter the Delirium Realm where you get a haste buff but all other players are hostile to you, so only really makes sense for damage dealers but not too many of them since you still have the dispel mechanics to deal with. This phase generally went by really quickly and I barely noticed we were in it, but it did introduce the Delirium Realm to us so that we knew what was going on for phase four.

Phase four

The final phase and as far as we managed to get. The first thing that happens is everyone gets pulled back into the normal realm and you now have to manage the abilities by going into the correct realm in order to counter them. The summoner adds from phase one are up? Go to the Fear Realm in order to damage them so they don’t keep summoning more adds. The boss gets an absorb shield—yes, a new mechanic—and starts casting to deal high damage to the whole raid? Enter the Delirium Realm and get rid of the absorb shield to stun the boss and interrupt the cast, damage from other realms doesn’t affect the absorb shield.

It seems the boss can also split himself, creating a copy in each realm which start giving him more energy and when he gets full, I guess that will wipe the raid. I don’t belive we actually saw this mechanic in action, probably comes into play later in phase four than we manage to get to.

Finally, the fear from the earlier phases gets buffed, dealing more damage than before through the explosion making it even harder to heal against. In addition, players in other realms are phased out so you can’t heal or dispel them which probably means this will be a minimum three healer boss, though I guess when someone in the Delirium Realm gets the debuff they just need to get out of there since they can’t be healed anyway since everyone is hostile there. So two healers might be possible, but the damage at the moment really is quite heavy and I’m not sure there are enough cooldowns to deal with it with only two healers.

The boss—despite the tuning and incoming damage—seemed really fun. I am very interested to see the final version, if it stays anything like it was on the PTR it will definitely end up being one of the blocker bosses for many guilds.

Azshara

Now, Azshara. This was a heroic test, which meant we were scaled up a bit but also had more mechanics to tend with and the tuning was probably a lot rougher than for the normal tests along with a much shortened timespan—we only had an hour and a half or so to test Azshara—all of which meant we didn’t end up defeating her or getting overly far actually.

Phase one

The fight starts with Azshara spectating and her sending out two lovers to deal with the raid. These need to be kept either in line of sight of each other or out of line of sight depending on the cast, believe Painful Memories was the cast where you needed to separate them but can’t remember the name of the other cast—should be fairly obvious though. The melee lover also occasionally throws a spear on a random player which needs to hit one of the two pillars in the room or it deals significant raid damage. It will also hit any player in the way, so the path to the pillar needs to be made clear. This seemed to be a bit buggy for us, where the spear would occasionally hit an NPC and explode or hit the pillar but still explode, so will probably be an easier time on live.

In addition to the lovers, there are three seals in the room which keep the water outside under control and these need to be kept charged—charging them is as easy as standing in one but this does give you a stacking debuff reducing maximum health by 10% per stack which lasts for the rest of the phase. The energy in the seals get reduced by two things, Azshara which is unavoidable so just recharge them, and hulks I believe they were called, which spawn in the middle of the room and run to a seal and start stomping it to bits. These need to be killed as quickly as possible so they don’t drain too much energy from the seal. They were also crowd controllable once and it seemed if you stunned them at the right time they would change their mind on which seal they wanted to go to which meant they had a further way to run so more time to damage them without them breaking the seal. The best timing I believe was just before they reached the seal and started casting, but it wasn’t 100% consistent and might have been fixed for live anyway—if not, definitely something to try since it makes the damage requirement easier. Azshara also occasionally charms a player and forces them to walk into the middle, which could be bad when there was damage spots on the ground which got put there by one of the tank mechanics of the lovers I believe so try to keep the middle area clear and interrupt the charm when possible—I’ll be honest, I didn’t quite get a clear idea of how this charm mechanic worked since it was mostly the damage dealers dealing with it.

Intermission

Then we have the intermission, where Azshara decrees you have to do something—or maybe even two things—and if you don’t you get stacks of a debuff that will probably kill depending on the amount of stacks. I believe the primary decrees were: stand alone, stand together, move, stay still, soak the arcane orbs. All fairly straightforward and the arcane orbs need to be soaked anyway so they don’t explode, though the move decree was a bit unclear how it worked since we had players moving yet getting stacks of the debuff. A theory we had was that it left small spots on the ground which applied the debuff, so moving back and forth or in a small circle wasn’t enough but we didn’t get to test that theory properly—also possible the ability was simply bugged on the PTR.

Phase two

After the small intermission Azshara enters the fray and you get to deal with a couple new mechanics: a dispellable debuff as well as another charm. The dispellable debuff explodes when dispelled or when it runs out after 20 seconds, echoing of every other player with the debuff or Azshara that are in line of sight which basically means hide somewhere and get dispelled. This might get interesting on higher difficulties or with more players since there is a level of coordination required so that you don’t explode each other or echo from the boss exploding the whole raid.

The new charm mechanic actually properly mind controls a player making them attack the raid and gives them a decently sized absorb shield which needs to be removed in order to break the mind control—this seems like one of those mechanics which will be easier in big raid sizes since the amount of incidental damage will be higher and fewer players actively need to switch on the mind controlled player in order to break the mind control.

There was also a new seal in the middle whose energy needed to be kept low instead of high so that it doesn’t explode the raid, I believe decharging it gave a similar debuff to charging the other ones but since we didn’t spend a significant amount of time in this phase I’m not quite sure.

Conclusion

All in all, the bosses even on normal were a decent amount of fun to play for the most part—looking at you Blackwater Behemoth—and I’m now looking forward to the raid more than I was before. Even the first boss which tends to be trivial could have some interesting wipes up her sleeve thanks to the color mechanic which tends to lead to trouble so it will probably be quite fun progressing here “for real”. I guess I now just need to wait a couple of weeks or so for the raid to come out, we’ll see if Blizzard sneaks in some more raidtests in the meantime and if we end up participating in those.

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WoW Classic European realms structure

So Blizzard recently posted their plans for European Classic realms and their plan seems to be to only have International (English) realms which has made several people rather upset—it feels like a third or more of the comments on the English forum are in other European languages complaining about this decision—and while I can see where this decision is coming from it still to me too seems like the wrong one.

As we get closer to WoW Classic’s release, we thought now would be a good time to talk about our plans for Classic realms here in Europe.
We’ve prepared several realms, which will include Player vs Player, Player vs Environment, and Role-playing realms.
For Classic, we’re planning on not splitting up realms by language. This has its advantages and disadvantages, but overall, we think that it’s the best starting point for WoW Classic. An exception will be made for the Russian language, which will have separate realms due to its reliance on the Cyrillic Alphabet. For technical reasons this will also mean Russian is going to have its own separate game client, similar to what happened in The Burning Crusade.
We think this approach will give players more freedom to move around to where they want, and find guilds and friends that best match their interests.

Taepsilum – Community Manager

Now, my mothertongue never had language specific realms so I started out playing on English realms and ended up on one where the inofficial language at least was my second language and this is probably what is going to happen on these realms as well—inofficial language servers or a mixing pot of several languages on the same server being spoken in the public channels—and I don’t quite see how that will be beneficial in the long run since there will still in effect be language specific server they will just be harder to find like it was for me back in the day.

It will also be a bigger problem in Classic than it would be in today’s game, since in Classic you are locked into the server you start on and can’t really transfer away or do anything cross-realm, so if you unknowingly roll on a server where the inofficial language is one you don’t speak you might be in for a somewhat bad time since communication will be considerably more difficult. In general, this decision seems to poorly take into account the diverse language landscape present in Europe and even in the case that it goes as Blizzard fears—namely there simply not being enough players on single language realms—it feels like the more sane option would be to then merge realms instead of creating a solution for a problem that might not even present itself. Alternatively, if merging realms is considered a bad thing by Blizzard—understandably so, since it does present problems with names and who gets to keep theirs—they have since Classic already developed the technology allowing multiple realms to be in the same pool and share guilds, auction house and so on completely separate from the other cross-realm features impelemented since. This would still allow for that server community feel that several people think is important since you would still have a limited pool of people you play with but would mean that you don’t get the naming problems you would get with merging realms.

At the same time, part of the beauty of the European community is exactly the diversity of language and being able to overcome the challenges the game presents despite that extra difficulty in communication and it does keep the opportunity open for people to enter into communities which don’t have their mothertongue as the primary language—exactly this happened to me on live, have been playing on German servers and learning the langauge for over two years now and without the exposure that cross-realm gave me to those German servers this would never had happened. So there could potentially be a big positive in a small amount of cases as a consequence of this decision, so maybe it will all end up good in the end.

All in all, I guess my feelings on this decision are rather mixed. It won’t overly affect me personally since I have already been in the position of playing on a realm where my language isn’t the primary language at a time where I barely knew any English so I know the situation will be manageable. Simultaneously, I can understand that people don’t necessarily want to have the extra stress of learning or using a new language while doing an activity that is supposed to be relaxing or fun. In the end, I think people will find ways and means around that if they are truly interested in playing Classic be that through inofficial language servers or in-game chat channels for specific languages and this will all be a smaller issue than the forums currently make it seem.

World of Warcraft

Azerite

AP, Artifact Power in Legion and Azerite Power were the new “infinite progression” mechanics introduced by Blizzard in order to keep different types of content rewarding for max level players. Now this worked very well in Legion—for me at least—since it was the first expansion in a long while that I played all the way through. Simply always having something available to strive for was a nice change of pace since it meant there was always a reason to log in—this was especially powerful in combination with mythic+ since this enabled me to do fun and engaging content while still working towards that goal of the next artifact level.

Unfortunately, somewhere halfway through Legion this system changed for the worse and remains in this incarnation—though I would argue even worse—with Battle for Azeroth. The big change that came was a significant reduction in artifact power received through completing mythic+, now because the reward had always been rather low in raids but this meant that the most sensible way to gain artifact power became world quests meaning there was no interesting way of gaining it anymore. This made the whole system feel a lot more grindy since I don’t find world quests particularily enjoyable yet I like raiding and mythic+ a lot and now I was being pushed to participate in content I did not enjoy.

In Battle for Azeroth this same system remained of low reward through interesting content and high reward through trivial content continuing through world quests and with the addition of Island Expeditions. Now on the surface island expeditions sound like a cool idea: explore a new island and collect the azerite there, the problem comes with the implementation. Firstly, it’s a lot less about exploration since you are competing against another team even in the PvE mode where you compete against NPCs that behave slightly more in a “PvP” way but without much of the strategy of real players—you also don’t get to use your PvP talents and some abilities work very differently from actual players—but these end up being more of an annoyance than anything else.

Secondly, the content ends up just being so trivial as to be uninteresting: the opposing faction poses no real threat and neither do the normal mobs and they can’t really, since this is content that is supposed to be doable with any setup including three healers or three damage dealers severely restricting the possibility of Blizzard balancing it into something interesting. Now in the end, this is probably the better outcome since for me personally I don’t see how a more time consuming version of this content could be made interesting with the technology currently available as I’d rather just have it be over with quickly since it just feels like a grind.

Thirdly, the grind also feels much worse on alts in Battle for Azeroth than it did in Legion with the changes to how artifact/azerite knowledge work. This is the catch-up mechanic which makes it possible for alts as well as players joining the game later to achieve comparable levels of power to the players that have been playing throughout. The problem comes with how it was implemented, in Legion the amount of AP you gained from doing activities scaled up as artifact knowledge went up; in Battle for Azeroth the amount needed per level goes down until a floor of 1000 and that is still a rather decent amount of azerite power, something along the lines of three mythic islands or three to four world quests. Meanwhile in Legion, doing one world quest might have given you something like ten levels towards the end which means that alts not only have a more severe version of the problem of having to unlock traits for their new gear since they’ll probably be receving it faster than a main character that has been farming since the start it will also require comparably more effort than it would have in Legion.

Now, the other problem with azerite in Battle for Azeroth is the reason you farm it: the azerite gear. This system just doesn’t feel quite as rewarding as it was in Legion, partially because you keep unlocking the same traits and partially because at some point you just kind of have everything and the only reward is a couple more item levels on your neck—hardly anything to look forward to. The maximum level is even capped within reach and most players who can still be bothered to do the farm content are probably already at that cap—several in my guild are, I’m not because the content just doesn’t interest me.

This is getting changed with the upcoming patch as well as some buffs to the amount of azerite rewarded for some activities but I don’t actually see how it will really help the system since at the start there will only be three new ranks of real interest—the one major relic slot and the two minor ones of which the latter won’t be available—which means that most of the time while gaining a new azerite level you actually don’t get anything for it except for maybe a small boost to stamina—not really a system that motivates you to play. That along with the above mentioned problems of the relevant source of azerite just make the system feel a lot more annoying and a lot less rewarding than it was in Legion which has meant I try to avoid participating in it as much as possible which is somewhat unfortunate since I think I’m probably exactly the target audience of such a system: someone that prefers having something regular to do in order to keep me going.

It is also completely possible that I simply burned out on the system back in Legion when the gains from mythic+ were nerfed and Battle for Azeroth never really had a chance, but even then the whole system has been something I’d rather be avoiding from mostly day one which is not a good sign for such a major feature of the expansion. I’m hoping 8.2 will bring some improvements that actually make me care again but I guess time will tell.

World of Warcraft

MMO-Champion

So apparently MMO-Champion is being sold off by Curse and getting bought up by Magic Find.

Now it seems that one of the investors is the original creator of MMO-Champion:

I won’t be involved in the website, but for full disclosure I am an investor in Magic Find, and the team includes people who have worked on MMO-Champion since 2007.

I’m extremely grateful that Fandom helped us preserve the community and I’m sure the team will have more updates soon — Bouboille

which does make it seem that this will be a good change. I personally wasn’t a huge fan of Curse gobbling up so many gaming properties especially since some of their sites like WoWDB are just poorly functioning alternatives of better sites—Wowhead in this case. To be fair, competition is good and I was actually hoping that WoWDB would be good since Wowhead has some nasty history with the ads they serve, some of them being particularily loud or obnoxious—now on the other hand apparently the same can be said for MMO-Champion so maybe gaming sites just can’t afford to be too stringent about the ads they serve. But for me at least, when that competition can’t even manage proper responsive design and more importantly localisation of the different item it becomes kind of useless—I actually wanted to try to use WoWDB as my primary information source once but that attempt was instantly stopped by me having the game client in German and WoWDB only supporting English which was really unfortunate. I would still have probably missed the years of comments on Wowhead at some point but the faster loading speed of WoWDB would have probably kept me using it over Wowhead if it had remained an option.

Still, I hope MMO-Champion remains a relevant resource for World of Warcraft news since while Wowhead does provide similar content and even at times better and faster, the signal to noise ratio of MMO-Champion posts is much better. I have watched both feeds and Wowhead often includes to me irrelevant content like some contest or different announcements about the site; meanwhile the only non-relevant content I get regularily from MMO-Champion is the weekly summary of active world bosses and the weekly event quest—I generally don’t have a need for this content so which boss is up doesn’t really matter to me. Another reason I prefer MMO-Champion is simply the nostalgia I think, it’s the website I’m used to going to when I need to know what’s going up with World of Warcraft since it was pretty much the best alternative back in the day, sure things like WoW Insider existed but from memory they had the same problem as Wowhead has now: too much non-news content. It’s really nice being able to have an actual notification for new articles on MMO-Champion and be reasonably sure that it’s something of interest, like changes on the PTR or announcements of new features or interviews of Blizzard staff.

Now thinking back, I did also enjoy WoW Insider content—especially some of the columns there—and I haven’t looked at the successor Blizzard Watch in a while. Sure the focus is broader these days but I believe it is still possible to filter the content by game which would allow me to just view the World of Warcraft content, that might be something I want to start doing more regularily again. They even have a podcast I remember enjoying for a bit, so I guess there is a decent bit of content for me to catch up on.

In the end, I guess there’s nothing really to be worried about since I haven’t noticed any decrease in quality during the previous acquisitions and maintaining a pure news site is pretty simple as long as you can get the news out there quickly enough.

World of Warcraft

Warrior

So with me having changed to Horde a while ago I ended up leveling a new warrior, since my previous one was still on Alliance and a different server and I wanted to be able to play a tank with the guild as well as the other people I now actively play with.

Another reason for getting back to the warrior was that it seems to have gotten some fixes since the pre-patch where they played really terribly and for some reasons warriors have always been the tank I most like the theme of—just being badass enough to handle all the incoming punishment, well the armour helps too. They are also the “meta” tank at the moment especially for dungeons, but seeing as that probably won’t be true with the next patch anymore and I’ll hopefully be playing the warrior for the rest of the expansion again—as long as it continues to play fun—that didn’t really factor into my decision. Generally being a good “meta” class doesn’t play into my decision on whether to play something, more important is the theme and feel of the class or spec.

Leveling the warrior went okay, I did something unusual for me and decided to level as fury instead of my usual choice of protection—I tend to prefer to play tanks and healers over damage dealers even for leveling. This was probably a good decision since fury was a decent amount of fun—I have always liked dual wield specs—as well as having some self-heal for survivability though it did get a bit tough at times at the very late levels and there I probably should have changed to protection.

Not leveling as protection did mean something new for me however: I needed to actually get the correct weapons at max level in order to start tanking. To be fair, I wouldn’t have been able to tank anything relevant anyway but still it was a new experience not being able to get started with my chosen spec immediately. This lead me to start gearing through world quests instead of the usual getting boosted in mythic+ by friends and guildies and it was actually somewhat of a nice experience. I’d actually done something similar not too long ago with my hunter that I leveled which is still Alliance and on another realm so I didn’t really have any choices beyond just gearing myself through world quests and there as here it proved to actually be a bit of a interesting casual experience. It was also interesting to see how luck-based world quests actually are since you need to not only get something in a slot where the item level is still an upgrade but the quest also needs to be one that actually provides the highest possible item level—a good example of this is from yesterday, where I actually saw a world quest on my warrior for a piece of 355 azerite gear even though I had already been getting mostly quests for 370 azerite gear and was wearing all 370 azerite gear as well as an average item level of 380 or so. This means world quests still have to a degree the randomness of being able to actually get useful gear from them as other content just that you know beforehand if you even need to bother—expecting titanforging of course.

It was interesting to witness this in play again since I have been mostly ignoring world quests for a while since the chance for relevant gear is so low—basically on most of my characters it needs to titanforge—and the content in and of itself isn’t that fun. What made it fun for a while on the warrior and hunter was the possibility to look around for new world quests and see at least one or two that gave a guaranteed upgrade and to be able to see that slow progress towards higher item level pieces after a while, still that doesn’t last long and is already ending pretty much on my warrior—I very rarely now see any world quest that provides an item level upgrade and while I know that world quests can scale higher it doesn’t seem like a realisitic gearing path for me anymore.

The general diversion into more casual content—leveling and world quests—has been welcome though as at the moment the general level of interest for the more interesting content doesn’t seem to be that high—or maybe more the availability of the people I would like to play with—and at times it’s just nice to be able to play the game at a slower pace. Maybe that’s what classic will end up being for me—the more slow paced casual diversion for the times when there is less going on in retail. I guess we’ll know that in a few months when it releases though we will probably be in the middle of progress again by then.

World of Warcraft

Operation: Mechagon

We took a poke at Operation: Mechagon yesterday on the PTR and it was a surpising amount of fun—especially since the tuning on some of the abilities is a bit extreme yet. We didn’t get to start quite from the beginnging since some people in the run had already killed the first couple of bosses and we also had the small extra challenge of doing the third and fourth boss on hard mode since they had begun that sequence—this made the encounters a bit more interesting though the hard mode mechanic didn’t seem that bad though it did mean I needed to play my druid instead of my priest which made the healing requirement at times more challenging since I have less experience healing with the druid and timers aren’t available yet so it was rather difficult to try to predict when the damage would come.

King Gobbamak

The first boss we fought was King Gobbamak. The boss fight seems to normally be fairly straightforward with some players needing to stand in the tank hit to split the damage as well as get charged so they can run to the pylons that stand around the boss area and charge them so that they kill the adds that the boss continually spawns. What made this fight more interesting for us was partially the hard mode—additional adds get spawned that follow the players and leave goop on the ground that kills you very quickly. These adds were also the reason we wanted a druid with mass entanglement. But the really difficult part was the area damage that the boss periodically does, stomping the ground and dealing heavy damage to the group along with rocks that fall one-shotting players. We actually two healed this boss at least for those damage phases since they ended up being just too much for my druid without the ability to predict them accurately.

That kind of was the whole fight though, kite the boss around the room due to the bots and activate the pylons. Somewhat simple but a relatively hard healing check at the moment—I’m guessing that will be nerfed before the dungeon goes live, but on the other hand it will be much easier to manage with proper timers so maybe it isn’t necessary.

HK-8 Aerial Oppression Unit

Next came the Aerial Oppression Unit, the boss that activates the hardmode on the three previous bosses and killing them on hard mode makes this one activate its hardmode as well. Though now that I think about it, I’m not sure if we played this one on hardmode or not, since I don’t actually know if they played all the three previous bosses on hardmode or not and I did not pay attention to the name of the add.

Anyway, this boss begins with just an add on the ground being attackable and you can’t leave a circle around this add or you get ported back in. During this phase the bots describe by King Gobbamak spawn again and follow players as well as bombardements going through the middle of the circle. The phase was rather trivial for the most part with not overly much going on as long as one managed the bots well—again, this is why I was on my druid.

After this add gets killed, the Aerial Oppression Unit starts channeling and a tesla coil activates on one of the platforms on either side of the entrance. This tesla coil needs to be activated to interrupt the channel from the Unit however the way to there is trapped and you still have the bots that should not be kited up there so I rooted the bots one last time before we went up.

There are three types of traps: smaller bots that teleport you to the beginning of the maze; vents that electrify and stun you for five seconds as well as a rotating thingymajigg that also teleports you to the beginning. This part is fairly straightforward though you do have to try to be as quick as possible and the vents aren’t always overly clear as to when it is safe to go over them—recommend waiting until they activate and then going over quickly. We did also find that it was actually possible to avoid the first set of traps by just going around the edge but this was very fragile and somewhat risky so not sure I recommend that though it does cut down on the time significantly—I’m also expecting this be patched away before the dungeon goes live but you never know.

After the tesla coil is activated the Unit stops channeling and falls down to the ground and takes double damage for 20 maybe 30 seconds—didn’t look at the time of the debufff that exactly. After the debuff expires it flys up and you start from phase one again with the add on the ground. We needed two activations of the tesla coil to kill the boss and more than that might put undue stress on either healer mana or just the risk that more mistakes get made since the intermissions are somewhat dangerous if they take too long. Still, it was a fun fight and was fun to see more mechanics and phases on a dungeon boss again.

Tussle Tonks

After that you start going into the actual Mechagon complex and are met with the Tussle Tonks. This fight consists of two bosses, a big bot and a tank. The tank follows a random player, occasionally charges another random player and knocks them back as well as rarely doing very heavy area damage made worse by the arena actually being rather large and us being somewhat spread out so it was at times difficult to have everyone in range of area heals.

The bot on the other hand starts with three stacks of extra armour reducing damage taken by 99%. The tank needs to kite the bot to one of the hammers that are around the arena in order to remove one of the stacks—it bugged out for us though and the first hammer immediately removed two stacks which was convenient. The bot also occasionally does a whirvelwind attack which the melees need to watch out for as well as spawning mines.

The third enemy in this fight is actually the arena which occasionally spawns sawblades in a few different patterns as well as those hammers mentioned earlier—I belive they can also hit players if you are positioned poorly.

All in all the fight was relatively trivial outside of the area damage of the tank since few abilities did significant damage and the arena was probably a bit too big to make dodging some of the mechanics difficult as it was rather easy to spread out or simply stand so that you never got hit by the sawblades. The idea is neat but probably still needs some tuning.

K.U.-J.0.

After defeating the Tonks you get thrown down into the garbage disposal of Mechagon—some reward for winning the fight. Here was some rather nasty trash that had a rather significant area explosion on death that can be avoided through line of sight—would recommend this since we did have some deaths due to these explosions.

After the trash you finde a cute mechanical dog by the name of K.U.-J.0. and it is the next boss. The fight was actually even more simple than the previous one unfortunately. The boss has four main mechanics: a very heavy damage over time effect on the tank that needs to be dispelled immediately since the damage it does is completely overtuned—luckily it comes seldom enough that you always have dispel ready; secondly crates fall on players at increasingly frequent intervalls, these simply need to be dodged; the boss also heats up and does heavy area damage which needs to be avoided through line of sight—in other words, hide behind the crates though move away from them afterwards since they will explode; and finally the boss charges random players and does moderate damage.

And that’s the fight. We had one wipe because I underestimated the damage from the tank debuff and didn’t dispel it immediately—at the time I also didn’t know how often it stacked so I wanted to see if the tank survives until the second stack—but after that we killed the boss easily. Not every boss can be difficult but it felt a bit strange to have two easy bosses after two hard ones.

Machinist’s Garden

This is were the dungeon gets a bit annoying and puzzle-y. First there is a loading belt pushing you back while you need to dodge flame jets, not really difficult but a bit annoying especially since the belt isn’t that wide—here again you could avoid the pushback through going right on the edge but I did not even end up trying that since the belt was already narrow enough.

Second comes a stealth section where you instantly get teleported to the beginning if you fail and if you wipe on the next boss—Machinist’s Garden—you have to both of these again though you can disable the flame jets. Now neither of these two sections were difficult just something that you needed to do calmly which can be annoying after a wipe—luckily we didn’t have many of those on the next boss. However, these will be very annoying once the dungeon gets turned into a mythic+ dungeon since you are under time pressure to do them quickly however this makes you much more likely to fail and the whole group suffers from individual fails in the sense that they need to wait for individual players. It is cool that Blizzard at times does something different with dungeons but these sections just don’t really fit into mythic+ unfortunately.

The boss however was, again, not overly interesting—I’m getting the feeling that only the overtuned/hardmode bosses really were interesting for us. Was mostly just dodge the flamethrowers that spawn in the middle and go around the room, kill the small plants that shoot at random players before they kill the player. I actually can’t recall any other mechanics though I’m pretty sure there were others—we did kill the boss with two dead players so it wasn’t exactly trivial just felt a bit uninspired from a mechanics point of view somehow. Though I guess having a mechanical garden that turns out to be deadly is as a concept interesting but it might just be more difficult to turn that into memorable mechanics.

King Mechagon

Now, the final boss King Mechagon. This was actually a rather cool proper two phase fight with a decent duration.

Phase one

The boss flies on a small machine reminiscent of something like Mimiron’s Head. During this phase the boss regularily targets one player with a Giga-Zap which does heavy damage and leaves a nasty dot. For this players need to be a bit spread out so that two players don’t get hit—getting hit a second time from the zap is deadly since the debuff also doubles the damage received.

There are also small stationary bots around the room that deal ticking damage to players around them, the boss regularily recalibrates these causing them to move to a new position as well as dealing damage to players on their way there.

Finally, the boss occasionally flies into the air and stars bombarding the ground with a laser following one player. This deals deadly damage if you stand in the laser and moderate-heavy damage to the whole group—as a healer, pay special attention to the player that still has the debuff from the zap since they will die quickly if not healed.

Phase two

After the boss mocks you for only disposing of a piece of furniture—his flying machine—he jumps into a big robot suit on the far side of the room from the entrance. As the flying machine is broken he will no longer fly into the air but the two other abilities from phase one are empowered, the small bots now constantly fly to new positions and the Giga-Zap is now considerably wider and is cast three times in a row each time on a new player.

The boss also periodically throws a magnet into the room, which sucks all the small bots into one spot, dealing area damage to the whole group which gets reduce the farther away you are.

Phase three?

The King jumps out of the big mecha suit and melee attacks the tank. No mechanics, just kill him—a bit like the last boss of The MOTHERLODE!!!.

All in all, this fight doesn’t have that many mechanics however the tuning of those mechanics—especially the Giga-Zap in combination with the area damage—still makes it rather challenging to heal. This also made it for me at least the most mechanically interesting fight in the dungeon, since it was all healable without timers but you still needed to be on your toes the whole time and anticipate potential sources of damage the whole time. The intervals of the mechanics was also fast paced enough to keep the fight interesting the whole time—a fitting end to the dungeon.

Conclusion

I find the dungeon to be rather fun, though there are some parts I already see being very annoying once it becomes available on mythic+. Still, as it is it does give something of that raid feeling in a five player group and as such I think Blizzard has succeeded with their goal and I’m sure the few tuning issues there were will be fixed before the dungeon gets released on live realms. It was also really fun going in and poking on a dungeon beforehand, getting a early look at the abilities similar to how it felt doing the raid on the PTR. Learning by doing is afterall much more fun than just watching guides of other people doing it.

So, go do the dungeon once it comes out, seemed fun!

World of Warcraft

PTR raid testing

So we did some PTR raid testing yesterday, the first four bosses of Eternal Palace on normal with item level scaled to 405. This scaling made the raid a bit of a challenge actually, along with the tuning otherwise probably being completely out of wack on account of it being the PTR where that tuning is being done. Sometimes the raid test are also intentionally overtuned to allow people to properly test the mechanics and not just steamroll them—was probably also the reason for the item level scaling. Of course, none of us knowing any of the mechanics along with playing two healers for 15 raiders also contributed though I think having a third healer would just have made it boring—it was still normal after all. But my point is, people on live realms will probably have better gear and more of an idea when going in so it will be easier.

Another slightly annoying thing was, while we did have the Heart of Azeroth scaled to level 60 theoretically unlocking a major and minor essence slot, only the major one was available since we would have needed to visit the heart forge in order to unlock the minor essence slot. Now why we didn’t do this, well that scaling was only enabled inside the raid, so once we would have been at the forge we would no longer have had the neck at level 60 and as such the slot would not have been available to unlock. To be fair, I’m somewhat doubtful that most normal raiders will have that slot unlocked when they start with the raid anyway though that will depend on how much easier it becomes to get levels in the Heart of Azeroth with the next patch and how much time we have until the raid is released but it would still have been nice to be able to test a minor essence in addition to the major one.

Abyssal Commander Sivara

The first boss was pretty trivial and I think we ended up killing it on our first try. The boss basically had the mechanic from Guarm, where everyone gets a color and you shouldn’t run into people with another color. In addition to this the boss occasionally shoots out arrows in all directions that also have a color and you should be especially careful not to get hit by the ones that have another colour though even getting hit by your colour is bad since it is also a debuff with a small ticking damage effect and a secondary negative effect. These secondary effects seemed to a bit buggy, for example one of them was reduced healing but it reduced healing by 0% in other words not at all.

The last mechanic that was enabled on normal was a random player getting targeted by a spear of another colour that a player with the colour matching the spear needs to soak. Soaking this spear stuns you until someone removes the spear, which then of course also needs to be done by a player with the same colour as the spear.

All in all rather simple but it was also the first boss on normal. It could get somewhat interesting on mythic depending on tuning, but being the first boss the tuning probably won’t be that hard. Still, the boss at least had mechanics you couldn’t ignore unlike the first boss of Battle of Dazar’alor so that is a plus.

Blackwater Behemoth

The second boss we did was the Blackwater Behemoth, Blizzards new attempt to make an underwater boss. Or to be more exact, a boss with a third dimensions since the previous attempts weren’t really underwater but rather floating in the air—those bosses being Kael’thas as well Al’akir.

This seemed like it could potentially be the hardest early boss though again will depend on tuning. One of the big problems with this boss is being under water, which means that your movement speed is heavily reduced. Along with this, spells that you cast on the ground don’t necessarily hit you while you are swimming above the bottom of the cave, this was a big problem for me in the beginning since I tend to use Angelic Feathers as my movement speed ability and those are put down on the ground—later on I started swapping my weapons for the Underlight Angler, the artifact fishing pole from Legion. I would definitely recommend getting it if Blizzard does not nerf it before release since it’s a huge movement speed increase while swimming and actually allows you to swim against the pushback the boss does.

The other difficulty with this boss is the primary mechanic: everyone except for the main tank is heal immune—absorb shields worked while we were testing, which will probably mean that discipline priests will be rather strong here early on. To remove this immunity, you need to kill the pufferfish that are on the platforms around the boss but with the correct timing since you only have two of these per platform and the boss switches platform on a timer not dependant on health. This means the boss is also something of a damage check, since you need to be done with the boss before you run out of the fish and your raid is heal immune and slowly gets killed by the damage from the boss. The boss rather constantly does a chain lightning type cast on several players that increases in damage the more it jumps so the raid needs to be spread out—rather difficult for melees as well as while one is getting the pufferfish buff. The pushback which is a channeled casts also does a decent amount of damage so having players healable and topped up before it comes will probably be rather important—on our kill try we ended up focusing the pufferfish before the boss on the second platform for example. It will also be interesting to see how some tanks deal with this since the boss deals a large amount of damage to the whole raid if no tank is in melee range and it is of course hard to be in melee after the pushback.

The final mechanic are the intermissions, now these aren’t really anything more than swimming from one platform to the next however there is a small catch: if you are healable a fish from the depths will come and eat you while you are moving in between the platforms instantly killing you. This is also true outside of the intermissions so players need to stay on the platforms though there is a few second grace period so you can see you are in danger. During the intermission you also need to be careful not to swim into the jellyfish that are on the way since they also give you the healable buff.

All in all, it was actually a surprisingly complex boss for normal and I will be very interested to see how the tuning ends up being on live—this boss could pose some real problems for some guilds. Also, only the first four bosses being available I’m not actually sure if you can just skip it, we could definitely have done the bosses in another order so maybe that will be the solution for some.

Radiance of Azshara

This boss also surprised me a bit and was probably the second hardest one for us. It was basically a more complex version of the Wrath of Azshara from Eye of Azshara in Legion. So the mechanics that were the same: the boss is in the middle of a ring and you play around the boss—also, don’t use Shadow Step if you are a rogue—as well as the Arcane Bomb: players get debuffed with a bomb that explodes after a while stunning players in an area, dispelling the debuff allows the debuffed player to also avoid this explosion since the bomb is then left on the spot the player was standing when they got dispelled. The boss also spawns arcane tornades you need to dodge that knock you back and damage you when you get hit by them—with how much stuff is going on in this encounter this can easily lead to your death through a chain reaction.

Now the primary new mechanics—on normal at least—were the intermission in which adds spawn in one of four places that you have to get to since the rest of the room gets heavy ticking damage and the boss is taking reduced damage. Killing these adds allows you to damage the boss again as well as removing the ticking damage from the rest of the room. These adds consist of one big add that does a knockback with heavy damage which was the really dangerous part since getting kicked back outside the safe zone could easily lead to death. There were also smaller adds that need to be controlled and damaged down to prevent them from casting chain lightnig on the group.

The second new mechanic were lines of mines that spawned making moving between the different parts of the room rather difficult especially when one was trying to reach the adds. There were at times small gaps between the mines but we primarily worked around this by having one of the tanks soak one of the mines allowing the rest of the raid to get through—soaking a mine does spawn a new tornado though so need to stay careful.

All in all, mechanically the boss seems rather simple but like Wrath of Azshara back in Legion it’s just rather easy to be overwhelmed by all that is going on at the same time as well as the rather heavy movement requirement. We also tended to have a bad habit of spreading out a bit too much meaning it was at times difficult to keep players within range which was especially bad when they needed to be dispelled. Will be interesting to see how the boss plays on mythic—I’m expecting it to be interesting.

Lady Ashvane

The last boss we did was Lady Ashvane and she was rather trivial for us especially compared to the two previous bosses, we killed her on the first try. The boss starts with a big absorb shield that needs to be damaged down so that the boss actually takes damage and after a while she will recast her absorb—apparently this shield will keep getting bigger with each cast so it will be something of a damage check.

Corals also spawn periodically that then spawn orbs that move to the boss increasing her absorb shield. These orbs can be soaked by players but doing so triggers an explosion damaging the whole raid—this means that the longer the fight goes on the more damage will come in. Now these corals can be removed through an additional mechanic: several players get marked with a colour in pairs. After the debuff expires damage will be dealt between these pairs and can be used to remove the corals. We managed to keep the corals quite well in check though I imagine this will not be as easy on mythic. I think this will heavily influence the difficulty of the fight as well as how big the damage check will be.

Another mechanic that could make these marks more difficult to play are the stuns: for us three players got put into a water bubble and stunned within. To remove the stun the bubble needed to be destroyed. Now we did get some warning before this happened though we didn’t really use this to stack up which we should probably do on mythic. However, depending on the timings on mythic these bubbles might come inconveniently timed along with for example the marks which might make the positioning for those much more difficult.

Finally, the tank debuff or hit the boss does leaves a damaging spot on the ground so the boss needs to be moved around the room. I guess the room filling up will be the soft enrage, though I’m guessing the healers will be out of mana and the raid will have exploded to the orbs before that happens.

Now the tuning for Lady Ashenvale seemed rather easy and we got her down on the first try. But there were some interesting mechanics in there that could prove problematic on mythic and I’m hoping the boss will be more interesting to play there.

Conclusion

The testing was actually surprisingly fun and I’m looking forward to doing more in the future. Us being almost a full guild group with one external player probably helped, but still being able to do even normal bosses in a version where they can present some level of challenge was fun. It was also a great opportunity to get something of a sneak peek on the bosses that will probably be more valuable than our first clear on heroic since with the smaller raid size along with only two healers means there was more to do as well as more responsibility placed upon us two. In the heroic week we generally have enough healers that I don’t tend to have to do much and as a consequence don’t really learn what is dangerous on the different bosses. Now this can of course change between difficulties as abilities get added to the boss but still it gave some idea how the bosses actually work.

So, hopefully there are more raid tests soon!

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Boosts and Foosts

So I’ve actually joined a boosting community recently and have been on a couple of boost runs. It seems like an appropriate way to get some extra gold to cover raiding costs as well as maybe eventually be able to afford the much sought after longboi. Now that latter is more of a long term goal since I don’t know if I will be boosting that often and while the payout is good you do need to boost frequently if you want to make a lot of gold in a short period of time. It also depends on the amount of buyers per run, more buyers of course means more effective use of one’s time.

It has actually been a somewhat strange experience so far even though I’ve only been on a couple of runs. For one, how fun it has actually been considering we are doing content that is trivial enough for us to be able to boost somewhere along half of the raid. I guess actually having to boost all of those people is what makes it fun, since it brings some level of challenge back to the content actually having to think a bit more what we are doing there.

Complete side rant, there was one rather frustrating experience during one of the boost runs in Crucible of Storms. We were taking on a couple of more boostees than in the earlier runs and there was some uncertainty around us being able to actually make it through with so many boostees. Now we had a try and a wipe because of failed kicks on Uu’nat—I play Discipline so I can’t really react to fails that well afterhand, I have to predict them, admittedly I could probably have reacted better and it would have been fine. However, after this a call is made by the co-leader to bring in one more damage dealer and one more healer. Now, in theory this is a fine call since it makes it more likely that we are able to manage the amount of boostees but my issue comes here: the additional damage dealer was not told to interrupt anything which was the whole reason for us just wiping and we were doing more than fine up until that point. The additional healer also just meant that there was less for us to heal per person just making it seem that the healers weren’t pulling their weight. We of course easily kill the boss after that but we would have done that anyway if the kicks had been done properly which they were the second time around. As a consequence, we also didn’t try taking more boostees in on consequent runs—though to be fair I’m not sure if there was enough interest anyway. All of that just annoyed me more than it probably should for some reason, the “lost” gold isn’t that important just the complete misidentification of the issue and the overbearing response as a consequence.

Another somewhat strange and unfortunate part of the experience has been the—I guess—culture some of the players there have. Very much “let’s go boys” and lots of e-peen measuring it feels like giving something of a “boys club” feel at times. Now admittedly I’m seeing this more subtly for the most part and it’s probably something that they are bringing over from other communities they participate in rather than something innate for this community but it still doesn’t make the envirnment feel the most welcoming to me. It also feels really strange since there is so much talk in the Code of Conduct and so on about showing a professional image to the buyers by being on time and keeping the in-game raid chat clean but I guess this same professionalism isn’t expected to be extended towards other bosters.

Now as noted these are initial vibes and I haven’t been on that many boost runs yet and it’s probably very dependant on the leader as well as one’s fellow bosters—in fact the second boost run was much better than the first though that was probably partially due to very low participation in voice chat from almost all boosters present, me included—but it still isn’t really motivating me to more actively look out for additional boosting opportunities. I guess I should probably be fine if I avoid the outwardly obvious incompatible groups.

I still think I want to be doing more boosting than I have been so far, and Uu’nat being down should provide more opportunities as well as more importantly more energy to be able to do boost runs—that has actually a really interesting side effect of this progress that I haven’t though much about, actually just feeling like the breaks from raiding on non-raid nights were really needed.

Speaking of progress, one unexpectedly annoying part of it has been preparing the “foosts” (feasts) for the raids. Now there is a special version of the feasts that instead of the rare fish take the crafting reagnents from Uldir however there is of course a slight problem with this: we aren’t raiding Uldir anymore. There is something of a way around this, in that you can convert the Battle of Dazar’alor crafting material into the Uldir one with several different crafting professions. The problem here becomes when you want to convert 1000+ of the things it takes a lot of time even with the crafting enchantment—I think I spent 10-15 minutes converting mine. Now this doesn’t need to be done that often and it has been a one time thing for me so far but it has still been something of an unexpected and quite frankly unecessary small annoyance with regards to progress. Luckily that shouldn’t be so necessary anymore since from what I hear we will be getting a new feast in the next patch anyway and I don’t have that many of the materials left since we haven’t been clearing Battle of Dazar’alor since we started Crucible progress. But it would just have been nice to either have the transform cast be shorter or have an option to transform several at the same time.

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Uu'nat progress

So as noted we have been progressing on Uu’nat for a bit. This is still ongoing and I think I’m starting to get a good feel for all phases of the fight, phase three included.

Now my observations on the second boss have changed somewhat. It seems that for melees the fight is mostly rather boring, since two of the primary mechanics of the fight—baiting the Oblivion Tears to the edges of the room so that people don’t run into them; not running into other players while Unstable Resonance is active thus creating an explosion instantly killing players nearby while reaching your relic before the debuff runs out—don’t target melee players unless there are too many of them or too many of the ranged and healers are dead.

Phase one

Now even as a range and healer, phases one and two are getting to be rather boring. Sure, there is a bit to watch out for with the marks1 and how the Oblivion Tears have been baited so that you don’t run into other players as well as me having the extra duty in phase one of carrying the void relic2 so I need to be positioned well before Unstable Resonance is cast so that other players can get to me easily as well as move around me easily. This is mostly difficult right at the end of phase one, since the room keeps getting smaller in phase one and before the intermission to phase two it tends to have gotten rather small indeed making the last Unstable Resonance somewhat tricky to play. Still, the incoming damage isn’t that great for the most part so you can stay almost completely concentrated on the mechanics and damaging the boss making phase one not overly interesting to play repeatedly—I think this is usually the main cause of some of our fails with Unstable Resonance in phase one, the mechanic still requires a certain amount of attention and people just get so into the flow of the fight that they let themselves get caught in a bad spot or actually just let the debuff run out.

The first intermission is also not overly complex, use the storm relic3 to kill the adds that have accrued during phase one and then use the void relic2 and soak the Oblivion Tears—so we have more room to play in phase two—and then drop it on the correct mark by soaking the Unknowable Terror. The room also gets bigger again and doesn’t shrink regularly anymore making phase two somewhat easier to play.

Phase two

Here the fight gets slightly more interesting from a healer perspective, since there are actually some decent bursts of damage coming in when the storm relic3 gets used to clear the adds which at times comes in combination with Gift of N’Zoth: Hysteria which deals a decent amount of damage to the raid as well as healing the adds. This means there are actually a few decent chances to use cooldowns and actually heal people in phase two, which is made somewhat difficult by the necessity to bait and the largeness of the room—there is rarely a moment where I actually have everyone in range allowing me to properly prepare for incoming damage meaning I have to take positioning into account in order to be able to heal people properly. This adds a somewhat interesting layer to the fight from a healer perspective, though it only comes up once for me at least in the fight meaning it isn’t that much of an issue. Positioning in phase two is made even more important by the Unknowable Terror which spawns a large area effect on the floor which will most likely kill any non-tank players—this ability is especially dangerous in combination with the need to bait the Oblivion Tears, since you can’t necessarily just run through the middle which is usually the quickest way out.

Now for the damage dealers there is one extra bit to watch out for in phase two: more frequent adds as well as caster adds. This means that the adds actually need to be cleared during phase two like in the first intermission as well as interrupted—interrupt fails along with Unstable Resonance fails are also the most frequent wipe reason for us. All in all it’s not overly complicated, though the amount of damage on the adds needs to be rather precise since they need to be killed through the effect from the storm relic3 and not directly by the damage dealers which means they need to be brought low together.

Phase three

Now the intermission going into phase three is similar as described above, kill the adds then soak the tears2 and drop the relic on the mark—though I still have cooldown on the relic, so this time someone else is the primary soaker. The rest however, is much more hectic than any of the earlier phases. Phase three is played in a room that is sligthly smaller than phase two, so baiting the tears correctly is more important. The beams from phase one also make a return, which means you have to be positioned properly in order to avoid getting two stacks but at the same time also baiting properly so that tears aren’t placed incorrectly—for this, we have set spots for the ranges to bait as a group, so that hopefully the baits land correctly. Now the marks still have to be played like before, but now baits at time come in very close proximity to the marks so you have to be on your toes and not stand incorrectly once you’ve gotten rid of your mark. During all of this the adds spawn like before and have to be interrupted and dealt with like before.

In addition, phase three also has a new mechanic: Insatiable Torment. This ability reduces the healing you receive by 100% making you almost heal immune, with two exceptions: absorbs still work, which is why for the marks we use Rapture and shield the tormented players to allow them to survive since they usually need to split from other players; the tormented players also damage players around them leeching health and this is the other way they can be kept alive.

So phase three all in all is mostly familiar to someone who has played the other phases just with much more tight timings and less tolerance for failure. This does present something of a learning curve since you have to get used to knowing where to go beforehand so you’ll be at the right place at the right time but I think we are slowly starting to get over this hurdle. I think our best try was 12% so far and we have had several phase three tries in the last few raid evenings so hopefully this means we can down the boss sometime this reset still—would actually mean we get a decent world ranking again as well, which would be nice. But I guess we’ll know how that went in a week or so.


Well, that didn’t last long. First kill was today.


  1. Marks refers to the Unstable Resonance since you essentially get marked with a color and have to run to the matching relic—for us this is moon, tempest; blue square, storm; purple, void
    [return]
  2. The void relic makes the boss as well as the players immune to healing, meaning it is safe to soak the Oblivion Tears. Normally they heal the boss.
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  3. Causes damage as well as instantly killing anything below 25% health preventing any death effects or the like from occurring.
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World of Warcraft

Crucible of Storms

So the new raid has been out for a while new and we’ve been poking at it for almost all of our raid time since it came out with the exception of one half-clear of Dazar’alor. So far we have managed to kill the first of two bosses and happily actually killed the boss before significant nerfs. Unfortunately those nerfs also came to the second boss so won’t be able to say the same thing there. Still, the nerfs seem quite justified considering the silly setups we’ve seen for some of those early kills.

Method Uu'nat setup

Method Uu'nat setup

Still it has been really nice to have a new raid to progress and the bosses are also quite fun on mythic if rather boring and undertuned on heroic which rather surprised me. We actually had a decent amount of wipes on the first boss on heroic due to casts going through at the wrong time but ended up killing the second boss on our first try as if almost all of the mechanics were simply irrelevant—it was a really strange feeling.

On mythic however, it’s the other way around really. The first boss is deceptively simple: play the kicks and dispels correctly and that’s most of what you have to do in order to kill the boss. After that, it mostly comes down to correct timing of cooldowns for the healers and no individual failing too much. Getting all of this clean still took a fair amount of tries for us but once you learn the important parts and don’t stress too much amount the irrelevant bits the boss is rather straightforward to play. I did really like the boss though as it managed to give me several mechanics as a healer that were relevant which is somewhat rare.

The second boss on the other hand seems to have more things that are relevant for the whole raid. You have concerns about correct positioning both for baiting the Void Tears as well as not exploding each other wenn you get the marks and making it in time to your relic. In addition you more phase dependant effects you need to look out for in your positioning.

Uu'nat also has a decent amount of somewhat bursty incoming damage that you need to plan for as a healer, which makes the fight more enjoyable for me though cooldown usage being at times boss health dependent does make timing those cooldowns harder. The boss is fun so far though, even if we are only not so consistently poking at phase two. I’m interested to see how it feels to play phase three.

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Jaina

So we finally have Jaina down—a while ago actually—and it was quite the adventure. I believe we ended up with around 360 wipes, a bit more and two complete resets of progressing (three, if you count the one day of the reset we “killed” her).

The fight is quite the adventure, though phase one—especially with the nerfs—feels somewhat boring. Sure, there is a lot that can go wrong there and one does need to remain concentrated and most of our wipes were probably due to phase one fails but it still doesn’t really feel satisfying somehow. Especially as a healer, I got basically assigned to being a worse damage dealer since the healing requirement is so low. I did get to mind control Jaina’s minions off the ship though, so that was a plus.

The first intermission is the first really tricky part as a healer, since you need to keep a good eye on your group so they don’t die while also focusing on the rather significant amount off ground effects going on so you don’t freeze. Consequently, I belive our healers were the most likely to be frozen in our tries, though that did iron itself out quite well by the end and people getting frozen was more the exception than the rule.

Phase two begins with something of a bang for healers, since all the stacks you gathered in the intermission will keep on ticking. This was also where I got my first chance to do some proper healing as a discipline priest who is somewhat reliant on there being something to damage for my healing. So cooldowns are used and stacks get reset and the group gets to be somewhat stable for a while. After that phase two is in general moderately safe, there are some critical timings with the stack resets and Siegebreaker Blasts where we do use some additional cooldowns, but in general it’s pretty steady going.

The second intermission, in other words the wall and rescuing Nathanos, is mostly also pretty easy going. There are some quite high stacks going on when the intermission starts, but those calm down rather quickly and as a healer I don’t have to concern myself too much with the wall damage and Nathano’s health—or rather, the health of Nathano’s ice block. Consequently, this usually ended up being the place we used our mana potions in order to have as much mana as possible going into phase three which is where the healing requirement for this fight really is at its highest.

Now, phase three. It’s kind of chaotic, especially as a healer that needs to keep tabs on not just the fight mechanics everyone else is dealing with but also cooldowns and making sure they come at the right moment and don’t overlap too much. Since this phase should be quite short if played correctly—it becomes unhealable at some point, so there is something of a damage requirement—most of the healing here is covered by cooldowns which does mean that using those cooldowns at the correct time to maximize their value becomes more important than otherwise. It does make the last phase really stressful not helped along by it being, well, the last phase so it’s the one you get the least practice with but it is also a nice culmination to the fight and does feel fun.

That is in general a good way to describe the fight: fun. Sure, the first phase isn’t overly intersting from a healer point of view but even then I got to mind control people off of a ship which doesn’t happen often. The rest of the fight has a rather good pacing as well, keeping you on your toes pretty much the whole time since small mistakes rather quickly build up to big problems. It’s a really nice change of pace from Uldir and I hope the coming raids will be as good as this one.

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Dazar'alor and Battle for Azeroth Season 2

The mythic version of the Battle for Dazar’alor was released this week and we’ve gotten a decent start in the raid so far, downing three bosses with good progress on Opulence though unfortunately lag problems prevented me from participating yesterday for a bit.

So far the raid has been rather fun, with overall interesting bosses. There are a couple which are somewhat frustrating to play as Discipline especially on heroic, since there just aren’t those damage spikes which Discipline thrives on healing away—constant slow ticking damage really isn’t a strength. This has already changed to a degree on mythic, with Grong for example having some decent damage spikes on mythic even though the boss felt rather easy to heal on heroic.

This week has also been really nice in regards to mythic+, since the affixes are probably the easiest ones overall and it is kind of baffling to see the difference affixes make. Keys that would have been hell last week are easy this week even though 2-3 levels higher. I don’t really understand Blizzard’s design in this respect, it feels strange to have the differences be so big as to discourage people from playing the content certain weeks.

With regards to big differences, with the new season we also got the new seasonal affix, Reaping. In contrast to Infested, this affix is actually reallyfun. It allows for some strategic play since you need to think about when it gets triggered but the way you deal with the affix—kill a bunch of mobs—is also just simply more fun from a mechanical perspective than trying to control the mobs that heal other mobs. It’s also more interesting to have something hectic happen like a bunch of mobs which need controlling and kicking happen occasionally than just bringing the correct CC to deal with certain mobs.

So far I’m enyoing the new season, hopefully that continues!

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8.1

Patch 8.1 is upon us since yesterday which I think makes for a good opportunity to talk about some of the changes.

It’s a bit of an odd one, since it somewhat significantly changes class balancing and some abilities while some guilds are still progressing in Uldir, making the experience for the latecomers potentially more difficult which makes me somewhat unsure of how I feel about this. The most prominent example would probably be Zul, since with Rogues getting changed basically because of that fight it does make the fight somewhat more difficult to execute—we still killed the boss easily enough but the fight did last a bit longer than before.

There is also somewhat of a hidden boss buff for Zek’voz, at least in guilds that have a Discipline Priest. Because Evangelism now has a slightly longer cooldown—15 seconds longer, from 75 seconds to 90 seconds—it is no longer ready for every dance on mythic, I ended up with it on approximately 10-15 seconds of cooldown remaining when I wanted to use it. This makes the fight require slightly more coordination between healer cooldowns for guilds still progressing there though the fight is easy enough that it shouldn’t be a real problem anyway. Beyond that the change to Evangelism didn’t really feel noticeable to me since I usually wanted to use it in conjunction with Rapture anyway which has a 90 second cooldown, making the change somewhat moot. Mentally though, the difference is suprisingly big and does mean I’ll be a little more careful of using the ability opportunistically.

In general, I think the nerfs to Discipline felt manageable, it’ll take some time to get used to for sure and the increased mana cost of Power Word: Shield might actually mean that our gearing priorities change slightly against haste since one of the big benefits of haste was being able to blanket the raid quicker which is now much more mana intensive. The general reduced throughput isn’t really something I felt in fight though it was somewhat apparent on the healing meters on all bosses except for G’huun oddly enough. It could just be that it was a off-night for me as well, so I guess we’ll know that better once the next raid comes out.

Now there were some other moderately interesting things in the patch as well, for example the continuation of the war campaign though I haven’t really had the time to take a poke at that yet. Another big change was now crafted BOP items require skill in that profession in order to be used; this was hotfixed to only apply to new recipes coming with the next raid but it’s still an interesting change. It means it will no longer be possible to pick up a profession, say tailoring, craft some fancy pants in the first raid week or two and then drop tailoring and learn a more useful profession like alchemy since those fancy pants would end up being unusable after unlearning tailoring. This seemed to be mostly popular in the higher end guilds so it shouldn’t affect most players but is a somewhat interesting change nontheless.

Another thing of note was the addition of achievements for completing all mythic+ dugeons in time on +10 and +15, unsurprisingly this was bugged. Now unfortunately we didn’t have quite as much time as hoped last week so we were aware that we wouldn’t be getting the +15 achievement, but we also didn’t get the +10 and for some of us it was even displaying zero progress towards completing the achievement. Hopefully this ends up being fixed shortly, would be rather annoying to have to hunt for keys for the dungeons again. Especially so since we can no longer delete keys, run a dungeon and get a new set of keys which was possible up until the patch hit.

Just a minor side rant, that’s one of those changes I find somewhat hard to understand and I’m hoping a question to that get answered on Friday. I understand that it was technically a unintended consequence of the buggy keys in the first week of BfA with them carrying over from Legion that lead to this but it was something that in a sense was actually a very useful feature to people who prefer playing with a set group. We only have five keys per week we can use and getting unlucky can very realistically mean we don’t see a dungeon at all in a given week. This was annoying enough before from the perspective of Raider.io/Wowprogress score since trying to push that was the primary reason we kept doing mythic+, but it’s even more of a problem now with the defined seasons from Blizzard and actual in-game rewards tied to them. Simple bad luck could mean missing out on those which I don’t find a particularily good design decision especially since they now intentionally patched out something that alleviated that problem.

Beyond that though, I honestly can’t quite say what the patch brought since quite frankly the game isn’t holding my interest quite as well as it was in Legion which I find very unfortunate. It’s a hard thing coming from the (subjectively) best expansion to one that just overall feels meh. I’m not even necessarily saying anything is completely broken it just doesn’t feel motivating or inspiring and just that tad bit more boring than what came before and that’s enough for it just to feel bad.

The next raid will hopefully fix that a bit with some actual new interesting content to do and as far as timing goes the holiday season is about the best time of the year for the game to feel a bit boring since usually there’s enough other stuff going on so that one doesn’t notice that too much.

Here’s to better times for World of Warcraft in 2019!

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Everything is Awesome

Kind of.

So the last few months have been great and simultaneously not. Well it is a long time for everything to simply be great, so it makes sense that there have been some less great things in there I suppose.

To get more specific, we killed G’huun a few weeks ago already which was awesome. Unfortunately a day too late to make it into the top 100 for the Horde—or more specifically, to get the associated achievement since the top 100 guild killed G’huun the previous reset and we ended up extending and killing him on Wednesday. Still, the kill was awesome, we kept our integrity as it were and didn’t introduce extra raid days or prolong the raids in order to try and squeeze the kill which actually makes me really happy. Now I really like the guild and the people within in general, but that is one of the things I’m I guess most proud of that the principle of raid times is held to. Sure I could manage the extra hours and would probably enjoy them as well, but there’s just something cool about seeing the guild stick to its rules and still perform well.

Secondly, as noted, the guild has just been awesome. While I liked being in the old guild I love being in this one which is a very important distinction that does affect one’s enjoyment of the game greatly. I am also fortunate in that I still get to regularily play with people from the old guild, so it’s the best of both worlds in a way. There is only one slightly unfortunate part: the “dead game” meme. Now the guild in general seems to be rather meme happy which is fun, but there is this whole “dead game” meme going on partially due to the content being cleared and partially because the core systems of the game at the moment just aren’t as engaging as they were in Legion. Now both of these things are very understandably frustrating people to a degree—especially the latter I think—but to me the whole meme just makes the situation worse. Not by much, mind you and I would be playing the game less at the moment even without the meme but it just kind of unecessarily reminds me of the situation we’re in. At the same time, I guess it helps other people to make the situation a bit more enjoyable so there is that.

Now that specifically is the less awesome part: I’m just not feeling motivated to play that much at the moment. Now there are several factors to this, one is the azerite system feeling unrewarding meaning I’m not really participating in content that rewards azerite but one could argue that is a good thing since it’s not really the sort of content I enjoy overly much—island expeditions and world quests. The other part really is that one of the players in our regular mythic+ team has been unavailable for a while which means we aren’t doing as much mythic+ as before which combined with us not progressing anymore and thus clearing the raid more quickly means there’s a lot less for me to do in the game. Hopefully they’ll get better soon and we can get back to running some more mythic+.

Though mythic+ is actually one of the awesome things that happened recently, if a little late: we finally cleared a +15 in time. It was way later than I’d liked and we are very much behind the curve but we did it even without our full setup—which kind of makes me sad at the same time—but it does pave the way for us to get going stronger than before in the future.

And honestly, fuck the curve. We managed it with some pretty annoying affixes (fortified, quaking and bursting) and had fun doing it, that’s the more important part anyway. Sure a high raider.io score is nice to look at, but considering how buggy the Blizzard leaderboards have been not registering some of our runs the experience of managing it is more important than some number at the end.

Now the reduced motivation to do things on my main has given me the opportunity to level a twink which I ended up finishing sometime early Monday morning. I ended up leveling a Monk planning to play mostly Mistweaver with a bit of Brewmaster thrown in for dungeons since I hadn’t played a Monk at high level yet and it seemed to be a good filler twink for the healer roster after speaking with our guildmaster. Also I already have paladin, shaman and druid at fairly high level so leveling one of those didn’t seem sensible. It’s been interesting so far though I haven’t really had the opportunity to heal anything “real” yet, only a +2 and +3 key which even with my at the time around 290-300 item level gear was easy since we had some other geared people in the party. I’m really worried how I’ll manage my mana in raids though, which generally seems to be my biggest problem playing healer twinks—having no idea which spells to prioritise specifically in raids. Dungeons is generally pretty easy since mana mostly isn’t a concern; keeping people alive is. But raid fights tend to last for a long time and trying to heal the whole raid alone generally doesn’t end well unless the content is trivial to begin with.

Now I just need to gear the monk so hopefully I can sneak into a heroic raid this week. Beyond that though, getting proper gear is somewhat time-gated since I can’t really properly heal a +10 key yet so I’m kind of toying with the idea of leveling a second twink if I keep having so much time available. I have always kind of liked the idea of a rogue and learning to play one would be cool, so that might be the next project. I had even created one before the monk with the plan of leveling one but having a secondary healer character just to precedence so we’ll see.

World of Warcraft

Battle for Azeroth, part 2

Battle for Azeroth has now been out for a bit longer than when I shared my first impressions of it and my feelings on the expansion have crystallized somewhat even though it is still early days and I won’t know how it all turns out until the end of the expansion.

Mythic+

So far, doing dungeons has been rather fun in Battle for Azeroth. We are still very much in the learning stage and tend to run into some packs or bosses whose difficulty or mechanics surprise us—third boss in King’s Rest comes to mind as an example. I had barely noticed the DoT from the axe lady before this week with tyrannical and now that boss seems to be one of the hardest ones in the dungeon since it combines heavy movement due to the axes with heavy damage on one player due to the DoT.

As noted though, the fact that we are all still learning does mean that the rate of mistakes being made can mean that keys unfortunately don’t get played in time that very well could have been. But that is a part of learning and becomming better which in the end is what makes all of it fun. Sure, the accomplishments as well, but those mean so much less without the learning process and obstacles that come before.

Azerite gear

Now azerite gear is a strange thing, and I touched on my early impressions of it before. Going from Legion to Battle for Azeroth, we lost tier sets, our artifacts (with their relics) and the legendaries from Legion. All of these things provided different bonuses to our character that either made them play different or provided utility for certain situations—as a Priest, the cloak legendary for Holy stands out as an excellent example of extra raid utility that was very nice to have.

With Battle for Azeroth, all of these things in a way get rolled into a single system: Azerite Gear. Now for me, this system has a few flaws that stick out rather obviously:

  1. Limited sources of gear.
    Since azerite gear is only available from sources with a weekly lockout, there is a very limited amount of the gear you can try to acquire in a week.
  2. This becomes a big problem, when the trait(s) you need might only be available from the weekly mythic+ chest, meaning the chance of you getting the right item are very low.
  3. Certain traits are just more fun.
    And when you gain a performance upgrade that then removes those traits, it’s not a great feeling.
  4. Traits are selected per character, not per spec.
    This means in order to play many specs on a single character, you actually need multiples of the same difficult to get gear in order to perform well or intentionally make all of those spec potentially significantly weaker by selecting generic traits.
  5. Utility traits will probably be locked when you get new gear.
    Some of those traits that are fun or just give nice utility—like the Prydaz trait—might not be available to you when you get a new piece of gear since your neck isn’t yet of a high enough level.

Now all of these problems kind of feed into each other except for the last one. But the limited availability of gear just makes it really hard to actually get an azerite piece of decent item level and even harder to get the right item level along with the traits one wants. This along with an upgrade meaning a trait one enjoys potentially disappering just makes acquiring new azerite gear feel kind of bad; the system inherits the worst traits of the three systems it’s replacing: the slow progression of the artifact, combined with the difficulty of acquiring gear sets comined with the frustration of the randomness of acquiring legendaries. Sure, with raids the third point is largely diminished since you know what the traits are on the piece of gear this specific boss drops, but considering how late into the raid some of the pieces are it may not be a realistic way to get that piece of gear anyway. Also assuming the raid piece is actually the one you want as far as traits are concerned.

Now they are working on the acquisition part, which hopefully fixes some of these concerns but we don’t know what the plan is yet and when they are going to implement it. Hopefully it ends up being something good since the current state seems to be frustrating a lot of players. But I don’t think anything less than a rework of the system can get rid of the bad feeling of getting a numbers upgrade that removes a trait you enjoy having.

Preach also made a video raising some other concerns, namely regarding the balancing of the traits and how some of them can be rather unstraightforward to figure out if they are good or not. Now this specific point doesn’t really matter much to me personally—since I would probably be looking up the ratings and rankings of the separate traits anyway and not just go by gut feeling—but it still does mean that I can’t just go and equip a new piece of gear and select the traits therein in any meaningful way without having to do that which also doesn’t really feel right.

I’m excited to see what if anything they end up changing with the system though, it feels like one of those things where the backlash might be big enough to actually cause some change to be made but we’ll see.

Guild

I don’t think I’ve ended up mentioning it here yet, but I’ve changed guilds (again…). This time around it was a bit different though, since it was less out of a desire to leave the old guild—have actually been playing relatively actively with some of the people from there—and more out of an opportunity to raid again with a good friend of mine.

The change has also felt different in a completely other way, namely I’ve felt quite at home here very quickly. Sure, it helped that I already knew a person in the guild and that I’d been along of some of their alt runs with one of my alts previously, but the general feel and attitude of the guild seems to be better aligned with me than in the previous guild. I guess that is to say, I feel like I’ve found my place here quicker and have been enjoying the raids tremendously so far. Hopefully that means I can stay here happily for a long time!

Raids

Speaking of raids, Uldir has been out for a while now and we’ve had the opportunity to poke down some of the bosses there, more specifically we are 68 mythic since yesterday! We had a bit of a surprising stumbling block on Fetid Devourer and one day of somewhat slow reclear—as in, we didn’t reclear in a single day of raiding and needed to continue clearing the next raid day. But despite that, I’d say it’s been going rather well especially our latest catch: Zul.

The Zul fight is a strange one, since it ends up being so short it is quite simple but it seems so confusing on the surface with all the adds going on as well as having to move out of the raid, dispels and then something of a damage race in phase 2 with the AoE on the floor. The fight was really enjoyable though once we started to get it down, since progress was so clear to see and the healing required during the fight was also rather intense, kept me optimizing my cooldown execution at least. The fight also gave me an opportunity to use Divine Star for once, which was a nice change up from Halo since the cooldown is so much lower meaning I have more to do.

Uldir has been really good so far overall once you’re past the first two bosses. I didn’t hugely enjoy Fetid since there is more of a focus on positioning and damage there than healing and execution, but Zek’voz I also enjoyed since it required proper execution of cooldowns on my part for the dances along with playing the dance, eye beam and add mechanics properly. Especially the overlaps with the debuff/eye beam and dance provided some interesting moments in the fight.

Vectis I also found somewhat interesting—especially now that I can play Discipline there—even though it was a somewhat boring fight from an execution standpoint as Holy. Just spamming Binding Heal so that Salvation is ready in time isn’t the most engaging gameplay, but the healing requirement still made the fight interesting. Especially in the intermission where one needs to avoid stacks and still keep ones party topped from the debuff that keeps jumping around.

Discipline

Now I’ve briefly touched on this before but I’ve also really been enjoying Discipline. It plays a bit better in raids than in dungeons since you can better plan for cooldown usage with more predictable damage, but the spec in general plays quite good at the moment I feel and really fits my damage-happy playstyle as well. It wasn’t unusual to see Smite as my most used spell even as Holy, so playing a spec where it actually contributes to my healing as well makes a lot of sense. As noted before as well, Holy just feels so slow with the changes in Battle for Azeroth that Discipline becomes a even more welcome change to me.

World of Warcraft

Holy

I have been playing mostly Discipline since the pre-patch and it has been really nice if a bit new. Not as new as one might think, since I really liked spamming Smite as Holy as well, but it does take some different thinking to play Discipline, especially when preparing cooldowns.

However, now I have had a couple of opportunities where it simply made more sense to play Holy which one would think is great since I loved the spec in Legion—so much so, that I basically didn’t play Discipline at all in Legion even to my detriment at times since it was such a strong spec—unfortunately, Holy just doesn’t play very fun at the moment.

Legendaries

The smallest contributor to this is the lack of legendaries from Legion. Holy didn’t have the most exciting legendaries in Legion, in fact one of the most used ones was just a worse version of Reincarnate from Shamans1. It was however, still a very nice wipe recovery mechanism in raids allowing you to get back to trying the boss again faster in many cases. It also functioned as a powerful cooldown through Spirit of Redemption, since it essentially gave you free rein to heal for a short time with Spirit of Redemption making you invulnerable and giving you infinite mana. It was also a way to use two potions in one fight since death starts your potion cooldown. This made it a very strong utility legendary.

However, the legendary I miss far more and that ties into the next point, are the legendary bracers that reduced the cast time of your primary healing spells while you were over 75% health. These were a mythic+ favourite of mine.

Haste

Now the lack of that legendary along with the tiny amount of haste we have in the beginning of the expansion makes the spec feel extremely slow and sluggish. This will hopefully be fixed to a degree with more gear, but it does give the spec a terrible feel at the moment for someone used to the extremely fast pace at the end of Legion—I had sub one second cast time on some of my primary spells with the legendary bracers, going back to almost a second and a half is a huge change in pacing.

The lack of haste is made even worse since Light of the Naaru is, well, not missing but basically unpickable at the moment which brings me to my next point.

Talents

The talents are kind of terrible though maybe actually a bit better than they were in Legion. We still have Enlightenment/Trail of Light and Binding Heal/Surge of Light to switch between for raids and there is actually a choice between Benediction and Halo depending on the encounter—maybe even Divine Star if people are stacke enough or the damage pattern is correct.

But the problem—though I guess that was the design intent—is really the last row. Now there is actually a cool choice here between Apotheosis and Holy Word: Salvation and they are both nice powerful cooldowns to use though they both have their clear niches—mythic+ and raids respectively. The problem really, is that Light of the Naaru is competing with them and can only win for players that want a really passive playstyle and while it’s cool that the choice exists for such players, it makes the rest of us suffer with a spec that just feels insanely sluggish when compared to Legion which as noted is made worse by the limited haste available at the start and lack of legendaries to speed up casting.

Conclusion

The core mechanic of Holy, the powerful Holy Words is what makes these long cast time and lack of extra cooldown reduction feel so bad. I want to be casting lots so that my fun spells are available again but the time in between just feels extremely drawn out and I feel kind of useless since my spells don’t do much in the meantime. As Discipline, sure I’d like some more haste but I also have a ton of smaller cooldowns I can stagger to do useful things and they aren’t dependant on me casting certain spells to come back within a reasonable time. Those cooldowns are also powerful enough that they give me a more clearly defined role within a raidgroup which means I know I can take it a bit easier when I’m waiting for them to become available again. As Holy I don’t have this luxury since I need to keep casting and using mana in order to have my cooldowns available in time again.

It’s a strange feeling, going from feeling it was almost a necessity to learn Discipline in order to remain competetitive to feeling I much prefer the spec after all these years due to the changes made in Battle for Azeroth to Holy. I guess it was about time for me to change things up a bit though and not be so constrained by my past feelings of the different specs. Now I just hope I don’t have to play Holy too much until the spec starts feeling a bit more fun again.


  1. Worse in the sense that you couldn’t choose when to activate it, it was always activated on death after Spirit of Redemption which at times meant you instantly died again.
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World of Warcraft

Resilient Spellthread

Blizzard added something really cool for tailors in Battle for Azeroth: Resilient Spellthread. It prevents you from being dazed in Kul Tiras and Zandalar, which is a really nice perk to have before flying is active and while outdoor content like world quests and herb farming are the most relevant.

Unfortunately, Resilient Spellthread hasn’t worked for the whole expansion and recently got a silent nerf to the description1 stating it only works while walking and running, not mounted which would be the most useful part.

Permanently embroiders your cloak with resilient spellthread, preventing you from being dazed while in Kul Tiras or Zandalar. Only the tailor’s cloak can be embroidered, and doing so will cause them to become soulbound. – Original text

Permanently embroiders your cloak with resilient spellthread, preventing you from being dazed while running or walking in Kul Tiras or Zandalar. Only the tailor’s cloak can be embroidered, and doing so will cause them to become soulbound. – Updated text

This change has understandably left many tailors somewhat miffed with me among them. Now, tailoring has for a long time been a profession with little long-term usefulness though an expansion like most professions where you primarily craft gear but this just leaves one feeling robbed of something that was clearly inteded to be there and it just kind of seems they couldn’t be bothered fixing.

Now that is possibly unecessarily harsh language; I recongize that software development must have priorities of what gets fixed and in the grand scheme of things one broken utility effect for a profession that the majority of players probably does not have isn’t high on the list. Or maybe it was always inteded to only work while on foot. That does not change the feeling this change leaves behind.

Now there are two other utility spellthreads for tailors, one that decreases threat and another one that decreases falling damage and I am running around with the reduced falling damage for now to at least get some utility out of the profession. However, being immune to daze really was one of the cool things I was looking forward to with tailoring in Battle for Azeroth, and now with that gone and the rarity of Anchor Weed and the despawning nodes which are becoming a meme I am seriously considering switching professions. I have mixed feelings about this since I’ve had the profession for so long but looking at it logically the doubled flask duration of alchemy is the only profession perk that makes any sense at the moment.2

It’s really unfortunate that the other spellthreads feel so lacklustre since we as tailors haven’t really had anything new and useful to craft since the Frostweave Net in Wrath of the Lich King. Now I have been using those rather actively since the extra 3 second root is a nice thing to have, but the tiny amount of utility it brings just does not feel worth the price of keeping the profession around for me.

Now, before someone argues “but you can craft gear!”, that is really low on utility for two reasons. Firstly, it is rather slow with the materials for that gear being timegated by dungeon and later raid lockouts. Secondly, once the raid releases on Wednesday, that gear is completely irrelevant since the raid will drop as good—or better once mythic releases—gear anyway. It might bring some small utility to players who are focusing on the easier tiers of raiding or not raiding at all, but with titanforging I’m not even sure that applies. I’m also ignoring the item level 300 gear since that can be bought and is so low item level anyway as to be completely useless.

In the end, I think I’ll watch out for hotfixes until Tuesday or so hoping this gets fixed, and if not I’ll start leveling alchemy so I have that skilled enough to get the extra hour on flasks before the raid on Wednesday. Might need to do some extra herb farming, so probably good to get at least a days head start on that.


  1. This change is only live in the English client from what I know, at least the German client still clearly states “while riding or running/walking”.
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  2. Engineering does have some fun toys as well, admittedly, but those are rather more niche than the constant gold savings of an extra hour on the flask.
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World of Warcraft

Reputation

So I mentioned some of my frustrations with reputation in Battle for Azeroth in my previous post and I think my feelings might’ve changed somewhat. This I think comes primarily from the vastly different nature of reputation in Battle for Azeroth compared to Legion.

Now, there is still a primary very important faction to get repuation with, this being the Honorboud for the Horde and Seventh Legion for the Alliance since these factions gate a dungeon behind them. What is significantly different from Legion however, is the pure amount of world quests available for these factions along with the speed one gets reputation. In Legion, getting the Suramar dungeons unlocked was something of a significant farm whereas in Battle for Azeroth, I only really started poking at the world quests on Thursday and was done by Sunday or Monday. This significant shortening of the farm naturally leads to it being much less annoying than it was in Legion. This also significantly helps because I think a big source of my frustration with this system came from the uncertainty of me being able to do the dungeon in a timely fashion1 and now once that stress has been lifted I am also less frustrated with the system itself.

There is also another significant factor to this that I did note in my earlier post, specifically having something to do. In the past couple of days I’ve found myself simply doing every single world quest available just from the continued desire to keep playing the game and trying to find something sensible to do within the game and the world quests have presented the perfect outlet for that. This has allowed me to even surpass the required reputation for the dungeon and actually finish the War Campaign, well for now at least. The game and the quests themselves do state that it will be continued2, but this chapter is finished for now. So me being motivated enough to be doing the world quests somewhat unrelated to the rewards they bring kind of negates the whole frustration I might’ve felt with having felt forced to be doing them. Well it isn’t strictly true that I’m doing them regardless of reward, since completing the world quests is bringing me closer to Pathfinder, Part One3 which will allow me to ride faster and eventually be a part of the flying requirements. But the biggest stopper on that achievement will be the Champions of Azeroth which have a very limited amount of world quests available anyway that I would definitely be doing every day so it isn’t really getting me the achievement any faster.

In the end, this is kind of a long way of saying I was stressing out and worrying about things that ended up being fine in the end. Though there is somewhat of a sad end to the story after all: we’ll have to look for one additional player in order to complete Siege of Boralus in the first reset, since one of us hasn’t been doing barely any world quests and is unfortunately not going to have the required reputation in order to participate. It is an unfortunate situation but considering the requirements were known we can’t really blame the game for it but it still feels bad that he can’t experience the dungeon with us.


  1. Specifically, being able to do the dungeon in the first reset it is possible to do it and consequently not feeling left behind.
    [return]
  2. There’s even a literal “To be continued” marker in the quest log in the War Campaign box.
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  3. As an complete aside, I usually use Wowhead since I play with the German client and WoWDB only seems to support English from what I can tell, but Wowhead was down while I was writing this post and I consequently decided to link to WoWDB. Funny how that can work, huh?
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World of Warcraft

Battle for Azeroth

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.

Reputation

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.

Azerite armour

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.

Conclusion

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.


  1. This is from a healer point of view, specifically Discipline.
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World of Warcraft

Pre-Patch

The pre-patch has been out for almost a week now and so far it is actually feeling rather good despite all the scaling issues and bugs.

It has been really nice to be able to do some mythic+ again since there is something of a renewed interest for that type of content, primarly due to everyone needing to learn their classes and specs again. It has also given me the opportunity to start poking at Discipline properly which has been a nice change of pace—especially since Holy seems to feel rather similiar to before except I now have on more big cooldown, and that is one really big cooldown potentially one of the strongest healing cooldowns available at the moment. That has been especially nice since unfortunately cooldown wise Holy was very weak during Legion so it is nice to see a bit more utility in that sense being available. I’m still not quite sure how to properly manage getting that cooldown reset though, there have been murmurings of it being doable in 3-4 minutes but I can’t seem to reach that, maybe the circumstances that are being assumed just haven’t been available in raids so far.

Discipline has also been really nice to play, so far only in mythic+ and nothing particularily high, I think the highest key was a Arcway+21. But it has been nice getting a feel for Discipline and I think it plays a bit better now without Plea since the descision what to cast feels a bit more straightforward. Having played my Restoration Druid twink I think also helped a lot with getting started as Discipline, since I had gotten used to the playstyle of being prepared for damage ahead of time instead of simply reacting to it as I can rather easily do most of the time as Holy.

Unfortunately I haven’t yet taken the chance to play my Druid, but that somehow feels a bit less interesting now that I also have Discipline to learn and as such something new and interesting to do with my main. I did however get to tank a couple of dungeons with my Warrior and it went reasonably well though the changes there were felt a lot harder especially when it comes to the global cooldown. Ignore Pain, in other words my primary damage mitigation mechanic, being on the global cooldown was a rather frustating experience. It wasn’t really helped along by Devastator and the talent that gives you rage through Demoralizing Shout now sharing a tier, since I was used to the rage gains of both I felt a lot less survivable than before which is a feat considering Warrior tanks were rather easy to bring down. This unfortunately lead to me not enjoying tanking with the Warrior as much anymore, which is unfortunate since it has been nice to have an Alliance character I could play with from time to time along with being able to tank. Having a feel for both the healing and tanking aspects in dungeons I feel really helps me in becoming a better healer and being able to better predict the damage the tank should be taking, which will of course become even more important if I plan on playing Druid or Discipline more since those are both rather reliant on being able to predict incoming damage. It was only a short test so far though, and I definitely want to try the Warrior a bit more but the initial impression was unfortunately not that good.

The pre-patch also has me really looking forward to Battle for Azeroth now since that’s when the specs will be really fleshed out with the Azerite traits. Also that is probably when I get the chance to start raiding a bit as Discipline once I have some more experience playing the spec, which I’m looking forward to a surprising amount considering I barely played the spec during Legion. I’m even considering deviating from my normal leveling routine and going Discipline for leveling instead of Holy, since that would probably be more useful with the DoTs available though I’m not sure how much that will matter since we’ll be leveling in a group anyway meaning my damage shouldn’t be of consequence.

All-in-all though, the pre-patch was really reinvigorating and has given me and my friends renewed motivation to play the game which was sorely needed and now we can start preparing for the launch of Battle for Azeroth!

World of Warcraft

Pre-patch, druids and guilds

There’s actually a surprising amount going on lately, much of which I haven’t written here about. To be fair some of that stuff is fairly recent, like the recent confirmation that the pre-patch is coming next week which is something of a big incoming change that I feel didn’t have a lot of official notice. I mean, it’s already Friday as we learned, which means that the patch is coming in less than a week. That feels like really short notice for something that so significantly changes the game. To be fair, it was somewhat foreshadowed with them saying the PVP season will end soon and with it being four weeks before the expansion launch, it can’t end up being much later.

Pre-patch

So let’s talk about the pre-patch a bit more in detail. I’m excited to see it coming even though I am miffed about some of the changes, since that will be the first feel for many of how Battle for Azeroth will play out. Now I have been poking a tiny bit at the beta myself, but a lot of people don’t have access to that. Of course we will be missing the new artifact along with the azerite armor, but all of the skill changes along with the loss of our artifact weapon are coming with the pre-patch. This will give a good opportunity for people—me included—to familiarize themselves with the class changes in preparation for Battle for Azeroth. I’m also kind of excited since this means I’ll be able to raid with the new talents and so on, and while those aren’t balanced around 110 content it’ll still give some indication how the end-game will feel like.

It’s also a good opportunity for me to maybe start taking some bigger pokes at Discipline, a spec I’ve so far pretty much completely avoided playing. I’m not conviced I’ll hugely enjoy playing Discipline but with the level of raiding I seem to be going to do with Battle for Azeroth it feels it makes sense at least being familiar with my second healing spec even if it’s not my first choice. I just hope that doesn’t end up with me pidgeonholed into playing Discipline the whole time.

There is one change that makes me sligthly miffed about the pre-patch coming though, namely the removal of master loot. Now I’m not sure I’m a huge fan of this change in general but it seems to be one we have to live with. But why it specifically bothers me, is that we are still in the process of trying to get the mount from Argus to players who participated or were in the guild during progress and have received some new recruits along with promotions to raider since then. This change now means that some of our raiders who contributed to the boss actually being downed might end up being out of luck and some person we aren’t even sure we want to keep in the guild might end up getting it. This is one of those situations I feel makes it a big mistake for Blizzard to force this change upon guilds.

Druids

Or rather, one specific druid, namely my twink. So a month or so ago by now I ended up boosting a druid for myself to 110 in order to have something to play for our planned split-raids. We are going to be doing split-raids to be able to get everyone the mount in time before the launch of Battle for Azeroth. Now as mentioned above we’ll have to see how that turns out with the loot change, but hopefully it all ends well.

Playing a druid has been an interesting experience so far and has given me a somewhat new found appreciation of why they were so popular for mythic+ during Legion and that reason is rather simple: I’m already surviving abilities without cooldowns that my priest would die to without cooldowns. I mean minor cooldows or trinkets, sure, but priests don’t have very many of those to go around especially if one gets unlucky and Desperate Prayer decides not to reset its cooldown. This really makes me hope they get the balancing around not only throughput but survivability and utility down much better in Battle for Azeroth since it kind of sucks being somewhat excluded from a major part of the game that is my favourite part of the game along with raiding. Mythic+ is probably one of the big things that has made me play and kept me subscribed throughout Legion and seeing first-hand how broken the balance is makes me somewhat frustrated. It might even end up with me making my druid my “mythic+ main” which would be a really sad turn of events. I’m also not sure how viable that strategy is with the changes to the druid talents which I feel makes healing mythic+ as a druid significantly harder, though I have no actual experience of those changes yet.

Guilds

Now there is one final strange thing that actually happened just a few days ago: I ended up being contacted by one of the guilds I applied to way back when. Now this puts me in a rather interesting situation, since I wasn’t really looking to change guilds and I kind of hate doing it. It is with some sadness I counted that this would be my fifth guild change during Legion which feels like a ton. Now two of those were leaving at the time basically dead guilds which is of course justified and a third was due to some rather heavy disagreement with the leadership of some decision being taken—I also wasn’t the only person leaving. So while it is all rather justifiable and it is a game after all where the primary purpose is to enjoy one’s time which does mean being in a group one enjoys playing with and has similar goals, it still feels somewhat wrong for that number to be ending up so high.

At the same time, I had hoped for this outcome since I know some people in the guild and would be very happy to be able to raid with those people again. This is why I made the decision to at least go forward by expressing interest in their offer. Nothing is final yet and they still have some internal discussion to do along with probably a interview with me to do assuming everything goes well, but I’m feeling really good about the direction this all is going in. It’s also something of a win-win scenario for me, since even if they don’t end up taking me in I’m rather happy where I am now and having to think about this potential change of guilds has really solified that feeling for me since I have at times been unsure how well I like the guild and now I feel certain that I enjoy raiding here and will be happy with either outcome—changing guilds or staying put—and that is obviously a rather good position to be in.

World of Warcraft

Streaming

Somehow it’s been a while again, but that’s probably because it feels like not a lot has happened though that might not be quite true. I’ve picked up streaming as a fun little thing to do, still expanding on it and not quite sure where exactly I want to go but so far it’s been fun though also frustrating at times since I’m so directionless. This has also led to me being somewhat motivated by statistics, which while they seem decent on the surface since I know many awesome people that want to support me also show that the stream isn’t really interesting people since they don’t stay or follow so I’m left wondering what I can do to improve there. But I guess time and experimentation will bring me somewhere, hopefully.

Streaming is also a really different experience from writing this, since firstly it’s all real time and secondly I have those statistics available. For this blog, I’ve made the decision to not really promote or link it anywhere which naturally restricts the amount of people coming in. I also have no analytics running so I have no idea if people are reading anything I write combined with no comments. That makes it a very “putting something out into the void” experience, which is distinctly different from streaming though is the approach I took when starting the stream—since then I’ve expanded to people actually being able to hear me on stream along with whatever VOIP we happen to be using at the time, usually Discord but Teamspeak at times as well.

I think that history might be what also confuses me about what I want from streaming, I know I like playing around with technology and streams and video production and so on are exactly that which makes it enjoyable to me so the whole “putting it out into the void” approach should be appealing in and of itself. I also don’t believe I want to start with streaming as any sort of primary income, since it seems it requires quite a different personality from what I have along with requiring quite a lot of dedication even on days one isn’t really feeling like it. Simultaneosly as stated, I notice myself focusing on and following the metrics and give at least some thought to how I can improve the stream for viewers and hopefully gain some more followers potentially leading to me being able to be partnered on Twitch which would be kind of cool—50 followers being the last milestone I’m missing there. I guess this is where the whole networking thing would come in, getting to know other streamers and getting hosts and so on but that’s also not something I particularily enjoy doing. This has led to me just hoping the random people stopping by due to the viewer count end up liking it and following and that isn’t working very well so far. Maybe it will work better in the future, since viewers tend to bring in more viewers in kind of a positive feedback loop, but for now people don’t stay or follow.

It could also just be down to setup or content of course, I got some reports that apparently the VOIP was really loud at times, so hopefully I can fix that and make it all more even—that should actually be a somewhat easy thing to fix so maybe I need to get on that since I basically know exactly what to do.

I do think I’ll keep streaming though, some of my friends seem to rather enjoy being able to look at what we’re doing even though it’s content they themselves don’t want or can’t participate in at the moment so it is providing a service to them at least. And somehow it feels a bit fun having it running in the background, just from a tech enthusiast point of view as well.

World of Warcraft

Leveling bug

Somehow, it has been a while since I’ve decided to write something which feels slightly strange. It is partially due to not much happening I think, mythic+ was really quiet last week for some reason with barely any runs going on. We did take a poke at a Lower Karazhan +26 but unfortunately decided not to even finish it much less do it in time. That was also Tuesday evening so we did not get a chance to go on and try the +25 at a later date which I find slightly unfortunate—though it would’ve proved rather difficult with Moroes and grievous which is an especially painful combination even without tyrannical.

What has been happening, strangely enough, is some more leveling. I actually have two character’s I’ve been leveling a bit, namely a Highmountain Shaman and a Nightborne Warlock—mostly just so I have the appearances unlocked in case I want to play one of those races.

It has been going decently, getting to Karazhan again was really nice since that’s just such an amazing spurt though it does make normal leveling thereafter that much more difficult. I honestly don’t know how I feel about the classes yet—I probably won’t play the warlock much after leveling because I tend to not like playing as a damage dealer and that is the only choice as warlock but for leveling alone Affliction has been rather nice so far and it goes at a decent pace but then I’m only in Classic zones at the moment which are rather a lot easier than the later zones.

The shaman, on the other hand, feels really slow at the moment both as restoration and elemental. It just feels like the casts take forever and they don’t feel overly impactful. This might be a case of poor gear which is understandable while leveling especially since we’ve used some more unusual methods that don’t provide much relevant gear. But we’re about to start with Legion zones—specifically the invasions—which should provide a rather nice boost of experience and hopefully a bit of gear as well.

Speaking of unusual methods, we did some more experimenting this time around specifically going into Firelands and trying some of the trash there. It wasn’t something I would recommend since the packs there didn’t give overly much experience and were actually rather hard to kill even though we went in there more overleveled than Karazhan—72-73 into Karazhan, 90-91 into Firelands. Though the turtles there did give a rather big chunk of experience, almost 3000 each and they were also much easier to kill than the other packs. Unfortunately, there aren’t overly many of them so the instance limit will be the biggest blocker along with how much one will need to move. But Tol’vir is around those levels anyway and much more lucrative so I would suggest going there until 91 or so and after that just doing treasures and bonus objectives in Draenor—that seems to be the quickest route.

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Alt Mythic+

So we actually managed to get some mythic+ “pushing” done with our new alts, we didn’t get spectacularily far yet but still up to a +10. Unfortunately we ended up depleting that one due to one of us having disconnects which made some of the bosses take a long while to kill. Despite that it was quite a lot of fun which probably surprises nobody I think—after all, mythic+ is still enjoyable and getting some of the challenge back in the lower keystone levels due to actually being geared appropriately for them rather than horrendously overgeared unsurprisingly led to those dungeons being fun again. That along with the new perspective of another class.

It has also been interesting to see people playing those new classes and how quickly and well they end up adapting to them classes. I think all of us are adapting somewhat quickly though I still feel I do a terrible job at playing a Death Knight with some real newbie mistakes in Neltharion’s Lair on the last boss for example. This was primarily due to me being somewhat overwhelmed with trying to remember a new set of keybindings while juggling a new-to-me mechanic—gripping mobs—along with proper positioning of the boss. With that triple threat I ended up positioning the boss poorly at times. I also ended up somewhat confused as to what exactly counts as active mitigation for a Death Knight since I had been assuming just having Bone Shield stacks up would be enough but that was not the case. This confusion added a certain incapability to concentrate.

At the same time, that confusion is the exact reason why we decided to go the route of doing this “pushing” on our alts since it allows us to iron out such mistakes and not make them in the future and as such helps us learn our classes better in the appropriate environment. We already had one instance where our tank in a somewhat high Black Rook Hold key either wasn’t aware of what active mitigation was for Death Knights or just the necessity to keep it up for the Shear on Illysana which felt somewhat awkward later on. This demonstrates rather well that there are some things that Blizzard could be a lot better about signaling—specifically what exactly counts as active mitigation and possibly even more strongly showing those requirements in the Dungeon Journal though it is usually noted in the ability text but maybe a custom icon like there is for interrupts would be good as well?

Beyond that though, it has been a good experience so far and I’m slowly coming to terms with how the Death Knight tank works, how much I can handle and what I survive which is good. There has been one small oddity though: none of us has gotten a legendary so far. With the amount of mythic+ and what not done along with some of us having a weekly chest as well it feels somewhat surprising that the bad-luck-protection hasn’t kicked in yet and given us a legendary. That is of course something of a limiting factor on our ability to progress forward in mythic+ as legendaries—especially at this item level—are a significant boost. Even a bad legendary would be a big upgrade over the gear we are using at the moment. Here’s hoping we start seeing them roll in soon, and hopefully we end up getting some of the decent ones and not the useless ones. But that will be for the coming weeks I think, not sure how much more time we’ll have this week along with not having done so much mythic+ on our mains yet.

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Leveling complete

So I managed to reach 110 with my Death Knight on Tuesday, which was before the reset meaning I had a nice 960 item waiting for me in my Order Hall today since we also managed to do a quick +15 key for me and the other level 110 in our leveling group. Unfortunately, I got a ring which feels like it would be a somewhat small upgrade compared to one of the major slots like chest or legs but was still nice, I believe the stats are at least decent as well though I do need to poke into Blood Death Knights a bit more in order to confirm that. To be fair, I already have a 950 chest I got from the weekly for doing four mythic dungeons, so maybe a ring wasn’t that unlucky.

Unfortunately, two out of four in our leveling group of four did not manage to get to 110 in time, hopefully, today or tomorrow at the latest so we can get to doing some dungeons. We have been planning to do some lowbie dungeons, potentially starting with running just plain mythic dungeons for gear and then mythic+ afterward. Might end up starting with mythic+ immediately since it’s so easy to get gear at this point, especially with I believe most of us have some of those Argus tokens stacked up somewhere.

Beyond that, there was something of a nice surprise this week—even though I had heard rumblings about it earlier—with the second mythic+ affix being changed from necrotic to volcanic. That will make this week quite a lot more manageable than before even though trash will still remain relatively painful with teeming and tyrannical is generally quite a huge spike in the general difficulty—much bigger than fortified. Still, I think it should be a pretty nice week for getting started with the new characters since fortified doesn’t become a big problem until higher keystones and all of the other affixes are quite manageable.

For now, though I’m just happy to be done with leveling for now because while it was fun doing it in a group the last few levels were a bit annoying since we decided to split up which led to me having to level alone a bit which isn’t the most engaging thing as a tank. Overall the leveling experience was rather educational since we ended up doing some more unorthodox tactics that I was unaware of—namely trash farming in Karazhan and Tol’vir. This was possible thanks to the buff given from out-leveling content intended to make old raids and whatnot still soloable with the stat squish that came in Warlords.

It worked strangely well in those two places, other dungeons and raids not so much. We did try some of the Wrath of the Lich King raids but unfortunately, those were not worth farming as they always presented some sort of problem—examples being the debuff that heals mobs when dealing damage in the Obsidian Sanctum or just how plain hard the trash was in Ruby Sanctum. Naxxramas and Icecrown just didn’t seem worth it on the basis of experience gained. We didn’t really end up trying the Cataclysm raids since we already had Tol’vir available and that worked rather well.

Finally with Warlords we—though I suppose this is more common knowledge—farmed the treasures and bonus objectives of the zones rather than questing. They went rather quickly once everyone was the appropriate level—we tried starting already at 88-89 but we couldn’t loot the treasure and the mobs were already rather dangerous—and were rather easy sailing, would definitely recommend for people planning to level especially in a group since the bonus objectives are so quick to complete. Having a group and being on voice comms also helps quite a lot with the boredom that can creep in while doing such farm focused tasks which is also nice—I’m not sure I would’ve done this whole leveling adventure if I was alone, I probably wouldn’t even have started it.

Now I guess I just need to wait for everyone to get to 110 and then we can start doing some dungeons which I’m really looking forward to—get to properly tank a bit again.

World of Warcraft

Leveling

Last weekend I actually ended up doing a bit of leveling again, which even though quite a bit slower now with the changes in 7.3.5 was surprisingly fun, just running through dungeons with friends. Didn’t really do any questing except for the odd dungeon quest which tends to be my preferred way of leveling since group content is much more fun than solo.

What was more surprising however, was how big the changes to dungeon leveling actually ended up being, not having tried them myself since the patch. One truly does need to pull quite calmly, at least once we started getting into Burning Crusade/Wrath of the Lich King-content. Part of that however might be how unused I am to playing a Blood Death Knight, not having tanked with a Death Knight since Wrath of the Lich King and back then not as Blood but rather Unholy. It feels strange compared to a Warrior and at times rather frustrating as I’m not quite sure yet how to manage my runes and runic power yet in order to ease the job of the healer as much as possible. I also keep forgetting some of my abilities, which certainly isn’t helping but that’s what leveling is for—learning the class and its abilities—though at times it frustrating not having core abilities in dungeons—for example, I had to do the first few dungeons without being able to interrupt which feels like a bit of a pacing issue. I know that’s primarily an issue with Death Knights due to them starting at a higher level and consequently having a somewhat different pacing to their abilities, but something so core missing at such a level when the dungeons are already expecting interrupts to be available feels a bit iffy.

Despite that, leveling has been fun and I think one of the big contributors to that has been being able to tank a bit more again. Dungeon tanking remains really fun even though I’m not as convinced by raid or mythic+ tanking—mythic+ tanking just feels to focused on managing silly pulls and kiting the mobs which doesn’t feel like tanking as much especially during weeks like this one with necrotic. Managing necrotic stacks does obviously increase the difficulty of tanking but the amount one can do alone feels limited at times though I guess that’s the point—dungeons being a team effort and all.

Still mythic+ at least on the higher levels feels much more gimmicky than standard dungeons.

I am still looking forward to be able to do some mythic+ once we finish leveling though, since getting a better perspective as a tank will probably help my healing as well especially with learning when to expect big incoming damage on the tank and big abilities from trash and what not. I’ve already done much of that learning but still get surprised by new knowledge at times.

It will also be good to get a better feel of the damage patterns and cooldowns of a Death Knight tank since with me not having played one since Wrath of the Lich King I don’t have that good of an idea of what abilities they have available and what they exactly can do to mitigate damage—I know they are extremely durable and probably the best choice for most higher end mythic+ content with exceptions in certain dungeons perhaps but beyond that not much. So that will certainly be a useful learning experience. I guess I really should have all tanks at max level to have a better idea to heal them.

Hm, maybe that’ll end up being my next project? It’s a bit more quiet with the expansion looming anyway even though mythic+ pushing is still really fun, so might be some time over to level. I’m not convinced I’m interested in playing all the tanks however with druids seeming the least interesting primarily due to being stuck in bear form and as such not being able to see the gear and consequently transmogs. The new artifact forms do counteract that a bit but I’m not sure quite enough for me—there’s just something about being able to create one’s own transmog set and the personalisation that comes through that. Monk tank doesn’t seem that appealing mechanics-weise either but I guess I need to actually try it first. I do have monk sitting around somewhere, so wouldn’t even need to level from level one which is nice.

Will have to give it some though, first things first I need to get this Death Knight to max level and next week looks a bit more promising for mythic+ so that might end up taking a while.

World of Warcraft

The Week

So this past week—WoW wise at least—has been rather nice. We managed to reclear in decent if not good time—two days instead of the one day we managed two weeks ago. This was in nice contrast to last week where we actually ended up not clearing, primarily I suppose because people are quickly losing their motivation—also, our raid leader wasn’t present, but one person really shouldn’t make that difference. This might happen next week again, if we raid at all since the sign-ups are rather weak so far.

But beyond that, there has been a lot of decently successful mythic+ going on especially considering it’s a tyrannical week. We managed to play several high-ish keys and even do some improvements on previous keys which feels a bit surprising, though todays tries in Seat of the Triumvirate were unfortunately very unsuccessful. The first two the tank just couldn’t manage the first boss—I suppose I learned my lesson there in being pickier with which tank to pick—and in the third run we unfortunately had one player disconnect at the third boss which killed any chance of completing it. It was rather close and might even have been possible to do in time, which makes it extra unfortunate.

I’m hoping we can carry this momentum forward tomorrow and keep pushing keys, though next week I feel is rather less appealing than this one even with tyrannical gone since we’ll have: teeming, quaking and fortified. Teeming and fortified will make the trash annoying to deal with, especially in places like Maw of Souls or Halls of Valor which have bad trash to begin with and quaking can make some bosses much harder to play since it will keep breaking the Prydaz shield which is necessary to survive some big hits—examples being Lady Hatecoil in Eye of Azshara as well as General Xakal in the Arcway. Both of those bosses have big AoE hits that Prydaz can help with dealing, but unfortunately the quaking damage is more than the Prydaz shield meaning one will probably not have the shield up when the hit comes. Especially since quaking hits more often than Prydaz refreshes.

Which means it unfortunately looks like there might not be a significant amount of pushing going on until three resets from now, when we get fortified again along with bolstering and skittish. Sure, those both make trash take longer but they’re a lot better than what we have in between. I’m still looking forward to doing more mythic+ though. I’d also like to play some more Magicka—there’s been a distinct lack of that with Easter and what not, will have to see about remedying that as soon as possible maybe even tonight still depending on who’s online.

World of Warcraft

Personal Loot

In the recent Q&A, there was some talk of Blizzard considering removing the option for (Guild) Master Loot in current content raids with the release of Battle for Azeroth. And I’m still somewhat undecided on the matter though leaning towards it being a negative change.

On one hand, I can kind of see and agree with the argument being made—Master Loot was primarily used to allow people to complete their tier sets—but on the other hand Master Loot was used for more than just that. It also enables the guild to distribute gear according to need, based on for example secondary stats or usefulness of certain procs, these things being especially important for trinkets, rings and necklaces the moment.

Additionally, even with sets being gone, there will still be the Azerite bonuses on armor that will probably mean that different pieces are better for certain classes. To be fair, the Azerite pieces specifically will be a smaller problem since they can’t titanforge, but especially early on in the raid it might be still frustrating to see pieces that are an item level upgrade go to classes that might not choose to wear them due to the bonuses.

I also to a degree fail to see the benefit this change is supposed to bring. One might argue that on average it will be more fair, since everyone has an equal chance for loot but at the same time maybe that loot isn’t an upgrade and one still can’t give it away due to item level and that is simply frustrating as it’s the same as the boss having simply dropped gold. Maybe it reduces the administrative burden of leading raids a bit and the time required for loot, and even then I feel more time has generally gone to trading loot acquired through personal loot than has been neede for Master Loot.

So the whole situation at the moment just kind of feels like either an unecessary simplification or trying to reduce split runs which is only a concern for a very small number of guilds and then directly harms others.

I am hoping time proves me wrong on this one and it won’t be the end of the world even if not, but it still just feels kind of bad at the moment.

World of Warcraft

Time flies

They say time flies when you’re having fun and the last few weeks have gone by rather quickly. As mentioned briefly, Argus is down. Now this is a few weeks ago and I have my kill by now as well along with my trial being over in the guild apparently. That was a bit of a surprise, since I just kind of ended up being promoted without any feedback or discussion or the like but nice nonetheless.

The Argus fight in itself was fairly trivial at this point though I did do a few silly mistakes. There’s only really one difficult part in the last phase if one gets the wrong debuff, aside from that it seems to be basically: stay with the group unless you have bomb/debuff in which case out of the group. Sure there is a bit more nuance than that and Argus isn’t an easy boss, but it still felt fairly straightforward—which gives me much better understanding for some of the people in the guild who are kind of done with the boss since I’m guessing they were rather tired of wiping on other people’s mistakes. Though that is something that happens with every difficult boss and we actually managed the kill with relatively few wipes, 225 or so.

Now I’m just curious to see how they continue with the setups, since I believe only three healers need anything from Argus if they decide to keep taking four healers along or go with three from now on for farm as well.

When it comes to downing bosses, there has obviously been some other “progress” for me as well since the last boss I mentioned progressing on was Kin’garoth. So far the Coven of Shivarra still stands for me, but Kin’garoth, Varimathras and Aggramar have been downed—along with Argus as mentioned. The Kin’garoth fight was about as straightforward as it felt in progress, it’s still error prone with the bombs but other than that straightforward.

Varimathras is almost the same as heroic, just that one has an escort when one goes out with the Necrotic Embrace and there’s a need for keeping proper distances due to this. Also there’s an add that needs to be focused quickly. The fight remains a pure mechanics check, similar to the Maiden in Tomb of Sargeras.

Aggramar, well, just felt like more damage. Sure the big cleave needs to be soaked as two camps as it applies a debuff increasing the damage taken from it, and there spawn some more adds. But the intermissions remain the only difficult phase healerwise and beyond that it’s just add control. Which is fragile yes, and takes time to learn but doesn’t apply to me as a healer much. Though I did get to help a bit with kicking the adds back, which was fun.

Aside from raids, I have also gotten into doing some mythic+ a bit more regularily again which has been really nice. It feels good to be pushing for higher keys again and being challenged—though this week hasn’t gone quite according to plan with more depletions than I’d have thought. But no matter, it has been too much fun anyway to care too much about that. I think I’m slowly managing to get rid of the stress to perform I have been feeling at times which has prevented me from enjoying aspects of the game I tend to enjoy the most.

With that said, I’m actually hoping I manage to play the key I have still, though time is quickly running out and finding decent people for a key this late might be a challenge. But should still be manageable, if not then not the end of the world either.

Overall, good times at the moment. I’m really looking forward to actually participating in progress when Battle for Azeroth comes out, hopefully there will be many opportunities for that.

World of Warcraft

Classic servers

Classic servers were announced a long while ago at BlizzCon along with the Battle for Azeroth announcment. But I think that slowly my thoughts on them are starting to crystallize as someone who played on a private Classic server.

In the end I’ll probably check Legion out as well, though as usual it’ll probably be mostly to see the leveling experience and checking out the dungeons a few times. Sure, maybe I’ll poke my head in to LFR as well, but eh, it doesn’t really seem all that interesting. Might as well watch some of the livestreams for that.

Me, 2015

How little I knew at the time.

Are Classic servers a good idea?

I think so, yes. There’s clearly quite a lot of pent up demand from them considering how much the community has been clamoring for them for a long time. Also considering that new private Classic servers keep popping up as old ones get closed clearly shows it’s something people are willing to work on to keep alive and something people want to play.

They also provide an outlet for people who love World of Warcraft and want to keep playing it, but have gotten tired of the current content or mechanics. Being able to play the original form might very well re-ignite their love for the game—looking at the quote above, that’s certainly what it did for me. Playing Classic on Nostalrius was what made me have another proper go at Warlords of Draenor and actually try to like it and learn the new mechanics. Here we are a couple of years later with Legion accounting for something like half of my /played on my main that I’ve had since Classic.

Sure that’s also down to Legion being a really good expansion and the people I’ve met while playing, but without Nostalrius and being able to play something I know I love I’m not sure I’d given Legion (and Warlords) the same chance.

What could go wrong?

The implementation. This is something Blizzard is extremely aware off, but it might still go wrong. The question is: what, if anything, do you change? Now with StarCraft: Remastered, they changed a few things: the lobby system for multiplayer (from what I know) is now integrated with the new Battle.net, Battle.net friends are now to a degree accessible in-game through whispers and the like, and finally the big obvious thing: the graphics.

Now the graphics along with better resolution support were the obvious change that people wanted with SC:R and that’s what they got and from what I know people are quite happy with that. With WoW however, the situation might be different since we have already gotten new textures and character models with expansions and they are not universally loved and would quite significantly alter the feel of the game. Resolution support is already up to par from what I know, since WoW is a 3D game anyway so resolution restrictions aren’t a thing in the same extent as with a sprite-based game. I personally would hope for updated textures in higher resolution with no model changes.

Another innocent seeming change might be Battle.net integration, I mean who wouldn’t want to be able to talk to their friends? At the same time, that was unavailable in Classic and actually really encouraged server communities. And if we have Battle.net, do we get cross-server group support? While it is a really nice feature to have, it does erode the importance of the server and the reputation one can build there. So seemingly innocent changes can come with big consequences for the feel of the game which makes the whole thing something of a mine-field which is probably why it has taken Blizzard so long to start working on this. I would like Battle.net integration in order to be able to keep chatting with people who aren’t necessarily playing on a Classic server but any cross-realm features beyond that I don’t think fit.

Then we come to the less innocent changes, like LFD and LFR. Both of those seem like a somewhat obvious “no way” to me, but at the same time they might be something people expect. And what about the LFG-tool, does that belong in the same category? It’s a lot more convenient than spamming chat channels but it also doesn’t allow for the same kind of spontaneous activity. Most of my dungeon runs in Classic came from chilling in a city and seeing some group going somewhere looking for more and me just deciding to join. That doesn’t really happen with the LFG-tool in the same way as I have to actively open the tool and decide what I’m looking for (the category if nothing else). I don’t really see a place for any of these tools on a Classic server, but we’ll see what Blizzard comes up with along with the community.

Am I going to play on a Classic server?

Now for the real question. I think the short of it is: no. That comes with some caveats however—am I going to at least try a Classic server? Yes, almost definitely. However I do not see myself playing on a Classic server long term at the moment as playing two MMOs at the same is just a huge time investment and I have kind of done most of the things I wanted to achieve in Classic.

Sure, there are things I never did that would be nice to achieve—like clearing the Temple of Ahn’Qiraj and Naxxramas—however the path to those things would include doing all of the content I’ve done which would require regular raiding which depends on a guild. And I’m really enjoying only having three raid-days at the moment, introducing another guild with more raid-days is not really something I’m planning on. Now if the Classic servers get released at the end-lull of Battle for Azeroth where I only have one day a week of farm left, that might change. But I highly doubt Classic servers would take priority over the current expansion servers for me which would make it difficulty to do the content I’m interested in and enjoy.

Unless maybe I decide I hate the current direction of the game and decide to go back to something old and familiar again, but I hope I have grown past that and that I can be a bit less stubborn these days. Sometimes being stubborn is good, but when it’s preventing one from enjoying something one wants to enjoy it’s not very helpful.

Anyway, I’m really looking forward to seeing how Classic servers turn out and at least taking them for a spin—I’ll let future-me be the final judge and keep an open mind for now.

World of Warcraft

Listening to the sounds of progress

The first week of raiding with the new guild has come and gone, though there wasn’t all that much raiding in it for me. I participated in the farm up to and including Kin’garoth, meaning one new official kill for me. After that however, I got to sit out. Not necessarily surprising since they would have been new bosses for me and presumably they wanted to finish the farm quickly in order to get back to progressing on Argus—but nonetheless slightly disappointing. In good news they seemed to like my play so the decision wasn’t motivated by bad performance. I was out for the rest of the week as well which was to be expected with Argus progress going on and us running only three healers. Which meant that for the rest of the reset I was mostly following the progress through either streams, Teamspeak or both. And now it seems that will continue for this reset since we have extended the ID. I’m hoping they kill the boss soon since it sounds like some people in the raid are getting very frustrated with the progress.

In other news I suppose, slowly getting back into doing some mythic+ with one guildie, so far no more of a steady group than that and not many intersting keys but it has been fun. I think I might just end up reorienting my expectations regarding mythic+ since lately I’m feeling my desire to play higher keys is preventing me from actually enjoying the keys I am doing as much as I should. This I think goes for raiding as well, I’ve taken on an undue amount of stress from a desire to perform and participate that has led to great frustration with not being able to and that is frankly unecessary. So I’ll keep working towards my goals but try to readjust my attitude regarding the present since I think I’ve done the old mistake of comparing myself to others to much and becoming disappointed with what I have even though it is pretty great and when I am doing stuff I’m enjoying it greatly. So now just to look forward to some more mythic+ hopefully in the near future again and enjoy the sounds of raiding if not the experience of raiding.

Speaking of things that are great, I came to a surprising conclusion lately: I am actually really enjoying being Horde. I had rather expected to miss being a Night Elf a lot but aside from the few moments where I really want to Shadowmeld I’m actually really enjoying playing a Blood Elf. Maybe it’s just the variation after all these years, but it has been oddly enjoyable. I’m still learning proper use of the Blood Elf racial for mythic+ though that is slightly difficult running which such uncoordinated groups. Since it has a long cooldown using it at the right moment is rather critical, but when it gets followed up by a stun or another player using a silence the effect that it has is somewhat diminished. But that will come with time I’m sure, though I’m not so sure how much more time there is since there was some indication in a recent Q&A about the racial potentially being a bit too powerful which could mean changes. That’s for the future though, for now I’m enjoying where I am and actually looking forward to getting started with Battle for Azeroth when the time comes, I think I’ve found a good place to do that if they’ll have me.

World of Warcraft

Guild acquired

Today, I transfered. New server, new faction, new guild. I have a lot of things to get used to. Haven’t really had the time to do anything with the guild yet—the next raid is on Sunday but I have no idea if they’ll be taking me. Not too many sign-ups so far, but I have no idea about peoples’ roles. In addition to that, I need to start reading up on some bosses as they are a bit farther in progress than the previous guild—which was the whole point: finding a guild who does progress at a more reasonable pace. But it does mean there is a whole lot of learning that needs to be one in a short amount of time.

The biggest thing to get used to though will definitely be the new faction: Horde. I have at times been Horde before, my first character was an Orc even. But I’ve always felt most at home with the Night Elves, which are Alliance. I did opt to stay an elf—this time of the Blood variety—which should hopefully lessen the blow, even though the two races are quite distinct. Unfortunately the Allied Races aren’t available yet, as the Nightborn might have made a good compromise though even that wouldn’t have allowed me to keep Shadowmeld, which is easily one of my favourite racial abilities. Shadowmeld is just so damnably useful, it can be used in mythic+ for trash to sneak a ressurect, to reset a boss when one is the last person alive or just to drop out of combat in the world when the “combat bug” rears its head again. At the same time—for pure performance in progress and utility in mythic+—the Blood Elven racial Arcane Torrent is probably more useful in more situations. But I care more about aesthetics and feel than pure performance, and in those categories there’s nothing that competes with Night Elves for me—Nightborne would just be crude imitations as the feel of the races are extremely different.

Beyond that, I am also leaving someone rather dear behind in my old guild and while we still will be able to chat not having our mains on the same faction will be a blow—he does have alts on Horde but it’s just not the same, especially after playing in the same guild for so long. The virtual closeness can be surprisingly important, especially since he physical closeness isn’t there due to distance.

In good news, I’m not alone on Horde. Two good friends of mine had already transferred over, their guild searches having led them to Horde guilds as well. Hopefully that makes the transition a bit easier, being able to play more with them again.

Good if strange times ahead, we’ll see where this year leads me. The beginning of last year started me on this path and it was the best decision I’ve made in a while, both personally and in the gaming space. Hopefully it continues being as awesome as it has been so far even if the rough times have been very rough.

World of Warcraft

Patch 7.3.5 is kind of broken

So Wednesday came the patch, and with it a few cool things like the remade leveling experience—though even that seems to be somewhat broken. Like the rest of the game. There were several bugs introduced into Legion dungeons and raids, among them the spy event in Court of Stars sometimes just kind of leading to the mob standing there, not moving. The beams on Hasabel in Antorus are also broken, sometimes the graphic stays on the floor. In addition to that, Antorus seems to suffer from lag and FPS problems in general, which has led to very poor performance in our raid so far. We ended up canceling the raid about halfway through on Wednesday and it took several tries for us to kill Hasabel. The lag problems seem to have slightly improved, the general performance problems remain. Seems like this week will be mostly wasted from a raiding perspective—sadly—though there is another extended maintenance coming on Saturday. Hopefully the situation improves with that and we get at least one proper raid day.

There was also some talk about potentially having an extra raid day on Monday, will have to see what comes of that. On one hand, it would hopefully be a chance to get some more progress done and maybe even kill Kin’garoth finally. At the same time, having Monday “free” and not having to think about raiding and being able to concentrate on mythic+ instead might also be rather nice. But if there’s progress to be done I’m eager to be there.

In better news, it seems I have found a new guild. The guild is Horde which is good as that means I’ll be able to play with a few good friends of mine again—though it pains me to not be a Night Elf anymore. Hopefully that will mean more progressing and less frustration while raiding, just need to make sure I can keep up. That’s always the most stressful thing with joining a new guild for me—trying to prove oneself, both to oneself and to the guild. What it will definitely mean though is me being able to do mythic+ since I now have a few good reliable damage dealers available again and hopefully a few new ones through the guild. It will be really nice to get to do mythic+ again, though there has been a bit more mythic+ activity in recent times, sadly not so much of the interesting variety of actually properly pushing keys and more just upgrading a key or two a few times and then stopping before anything interesting appears.

There is still a small questionmark with all of this however, as I have an application to another guild open still and I’m not quite sure what I’d do if both guilds end up being interested. The guild I’m currently headed to has the nicer raid days but also slightly worse—or rather, slower—progress. Part of that might be in the raid days as the other guild does raid a bit more.

It’s a decision I might not have to make and I’m currently somewhat unsure which way I’m leaning. I do think I might stay with the current option because of the raid times. At the moment three raid days rather than four and something along the lines of 40% less hours just seems to compelling. The progress difference also seems really small with that difference in mind. Though the group impacts how enjoyable the raids are a lot more than the amount of time invested, it’s still a rather big consideration. It’s also rather impossible to figure out ahead of time how well one will end up liking one group or the other, so the times end up weighing a lot more. But I’ll get to that decision when and if it ends up being necessary.

World of Warcraft

Kin'garoth, guilds and patches

So we did do some more Kin’garoth progress this week, but no extra raid-day. And it went decently I suppose, though slightly disappointed I can’t be talking about killing him. To be fair, I was part of the problem there, for some reason played rather terribly that day even though I don’t believe I directly caused any wipes, just unecessary deaths on my own part. Still we managed to get to 30% which is definite progress and already in the zone where the fight “starts for real”. But there still isn’t much more to the fight, it’s just that there’s more damage coming in and more orbs to dodge. So the fight is a bit more interesting than I thought, but still feels rather simplistic.

There was a slight error in my earlier post however, namely which buff the boss becomes depends on which add is killed last, just that our ordering was that sometime after the 50% mark we got the empowered bombs. Doesn’t really change any of my feelings regarding the fight, since it’s the order we played in that I was evaluating, but important to correct false statements.

Now with regards to searching for a new guild, I’ve added a few people and sent one application in. We’ll see how those leads pan out, they all seem like good guilds so hopefully one of them ends up interested and interesting. I’ll keep up a passive search for new guilds of interest looking for healers, see where that leads as well. At least I’ll be aware of my options. When that doesn’t end up working out I’ll be faced with a hard decision since I might end up considering just taking another pause which I don’t really want to do but going on as is doesn’t really feel motivating either—hopefully I don’t have to think about that, there’s time still.

Also it seems patch 7.3.5 will be releasing this week, which I suppose will mean a new Mythic+ seasons with the change to how Combat Resurrection works. Unfortunate timing in that sense, haven’t really done any mythic+ this season, at least nothing of note. Understandable with looking for a guild and so on and the season will probably be the shortest yet in that case, but still annoys me slightly.

Won’t even be able to take advantage of the leveling changes really, since I’ll probably be mostly interested in leveling one of the new allied races rather than one of the “old” races but those aren’t coming with the patch—probably with the Battle for Azeroth pre-patch for those who have preordered. Maybe I’ll end up leveling something anyway just to try the changes, but nothing really comes to mind at the moment that I don’t already have at a somewhat high level.

World of Warcraft

Kin'garoth

With Imonar down last reset and getting through the reclear this week we managed to get a few tries in on Kin’garoth. So far the fight seems rather trivial, with an element of being a movement check. So the fight for the most part remains as is from heroic; with orbs to dodge, adds to kill, a beam to dodge and not standing in the tanks to avoid being one-shot by the tank mechanic.

There is one thing that changes however, after killing the first set of adds, the orbs apply a debuff that increases the damage taken from them. As the orbs will start spawning faster than one can clear them, this will lead to there being an increasing amount of orbs going around the circle which will make moving to the adds and spreading out for their abilities harder. I believe this may end up being our biggest challenge, as movement seems to be a big problem in the guild—Imonar intermissions being the perfect example from earlier. Though I suppose this kind of soft enrage is the primary difficulty in the fight along with the damage requirements it imposes.

Our tries so far were quite promising, though we only got to 45% and the boss gets harder as the fight goes along. In that try as well we had several dead to bombs that were exploded in the wrong place, so there is still a significant amount of learning to do.

Still, I’m hoping we manage to kill the boss this week. Firstly it could prove useful for the guildsearch and secondly it feels like it would be a decent morale booster since some of our progress and farm hasn’t been going quite as well as expected, with some problems even in a heroic reclear. Seems the kill might bring a bit more motivation in, hopefully along with the motivation to stay focused on farm bosses as well so that we keep clearing them quickly. We’ll see at the end of the week, I wonder if we’ll try a extra raidday?

World of Warcraft

Imonar down, decisions still undecided

Finally, after a few too many wipes—91 to be precise, Imonar is down! The fight ended up being pretty much as predicted, which the biggest difficulty being the intermissions. Phase four also ended up providing one wipe, with one raid member failing to run out of the group and getting instantly dispelled. This led to the whole group sleeping when AoE shots came, killing most healers and damage dealers. Was an unfortunate moment, but soon after that the tries started getting quite a lot better. Both the kill try and the try before were very good, the first time progress became very clear to see. If memory serves those were the also the only times we actually made it into the last phase, which for me confirms my feeling of the boss being rather simple. Luckily it would seem we are slowly starting to get to the somewhat interesting bosses, though that will have to wait until next reset.

Beyond that though, there’s not that many interesting changes that appear with the mythic difficulty, it’s mostly just the same abilities as heroic with more phases and more abilities at the same time. Phase three combines the sleep debuff from heroic with the mines that spawn on players. Phase four is those two with the addition of the ships firing on two random players and some more random AoE. The last phase is again the mines, sleep combined with the tank debuff stacking infinitely. Most of these abilities don’t change the fight much, the biggest problem is simply playing the intermissions cleanly and not losing players there as the last phase is a rather decent DPS check due to the stacking debuff as raid damage keeps increasing with higher stacks.

With that, the question remains if I want to stay in a guild that struggles which such a simple boss, since it seems Argus will end up providing a real challenge at the end of the dungeon which makes it seem unlikely we will down him within a reasonable time frame, if at all before the next expansion. Probably, since there’s so much time still. But still, it’s slightly annoying staying in progress mode for so long since people just decide not to play properly from time to time. The last tries on Imonar showed that people knew how to do the fight, everyone just needed to decide to actually play the mechanics. That is a rather frustrating situation to be in. Will have to see what I end up doing, but the temptation to go asking around is definitely growing. Which frustrates me, since that will mean skipping progress and leaving a guild. Neither of those things I like doing, though there are some alleviating factors I suppose. For, the bosses seeming so simple makes me feel less bad about missing progress on them. Secondly, even being in a guild is no guarantee actually being in the raid for the progress, so it’s something I might end up missing anyway.

Though then again, at the moment there are no guilds that truly appeal to me strongly, there’s one or two I might consider so maybe truly the smart move is to just see if there’s interest on their part or perhaps wait a bit longer. But waiting might mean I end up missing the whole of progress, which would be very unfortunate. Hopefully I still have some time to think with Argus being difficult to kill. Time will tell, in the meantime I’ll have to decide what to do. Will be interesting to see the consequences, regardless of my decision.

World of Warcraft

Decisions, decisions

I posted about me looking for a guild a while back, and while I technically found a guild it did not quite meet the goals I had set out when looking for a guild with regards to the level of progress. Now, we’ve been at it for a few resets and the progress is somewhere between expected and slightly disappointing (I had been hoping we’d manage to kill Imonar today for example, sadly wasn’t even close. Though there was definite progress). Which all would speak for sending out more applications.

At the same time, I’ve taken something of a liking to the guild I’m in. That combined with most actually interesting prospects requiring a realm and faction change which comes at a somewhat big cost, makes me reconsider.

Then again, I’m not really in the position to do much mythic+ in this guild, as there aren’t many people of the required skill level (it seems at least) to get a group together. Or maybe the interest just isn’t there, but most of the keys I see in the top list for the week are not quite high enough. There are a couple of exeptions, but not enough or not of the correct classes.

This all puts me in a somewhat awkward position where I don’t quite know what to do and in a sense time is running out. Since not doing anything will lead me to just staying in the guild, as the prospects will dry up with time. New opportunities will come I’m sure, maybe something promising might be showing up tomorrow even as I’m hopefully joining a friend of mine for a quick heroic run. Now just staying because of not being able to decide probably isn’t a bad thing either, I do like the guild (or the people in it rather). The worry is more how that will affect my motivation long term, if the progress keeps being not quite what I hoped combined with a lack of mythic+. Might very well lead to boredom which would be rather unfortunate.

Time will tell, maybe I’ll just add a few people on Battle.net and chat a bit, go from there.

World of Warcraft

Imonar and more

Before Christmas we had one last progress raid and we got to poke at Imonar a bit. While we sadly didn’t get that far, there was one thing that slightly surprised me about the fight even though it probably should’ve been obvious from heroic already, namely the intermission. It’s a surprising pain as a healer, as it doesn’t really afford for any time to keep healing since you kind of need to just run through yet the group is taking decent damage from all the explosions going on (we at least opted to trigger several of the mines in order to allow people to get through, with the tanks doing the triggering).

That will be an interesting phase to get to learn and so far seems to be the biggest challenge of the fight, though as noted we didn’t get far, only to the beginning of the third phase. Optimizing movement in general seems to be a theme in this raid, it’s also quite present in Antoran High Command with the mines there, Eonar seems to be nothing but movement and barely any healing, there’s a rather decent amount of movement to be done on the dogs already if one has the fire debuff.

Looking forward at future bosses as well, Kin’garoth continues the theme with a rather spread out raid and both the orbs and beam to dodge. Varimathras has some movement sure, but it seems to be rather trivial and from what I know does not coincide with any damage spikes so shouldn’t really present any problems. The Shivarra seem to be more about positioning than movement specifically. Aggramar might also be interesting in that aspect, as the intermissions already do a decent amount of damage on heroic while also having things one needs to dodge, making it difficult to reliably use cooldowns (as a Priest at least).

I guess the raid might have more promise than I thought, but that might be down to the guild I’m in as well though to be fair, Christmas and New Years probably have something to do with our slow progress, getting only two proper raid days in in the last couple of weeks. Hopefully we keep progressing well and I get to be part of that progress, much less fun to come in on already killed bosses.

World of Warcraft

Antorus Progress

The couple first weeks of Antorus progression are now behind me and the raid still feels rather simple. The new mechanics introduced by the mythic difficulty so far have been trivial though to be fair we are not that far into the raid yet with only five bosses down.

There are some bosses I’m still looking forward to though, namely Kin’garoth, Varimathras and Circle of Shivarra. They all had potential on heroic already and will be interesting to see them with more proper damage and healing tuning. Of course, Argus will be interesting as well from what one can gather from the top guilds, but seems it will be a while until we reach that point. Hopefully not too long. At the very least I can end the week somewhat content after how badly last week went, which is already a very good thing. Here’s hoping we keep up the pace next week and one can happily enjoy the holidays.

World of Warcraft

Antorus

Week one of Antorus has come and gone and with it the first impressions of the new raid. Only on heroic so far as mythic isn’t out yet, but still.

So far the raid hasn’t offered many real challenges, with probably the most noteworthy fight being the Coven of Shivarra. That boss fight has the potential for some really nasty overlaps on heroic causing problems and almost instant wipes. I’m really looking forward to seeing it on mythic.

Apart from that though, with the exception of Aggramar where people had problems grasping the strategy and priority targets for some reason, most of the fights there were very straightforward. The majority of the fights even being finished in just one try.

There are several fights that show potential for mythic though. Antoran High Command is already slightly stressful on heroic and might be the first problem for some guilds going into mythic. I also think Varimathras, Aggramar and Argus have the potential to become bigger challenges when going into mythic, as the first two at least do already have some significant mechanics on heroic to think about which will likely be even more critical on mythic.

So with that I’m really looking foward to the coming reset, will be interesting to start seeing some of the bosses on mythic difficulty and what the first actual stumbling block ends up being for me. Though first I need to settle on a guild, that matter is still slightly open.

World of Warcraft

Looking for a guild

So the last week or so has been rather annoying as I ended up leaving the guild I was in and have been looking for a new one. Sadly, the search has gone rather terribly so far, though I have a few leads still. I’m really hoping one of those pans out, as it would be rather sad to miss out on the early progress in Antorus since that’s usually the most fun time. Unfortunately that’s looking rather likely, since the pool of guilds that are of interest is rapidly shrinking.

And I have no idea what I’ll end up doing if I don’t find a guild, I still want to keep playing the game but if I’m not able to raid at a reasonable level that doesn’t really make much sense any more. But time will tell.

World of Warcraft

Kil'jaeden down!

This post is acutally quite late as we already killed him on Wednesday, however I figured it was still worth making. So indeed, Kil’jaeden finally down after some 300+ wipes and now we finally get a small breather before Antorus comes out. Well, kind of, since we are hopefully re-killing Kil’jaeden before Antorus comes out to give the people that didn’t have the chance to be there an opportunity to get the achievement. I will be sorely disappointed if we don’t manage that.

As for the fight itself, well there’s not really much for me to add. Sure, I hadn’t played the second intermission yet at the time of the last post, but that one went over so quickly there’s hardly anything to say about it and phase three was really a mechanics check for one to two players who were responsible for the orbs or looking for safe spots from the obelisks. For the rest, it was just a DPS and HPS race. That’s not to say the phase is trivial, it is however quite a lot simpler than phase two and we really didn’t have a lot of wipes in phase three once we started to consistently get there.

All in all, it’s a fight that seems to mostly test patience due to the length. Sure, there are timing challenges with the orbs especially for slower classes that don’t have means of ignoring the mechanic, but those are somewhat easy to overcome with practice. I am still rather content with the fight, though it’s not exactly my favourite and I do also have to say, as we were more consistenly getting into phase three the fight actually came a lot easier to bear since it started feeling like the fight was progressing rather quickly. This due to there almost always being something happening that needed ones attention, if not now then in a few seconds. That did definitely add some intensity to the fight later on. It is by far not as punishing as something like Maiden, which is probably a good thing as it allows for more training to be done each try.

World of Warcraft

Battle for Azeroth

Blizzcon came and went and with it the announcment of a new expansion for World of Warcraft, Battle for Azeroth. And again they are talking about focusing on the fight between the Horde and the Alliance, this time with actual new game mechanics to emphasize that fight, specifically Warfronts and Island Expeditions though the latter don’t have quite as heavy an emphasis but still involve doing that exploration while fighting against a team from the opposite faction.

Honestly, I’m not quite sure what to think about that. For me, the constant conflicts between the Alliance and the Horde have been the most frustrating part of the story, probably because I quite like both factions and seeing them kill each other off doesn’t sit quite right with me. Especially the conflicts between certain races, like the Night Elves and Tauren seem to make little sense other than the allies they have and the support they want to give them.

At the same time I understand that it’s something that’s been core to the franchise for a longer time and refocusing on it makes sense, especially considering the PVP objectives we had in Legion already and the story between Genn and Sylvanas. But it’s still really frustraing to see Teldrassil burning, though I guess that was the point of it, to actually try to create some feeling of anger against the other faction.

Though I believe in the end the expansion through its raids will end up focusing on common enemies anyway, so I’m not sure how big a focus the conflict will be in the end. I have a feeling it’ll end up beeing a similar to Mists of Pandaria, in the sense that we began with faction conflict and ended up with a common enemy, even if he at the beginning of the expansion was the leader of one of the factions. I just hope they don’t end up using Sylvanas for that purpose, though that feels doubtful, more likely something like the Old Gods, since we are already seeing signs of their involvement. Though Old Gods being involved of course opens up the opportunity for some corruption arc, but hopefully not feels like we’ve seen enough of those.

With that said, I am really looking forward to this new expansion. They seem to be removing the legendary system and replacing it with the new artifact neck basically, since it’ll allow you to “spec” three pieces of gear which seems to offer similar customization to the legendaries. The progression on the new artifact neck is also character wide instead of spec specific, which really helps with off-specs especially in time like the current where one wants to get to a certain level in order to prepare for an upcoming raid. The raids also look really interesting, which in the end is the primarly reason I’m playing the game. With those and mythic+, probably my favourite addition to the game ever, staying in the game and even getting expanded, I’m pretty sure I’m going to enjoy the upcoming expansion. Only time will tell for sure.

I’m still not happy about Teldrassil though.

World of Warcraft

Kil'jaeden the Deceiver

The last few weeks of raiding have been mostly filled with progress on Kil’jaeden. And slowly I am getting slightly frustrated and strangely enough, bored, with this boss. The fight requires a decent amount of attention though not quite on the levels of Mistress or Maid however everything just happens over such a long span of time that actually getting to the part we’re progressing on is gettign frustrating.

That all is slightly strange, because at the start when almost nothing was happening as we were progressing phase one, I was actually quite enjoying the boss. Now slowly however, phase one and the intermission are becoming frustrating slogs while waiting for the interesting part to arrive. It kind of reminds me of the healer challenge: the beginning is by no means trivial, but at some point quite easily doable once one knows how it goes, however having to keep redoing it to get to progress gets really frustrating at some point. That’s the thing I’m currently experienceing with Kil’jaeden, frustration at having to keep redoing the “boring” parts and consequently at times making simple mistakes.

A perfect example of this was once getting hit by one of the orbs from the adds in phase one due quite simply forgetting to even think about dodging because I was so ready for the phase to be over.

I realize these things are a part of raiding and a part of what makes these bosses difficult to execute properly, an endurance check in a sense. However being in the middle of progress on such a boss can be frustrating at times.

Seeing past that though, I think I actually enjoy the fight. I’m not overly keen on the knockback orbs spawning in the middle essentially being a timing check for one dispeller in the raid, but in general the knockback mechanic can be quite fun and gives opportunities to make life saving Leaps of Faith which I appreciate. Phase two is also quite interesting, though the healer adds feel slightly frustrating as I feel I can’t properly contribute there. Maybe worth looking into Apotheosis which should give a significant increase in burst heal for those adds, though we seem to be handling the adds rather well for the most part so probably not necessary.

Right now though, I’m just hoping that we actually manage to kill the boss in time, since it seems Antorus is arriving on the 29th and that’s not a whole lot of time for us. Sure, it’s still three weeks that we’re probably extending the ID, but even then it might end up being tight. All of that also assumes I don’t get benched, would naturally very much like to be there for the kill. I’m sure it’ll end up being fine, but it’s a bit of extra pressure that I didn’t need. Especially considering it makes the deadline for getting 75 traits apparent.

World of Warcraft

The Avatar has Fallen

On Monday we finally managed to down Avatar after surprisingly few tries. Believe I personally have around 230, which seems to be quite on the low end for that boss. In the end as noted, the boss is quite simple. Sure the DPS and HPS requirements are somewhat tough, and phase one as a healer especially. But in the end, somewhat like Maiden, the kill ended up coming as a surprise. We went down into phase two around 32% and just decided to play it to see how it goes. A few minutes later, the boss was down. It was all surprisingly clean and boring almost. Maybe a place or two where it looked somewhat dangerous.

I also ended up getting some loot which was nice.

And after Avatar, we ended up having some time to poke at Kil’jaeden. Which was surprisingly fun even though we were only wiping in phase one before the first intermission. I find it strange, because on heroic I don’t really find the fight that interesting. Maybe that opinion will change as we get into more phases and get some of the more annoying overlaps, but so far it was rather fun. Could also have been the hype coming in from the Avatar kill as I honestly wasn’t expecting us to kill Avatar that day yet. So now I’m unexpectedly actually looking forward to doing progress again, which wasn’t so strongly the case on Avatar, and that feels great. Especially things like the additional healer adds will be interesting to have to deal with in a fight that already seems kind of hectic with all the flying around.

But until that, it seems we need to clear the raid again, as we’ll be going back to farm. Which I find kind of good as I’m sure there are still several people that need equipment (especially tier pieces) from both Maiden and Avatar. On the other hand, I kind of want to just go do progress on Kil’jaeden. But yes, more gear probably means smoother progress, so that will be nice since it seemed we might have had some damage problems already with getting into phase two quickly enough. But I guess we’ll see how that all goes in a week or two again, not sure how quick our re-clear will be.

Regardless, definitely looking forward to raiding more than I was last week which is a very good thing.

World of Warcraft

Fallen Avatar

So we’ve gotten a lot more progress made on Avatar thanks to extending the raid lock. Honestly I’m not quite sure if it was the right move but I do want to kill Kil’jaeden before Antorus comes out so in that sense I suppose it could be helpful. And in theory at least, we should have the gear to be able to kill both bosses so it should be fine from that perspective. Leaving out the farm bosses does feel sligthly bad though, especiall considering we have only killed Maiden once. Feels like an odd compromise.

The fight itself though seems surprisingly simple at its core with some of the combinations becoming punishing rather than any of the core mechanics being difficult to handle. For example, the beam soaking is easy enough on its own, it can become a pain with the daggers flying around and the AoE from Ubound Chaos. Phase two as well, it’s mostly just managing soaks (like on Kil’jaeden) as well as not standing in the AoE. Sure there’s a quite decent chunk of incoming damage and the damage requirement for DDs isn’t exactly light either but there just isn’t much going on (though there is a decent amount of movement required, which makes finding moments to heal challenging at times). All of that did mean that the first day we practiced Avatar felt like such a chore. It was just unusually boring and uninteresting, though strangely that feeling was gone the second day. It might’ve just been the expectation of going in to do farm bosses and then ending up with progress that affected my mentality so much.

Don’t take all of the above to mean it’s an easy fight though, it’s not. As said, there’s lots of unopportune movement involved both in phase one and two, which means healing can be a pain (since usually having to heal coincides with having to move shortly before or after). Both phases are also very spread out (well, phase two only in the beginning) which while sure, reduces the amount of people I have to look after as a healer also increase the responsibility I have towards each of those individuals. Moving at the wrong time is much more likely to lead to deaths or close calls. I’m also quite curious how we end up managing with mana and cooldowns once we start coming to phase two “for real”, since so far we had full mana and all cooldowns ready while practicing which of course won’t be the case for the actual kill and both phases are rather big mana sponges.

Aside from the healer requirements, it’s all also a rather tight DPS check from what I can see, which will prove to be intersting. We have had a few wipes due to insufficient DPS on the Maiden, though usually something had gone wrong earlier in those tries. It’s interesting actually, Avatar doesn’t punish mistakes as instantly and brutally as Maiden (of Vigilance, that is) but they are still very detrimental. One soaker death? Well if a beam soaker, kind of OK though does mean all the other soakers receive more stacks. Dark Mark soaker? Well, we need to figure out something on the fly quickly or it’s just a wipe when they come, since that’s assigned to individuals that can handle the mechanic alone and we don’t exactly have many extras. Or hope we still have a battle ress, though those go out rather quickly at the moment (it is progress after all).

In the end, I’m actually rather looking forward to see more progress on Avatar. Sure, the boss isn’t actually the most exciting but it is still quite a challenge. And we do have to kill Avatar in order to get to Kil’jaeden, which I’m also looking forward to (though I’m not sure how much I’ll actually end up liking that fight, so far not actually one of my favourites).

World of Warcraft

The Maiden of Vigilance is kinda dead

So we finally managed to kill the Maiden yesterday! It felt like it was a bit too long time coming, which made finally managing it feel rather nice. At the same time, the kill was also rather anticlimactic because of how the fight works. Since it’s only the two phases rotating the whole time, there’s no real escalation built into the fight, it only requires concentration and clean play the whole time. While yes, having 20 people make close to zero mistakes during a whole encounter is challenging and that’s what led us to having so many wipes as well, it means the encounter is rather monotone. I didn’t realize we were killing the boss until a few seconds before she was down, which is strange because usually one can see the escalation in incoming damage or the like as the encounter goes on, a perfect example being Mistress Sassz’ine or the Desolate Host. Both become much more dangerous as far as incoming damage is concerned and that adds a certain tension.

It is kind of nice with a more I guess relaxing fight in there, though at the same time the almost zero tolerance for failure does introduce tension into the fight. Will be interesting to see how the rekill goes, assuming we don’t extend the ID.

In other news, killing the Maiden meant we got to poke at Avatar a bit. We just practiced phase two, and that fight seems like it will be messy. Theoretically we’ve now played through the whole phase two, though we definitely need to do it better if we actually want to end up downing the boss. Damage looked okay considering we’ll be in execute range in reality but there were a few too many avoidable deaths and failed soaks. Something I’m sure a few more tries will fix. Of phase one I still have no idea though it seems it’ll be something of a pain, since once more tons of movement and trying to keep people healed up in that time. Especially with the different sources of damage that actually require us healers to keep people topped so they don’t get one-shot by mechanics while also dealing with movement. At the same time, I think that promises an interesting fight, so hope to be progressing there next reset again (and not spending the whole reset on rekills).

But in the meantime, some rejoicing that the Maiden is finally dead and we got some progress done!

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Seat of the Triumvirate

With patch 7.3 Blizzard released a new dungeon that unlocked a couple weeks ago called Seat of the Triumvirate. I haven’t had the chance to spend too much time in there with it being so new, but have managed a couple of runs in there, one on tyrannical and fortified each. And while neither run went particularily well I have to say Blizzard has created a rather fun dungeon with the exception of a couple mechanics, specifically the third boss and the trash before the second one.

To expand on that, the trash before the second boss in and of itself isn’t so annoying, rather the randomly spawning extra trash is. It hasn’t really caused problems so far because it died really fast but it just feels like an completely unecessary addition that only contributes frustration not challenge, in a similar vein to Quaking activating out of combat. Even on a +16 with fortified the trash was trivial enough to not pose any real extra challenge. Which on one hand I think is good, otherwise the somewhat random nature of it would be even more frustrating, but it also means it serves no real purpose (though to be fair, it perhaps adds a bit of flair).

Now the third boss on the other hand, is something I think tuning will fix. But at the moment the timing between the tentacles spawning (which actually need to be handled since they deal such significant damage to the party otherwise) and the two adds spawning that need to be nuked down is just brutal especially if the party includes even one class with weaker burst damage. So far I think both times when we actually ended up killing the boss the tentacles bugged out and fewer than four spawned, leading to the timing being much more forgiving.

Other than those two specific instances though, the dungeon is actually really good. Now there were a couple of packs that were rather brutal with teeming (especially since we didn’t quite know how to handle them yet), but for the most part the trash was quite good. Hit rather hard but nothing kiting couldn’t solve. And stealthed trash is something that’s a bit fun to see again, can’t really remember the last dungeon that was in (well Hellfire Citadel I guess, but that isn’t a dungeon). Sure it can be frustrating when it pops up at the wrong time, but it didn’t seem to exhibit any one-shot tendencies so far, so as long as that is avoided I think it’s good.

And the bosses, well they are all rather good, mostly relying on just playing the mechanics properly. I do however foresee the first boss becoming a problem at some point since the room gets filled so quickly. The soft enrage on him seems to be rather brutal. That can be alleviated somewhat by clearing more parts of the room though I fear that is too time-intesive with the trash that’s in there. The other exception as said being the third boss, where I think something like 5 seconds more time would make a world of difference.

Overall though, I’m actually looking forward to getting more tries in on the dungeon to learn it better, something I couldn’t say as strongly about Cathedral at the time. Sure I wanted to learn that dungeon as well, but it always felt like the successes and failures there were more down just to failed tuning of damage than any actual fails on the mechanics. So good job Blizzard.

World of Warcraft

The Maiden of Vigilance is kinda funny

So I haven’t written much about recent raiding efforts and lots has happened (well it’s also been over a year). In that time I’ve ended up changing guilds twice and have progressed through all heroic content while it was current and am currently progressing in mythic Tomb. Specifically, we recently killed Mistress Sassz’ine and are now on Maiden of Vigilance.

Now of the two I would definitely argue Mistress is the more interesting fight, with lots going all almost the whole time. Phase three gets especially intense and getting the kill in the end was quite sweet. She seems to be a somewhat annoying boss for us to rekill however, since people seem to have forgotten how to play phase one and two which presents certain problems considering the fight is still a DPS check.

The Maiden on the other hand is a ball of funny frustration. The fight in itself is quite simple, almost the same as heroic with one small addition: the orbs (from phase two) now randomly spawn on a player of the opposite colour, with a small AoE effect on the ground and delay. Also, a bomb exploding in the raid is an instant wipe. This means that as people are learning the fight, while the wipes can be quite funny at times (the whole raid instantly explodes) it’s also quite frustrating because one keeps dying to the mistakes of others. The fragility of it all led to us having around 50 wipes on Maiden with most of them without seeing phase two. Which somehow gives me the feeling we might be spending a long time on Maiden.

However, it’s been really good to get into some proper progress raiding again and the guild I’m in is quite lovely (silly mistakes aside). Hopefully I and the guild have a long and bright future ahead of us, as I rather hate changing guilds. Now just to make sure we manage to clear Tomb before Antorus arrives, would be good to have the content cleared again before the next comes out. It’s been way too long since last.

World of Warcraft

Mythic+ changes

Blizzard recently made some pretty big changes to how mythic+ works, both in the way of loot and how the keys themselves handle. The big points being:

  • Beating the key quickly no longer rewards more loot, rather higher level keys (15+) have a chance at giving more loot. Completing the key in time also provides one extra piece of loot.
  • Keys no longer get depleted, rather downgraded. If you don’t complete the dungeon in time, you get a new random key one level lower. If you don’t complete it at all, you get the same key one level lower.

Now I did not exactly like these changes, to be more precise the change that downgraded keys. In theory, this sounds like a great change: you always have a chance at loot when completing a mythic+ dunegon. For me however, since I’m mostly doing them for the challenge or to get a high key as possible done, it adds a lot of stress to always do a 100% tries for the keys in order to not downgrade them. A depleted key could always be redone and then upgraded once one knew the instance better, not so much when it’s a new random dungeon. It also greatly adds to the frustration of learning the dungeon and affix combo every week, since not getting things right there mean downgraded keys.

The loot change on the other hand has actually worked in my favour since I already tried to do higher level keys and not 3-chesting lower level ones. Though for those who were participating in that, I can understand the frustration.

Now these changes overall were quite odd, in that they seem to punish the people that were actively doing mythic+ content and mostly benefitting the people who weren’t overly interested in it in the first place. Presumably this was an attempt to get more people into doing mythic+, but at the same time the requirements for joining mythic+ groups seem to be more extreme than ever and there seem to be fewer groups up.

Now then, how do the changes feel after a month or so of living with them? Well, still kind of terrible and a downgrade from the old system. I would strongly prefer the option of depleting a key rather than downgrading it, especially since sometimes downgrading is down to one bad pull or an unlucky combo from some mobs. It’s really frustrating at that point to be put, essentially, two dungeons behind from where one was before; especially if one was running a dungeon one was interested in pushing/doing well in at the moment as one then again is at the mercy of luck to get that key again.

The loot change on the other hand, I like but seems to be the more controversial one.

In the end though, the changes aren’t the end of the world. Even the key downgrading at times has proven useful (e.g. Cathedral keystones…) but even at those times it has been somewhat bittersweet as it might have been useful to be able to try it again.

World of Warcraft

Legion prepatch

So the prepatch arrived a few days ago and I have had some time to do raids and dungeons with the changed talents and spells. So far it has been rather excellent, which has been a slight surprise. So far the removal of Spirit has not been a bother, though admittedly the content has also been made easier so the true test will come with the Legion dungeons and raids. I actually think healing has been more enjoyable now, the flow with Holy Words and reducing their cooldown is quite satisfying though it can lead to moments of slight frustration when there has not been a sufficient need to use other healing spells and a burst of damage comes in. Managing that though, is probably the idea behind the whole thing.

As for the removed spells, I have not ended up missing them. Mana has been fine, so Mindbender being gone has not been a problem. I had gotten used to throwing down Lightwells, but never did feel like they did a whole lot and not having to think about them has been kind of nice; though I do catch myself going “Oh, remember to cast Lightwell! Oh, right…” at times, especially during pulls. The place where I actually notice the removed spells the most is when doing quick Heroic dungeons, as I had gotten into the habit of doing light DPS with Mindbender and Shadow Word: Pain, both of which are gone. Feels especially odd to be without a DoT during the rare times when I end up killing mobs though. Holy Nova is also something of a bother when compared to Mind Sear, though that is more rarely used.

Concerning raiding, we managed normal HFC quite quickly as is to be expected, we mostly went in there to explore the potential for improved Warforged (Titanforged?) loot. Heroic on the other hand, did not go quite as well, probably because people are still familiarizing themselves with their new spells. One of our Shadow priests seemed to have particular difficulties, admittedly the playstyle is quite different to the old Clarity of Power style. Raiding has continued to be highly enjoyable however and the reduced health and damage on the mobs and bosses oddly has not felt overly extreme. Perhaps the changes in player power really did warrant those changes as well.

The new transmogrification system is worth mentioning as well I suppose, though I have not had a real reason to use it yet. Though it did allow me to finally get rid of the glow from my weapon enchantment without bothering a enchanter, which was nice. The change with head, cloak and shoulders being hidden through transmogrification rather than interface options is something of a drawback however, though admittedly I rarely changed those options anyway. It might end up being more problematic for roleplayers, as I understand they used those options to indicate taking ones helmet on or off. The addition of being able to hide ones shoulder armor was nice though.

Speaking of small annoyances, there is a small bug that seems to have persisted from the PTR: sometimes flying mounts seem to “land” for a split second while flying around far from the ground. I am not sure if the movement speed is actually modified by this, or if the bug is merely affects the visuals/sound, but it is a small new annoyance that has been introduced. Hopefully something that will be adressed soon, one would hope regressions would be somewhat easier to fix.

Overall though, I have been enjoying the patch greatly so far and look forward to Legion with greater interest. I suppose one might call that a success on Blizzard’s part.

World of Warcraft

Raiding again!

It’s been a while, and I’ve been playing WoW again and actually had quite a bit of fun. I leveled a warrior because I felt like tanking a bit again and during that process ended up finding a guild which I’ve been raiding with on my priest since (priest because there wasn’t a need for tanks).

And it’s all been quite excellent, the guild is fun, Hellfire Citadel has been fun to explore properly instead of in LFR. Even got some Heroic mode HFC done, which has been great fun.

Sadly, there’s been a bit of a lack of people in the recent weeks and we’ve ended up having to PUG some people. Hopefully either the prepatch or Legion launch ends up solving this problem, as I really enjoy raiding with the people in this guild. It might also be as simple as summertime being a less active gaming time for people though. The coming weeks will tell I suppose.

I’ve also gotten some mythic dungeoning in with the guild and PUGs at times and those have been quite enjoyable as well even if the groups tend to be rather overgeared.

Overall, I’ve just been enjoying my time with WoW again which has been great. Hopefully the Legion changes end up not being detrimental to that enjoyment, though I think I’m more prepared to take things as they come this time around. Might have to go exploring on the beta a bit to get a better idea of have the changes end up impacting the feel of the game. It’s a tad of a pity to see Cascade removed, I’ve actually ended up enjoying that spell quite a bit, almost as much as Prayer of Mending.

If all goes well I look forward to many more raids with this guild!

World of Warcraft

RIP Nostalrius

So quite a bit has happened since my last post, most notably the closing of Nostalrius where I had played. Admittedly, I did not end up playing much more since my last post, primarily due to the concern of something like closing down happening. And while Nostalrius was well managed I do still have a preference to play on the official servers even though the game in some aspects feels inferior.

I’ve ended up examining my prospects as far as it comes to joining a guild and while it is yet to be finalised will probably be joining a casual-ish raiding guild on my priest that is about to start in Hellfire Citadel Heroic, so far having downed one boss. If nothing else, it should give me a better feel on how I enjoy the current state of healing, considering I’ve yet to do any “proper” content since the revamp in Cataclysm though the signs haven’t been all that good, though the changes coming in Legion to Holy priests do seem promising. Mostly though, I’m just looking forward to getting some proper raiding in.

Pristine Realms

Now, the response provided by Blizzard on the backlash caused by the closing of Nostalrius and consequent community demand for official Classic realms did also provide an interesting though lamented idea for recapturing some of the things players at least alledgedly miss, namely community. That idea was Pristine Realms. Specifically, these would be realms where certain “quality of life” features would be disabled:

  • LFD/LFR
  • Heirlooms
  • Character boosts, transfers
  • Cross realm zones
  • Recruit-a-Friend bonuses

Personally, I’m not too sure how to feel. It does remove several things I feel are problematic, however content would still be obsoleted at a unecessary pace due to catch-up mechanics like PvP gear or Tanaan/Timeless Isle and badges before them. Even as I say that, I have been leveling a warrior and quite enjoying being able to level at a quick pace through dungeons (at least until Warlords of Draenor content, at which point one is force out into the world to gear up grumbles), which wouldn’t be possible without LFD. So these features certainly aren’t without merit and I’m not sure if such realms would generate sufficient interest for them to stay playable without the cross-realm features. In the end, I’d be very tempted to participate, though having to give up my characters would be a somewhat difficult thing to bear. Another thing preventing me from enjoying unofficial servers as well.

Legion

On the matter of Legion’s current state, I’m not sure I have too much to say. I do look forward to the changes coming to Holy priests, specifically the new Word spells. Especially having a properly strong single target heal again is appealing. How I feel about the removal of Spirit as a stat I’m not so sure yet, on one hand it should keep regeneration from getting out of hand at the end of expansions necessitating more bursty damage yet it’s been a stat I’ve enjoyed being able to increase the most (less so with the changes in Cataclysm admittedly).

There was also a recent worry over the proposed changes to respeccing, namely: characters have a primary spec, changing from it costs an increasing amount of gold (up to 62g, a curious number) but changing back to the primary spec can be done for free. This functionality would be available anywhere, and dual-spec would be leaving us. Personally, I’ve generally been very attached to the spec I choose to play on a give character and am consequently not overly concerned over this change. At current gold rates, this also seems like a quite minor gold sink. To be fair, it is an extra cost incurred during raiding, as changing specs for specific bosses or even for clearing trash has become popular. It remains to be seen if this change would discourage such a change, potentially serving Blizzards goal of empowering class and spec fantasy by encouraging players to stay in spec. It’s an odd change in that it probably primarily hits the top and bottom end of raiders, as the top cares the most about optimisation while the bottom end probably needs the flexibility provided by hybrids the most. I’ll be watching with interest how this ends up playing out.


In the end, there’s a lot of wait and see here with how Legion changes end up playing out and how I enjoy the (potential) guild I join. Hopefully it all ends well and there’s some enjoyable gaming on the horizon. For now, it remains to be seen.

World of Warcraft

Sometimes Vanilla tastes better

So I did end up freezing my subscription again and it’ll run out on the 26th though I doubt I’ll be logging in before that. In the end what solidified it for me was dabblinga bit with a private Vanilla server again and noticing how much more fun the game felt even with all its flaws. It’s odd noticing how years of further development haven’t really successfully added all that much that would motivate me to play and rather conversely succeeded in taking some of those motivating factors away.

Anyway, I had played on this server before back in spring with a few friends, I rolled a priest (obviously). But then summer came and as usual put a bit of a damper on my gaming and I didn’t end up returning immediately during fall. Now though I’ve made somewhat of a more casual comeback, playing a bit at a time every few days and it’s been quite fun. A bit of questing and a Sunken Temple run is all I’ve managed so far, though now it’s looking like I’ll have to start doing some more serious dungeoneering as quests are starting to seem somewhat scarce. Though that’s probably a wise move anyways, as the dungeons are starting to drop gear that’ll be relevant at 60 anyway so I can gear and level up simultaneously.

As of yet I’ve no ambitions when it comes to raiding, mostly due to not being sure how much time I’m willing and able to dedicate to scheduled gaming. Hopefully I’ll have time for something, the server does seem to have a rather active raiding community so finding a guild shouldn’t be that much of a problem. Especially considering healers are usually in demand, though I’m not overly familiar with the class distribution on this server.

In the end I’ll probably check Legion out as well, though as usual it’ll probably be mostly to see the leveling experience and checking out the dungeons a few times. Sure, maybe I’ll poke my head in to LFR as well, but eh, it doesn’t really seem all that interesting. Might as well watch some of the livestreams for that.

World of Warcraft

Time's gone by

Things have been rather slow lately. After BRF, I haven’t really participated in raids which is a tad unfortunate. This is partially because as far as I can tell, there haven’t really been further raids organised in the guild or they’ve been unfortunately too late for my schedule.

However, I’ve not been completely idle, there has been some running of LFR which has lead to somewhat upgraded rings on both the priest & druid (still the 690 variant though). And that brings me nicely to this: I’ve been playing my priest again somewhat and it’s been quite nice. In the end, priest is probably the class I do enjoy the most, even if I don’t think the changes along the years have been all that kind. It’s been nice bringing some “old-style” healing into the LFR’s I participate in, though my insistence not to waste mana usually doesn’t translate overly well to the meters (unless one decides to look at overhealing). It is quite silly though how many healers LFR requires, considering at least at this point at least one if not two are probably doing pretty much nothing, at least in the “older” raids. I’ve not into HFC that much, at least the LFR variant of it seems the least interesting of the currently available raids. I’m sure it’s a much better experience on a proper difficulty level.

Besides that, I’ve been poking a bit at leveling a warrior, though that’s still early stages and not going overly quickly. I should probably just respec Protection and run dungeons, would probably keep me more interested. Though I do generally find I don’t overly enjoy tanking at the level-cap and DPS is right out, so I’m not quite sure where I’m going with the warrior leveling.

Outside of the game though, I’ve been following Kugnen’s Project Sixty with some interest. It seems like a valiant effort in recreating a somewhat sped up Vanilla Progression and seems somewhat successful in that effort. From what I’ve seen through his streams, it does look like a good time. I’d rather play on one of the larger private server’s though, if one was looking for an authentic experience. That of course isn’t available in this case, as Kungen can’t really go on a private server while being a partnered streamer, so.

Besides that though, WoW wise, it’s been very quiet for me. I’m not overly enthusiastic about attempting to join a guild at the moment as I’ve other commitments and without one there isn’t all that much in the game that I can currently do that would be of interest. I did take a very half-hearted stab at getting Draenor flying, however the dailies involved in order to acquire the reputation required just felt very uninteresting and that stopped that plan.

What we currently know of Legion however, especially the Holy Priest changes, do look rather good. Hopefully I’ll have a better opportunity at that time to participate in raiding! Until then though, I might end up freezing my sub (again), we’ll see what the rest of the year brings.

World of Warcraft

Blackrock Foundry happened

Yesterday, some raiding did actually manage to happen, kind of. A Blackrock Foundry normal run was started, sadly only five people from the guild showed up. This time however, the raid leader decided to PUG the rest of the group so it wouldn’t be a completely wasted effort and we (well, I) did get to experience the raid! Well, as said, kind of. While I stayed for the whole raid and we did clear all of it, at the end it was only me with one other guild member. So it ended up being mostly a PUG raid. Which, while they were fine folk & made the run go smooth, isn’t quite the same experience as progressing through an instance with a guild. Admittedly, there isn’t much progressing to be had in BRF considering even yesterday most if not all of the raid overgeared the instance. I did manage to pick up a couple of marginal upgrades however, so that was nice.

Still, today’s Hellfire Citadel run did not end up happening. There had only been four signups I think and the event creator didn’t even end up showing online, probably can be attributed to the low signups. So the state of raiding remains somewhat dire and considerations for joining a raiding guild continue. I’m not sure if this is a good or bad time in the expansion lifecycle to do that, however. On one hand, one gets to know the guild a bit during farm and it’s probably easier to find a guild while everyone’s farming because players probably fall out due to boredom. On the other hand, I’ve little interest in the farming part myself as well, nor do I have the gear to get into any of the guilds doing the actually interesting content.

So challenges remain, however I did get to do BRF! Yay! Even if it was in a PUG that overgeared the instance.

World of Warcraft

Raiding progress (or lack thereof)

There’s been little progress since my last update. No further raids have happened so far, though there is one scheduled for tonight though only with two people signed up. I’ve made decent progress on the Talon Queen title, needing only ~3000 more reputation & I’ll be getting around 2000 from tomorrow’s Heroic Skyreach. As the dungeon event is ending, I’ll probably end up grinding the rest of the reputation out in the world as I haven’t bothered putting together a group for the Mythic variant of Skyreach yet and probably won’t end up doing that before the event is over.

I would be interested in starting to do some Mythic dungeons though and did attempt Skyreach once with a guild group after one of the failed raid attempts. It seemed like they could be a lot of fun, as there seems to be a bit of challenge left especially as we went in with the bare minimum of item level recommended. Sadly, we did not seem to have sufficient DPS at the time and the group disbanded after a few wipes on the first boss, though the trash went rather well. It seems it would be preferrable to find DPS in the 20,000+ range, which somehow doesn’t seem overly common as observed in guild runs & LFG Heroics. Obviously anecdotal, but still.


I have had a tad of time to think about what I want from raiding though and it seems to be simply to get to raid “properly”, i.e. not in LFR & not PUG. I’ve noticed I don’t really care for the gearing aspect all that much, as it seems much of the prestige at least I associate with it is gone. So simply getting to experience the raids (hopefully starting with Highmaul as I haven’t raided at all this expansion) would be awesome. This is probably also why I’ve been so lukewarm on many of the more recent expansions, the simple matter that I haven’t really been raiding in them. Sure, I disagee with some of the changes Blizzard has made in them as well, but not participating in the content that gives me most enjoyment in the game is more probably the root cause.

This, however makes my situation somewhat awkward. As I’m not overly eager at finding new guilds & the attempts at getting raids together in my current guild fail, seeing what way to proceed becomes somewhat difficult. I’m hoping I can simply stay with the current guild as it does seem to have some rather nice people in it, though if raiding doesn’t start happening I sadly won’t be able to. Finding a new guild might be hard because I’d actually like to go back and clear the “old” raids, though that might happen in some sort of alt run. Finding a guild at this stage of the expansion when you’re not overly geared however isn’t all that simple. Most guilds seem to be expecting HFC experience & gear, neither of which I have. Joining a newly founded guild might simply leave me in the same situation I’m now, waiting for there to be sufficient raiders.

So matters are not as simple as they might seem, sadly.

World of Warcraft

Leveling complete! Gearing & Raid attempts

The last couple of weeks have gone by rather quickly, it seems. Much of that time seems to have gone with WoW, which for the time being seems to have captured my interest again which has been rather fun. As noted previously, I had started leveling a druid and managed to get to 100 almost a week ago now, last Friday morning. Leveling was one hell of a ride, I chose to do it primarily through dungeons though that stopped once I reached WoD levels, partially due to the item level restrictions for entering dungeons and partially due to long queue times. This lead to the final ten levels being somewhat tedious as I strongly prefer group content and had experienced the zones twice previously.

The dungeon leveling prior to that was a blast, however. I ended up especially enjoying the Cataclysm dungeons as they seemed to have retained some of the danger Blizzard had introduced in them. So while this did lead to some wipes as a consequence of people not knowing mechanics at times, the feeling of actually having to do something or risk wiping did add to the enjoyment of the run. Revisiting the old TBC dungeons was a good time as well as it meant getting to run my favorite dungeon, Caverns of Time: Escape from Durnholde (also know as Old Hillsbrad Foothills). This gave me an opportunity to reflect ony why I enjoy the dungeon so much and I think I came to a conclusion. It’s probably because I enjoy the pace the dungeon sets, while still allowing for more variation than dungeons like The Black Morass or Violet Hold which are more of running from portal to portal in the same small space. Incidentally, I also quite enjoy the Culling of Stratholme, which also fits into this paced dungeon theme. Though naturally the damage output of the group still has some effect on how quickly the dungeon goes.

But in the end, level 100 was hit and gearing started. I decided to do something somewhat silly and gear through PvP even though I’m primarily a PvE player myself, as there was a Battleground bonus even running conveniently after I had reached max level. This allowed me to gear in time for the scheduled raid time on Sunday, which was rather nice. The gearing path isn’t as bad as one might think, as PvP gear no longer has any PvP specific stats (like resilience) on it and the itemisation was decent in most respects. It also allowed for a rather big leap in item level, which seems to be the primary measure of gears usefulness these days (though properly itemised lower item level pieces might still be better than their higher item level counterparts, which didn’t end up being relevant for me as the gap in item level was so great).

Sadly the raid did not end up occurring, however we did manage an improptu run on on Monday instead. This ended up being normal Highmaul, which was fun as I hadn’t had the chance to properly experience the instance. We ended up taking down the couple first bosses and sadly had to call it at Brackenspore after a couple of wipes as some members of the raid had to leave and we were unable to find replacements. Sadly the continuation raid yesterday did not happen either, but there’s a raid scheduled for tonight that hopefully ends up happening. It seems it’ll either be Highmaul or Blackrock Foundry, both of which would be interesting to experience and finish at some point even if the gear doesn’t seem overly necessary after my PvP gearing. Highmaul in particular seems to have no gear of interest, but it’s fun doing some raiding nontheless!

All in all it’s been a fun experience so far, though I am starting to notice I’m slightly running out of steam. I don’t really feel I have overly many interesting goals outside of raiding now that I’ve geared up somewhat and don’t need to level anymore. Sure, I’m working on a couple of mounts (specifically the Flametalon of Alysrazor & Reins of the Raven Lord) however those are once a week/day engagements even if I do the attempts on several characters. I’m also trying to get my Arakkoa Outcasts reputation to exalted for the title Talon Queen, however that as well is somewhat rate limited now that the dungeon event for reputation is on as there is only one heroic per day I can do that gives reputation with them. I’ll probably end up either continuing farming the mobs that grant the reptutation (though I’d rather just do more dungeons) or running the dungeon on Mythic 2-3 times for the remaining reputation. Still, none of these things end up being tasks one can dedicate oneself to, excepting the reputation farm though I’m opting for the more fun albeit slower route of doing it through dungeons (slower not in a time spent but time lapsed sense).

Maybe I’ll have to end up leveling yet another character? Though I do fear I’d only end up in the same situation once again! Another alternative may end up being seeking a more raiding focused guild, though that may be a somewhat difficult task as I fear I might have somewhat particular preferences. I suppose time will tell how I end up continuing!

World of Warcraft

Wild Growth

I started leveling a Druid, and so far it’s been progressing quite well. I’ve managed to get all the way to 64, been doing dungeoning since I hit 15 and unlocked the dungeon finder. It’s been a blast so far, somehow managing to capture quite a lot of what I used to like about healing, though I’ve been able to completly ignore mana management as mana seems to be rather limitless at lower levels. I’m starting to notice at least some lowering of my current mana in certain pulls now though!

I’m kind of hoping that mana remains somewhat of a non-issue though, not completly but being more dependant on your casting style rather than a reliance on managing cooldowns which just seems utterly uninteresting. Based on what I’ve seen, Druids don’t seem to get a mana regeneration cooldown though, so that’s a good sign things will continue in a interesting manner!

It’s also been great revisiting the old dungeons, even with their changes in Cataclysm. I hadn’t even had the opportunity to do all of them since the changes, so seeing what’s happened has been interesting. The changes have been for the better for the most part I’d say, though part of the charm (and simultaneosly frustration) of the old designs may have been lost. Though the new layouts & helper objectives certainly make for a much smoother PUG experience, which is rather nice while trying to level through them.

Another fun part of the leveling has been meeting a bunch of people, though often only in solemn silence. It’s still been nice to see how well players often are able to understand each other while playing through the dungeons and repeated runs with the same group are nice because one has a better feel for both how quickly things die as well as the damage patterns of the tank which makes healing much smoother. Still, there were a few memorable personas, most strongly the group I ended up doing a spontaneous Emperor run with. We’d all been thrown into Detention Block of BRD together and after completing that part of the dungeon we still had a bonus objective left so we took a roundabout route and cleared that out. Afterwards, the tank just continued clearing and most of the group (45) decided to stick around and we ended up clearing the whole dungeon. It was one of those nice moments of “let’s just do this” where no words ended up being needed everyone just went with the flow. Was also really nice seeing that was possible and not blocked of by Blizzard for some obscure reason, such as is the case with the two different parts of Stratholme.

A second memorable encounter ended up being with a gnome warrior I came across who came to fill in for our tank who had to leave (incidentally, also a gnome warrior). I ended up doing a couple other runs with her and while most of our communication consisted of /cheering at each other at the end of runs once we’d queued up again, doing dungeons with her was a pleasure as she had the most well measured pulls of any tank I can remember through this leveling experience. She also had a good measure of the mobs in the encounter as a consequence, meaning random damage to other group members was minimised which makes for a nicer healing experience and a smoother run in general (DPS can have more confidence in their job when not worried about dying).

All in all, it’s been a good experience so far and I hope this holds up even once I get to the Draenor dungeons. More interesting to see is how raid healing feels, as that’s where the core of the game is for me. Hopefully all ends well and this character actually gets far enough to see that content!

World of Warcraft

Returning to World of Warcraft

So, I ended up playing World of Warcraft again after taking a break (again) about a month or two into the current expansion (Warlords of Draenor). I had decided to take the break because I didn’t have anything to do that interested me at the time and ended up returning because I got the inspiration to start leveling some more classes to see if I could find something that I could see myself playing a bit more.

The first (and only so far) class I’ve started leveling up so far is a mage and it’s been quite fun so far. I’ve ended up getting to level 92, however with the leveling motivation & speed slowing significantly since hitting Warlord’s content. I find this quite interesting, as before I had rated Warlord’s as probably the best leveling experience so far, being so focused on story. This may however be its downfall, as I’ve already played two characters through the story, doing so another time with the very rigid quest layout isn’t overly motivating at this time.

Still, I would like to get the mage to 100 before I decied what class to level next, though I’m having some difficulty deciding what that class should be. I have some interest in leveling another pure DPS class, probably a warlock, however I’m already struggling to handle the instance queue times on the mage when I do decide to do them, so I don’t think I could handle it again. I might end up leveling another tank, though that runs into the problem of difficulties with getting back into raiding which is my main interest with the game, despite my current obsession with leveling.

The final option would be to level another healer, which is where I’m leaning currently, though I’m having a hard time choosing which class. I’ve grown somewhat disillusioned with my current main, a Holy priest, primarily because the healing style has changed so much from the one I enjoyed. I might just end up trying Disc, though having been a Holy player for so long & it being what made my truly enjoy the game back in the day, I’m having a somewhat hard time “betraying” “my” spec. The other alternatives are probably either a shaman or a monk, both with some drawbacks however (can’t be a Night Elf shaman, not sure I like the extra resource in Chi with the monk).

Still though with the healers, I’m not sure how well I would like the modern very spammy feeling healing style, though that was certainly applicable to the classes I’m considering at the time I most enjoyed priest healing (though admittedly monks didn’t exist yet). So all in all, I’m still in search for what would be my current best fit within the game, if there even is one that’s good enough for me to continue playing once I start reaching raiding again. Though then the challenge of finding a guild I would like to raid with begins, which might prove somewhat difficult.

World of Warcraft