GW2: Casting Blame and Looking in a Mirror

Yep, definitely the AFKers' fault for this one...

Today, I’m angry.

Fortunately, after going out for a nice lunch, my mood has mellowed down enough to talk a little more calmly.

But I’ll share with you all right now that I had a flash of indignant rage and pretty much only saw red for a while after reading Ravious’ post about Tequatl and how Sanctum of Rall had decided to abandon their home shard by going off into an overflow of their own – ostensibly to jettison their AFKers and thus have an easier time killing the undead dragon spawn.

First off, I just want to make it clear that it’s not his fault that this somehow pushed one of my buttons.

I have been sleep deprived for the last couple of days, so I might already be predisposed to being short-tempered and grouchy.

There has been the usual influx of hostility over map chat when things are difficult and people experience failure and then start the casting about of accusations and blame.

There have been one or two individuals whom you almost think are being belligerent trolls seeking some kind of reaction, but you still try to give the benefit of doubt and assume they have their own perspective, and try to work with or just put up with them and not react or respond to their more provocative statements.

There’s been Stubborn’s stories about his ongoing WoW guild drama, which on the surface appear to be a standard ‘A team’ clique forming to go raiding by themselves, ignoring the ‘B team’ and weak links with relief.

This particular group appears to have the audacity to use the guild resources of calendar planning to send secret invites to each other, with guild leadership none the wiser, and cheerfully and readily drop out of group and raid WITHOUT A WORD when the team complement ends up not to their liking.

A custom no doubt developed and encouraged by automated dungeon finders, where the next bunch of people in your party are merely a click away and all interchangeable. Feel free to dump them if they are idiots and retards and morons and slackers.

Finally, there’s been this morning’s experience with the Twilight Arbor Forward/Up dungeon path, otherwise known as TA F/U.

F. U.

Literally.

Because it has a reputation for being the most challenging of the three paths and the last boss chews up parties and spits them out.

Naturally, it’s the one TA dungeon I haven’t done and want to do so that I can check off yet another step towards the Dungeon Master achievement.

A guildie sends the LF1M message out on chat, so I think, why not? And join up.

Zoning in, one glance reveals it’s a mixed PUG. The ranger mentions straight off that they haven’t done the place, and I chime in to support her, saying it’s been a while and I don’t remember the path very well, so please mention any necessary mechanics.

(I really don’t remember TA that well. It’s not one of the dungeons I run very often, just now and then. And I can’t for the life of me remember whether I’ve done this path or some other combination of Forward or Up.)

Another glance shows that one of the members, a mesmer, has only 800 AP so I assume right off that he’s new and nervous and cut him some slack for not saying much of anything.

The guildie and the other one say nothing, so again I assume everything’s fine and they’ll clue us in as we get to stuff. I’ve got GW2dungeons.net pulled up in the other screen for additional reference too.

We hit a spot of trouble almost immediately when no one mentions if we’re running or killing through the first few groups of mobs.

Having done other TA paths once upon a time before, I assume we’re running and so am focused on the guildie and the other guy to follow in their footsteps because I simply don’t have sufficient map familiarity otherwise.

This leaves, alas, no time for typing anything into party chat and everyone is left to fend for themselves in the classic hesitant start and stop manner of everyone trying to figure out what everyone else is doing before breaking out into an all-out run for survival because oh my god, I’m going to die, and better them than me.

Naturally, four of us make it and the one that was the least prepared for running and thus ate the aggro collapses.

While we huddle in a corner and wait for the poor soul to make the lonely run by themselves, I -try- to get someone to say something about the Nightmare Vine strategy we’d be using by asking what’s the plan.

After all, in some forsaken corner of my memory, I vaguely recall that a few of my groups liked to leave the last vine alive and burn down the middle one once it appeared, others whittled down all six then hit the center one, and there may have been one that just rushed the center one – I don’t know, I couldn’t remember!

There’s pretty much dead silence. I try again and ask if we’re killing the outer ones first or rushing the center one. ‘kill outer’ is the two word reply. No one mentions the Volatile Blossoms.

The poor ranger trying to get to us has died twice in the meantime.

My heart bleeds a little and I type, “hey [ranger name], do you need some help getting to us?” And am about to try and figure out if I can walk them through running, or just move the entire party to killing the hounds and husks in the way, because why not, it might be easier for this group to clear the way together…

At the same time, another guy decides this is the best time to open the fight and attacks an outer Nightmare Vine.

OH SHIT.

I do a 180, slam down my two banners and rush in to hack away. The guildie jumps in. The newbie mesmer must have walked right into some Volatile Blossoms or just stayed too long in the red circles they threw up because he just curls up and crumbles like tissue paper without a single purple-colored skill firing.

Then the guy who started the fight goes, “oh, whoops, not everyone is here yet.”

Yeah. But too late now. We’re committed.

The ranger does eventually get to us midway through a couple of vines. I still can’t remember if I should be leaving the last vine alive or not, so I watch what the other people do. The guy who started the fight attacks the center one once five vines were dead. So I shrug and jump in and wail away on it too. The guildie has decided to work on the sixth one. Ok, whatever.

Unfortunately, we’re a little slow on dps and the outer vines begin sprouting one by one again. I wince inwardly, trying to solo warrior race against the clock as all the others, presumably with more toughness than me slotted into their gear, turn into my impromptu meat shields.

Close, but no cigar. Maybe one tenth of the big vine’s health remains when I’m finally the only thing in the room the vines can target. Berserk-geared zero-toughness warrior goes down like berserk warrior,

TPK. But I mean, we started a man down and everyone was unprepared and no one even -described- the strategy. So fully understandable, let’s try again, this time with better communication beforehand, right?

Guildie sends me a private whisper. Paraphrasing, “Hey man, really sorry, but I think this is a noob group. They’re hopeless.”

“Yeah,” I agree, for such is undeniable. “Are you familiar with the path?” I ask, because I myself am unfamiliar and will have trouble leading thusly. “Let’s try some coordination and see how it goes.”

It’s a bad start, no doubt, but the group hasn’t even had time to gel yet. Sure, if we’ve tried explaining the fights and are still wiping every encounter, then yeah, we can bow out with grace then, no probs.

“I did it up to the end once,” he says. “The last boss is really tough.” (I’m aware, I skim read the GW2 dungeon forums.)

“I don’t want to waste an hour, I’m going to drop party.” And he does. Without a single word to the rest of the group.

One or two more bail without a sound, and one of them must have been the instance holder, because I’m summarily kicked out of the dungeon and find there’s no one left in the party by the time I’ve zoned out.

Guildie goes invisible. Or logs off in a huff. But I do suspect he just went invisible.

Okay, maybe I just have rejection syndrome like Stubborn, or it’s a perfectly human reaction that everyone goes through, but the thing that zapped through my head was, “WTF, man, was it me?”

And sheesh, no one even tried. It was easier to just drop the damn group and presumably start over another time?

Well, because I’m not the sort to take this kind of thing lying down, I stay right at the entrance of TA and pretty much refresh the LFG finder non-stop, determined not to move a muscle until I -finished- TA F/U.

And in the very next group I joined, that’s exactly what we did.

A staff guardian cleared volatile blossoms for us. The group stayed tight as a group and ran together through spawns. We targeted the nightmare vines one at a time, clearing them all with a marked target until the big one was burned down.

We reached a spot of trouble when we had to drink from the fountain and stealth past one-hit kill deadly swarms. I was reading the guide with one eye while trying to follow in the footsteps of the two who seemed to know where they were going, while also trying not to blindly walk into an area that would reveal me. I scraped by, the last two didn’t. The three that made it patiently waited for them. One of the guardians was kind-hearted enough to turn back and try and clear volatile blossoms to make the run up easier – except he must have accidentally ate a one-shot because he fell over and died. So we two crept back slowly towards him and conducted a revival rescue. Everyone made it in the end.

At the last boss, we quite naturally wiped a few times while trying out various strategies. There was the rush in to the back of the tree, put up reflects and try to burn it down. Got halfway through its hp, then everyone got massacred by machine gun poison projectiles from the 1001 spiders.

There was a 1500 distance attempt by the retraiting ranger to range the tree down a la Dulfy’s guide, except one of the warriors might have went forward a bit far and aggro’ed the spiders. We were actually holding the spiders off decently well with melee, but the party didn’t seem interested in a “some melee and hold off spiders, some range” strategy.

There was the rush forward to the front of the tree with reflects and try to burn it down. Nada.

Some people were wondering if it was at all possible to defeat the tree if not achieved on the very first attempt. Luckily another guy found a video of an engineer who solo’ed TA F/U. “Lol, he just ran around like a retard and hit stuff” was the conclusion.

Huh. Okay. So we tried that. Everyone slotted a ranged attack, and a sacrificial guardian volunteered to be the first to dive in and soak the initial aggro. Strategy: Kite everything. Run in a big fucking circle.

What do you know, it worked.

It was kind of surreal and yet hilariously funny, in a Three Stooges sort of way. One of the guardians was pretty much leading the entire morass in a big circle, and everyone else just looked after their own survival, kept moving to avoid the projectiles, and focused on hitting the tree, revolving in a merry-go-around that occasionally switched directions and would be lethal if stopped. Reflects were used, I had my banners down to offer stats and pulse regen, etc.

Tree died. Probably everyone got their last TA path ticked and done, there was much rejoicing and everyone left content.

I tell you this long story to try and explain why it makes me so MAD when people just give up and look for the easy (or efficient) way out, blaming any convenient scapegoats that are not themselves. When they are not willing to reach out and communicate to others, whom they have labeled as hopeless/idiots/whatever, preferring instead to close themselves off in little groups of us vs them.

We’re okay, -they- are not.

Try and extend a little understanding, goddamit.

Everyone was new to a dungeon once.

A few days ago, I was the class clown in another guilded group who kindly and good-naturedly walked me through Caudecus’ Manor path 2. Knowing I was new, they gave me full text explanations on what to do, when to do it, and there were many ‘lols’ at my expense as my Charr lumbered his way through, trying to figure out exactly when they were picking up barrels and when/where/why they were putting them down in special spots.

‘Don’t hug the barrel, Riot, lol, put it down’ as I grabbed someone’s already specially put aside barrel and tried to bring it back to where they had -taken- the barrels from. (Well, they were running back and forth, how was I to know where was the start and where was the end?)

I’m sure I looked like a total retard in that one.

My only saving grace, another asura who was late to join up with the party (‘short legs’ – always a good excuse) and couldn’t jump and needed a portal to get up to where everyone else was.

Conversely, I can run CoF path 1 and 2 like clockwork and teach my way through it – though the boulders (especially with the invisible boulder bug of this last patch that gave me quite a scare before figuring out the workaround) are still tough to time.

What I’m trying to say is, don’t be so goddamn quick to judge people.

Pro AFKers do it on turrets.

Pro AFKers do it on turrets.

Fucking AFKers at Tequatl, is the standard refrain of some people, especially after they fail and need someone to blame. We didn’t have enough dps. It MUST be the AFKers.

No one thinks that maybe the guy who is AFK fell asleep because he’s been up for 12 hours straight camping Teq to try and get a win in. Or was distracted by his kids. It’s not like he can actually get any credit without waking up and participating.

Oh my god, the zerg is drowning in poison clouds at his foot here. FUCKING TURRET OPERATORS, if you don’t know what you’re doing, GET THE FUCK OFF, you morons. Cleansecleansecleanse, OMG, where are our cleanses. OMG, the bone wall is up, you guys are RETARDS.

Guess what. All the turret gunners have jumped off the turrets because they’re clearly too incompetent to operate them. Would you like to actually try?

I have. Though it’s only lately that I’ve taken them over to practice with, once one of these situations come up and no one wants the turret anyway. It can be fairly tricky to keep a target lock on Teq to keep spamming 2 on him, while making sure your mouse cursor is in the right place to spam 3 on the zerg AND quickly shift to cleanse yourself or a neighboring turret if the poison clouds show up.

And to be frank, if you’ve never been IN the zerg, dying horribly to the poison clouds, you won’t actually know why and where precisely to be aiming the cleanse as a turret gunner. And it’s still guesswork because it’s very hard to see at that distance.

Nor will you ever understand how important it is to a turret operator that he has a reliable turret defense team around him so that he doesn’t have krait and risen in his face, an ignored Finger fucking him up with poison, and his turret just dissolve around him because it broke and no one repaired it UNTIL YOU ACTUALLY walk a mile in his boots.

Sometimes it’s not the turret guy’s fault that he can’t cleanse you BECAUSE HE IS DEAD and DOESN’T have a turret up in the first place.

Speaking of the turret defense team, you can scream at them until you’re blue about keeping the turrets up for flawless defence, or blaming them or turret guys for bone walls, but until you’ve actually tried to hold off a swarm of Risen (champions included) and gotten one shot because they all turned and looked in your direction at once, or felt the despair of the few of you lying there dead and the turrets being overrun because everyone has run off into the zerg (which is now busily screaming that they aren’t getting cleansed, while you’re begging for a few more responders to help out at X turrets, because omg, so many champions and even some grubs)…

…Well. Suffice to say that there are quite a number of moving parts in this fight that can break, and it’s not just AFKers that can be the only problem. Blaming them can obscure some of the real reasons why an attempt failed.

If the turret defence doesn’t know how to target krait hypnosses to whittle down krait numbers fast and ended up distracted by krait “clones” essentially, they take longer to fight every wave. If they don’t kite champions away or whack smaller targets first, mobs can wreck havoc amidst the turrets. All that focus on red names distracts from the very real danger of nearby Tequatl fingers, which give turret gunners a hell of a time if left unmolested.

Too much turret defence, more champions spawn, zerg doesn’t have dps. Too little turret defence, and the turrets get overrun anyway.

Squishy zerg = dead zerg. Especially if they can’t dodge shockwaves well. And zerg, did you have the right stats or slot the right group supportive skills?

A lot of things can go wrong, and it’s the nature of this fight that you can only see what’s happening in the area that you are near. If you’re at Teq’s foot, you can’t see what’s happening with the turrets. Vice versa, if you’re by the turrets, it’s hard to see exactly how many people have gone down with each shockwave + poison AoE.

It’s fairly impossible to apportion blame or responsibility unless you have a person in each place discuss what was happening there and put the big picture together.

Yet quite a number of people just lash out on map chat regarding things they have no awareness of whatsoever. Far easier to blame someone else than ask what they themselves could have done better.

It also disturbs me that the more highly skilled are taking themselves away from the main population, preferring to hang around only with themselves. It’s a very subtle form of elitism. The A team breaks off. The B team is left to their own noobish devices.

Is there no one willing to help them get better?

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5 thoughts on “GW2: Casting Blame and Looking in a Mirror

  1. Michael says:

    That’s more or less why I never did another dungeon after the first ascalon story mode I did. I felt out of place and then came the noob name calling because they expected me to use a weapon set I didn’t even have. I felt horrible and never wanted to play another dungeon again. I haven’t played in a while but if this same attitude is coming to world events I guess I’m better off not coming back.

    • Jeromai says:

      Well, it’s really 50/50 at the moment. It’s not as bad as many other MMOs, but it’s just too easy for people to regress back to old bad habits learned from other MMOs if the design is slightly off.

      And despite my angry rhetoric in the post, there are still people who do teach and do support the community. It’s just a matter of who outnumbers who.

  2. Valourbörn says:

    Online games are meant to be social, and they really can be more fun when you play with others, and so it sucks when certain people make it a negative experience. I’ve had horrible experiences in dungeons (not so much in GW2, since I’ve only done a couple) and for a long time, I refused to play in a group because people weren’t understanding. It’s like you say–how can the “noobs” get any better if the “elites” won’t help them? Games are meant to be fun, not joyless work.

  3. cakeboxfox says:

    That TA path is horrific. Never managed to do it myself XD. The new LFG tool seems to be making the elitism worse. They can’t find what they want so they complain. As someone fairly new to dungeons I’m always happy to take newcomers along and it’s just more fun when you’re all the same boat of figuring it out. Like I’m running CM p1 and p3 everyday to get the gift and every time I take a party of mostly newcomers for a slow but steady run so they can learn the ropes.
    It doesn’t cost anything to be nice and after all, A game’s a game, not a second job.
    And Taco is just asking for aggressive player ranting. Nice post :)

  4. kichwas says:

    TA explorable first boss – the giant vine with the ones around it. That’s the hardest boss in all of TA.

    Its pretty common for there to be a wipe the first time in with a group that’s not been farming it.

    There is one spot in the fight that only a single small vine can reach – no blossoms or other vines can reach it… so if you immediately switch to that vine anytime it comes up and take it down, you spend the rest of the fight at 100% health just spamming against the big vine. Its a spot where you stand on top of a stone or leaf or something.

    I’ve more or less left GW2. Have not shown up for this past round of Living Story – reasons in my blog and elsewhere that I used to comment. Looks like Teq is finally breaking the goodwill the GW2 community was known for – unless things recover by tomorrow when the next chapter of it all comes out.

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