Certified for Nightmares

Last time I wrote about my progress in TSW, I was doing elite dungeons. Them being sandwiched between normal leveling dungeons and the “real” end-game nightmare dungeons, I didn’t spend a lot of time in them. After a couple of game nights, I had successfully pugged all elite dungeons and fulfilled that half of the “nightmare certification” list. All that was left was to defeat the Gatekeeper, who tests you before he lets you enter the branch of Agartha that leads for the nightmare dungeons.t

That fight was a bit of a letdown. It might have been because I was a healer, but I did it on try 3, and that only because I had to learn that he uses a debuff on you that you have to remove with a gimmick ability I had never put on my hotbars before. I heard horror stories from DPS doing their version, though… so it might have been a case of unequal balancing.

The premise was quite nice: the gatekeeper summed a “tank” that you had to keep up while dodging ground effects. At some point, “DPS” came in, one of which promptly decided to stand in the fire. You had to keep everyone up until the Gatekeeper was satisfied with your performance. I think it’s a very good idea to make sure you know what you’re doing before playing with the big boys, but it felt just a little too easy.

Yeah, yeah, thanks. No where do I pick up my certificate?

Yeah, yeah, thanks. No where do I pick up my certificate?

Since then, I’ve done three rounds of “18s” or “24s” (I just don’t have time at the moment to play on weekdays… I feel like watching old comedy shows is about all I’m able to do in the evening). By the way, I wonder who came up with that name. If you don’t know (and for me for reference in case I might need it years down the road), “18s” means the three nightmare dungeons that are considered easiest: The Polaris, Hell Raised, and The Darkness War. “24s” adds Hell Fallen. The number supposedly comes from the fact that each dungeon has 6 bosses. I have no idea where the “s” comes from, though. You certainly can’t run the same dungeons multiple times in a row on nightmare difficulty because they have an 18-hour lockout. Maybe it’s from the earlier days of the game, when nightmare wasn’t the default difficulty for the older population, and Elites were farmed? Who knows.

Anyway, I’ve done some nightmare dungeons, and most of the time, they worked pretty well. The “noobmares” chat channel is great for someone like me who is starting out with nightmares. There is not a lot of “rush rush” pressure during runs, which I certainly appreciate. There are also many well-geared players hanging out in there, which certainly helps. I also took the chance to interview my tanks afterwards to see whether they noticed anything I could improve on. Most of them were pretty happy and just noted I should work on positioning. In the beginning, I had problems with sometimes getting out of range of my tanks on fights in large areas with equally large ground effects (Machine Tyrant, especially). Switching auxiliary weapons from the healing-focused quantum brace to the rocket launcher seems to have solved that problem. Death from Above, a.k.a. the rocket jump, helped a lot with positioning. Yes, you can do a rocket jump in TSW! Isn’t it adorable?

So, anyway, nightmares going mostly well, so far. Yay! I’m happy that, apart from an occasional unnecessary death… or from blowing all my healing abilities on the tank, before I realizing that I had targeted a DPS, and the tank consequently dying… I’ve been coping with nightmares pretty well. Of course, it probably helps a lot to have, on average, at least two highly-geared people with you every run. I did meet a few annoying DPS, though. In one run, we had a fresh tank (with decent gear, but no tanking experience) and a DPS who found it funny to steal aggro from him… all the time… and die. We managed to pull through in any case, but that was more stressful than it needed to be. Then there was the group who had two DPS that were abysmally low on damage. So low that, in fact, we called the run on Machine Tyrant because we couldn’t get it down before the enrage.  Didn’t help that people died regularly on fights, either. But that’s the downside of pugging channels: you win some, you lose some. And it’s definitely better than an automatic dungeon-group-slap-togetherer, because it seems the runs are at least slightly more social that way. You still have players who’ve done it 50 times and just want to get it over with to get the bullion for upgrades, but at least there’s some talking and friendlisting involved before, during or after the runs.

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