10/02/2018

Nahut, Scyva & A Little QQ

It's been a while since I last wrote about Gods from the Machine. Unfortunately my prediction from back then that my guild should have an easier time with Esne and Aivela's veteran mode than with Tyth's turned out to be wrong. I still think that we're better at executing a complicated dance than at adjusting to randomness on the fly, but in this particular case we ran into the issue of some people complaining that they had to pay attention to and react to so many mechanics that they found the fight overwhelming and frustrating. Since our primary goal is still to have fun, we decided to focus on other things for a while... and haven't really been back to serious progression attempts on the sisters since then, since we're still having issues with getting Tyth down consistently. Alas.

But hey, we got two new bosses in the meantime! Though the gap of four and a half months between the release of the twin sisters and Nahut was pretty shocking. Choosing a staggered release for the operation is one thing, but taking that long to make any progress with it at all is pretty bad, and I think it caused any enthusiasm that people had for the new operation to lose a lot of momentum. Heck, even Dulfy, beloved rescource for everything SWTOR-related since the game's launch, has stopped writing operations boss guides since, with the result that a large part of the community is still very confused about how the new encounters work.

First there's Nahut, the Son of Shadow. I thought it was interesting that in the little intro cut scene, you can actually hear Scyva urging him not to attack you - it's rare to see raid bosses show fear instead of bluster in the face of an approaching group of adventurers, but Scyva (rightfully) fears for her son's life after seeing you destroy her three other children. I do wonder how this whole parent-child relationship works with droids anyway...


Nahut is basically a ninja scientist robot, which really tells you everything you need to know. The fight forces you to deal with him striking from the shadows while a black hole forms in the middle of the room. It's a pretty cool encounter, but not lacking in a sense of humour either: there are multiple holes in the floor which allow for the classic "death by unexpected fall", which - to me - is a source of entertainment that never gets old, and you can also die to an ability called "Spaghettification". Originally I also thought that the mechanic to throw Nahut out of stealth by using a candle was pretty original, but since then I happened to see a video of the boss Cordana Felsong from a WoW Legion dungeon who seems to have a similar thing going on with a light that is used to dispel her stealth. I wonder if someone at Bioware plays WoW and got inspiration from that?

I haven't tried to take on Nahut in a pug yet, but compared to the previous two bosses, I'm kind of concerned about his pug friendliness. While the encounter isn't overly complicated, there are a couple of mechanics that can kill you instantly, which is automatically bad for pugs, and at the end there is a soft enrage timer as you run out of room to manoeuvre if you don't kill the boss quickly enough. While a guild has since gone ahead and posted a video of them beating the fight with only four people (half an ops group basically) I don't think that really counters the argument. You can see that it was still very close in terms of the dps check, and I would absolutely expect many people in a pug to do less than half of the dps of a geared and highly skilled raider.

Still, Nahut has nothing on Scyva. I've actually only seen her once so far, but it was still pretty impressive. Even the trash leading up to her requires some co-ordination to avoid being knocked to your death, and the fight itself is a crazy light show. I've heard people mention that there's some mechanic with gravity changes occurring at some point, but I couldn't even tell. During the one time I killed it, I ran with seven other people who'd done it before, but even they didn't seem to be sure what was going on most of the time, and instructions were limited to things like: "Now run around or purple circles will kill you!" From what I've heard around the community, even people in casual guilds (whom you'd expect to be a lot more organised than pugs) struggled to get her down on their first night. Unfortunately with this sudden lack of guides it feels like everyone has to figure things out by themselves. Though I did find that someone posted a guide on the official forums recently, but how many people even go there...


As far as veteran mode goes, I can't really comment seeing how we still haven't even got down Esne and Aivela. Though story mode being difficult to pug and veteran mode feeling more like master mode is giving me flashbacks to Shadow of Revan, and not in a good way. For those who weren't around back then, Ravagers and Temple of Sacrifice were the first operations to release with a hardmode that was really more of a nightmare mode... with the result that middle of the road guilds like mine lost their "happy place" because story mode was too easy but "hardmare" was an absolute brick wall in comparison. I wrote a post about it at the time, and it's kind of frustrating to see Bioware make the same mistake yet again. Because yes, I do think it's a mistake to tune content like this, and I wouldn't be surprised at all if part of what led to operations being put on ice for so long in the first place was a lackluster reception of Ravagers and ToS based on their awkward difficulty.

I mean, at least with all operations scaling these days, we now have the option to go do something else if the new content doesn't offer a reasonable progression curve. But it also means that the new content is not being used! How many guilds have even killed Nahut and Scyva on veteran mode to this day? You shouldn't be able to count them on your fingers. If Bioware is still thinking about adding a third difficulty to Gods once it's completed, I think they should just rename the current veteran mode to master mode and insert a new, easier veteran mode between the two. Adding another difficulty on top of one that barely anyone plays as it is doesn't seem like a good use of resources to me.

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