Looking Ahead to Dragonflight Season 2 – Setting New Goals

With patch 10.1 announced now for early May, with a new tier of raiding and Mythic Plus dungeons to run and new things to chase, I’ve started making plans for how I want to tackle the content individually. At a raid level, the goals are for the team to decide, but personally, I’ve got a few ideas for how I’m going to push the content I plan to do, and so today, with my Season 1 retrospective out, time to take a look!

Keystone Hero In A Month?

One of the unexpected joys of Season 1 Dragonflight was how thoroughly I was obsessed with key pushing. I should have known from Shadowlands Season 2 in particular that I would chase the limits of the reward structure, and while early on and outside of the game, I didn’t expect to want to chase high keys to the reward limit, I’ve ended up doing it a lot. I’ve been slacking on 20s, but I have my Nokhud Offensive portal (of all the fucking dungeons it’s THAT one, lol), and the chase for Season 2 feels like it will be easier to do to my satisfaction.

So before I break down the nitty-gritty of this goal, what’s the logic? Well, I think that Season 2 (any season past the first, really) is just categorically easier because you’re fighting less against the game’s baseline power creep. I started Season 1 at an item level of 375ish, and ended it at 418 – a climb of 43 item levels and a huge power increase (by Blizzard’s logic for item level scaling, 43% more overall power). In Season 2, the absolute peak, assuming I eventually have full loadout of +20 Great Vault gear, is 447, an increase of 29 total item levels and a 29% increase in power (that 29% likely being about as large as the 43% increase above because scaling is not linear, but hey). Even against the steep climb of Season 1, I was KSM in under 3 weeks of the season and KSH in around 2 months.

So then, my first goal is to have two week sprints on my Monk to each goal – two weeks to KSM, another two to KSH right after. With gear upgrades not being on the hook here, it’s perhaps less critical to sprint up the rating chart for that reason, but I also think that the sooner I can be in that 16+ key range, the better for the new upgrade system – because I’ll be able to earn Aspect’s Shadowflame Crests for earlier gear upgrades into that higher item level range.

With the item curve being less sharp, and with the season results I did have in Season 1, I think I can jump right in to the medium end of the pool and start my season journey around 12-15 keys before running up the ladder more, which should help the KSM journey – the average of around +14s in each dungeon is sufficient for KSM in the current model, while an average around +18s in each dungeon will net you KSH pretty easily, so my goal is to make the chase happen while the iron is hot.

Why do it this way, though? Well, I’ve documented this a few times across two expansions, but early season keys are way more chill and interesting for me – routes and strategies aren’t hard-locked, people are way more tolerant of failures and scuffs, and getting into groups is generally easier, especially when you have a good history in the most recent season to point at. It feels like it will be very doable now that I’ve made the climb to that KSH level once already, and if I target higher keys sooner, it will be fine, I feel like.

So two weeks to sprint towards a +15 in every dungeon on both base affixes, and then methodically knocking out higher keys for two more weeks to that 2500 rating and the omnitoken for tier at 2200 – that is the plan.

Multiple KSH?

I currently have three characters that hit Dragonflight Season 1 KSM rating requirements, including my main who is also KSH. One thing I want to try for in the upcoming tier is a second KSH character.

Getting there the first time was sufficiently draining this season, such that it was nice to go back “down” to 14-15 keys on alts, and it overtook my desire to push 20s hard on my Monk. I made that choice knowing it was a tradeoff, but I’ve had fun, and playing a game is ultimately a leisure activity for fun, so hey. But this next season, knowing from the start how the grind to 2,500 is and being confident in my ability to get there sooner with more focus, gives me a bit of confidence to try something crazy for me – two Keystone Hero characters. I haven’t quite decided on a second yet, but my DH and Evoker are both in high contention, because I enjoyed playing them this season enough for them to be my additional KSM characters.

It feels kind of likely to be my DH at this point, but we’ll see how I’m feeling at that point. My Evoker is a ton of fun and they look like they’ll be strong DPS in Season 2 with the changes to come!

Five KSM?

This season, I went with 3 KSM characters, and it was a fun climb. I still have long enough that I could push another one or two over the hump now, and who knows – maybe?

But for Season 2, I definitely want to get to 5 KSM characters. I like the idea of the grind and of getting characters raised up in item level, and I’ve been enjoying Dragonflight a lot more than the prior two expansions for WoW on the back of actually being able to play my alts. One of the biggest appeals of the current 10.0.7 patch has been gear catchup for alts, and I’ve spent more time on alts running Timewalking and doing low keys than I have playing my main over the last few weeks. With the need to level characters largely done, I can now simply choose to play characters at max level and enjoy the content from a few different perspectives, and I want to try meeting a goal of 5 KSM characters, including at least one tank, DPS, and healer.

I have a few hunches on how I’m going to get there. I like healing on my original raid main Priest, and given how awesome the tier set for Priest is next patch, it feels like a pretty easy lock in. Tank-wise, it’s almost certainly my DH, as I’ll still probably spend most of my Monk time in keys doing DPS. If I assume my current 3 KSM’s and my Priest all make the climb, then I would want one plate wearer for the armor type round-out, which would probably be my Paladin at this point based solely on the tier set appearance for DF Season 2.

But I haven’t decided just yet, and I have a few weeks yet to make up my mind!

Concurrent, Parallel Play

One thing I tend towards in my gameplay is being very focused on one character at a time. That’s why the 20 climb on my Monk was disrupted by pushing my Evoker, and pushing my Evoker was disrupted by my DH, and pushing keys has been disrupted one character at a time by leveling and gearing new alts. I want to get better at this, and so a goal I have is to try and limit the amount of needless key spam I do. I want to fill up the M+ Great Vault slots on multiple characters weekly and build towards a roster of similarly-capable alts with a main character in the lead. Even for characters I’m not specifically targeting KSH or KSM on, I still want to do a little bit of gameplay each week, enough to at least get one slot open in the Vault weekly and slowly start rolling my alts up the ladder.

To that end, I’m going to try pretty hard to cap at around 10 dungeons a week max on any one character, and to focus my KSH/KSM pushes on dungeons with the largest returns – higher key levels or missing dungeons almost exclusively. I’m leaving this a little bit open because I know I’ll end up pushing some characters harder – my two KSH characters will likely get more keys in past this limit, but I am going to try hard to stretch to other classes and specs more and to better understand more of the current game from those perspectives. I’m also deliberately going to try to focus in more on classes and specs my raiders tend to play so I can better understand how to help them. As a raid leader, I’ve always done my best work when I have everything leveled and can understand from a practical, hands-on approach how they play and what the pitfalls and best practices are, and it’s something I want to get back into now that I have every class at 70.

Streaming More

In March, I did a 31 days of streaming experiment that grew my Twitch channel by 20% and gave me a lot of confidence with streaming overall. I still plan to write that up separately, because there was a lot of learning contained in that bit of space, but one thing I started doing more near the end of my push on my Monk in Season 1 is recording runs and uploading just gameplay without commentary or editing.

I want to spice that up in a few ways. Firstly, I want to stream most of, if not all of, my key pushing. I play at weird hours, but you know what? WoW is a global game, and a key stream at 1 AM might not be the play for my guildies or friends, but for some folks I know in the Oceanic region, it’s probably cool. I’m probably also going to try simultaneous capture of just the game feed to share to YouTube in multiple forms – firstly with more commentary-less run videos, but also to get into commentary more, to take a run and talk over it after the fact, breaking down how I played, what decisions I made, etc. I’m not at a level where I would say I’m a good coach of dungeon gameplay or that I would have the best insights to share, but I think I could share something that might help someone, and I think in terms of attention to detail with dungeon mechanics, I have something to offer there.

While keys are my happy place to not talk and just play the game, I might also play with streaming them commentary-less and camera-less, just putting the key up and playing how I’m gonna play. I might lose some steam on this one, but it’s something I want to toy with, for sure.

Horde Alts?

It matters far less since Shadowlands Season 4, but I’ve been curious to level a Horde alt again and see how that side lives. I have Horde alts stuck at 50 currently, because I did play Horde characters back in Battle for Azeroth to get both sides of the story, but Shadowlands didn’t really necessitate that I keep playing them and so I focused on my Alliance characters and then quit the game for a year, lol. I kind of want to play Protection Paladin but not on my Alliance Pally, who is kitted for healing, so I might finish leveling my Zandalari Troll Paladin and see how it feels.

Spec Alts?

Something I got funny and decided to do with my Monk is to level a second one to 70 thanks to timewalking, since my current raid main is a boosted Monk and my original Monk was sitting on the bench. I wanted to do this because the gearing priorities for Brewmaster and Windwalker are in alignment mostly…but Mistweaver healing is almost completely the opposite priorities. So now I have my punchy-kicky Monk and my mist-blasting Monk, and hey, I can gear correctly according to sound stat priorities! Will I do this more? I doubt I’ll do it much, but the Paladin example I gave above is another case where I am thinking about it a lot. It would take more effort to get other class alts up to par, except maybe a Priest, since I do have a second priest at 60 I could use Timewalking to drag up to spec, so I doubt this is more than an idea I’m playing with, but it is something I’m interested in!

Profession Maintenance

With my alts all leveled, I now have characters at max with every profession. I want to get my account to a level of self-sufficiency such that I do not have to do anything but personal/guild orders that my alts can fill. So that is going to mean hunting recipes, keeping up on materials, and maxing out knowledge levels within professions. Easy enough to say, harder to get done!

And for now, that’s about it!


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