You see, this fight was progression for us back in July last year. We spent the better part of two months wiping on it without really getting anywhere close to defeating the encounter. When Oricon came out, we were happy to move on to the two Dread operations. We did come back to TfB NiM a few times, and did better every time the more we overgeared it, but we still couldn't quite beat those bloody Dread Guards. Therefore finally achieving victory, even if it happened about a year too late, still meant a lot to me.
These guys were still no slouches either. We mostly did okay on the first two phases, where we had previous struggled with a lack of both healing and dps, something that was relatively easy to overcome with better gear. But the third phase was still manic, as there are just too many things going on at the same time: red circles, adds, Kel'sara's yellow beam, Force Leech... can't pay attention to everything at once! When we finally got the kill, half the group was already dead - and that while wearing gear that's six to twelve item levels higher than the stuff that drops in there.
I can definitely see why the hardcore raiders loved this tier - and why less than two percent of the game's population actually played it. Maybe that number is up to three percent now, who knows. Either way: haaard.
I like the little "+100 prestige" pop-up there... I didn't even notice that while playing.
I realise that once again I haven't actually written about my group's ops progression in a while. I think the last post on the subject was this one back in June, which consisted of me moaning about how the removal of the Nightmare Power buff didn't really seem to make us that much better at killing Draxus.
We did get over that hump eventually and then got up to 4/5 relatively quickly... but since then things have stalled somewhat to be honest. While we can kill the first four bosses in Dread Fortress on nightmare now, it's not always a perfectly smooth experience, usually leaving us with a limited amount of time for attempts on Brontes. We've also had many weeks when important group members couldn't make it and we had to make alternate arrangements, without even getting to the last boss. We never even tried to kill anything in Dread Palace nightmare with the Nightmare Power buff active. We gave Bestia a shot shortly after the buff was removed, but even then the fight still seemed hard enough that it didn't feel worth it to shift our progression from Fortress to Palace.
I think I'm probably not the only one who's just a bit tired of these bosses at this point - not of the game in general and not even of running operations, just of the Dread Masters. We've been fighting them for a whole year now, and even with the various levels of difficulty the experience was bound to become stale eventually. Part of me is actually glad when we can't do progression on Oricon some nights and have to entertain ourselves elsewhere for the evening, like we did in TfB on Sunday. Sure, I've done TfB way too many times as well by now, but at least not every week for the past year.