GW2: Tequila Sunset

Here we go, yet again...

I’m writing this post from my lofty view of several dozen backs of bookah knees while perched atop a purple flying saucer, alternately being amazed that so many people are content to stand around in one spot doing absolutely nothing for one and a half hours, and somewhat stunned that I have just joined them.

Gorgeous surf, sun, sea and sand! I have a lovely place in mind for your new vacation home.
Gorgeous surf, sun, sea and sand! I’d love to sell you this lovely place for your new vacation home.

It’s ironic, but between the prospect of trying over and over to defeat something in a group fight by performing one’s designated task to the best of one’s ability (and still not succeeding because of variables outside one’s sphere of control) and trying over and over to make pixel perfect jumps through arbitrary lag that assumes you’re already dead while your client still shows you in mid-air over a lethal hazard, Tribulation Mode wins by a slight hair in my book.

If only because there’s swifter iteration times between attempts and slightly more control at most stages besides those that use mechanics sensitive to lag. (Goddamn jump pads in world 2-2.)

Sitting around spawn camping a big mob is definitely not one of the things I would regret never having experienced, having missed the entire Everquest era due to burnout from one of its MUD precursors.

Been there, done that on a smaller scale and while some of the smaller group conversations are a somewhat nostalgic memory, I’m constantly reminded that I could be doing lots more productive things with my time.

Even in my college years where one has a surfeit of time, one usually ends up ALT-TABing to browse the web or loading up a non-memory intensive game like a roguelike to at least do something ACTIVE in another window.

I’m mostly just here because this is the first time I’ve actually landed in my home server’s Sparkfly Fen (having schmoozed my way in by sending desperate tells to all and sundry) and I’d like to see the big guy fall over at least once before I move back to actually earning gold doing some other activity.

Bhagpuss points out that this event offers strong evidence that server cultures are real and do matter.

I’m of somewhat mixed minds regarding this.

On one hand, it’s undeniable that everything feels more comfortable seeing familiar guild tags around. There’s over 70 people in voice. There’s significantly more organization and cohesiveness than a random overflow.

Yet I’m rather keenly aware that not all servers can muster this level of coordination, and that Tarnished Coast is a lot bigger than the 100+ people that were lucky enough to get into this zone.

I also wonder just how long this interest will last. There was a time before dragonite ore that the Temples of the Gods remained deserted, after all.

Due to this fear, I am now engaged in unhealthy habits once more, hanging out in a game for hours on end while looking for reading materials to lean back with and videos to watch in the other screen, trying not to fall asleep on my keyboard having been tempted by “just one more attempt” stretching into the wee morning hours.

Promptly failed this a night or two ago by staying up till 6am, going for a quick lie down and blacking out until my alarm clock rang at 8am to indicate it was time to catch my NA guild’s guild missions.

On the bright side, I was chilling along the edge of the map quite a ways from the turrets, so I don’t think I scaled any turret spawns, and I am honest enough to not run anything that interferes with the autokick, so scrolling back revealed I got auto-booted a minute or two into the Teq spawn – I’m sure someone eager to get to the main instance managed to take my place.

Reports were that they failed anyway.

Oh well.

The sad thing is that there have been successes interspersed between failures as well.

Why do I term this a sad thing? Because of the slot machine / lottery inclinations that take over with an intermittent reward schedule.

Because of variables like the group mix and pure numbers changing per attempt due to varying timezones, to say nothing of the level of organization and various strategies used, a Tequatl defeat is beyond anyone’s ability to fully control. So what takes over is an impulse to just keep showing up and trying over and over hoping to get fortunate.

Yes, you can also push and utilize strategies that increase the probability of victory. What separates a professional gambler from an amateur is a better understanding of how to work the odds that are in his favor. As the skill level and encounter familiarity of the population grow with each pass, we can hope this steadily increases the odds of success over time.

It’s been a curious case of watching different styles at work. The North Americans of TC seem to favor a three commander spread between north turrets, south turrets and zerg, with preferably “skilled” people on voice being turret operators. (Except no one actually specifies what that skill or experience requires.)

Within each turret team, there’s a lot of hoping and praying that individuals will take the initiative on their own to cover nearby fingers, keep turret repaired, stay out of poison clouds, keep operators healed and healthy, and spread out to intercept the incoming Risen waves. The suggestion is for zerkers and condition damage users to be turret teams.

Within the zerg ball, there’s a lot of call for PVT gear, stacking on a commander tag at Tequatl’s foot, maximizing DPS with conjured elementalist weapons and melee, and being able to dodge the shockwaves. There’s often a failure to mention the need for group support / healing or specify what to do with nearby fingers, which has led to some very amusing mass wipes at his feet and screaming / blame / demands for dead people to waypoint because omg, dps is being lost.

Yet Tequatl has also been successfully achieved while plying this strategy, though it begs the question whether individuals taking initiative are covering the unmentioned aspects, or whether more faithfully following the specified strategy like a herd of sheep would increase the chances of success.

The strident ones on chat will tell you to follow, but the strident ones on chat have also been known to be wrong before (see Scarlet invasions where people were encouraged to abandon Twisted Clockwork spawns once the event was done, causing the defeat bar to move more slowly.)

Hanging out in my regular timezone, I managed to catch a commander in my guild who plies a slightly different variation, calling for volunteers and issuing assignments for 10 people to stay here and intercept a spawn at a chokepoint, 5 people to stay at turrets repair and destroy fingers, unsoweiter until everyone not so assigned is filtered into the zerg. This has the advantage of providing some control with regards to risen wave spawn sizes and focusing players more specifically on a task, but takes a little more typing work to accomplish.

The lovely view from the southern chokepoint. At least the level of organization here made it fun to participate in.
The lovely view from being rooted permanently at the southern chokepoint. At least the level of organization here made it fun to participate in.

The irony is that we managed to fail anyway, when everyone got so excited at the very last megalaser phase that people left at 20 seconds and let a bunch of Risen overwhelm a battery.

I think the many mechanics working in sync are obscuring a certain amount of clarity in understanding what precisely needs to be done. A big zerg killer is poison clouds. But where are they coming from? And how do you stop them?

From my observations, I -think- they are coming from the Fingers of Tequatl when they flick. And they seem to be centered on a player with the maximum aggro (ie. high toughness, damage done, proximity as per GW2 standard aggro rules.)

I also -think- that the turret skill 3 can cleanse the poison cloud from the ground, or that’s the impression I got anyway. I -think- the danger of the fingers can be mitigated by swift reaction to burn them down (reducing the amount of time they have to fling poison), or by placing a projectile reflect on them (which is half superstition, but I didn’t see a poison cloud pop up when I kept doing that to one of the fingers by the north turrets and did when I didn’t) or in the worse case scenario by holding aggro and not standing near anything valuable and moving out of the red circle while destroying the finger.

There is also an opposing chain of thought that prefers to ignore the fingers and rely on the turrets to cleanse them off the extremely tightly stacked zerg. Which I think does work if everyone is in very high hp and toughness gear and specced for sustain and keeping upright, similar to some WvW strategies where the goal is to be an immortal zerg doing sustained dps. But also can fail just as alarmingly in both Teq and WvW if your stacked numbers are made up of squishies and collide with an amount of damage that causes 10-15+ to be downed with not enough warbanners to recover.

Of course, some of the poison clouds appear to be coming from Tequatl himself, rather than the fingers. Does this mean one should ignore the fingers then?

Then again, stacking in one spot also increases the likelihood that Teq’s poison cloud damage overwhelms the stack before it can recover. Especially if you place the stack directly underfoot to melee, because of the distance to shockwaves making it harder to react to (never forget latency is an issue in certain timezones, which can screw up being properly able to react to shockwaves without sufficient range) and the additional feet damage he does.

I’d actually like to see a split zerg or ranged strategy attempt as discussed by Dulfy (Method 2) in the near future. Placing a zerg nearer to the turrets might make cleansing and reacting to shockwaves easier, though there would be less dps from not being able to melee or use fiery greatswords as much.

Goodness knows who would be content to organize such a thing though.

I suspect if Teq remains unchanged, this will become content that will be primarily ignored a majority of the time by a population that cannot organize sufficiently to take it down, and become more of a scheduled raid affair for either a server or a big organized guild.

In a way, it kind of reminds me of Saturday Hamidon raids from City of Heroes, where the first 50 or so people to zone in at a certain time got into the raid lottery and were organized by archetype to perform a specific function and work in sync to take it down.

Except that you didn’t have to camp out for 1.5 hours in order to have a try at the raid mob. This intermittent timer is going to be a problem for any kind of scheduled attempt at Teq.

Then there’s the current problem of getting your organized group to fit into a zone without spilling over and spreading across  into multiple overflows and having to play pass the group parcel to fit into the same one.

Lastly, there’s the questions of rewards. I’m not sure the rewards are tempting enough for the level of organization required given the low drop rates. I managed to catch a Tequatl defeat once, and while I was mightily cheered up by the achievements that dinged, the final chest was underwhelming, to say the least. If Ascended weapons and the Teq mini pop like Final Rest, I am probably never going to see one within my lifetime, let alone the lifespan of the game.

I suspect many people will drop Teq like a hot potato by the time the next update launches, especially as the more hardcore individuals who camp out for over half a day manage to complete all their achievements move on for other things.

Of course, this cynical suspicion is likely a self-fulfilling prophecy as I too am now attempting to get as many Sunbringer achievements locked in before everyone gives up when critical mass is no longer sufficient, and staying up for an unsustainable period of time per day.

Come, let us all burn out together!

Whee.

What joyous fun this raid content is.

Advertisements