WoW: 10 Years, 10 Questions

Rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated...

Like it or not, WoW has been an institution in the public consciousness for a very long time.

The 10 Years, 10 Questions survey by ALT: ernative Chat seems to have taken off like wildfire and become at least a shared point of reference to unite the now disparate interests of MMO game bloggers for a time.

So why the hell not join in?

Though these are thoughts from a WoW contrarian’s POV:

1) Why did you start playing World of Warcraft?

I attempted it twice.

Once was juuust before the game officially launched, when I decided that even though I was burned out like hell on the raid concept and avoided Everquest like the plague, I may as well take advantage of the FREE beta to give the game a fair shake before dismissing it.

It took about 3 continuous days of leaving the computer on in a sweltering tropical climate wondering if I should use up even more electricity by running the air-conditioner for 72 hours to cool the computer down to download the client.

Something about their fancy bittorrent strategy to save bandwidth costs on their end, wasn’t playing well with my ISP. My download speeds were throttled, and throttled good.

That was, perhaps, not the best of first impressions.

Of course, since I left it till the last minute, I literally had about 1 hour of game time, snatched in the morning before I had to leave for work, after which WoW would officially launch and I’d have to pay to play it. Box + Sub fee. Quite a big hurdle to overcome.

I made a Tauren… something. Druid, I think.

Logged in, admired how clearly they laid out everything for newcomers to the genre (I’m a big fan of well-designed tutorials, even if I don’t need them, because well, they show good design and successfully attracting and retaining newbies without turning them off = success) and attempted to do some quests.

Somewhere just past retrieving something from the well, and facing the prospect of goodness-knows-how-many Kill X Whatevers quests in a tutorial area I’d seen was small and cramped and limited (for those said newbies not to be confused, I geddit), I said, there’s no way I’m getting past this in an hour, this is kinda boring, I don’t want to raid anyway so no interest in endgame, so what is the point of advancing further? Just to see numbers exponentially go up?

Then I nope’d right out.

Cue a long period of doing just fine without WoW and forseeing burn out of many at around year 4.

Couple years later, colleague at work started playing WoW like an addict, bringing his shiny new laptop in to sneak in game time during downtime periods.

Ended up essentially spectating him leveling, going through Battlegrounds and so on, mostly with a tolerant knowing smirk that the raid endgame wasn’t for me and trying to sell him on City of Heroes instead.

We sort of peer pressured each other to try out our favorite MMOs. For a time, anyway. Like the free month on the box, in both directions.

The one thing that ended up selling me on a second try of WoW was the smoothness of how his hunter went from mob to mob killing stuff. I -love- smooth, slick, medititative combat grind or farming, whatever term you want to use when referring to killing a whole bunch of easy mobs in quick succession.

The animations were quick and responsive and a little cartoony but just felt good even while merely watching him play.

I guess I could stand to buy a now-cheaper box bundle of WoW plus the Burning Crusade expansion and just enjoy the feeling of combat for a while.

2) What was the first ever character you rolled?

Tauren Druid, I guess. Because it could shapechange and stuff, and I like monster-y races.

I rolled it a second time when I re-tried WoW again, and this time managed to get up to the level where you could turn into a bear, and then the feral cat. Enjoyed the smoothness of the feral cat DPS combat quite a bit, but then had hunter envy watching my work colleague solo stuff and crank out level after level.

I think it was around that time that Cataclysm dropped as well. That was another reason to try WoW, I wanted to get a quick sense of the ‘before’  and then see the ‘after’ and check out what had been  ‘improved’ on.

Post-Cata, I rolled an Undead Hunter – a skeleton archer that ended up reminding me of Clinkz from DOTA.

That became essentially my “main” or the leveling character that got the furthest ahead, up to level 63, thanks to the well-arranged but very meta-gamey post-Cataclysm quest hubs.

I got up to the first flying mount level, flew around for a bit, ended up in the… Outlands, is that what it’s called? The Burning Crusade content level range, which was still full of the oldschool BORING Fed-Ex Kill Ten Rats shit (except now it was more like kill 27 somethings, and there’s a good chance it won’t drop the entrails you want anyway, so it’s really kill 33 more)… and cracked.

Couldn’t take it anymore, and gave it up as a bad idea yet again and ended the sub.

To this day, the poor skeleton guy is still logged-off somewhere in that other dimension.

3) Which factors determined your faction choice in game?

Horde for life!

Um, I played orcs in the Warcraft RTS games?

Because there were far more interesting monster-like and ‘ugly’ races over Horde side than the boring pretty humanoid ones on the Alliance side?

And it didn’t really matter anyway because I just hopped to another server and rolled a Draenei and a Worgen to try them out, the only two races I had a real interest in on the other side.

4) What has been your most memorable moment in Warcraft and why?

Let’s see: it would either have to be the first breaking point where I nope’d right out of the last 5 hours of the beta.

Or it would be somewhere around that time where I went swimming to some island just off the Orc coast (I can’t even remember what class that Orc was), across the way from some NPC troll village and then accidentally died to a shark or something in the water.

I’d apparently crossed some zone boundary or other without knowing it, because I turned up as a ghost at the ‘nearest shrine’ and when I rezzed there because there was no fucking way I was going to retrace my footsteps all the way back to the frickin’ ocean, I was like level 15 in a level 30+ zone.

EVERYTHING was a deep deep purple.

Cue a whole series of deaths, where I was calculating my chances of dying in sequence trying to ‘shrine hop’ towards a zone where I would maybe stand a fighting chance?

Ended up eventually reaching a town / quest hub where I found a more-or-less affordable (ie. nearly everything my lowbie had earned via quest rewards so far) griffon ride taxi back to the “correct” zone for my level range, cursing under my breath about being penalized in monetary terms for exploring, instead of being a good orc peon and following the defined questing route like a carrot-seeking Achiever.

Or it would be the second breaking point where I stood in the middle of demon-infested lands and couldn’t repeat the same thing I’d been doing for the past 63 levels, just in less hidden, less streamlined and not-much-story form.

With memories like that, I suppose that explains why I don’t really play WoW.

5) What is your favourite aspect of the game and has this always been the case?

How smooth and slick the dang combat is, animations and all.

Yep.

It got someone not at all impressed with the foundations of WoW (vertical progression, bait-and-switch leveling to raid game, raid endgame) to play the game for a time, just to enjoy pew-pewing stuff for a while.

I bet they had a testing and iteration period where they really -nailed- the optimum time-to-kill for a normal mob to fall over and die, how many attacks it should take to feel right, and so on.

It works. It really does. It has this ridiculous addictive “just-one-more-mob” quality to it.

6) Do you have an area in game that you always return to?

Err… considering I can barely name any area in game, the answer has to be no.

Maybe Orgrimmar, if only because all my Horde characters end up funneled there in the “proper” course of things? An inn, because of rested XP?

7) How long have you /played and has that been continuous?

No clue.

In real life terms, maybe a month or two or three’s worth of sub time?

Not continuous, no. The longest was that two month stint casually leveling the skeleton archer, I mean, Undead Hunter.

8) Admit it: do you read quest text or not?

I tried.

Then I compared the quality of the couple of sentences to the longer elaborate sagas found in LOTRO, where I actually had a vested interest in the lore, and gave up doing it in WoW.

Easier to do like the Romans do, put on a Quest Helper mod, follow the shiny dots and arrow and play the game efficient OCD Achiever-style. It’s primarily the main playstyle that’s rewarded by ding after ding, after all.

9) Are there any regrets from your time in game?

Not personally, no.

I played what I wanted, experienced what I wanted, and stopped when I didn’t feel like playing any longer, no hard feelings.

I do kinda regret how this massive WoW giant etched into the collective gamer consciousness an “understanding” that THIS IS THE ONLY WAY THINGS SHOULD BE and that every MMO should feel and play like WoW.

But I’ve gotten over it and decided that with the passage of time, enough people will burn out of this phase to populate other games, and one may as well look at the silver lining and say that the WoW zeitgeist at least introduced a ton more people than would have otherwise got into MMOs or games to the basic concept.

10) What effects has Warcraft had on your life outside gaming?

Not very much?

Perhaps providing a vague frame of reference or conversation topic, where one actually meets another person in real life who admits to playing MMOs and then it turns out that they only blindly and faithfully play WoW, and then we end up exhausting that as a subject because it’s either I smile and nod politely while they tell me all about the next piece of gear they’ve gotten from a random roll (sorta like being accosted by that stereotypical someone who just wants to regale you with all the stories his last D&D character got up to, though that’s never really happened to me)…

…or they try to get me hooked “You should play too,” which then naturally segues into asking why I don’t, and them blinking with uncomprehending eyes while I bite down on the words ‘endless treadmill’ and ‘hamster wheel‘ and try to explain the difference between vertical and lateral progression options, and inclusive versus exclusive mindsets, and how clever game design can affect the way players behave in-game.

The conversation tends to stop after that.

Uh, yeah. Not much.

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2.5 Things City of Heroes Did Wrong

Ok, besides PvP. That's too easy a target. Here's the most amount of players in a CoH PvP zone ever. Attracted only by killing a dev in giant spider form.

As linked by J3w3l, Reports From the Field wrote a post on 7 Things They Felt City of Heroes Did Wrong.

Since I’m an idiot who can’t seem to figure out how their comments system works, and have a ton of CoH screenshots that are looking for an excuse to be shown off, I decided to do a blog post in reply instead.

I’m a little less picky.

I think they only got two or three things wrong.

Sadly, I think the biggest problem was a fundamental baked-in issue that the existing devs didn’t quite know how to solve.

Repetition

I’ll narrow this down further to non-varying spawn sizes in instanced tilesets that were reused over and over.

Because frankly, a lot of what we do in games is repetition, over and over, and we can still find repetition fun.

City of Heroes had no problems with replayability in terms of alts – the insane number of character slots, classes, powersets and customisation was unparalleled.

The main problem was that each alt had to level up by entering an endless set of corridors masquerading as missions, which were optimally filled by a spawn meant for an 8-person team, and every combat encounter pretty much looked like this:

2007-06-16 22:05:10

2 Bosses, a couple of Lts. and a whole bunch of minions.

Repeat encounter 14-40x depending on how many spawn points were set in that mission, and how big that map was.

Very soon, players figured out that the most efficient way to mow these things down was via AoE attacks.

To let AoE attacks hit as many as possible, get someone to group them up for you.

(Enter the ubiquitous AoE target limit – but still, hitting 10-16 is better than hitting one at a time. And cone attacks hit 5 but need them all neatly stacked up anyway.)

There were only two main ways to do this:

Option A) Herd to a Corner

A sturdy character, usually a tanker or a brute, or in a pinch a scrapper, would initiate, aggroing the spawn and dragging them all to a handy dandy nearby corner.

Once in position, everybody else opens up with whatever they’ve got.

Riffs on this include the more skilled defender or controller with debuffing options who could set up some debuff anchors, turning a nasty spawn’s alpha strike (ie. retarded AI’s initial response of firing a salvo of attacks at the first person to aggro them) into some wimps trying to beat you with feather pillows, which by default, makes anyone a sturdy person. Pull to corner as desired.

Option B) Corners, Schmorners, The Spawn is ALREADY Grouped Up

Well, it’s true, ain’t it? They spawn in a clump to begin with.

Tank runs into the center of the group, taunts by skill or combination of aggro generation powers. The group turns inward on the tank, voila, please be to kindly open up with pewpew now.

Riffs on this include those with control options – usually controllers, dominators or the odd defender who would just alpha strike the alpha strike with an “everybody freeze” power, nullifying the usual retaliation, and then the beating things up began.

There was rarely any tactical variety required, beyond the odd variation of dangerous target to be prioritized or controlled due to faction. Yes, Malta sappers suck. Literally. Draining all endurance from players tends to make powers crash and ineffectual. So hold ’em or kill ’em fast.

Others just tended to be annoying nuisances that took forever to kill. Carnival Master Illusionists summoned a bunch of annoying decoys, and phased out for 50% of the fight, making them a time-drain to even hit. Rikti Drones projected so much force field defence that you needed pretty high accuracy or to-hit to pierce through their shielding – but if you did have enough, they were pushovers.

But by and large, it was see clump of enemies, group clump of enemies, fireball (or insert choice flavor of attack here) clump of enemies. Debuff or control if you had the options to, and yes, everybody loves buffs, buff all the time plz thx bai!

AoE attacks, the best way to fry things.
AoE attacks, the best way to fry things.

Soloing, it tended to be even worse.

You were guaranteed three minions or one minion and one lieutenant. This was somehow scientifically determined by a lead game designer as the appropriate amount of challenge for any player or powerset.

Before long, you had your skill rotation down pat.

Repeat over and over as you carved your way through numerous spawns to the end of the mission.

Skip the mobs in favor of mission complete?

Well, you could… but the mobs were a big source of xp anyway. Would you prefer to go through 3 maps of unending spawns of enemies repeating the same skills in the same patterns, or would you prefer to race through 10+ maps ignoring all the enemies except that required for completing the mission to get the same amount of xp?

“……..”

Over time, I ended up street sweeping in order not to have to choose between either mindless option, forgoing the tasty mission complete xp in favor of actually feeling immersed into a world that had NPCs interacting with each other, spawns that varied in size and had to be approached differently, more space to move around and fly and tactically pick off enemies, and feeling like my actions actually had some impact on NPCs that needed rescuing or terrorizing depending on if I was playing a hero or a villain.

Not everyone was as motivated by immersion as I.

The achievement and rewards-driven folk eventually took things to their natural optimal efficiency point.

As Task Forces became more streamlined and rewarded better loot over regular missions, they became the go-to set of missions to run. As fast as possible. Gogogogo.

Imperious Task Force. Even the best TF can only be run so many times before getting old. Note endless spawns of Longbow in background.
Imperious Task Force. Even the best TF can only be run so many times before getting old. Note endless unvarying spawns of Longbow in background. (And yes, this is why one barely blinks an eye at particle effects in GW2. It’s a miracle we knew what all these things meant, with the powers customisation that allowed you to change the color of your powers.)

When Mission Architect released, of course the most popular missions would be the powerleveling xp farms with as many xp packages clumped together as possible, with the gimpiest powersets for doing the least damage to players possible.

farmmaps

And what did you do once you hit max level as fast as possible?

Either do it all over again with another alt, or go through the same set of missions at the end for… I dunno, kicks or something, or bitch and complain that there was nothing else to do and that the game was too repetitive and quit the game because you were done.

Each alt you went through, the chances were more likely that you’d eventually hit the more jaded last option at some point when you finally hit your repetition limit.

If only they could have varied the spawn sizes and positioning in each map more dynamically, I think it would have gone a LONG way towards ending the feeling of repetition.

But I suspect the mob distribution was sadly so baked-in that they couldn’t do anything about it without totally wrecking the game’s code.

The Incarnate System

Oh gods.

Words fail to convey my loathing for this system.

The solution the live team of CoH designers hit upon to prevent this burnout from repetition scenario from occuring was the ye olde raids system.

Vertical Progression. Ever Increasing Power at Max Level. Raids Involving Massed Numbers of Players. Forget Your Alts, You’ll Only Have Time to Build Up Phenomenal Levels of Cosmic Power on One or a Few Characters.

You know, City of Heroes launched at around the same time as World of Warcraft.

WHATEVER MADE THE DESIGNERS THINK THAT PLAYERS WHO CHOSE TO PLAY COH OVER WOW -=WANTED=- RAIDS?

Thanks, devs. I really wanted my game to look like WoW, raid frames, more UI than anything.
Thanks, devs. I really wanted my game to look like WoW, raid frames and more UI on my screen than anything else.

Wanted to be FORCED kicking and screaming into adopting and adapting to the system by virtue of exclusive loot/power that could ONLY be gotten by participating in this brand spanking new system that the designers were so proud of spending their time on?

Personally, I was attracted to the game initially because it didn’t have all of the above.

Because it had a nice friendly community that were inclusive and open to anyone teaming up with anyone, who even gave away scads of in-game money to newbies just to help them out and feel like a hero, a holy trinity flexible enough that no one had to wait around LF tank or LF healer unless they were really really picky, because I could make all the alts in my head that I wanted look and feel like how I wanted, because I had options to solo or group as I preferred.

When the game no longer felt like it was supporting this style of play and when all the brand new shiny content went a way I disliked (which has some lessons that GW2 might be well-advised to heed, given the histrionics I’ve been seeing in my comments from certain players who are perceiving the direction of the game changing in a way they dislike – though I still maintain one piece of content offering nonexclusive rewards is -different- from ALL the content in an update offering exclusive rewards that can be only obtained by playing a certain way…)

…I quit.

I canceled the sub I had been faithfully maintaining for six years, through a few minor burnout episodes that I knew would recover from taking a month or three’s break time, and quit supporting the game with cash.

I sat around watching the game lead their remaining players on from 2010 to 2012 from one piece of group content to another, grinding the same set of missions repetitively for incremental currency to build the next piece of ‘gear’ that would make their characters more powerful, and played another game instead.

Because my preferred playstyle had no viable options for obtaining the same reward.

Because the designers were so insecure in the fun level of their content that they felt they had to sneakily ‘encourage’ participation in their massed group content by making it the only non-absurd way to earn that level of power.

I only came back to check things out when the Dark Astoria zone released, making it -finally- viable for solo and small group players to start earning Incarnate levels of power.

And yeah, I chose to jump into a few raids then, because it was a -choice- on my part to see whether I found it fun (not really, beyond seeing what the fuss was about) and not because I had no other alternative.

Still, there’s a fundamental problem about vertical progression systems that only drag out the death knell.

You separate the playerbase.

You really do.

Those attracted by phenomenal levels of cosmic power and don’t mind clumping together into a group become one subset. Playing at a much higher level of power.

Why yes, I am an Incarnate. And I will take all of you Rikti on.
Why yes, I am an Inventions-kitted Incarnate. And I will take all of you Rikti on.

Those who ignore the content because they don’t like it and continue doing their own thing end up on an uneven playing field of merely ‘blue and green’ level of power compared to ‘purple and orange.’

How do you balance future content for these two different groups of players?

You don’t.

It becomes skewed to one group only.

Applying more and more pressure to the other group to conform and learn the stuff they’ve been ignoring, or they quit.

You better gamble that the group of players you’ve designed that content for is big enough to support your game via cold hard cash.

(Which is another interesting parallel to GW2 – though its fundamentals are different – exotics baseline, Ascended better, no more power increase or they’ll regret it – and the payment models are different. Who’s paying the most in either game? Casuals or hardcore, y’think?

Also, Wildstar is gambling that their hardcore base is big enough, and that their casuals will be content to be strung along with housing and some solo options.

WoW, you’d think, has managed to get by with producing endless series of tiered raids, though I do note that every expansion they keep changing things up, making things easier and easier to access and ‘catch up’, with different levels of difficulty to appeal to different groups, and generally playing a very good balancing act of continually laying treadmill track in front of their carrot-seeking audience.)

Loot / Inventions

The last factor is one I feel mixed about.

It could very well be that City of Heroes could have collapsed sooner without it.

Without loot, without Inventions, without something shiny to chase and look forward to building up and improving and giving room for theorycrafting of various intricate builds, we probably would have lost a great number of Achievement-oriented players who needed the shininess of a gear upgrade to wrap their minds around.

But catering for this group of players had some fundamental repercussions on how the community ‘feel’ changed over time.

In my opinion, a great deal of the friendly community aspect of City of Heroes was lost in the later years due to this focus on loot.

It used to be about fun. About kicking ass, taking names and looking good.
It used to be about fun. About kicking ass, taking names and looking good. Together.

Originally, City of Heroes was about getting together with a bunch of friends.

And everyone was a friend  and welcome on teams because everything scales up with more people, giving more xp rewards to everybody.

No one needed influence (in-game money) beyond those necessary for Single Origins, bought from vendors at a very cheap price compared to how much influence was being given out from missions. So level 50s had so much influence they didn’t know what to do with it, and ended up going back to Atlas Park and sugar-daddying newbies with it, running costume contests and lotteries and fun social stuff.

Once loot came in and an auction house, well, influence had value.

Better hoard it now. Some heroes we were, accumulating large wallet amounts that would then be spent on more upgrades for more power. We turned commercially-minded and mercantile.

Rikti Boss farm - earn large amount of tickets, buy loot.
Plus Mission Architect absurdity: Rikti Boss farm – earn large amount of tickets, buy loot. Yes, handy dandy NPC buffers standing by.

Let’s see, help a newbie or buy a Luck of the Gambler for more defence? We’ll take being godlike, thanks, the newbie can fend for itself. (Of course, not everyone did this, but by design, loot encourages selfishness and self-interest over selflessness.)

Suddenly it didn’t matter so much if the team was just having a good ol’ social time hobnobbing it up while fighting bad guys, but more about xp and loot earned/hour. Fast runs plz. We r wastin time. More missions complete, more chance for shiny loot drops.

And what was the loot for?

For making yourself powerful enough that you didn’t need a team to take on a spawn size set for 8 players.

Who needs a team when I have bots?
Who needs a team when I have obedient bots with better names?

Your ubercharged Inventions-kitted out player would feel free to run off and separate from the team and take on spawns by themselves. Why not? They weren’t punished by faceplanting. In fact, they were helping you clear the mission twice as fast!

They were soloing while ostensibly on a team.

(Which, eventually made teaming pointless to me, and drove me into soloing because I couldn’t stand associating with those players any longer.)

Eventually, an update sealed the deal by allowing any player to control the spawn sizes they wanted to fight by themselves.

Yes, this made farming easier.
Yes, this made farming easier.

And now, there was no more need for teams. Or for much of a community. Or getting to know your fellow player or bother to be nice to them.

Just set your spawn size to 8, and run your endless series of unvarying missions as quickly as possible to keep earning more influence and more loot drops and getting more powerful.

godlike

Farm it, in other words. Farm it to death and world’s end.

Or burnout from repetition.

Whichever came first.

GW2: Needs of the Many, Needs of the Few

Random picnic party

I’ve had some great reactions to my recent musings on raids.

Syl posted a nice response, and one of the things she mentions is what she misses most about raids – that sense of steady group progression with a well-oiled and well-groomed team that trusts each other implicitly. I can’t help but draw some parallels to a very tight knit WvW zerg busting guild (though the inclusiveness or exclusiveness of each guild differs by individual guild culture.)

Murf shared some of the things he enjoyed about raids as well.

I’m especially amused by some of the comments over by MMO Gypsy who automatically assume that I’ve never raided, and thus my opinion is invalid or *shrug* raiding is not for him, period.

Or was somehow spurned by an elitist raider once upon a time and thus carry an awful grudge against all raiders, lumping them together as evil elitists, boo hoo. Go cry somewhere else.

Ok, I’m exaggerating for effect, I don’t actually think any of you guys meant that, but I see similar simplistic comments carrying that essence of trolling on forum message boards all the time, probably due to the subject being endlessly debated back and forth.

And there were plenty of other reasonable rational responses, which we will try to touch on later, but ask yourselves, WHY did your mind immediately flow that way?

It’s due to what we understand ‘raids’ are, especially if we come from a World of Warcraft background.

It may surprise some of you that pretty much my only activity for the past three days in Guild Wars 2 has been camping out as part of a huge group of 100+ people on a map, listening in on a Teamspeak, occasionally wandering off AFK for the 1.5 hours between exciting fights (of a world boss raid attempt) or enjoying some of the social aspects if the crazies happen to be in the same group together.

In fact, I’ve chosen to do this non-profit activity over other more lucrative options – such as running around in a mindless Frostgorge champion zerg or participating in a marionette fight that caters more to players without sufficient time or the inclination for organization on a massive scale (that rewards a regular stream of silver/crafting materials/lucky drops and a less regular stream of blues/greens/yellows respectively.)

A little background:

The Triple Trouble jungle wurm in Bloodtide Coast is a new world boss in the Origins of Madness update that has been specifically designed for hardcore groups that are all about the organization and figuring out the strategy and tactics.

At the same time, the Living World content involves the Twisted Marionette boss fight that involves -some- coordination but not as much. It’s on a scale where random overflows might conceivably achieve full success, whereas the intensity and complexity of the jungle wurm fight pretty much requires hefty leadership and organization.

It’s provoked some hefty discussion over why these bosses exist in open world zones instead of private raid instances, given the level of intended coordination involved.

One subset of players are in favor of exclusion by private raid instance, where they can invite their friends and players they trust have the level of ability required to produce serious attempts on the raid bosses. It wastes less time for the lucky collective, and makes it easier to control the group and organize specialized builds and functions, since there is always the threat of outcasting. It produces less frustration for these players as they don’t have to endure interacting with others who don’t match their unique criteria of worth, whatever it may be.

On the other hand, we have the existing case of open world bosses, where people in the same Reddit discussion thread linked above are giving examples of how they organically stumbled onto an organized group attempt, met up with nice people, joined their Teamspeak and had their eyes opened as to how rewarding such ‘hardmode’ content can feel, as many raiders already know.

We also have the rare maniacal leader-types that love the “extra work” that comes with guiding others, improving team work and progressing together. For these treasures, there is an emotion called naches, where they take pride in the achievement of those they have so patiently grown and trained from the ground up.

On the NA servers, the founder of the TTS community, Ahlou, can deservedly indulge in this as he created something that had never been seen before. A server-agnostic collection of 11 guilds, dedicated to being inclusive and take down hard mode raid bosses in GW2. It has a waiting list hundreds of people long, only stalled out by the lack of leadership types that have stepped up and volunteered their time. We’re blessed as it is that a small council of 10+ leader types stepped up to support and grow Ahlou’s vision, with a minimum of ego and drama.

(I believe an equivalent TxS community exists on the Euro servers.)

The sad truth is, there is still unavoidable exclusion.

A map is hard capped at 100+ players. (I don’t know the exact number, but it’s around there.)

Exclusion is by a sort of lottery, whoever is first able to zone in to the maps where there is sufficient leadership to attempt the bosses get to do it. Those who can’t zone in, for whatever reason, are shit outta luck. Until the next time, anyhow.

It also favors those who have oodles of time to stand around waiting for the next spawn, even if it is an hour and a half away.

It favors those who are willing to make the effort to download a voice program and join a Teamspeak, if only to listen in to leader commands, as taxis are first offered by voice to those gathered in the channels.

It favors those who are ballsy and persistent, observant and determined enough to read guild member rosters and note down the names of leaders and those who commonly taxi into instances and pretty much blindly /join and wiggle their way into the instance, as long as checking on Teamspeak reveals that an attempt is going on.

It favors those who are dedicated and driven and -crazy- enough to sit around for an hour spamming right-click on a party member’s portrait, clicking “Join party member in X zone” repeatedly, for a chance of merely participating in non-guaranteed discovery attempts at the correct tactics and strategy, leading up to a potential world first. Loot is not at all guaranteed, but potential fame and glory.

It’s produced quite a number of indignant complaints from those who feel excluded, since they don’t have sufficient time for such madness, or can’t be arsed to go through all that kind of trouble for a non-100% chance at good loot.

You may be surprised, but after some thinking it over, I am more or less okay with this particular sort of exclusion in this particular set of circumstances.

Me, the champion of being philosophically inclusive.

I think, in the end, everything seems to be about tradeoffs. We exclude one group of people, at the cost of another group that don’t meet some set of criteria.

We endure mind-numbing wait time for the potential memories and social connections we build through people being bored out of their skulls.

Deathrifyerr Cobalt team synced /rank on an unsuspecting Crimson.
Deathrifyerr’s Cobalt team synced /rank on an unsuspecting Crimson.

But maybe only a hundred people (and probably less since a good percentage may be AFK) got to enjoy such socializing, compared to how many people playing Guild Wars 2 at any one time?

Is it fair to cater to the needs of the few as compared to the needs of the many?

Should we be concerned about being fair? Or making sure that there’s something for everyone?

In this particular case anyway, it’s probably a temporary state of affairs.

The TTS leaders (and probably a decent amount of its members) share and espouse a very similar sort of inclusive philosophy as I do.

The jungle wurm is in a “discovery of strategy” phase, not an “on farm” phase. There’s insufficient leadership to spread out to create multiple overflows, as was promptly done once an effective strategy to down Tequatl was found. Then information spread out and disseminated as experienced leaders and members felt confident enough to teach the strategy to others.

It’s most likely the case that the same will happen with the jungle wurm once some optimal strategies have been found. More space will open up. Anyone who wants to attempt the bosses will be invited and taught, as long as they open their mouths and ask, and even those who randomly stumble into the boss being taken down by the group will get a chance.

The danger, of course, is when designers tweak up the challenge to a level where only certain groups have sufficient stats or builds or reactions (or whatever form of player or character ability) and other groups simply don’t, regardless of how much teaching and training and information dissemination is done.

The automatic response of players optimizing for the best solution is, naturally, exclusion of players who don’t meet those criteria.

You may ask, why do I feel that this is such “a danger” given that I have accepted that -some- kind of exclusion is likely to happen, no matter what kind of raid variant is designed?

Well, part of it is naturally self-centered. I personally have a better shot of seeing raids completed in a TTS-style organization than your typical raid organization. They match my on-again, off-again type of scheduling. I like that I can just jump in when I have the time to one of the scheduled raids, and as long as there’s space in the overflow, I get a spot.

Whereas I would simply go nuts in a dedicated raid style organization. What? Perform the same role over and over? Prepare laboriously for days before the main event? Set an alarm clock to raid at a certain hour or let down the group of people that are counting on me? When real life interrupts, I can’t just sneak out of the raid and let someone else who desperately wants in get in? Do the same thing over and over for WEEKS and MONTHS?

I’m an explorer. I like the new and shiny. I’m crazy enough to enjoy the discovery aspect of developing a strategy. That’s why I’m camped out at the jungle wurm, giving up loot and gold earning time from all the other alternatives I could be doing. I KNOW I will get bored within three months once the thing is on farm. Like how I can’t endlessly show up in WvW night after night doing the same thing over and over. Fixed schedules and me don’t really mix well. They lead to obligation and obligation leads to erosion of fun, for me.

The other revelation I’ve had is that I’d personally much rather enjoy raids as a social club, not a competitive sports club. I don’t mind having the leeway for 30 to carry 10. Because after all, we are all good at different things. And there’s no chance to learn and improve if you aren’t allowed to keep practicing something for fear of wiping or letting down the team.

The other part of it is what I think it implies for the overall health of a game.

Closed raid communities become insular, deriding PUGs as part of a very human ‘us vs them’ tribal mentality. It becomes hard to penetrate into such social environments. Sure, the community is GREAT once you get in and stay in. But can your average newbie or person with irregular time schedules get a chance at it?

A more open and inclusive raid community allows for penetration. It makes room for those who just want to or have time to show up for one kill, just to say they did it or saw it or whatever. It makes room for those with irregular schedules. It still gives the crazy dedicated a chance to shine, especially by leading and organizing or just staying longer for insane amounts of time, at the cost of them occasionally having to put up with the company of those they consider ‘lesser’ than them.

It promotes a culture of positive behavior, of friendly encouragement to each other, cheering each other on, rather than a toxic mindset of blame and shame and only interacting with a special select group, reducing the occurrence of a negative hostile atmosphere that discourages new people from participating.

I’m not going to ask which game will have a larger population over time or be more successful.

Folks can point to World of Warcraft and Eve Online and demonstrate how they are thriving and doing great, despite the reputation of a toxic, hostile culture. Hell, for that matter, look at the success of League of Legends.

But -I- know which game I’d rather be playing and supporting.

Signing off,

Your neighborhood carebear furry blogger.

P.S. The last thing I sort of wanted to say regarding the needs of the many and the needs of the few.

I think there’s room in the MMO gamespace, and indeed in each MMO as multiple activity types, for many options and alternatives to cater to all sorts on whatever spectrum you draw up. Hardcore or casual. Time-plentiful or time-starved. Competitive or cooperative. Inclusive or exclusive. Hard difficulty or easy. Majority or minority.

But we need to stop assuming that what we have is all that will ever be.

That raids are THUS, as defined by World of Warcraft, or Everquest. (And I’m sure connoisseurs will tell you the differences between both games’ raids.)

That if you don’t like it, shut up and go to your solo leveling corner of the world, you antisocial excuse who should be playing a single-player game instead of whining.

Instead, we need to break down all the aspects of raids that we like, and all those we don’t like.

So that a creative team of developers out there can start taking a little of column A and a little from column B and glomming them together to give us new raids and new challenges that we haven’t seen, that cater to different groups of players.

Only then will we see progress and innovation and novelty.

GW2: Twilight Assault First Impressions

For a rusty Aetherblade base, it's really quite pretty...

I like it.

I really do.

I’m also rather torn because it’s set at a level that is distinctly -not- inclusive.

tassault

But let me backtrack, hopefully without too huge spoilers since it’s only the first day:

I like Twilight Assault for its design.

jungle

First off, it’s a lavishly big place, full of beautiful scenery and even a few vignettes where you encounter mobs that aren’t just standing around waiting to kill you.

thebath

There are even a few secret locations to be found.

swimming

I really enjoy that they step up the mechanics bit by bit. Something you learn how to do in the previous room, is used in the next encounter against a boss.

fierylandscape

And on and on, one foreshadowing another, until you reach the final boss, where pretty much everything you’ve learned previously can and may need to be applied.

The storytelling and pacing is excellent in this dungeon. There are some very enjoyable cutscenes, with faint hints of to-be-learned-later secrets.

itsaufo

And if/when you defeat the final boss, the ending cutscene builds in excitement and the whole thing launches into a bonus seqeuence rather reminiscent of the Molten Facility epilogue – except there’s a bit more meaning and additional optional challenge to this one.

The only thing I wonder about is: who am I going to do this with?

This dungeon challenges primarily your understanding of its mechanics and how well you execute the strategies your group devises, and it secondarily challenges your gear (somewhat.)

I’ve PUG’ed this twice – while the first did very well and was enjoyable (through umpteen wipes and one member quitting and being replaced), the second did not go so well and eventually decided to give up at the final boss (through umpteen wipes.)

The main difference between the first and the second is truly what I would term player “skill.”

How quickly each player learns the mechanics, how clearly they communicate this to the rest of the team, how each adapts and responds and changes gear or traits accordingly, how adeptly each player can move and dodge and manage aggro appropriately, and finally how well they work together and coordinate together, splitting up as necessary.

The most important thing in this dungeon that players must know is how to kite. Or lure. Or pull. Whatever terminology is being used. And detarget so as not to autoattack any mob to death anyplace they want at anytime they feel like.

Secondarily, it would be good if they knew how to recognize when it is appropriate to stack or corner pull and valid scenery locations for such, how to prioritize targets of major importance first rather than attack the first thing that target nearest hit, and how to get behind a mob to avoid frontal cone damage.

Oh, and not stand in red circles.

Almost by definition, a number of players that show up in a PUG will fail this criteria.

I do hope that they learn and that this dungeon teaches them. But I honestly don’t want to be the one attempting to teach them this for three hours every run while under fire.

This is a dungeon that does challenge your weakest link.

If your weakest link is busy autoattacking mobs that should not be killed, is off dying regularly and forcing people to stop and rez them, does not know how to recognize when it is their turn to lead a mob somewhere or indeed -how- to lead a mob somewhere in a timely fashion, there are going to be issues.

Significant ones.

I do hope that as time goes by, that people will learn, or at least through heavy natural selection, that the people choosing to attempt this dungeon will be the ones who can manage it more or less.

The good news is that if you get a decent group, the Living Story achievements can be completed in fairly short order.

I’m done with all of them, in fact, and have another backpack I don’t know what to do with. It’s a pretty neat-looking steampunk bronze and green thing, I just don’t have any characters with that color scheme.

This means the two week deadline is not going to be as stressful as certain other dungeon update fortnights.

However, the Twilight Assault dungeon achievements are a whole different kettle of fish.

I assume that they’re more or less permanent, along with the new path, and some may indeed take a while to accomplish. The key to some of the harder ones is probably a super-coordinated group.

And I do like that they’ve put the very desirable miniature as a guaranteed reward for completing them, rather than forcing a whole bunch of reruns that are never going to let you see a miniature firestorm or a monocle. *cough*

Days like this, one wishes one had a regular (and good) dungeon venturing party.

I suppose it’s back to a mix of guilded and random PUG lotteries for me.

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?