One Last Short Check-In Before A Huge Post

So, I’ve been pretty quiet since my last post, which was nearly a week and a half ago. In that time, I’ve been leveling more characters and gearing up more. Here is the short of my progress:

-3 total 120s

-Vengeance Demon Hunter main, at 343 item level, full epics, item level floor 340
-Discipline Priest (my OG main from 13(?!) years ago), 334 item level, half mythic geared, half heroic geared
-Brewmaster Monk, item level 298 (just dinged 120 about 6 hours ago)

My druid is 112, and my other alts are dutifully accumulating rest experience.

I’ve still only done alliance leveling, but once you have the hang of it, coupled with a 5% experience gain Rubeilite and rest XP, it is a breeze. My monk was rested the entire way!

I’ve completed the Alliance war campaign and am 1/3rd of the way through that last 7th Legion rep level to get Dark Iron Dwarves (3 guildies did that ASAP, and watching them grind that reputation was a big yikes from me)

I’ve done every dungeon in the expansion on Heroic and Mythic now! My highlights:

-King’s Rest is absolutely gorgeous and has some interesting bosses (just go with a good group)
-Siege of Boralus is conceptually cool but I have some spoilery beef with it I’ll get into later
-Atal’Dazar is awesome looking
-Underrot is visually unsettling and the kind of thing I like about WoW’s colorful artstyle – when you suck the color out of a scene, it heightens the sense of dread A LOT
-Encounter design wise, I think my favorite bosses are probably Avatar of Sethraliss (healed it on Mythic, tanked it on Mythic, DPSed it on Mythic, and yes, still like it), Dazar in King’s Rest (that last phase has so much going on!), and Jes Howlis in Tol Dagor (bring a rogue, blacksmith, or scribe, and you can cheese this fight so bad).

In terms of the overall gameplay loop, without cannibalizing the huge post I’ve been working on, it feels a bit like Legion-lite in a way, which I think is both good and bad. It is more alt friendly and more accepting of leveling lots of characters right away (probably ideal given the split stories between factions), but the problem this introduces is that if you aren’t particularly looking to rep grind for specific rewards, you basically hit level cap, do the War Campaign, and gear for raid, and then that’s it. At this point, I have been basically playing my Demon Hunter for just scheduled guild raid prep events and clearing out emissaries, with the remainder of my in-game time going to leveling and gearing alts. I suspect that if a Mage Tower-like challenge comes into BfA, I’m going to be far more prepared this time than I was in Legion – because there isn’t much of a need to grind on one toon constantly, I’ve been able to level cap alts and then go deep on getting them powered up, really pushing for new gear.

Some quick bullet points on endgame:
-I enjoy Island Expeditions on Mythic…kinda. They still feel more or less unnecessary, and the hype around them during the expansion announcement feels really out of place given the shipping product. They are okay, but the sense of reward is awful. I do these for the weekly Azerite reward and then never touch them again until reset.
-The Heart of Azeroth as a system is far more hands-off than I imagined it would be. I like the traits, and the way it ended up at launch is good, but I also don’t feel strongly motivated to grind AP for it in the same way as the Artifact during Legion, which I think is good, but it also leads to that directionless drift where once a character is raid geared and ready, there just isn’t that much impetus to keep grinding more stuff. That may change in a day or two with Uldir, Warfronts, and Mythic Plus all coming up, but right now, it feels kind of meh. I don’t really find myself caring about it that much and the design of classes is far more disconnected from them, so you don’t typically feel that power increase like the artifacts would provide.
-Tanking in the new paradigm feels pretty good now. You have to learn to lean more on your healer, and that does mean in more dedicated groups like guild runs or static groups, you have to really learn how your healer plays. Knowing how every healer works at a fundamental level definitely gave me an edge, I think. I’ve been able in random groups to match my playstyle, pulling strategies, and survival tactics to match the healers I’ve had pretty well.
-Healing in the new paradigm is a lot more fun, I think, than Legion. Subjectively, I wasn’t a big fan of how Blizzard’s answer to tank self-sustain was to just barrage the party/raid with a mix of high avoidable and moderate unavoidable damage, forcing healers to clean up. The amount of unavoidable damage feels much better, and healing feels more interesting for having to mind the tank again. Of course, if you mainly heal random players, or bad players, well, it sucks, because they love swimming in the myriad avoidable damage mechanics…
-I haven’t played ranged DPS yet, so I can’t comment, but Havoc melee is fun, although without Haste, the playstyle feels very slow in comparison to Legion, particularly geared Legion gameplay. I imagine that will change, and has gotten better as my gear level has gone up, but I am curious to see how raid gear will further shift this.

Overall, I think that my time in game has been rewarding so far and I am very eager to see the new content we get tomorrow!

Also, speaking of tomorrow (err, later today since it is 3:37 AM local time as I type these words…), I will be posting far more detail of my exploits in Battle For Azeroth. I’ve been working on documenting a sort of launch-window review, and leveling multiple roles, playing multiple roles, and trying to see as much of the content as I could was critical for that. (Also, let’s be real, this is the phase of the expansion where I would much rather play it than just talk about it!)

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