Dragonflight Two Months On
Dragonflight, taken on its own merits is… Good. Surprisingly so. Of course, as others have pointed out, many (including myself), had initially positive reactions to Shadowlands, too. And, well, that didn’t turn out so well.
Going through my reflections on Shadowlands again was amusing. How little did I know, as I espoused the supposed freedom of Shadowlands to play alts again, how much of a demand chasing after Covenant progress and conduit upgrades would take. So suffice it to say, I’ve been a little more cautious with my optimism this time around.
Sure- the early signs of this expansion are promising. There does truly seem to be a better regard for player time and providing options in the route players take to powering up.
As I noted in a reply to Kaylriene I’ve got around issues with the systems that might perhaps be a little less respectful of player time (e.g., rep grinds) by… Not engaging with them.
The rep grinds are still more or less per character, which doesn’t feel great. There is a concession in the way of gaining double rep gains on alts after reaching a certain level on mains, but if you’re wanting to pick up the crafting recipes on a slew of characters well… Oof. That’s still going to take some time, too.
… So I’m also not bothering much with the crafting. At least not from the sense of becoming a crafter myself. There is, without a doubt, much gold to be made for those who choose to chase it down, but.. Nah, thank you. I still very much enjoy the existence of this new form of crafting though! Being able to focus a few different pieces of gear at a competitive power level and upgrade them as I go feels great.
But if I’m not crafting and not rep grinding… What am I doing now? Surely my gear is good enough to be happy with raiding performance by now…? And that’s usually the point at which I check out and become a ‘raid logger’ as much as possible…
Turns Out, Mythic+ Is a Thing I Enjoy
That’s how my rating and completions looked at the start of this reset. I hit Keystone Master (healing, druid) a couple of weeks ago after formerly considering Mythic+ to be ‘a waste of time’ and ‘not my cup of tea’.
The latter primary being due to the fact that I was of the mindset that: ‘Healers, heal! Not DPS!’ and even from a tanking perspective, the idea of memorising route and optimising to the nth degree was just… Booorriiing. No thank-you.
The ‘not worth the time’ aspect came down to the fact I could get better loot from raid, which is where I wanted to focus my attention, and Mythic+ was, at best, a way to fill in weaker spots.
I suspect one of the switches for me then was the inclusion of The Great Vault. A system whereby, with each weekly reset, you are awarded with a selection of loot to pick from. You can unlock up to three slots from M+ activity, and the item level of the gear is a function of what level of M+’s you completed.
But that came as part of Shadowlands, and I still had little interest in pursuing KSM there.
I ran M+ for sure, but never as something I overly wanted to do or would recommend as an activity for fun.
So I think the other part of it was looking for a new area of mastery. Something else to focus efforts on getting better at, and improving. Raiding is fun and all, and I enjoy learning the new mechanics of the fights and hanging out with the guild… But it isn’t anything groundbreaking.
I parse OK in logs, but nothing stunning generally, a 95% healer parse on Heroic Eranog not withstanding. Or perhaps more amusingly, a 95% damage (as healer) parse on Heroic Primal Council — because there simply wasn’t enough damage going out to focus on healing that much.
Heroic Dathea is going to eke out a bit more of what I like — solo healing a platform at this gear level vs. the current tuning is… tight. Exciting, but tight. It’s really requiring optimising down to the nth degree when to use which cooldowns, and I love it!
Running Mythic+ and starting to creep up the key levels (although I’m still not terribly high yet, just starting to break into 16+ runs now) provides another outlet for mastering play.
Turns out doing it for just one character wasn’t enough though… Because I’ve also…
Been on a bit of an Alt Binge
Within pretty short order, I brought my Shadowlands mage up to level cap as well as something to play when the healer spot was taken already in guild/friend runs…
But it’s sort of evolved past there to the point where my mage is just about equal ilvl as my Druid, albeit I would say not yet quite as well optimised. Beyond a certain point of gearing, I started to really only care about two pieces of gear (and therefore, two dungeons):
- Eye of Skovald, from Halls of Valor, and
- Furious Ragefeather, from The Nokhud Offensive.
I have no desire to count the number of runs I’ve done in these two places on the mage. I forwent any and all progress on IO rating just to keep doing these, as the trinkets are each worth a substantial increase in damage output.
Finally. FINALLY, I got Eye of Skovald last night in a +14 run. Now… Just Furious Ragefeather to go.
That, plus the two-piece bonus from tier which I’ll get for sure next week (with the Catalyst system launching finally), will make for quite a substantial boost. Looking forward to it! Can has reset, nao?
Aside from the Mage project, I’ve also been rather more casually leveling both my Warrior and Monk. The Monk I initially expected to be my main this expansion, until with how the guild class preferences fell, it became clear that over 2/3rds of the raid would be after the same token — and besides, we already had another Monk to provide the physical damage taken debuff to enemy mobs.
I do really enjoy the playstyle of Monk, though. There is just something so satisfying about laying down a Faeline Stomp and then laying down a can of whupass on everything around, which itself results in the healing of the party. … Yeah… I guess it’s safe to say that my purist, ‘Healers, Heal!’ stance has shifted somewhat.
The Warrior I was really just curious to test firsthand and see if they’re everything they’re currently cracked up to be. Short version: They are. Probably. Leveling dungeon content is hardly the most stressful of pressure tests, but given can already pull multiple rooms worth of enemies and not have the HP bar so much as twitch… Well… Eesh.
Oh yeah, and I’ve also been utilising Chromie Timewalking to take every character I didn’t play during Legion and get their artefact weapons unlocked.
I really thought I’d done it already for my Warrior, but turns out that wasn’t the case! (I had done Druid, Mage and Priest — everyone else I’m taking through now).
So while my higher-level characters are now having fun in Dragonflight, everyone else is partying like it’s 2016 in the last good expansion. :)
Still- even though the shine hasn’t yet worn off, I do realise it’s early days yet. I may still get to my raid-logging days yet. We’ll have to see!
Inform: (As this post mentions or talks about an Activision Blizzard product, or the company)
While I have chosen to break my self-imposed exile from Activision-Blizzard titles, I still feel it important to acknowledge the troubled status of the company, so you can make your own decision.
Activision Blizzard has become subject to multiple sexual-harassment lawsuits. Of note, in particular, is that it has been alleged that Bobby Kotick (current CEO) has not only been aware of, but also attempted to suppress word of, such incidents — even going so far as to intervene to keep a perpetrator hired with the company.
Even so, support for a long-term boycott was never clear cut, even amongst those affected.