World of Warcraft: Legion Patch 7.1.5 launched this week and while I’m still getting used to the very positive changes to Balance druids—which in my case means more DPS and lots more fun—as an avid raider, my sight’s locked on the opening of the new raid next week, The Nighthold.
In the Nighthold we’ll bring the Suramar storyline to a close, take down the Nightborne leadership and bring the fight to the Fel Orc Warlock Gul’Dan, all while fighting his forces and the many abominations created by the wild energies of the Nightwell’s core, the last Pillar of Creation in our path, The Eye of Aman’thul.
It also means I don’t ever have to go back to Trial of Valor, because I hate that raid. I mean, I like the lore behind it, even if it makes me uncomfortable to help Odyn, who’s proven to be a monumental bastard—to not use a more fitting if extremely crude expression. I do hope Blizzard gives us the chance of truly beating Burnbeard the Viking to a pulp.
My issue with Trial of Valor is on the design of the encounters, particularly how much the fights drag on.
But the Nighthold is coming, and with it a slew of new bosses, new lore, more loot and hopefully some intriguing mechanics. So let’s go over what I hope to see in this new World of Warcraft raid and related content.
As I mentioned, the Trial of Valor boss fights are fairly long, taking close to 10 minutes each. For the Nighthold I would prefer to see fights closer to the Emerald Nightmare’s design, which gave bosses lower health totals but gave them intense mechanics. Take Ursoc, he doesn’t have that much health, at least not what you’d expect for essentially a Guardian Druid turned raid boss, but instead the focus is on whittling him down while keeping the arena clear of damaging zones and his trampling attacks. It’s easy to mess up but a very fun encounter, and if you know what you’re doing, you’ll swiftly deal with him and move on to the next fights.
Hell, take our recurring karma on the Emerald Nightmare raid, Elerethe Renferal, the Spider-Bird-form druid with the most ridiculous name ever written in World of Warcraft—and there is quite the competition. Her fight is relatively short, you can defeat her before she even goes into a second spider-phase, but to get there you must deal with the mechanic with perhaps the greatest potential for catastrophe. Drop a green snot pool in the wrong place for any reason and just prepare to hurt!
Trinkets and Accessories
Speaking of Elrethe Renferal, it’s no secret that players and theorycrafting apps consider the trinket she drops, Twisting Wind, a worthless piece of equipment. No matter which class of specialisation equips it, the little thing under-performs.
Trinkets have always been hit-and-miss, with either exceedingly powerful abilities or some that really aren’t much to brag about. Some trinkets offer flat stats and others have special abilities yet it’s become a recurring theme that raiders prefer to use items found on dungeons—heroic, not even mythic—and World Quests instead of those dropped in the current raid.
The same happens with accessories, by those I mean neck and rings. Since they no longer have main stats but secondary ones, it’s easier for many players to just pick whatever works from other sources since the raids have paltry offerings.
Hell, our main tank uses a Timewalking trinket because it gives him a good chunk of armour.
For the Nighthold, I’d love to see some really cool trinkets that much like those in previous World of Warcraft expansions where one look made you realise they were better than anything else you got before that content patch.
The generally accepted truth is that when it released, the Trial of Valor bosses were over-tuned, but in a surprising and rather novel move it wasn’t the usual higher-difficulty tier tuning—meaning heroic content tuned to Mythic levels—but tuning based on the assumption that raiders going into the Trial of Valor would be in the grind for Mythic Keystone dungeons. If you’re unfamiliar with this mechanic, it’s the World of Warcraft dungeon version of the Diablo III rifts, where completing them in the given time limit grants you a keystone for a higher difficulty one, each level with increasingly powerful equipment.
Considering how small the item level difference there was between the Emerald Nightmare raid, the starting raid for the expansion and the Trial of Valor, both beneath the item level they assumed players would have, which is around Mythic Keystone rank 7 or in numbers, item level 880+ (the Trial of Valor on Heroic difficulty dropping 875 level items)
Since then, the World of Wawrcraft team has had to lower the difficulty in a series of hotfixes, just to bring the difficulty down to the right level.
So, for the Nighthold raid, I hope they learn from this error and give us the right challenge, not only considering the item levels handed by the bosses inside the raid but also the equipment level players will bring, coming from the Trial of Valor.
This one’s a bit different, not an expectation but something I’m excited to see.
Every time there’s a new raid in World of Warcraft, I make sure to check if we’re getting regular or Tier gear. Tiers are perhaps the most exciting things players collect in raids, their class-specific Armour Set, with fun bonuses should they collect two/four pieces.
With the release of Nighthold we’re finally seeing the first tier of Legion armour and I can’t wait to build mine. It’s always interesting to build your new tier set, deciding which pieces are absolutely necessary to gain the bonuses and which ones you can replace with off-tier gear, the regular gear I mentioned above.
Despite my dislike for the Trial of Valor raid, one thing I loved about it was how they added tie-in World Quests. These focused on Helya’s Hellarjar invading the different regions of the Broken Isles, spreading her influence, the first stages of an invasion.
Now, we’ve had quests over the past few weeks dealing with the Nightborne rebellion in Suramar and the last one of them has us finally open the backdoor into the raid. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have more content for Suramar, such as revamped World Quests in the city, dealing with the fallout of our assault of the Nightborne’s palace, the Nighthold.
I love quests that make me feel the raid is important, that give me storytelling reasons for wanting to go in there and kick ass. True, at this stage we have more than enough for that, but a few new World Quests would add another layer on top of it all, and that’s never a bad thing.
Also, out of all the maps, the Suramar world quests have the least variation among them, and it’s common to see most of them in a single World Quest rotation, so getting new ones would add a needed injection of excitement to what already was the best World of Warcraft zone in the entire Legion expansion—if not the best zone overall in the past few years.
World of Warcraft’s newest raid, The Nighthold, opens its doors next week and you can bet I’ll be there with my Balance Druid, hoping to at least see one of these things come true. What about you? Any expectations on the raid’s encounters? Let me know in the comments!