Highmaul First Impressions

In order to keep putting out something here, and because I’m still nit-picking over my other developing posts, I’d like to give a quick first impressions for Highmaul. Not sure if this will be a regular thing, as I don’t know how much value there is in such posts. But for now it keeps me writing, which I view as nearly always a good thing.

So we took a short poke into normal modes the day Highmaul opened, and then went back and started on heroic Thursday night. So far it’s really hard to judge the quality of the tier, in the same way it’s hard to judge the quality of your bed after you’ve slept on a pile of rocks for a few weeks. Realistically at this point nearly anything would compare favorably to any further time in SoO.

That said, I’m enjoying myself massively so far, despite our struggles in heroic. We one-shot Kargath and 2-shot Butcher in normal, then called it a night 2 wipes into Tectus due to server issues pushing our raid much later than normal. Fresh off of that relative success, we leapt face-first into heroic mode on Thursday, and things did not go nearly as easily. Our average item level is 636 right now, which I figured would be sufficient for heroic bosses, and boy was I wrong. It took us 3 pulls to down Kargath, a mechanically trivial boss, and about a half dozen pulls to realize that we just flat don’t have the numbers for Butcher heroic yet.

I’m honestly a little surprised at the tuning of normal and heroic Highmaul so far. I’m sure it’s partially an artifact of this being the first tier of this expansion, but we had less trouble with early  SoO normal bosses, despite having what I would consider an overall less-skilled roster than we have at the moment. We’ve tuned up our healing roster considerably, but our heal team is clearly feeling the shock of trying to raid in blues for the most part. I can’t hardly recall the last time I died tanking when I was paying any attention whatsoever, and butcher managed to kill me 3 times out of 6 pulls on Thursday.

Despite those deaths, I can say I’m enjoying tanking immensely. While DPS get to have more fun as they get overgeared, pushing for rankings and generally watching their numbers continue to climb, tanking gets considerably more boring as you continue gearing up. For me at least tanking is lived at the margins, while content is still fresh enough to demand constant attention. So Highmaul has been a blast for me so far, having to watch my uptimes on everything roll my cooldowns appropriately. Paladins are also really well designed at the moment when it comes to talent choices, something I’m hoping to do a writeup on here shortly.

So struggles aside I like the bosses we’ve seen so far. Butcher seems to be an effective gear/number check, and our pulls on Tectus were a chaotic mess of fun. Tonight we’ll hopefully make enough progress in normal to give us the gear to continue pushing through heroics. In the meantime, I’m pretty sure it’s time to check my garrison again.

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