GW2: Wot I Think About Raids, Now That The First is Here

Two days later, the jury’s still out on my personal reaction to raids.

Things I Like:

  • It’s new content. It’s a puzzle to be solved. It challenges a player to get better in multiple ways.

Folks are doing a lot of thinking right now. Thinking about how to use the existing flexible and exciting GW2 combat system to solve new problems. What builds to use, what gear or traits would help X situation, and so on. It demands a fair amount of practice at reaction response time and situational awareness as well.

This learning and improving is core ‘hard fun’ gameplay, so to speak, in contrast to the multitudes of ‘easy fun’ grind already available.

  • This group learning aspect is an interesting theoretical challenge for me personally.

By nature, I am very much a loner. It has not slipped my attention that in real life, in the workplace for example, many people are much more social and prefer to work in groups as a team. That even schools and universities are starting to wise up to this and encouraging teamwork and group learning as a matter of course, to prepare students for ‘the real world.’

John Seely Brown says he’d rather hire a high level World of Warcraft player (preferably a guild master) than a Harvard MBA. Why? Because if you can herd cats to do raids and lead a guild of hundreds, you’ve probably demonstrated remarkable leadership and collaborative skills, not to mention probably have good organizational and social competencies to boot.

(I presume this assumes you’re the head of a mature and respectful kind of long-lasting guild or other organized community, rather than the many that collapse from guild drama or the internet fuckwad type.)

On a personal level, I’m more interested in the small stuff. The ways I can sneakily (okay, “diplomatically”) influence others and change their behaviour without directly putting someone on the spot. Observing how small groups function, make decisions and learn. Things that will transfer over to real life and improve my skill set, pretty much.

As a strong introvert, I’m never going to feel super-happy-bouncy energized in groups, but we have to learn how to mask and get by in some situations that demand teamwork or relating in a social manner to other people.

(As long as I can still snatch some time to be alone and have my peaceful introspective recharge breaks, I guess it’s an ok compromise.)

  • The current rewards seem reasonable. Both motivating, yet not -too- motivating to the point of feeling forced. They make sense.

I’m going by what is currently advertised on Reddit as the reward vendor. Seems like there will be RNG drops of Ascended chests for some lucky people, and less lucky individuals can still earn tokens towards said Ascended chests over time.

Given that the eventual plan is for the final boss to be defeated by everybody decked out in Ascended gear, it is only sensible to make the earlier raid bosses a way to get said Ascended gear in all the different desirable stat varieties possible.

For folks who don’t even want to go near raids, they can still craft Ascended gear at higher cost, so there’s an alternate option and it’s not forcing anybody to do something they don’t like.

At the moment, non-raiding people will miss out on (apparently) some unique skin drops and minis of the raid bosses. Which imo, makes sense and is perfectly reasonable. It is still a way for raiders to show off what they have accomplished (between their titles, skins, minis, etc.) but nothing that skews the stat or gear curve.

What really worries me is the Legendary Armor aspect. If raids are the only way to get a component of this, it’s a form of gating and forcing that we’re better off avoiding, imo.

One might argue that Legendary Weapons require things like world completion and ‘forcing’ into WvW or PvP or dungeons, and Mawdrey requires stepping into Fractals, which I’d grant you in part that the stepping in portion is unavoidable and even desirable (to persuade someone to have a taste and/or show that they’re broad enough to have experienced different aspects of the game), but my point is that earning sufficient currency for those activities is not that hard in difficulty or restrictively time-consuming. Raids, on the other hand…

Of course, if you make Legendary Armor or the required raid component non-account bound and tradeable, then all my criticisms go out the window because there’s an alternate path of spending phenomenal amounts of gold while making raiders incredibly wealthy in the process (mutual win-win), but given the recent trend, it’s like everything is getting account-bound these days.

So yeah… we’ll see. For now, the rewards feel fair.

As much as ArenaNet loves to take time to repeat over and over praise for the generally well-behaved and higher maturity level of the GW2 community (ie. what is praised is demonstrated more often), I also have to suggest the reverse side of that is a few hard-hitting public examples of what-not-to-do.

We’ve seen it with Dhuum bannings in GW1; Chris Cleary being the GW2 equivalent of sometimes overenthusiastic doom. In GM/dev comments on Reddit threads and forums where some account-banned beggar is clearly shown the door by publically displaying the egregiousness of the verbal abuse torrent they unleashed, the obnoxious racism of the name they chose, how many accounts they were using at one time or whatever else exploit they were up to when their time of judgment arrived.

Sadly, an entire community caught some serious tar-and-feathering from the ill-considered actions of probably just a few, but it’s still an object lesson in the kind of behaviour ArenaNet would prefer to promote and the kind that Anet punishes.

Let’s hope the future direction and tone is set properly this time, so that we don’t end up down the elitism “u salty, bro?” slippery slope too quickly.

(I’m not sure it actually is possible to have a non-toxic raid community… it kinda sounds like the dream of a non-toxic MOBA or PvP community… maybe the people attracted to that style of gameplay just have personalities that skew that way, but maybe, just maybe, a good part of it is cultural and can be addressed with both support from the often silent majority and the authorities.)

Things I Dislike:

  • There’s definitely more interest in trying out raids than there are willing leaders to organize.

For map metas and WvW, you can end up with a many to one ratio of followers to leaders and everyone’s happy. For ten-man raids, you end up with a bunch of excess followers standing by on the playground hoping to be picked.

(Why we went backwards to a set limit when Anet is supposedly the king of dynamically level-scaling challenges and flex raids are a thing even in WoW is beyond me.)

Exclusion can be real and let’s just say some leaders are better than others at letting people down, while others don’t give a damn and are happy to fling elitist min-max rhetoric around.

Surprisingly at the moment I am not finding this as frustrating as I might have thought – I think it is a combination of there not being any MUST-HAVE-NOW-BLATANTLY-BETTER-THAN-EVERYTHING-ELSE rewards locked behind raids (not sure how this might change once we see Legendary armor requirements), a long term mindset (I am assuming that a month later, strategies will be locked down to the point where you could probably copycat a publicized build and PUG it if sufficiently motivated, or at least organize a guild group around it) and the consolation prize that there are a shit ton of collections and things-to-do for legendary weapons that are also going to take a humongous amount of time/effort and can be done solo.

Eventually it may start to bug me, especially if raids start to be held up as the be-all and end-all of everything (something I made a point of avoiding in all my MMOs – I’m ok if raiders are seen as slightly mad pariahs, akin to those that made a regular habit of Triple Trouble, or the dungeon community, or the hardcore WvW guilds, etc. but I sure hope it’s not going to be all raids all the time next year – a 6 monthly schedule release, maybe, punctuating actual Living World/Story movement as a side seasonal activity sounds nice, 3-4 months at the soonest.)

Right now though my squirrel attention has essentially shattered trying to already balance the idea of daily fractals for a legendary backpack, legendary precursor collections and HoT-related achievements, let alone worry or sulk about being left behind raid-wise.

(I’m already behind! Everywhere! Aaaaaah! So is everybbbbody else! Time spent doing one thing is time spent not doing another thing! Panic! Breach! Broken! Falling! Screaming! Dying! *AHHHH*)

  • The perennial lack of tanks and healers

But wait, GW2 protests, we are not like other MMOs! We have made sure any class can tank or heal (aka be bunkery and survivable and hold aggro by manipulating toughness and having crowd control options, or be all supporty and healy)…

…Well, for one, many people don’t want to be in such a position of responsibility. Kinda like leadership. So there’s an inherent imbalanced ratio and shortage to begin with.

And right now, for another, it is both so tedious and costly to switch stats, traits, build and have multiple sets of armor and weapons and trinkets for different functions, without even build saving/loading. My inventory bags are bursting, ascended stuff costs money and the meta is in flux, so one would currently be gambling on experimental builds.

I’ll grant that this might alleviate after some time, when people have had time to adapt to the changes and decide if they like one particular role more than another, when progress is such that even failed raids are earning raid tokens for Ascended gear, when some tank or heal builds have been publicized, and so on. But for now, it’s still mildly annoying.

(WTB build saver/switcher like in PvP pls. I will spend money -in-game and real world – unlocking all the things for more options and flexibility. I just don’t want them in my bags anymore.)

  • Watching people do eyebrow raising things because they’re operating on a different schema as opposed to others, and being unsure which strategy is better / makes more sense

I’ve only joined two raid attempts so far (which I’d define as semi-PUG, being essentially comprised of guilded randoms just going in to give it a try in a nonserious nonhardcore way, aka no min-maxing class cherry picking or uber meta strategy in mind) and already I am 50% of the way to seriously considering if it’s worth the money/effort/time trying to find the right class and build and learn how to play a semi self-sufficient tank with heals.

Mostly because I keep resisting the urge to vomit blood every time someone who has the aggro decides to drag the boss into the group stacking on the circle because “OOOH, CIRCLE, MUST STACK TO PREVENT RAID WIPING DAMAGE” and now the group has to deal with a frontal cleave from the boss as well as the distributed damage from the attack.

I am currently geared as a viper/sinister guardian (after a mad scramble over a few days pre-raid launch to invest in an Ascended condi set for greater role flexibility – coincidentally, DnT’s Obal released a condi guide to the burn guardian while I was midway through this process . I was both gratified to see that my self-selected choices mostly matched up and rather relieved, because now I had a backup opinion to point to in case anyone laughed at the thought of a condi guardian.

By the way, it’s pretty sick damage. I paid 20 gold for Viper and Sinister amulets in PvP *grumble goldsink grumble* to prototype before the PvE investment, and I couldn’t believe I was ticking for 7-9k burn damage on multiple golems while still flailing around for decent direct damage with a greatsword.)

The thing about choosing to stat like this is that I have zero toughness or vitality and guardian hp is low to begin with. My health pool acts like a mine canary. It is super-sensitive to anything, anything going a little wrong.

I see the boss charging directly at me and I am liable to panic, because a 5k hp frontal cleaving Punch from him means I am literally half dead at 11k hp. Add on the possibility of absorbing 2-3k damage from the Distributed Magic mechanic from standing in the circle, and I end up scrambling around either praying that I catch an AoE heal from a happy druid healer or using up my own big self-heal. If a red seeker comes in, and doesn’t get pushed back, the aura damage from it means I go down. No two ways about it.

My first raid attempt had a mix of 3 people who all sorta kinda wanted to tank and had high toughness, who were spinning the boss dizzingly back and forth between them, leading to a fair amount of difficulty trying to avoid the boss for everybody else. Add on one particular tank who seemed determined to get in the circle dragging the boss behind him (because apparently “the lightning strike hurts the boss” was the schema he was operating from) and this was more than a bit of a disaster until we managed to coax him to stay out of it.

In my second attempt, I’d done a bit more thinking beforehand and decided that I could take on a bit more personal responsibility making sure that I don’t get killed in the circle, irregardless of a tank determined to pile on in there. So I gave up my greatsword and put on a shield, which provides a nice little shield bubble that knocks away seekers and can pulse a small heal. Except it has a cooldown and I can only do that every second circle or so.

So I came up with the alternate strategy of choosing to NOT get in the circle when I don’t have my shield cooldown and I’m either far away or low on health and I already see 7-8 people piling in and the boss going after them, since you only need 4 in there. No doubt, I now look like the odd moron out, missing circle cues.

(I’m thinking mace/shield for my third attempt to see if I can get a bit more pulsed healing that way. A coordinated water field with blasts would be so so nice though, or just designated slightly sturdier circle runners, but I don’t think the raids I’m getting in have quite gotten up to that level yet.)

Alternately, it is also somewhat tempting to find the right build and gear and volunteer to tank, so that I can see if it is humanly possible to execute such a basic tanky concept as “oh, face the boss away from the main group most of the time?” (I am so so broke though.)

It was somewhat gratifying that after a seemingly eternity of the boss deciding to go after the admittedly very good druid healer (who was inexplicably high toughness for some reason) and who insisted on getting into the circle (presumably to save everybody else’s squishy asses) in my second raid attempt, a revenant said he could spin up to higher toughness than the druid and volunteered to take the aggro, whereupon he did a very presentable job running the boss in a small predictable circle and all I had to do as a mostly ranged damage dealer was sit in the center of the circle and spin around to deal consistent damage.

(Possibly much to the aggravation of the melee damage dealers, because they seemed intent on trying to catch up with the boss on his merry go around, but they didn’t say anything. Maybe they appreciated the predictableness too. Who knows.)

Equally alternatively, I could possibly avoid some of the getting sidelong damaged aggravation by choosing to gear more conservatively with toughness and/or vitality, except then there is the worry about being able to meet the demands of the enrage timer later down the road.

Or I could bring another class to the raid. Which is another min-max strategy that no doubt many players will choose to use later down the road, only taking the ‘best’ and most optimal classes, rather than viable but not optimal can-dos.

So, mismatching schemas all busy hashing it out. “Fun.” *sigh*

  • The regularity of needing a set group and the time commitment required to progress within a reasonable timeframe (meaning by the time the next raid comes out) / “I have to do HOW MUCH of this to get the reward I want?”

I’m really not getting any younger. Real life has a knack of getting in the way eventually. I can probably pull off 1-3 months of being consistently hardcore (hey, some people don’t even stick with one game that long) and it’s hard to foresee things from there. It’s certainly impossible to match the free time of a college student.

And I seriously dread ArenaNet deciding to place the time yardstick too high for whatever raid requirement is needed for Legendary Armor – look at the Yakslapper title for a ridiculously calculated goal, only took 3 years to eventually change it.

(Really though, what’s functionally appealing about Legendary Armor is the flexibility of stat swapping. Though we will still have the problem of runes then. If that is recreated elsewhere by having to buy and save 12 sets of Ascended armor without taking up bank/bag space, I’d be okay with that, astronomical cost and all! Legendary armor as prestigiously shiny skin is still motivating for many people.)

The general uncertainty is a drag.

Right now I have no certain answers along this front, so my overall opinion about raids in GW2 is still relatively unformed. Too early to say “yea” or “nay.”

GW2: Fractals of Silence and Skill (Or Lack Thereof)

FoOoooO, quaggan is gift-wrapped!

I’m hoping to mark the end of my fractal journey for the time being by this week or the next.

At the start of September, I was fractal level 25ish with 26 AR (after goodness knows how many years) and not terribly motivated to go any further.

Eh, some gold, some fractal relics, lots of blues and greens, the odd yellow or orange, pretty much everything to be salvaged since most of the stats that turn up in fractals – Magi, Cavalier, Soldier – are odd, to say the least. Plus Ascended rings that take up slot space (I am constitutionally incapable of throwing -anything- away in an MMO) and the rare rare chance that something pretty might drop.

Oh, and the same content ad nauseam, alongside questionable PUGs – since I lack that mythical beast known as a stable, organized group within my timezone who can deal with my schedule (or lack of it.)

For the hell of it, in a similar vein to my self-imposed “collect all the Scientific skins” challenge, I decided to try to get to fractals 50 before the expansion hit, with its vaunted fractals revamp that would both make the leveling curve easier and slope it upward ever higher to 100.

After all, it is both satisfying to be able to say “been there, done that” as well as be among that rare opposite breed of player who can play the so-called ‘most difficult’ content in GW2 and yet not be an eager raid fanatic.

We’re a few days away from the end of September now, and I’m officially at fractal level 45 tonight.

It’s a little bit trickier to rise further in levels via LFG PUG, given the number of highly aggravating mistlock instabilities that make it daunting to open an instance at one’s current level.

Essentially, I’m sitting around waiting on the largesse of someone else who has already reached fractal level 50 to start their group and jump in… assuming they haven’t already hit their quota of PS warriors and are busily demanding eles and guardians, or conversely, in a more haphazardly not-at-all meta compliant group, hoping that the party won’t give up and fragment from one or two players just up and quitting the group one fractal in, because they didn’t like the chaos/inexperience on display or took umbrage at the ranger or necro in the party or something.

In any case, it’s been an eye-opening experience.

If there’s two things I’ve learned from my fractal journey, it’s these:

  1. Other people are not super-skillful gods of competency. There’s no need to be deathly afraid of them, or conversely, looking like a right idiot in front of them.
  2. I am not a super-skillful god of competency. There is always more I can be learning and improving on incrementally, as long as I keep an open mind, stay observant as to what’s still lacking, and am patient with myself.

Where 1) is concerned, I’ve feel like I’ve seen it all at this point.

I’ve seen people fall off the Uncategorized fractal simply from mistimed jumps, not a harpy knockback; fail miserably at running wisps in the Swamp (guilty); get smashed by Jade Maw tentacles or fall over consistently from failing to pick up crystals; completely fail at either kiting Mai Trin or managing the cannon phase without panicking like a headless chicken; mess up on really idealistic plans to output sufficient dps to take down Molten Berserker, Grawl Shaman or Subject Six in one go; splatter all over the Thaumanova fractal trying to manage the heat room or shield room; totally screw up the dredge fractal buttons or kiting the last boss from lack of communication, unsoweiter.

What might rather surprise those who haven’t been there is the capacity of practically all of these groups to pick themselves up (even if they have to peel themselves off the floor multiple times after a total party wipe or log out to repair and return) and -eventually- complete the fractal.

The only kind of fractal group I’ve seen fail is the kind where one person gives up and leaves in silence, followed by one or two more… at which point I’m left staring at one or two more people left in my party and think “fuck it, I don’t want to organize this” and leave wordlessly as well.

That’s generally a failure to communicate, pretty much.

It seems to be the oddly damning sin of most PUGs – silence.

Everybody barely says anything and just kinda hopes that everyone knows what they’re doing. If carnage results, then a slightly better group will start to produce one sentence communication, and a bad group just ups and disappears right there.

On this front, the higher level fractal produces better odds that more people generally know what they’re doing, more or less, though there are a few difficult encounters that can start to reveal flaws in that assumption – most memorably in the Snowblind fractal, where certain groups end up throwing one’s bodies over and over at the elemental source while total party wiping the instant someone accidentally aggros one too many ice elementals while 40-60% of the group either doesn’t know what to do about them or decides they will keep pewpewing the elemental source instead.

Granted, the way that encounter is set up, it becomes almost quite impossible to have a lengthy discussion because you’re either getting chill debuffed, chased by really nasty Svanir, constantly knocked down by the elemental source once you run out of stability, struggling to light the fire before the debuff kills everybody, desperately trying to roll out of one-hit KO ice elemental shards, and so on.

(Yes, there are a few safe zones where one can stand in the fire’s warmth and not aggro anything and swap skills, but really, if your team lacks teamwork and communication to begin with, d’ya really think they can manage that?)

Compare and contrast this with the fractal level 10 I attempted one day, mostly in the hopes of getting a quick daily speedily done, where it became rather obvious that the somewhat cute and somewhat pathetic guardian in our party, who only had 740+ AP, was an inexperienced newbie with no AR worth speaking of.

Not merely because he kept falling off every last Cliffside obstacle – entirely likely that he’d never seen the wind blowing statues or the little exploding knockback thingmajigs before – but also due to his tendency to instantly melt in 4-5 ticks when an agony pulse hit while the other four people remained upright and untouched.

He said nothing about being new, or indeed, anything at all, possibly due to the fear of being kicked for his inexperience or noobness.

It did, however, leave me feeling somewhat uncomfortable and uncertain how best to help.

The group kind of just “selfishly” ran to each stage of the fractal and sat there waiting for the straggler(s) to catch up, though the two who seemed to have the most clue (ie. me and another person, probably the one who started the party) took care/charge of the hammer and we did, more or less, wait for the guy to finally catch up before progressing on to the next stage.

Everything in silence.

Granted, it is hard to know just -how- to help. It’s not like I could portal him past anything, he has to press keys in the proper sequence and timing in order to get past the obstacle, the only thing I could do is either give him swiftness or cure his conditions (not useful in this situation) and/or advise him to take his time getting the timing down and/or suggest swapping in a skill with stability.

As for the AR problem, well, it’s blatantly an artificial stat barrier meant to produce vertical progression grind (one reason why I never bothered much with fractals before this either.)

With something as ‘meta’ as this, it’s really hard to know just what to say or do. It ultimately boils down on each player to have done their research beforehand, figured out just exactly how much AR they need before stepping into the ‘correct’ level fractal, which is, objectively a -weird- expectation that a player would have scrutinized the wiki and/or stepped into the fractal portal to have this all explained to them via NPC beforehand… especially when you think the first way a player is likely to encounter the fractals is via a LFG party, especially when a daily tells them to do a level 1-10 fractal. (Granted, the guy was optimistic jumping straight away into level 10.)

Anyhow, the discomfort was mostly mitigated by the fact that fractals 10 is really quite easy, so we just brute forced our way through most of it and ‘carried’ the slightly more clueless individuals through. Only way they’ll learn in the end, via experiencing it, right?

Which segues me to point 2), in that as the fractal levels rise, the failure of others to ‘carry’ me, or cover for my own lack of mastery, has essentially forced me into getting better.

(Mostly through encountering a really disastrous situation, and post-fractal, asking myself what I could have done to not contribute to that.)

After sneaking by many many fractals without really learning the jumps in the Swamp by either not running the wisp. or helping only with the closest ones and brute-forcing most of them, somewhere in the 30s, I decided it was time to solo roll a Swamp fractal and practice some of the wisp runs under the tutelage of ample referencing of gw2dungeons.net.

I’m happy to report that I can actually take on the spider one now without triggering a million baby spiders (by virtue of *duh* jumping on the rocks without eggs nearby) and can deal with all the near ones with full confidence, having memorized a reliable jump path that will work even if the nearest gates are closed.

(Previously, one just used to run and pray that one got lucky.)

The far ones are still tricky, mostly due to my continual inability to distinguish traps from ground (bulky charr is bulky and clumsy) and tendency to run right into the mossman or fail the jumps, but well, there’s always room for more practice later.

I’ve at least memorized the far northwestern one, whose path seems somewhat easy and clear cut, even if my practical implementation leaves something to be desired in between trying to dodge one-hit-kill skelk, traps and getting tangled in-combat and failing jumps as a result.

The one real take-home from actually attempting some of these runs is that I’ve realized it behooves me – if not actually running – to amble on by to support the person running far with swiftness and condition clears and so on, rather than sit like a lump of lard at the logs and hope for others to magically reach the stumps with the wisps without my help.

Ditto the heat room in the Thaumanova fractal. Most of the time, someone much better practiced at it volunteers to take it on and I see neither sight nor sound of the encounter.

In one particularly memorable fractal group, it turned out that -none- of us knew how to do the heat room very well at all. Since it was an over-40s group, doing it was compulsory.

Rather fortunately, I had previously scanned through that fractal on gw2dungeons.net to learn a few tips for just how it might be possible for my class to manage it (not to mention, what the hell it was all about and how the mechanisms worked) and suggested to the group that we may as well collect and use all the cooling rods first, before attempting it as the final thing.

This was done, and all of us had ample time and opportunity to actually -practice- the room (for once) since the whole group decided to throw themselves at it in the hopes that -somebody- would make it.

After my share of failed theory and implementation, I eventually hit on a personal working combination of stacking swiftness through warhorn and banner, Bull’s Rush (thank you, gw2dungeons.net), Rampage’s number 3 rush, falling over and hitting 4 to regain a bit of health while waiting for vengeance 3, hitting that and powering through the rest of the way, amidst double dodging, spamming 1 and generally cursing Asian latency when it comes to needing to physically spam a button.

While I’m still not going to be the first to volunteer to solo that darned room, I no longer feel completely helpless regarding it. If no one else can do it better, I can at least give it a shot and probably get by.

If anything, I think my fractals journey has suggested that it’s unrealistic to get uptight about ‘the perfect run.’

Is it nice if it happens? Yes. I’ve had super-smooth runs where everyone knows how to use ice bows and strips defiance for near absolutely frozen statues, the dps is phenomenal, and the whole fractals sequence is over in 40 minutes or thereabouts. Countable on one hand though.

I’ve had just as many runs or more where mistakes happen, people screw up somewhere, and no one says anything, just picks people up or peels themselves off the floor, and the team completes regardless.

And I’ve had the odd completely baffling run when there are 3 elementalists and myself in the party and we can only reach about 15 might stacks maximum because not a single elementalist even lays out a fire field for me to blast or use a banner in, let alone appears to know how to stack blasts for might… or conjures an ice bow, and I’m *cough* guiltily not strictly 100% meta compliant either because *cough* have you SEEN the price of those runes of Strength, and was using the then-cheap Pack runes as a not-great substitute… except now they’re not exactly cheap either, leaving me at an impasse where runes are concerned. To leave in or replace? (WHEN OH WHEN CAN WE SWAP RUNES LIKE IN PVP, SHEESH.)

Still completed, despite me being disturbed to the point of re-scrutinizing my runes to figure out what was going on, and having a serious rethink re: whether I really should put in Strength runes some day and/or reviewing my food choices to see if something else can make up for that. The thought of using up food worth 40-100+ silver per PUG run is somewhat cringe-worthy though. (I think, where I’m concerned, there are practical limits beyond the holy grail of theoretical optimisation some folks say we should be seeking.)

I think I’ve learned that the unpredictability of a fractals run can be fairly interesting and enjoyable, if looked upon with an open mindset, and preferably more staggered out to every few days or once a week after this mad rush to 50 ends.

I’ve come to the realization that many many people running fractals are absolutely where I am – still in the process of learning to get better – and so there is very little reason to feel inferior or afraid – what’s the worst that can happen, really? The party disintegrates or you get kicked by some strangers whom you’ll never see again. A bit of time wasted. Group up with the next band of strangers that comes along and have a fresh start. Try not to repeat the same mistakes of the past.

Eventually, progress gets made.

I don’t know, I find it quite hard to wrap my mind around this associated concept of “prestige” and “showing off one’s skill in an arrogant manner” that some people relate to ‘difficult content.’

My interpretation of most skillful performances tends to be that heaps of patience and lots of practice went on behind the scenes, and what we see on display is persistence finally paying off.

If anything, I should think going through the difficult learning and mastery process would make one more humble.

Imo, the loudest braggarts, quick to find fault with others, are often not the most skilled.