Into the Nighthold!

Scabbrox AW posted Jan 18, 17

Hi all, me again and time for another in my series of blog entries.

This time I’m going to return to the subject of raiding and in particular Mythic raiding as we enter our probably short heroic interlude in the Nighthold.

A return to heroic mode gives raiders and raid leader both some breathing room to do some catching up, relax somewhat from the less forgiving mechanics of Mythic boss fights and also to reduce the rigid numerical anxieties that fixed raid sizes bring to the table.

Last time we were entering Heroic mode was at the start of the Emerald Nightmare campaign on 24th September of last year, the last time we cleared the whole instance on that difficulty was 29th October before leaving Cenarius and Xavius behind for good two weekends later on the 5th November.  We entered with 29 people and left with 25.  Similarly our average ilvl on entry was 849.7. On exit it was 870.2.

This time around I don’t expect our time there to be any longer, indeed it will almost certainly be shorter.  

There are several reasons for this, the first being most obviously that starting as we did with a roster of more than 30 hopefuls to evaluate we started off with a large raid size of  uncertain and mixed quality which initially at least slowed our progress whilst getting to grips with the encounters.   This time we won’t be doing the same.  We have a core of regular players who are well known quantities that make up our raiding roster and whilst we are running three trials, these are of  similarly skilled and well established raiding players so we won’t need to run a bloated team, focusing instead on getting the core team alone through heroic mode before opening the farm bosses to back-ups in later weekends.  

Secondly, as we skipped normal difficulty entirely (leaving that to the Friday flex to run) we were tackling a difficulty that dropped 865 gear with a 15 point deficit in average ilevel for the team and with all players having artifact levels of around 14-16 points.  This time we’re heading into a raid that drops 885 loot with an average raid team ilevel of 883.5 and with every player in the roster having at least their 4th Dragon at 35-40 traits and some even with 45+ traits.

Therefore, with a smaller more equal team and effectively already out-gearing the content, I expect that we’ll be hitting Mythic mode in 4 weeks or under and leaving most if not all of Heroic to the flex team by week 6.

This brings me to something I want to say with regards to expectations and teamwork.

Now, I realise that Legion is proving a grind-fest for many and not surprisingly after almost 4 months of grinding AP and legendaries, sometimes for more than one raid utilised spec (and toon!) people are starting to slack on their mains feeling that with 35 traits behind them that they can relax and focus on alts or other activities.

Unfortunately, as far as Mythic raiding is concerned, this is a not going to work as so much of this expansion and your raiding power is tied to artifact levels, legendaries and other activities that require content grind and as encounters are balanced around Mythic raiders having these benefits any shortfall in this area by individual players only makes things harder for the team.

To run effectively and serenely a team needs to feel that all of its components are putting in the same amount of effort to function and clearly, when some players are working on their 47th trait and yet others with only one useful raiding spec are languishing on 35 that the 6% power and commitment difference is too much to ignore.  Relying on an overpowered spec or class is an unacceptable excuse for not doing this as no matter how strong you are in comparison to the other classes, you’d be stronger still by 5% if you had those 10 points and so would the raid team be for it.

Therefore, I’m going to be setting a target for all roster members to meet and that is at least 45 traits in your raiding mainspec by the time we enter Mythic Nighthold.

Now, whilst I’m not proposing we start benching every player under 45 when we hit the Nighthold, ignoring every other aspect of their dedication and application, I will be looking at it as one of the factors I will use when deciding who to bench when two people are vying for one spot and whether to open up recruitment to fulfil an obvious weakness in the roster.

So, I recommend putting aside alts and PVPp OSs (or whatever) and instead focusing on pulling your weight in making sure you’re not setting aside 5% extra damage, healing or mitigation that your fellow raiders all have, especially as this target and disparity is only going to move upwards until it reaches the (for now) 54 trait limit.

I hope that everyone takes this point in the spirit in which it is intended, that we’re a team that is actively and successfully engaged in the pursuit of Mythic difficulty raiding and as a team we can’t let each other down by coasting and expecting rules* not to apply to us when they do to others.

Thanks for reading and here’s to a successful Nighthold campaign for all.

*The below list may appear to be quite long, but it basically boils down to one general premise - I will not be intractable, slack or coast and expect to be considered equal to those that don't.

5. To work to gain any freely available legendary items and all Artifact and other PvE benefits from the WoW world in a timely manner.