The start of Legion really put the Nightmare in Emerald for Dragon.
It’s good to write this to you without feeling like I have to go do more Cenarius later. The raid is now over and we’ve taken a deep breath before getting back to work. Once again, as history repeats itself, we had a nightmare of a start, in many ways similar to our start in Warlords of Draenor after Highmaul was released. By now the leadership has already accepted the fact that only a few things actually went according to plan. Lack of preparation was one of the capital sins during this raid, and even if the effort was there, it was already too late when we found out it was misplaced. Fortunately, this is the first out of three instances and, as history repeats itself, we still have the time. the motivation and the energy to once again bring us back to where we want to be.
Nythendra was a good entry boss to the instance. Looks good, it’s easy enough and had some fun mechanics. I personally liked it but it’s hard to talk about a boss we only tried for a couple of attempts. This boss gave a few, very early indications that our preparation could falter later in the instance but, being able to brute force it, we moved on to Elerethe fairly quickly.
Elerethe the Renferal
Elerethe or more conveniently called spiderbird by half of Warcraft’s population was surprisingly smooth. The lack of preparation once again made itself noticed early in the shape of a few mechanics that could have been optimised but we managed to correct that relatively quickly and kill the boss in just a few attempts giving us the chance to get back on the horse and push for a decent rank. Despite having no influence in the fight, this encounter also showed some early (yet, inconsequential) signs of some poor choice of classes that would later come back to haunt us…
Ursoc was the first boss we started to struggle on. Not only did we get there slightly later than intended, ironically on the first day ever in Dragon’s history where we started earlier in the afternooon, but by then, motivation was starting to fade a little – our kill order for the week had been messy and inefficient and to help things out, the server started lagging. We had a a couple of good attempts in the fight and came close to killing it on our fourth attempt which would have no doubt galvanized us to at least recover some of the lost time but that didn’t happen. The lag hit some of us hard and we spent the remaining hour throwing ourselves at the boss and coming close to killing him 7 times before he actually dropped our loot. We ended up getting him down as World 20 but the time put in had set us back.
Dragons of Nightmare
We decided to finish our heroics before resuming progress – a mistake that should have been corrected earlier. We came back the next day, finished the remaining heroics, now slightly more revitalised and managed to defeat Dragons of Nightmare in good time. The fight was an interesting, yet clunky one. Just like PTR (and a lot like this instance really, until the last two bosses at least), the fight was spent adapting to movement, calling things on the spot and generally dealing with the encounter’s easy mechanics. We could have been more prepared, as I mentioned numerous times, but this particular fight was designed in such a way that adapting to a number of different mechanics consecutively for the entire duration of the fight was enough.
Il’gynoth, Heart of Corruption
Back up in the journal, we reached Il’gynoth. We knew some guilds were taking a bit more time on this one and we also knew that our progress wasn’t going accordingly to plan so we had to use every opportunity we could if we wanted to salvage something out of Emerald Nightmare. Progress on it wasn’t a failure – we knew what to do and how it worked (and how guilds were cheesing it by not doing all of the fight) but we did end up spending quite a bit of time to low percentage wipes and some lack of trigger discipline. Looking back, the nature of the fight was one of the most frustrating ones I remember doing and I do not look forward to farming it.
I should not give Cenarius the honor of writing about him after all the grief he has caused us but I do think we’ll look back to this instance iin the future the way we look back to Highmaul now – as an opportunity to improve. Like I said before, the instance had given us some hints that our class composition wasn’t ideal. We lacked the right classes for all three departments but Cenarius was the one fight that made our tanking classes completely redundant. In fact, the classes we had were far from ideal for this encounter and preparing them took a while and had some additional repercussions to the low motivation we already had with our slow start. After a substantial number of wipes to pretty much every mechanic the encounter had to offer, we managed to stabilise and start getting him into the last phase eventually finishing the week with a 3% wipe. A kill wouldn’t have made much of a difference, especially since we came back the next reset and killed him in a couple of attempts but it would have given us some much needed closure.
Xavius was a sad excuse for a fight. With a total of 2:30 minutes of hard execution, the fight becomes a joke once you transition him to his next phase. Once again, class composition showed itself to be a luxury we could not afford – despite not being as important as the previous fights – but once we managed to finally fix phase one, we killed the fight with ease, a pattern that had been repeated by every other guild before us. I believe I wrote a while ago that I’ve always wanted to kill Xavius, ever since my days in Felwood so I was terribly disappointed that the fight was turned into a big joke. An NPC with lore as rich as Xavius’ and a last boss of an instance deserved a lot more than what the encountered had to offer and, as a whole, the fight was nowhere near the standards of its predecessor – Imperator Mar’gok.
Overall, this instance managed to beat us down to the ground and keep us there for a while. We’ve experienced some new things for the first time and had new challenges – at all levels – to deal with. Despite the obstacles and some of the criticism (warranted, if I might add), we managed to bring ourselves back up knowing that we can and will do better and we managed to keep the support of some people that never ceased to cheer us on. This instance has worked as a perfect replica of what not to do and as a massive learning experiences for a lot of us. Dragon path has not been clear of obstacles but for every time we’re presented with one this hard to beat, we evolve. We’ll see you all in Nighthold.