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”. 

Real Housewives of WoW

Rant Alert:The National Rant Warning System has issued a severe rant alert for areas of the blogosphere including the local one, for a period of as long as it takes you to read this piece. Blog rant radar has detected a line of severe indignation approaching, accompanied by cynical squalls and possibly damaging rhetoric. Readers should prepare for cranky irascibility and splenetic pique and should seek shelter immediately. 

Yesterday I wrote about how desperate WoW bloggers are to find anything newsworthy these days and that we should expect quite a lot of nothing, thinly disguised as real news, for the next few weeks. Would that I were less prophetic, because lo and behold I turn to MMO-C today and find not one, not two, but three — three! — featured items about ongoing drama in self-defined and Blizz-promoted “elite” guilds in the WoW world.

(Pause while I sputter for a few seconds.)

I really hardly know where to start on this. Up front, let me say I do not completely blame MMO-C for shameless pandering, after all they publish what they think their readers are interested in. (I do a little bit, though, there are such things as standards.) But honestly, has the game come to this? Is the player base no longer content to just play a virtual made-up game themselves, do they really enjoy watching others manipulate a mouse and keyboard? Are they so voyeuristic as to be fascinated by the ego-driven petty squabbles of these paid mouse pushers?


I am not completely naive about this. Gullible and idealistic, perhaps, but not completely naive. Method and its ilk are comprised of professional game players, promoted by Blizzard in order to squeeze even more money out of gaming groupies. And just because I personally don’t think “E-sports” should even be a concept doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate that there are others who are fascinated by it and willing to spend money to watch. When it comes right down to it, it is not all that different from watching professional football or baseball or even that icon of coma-inducing boredom, golf.

Whispering commentator: “Bruce, there’s been a lot of talk about the unconventional shot rotation employed by OverHype’s lead hunter, PuppyP. We’re almost certainly in for some surprises, and I see the pull countdown has started, so let’s watch.”

Bruce: “Well, they’re off to a good start. Interesting statistic here — their main healer leads the league in Fewest Overheals For a Resto Druid in the Third Wing of Helfire Citadel at Mythic Level on Thursday Nights. That’s impressive.”

WC: “Yes indeed it is. Back to the action. They have made it to the final phase, and it looks like — WHOA! I can’t believe what I am seeing! ”

Bruce (in most excited whisper): “Let’s look at the replay on that.” (Watches slo-mo of a keyboard closeup.) “Yes, that’s confirmed, PuppyP reverted to WASD movement and as a result missed his signature shot. That’s a rookie mistake that just shouldn’t happen at this level. That may cost them a wipe.”

WC: “Unbelievable! We’re going to take a commercial break, we’ll be back after this.”

People will apparently watch other people doing almost anything, it turns out, especially if the activity is hyped out the wazoo by manufactured drama dressed up as “human interest”. Even that supposed bastion of purity, the Olympics, does it, because let’s face it how else are you going to get someone interested in watching Curling? (“Curt, this team is emotionally and physically devastated by the tragic accident suffered by their Head Curler when a broom straw pierced his pinky toe.” *Cut to tear-laden interview with team member*)

So yeah, I kind of get it, sort of understand the interest in E-sports, even if I personally am not the least interested.

But what just boggles my mind is that anyone could have the slightest interest in the adolescent ego-hurt whining evident in the published excerpts from statements made by these professional guild members. Just for educational purposes, you should read them, even though it will be painful and will be three minutes of your life you will never get back.

Most of us who play this game in a guild spend a lot of time and effort to ensure that our guilds are drama-free. This round of published tantrums shows that the so-called “professional guilds” are anything but. Their raiders are spoiled, immature celebrity wannabes who happen to have faster than average finger synapses. And the guilds are run no better than any of ours are. Maybe that is an unfair characterization of the many based on the aggrieved whimpers of a few, but that is what is getting the publicity, so as far as I am concerned it is what the guilds want us to think.

Is this game sinking so low that it is becoming no better than the primitive “reality” shows on TV? Will we next be treated to published tell-alls from supposed “serious” players with names like Sco and Furty and Kuznam and Slootybag? I have no problem with what these people choose to do for a living, but I object when they assume the rest of the world is fascinated by every little perceived dissing of their august selves. Dudes, get some perspective. You play a game for money. Lots of money. More money than any soldier, police officer, teacher, or fire fighter will ever hope to see. So suck it up and keep your petty made-up drama to yourselves.

The National Rant Warning System has canceled the severe rant alert.