The Rogue Team shot its way through the friendly environs of Normal in just a matter of three weeks. With the first run-through of the game complete, we moved on to tackle Nightmare. This was my first experience with Nightmare since the latest patch update, so I was not familiar with all the "additions" that now make Nightmare considerably more difficult. I think the whole team had been cruising a bit in the later stages of Normal, because things got ugly in our first outing in Act 1:
This was the reception in the Cold Plains. The proverbial you-know-what has hit the fan here and whatever containment we had of the monsters has completely broken down. Bishibosh and crew were camping the waypoint and reviving the Fallen faster than we could kill them. Poor Cy is literally caught in mid-death animation here, demonstrating graphically the danger that everyone was in. I remember that we were not advancing in any kind of organized fashion in this session and ended up tripping multiple boss packs at once. Oops. Dathon summed this up pretty well with a post in the Rogue thread:
"Well, after last night, the team is at the Stony Field.... in Nightmare. I too did not anticipate that we would be moving this quickly through the game, but I have a feeling it is going to slow down somewhat as we encounter the nasties of the higher difficulties. Like fighting an LEB Coldcrow, a CEB mana burn rogue archer, and a CEB skel boss at the same time. Or fighting a cursed Rak, another CEB archer, and a goat boss together. Or dealing with a cursed ES Rogue archer camping the entrance to the cave. Or Bishibosh camping the WP. Those fight definitely took a little longer than normal. Partly from having to pick up all the gold and potions lying in neat, conspicuous little piles and trying to scrub the blood and dirt out of our skirts"
I wish I had pictures of all those fights! Running the Cave was brutal in that session. Here's one picture I did take, from another running fight against a boss pack:
We seem to have been fighting a Cursed Skeleton boss here. Looks like the boss has a Holy Freeze aura too - nice combo. We left a lot of bodies on the ground in the first couple areas of Act One, but were still making good progress. Tristram however... was a problem.
I recall the Rogues getting pasted in Tristram. Half of the Rogues thought we were going to work the area clockwise. The other half thought we were going to work it counter-clockwise. Uh, whoops. Two or three boss packs were tripped at once, and it just got uglier from there. This picture is from the tail end of that hairball, when we had worked it down to just Griswold remaining. I will say in our defense, however, that when we ran Tristram again later catching Jaffa up on the quests, we did much better and had no deaths. See, even we can learn occasionally.
This is from one of the early floors of the Black Tower. I don't know for sure what the traits were on that goat boss, but I think he was Extra Fast/Extra Strong. In any case, we were all running for cover here. The most dangerous bosses on these dungeon levels were actually archer bosses, but I don't have pictures of them - mostly because we tended to shoot at them from offscreen. You know, to avoid the dying part.
So things were a lot more difficult in Nightmare, but we were still moving through the quests at a good rate. Then we encountered the Countess quest...