GW2: Love/Hate Song for a Dragon (NBI Poetry Slam)

Tequatl and I have a very complex relationship going on...

teq-splode

Shall I compare thee to a sunless day?
Tequatl, the Undying, Zhaitan’s knight
the scourge of countless nations, Sparkfly’s blight
Thy bulk shrouds sky amidst desolate bay
by turret and megalaser array
we bide our time and wait for thee, packed tight
Dull hours pass, the throng endures despite
Hark! There’s something in the water, they say!

teq-waiting

Players rouse themselves and charge, Teq stuns thrice
stumbles, goes down, the hordes do rush the chest
Hopeful, for good things come to those who wait
Mass disappointment reigns, still nothing nice
Just greens and blues, as most folks can attest
Each time, the more my love doth turn to hate

shatteredspikes

Shall I compare thee to a starless night?
Oh Taco, Destroyer of Dreams betrayed
Thy cool cruel Majesty, oft delayed
‘Gainst the Shattered dragon, crystalline blight
No wait, but neither any hard fought fight
I stabbed a claw, and snoozed, no health decayed
Too soon it died, and still the loot dismayed…
A quaggan wakes me from my fancy flight

teq-poison

The surge of embers roar into my ear
Lava fonts bloom, the zerg assails his flank
I think of how one charr can turn the tides
amidst thy poison cloud caress, no fear!
No turret falls – I guard, protect and tank
In strife, the more my love for you abides

teq-chest

This one goes out to all those who have ever waited for Tequila.

(And Syl too, of course. Because we would never do these without a starting kick in the pants. Join the NBI poetry slam today!)

teq-bones

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GW2: Waiting For Godot-equatl

There's NOTHING in the water...

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.

embers

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.

Well?

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…

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?

GW2: Tequila Sunset

Here we go, yet again...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m of somewhat mixed minds regarding this.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reports were that they failed anyway.

Oh well.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Come, let us all burn out together!

Whee.

What joyous fun this raid content is.

GW2: Gemstore Rising

Yep, still ugly...

It was bound to happen.

An update where I get to take a turn at being fairly uninterested in what has dropped this patch.

tequatlturret

Oh, I went to Tequatl.

I even went in my knight/cleric support gear on my sturdier asura guardian.

I managed to get my hands on a turret, which was amusingly like a super-charged version of what I like to do in teams (support first, damage later.)

Since I read map chat, even though it was my first time, it was quite easy to see the buff stacks on Tequatl when targeted and link them with turret skill 2 and promptly proceed to spam it as demanded by ever more strident yelling over the channel.

To be honest, I don’t think anyone was purposefully NOT spamming skill 2.

I think, for one, between the krait attacking and whatever it is that causes the poison attack to land on the turret, a number of people were no doubt getting overwhelmed off the turrets. I was lucky to have a bodyguard or two and was pretty darned sturdy to boot (the only gear that is sturdier still is if I switched into PVT with cleric jewelry), but still occasionally had to break off for a second to spam heal with shelter before getting back on. Usually skill 2 would still be recharging, so there wasn’t too much interruption.

For another, it occurred to me that we might have been better served -coordinating- the turret launches so that 4-6 stacks are knocked off at once, rather than steadily one at a time while he regens.

Still, no one was on voice, and I didn’t feel up to screaming on map chat, so I just shut up and kept spamming 2.

In between, I experimented with hitting 1 to tickle Tequatl for 2k damage or so, and going crazy with 3-5, which apparently did some happy buff providing and poison removal.

As you might expect, we didn’t even get him down by 5%.

To this, my biggest reaction is mostly to shrug. I’m not a fan of raids in general, and while world bosses are acceptable to me because they’re inclusive not exclusive, I don’t see what else can be done besides wait for everyone to learn the fight and for those who like to organize these things to lead and teach until everyone knows the fight.

I did my job to the best of my ability, as far as I could figure out on my own. If I can’t get on a turret, I’d probably choose to stand as melee guard for someone else operating one. I’m only one person, so that’s that, job done.

There’s nothing more I can do to change the fight even if I am a good player.

(Besides buy six accounts and six computers and wire six keyboards/mice together to operate all turrets in sync, but that is absurd, is it not?)

I also presume that his hp was scaled to make him a worthy challenge for a full zone, which is about 80 players, if I am not mistaken. I was on an overflow, so we may have been short on numbers to begin with.

Time will change this fight. It’s just a matter of waiting. I have no interest in achieving server firsts. It’s just a matter of popping by every now and then to try my luck, that sort of thing.

Other world bosses were also updated. I don’t regularly chase dragons, so I haven’t visited any yet.

Guild feedback seems to be positive on them, some parts appear to be better scaled and more lethal, prompting caution, range and actual use of tactics other than stand in the electrical fire, heal through it and laugh.

My guess is that it’ll actually feel more like the tactics I used to -solo- Golem Mark II on a non-level 80 thief before he was put on all the dragon timers and got popular.

I can’t see this as a bad thing either. There’s usually enough people around to rez others through the learning process.

The downside would be that I don’t know if it’ll ever be possible to solo one of these upgraded bosses again –  whether they have the capacity to scale back down – but with dragon timers being as entrenched as they are, there’s probably never a time where soloing is necessary.

I briefly checked out the Borderlands changes.

newborderlands

It was only my second time back into WvW after a self-imposed two month break, so I don’t have any strong opinions about it.

It’s just there.

More land to fight on, more control points to fight over, more opportunities for fights and with some significant effect to them, so that’s good, I guess.

That’s pretty much the level of care I wish to give an eff about regarding WvW, as I was getting too obsessed half a year back for my own good. (Reading every forum I could get my hands on, feeling obliged to stay logged in for 10+ hours, waking up bright an early to catch server reset and then playing on through the afternoon without lunch, that sorta thing.)

More relaxing to pop in, follow a blue dorito, zerg around and karma train for a bit, engage in some zerg fights, respond to a defence call here and there, emergency build siege, rain arrows down on a teeming red name mass, engage in more zerg fights, pop out when sated.

Really, the biggest thing that caught my eye and attention were the gem store announcement.

MORE MINIS, WTF.

I’ve already spent $20 this month on GW2, which is supposed to be my limit.

I was working myself up toward the notion that I might put down another 10 bucks more near the end of the month and get two sets of the super adventure box minis that way.

Now there are TWO more sets of Risen minis that I dearly want. Especially the Abomination.

Even more galling is that I’ve been slowly working towards the Mini Collector title and was at 49/54 minis to go, where the announcement drops that Series 1 is evaporating soon.

As you might expect, my overnight bid for the Mini Snow Leopard at 5g 77s became swiftly run over by sudden increase in demand and I ended up staring at the damn mini in the TP this morning and buying one out for 9 gold because I’m not sure if the price will drop again before the end, and my OCD would die if I was one mini shy of 10 achievement points for a long time (until their next celebratory limited-time return sale anyhow.)

A certain amount of economic logic dictates that the price of blues and greens -might- drop slightly before October 15, because people might be frantically buying up a bunch in the hope of getting yellows and oranges.

Then again, they are forgeable and people might be throwing more into the mystic toilet too.  Plus speculators might be buying up some of the supply to hoard for later. So I dunno how the price would swing.

Anyway, I am now in the same boat as a number of other people, left staring at the five exotic minis and needing/wanting 4 out of those 5.

I can’t even afford half of one, so… yeah. Unless I get lucky with a precursor drop or sale, I don’t think there’s any way out of this one.

I very very briefly entertained the idea of dropping cash to convert into gold, but $35 won’t even buy one of those suckers, and I would be extremely out of my mind to spend $150 a month on a game for cosmetic miniatures.

I next briefly entertained the thought of putting down $35 and gambling for it  by buying some series 1 sets. Of which I would probably pop 18 blues and 9 greens, rather than see a yellow or orange light of day. So that’s probably a fool’s hope too.

The orange minis are likely way out of my league. I should probably just focus on trying to get my hands on 2000 gems for the non-RNG minis.

Since I really don’t want to be spending more cash this month, the alternative is gold conversion to gems.

Except none of the activities I enjoy are real moneymakers, especially since I’ve been salvaging everything for lucks to up magicfind, and hoarding T6 materials for a precursor. *groan*

I have no real idea what I’m going to do. I might run a few more dungeons for a guaranteed 2 gold a day. I might sink precursor hopes further and start selling any T6 stuff I see.

I wonder if trying to farm Black Lion Chest keys are worth it.