Nighthold, tier tears, and hotfixes

Today’s post is a few bits and pieces on Nighthold, tier gear, and the most recent hotfixes.

Nighthold. Last night our raid team ventured into Nighthold (N). We had a good time and downed 6 bosses — Skorpyron, Chronomatic Anomaly, Trilliax, Spellblade Aluriel,  Krosus, and High Botanist Tel’arn.

Mini-rant: What is it with Blizz and their seemingly random use of apostrophes in names? As far as I can tell, there is no solid linguistic foundation for it, none of the Azerothian or ancient WoW languages has any real basis in descriptive or structural analysis. Do the apostrophes connote contractions? Possessive case? Glottal stops or whistles or some other phoneme difficult to render in a Roman alphabet? Or, like raising one’s pinky in an elaborate show of faux politesse, are they a pretention? My money is on the latter.

Anyway, back to last night’s raid. We one-shotted all the bosses except for Botanist, who did give us some trouble. (However, we wiped a couple of times on trash, go figure.) There was some muttering about Nighthold being “undertuned”, but I don’t agree. We are pretty much overgeared for Normal, which as some of you may recall was originally (in Patch 5.4 I think) structured to be the “friends and family” mode, with Heroic being the progression mode. Had it been a true cakewalk, we should have cleared it, but Botanist’s mechanics did in fact kick our butts — the individual mechanics are not complicated, but dealing with all of them in the last phase was pretty chaotic. I haven’t yet studied the 4 bosses we did not do, but I suspect they will give us a challenge also.

My previous guild’s raid team was actually a “friends and family” type organization, and I can tell you there is no way that team would have been able to down even Skorpyron the first time we ventured in. So my initial impression is that Nighthold is tuned about right. Most of us last night had glanced at a couple videos and explanations for the first 2-3 bosses, but after that we just pretty much played it by ear, relying on the in-game raid notes, normal raid awareness, and above-average healing and tanking.

The raid’s physical structure is visually appealing, kind of a mix of both Arcway and Court of Stars, with both indoor and outdoor areas. (Whatever else such a structure provides, it is nice to be able to repair periodically without having to zone out or have a well-prepared engineer in the group — I hope this is Blizz’s standard practice from now on.)

We’ll go back Thursday and hopefully finish the last four bosses. We got some decent loot drops last night (not me, of course, don’t be silly) with one random legendary and a few pieces of tier gear. (Well, I did get a non-tier helm from someone who offered it up because they didn’t need it. I gratefully accepted it, I am not proud.)

Hunter tier gear. This, too, is a mini-rant (okay, maybe a full-fledged rant). I don’t know how useful the tier bonuses are for other classes, but for BM hunters, of the 2-pc and 4-pc bonuses, one is pretty good and one is crap. Here’s the thing — prior to last night, the Blizz tooltips had this description (quoted in MMO-C and IcyVeins and a couple of other places) (emphasis mine):

(2) Set (Beast Mastery): Dire Beast reduces the cooldown of Bestial Wrath by an additional 8 sec.
(2) Set (Marksmanship): Every 35 Focus you spend reduces the cooldown of Trueshot by 1 sec.
(2) Set (Survival): Flanking Strike now has 3 times the normal chance to trigger Hunting Companion.
(4) Set (Beast Mastery): When you use Bestial Wrath, all of your currently summoned Dire Beasts gain 50% increased damage for 15 sec.
(4) Set (Marksmanship): Trueshot also reduces the cost of all your Focus spenders by 15%.
(4) Set (Survival): When Mongoose Fury reaches 6 applications, you gain 20% increased damage to all abilities for 10 sec.


Well, I thought when I first began reading about hunter tier gear, at least they gave us the good bonus with 2 pieces, and the 4-piece set — which I almost never am able to get — is blah. The number of Dire Beasts beyond one that you have summoned at any point is completely RNG-dependent, so the 4-piece bonus is pretty hit and miss, not really something you can depend on for burst damage. Par for the course, but the 2-piece Bestial Wrath cooldown is pretty powerful. Woohoo, I thought.

Silly me, haven’t I learned by now?

Imagine my surprise last night when suddenly, out of the blue, the tier set descriptions were magically reversed. Now the crap bonus with Dire Beast damage is the 2-piece, and the BW cooldown bonus is the 4-piece. Chances of me getting this? Close to zero.

Blizz,seriously, do you just enjoy screwing with hunters, or what? Do you derive amusement from telling us one thing for months and then pulling the rug out from under us? Was this mixup just a stupid error in not checking tooltips, or did you in fact arbitrarily switch it in the hours before the patch went live, not giving a flying flap how it affected your players?

The sad thing is, this might still be a mixup. I have no idea what the hunter tier bonuses are, which is the 4-piece and which is the 2-piece. Blizz is that incompetent.

Recent hotfixes. January 17 saw some fairly significant hotfixes. The ones I though were the most interesting:

  • Mythic Emerald Nightmare is now cross-realm. This is something the Mythic raiders have been asking for now for some time. My raid team is not actually a Mythic team, but one of the reasons we did not go beyond 2/7 in EN (M) is that we frequently had 18 or 19 raiders but could not find that last one or two on our server. People had friends who would have happily joined us, but they were on another server. So I applaud this move by Blizz.
  • Crafting costs for the talent-swapping tomes have been “significantly reduced”. Good, I suppose, although as I have written before this is in my opinion nothing more than trying to polish a turd …
  • Some significant buffs were made to hunters, especially to BM hunters. Again, this to me is a good news/bad news situation — the good news is that we got some buffs, the bad news is that Blizz is still flailing wildly trying to “balance” classes and to slap some gigantic band-aids on the gaping wound that is hunter mechanics. It just seems worrisome to me that at this stage in an expansion, Blizz is still making “adjustments” of this magnitude.

Beast Mastery
Cobra Shot damage increased by 46%.
Chimaera Shot damage increased by 10%.
Barrage damage increased by 10%.
Kill Command damage increased by 10%.

Tl;dr: Nighthold is fun, Blizz has no idea what they are doing with hunter tier gear or class “balancing”. 

7 thoughts on “Nighthold, tier tears, and hotfixes

  1. I have an interesting theory on Class balancing. Partially derived from comments on the Priest forums. Those that run Mythic raids etc, say Priests were over powered and the recent buffs followed by reductions was needed. Those more in line with Normal and Heroic everything are crying foul. That there was a possibility many would be able to step up in content, but now are just a little better than before. And then there are the likes of me that really has not done anything beyond World content and LFR. And it occurs to me that if they are balancing around those that destroy Mythic content as soon as it’s released, then there is a big problem. If out of say 300,000 players that play Shadow Priests, if only 80% raid including LFR, and 60% of those raid Normal and higher, and 50% of those Heroic and up, finally say 10% run Mythic, they are balancing the play style of 300,000 players based on the performance of 7,200. Less than 1%. Of course those are percentages I just made up, but they don’t seem too crazy.

    I think they have internally options for upcoming fights as to what talents they see people playing or using. During the PTR testing, they may see data that people are playing way different that is causing unforeseen advantages. So they make minor tweaks to testing.

    All I know is for a few days I felt better about playing, considered signing up for some runs since they were farming Heroic EN, but now with the adjustments down, I don’t feel good enough. I can’t blame Blizz too much. You can’t balance a class to accommodate a less skilled player, and make a more skilled one a god. Unfortunately a result of me not being in there skews the data more in what they are looking at.

    I would be curious what the percents of players actually doing Heroic and higher is.

    1. I like this point of view, and I think think its rather spot on. I do think Blizzard “balances” classes based around how the highest skilled players will perform in PvE content, but at the same time I’m not sure they have a choice while utilizing the current instruments at their disposal. In my opinion, if Blizzard attempted to balance the game around the lower caliber (or average) players, than the Mythic raiders would just find everything a cakewalk. In my opinion this exact conundrum is why Blizzard put the standard stat templates for each class into PvP, rendering gear virtually unimportant. In addition, I think this is the same motive for separating PvE and PvP stats for every class, which is my favorite thing they have done this expansion.

    2. Well, the interesting thing is, though, at least for hunters, even the elite players pointed out huge mechanics problems with the class, but they were ignored.

      Still, you bring up an interesting point, one that I have considered briefly before: Who is the target audience for this game? There is no doubt that Blizz makes money from the uber-elites, with endorsements and e-sports competitions and the like, but I suspect the bulk of their profit still comes from people like you, me and all the “great unwashed”. Which presents them with a real conundrum — make game play challenging for the top 1% or make it attainable for the other 99%? I maintain this would not be such a problem for Blizz if they did not make the end game so raid-centric. But they have chosen to force players into a certain play style and are finding it is difficult to balance.

      I have a sneaking suspicion that even Blizz cannot state who its target audience is. They still think they are making a game for a broad player base, yet their design over the last couple of expansions has been to channel players into an ever-more restrictive end game. I think they tried — slightly — to get out of that pattern with Legion, but in the end they really have only reinforced it.

      1. I tend to think of design like Brussel Sprouts. Oh come on, try them, we think you might really like them. What if we roast them for you. No? How about if we use a Balsamic reduction to make them taste sweeter. Still no? Ok fine. If you want your desert (profession recipes) you have to eat them.

        Still no? Well fine, your sister loves them so she gets all the Epic cake.

      1. You hit the proverbial nail on the head with this comment.

        I was very disappointed to learn that the next semi-private instance mechanism we would get is Class Halls, because I think that further erodes the whole guild-based social structure that for so long was the glue holding many in the game. (I was hoping — in the absence of player housing — for Guild Halls, and let Dal itself be the quest hub.) The crumbling of guilds on every server has had ripple effects in nearly every aspect of the game, but it is especially notable for its deleterious effect on raiding options.

        Reading through all of the comments I agree. The whole reason my guild is where we are is because I have kept it alive by force of will. We were a Server Day 1 guild created in 2009 when they opened Borean Tundra, there have been a few GM’s, I am the current and have run it the longest. I have seen so many upstarts proclaim, We will be #1, and then after a few weeks disband in a drama fire. It is s fine delicate balance to create a guild and have it last more than one expansion. So many guild imploded on our server during MoP and WoD, and we have been there willing to invite anyone looking for a home. Through the group finder we had a few server transfer in because they enjoyed the pace and fun we seemed to have. As it is now, we have 29+ people online at night, groups run Mythic Dungeons, they run Time walking, help each other with world quests, or even folks coming back after years are getting help with changes. For the first time that I know of in all the years I have been in the guild, we have Heroic EN as a full clear, and they have the first two of ToV on Heroic. I am proud of the group they have put together. Certainly we have our times where the attendance boss hits. But overall we are still here fighting.

        And that is in part due to the Cata guild features. They made creating a guild easy, and gave low end perks, then carried it through to all guilds get the same. It encourages people to just form one and run it how they please. But it takes hard work, and when a guild fails, people get disgruntled, or if a server is not progressing enough, they go elsewhere to greener pastures, cough Area 52 cough. But invariably, many come back.

      2. Yeah, I, too, had great hopes for at least guild halls in Legion. (Well, actually I wanted player housing, but it seems clear that such a concept greatly offends Blizz and there is no way we will ever get it.) Like you, I thought guild halls would help to rebuild much of the lost social nature of WoW, would help to repair the steady eroding of the value of guilds as institutions.

        Instead, we got this horrible, contorted guild hall mechanism. My theory on why we got it is that Blizz had long ago planned to continue some form of the garrison in Legion, but after the backlash of WoD they had to do some very fancy backpedaling. Unfortunately, they had already spent a lot of design capital on the concept, so they could not just dump it. Ergo, the not-garrison class hall.

        But I am 100% in agreement with you on the sad state of guilds, on the role played by Blizz design in that decline, and on the domino effect guild decline has had on game play for many, many players. Like you, I am lucky enough to belong (for over a year now) to a guild that was established on Server Day 1, and that has managed to not only exist this long, but to remain vibrant and robust. There is no explanation for it other than dedicated, wise guild leadership. Hats off to everyone who steps up to such roles.

Comments are closed.