Alors, the Circle of Stars was won yesterday. Both bosses appeared to be quite brutal, and required 3-4 attempts to finish them.
The whole raid appeared to be quite uneven in terms of bosses’ difficulty. First three bosses were tank-and-spank with braindead mechanics to accomplish. The second wing didn’t pose that of a challenge as well – if your tanks know the drift, but also punished you personally and severely if you ignored the tactics.
Not so much at the wing 3.
Za’qul requires all the raid’s efforts. The core difficulty is managing the insanity realms – that is, enough people should walk close to the summoner adds, use action buttons for transit, and nuke them. You should also leave the realm in time to get healed. Eventually I grasped the idea, but nevertheless spent 1/3 of the winning try kissing the ground – I just walked into the wrong puddle with little remaining health. There are lots of multicolored pools, so I have to learn those too. And a killer tentacle without an anticipated void zone doesn’t help either.
All in all it takes experience to learn the encounter, and that is quite beatable.
Not like that with Queen Azshara.
This one is brutal in every sense. A lot of player coordination is required which is certainly the major LFR problem. A lot is happening that you simply have no clue about, and you can’t figure it out on spot. Worst of all, the encounter is way overtuned.
It required us three stacks of determination to be successful – otherwise we lacked DPS, and worst of all, HPS. Yes, healers have some very hard time in one of the transition phases, and whatever they do, the whole raid is just gradually and inevitably dying. I’ll check this part with Jellica the Priest this week, but it seems that I’ll be out of mana by half of the encounter.
On DPS camp, I felt that all the adds were not dying fast enough before we acquired some stacks. You can’t be lazy here – all cooldowns should be used right away when available, and you should squeeze every last drop from your rotation.
People are also activating titan consoles which may kill you on spot or give a powerful buff. I was lucky to get an overpowered buff, and this was something. Frost mage’s spell Flurry is the most powerful in the whole arsenal, but its cast is so long that it should be used with procs and procs only which make it instant. When I got powered, ALL Flurry casts became instant. So I spammed this insta-spell for a good deal of 40 seconds before death got me. This random is something new, but I’m not sure I like it.
The whole encounter is more of Archimonde type – one of the hardest LFR encounters ever. It’s messy, long, complex and requires a good deal of gear/determination to feel confident, save executing multiple mechanics. It’s not supposed to be on easy farm too soon, and hopefully it could be nerfed. Literally every nerf is welcome, but merely reduced boss’ and adds’ health pools would be just fine.
Lorewise, I liked the finale a lot. As I predicted, the accumulation of Azeroth blood unleashes N’Zoth, and we were silly enough to bring it to his cage. Azshara’s motives to let us survive and make it this far are crystal clear.
Although I think it’s unlikely that she or her master were the reason behind the interfaction war:
- We would have collected azerite anyways, as Magni claimed necklace to be the means to heal Azeroth.
- War or not, eventually both factions came to the cage and fought together.
- Azshara didn’t want us to come there weakened – she lured the mightest heroes of Azeroth to the Old God prison. A hero with Heart of Azeroth could have easily got killed in the war, so all efforts of accumulating azerite could go in vain.
- Last, but not least: N’Zoth has always prefered to act in shadows, to corrupt. It’s of no use to him to make us weaker – he needs the strongest champions fighting for his cause, both heroes and NPC. So the idea of the strongest killing each other is not cool. Naga alone are not enough to conquer the surface, even if kngdoms exhausted each other in the bloodshed.
When you finish the final quest, faction leaders have a small talk. Lorthemar openly declares that time to finish the war has come, and blood elves will stand against Sylvanas. The priorities are set: Sylvanas first, N’Zoth second, because he could be defeated only with combined forces. And that makes me happy.
The next thing we’ll see in the lore is an open revolt against the current “warchief”. Stakes are set, and the Horde is finally ready. I can’t wait to see the sequel and turn all the might of my toons, blades and magic, Alliance and Horde alike, against the Banshee.
Tell her: we – are – coming!