Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Castle Nathria

Castle Nathria is the first raid in Shadowlands. It's Revendreth, so classic Victorian Gothic with gargoyles and vampires.

The first raid night was pretty rough. All of us were really undergeared, and we were going in more for fun than anything else. We got the first boss in Normal, Shriekwing after a couple of attempts. Then we wiped on Huntsman for the rest of the night.

The next raid night we killed Huntsman, put a couple of pulls in on Hungering Destroyer, then wandered off to find Sun King (it was merely a setback!) and wiped on him for a bit.

This week we were a lot more prepared. We actually had a lot of people show up, a full raid of 30 people, with possibly a couple people on the sidelines. We might have to split into two raids to accommodate everyone who wants to raid. The best thing about having so many raiders is that there are lots of people doing stuff on off-nights. Before we might only have one guild five-man running, but lately it's more like three or four. I've been able to avoid pickup groups almost entirely!

In any case, we killed Shriekwing and Huntsman again. We then got Hungering Destroyer and Artificer Xy'Mox down. Hungering Destroyer is pretty simple once everyone understands the fight and knows when they need to run out. 

Artificer is a more complicated fight, especially the third phase. There's a sword which pulls everyone to the center of the room and then blows up. You have to drop a portal at the sword, and another at the edge of the room. Then you have to time it right so that you go through the center portal to the edge just before the explosion. Too early, and you get sucked back into the explosion radius. Too late, and you just get blown up. I kind of think that in Normal at least, going through the portal should make you immune to the pull. Though maybe that would be too easy.

In any case, Castle Nathria is a really good raid so far, with very interesting fights.

Tuesday, December 08, 2020


Torghast is an interesting experience, especially as I've been playing Hades lately.

Torghast consists of multiple wings, each wing with multiple layers, and each layer with 6 floors. Two wings are open each week. You unlock layers by completing the previous layer (though once you've unlocked, say, Layer 3, you can access Layer 3 on any wing). Torghast's main reward is Soul Ash, which you need to craft Legendary equipment.

Each run of Torghast involves you going through the six floors in a layer. The layout of each floor is more or less random, with a vendor on the 3rd floor and a boss on the 6th floor. You have to beat the boss to complete the run and get the reward. As you progress you get random "anima powers" which boost or alter your abilities, or give you buffs. Most of the time, you get to select a power from up to 3 choices.

Torghast scales from solo to a group of five players. I've done runs solo, in a duo, and in a group of five. Elites and bosses have stacking buff which increases their damage, so there is a DPS check which you have to meet. So you have to balance anima powers between offense and defense.

It's pretty interesting because different builds can focus you on different powers. But so far, the boons don't do anything too drastic. You still play your basic rotation.

I recommend always choosing anima powers which will help you with the end boss. In my experience, the end boss is the most difficult part of a run. The closest I've come to failing was a run where I took too much defensive powers, and had real trouble meeting the damage check.

Another tip is, that at least when you are solo, it's possible to pull carefully and only get a small number of enemies at a time. For example, if two elites appear to be sparring, you can pull one of the elites without getting the other.

There's one wing where an assassin spawns when you are out of combat. I kept a mawrat in combat with me most of the time, and that stopped the assassin from spawning. Blizzard did nerf the assassins later in the week, though, so it might be easier to kill them.

Torghast is a pretty fun experience, and Blizzard has done a nice job of allowing you to farm or progress. If you just want to farm, you only have to do two layers each week to get the maximum rewards. The anima powers allow you to construct weird, broken, or amusing combinations, without breaking the rest of the game.

Sunday, December 06, 2020

Night Fae Covenant, The Maw

Night Fae Covenant

In the end, I turned my back on Holy Paladin theorycraft and joined the Night Fae Covenant. The abilities are mediocre, but the covenant itself is really enjoyable. 

The initial quests were amazing! The Fae put on a play explaining the events of the last two expansions, complete with audience reactions. It was hilarious! If you've played through the last two expansions, especially if you're a steady player, you have to take a character through this Covenant.

Otherwise it's pretty much been steadily unlocking facets of the covenant. I like the new adventure table. It's much more of a real game with strategy. I think it's based off "auto-chess", which is a genre I really haven't looked into.

The Maw

The Maw is okay. There are a couple of weekly quests, a couple of daily quests, and some rares and bosses. Not being able to mount is unusual, but you get used to it pretty fast.

The daily cap mechanic is interesting. Every major thing you do in the Maw (bosses, quests) increases the Jailor's Eye on you and adds more and more annoying mechanics. Level 1 makes some wandering monsters hostile. Level 2 periodically bombards your location, forcing you to move. Level 3 has assassins appear when you fight new mobs. Level 4 has Mawsworn swoop down and pick you up. I think you have to kill them before they drop you to your death. Level 5 is an auto-kill I think. I try to stay below Level 3, as I find the assassins very annoying.

It's a really interesting way of doing a soft cap on your activities (with a hard cap at Level 5).

The Maw is okay, I guess. It's not particularly interesting, but the game encourages you to limit your time inside the Maw, meaning that it doesn't become overly tiresome. It's pretty comfortable moving it down the list of priorities, but slowly working on the story.