Castle Nathria will open its gates to players tomorrow after reset. Located in central Revendreth, this 10 boss raid will serve as Shadowlands’ first full raid tier. The premise of the raid continues and concludes the story of Revendreth after we learn of Sire Denathrius’ true motives. Denathrius’ has been stealing anima and is responsible for the current drought plaguing the Shadowlands. Prince Renethal is attempting to gather allies to infiltrate the castle and ultimately dethrone Denathrius in hopes to return Revendreth to its former glory.
Castle Nathria will follow a semi-linear boss order, similar to that of Ny’alotha. You can choose from a couple different bosses for progression paths but will have to defeat all bosses in that wing to progress. For example, after defeating Shriekwing, you can choose to either go to Sunking, Artificer, or Huntsman but you will have to ultimately defeat all three to move forward.
Normal and heroic difficulties for Castle Nathria will be available as soon as servers go live after reset. Mythic and the first wing of raid finder will open as scheduled the following week. However, the holidays seem to have taken a toll on further raid finder wings as there will be a three week break instead of the usual two between the first and second wing. This second wing will become available on January 5 and the normal release schedule will resume. The third wing will open on January 19 and the final wing will become available on February 2.
It is important to note that titanforging and warforging of any kind will not be present in Castle Nathria. All item levels are static based on difficulty with the last two bosses providing drops with a slightly higher item level from the rest.
The item level drops per difficulty are as follows:
Weapons in this tier have been handled quite nicely, however. Bosses will not drop weapons directly but instead drop different ‘Anima Spheres’ that can be exchanged at your covenant sanctum for covenant themed weapons. These spheres function like tier tokens and are tied to certain class groups as well as weapon types. There is one for main hand weapons and a different one for off-hands/shields.
For mythic raiders, you will notice a fairly significant hit to loot drops when killing a boss. Previously, five pieces of loot would drop per boss for a 20-man group however this has been reduced to three. With the loss of the legendary cloak and the Heart of Azeroth neck, the loot pool has been further diluted in an attempt to fill these slots. There are also no more bonus rolls to supplement not getting the piece you want so overall this results in far less loot for your team and potentially a tougher time gearing.
With the launch of the first Shadowlands season, the Great Vault will become available for the first time. This is Blizzard’s attempt at better targeting the gear slots you want as well as implementing a more intuitive bad luck protection plan. To be eligible to choose loot drops from Castle Nathria in your chest, you must kill at least 3 bosses per week on any difficulty. Killing 7 bosses from the raid will allow you to choose from two items and killing all 10 will allow you to choose from three. The higher the difficulty you clear, the better the item level.
The Great Vault will not include items off Sire Denathrius until you have defeated him. You can only choose items from bosses you have killed the previous week.
Memories are part of Shadowlands’ craftable legendary system and drop from a variety of content for each class. Several bosses in Castle Nathria have a chance to drop specific memories to enhance your class. All bosses barring Shriekwing have several legendaries on their loot table with the final 3 dropping the vast majority of them. Assuming this works similarly to the drops in dungeons, defeating higher difficulties of bosses will net a higher chance to receive one.
On a much smaller note, the opening of Castle Nathria marks the start of Shadowlands season 1. This means that mythic keystones will now drop at the end of mythic dungeons and you can grind keys to your heart’s content. It also marks the start of the sinful arena season for pvp. The Great Vault will also begin offering loot for both of these activities as well.
The affix combo for the first week of mythic plus will be bursting, volcanic, fortified, and prideful. Prideful is the new seasonal affix for all keys +10 and above. Every 20% of enemy forces killed will spawn an add that grants all players a 1 minute buff when slain. This buff increases damage dealt by 30%, movement speed by 60%, and grants 5% mana regen per second.
These affixes should prove easy enough to push through your weekly keys to get the max reward from your vault.
The end of dungeon rewards this week are capped at a level 10 with an item level of 203. In previous seasons, the max rewards for the first week were capped at level 6 to avoid granting an edge. Completing a +10 will award gear that is better than normal Castle Nathria.
To get the most out of your Great Vault, you will have to complete a +14 or better this week. Doing so will grant piece of item level 226 gear, on par with mythic raiding gear.
It is also important to note that with all these changes to gearing in Shadowlands, mythic plus dungeons will only drop one guaranteed piece of loot at the end of each run. If you time the key two guaranteed items will drop. On higher keys you will roll a 20% chance to get a third item in the end chest. This is lowered from BFA’s 3 guaranteed pieces for a timed key with a 40% chance to roll another. With bonus rolls also being removed, the amount of gear drops is further lessened.
With fewer loot drops and the Great Vault requiring 10 dungeons per week to get the most choices, gearing is going to be a little tougher. We will be offering limited +14 slots this week if you are in need of assistance. Please keep checking our sales page for availability!