GW2: Finding Something Else to Do (Origins of Madness update)

Raids give me that "played like a puppet" feeling...

Thanks to the two new bosses added in the latest GW2 update, I no longer loathe raids with extreme prejudice.

I have now reached a state of indifference.

I guess that’s progress.

See, one of my most major issues with the concept of raids was exclusivity.

I’m just philosophically opposed to the idea that some players get automatically rejected due to whatever they’re wearing because it’s a convenient shortcut to judge player ability, or the simple capacity of a character that has sufficient stats to meet the challenge.

Nor am I terribly keen on the idea of separating oneself from players that are playing poorly on average because it’s easier and more rewarding to be elitist and isolate oneselves, than to lead, coordinate and teach. (Though I recognize that it is a reality of life, and periodically tempting, especially when you can’t take repeating yourself any longer.)

In the case of Guild Wars 2’s new approach to raid bosses, aka more challenging world bosses that require a significant amount of coordination and organization to succeed, it’s been comparatively more inclusive, mostly because individual groups of people can’t control 100% who shows up in a zone.

One can still attempt more coordination and organization by joining and following along with an organized group, such as various server groups, or megaguilds. TTS, for example, is the primary NA example. I’m aware of AARM doing weekly Tequatls on Tarnished Coast these days. Unsoweiter.

The fact that it is not at all possible to reject players out of hand skews GW2 raid bosses significantly towards a more philosophically palatable direction for me. (As opposed to say, the propensity of some people to get kick happy with their party in certain dungeons.)

My other pet peeve about raid bosses is regarding the clarity of mechanics and gimmicks of whatever it is one is to do.

I ranted about this in City of Heroes, which was rather inconsistent about this in its Incarnate Trials, whereas the few I encountered in RIFT were distinctly clearer to me.

mines

So far, the Guild Wars 2 indicators resemble RIFT a lot more. This I like.

The first champion in the marionette fight also has a rather elegant indicator for facing, which is handy since the goal is to hit it from behind.

What I’m not liking is the speed at which these are appearing and disappearing. Between my slow framerate and latency, there doesn’t seem to be sufficient reaction time sometimes to dodge. Presumably as one learns the encounters more, one might possibly be able to use animation cues to get a few more valuable split seconds but well… it’s been a little hit or miss at times.

Some of my other issues regarding raids are unfortunately still not resolved.

There’s the waiting.

I’m making significantly more progress on my browser games in the other screen, and my audio CD digitization project since there’s a good half hour between each wurm or marionette attempt.

Standing around in a game doing nothing annoys me.

Well, I -could- jump around waypoints catching energy probes, but then that would make commanders trying to physically count people and get organized sad.

Catch-22.

Since I can’t be arsed to even conceive of leading such a cat-herding endeavor, my most meaningful contribution during the waiting phase is to be an obedient charr and stand on the blue dorito.

There’s the suffering involved with matching schedules and timezones.

Living in a not-so-popular geographical area means making compromises with one’s day and mealtimes to match the more populous NA and Oceanic times, during which there’s more people, more organization and thus a higher chance of success.

This is, of course, insolvable without migrating, but it does wear down on my personal level of interest for raids, especially over time. I haven’t attended a single Tequatl for weeks, there just seemed to be better things I could be doing with that two hours.

And there’s that old bugaboo of needing to rely on other people to perform well while not being able to help them much at all.

Yes, I understand that is somewhat the point (or a major component) of raids.

That it is somewhat like a sports team where people need to practice together, learn how to work with each other in tandem, trust and rely on each other, etc.

A situation set up so that more complex societal behavior can be exercised, such as leadership, organization, division of roles, teamwork, good sportsmanship, yadda yadda.

(Naturally, where one has the opportunity to demonstrate positive behavior, one ALSO runs very easily into the opposite toxic and negative examples, fueled by immaturity and ingrained habit of certain game cultures. But y’know, tradeoffs, can’t have one without the other.)

Call me a hermit, a misanthrope or a control freak, it’s just not a preference. 80% of the time, I’d much rather be challenging myself or relying on me, period.

I actually find the mechanics of the marionette champions rather interesting and look forward to learning more with each time I enter. Except there’s all the in-between that just feels like time-wasting.

And there’s that omnipresent situation where four platforms manage to finish and the last has unfortunately encountered some kind of problem. It’s a bit of a letdown when you feel you’ve played the best you could, and victory (or even partial success) is taken out of your hands because somebody else screwed up somewhere. Locus of control? None.

Perhaps one could keep repeating the strategies over mapchat and just patiently wait until everyone learns them. Perhaps some really creative leadership and organization could fill a separate overflow with more hardcore players and better communication.

Perhaps an individual might just indulge in blame and name-calling because they can’t do anything else besides spew abuse at others to make themselves feel better. (Protip: Shit-talking to ‘motivate’ only works on a certain subset of the population. Everyone else thinks they’d rather not have a victory confirm your behavioral hypothesis that toxicity results in a win.)

But really, for most people, the only thing left to do within one’s locus of control is shrug, feel disappointed and try again another time.

Which again, personally, is not something I’m playing a game for. Life already throws sufficient repeat disappointments one’s way, y’know?

Of course, the other 20% of the time, I can deal.

I’m quite enjoying the coordination and strategies involved in working out and learning the jungle wurm fight with TTS. (Save for all that time-wasting between attempts, egads!)

I like that different skills and builds have been stressed this time around – such as condition builds for the husks, and good running, jumping, speed-boosting abilities.

It’s just… that I’m somewhat puzzled at myself, that I’m not feeling as compelled as I used to be.

Sometimes, I look at the clock, and think, hmm, in the same hour, I could give the wurm or marionette another go, or I could cook myself a nice meal and have a proper sit-down feast, or I could watch something on the telly…

And I choose the latter options instead. (Hell, I’ve been tempted by the thought of giving Dragon Age Origins another go, or playing Skyrim again.)

It’s like I’m suddenly in no hurry to experience the content.

Was it just the three week break from GW2 that gave me a certain distance?

Is it just because I suspect it’s going to take a few days anyway for the general population to learn the fights, for information to filter down and so on, before the bosses will become more enjoyable like Teq on farm? (I certainly didn’t enjoy the first few days of Teq, super-stressed out trying to squeeze into the main server, wiping repeatedly, AFKing for indeterminate periods of time, etc. World firsts mean absolutely nothing to me.)

Is it just a personal disinterest in raids in general?

Who knows.

I do still harbor a slight worry that I need to catch the marionette fight at the sweet spot intersection between too many people -trying- to do it but not knowing how, and no one interested in doing it ever (like a successful Scarlet invasion – anyone actually manage that recently?) Being tied to the Living Story, it may be a two week thing.

The wurm is less stressful, since TTS is both organized and inclusive. One will get all the boss achievements there in the end.

Well, whatever the case, it’s… something else to do.

When one feels like it.

While it’s new and shiny.

For now.

P.S. Opinions on the story aspect of the update are a little better. Nice instance, more in-game storytelling, even if the bit with Kasmeer and her father sounded like clumsy exposition. I haven’t seen Scarlet’s lair yet, but looking forward to discovering it slowly.

One immediately gets the unsupported hunch that players might just end up with another cutthroat politics vote where it turns out Scarlet has a grand design to defeat the dragons and wanted to be a good guy after all (with Taimi and Braham and whoever else may be on her side) while Rox wants her dead because Rytlock said so.

Or maybe not. As a player, I’d probably let Primordius burn Divinity’s Reach and Lion’s Arch in order to see Scarlet dead. I suspect I’m not the only one.

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15 thoughts on “GW2: Finding Something Else to Do (Origins of Madness update)

  1. Sounds like a lot of waiting to have fun. :P How long do the fights last in-between? It’s not so bad if it goes for 50 minutes I suppose… though, that’s a really long fight if that’s the case. >.<

    • lothirieth says:

      Hmm, no longer than 30 minutes I think. The fight is actually a good one, but yeah the waiting game (which is only necessary if you want to try to get on your main server’s map) is annoying as well as some of the achievements.

    • Jeromai says:

      20-30 mins. The fights are fun, the waiting is not.

      The waiting also extends if you want to get into a map with more organization, since one is afraid to leave and not be able to get back in again.

      It was pretty hopeful design to stagger wurm and marionette per hour, to encourage some people leave the map, but the varied difficulty of each boss is a big showstopper to that, I’m afraid.

      A PUG overflow generally has no chance of sufficient organization to take down the jungle wurm, while there’s still relative profit to be made at marionette. Then there’s still the attraction of getting into a server map with more organization and familiar people.

      While anyone with an interest in wurm getting downed is hogging the few maps with sufficient leadership and organization to do so.

  2. lothirieth says:

    I’d very much recommend you get into her lair… and afterwards read some of the speculation threads on reddit or the official forums. You might fight you hate Scarlet less. I know I do. A lot less.

    More comments later on the rest.. it’s late. :P

    • Jeromai says:

      I hate the writers less. They have listened and responded to feedback.

      Scarlet is still a giant Mary Sue nuisance. :)

      • João Carlos says:

        Let’s hope that for the next living story they give us a better villain and a better plot. I think it is wise to consider this first living story as a “living” experiment: they learn what will work, what will not work, how to tell the story and (maybe) what is a good story.

        I hope that the devs creating EQN are truning their attention to the GW2 living sotry experiment, because they intend to use the same living story feature.

  3. Haha your dungeon and raid rants are always such enjoyable reads :P – you should really add a rants tag so it’s easy to access all of them.
    I find it funny how everything you dislike about raids is essentially what drives other players to raid…..I shall ponder this a while longer.

    • Jeromai says:

      Um, I think I’ll end up tagging nearly every post with ‘rant’ if I brought that tag in. I’m naturally a little cynical and like to dissect/analyze -everything- :)

      I think it’s only natural that there will be some players who react differently from the norm. *looks at bhagpuss*

      I feel it’s important for these representative dissenting voices to speak up now and then to lay out their way of thinking. But not in a simplistic blaming name-calling way, but more of laying out separate elements and factors that can be teased out and addressed.

      It probably helps devs see that there’s a potential subset of players they aren’t reaching with what they have. Then it’s up to them to decide if they have time, effort and man-hours to spare and if their game wants to cater to these subsets or not.

  4. […] writing an article on my private immersion (yeah that’s still gonna happen), I came across Jeromai’s recent post on GW2 and the latest Origins of Madness patch. It made me […]

  5. […] Ironically, it was during one of the times I dread most. Playing the WAITING game. […]

  6. […] yet another great post. This time, the subject is on why we raid, which was itself a response to a post at the blog Why I […]

  7. lothirieth says:

    Alright back to reply to another bit. You wrote:

    “I’m just philosophically opposed to the idea that some players get automatically rejected due to whatever they’re wearing because it’s a convenient shortcut to judge player ability, or the simple capacity of a character that has sufficient stats to meet the challenge.

    Nor am I terribly keen on the idea of separating oneself from players that are playing poorly on average because it’s easier and more rewarding to be elitist and isolate oneselves, than to lead, coordinate and teach. (Though I recognize that it is a reality of life, and periodically tempting, especially when you can’t take repeating yourself any longer.)”

    I’m someone who has been part of semi-hardcore raid kins/guilds/alliances. The ones I’ve been part of never rejected someone based on gear. Really, you’ll find the ones that do that sort of thing tend to be the ones filled with nubby big talkers I’ve found. The groups I’ve been part of have been selective, but selective in that they want mature people, the ability to listen, learn and follow instructions and generally be a pleasant person to be around. But regarding gear, sometimes it is representative of the dedication a person has to the game, or their gaming personality and that can be an indicator if they’ll fit in with other like-minded folks.

    I’m also someone who specifically went after the more hardcore, skilled groups. This was not because I though it was easier to isolate myself and be elite. It was because I craved challenge. I craved going to the next level. Teaching is all well and good now and again (but it’s also sometimes tiresome to be doing it too much), but sometimes, some of us want to go on to harder things. As with anything in life, people have varying levels of skill. Obviously this is true with gaming as well. For the harder raids and instances in other games, it was essential that people be fairly competent, otherwise the group as a whole could fail. But mostly, people tend to group with like-minded individuals as we all want to have a good time gaming and pursue fun goals. It sorta feels like you were falling back on the whole raiders are elitist jerks thing and from what I’ve seen over the years, that’s not the majority. But then again, I’ve always swayed towards RP servers. :P

    • Jeromai says:

      I think, with raids (and perhaps most other things), the onus tends to lie more on the game designers designing systems and rules that promote the kind of behavior they want to see from players.

      In a typical MMO raid game, it’s hard to blame or place all the responsibility on the hardcore raiders who desire harder challenges to swiftly move into a mindset that exclude based on convenient shortcuts like stats and gear. Especially since you can join only one guild at a time and have to fit a limited 10 or 25 into a single raid instance.

      I’m just not personally comfortable with that philosophy or design, so I choose to stay away from games who promote that.

      I’m not really saying “raiders are elitist jerks, boo hoo” but more of “how devs design their game causes raiders to become elitist jerks, and I hate -that-.”

      My only alternative for a long time has been to simply not partake.

      The hope is really that other MMOs will start experimenting like GW2 is doing and try to design different spins on what a raid is.

      Thus including certain elements which are still attractive to those who like raids, and getting rid of other elements that turn others away from raids.

      Since everything is about tradeoffs, I doubt we’ll ever get to a raid utopia that pleases everybody, but perhaps we will achieve lots of different alternatives which appeal to different subsets of players.

  8. […] I’ve had some great reactions to my recent musings on raids. […]

  9. […] games and that payment model. It reeks of exclusion, and my more regular readers are well aware of my eccentricities regarding games that promote rampant exclusion and elitism via their design. I generally do not like to play or pay for a game where it is culturally “understood” […]

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