First Dip into the Pool

Image courtesy of WoWhead

I have a confession to make.  Due to a number of circumstances (travel and work to name a few), I actually hadn’t gotten the chance to step into the Eternal Palace yet.  Crazy right? The raid-happy paladin not entering the brand new raid? Luckily, the crisis was averted last Monday. And, since I never do things by half, I jumped into Heroic for my very first run.

Thanks to an old friend with whom I used to raid with way back in the day, I was invited to their group’s Heroic Eternal Palace progression, starting on the second boss.  I’d seen the videos of the fight and read a few guides so I thought I had a vague notion of what was going down but as soon as I zoned in and found myself floating underwater, I knew I’d jumped straight into the deep end.  Fortunately, my mythic raiding gear from last tier as well as my remarkably powerful Essence meant that I had a smoother ride. It was time for some quick learning!

The Blackwater Behemoth, the second encounter in the instance, loomed before our group. (I had missed the first fight by happenstance.)  The fight itself isn’t too bad – just some light five yard spreading, a few platform transitions, some dots, and adds that must be killed spread out throughout the encounter – but it’s got one giant peculiarity.  The third dimension.  That’s right, the entire time we’re fighting that monstrous eel, we’re swimming through water.  

First pull and I’m a total mess.  Luckily, I didn’t die until the whole group was wiping, but that’s just about the only thing I did correctly.  My healing was abysmal. I’m running the Glimmer paladin build and I couldn’t seem to figure out the boss’s hit box in order to get close enough to use my Crusader’s Strike.  It took me way longer than I’d like to admit to realize that I had to swim over and touch the glowing green cloud in order to, you know, stay alive. Each of my platform crossings were like a bad re-enactment of the jellyfish scene from Finding Nemo.  The water element really messed with my head, far more than I thought it would.

However, to my credit, whenever I make a mistake with a raid mechanic, I tend not to make it again.  I’ve often joked with my friends that the first pull, I’ll purposefully make every mistake I can in order to know how to avoid them in the future.  The Blackwater Behemoth proved that trend incredibly true. By the second pull, I had a much better handle on the 3D aspect of the fight and had jumped up from the worst healer by a large margin to actually being competitive.  I was on top of mechanics (since, after all, they were not too difficult once I got over the swimming aspect). Fussypants was back in her element. 

It took us a couple more pulls to get the beast down and in that time, I really came to enjoy the fight.  It felt different from any other raid fight in a way that was engaging and fun (unlike Hellfire Assault, blarg).  The speed buff to swimming made what could have been an aggravating aspect feel smooth and natural. And I just really loved how mobile the whole fight was.  It was a perfect introductory encounter. 

Image courtesy of Blizzard Watch

Next up, we went to face the Radiance of Azshara.  Unlike the previous boss, I actually had a very good idea of the mechanics to this boss, on account of me running the Eye of Azshara dungeon in Legion far too many times to count.  There were a few new portions, such as the winds phase intermission and the tornado-releasing orbs but other than those, it was an eerily familiar encounter.  

I’d always thought that the fight was a bit overly hectic for a dungeon but scaled up to raid size, the Radiance of Azshara was perfect. The platform itself is larger than the dungeon version, giving players a lot more room to maneuver around in.  Our group split the raid in two which worked remarkably well to keep folks close enough to healers without bunching everyone up. The mechanics tended to fall pretty randomly across the field which might lead to some frustrating RNG in Mythic (where I’d assume more would be instantly lethal rather than just painful) but in Heroic, that just kept the fight unpredictable and exciting.  We beat down the Radiance in just two pulls.

The final boss for the evening was Lady Ashvane and boy, is that encounter a big step up in the difficulty department.  We only got a few pulls in before raid night was over but what I did get to see of the fight indicated its trickiness. The mechanics were more intricate than earlier bosses, demanding coordinated movement and space management.  However, the biggest hurdle appeared to be the DPS requirement. By our last pull, we were still only getting the boss to around 80% (granted, we were still figuring out the mechanics at that point). I suspect there’s a good deal more progression to grind out in that fight but what I saw so far seemed intriguing.

Overall, I quite enjoyed my little jaunt into the Eternal Palace!  I definitely want to see more of the bosses before I pass verdict on the raid in general, but the fights I saw perfectly scratched the raiding itch.  I’m a big fan of the mobility of the fights as well as the timing of damage, both of which compliment the holy paladin healing style. Big thanks again to Elandryia and their raid team for bringing me along!