TGIF Doesn’t Quite Fit Yesterday

12 Oct, Friday

  • GW2 – Raided with the static group. Cleared Wings 1, 2, 4 and then attempted Wing 6’s Qadim CM for a second time for some team members who missed it the first time and alt accounts.

It’s funny how I barely remember which wings we clear on which days, it all blurs together after a while. I have to sit around thinking, “Which boss do I recall fighting?” and then link that to the correct wing number.

The Qadim CM was more entertaining, since it’s newer content, but also more exhausting and demanding a lot of focus out of me after one of the more peak mental demand / stressful days at work.

Somehow, of all the bosses and CMs, I really like this one, to the point where it doesn’t really bore me to repeat it over and over (though it is very draining, and several roles – especially tanking – seem immensely more challenging than others).

I still think it’s the predictability. It offers the promise that if you learn the patterns over time and position in the right places and take the proper action, you will solve the puzzle and get it done.

A lot of other CMs (Dhuum comes to mind almost immediately) contain more unpredictable “react really quickly to incoming information that is moving at you at lightspeed” elements.

And our lightspeed reaction interval is a lot smaller due to the vagaries of ping – a player playing at 50ms has only 100ms to and fro response time to alert the server of what they just did. Playing at 300ms means 600ms can go by between the server telling you of this incoming thing that -was- at this position 300ms ago and you telling the server that you don’t want to be there but somewhere else now please. That 0.5s lag time can kill you, if there’s a moving part rushing at you. I loathe that unpredictability.

I truly HATE the fact that I struggled to get the Stacking Swords and Shields achievement in the first boss of wing 6 because it involves collecting stuff during a moving bullet hell phase… right up until I figured out that I should imagine the onrushing balls to collect were about an inch ahead on my screen (literally, in real life, put a ruler on your screen and extrapolate an inch kind of inch) and go collect the “invisible imaginary” balls there.

It is just sad when you can barely trust the information shown to you.

But anyway, Qadim and his CM feels different. It feels learnable. Our group as a team appears to have worked out a functional solution to most of the mechanics up to the 33% health mark or so. The jumping puzzle phase is where it started falling apart yesterday.

You know, moving parts, required jumps, and apparently a good three-quarters of the team were having lag spikes of 500ms and higher. It speaks volumes that we managed the predictable parts of Qadim CM through that kind of lag and then had issues once shit started moving.

Granted, because it’s Qadim, I remain convinced that a bit of correct positioning and familiarity with the phase can, more or less, cover for this.

I have been utter trash at this phase for most of normal Qadim now; I feel like I’m dead 80% of the time the rest of the group clears the final stage – sometimes through panicked misjumps and sometimes smited before the jumping even began. This has given me nigh zero opportunity to figure out some good places to be and what is likely to happen. Especially if the boss dies and the fight stops there.

Failing at 33% in Qadim CM for a couple of times meant that I had a few more chances to match theory with practice and figure out “ok, this is going to happen next, so I should be standing -here- instead to anticipate that.”

A lot of vocal people who love to trash talk others will say this is the kind of thing that ought to be done prior to the fight, watching videos over and over like you’re a professional football team player studying up the opposing team’s strategies.

Besides the over serious “feels too much like homework” angle, people learn in different ways. I get very little useful information out of a video if I’ve never actually experienced it and/or screwed up the thing before. To me, it’s hard to filter out what’s going to be relevant to you and your situation before you even know what you struggle with and need to see how others do it differently.

Sure, after you muck it up a few times and can’t see a way through the quagmire, sourcing for solutions out of the mess makes a lot more sense then. Otherwise, you’re just watching this ideal role model hit all the right notes without a clue of all the things they just did right, subconsciously or otherwise, to get there.

It’s like telling people, “Ok, go watch this professional pianist play this song over and over” and you’ll be more prepared to play the tune too. Or this professional potter spinning up his beautiful clay pots. See what he did there? What he just explained? Ok! Your turn to perform now!

I can almost absolutely guarantee that most people’s first experiences with clay and a spinning wheel will not automatically resemble the professional potter’s, irrespective of how many videos they’ve watched.

Yes, it might help them adapt a bit faster. Maybe if they were really talented, all they would need are those sessions of video watching before, and then one hands-on session where they muck it up and then pull from their already formed theoretical basis to adapt and make it better.

For everybody else, I think it’s more of a process where you might have a hands-on session of utter disaster, and -then- go to several videos to clarify some doubts, and repeat another hands-on session with a little less disaster, and then a video or a coach or a book, and so on, back and forth.

But I digress.

I didn’t quite fail jumping at the moving parts stage yesterday, only taking one fun not-at-all well-controlled dodge roll attempting to escaping an incoming fireball (which I did avoid) into an air gap (which I did -not- avoid) during the earlier stages.

In CM, that means a teamwipe and reset, since it’s harder to complete a challenge mode with one person down. It happens. Others do it; I do it; we’re all only human.

For whatever reason, it feels these days like I’ve lost the anxiety of two years ago. I feel less of a driving need to… for lack of a better phrase, “prove myself.” I’m getting a little better and more comfortable in my own skin, warts and all. I have my strengths, I have my weaknesses. Take me as I am, or take me not at all. That sort of thing.

In the meantime, I’ll be over here continuing to do my own learning at my own plodding pace. The camera zoom, for example, has felt a little different these past few days – it’s able to scroll back a lot more, which leads to misjudging distances and barely controlled sidesteps/tumbles into nothingness.

Hypothesized solution, if I can remember to apply it, zoom in a bit more when it comes time to move. (Whereas the outward zoom is necessary for better field of view on other stages like anticipating incoming fireballs.)

We also worked on staying on the tips of the moving platforms, to utilize the movement of the platforms to carry us to the point where a safe jump is possible. This worked well, right up to the point where the platforms started to indicate they were going to explode shortly.

I am still about 40% foggy on anticipating exactly where to go before this happens. I managed to react fast enough yesterday to be in the middle of the pack and survive the jump, as opposed to 100% foggy, trailing behind and fated to die.

Obviously, there is a more ideal level to attain. I want to be 0-10% foggy and already there, wherever there is, so that the exploding platform indicator doesn’t even spark a modicum of panic because I know it’s going to happen.

At this point, this is where video reviews would come in handy, to locate this mythical “there” spot, so that’s slated on the weekend agenda.

  • GW2 – Bought Aurillium sheets from Auric Basin and crafted the Aurillium Capsule. Collected the Champion Flame Effigy item from Fireheart Rise. Two more mini-dings of progress eked out on the Astralaria III: The Mechanism collection.

Felt pretty wiped out after hours of raiding and was nearing crash into bed territory. Hung on long enough to finish the last item I needed to craft and keep in inventory, so that it would trigger progress on the collection after performing another action.

The Aurillium Capsule is meant to capture Wyvern Fire from the Verdant Brink matriarch, but it wasn’t night time boss events at the time I looked. It wasn’t Megadestroyer time either. So I went for the one that didn’t require clock-watching, the Champion Flame Effigy… only to discover that the waypoint was unlocked and that I’d have to stand around waiting for the event to pop.

I attempted to start a blog post while the wait was happening, but it stalled into incoherence. Writing while exhausted appears to be impossible for me.

Some time later, the event popped, I defended. The effigy popped, I duo’ed it with one other person who happened to be around. It died. I got the item. I looked around and instead of just rushing off like most players that have gotten what they wanted, decided to finish the event.

Event complete, rewards get, small beans as they are. Still quite a few flame legion ritual bags though. Then I stopped and crashed into bed shortly after.