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WE ARE LEGION: MACH

15 September, 2016

We Are Legion is a regular column with the goal of introducing you some of the members that will make up our roster in the upcoming World of Warcraft’s expansion:- Legion.

Today we bring you our Balance Druid and the guy you go to when you need a strange WeakAura: Mach. Mach joined us just in time to kill Lei Shen with us back in the Throne of Thunder tier. Since then he’s massively contributed by not only being a regular presence in a big chunk of our progress kills and farms (on any of his four druids). but also by allowing us to constantly improve our encounter preparation through the use of better WeakAuras and other tools. There’s also that one time he healed on Iron Juggernaut. To know more, feel free to visit his profile right here on Dragon’s website.

 

1 – Tell us a bit about yourself.

Hey there. My name is Stijn, 23, from the Netherlands. I started playing World of Warcraft back in August of 2010 as a Balance Druid, and never have been anything else in the game. There was one Shadow Priest experiment at the start of Highmaul, but I quickly bailed on that. While I love (progress) raiding I also enjoy many other parts of the game, hunting achievements, gathering transmogs, and pretty much anything except PvP. Oftentimes when our progress is over I’ll try to help out friends in lower ranked guilds as well. It helps keep perspective, and is interesting to see how other guilds approach the encounters.

 

2 – You joined the team during Lei Shen progress and were part of the raid that killed it. What are your memories about that time and what are the main differences from the team then and now?

The  guild was a huge step up from what I was used to, both management-wise and player-wise. It was very refreshing to be in a guild that had their farm bosses properly on farm (with the exception of maybe Dark Animus…) and was able to solidly progress on the next boss.

One of the biggest differences with previous guilds was how coherent Dragon was. The guilds I’d come from were usually 4 or 5 groups of ~5 people who liked each other, and just accepted the rest was there. People had binds to talk to specific groups of people on voice chat, and oftentimes were trash talking. It was amazing to finally be in a guild with none of those shenanigans and proper respect.

Lei Shen was a very trying and difficult boss. The roster was less refined back then, and the class requirements to deal with the mechanics didn’t help. Progress was a bit more sporadic than I would’ve hoped, with many low percentage wipes. In the end it set us up to make improvements for the next tier though, and we did. Siege of Orgrimmar and all the tiers afterwards were highly enjoyable, and over time the management, roster, tactics and preparation got more refined, leading us to grab the high rank we have now.

 

The  guild was a huge step up from what I was used to, both management-wise and player-wise. It was very refreshing to be in a guild that had their farm bosses properly on farm (with the exception of maybe Dark Animus…) and was able to solidly progress on the next boss.

 

3 – Hellfire Citadel was Dragon’s best tier yet. Tell us a little about your experience during this last tier’s progress.

Hellfire Citadel was quite an odd raid. Everything up until Gorefiend pretty much fell over, and then Gorefiend himself was a solid brick wall. When we first hit that wall, I was excited to see we’d gotten to the hard part, and on the other hand a bit discouraged the brick wall was so early in the tier. After Gorefiend though, the next couple of bosses were disappointing. Iskaar, Socrethar and Xhul’Horac fell over fairly easily, and especially Socrethar was an absolute disgrace of a fight, with me not even believing that we killed it, figuring something must have bugged out.

Zakuun and Tyrant were probably the highlights of the tier for me. Mechanically not very complex, but just tightly tuned and highly punishing. Zakuun also showed me how important proper WeakAura’s can be. We had a bit of an issue with some people wanting a number, some an icon, others text, and others a combination. It taught me good WeakAura’s don’t just do what you program you to do, but also clearly show their intent to the player, and deliver their information in a clear and clean manner.

Mannoroth I absolutely hated. A long fight with constant movement and annoying abilities and timings made it utterly unenjoyable for me, and in the end I wasn’t there to kill it. Archimonde on the other hand was great, although I do feel some abilities were designed in such a way that they didn’t think about the implication addons and WeakAura’s were going to have on them.

Overall, in the end, we reached an amazing rank, something I thought near impossible after the great rank we got during Blackrock Foundry. It shows that motivation, dedication, preparation and execution can trump time spent on encounters, and motivates me greatly for the future.

 

4 –  You’re one of the people responsible for the coding of addons, more specifically, WeakAuras. How much importance do you place in addons in World of Warcraft and if you could see anything added to the game, what would it be?

Addons are a core part of World of Warcraft, for players in all parts of the game and at any level. No matter if you enjoy PvE, PvP, pet battles, transmogging, mount hunting…Every single part of the game has addons that make it better. I think in general Blizzard has been doing a fine job of providing a good basic UI, and tons of API’s for developers to use. The way it is now means that if a UI feature is wanted, the community can step up and make it, without having to go through a long process of trying to get Blizzard to make them.

There definitely is room for improvement though. The current power bar for balance is so incredibly subpar it’s astonishing it ever got in the game. Trying to find out what spec someone is for your addon or WeakAura is also a huge pain, and I’d love to see the API’s for that be improved.

On the importance of WeakAura’s: I think a lot of people have a bunch of them ‘just because’. There’s definitely important ones that can help you with your rotation, or inform you of certain events. But there comes a point where you just have a ton of icons on your screen and barely have any idea what they do. While making debuffs and buffs more obvious, in moderation, is a great feature of WeakAura’s, over time I’ve come to appreciate it more for the ability to automate tactics, as it were.

Automating assignments, automating marks, and communicating all that information to the raiders is all possible via WeakAura’s. And when you do that you’re freeing up the raid leader, freeing up voice comms and taking away human error. That’s the real strength of WeakAura’s, and while it requires way more effort and planning than just debuff icons, that’s something that can give you the edge over the competition.

 

I think in general Blizzard has been doing a fine job of providing a good basic UI, and tons of API’s for developers to use. The way it is now means that if a UI feature is wanted, the community can step up and make it, without having to go through a long process of trying to get Blizzard to make them.

 

5 – Finally and based on the small raiding experience we’ve had on Alpha, what are your thoughts on Legion expectations for yourself and Dragon next tier?

In all honesty, I expect the Emerald Nightmare to be pretty bad. The setting is depressing, the encounters are not all that interesting, and from what we saw during testing they were also the least complicated yet most buggy fights around. Combining that with the fact that split-raiding is always a bit hard during the first tier, and I think we’re in for quite a ride. Our roster has never been stronger though, and our preparation has never been better, so I’m sure we’ll be able to handle it.

The Nighthold, on the other hand, had some of the most amazingly designed, polished and executed encounters I’ve ever done, both on live and beta. The art for the zone is something that’s never been done before in the game, and I’m incredibly excited to be able to see all the encounters after each other. Gul’dan is also pretty much guaranteed to be a treat when we get there.

During and after Hellfire Citadel, a lot of top guilds have changed, renamed, disbanded, moved or reformed. I’m curious to see who will rise to the absolute top, and who will drop out. I’m confident we’ll be able to at least keep our rank, and am looking forward to improving upon ourselves yet again, as we’ve done every tier so far.