Posts Tagged ‘Grouping’

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ESO: Storming Spindleclutch

April 14, 2014

whisperer

The first time in a new MMO’s dungeon is always such a learning experience — it not only gives you such insight on the play style of your role or class, but also into the game and its mechanics as well.

On Friday night my husband and I along with guildies Tententacles and Ryan ventured into Spindleclutch (with Musei cheering us on in the sidelines and Pid setting up to go next in round 2), the first instance in The Elder Scrolls Online. I hadn’t gotten the chance to try any group content in beta, so it was all new to me. First of all, four seemed like a curious number for group size, but if it worked for Star Wars: The Old Republic, no reason it shouldn’t for ESO.

spindleclutch2

Thus far I’d been leveling with a sort-of-tank-sort-of-damage build so I wasn’t sure how I would fare, but I was reassured by the fact that most group make-ups can handle the instance without much problem as long as there’s some heals. It took a lot of the pressure off and I saw it as a way to learn the ropes and practice…even if I didn’t have an optimized tank build or abilities.

Let’s just say there was definitely a lot of flailing involved on my part! But it’s so much easier once you know who to target (healer mobs die first!), when to dodge (there’s a lot of that) and for the love of the Nine Divines keep up your stamina and magicka stores for your taunt and evade abilities. Once we got that down, it was all smooth-going. Though, ah, still quite explosive.

spindleclutch3

For a first instance I was surprised to see it was pretty well balanced in terms of difficulty. I’d dreaded being in there for hours and was all prepared for wipe after wipe…but for the amount of time we were in there frustration was minimal and it was very painless. More importantly, I definitely know where my build needs work. Overall a very awesome time!

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TSW Screenshots: New York, New York

February 18, 2014

You’ll have to pardon the wall of pictures, but after fighting Flappy last night our Monday Secret World group decided to jump into the New York raid just for the hell of it. Of course, we were only seven people and knew we had no chance of success, but none of us are against simply poking around and exploring the place.

And I did my exploring, all right…I explored the inner workings of the Inutterable Monster’s gullet. But this may have just become my absolute favorite screenshots of all time:

raid

Anyway, the whole “fight” with him really just involved us running up to him and snapping as many pictures as possible before he roflstomped us.

But still. Funcom has seriously outdone themselves. Gotta love a raid that takes place in an urban setting. The atmosphere down in the subway station was also positively chilling with the survivors trapped on the platforms. Check out the details in this place. And they totally nailed Times Square. Just take the giant tentacled monster out of the equation and you are practically right there.

subway

I missed my stop…

train

A “real” tank:

tanksSome group shots featuring Ochoclivis, Dortmunder, Dex-y, Solaris, Thermic, Chucho:

parking

Hey, we’re on the news!

camera

Holy crap, an explosion of tentacles! I’m blaming Maric for this:

what did you do

On the ground level with the big baddie. Um, yeah, we can totally do this! But Imma letting you go first.

go get him

Fun times!

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TSW: The Darkness Comes

February 11, 2014
Heeeeeeere's Flappy

Heeeeeeere’s Flappy!

So you might have heard that something big is about to happen in The Secret World. Last week’s Game Director Letter teased the next stage of The Whispering Tide event, the final phase before the big Tokyo patch. And yesterday afternoon, the last canister finally went away, opening up the portal for the Flappy fight, just in time for our Secret Monday session!

Minutes before 11pm eastern, players began trickling in from all over to stand in front of the portal, waiting as the timer counted down.

portal waiting

Is this the way to the convention?

You could feel the excitement, which was practically palpable, if anything just based on the epic freakout in the chat when the timer reset and it still wouldn’t let us in. Thank goodness it was just a delay, or the rage in the crowd alone would have torn us apart, with or without help from Flappy.

Our whole raid group went in together – Solaris, Ocho, Chucho, Yeti, Thermic, and myself – but somehow we ended up separated in different instances. As a result, a couple of us got placed into a fight where Flappy was EXTRA temperamental, with what sometimes felt like more filth mobs running around the than actual players.

flappy fight

However, the fight itself was a blast! Um, though I wonder if I’ll still feel the same way on my 50th time doing it.

Regardless, Flappy is a pretty tough encounter, especially if you don’t have a dedicated tank and healers. His strafes and huge AoEs are very unforgiving, despite looking oh so awesome. But to be able to finally see him up close was the icing on the cake — I just love the design on this part-bird-part-dragon-part-wasp-looking-like dude!

In the end, he he went down and gave me a bag with five HoT pots. FIVE STINKING POTS. As if to spite me. Oh well, this was only just my first time killing Flappy. It certainly won’t be the last!

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TSW: Upstairs! Lobby! Out Back!

February 4, 2014

a little help

My thanks to TenTentacles for the lovely screenshot above, because I was honestly too busy running around the castle like a headless chicken to remember to take any.

A recent update to The Secret World brought some changes to scenarios, and we decided to take a break from Nightmares this week to try them out. When you’re focused on progression, sometimes you can forget there are other great group activities in the game other than dungeons, and once in a while it’s just good to do something more relaxing. Plus, everyone can do with more oreos. I’d like to work on getting the Council of Venice outfit too, since my tank set is currently all purple’d out.

Well anyway, “relaxing” is a relative term. Still, I had a blast. Nothing gets the heart racing like seeing four or five orange lights flash up in your mini map, and then it’s everyone calling out where they’re going to hold the line. “Upstairs!” “At the mausoleum!” “Watch the golem!” “Oops, I’m dead!” But still, we persevered and dominated. Not a surprise, as it’s not even so much our gear, it’s that we’ve come a long since the first day Scenarios launched when no one had a freakin’ clue what we were doing.

The other big news this week that had us all atwitter is the impending arrival of the next and final stage of The Whispering Tides event. Flappy, you’re going down. We’re one step closer to Tokyo!

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TSW: Nightmare Darkness War

January 31, 2014

nm dw 2

Wait, what’s this? A Secret World post on a Friday? Surprise!

Yesterday, a few of my guildies and I put together an impromptu TSW night, to try our hand at another Nightmare. Thanks to the tips and advice from helpful commenters in my last post, we had a better idea of which dungeon to do. Seems to me the overall consensus is that Darkness War is the best entry level NM, so that is exactly what we did. Sometimes I have to remind myself that TSW is a whole different beast than other MMOs, that typical assumptions — such as, the first chronological dungeon in a game is always the easiest — are not always the case!

Polaris, for example, is apparently quite the toughie on NM mode. Now I actually feel a lot better about getting as far as we did, for a group just starting out. And to have almost beat the last boss too. It didn’t occur to me that most groups do the first five bosses in the various dungeons first, getting more adequately geared up in epics before tackling the sixth bosses. It just sounds so contrary to intuition especially if you’re used to playing other MMOs, but in TSW actually makes a lot of sense. And like I said, TSW is not like other MMOs.

nm dw

So how did we do in Darkness War? Quite well, to be honest. Was it actually easier? Well, compared to some of the bosses in Polaris? Yes. I don’t think we would have made it as far as we did (killed the first give bosses and left the last boss, as per the plan) if it wasn’t. So folks who commented were absolutely right about that. Still, compared to dungeons I’ve run in other games, it was still a bitch.

Again, this is TSW after all. Sometimes I do feel this game is pure evil, pretty much leaving you zero room for mistakes. But after much trial and error, practice and persistence, the feeling you get when you finally kill a boss for the first time is very rewarding. Case in point, it felt so satisfying to finally bring down the Unbound Ak’ab (to tell the truth, bringing down any Ak’ab is satisfying). Ironically, this boss is a cakewalk when it comes to normal and Elite modes, but on NM he gave us a lot of trouble.

mayan battle mage

The fifth boss, the Mayan Battle Mage, wasn’t much better, though his fight is all about knowing when to run away from bad stuff on the ground. The fact that even one misstep can kill the unsuspecting healer or DPS was the problem. In the end, I think he finally had it with us and just decided to bug out in one place, throw all his adds out at once, and keel over dead. Hey, I don’t care if we beat him by default, a win is a win! And we would have gotten him on our next try anyway *wink*

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TSW: Nightmare Progression

January 28, 2014
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Speedos…this is why the bosses kill us.

Our Secret World Monday group has reached a milestone, with all of us having gotten attuned for Nightmare dungeons…which means that now everyone can experience the pleasure of getting their clocks cleaned again and again by the sea monsters in Polaris.

After a couple weeks break, I wish I could report that we finally cleared the dungeon, but the place is still getting the better of us. The truth is, there’s definitely no shortcut to success, and I can kind of see now how casual players will have trouble getting far in this game. Especially when so much of it is about practice, practice, practice.

Case in point, I can’t tell you how many times the Varangian has wiped the floor with us, but all those times we failed have been learning experiences. I think I know all his tricks now, and sure enough this time when we went in, we got him down in one shot. Going in with heavy DPS is also how we finally managed to take down the Primordial Dweller, but even that took a bunch of wipes to understand the best way to control the fight. This was actually the first time I’ve beaten him though, so there’s that personal victory at least.

dead in the water

Dead in the water…

The Ur-Draug though, was a beast. Literally. That guy hits like a Mack truck on Elite, and on NM he’s upgraded to freight train. We came close once to defeating him, but that was one time in a dozen tries. It tells me we’re definitely capable of bringing him down, but simply put, we just haven’t done the fight enough to know how to push his buttons.

Still, this is the farthest I’ve ever gotten in NM Polaris. At least I know now it’s just this one last pesky boss.

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TSW: Tanking…It’s A Love-Hate Thing

January 14, 2014

bunny slippers

Ah, tanking. It’s really a role I fell into, not just in The Secret World, but in a lot of other “holy-trinity” type MMOs as well. After all, you can’t get nowhere without a meatshield. Since my husband and I always play as a healer-tank team anyway, and I’m typically the one who enjoys running around with bigass swords, the threat-magnet duties naturally always fall to me.

For the most part, I love it! A lot of people will tell you that tanking is a pretty thankless job, but I find that even making a simple healthy lifestyle choice such as staying away from toxic PuGs will cut down on 90% of the stress and anxiety. The other 10% for me is mostly personal, because I know I’m hard on myself. Even when I’m playing with a group of friends and guildies who I know are casual and cool, I still can’t help beating myself up feeling responsible whenever a wipe happens. Some might joke that I take the role of “guardian” or “protector” (or in the case of World of Warcraft, “druid mama bear”) too seriously, but really, they’re not that far off!

Anyway, not that a lot of wipes have been happening in TSW; I think weeks of running Elites and working to get everyone Gatekeeper-ready has made most of the fights feel like old hat. I think in some ways it’s this complacency which has made the transition to Nightmares such a…well, nightmare. It’s like slacking on your workout regime during the holidays and having to pick it up again after the new year. It’s like, all of a sudden, strategy and rotations are a big deal again!

Practice makes perfect. Right now at this early stage it’s starting to really sink in that everything pretty much has to go down flawlessly during a boss fight. I find now it’s especially true for the tank, and with my hit rating where it is still, I really can’t afford to head into a NM dungeon with less than three interrupts. It’s like adding a whole other layer of complex micro-management into the mix, one involving things like minding cast bars and saving cooldowns, or in general watching the timing for everything. That’s on top of that whole maintaining aggro business.

Mind you, this isn’t really a “complain” post. In many ways I love how an MMO is challenging me again, and this is like going back to the old school days of experimenting, trial and error, and the hurling-our-dead-bodies-over-and-over-at-the-boss-until-he-dies style learning that I’ve come to embrace again in recent days. Even though I might not feel it at the time, heh, looking back, I guess there is a such a thing as a fun side to that. Like I said on Twitter though, there are times when I simply love to tank, while at others I’d rather have maggots chew out my eyes and brain. Some days, NM dungeons seriously make me feel like the latter.

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