For the past two weeks of Tequatl Rising, I have been faithfully setting my alarm clock to 1-3 hours before server reset to get in on Sparkfly main and a Teq kill at the most popular time of the day.
Today, I hit the snooze button and rolled over in bed.
I jerked up, one hour past reset, and went “Damn, I must have missed it,” but logged on anyway.
You see, I went and joined TTS, the sprawling three, now four, guild powerhouse set up by a phenomenally dedicated leadership, expressly for the purposes of gathering individuals obsessive enough for regular “hard” mob takedowns, shortly after my angry rant of a couple days ago.
It was mostly as a backup for myself, as I was getting tired of showing up at 3-4am in order to get into TC main Sparkfly.
I figured, if the main instance was still hard-capping, then TC would not be short of bodies and thus very theoretically, it’s not an abandonment of the server community to pop into an overflow to get my Teq business done elsewhere.
(Of course, it’s still a brain drain in the sense that experienced players may be drifting elsewhere, and being replaced by latecomers to the fight who haven’t learned the hard way what to do yet.)
But the experience of an organized guild attempt is a heady allure when you’ve tried it once.
First off, less camping time. A leader has already generously sacrificed his time for you to find an empty overflow, and everybody in the guild just pulls everybody else into the same overflow. The wait is mostly for Tequatl to show up, not to reserve your spot in the main instance.
Secondly, a lot less individuals making “I give up” decisions and backing off to save themselves, thus lowering the chances of a successful kill.
TTS runs a ranged DPS squad, as opposed to the melee-centric focus of TC which is more reliant on heavies being built tanky and stabbing Teq between his toes. It produces a slower start, but diminishes the possibility that 80% of the zerg flips over and dies to one or two shockwaves, having already been footstomped and poisoned by being in melee range while he’s unstunned.
There have been a kill or two that I was present for where Teq came early, surprising everyone and catching more than a few people AFK.
Turrets have been overrun, manic screaming has erupted over Teamspeak with a few choice reports on the numbers standing by that are AFK, but the big difference is that fewer people stand by the sidelines wasting good combat time typing long imprecations into mapchat. People act. Of their own accord, some respond to the turrets, some staunchly maintain dps on Teq.
And more importantly, people keep the faith. Teq WILL go down.
All we have to do is Maximum Burn during his stun phase. Go all out. Pop everything.
After the first megalaser phase is painfully struggled to and defended, what seems like the entire map with TTS tags surge right at Tequatl, with a cohort of fire elementals and other things besides. The DPS output is often insane, and once or twice has surged right into the next laser phase without Teq having a chance to recover. If not, it gets almost all the way there.
Lost time is caught up on. And everyone gets that Teq kill in the end.
Except… when he doesn’t choose to show up.
Imagine my surprise when I logged on one hour late, thinking to catch the second TTS kill of the evening for my random lottery ticket at a miniature, and hear on every channel that Tequatl is LATE.
People have been waiting for Teq for 2 hours already by the time I showed up.
Four overflows have been filled by the ever-expanding TTS.
I don’t even try to get into main TC Sparkfly, because it’s usually hard-capped by this time too, A glance down both my guild rosters suggests the regular Teq killers are already inside and waiting.
Some patient “Join in Sparkfly” spamming manages to wiggle me into a TTS overflow as other people give up and move on to other things, like getting dailies and monthlies done.
We wait for one more hour.
People are debating if the new monthly reset broke Tequatl. Or boss week expiring did. Or preparations for the next patch. Or if he went back to his three hour timer rather than the accelerated pace of the last Living Story.
Posts are made on the Guild Wars 2 forums and Reddit, wondering if any Anet employee can give an answer or at least some kind of response.
Everything echoes into an empty void.
This is a huge stressful test for the TTS leadership as they have over 400 people waiting in four overflows. Through certain backchannels, they receive unofficial “official word” that Teq not showing up is possibly a technical problem which is not likely to be solved within the next couple hours. They very professionally keep their source anonymous to respect that person’s privacy and minimize any corporate fallout on that person’s behalf, but use that to make the hard decision to call it for the night and cancel the raids.
I really feel for those on normal server instances who have been just waiting there forever, constantly refreshing the GW2 forums or twitter or facebook or reddit to see if there’s any word.
8 hours later, there is still dead silence from ArenaNet.
At least they have the courtesy not to delete or moderate any threads whatsoever in the meantime. I suppose everyone is keeping their heads down pretending to not be home.
You know what this is?
This is a COLOSSAL COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT FAILURE.
Apparently after all the sound and fury of the Super Adventure Box and the Josh Foreman saga, all Anet staff may have been given a stern warning to keep their mouth shut and heads down and let PR and community management deal with this sort of thing and let them vet all dev responses before posting online or some other corporate nonsense.
Where is our official response?
It’s not the first time stuff has broken before a patch. People can handle that. Just let us fucking know.
We also understand that this stuff happened -after- working hours, and that it’s not really an emergency of such proportions that you need to call back staff to work overtime to respond to.
Are you telling us that even your community management works 9 to 5 hours and that no one is in the office monitoring for problems?
What I find most incomprehensible is why somebody cannot send each other a few SMSes or emails after hours to check on things, and then drop a SHORT TWITTER note to acknowledge the issue and that “we are looking into it.”
Make some vague noises. Have your morning meeting discussing the whole issue later. JUST ACKNOWLEDGE that something is up.
Someone has dropped an epic communication ball here.
And they’ve dropped it on the hardest of the hardcore, those players stupid enough to wait for three or more hours to maybe get a kill on a big boss mob for very maybe a chance at something nifty.
Maybe they think these hardcore folks will suck it up and keep playing the game anyway.
We probably will. We’re goddamn stupid like that.
But if they think they can bury their heads in the sand without someone making -some- noise on the Internet and hope it washes over, well, here’s little old me blowing a whistle in my corner here.
It may just die down with nary a sound regardless, but let me officially state here that I much preferred the communication of old where ArenaNet was flexible and responsive and on the ball.
Please keep improving on this, because it’s not a good sign otherwise.
P.S. This is why fixed scheduled timings are a lot better than a random interval where people have no clue when something is happening and has to wait for. It’s the Lost Shores Part 2 all over again…