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!
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
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
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
This one goes out to all those who have ever waited for Tequila.
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
The sad thing is that there have been successes interspersed between failures as well.
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 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.