This week, I finally did the thing.
I completed a Heroic Warfront!
Oh, and we also did Ahead of the Curve for Azshara, then killed her again for the absent raiders tonight, and did all of Glory of the Uldir raider, on Heroic, in a single night.
It was a fun pair of raid nights – I got to kill Azshara in both roles on my Demon Hunter, and steamrolling Uldir after how it took even more shine off the WoW experience in BfA felt really good, plus the meta achievement rewards a mount, which is pretty cool!
So, some thoughts!
Azshara Heroic – She seems easy enough on paper if you’ve done Normal, but in execution, she has a near-Mythic level of mechanics and layering of abilities. Decrees can pair now instead of being limited to one per player, meaning that the management of mechanics during transitions is quite a bit harder than Normal. Initially, we were letting people just hang out wherever in the room, but what finally got us through the transitions as easily as possible was designating a stack point for the pre-decree cast, taking advantage of the grace period for the debuff to ensure full coverage, particularly for those with orders to stay in place and also stack with other players.
The second major difference is that many common mechanics go off more regularly, or in rapid succession. Reversal of Fortune, which moves the runes in the room, now happens more regularly, and has a Greater Version, which makes all the runes in the room except for one the type that empowers Azshara, almost certainly forcing you to move her. The eye lazers in the last phase go off in triples, rather than one at a time, and the Overload on the titan console requires even more careful management to avoid extra deaths.
Our basic strategy was similar to the one used on the Normal fight, but with key variations:
-A designated stack spot for transition decrees
-Ignoring one of the Tidemistress adds during phase 3
-Designating the off-tank to handle Overloads
-Burning to push Azshara to the end immediately once our kill target dies in phase 3
All of these things together got us over the hump, and in a few pulls, she went down!
Overall, I think this raid tier was still a mixed bag for me. I’m certainly glad to have it done before I leave the country (10 days now!!!!!) and the process was fairly fun, but there is a mix of emotions in that. The early bosses of Eternal Palace on both difficulties were fairly bland and boring – simple, fairly straightforward fights where the mechanics seem complicated but really line up to an easy execution. Until Lady Ashvane, the tier has few legitimate challenges, and she only poses a modest challenge of positioning and executing against the coral mechanics. After her, the raid does ramp in difficulty, but Za’qul is a noteworthy exception. I dislike him, to be frank. On Normal, he was fine enough, difficult but not exceptionally hard. On Heroic, he is a punch in the gut. Even when we managed to clear him, each attempt at reclearing took nearly an hour – or worse, to the point that once a raider had an Azshara lockout, we agreed to extend until she died.
Overall, I think the tier as a whole package is a mixed bag. The difficulty curve doesn’t escalate in a good pattern, and now that we’ve done bosses with anywhere between 12-24 people, I’ve noticed it generally is not down to scaling as I suspected at the start of tier. Rather, the overall design of the raid is inconsistent and confusing, with mechanics that just don’t mesh in a great way. My favorite bosses are Queen’s Court, Orgozoa, and Azshara – even though she ramps up sharply, the fight has a good mix of enjoyable and interesting mechanical interplay.
Now, all that is left to do is wait and see what comes in the CDN encrypted patch 8.3!