Posts Tagged ‘Instance’

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ESO: Storming Spindleclutch

April 14, 2014

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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.

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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.

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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: Nightmare Darkness War

January 31, 2014

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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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TSW Monday: Elite Night

November 26, 2013

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You guys, I think I’m over my fear of The Ankh! Now I can focus my energies on working on getting over my fears of The Slaughterhouse! Yeaaaah.

The theme for The Secret World Monday this week was clearly “Elite Night”. Our group knocked out two more dungeons for the folks who needed them, first rampaging through Darkness War for Rowanblaze and then hopping into The Ankh (in which Doctor Klein still gave us the most trouble, as pesky mad scientists are wont to do) for Ocho before finishing off the night with Scenarios on Duo Elite difficulty to farm the cookie tokens. I’m filling out my tank deck meanwhile also trying to build a decent DPS deck so anything I can get helps.

As always, the AP keeps pouring in while we’re doing these scenarios, but while everyone seems to be putting their points into augments already, I’m somehow still fixated on completing my Templar decks. Seriously, what’s wrong with me? It’s my obsessive compulsiveness coming through again perhaps, but it’s like I can’t rest until I get them all.

There was also some discussion on the “stunningly ridiculous” grind that came with last patch, but it was agreed that Funcom probably made it this way so that they won’t have to worry about players complaining about having nothing to do with their AP/SP again for a good long while. Which probably means I won’t have to concern myself too much with not getting into the augmentation system yet, as it looks like it’s going to be quite the time sink for everyone across the board.

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TSW Monday: The Night In Pictures

November 19, 2013

Last night’s session of The Secret World Monday was another mixed-bag for the Knights of Mercy. For the second week in a row, we had a large showing and was able to put together two groups for some scenario running and Aureus/Oreo farming. One twist, though — we thought we might be able to slip into a harder version of a solo scenario for some extra rewards. Unfortunately, our attempts to entire a Nightmare solo scenario with a group of 5 were ultimately cockblocked, to say nothing of our plans of entering a scenario with a raid…which didn’t work either, obviously! But hey, nothing ventured nothing gained, right?

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If nothing else, it was an interesting experiment. That, my friends, is a picture of the simulation leaving half our raid behind. The suckers in our group were thus transported to a Elite Group scenario, of which we promptly got the hell out.

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Please disregard the dead vampire. And awkward horse is awkward.

We are ever so eager to be in a raid group, aren’t we? And with the numbers that are consistently showing up for Secret Mondays, we definitely have enough to fill a full group. But even if we wanted to enter a raid dungeon for shits and giggles we wouldn’t be able to, not until we have everyone past the Gatekeeper. And as such, we will continue to run Elites until we do.

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Which explains how we found ourselves in The Facility last night. Honestly, I remembered this dungeon as being a lot more fun. And it really wasn’t so bad, until like the dozenth time we were handed our butts by the computer core boss. Quite possibly the worst boss in the entire game, because so much is dependent on luck and being quick enough on your feet to not get balled or lasered. I still hate The Facility less than The Slaughterhouse though, by a wide margin.TSW2

But as ever, persistence pays off. The Facility was conquered in the late hours, and a couple more guildies are closer to completing their achievement. Now time to goof off…

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I think we earned it.

And the other highlight of the night: I completed another deck, the Templar Magus. Two more decks to go and I can start working on the Panoptic Core. It’s always been slow going for me, playing TSW only once or twice a week, and it’s going to be even slower now with the new augmentation system added to eat up my AP. But on the bright side, there will always be something for me to do.

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Showing off my new Magus outfit, as Sctrz looks on in awed admiration!

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The Secret World Monday: Mixed Bag

November 5, 2013

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I’ll be honest; with the flurry of running around in The Secret World, scouring Solomon Islands for stories, Cat God farming, Super Jack hunting, and just in general trying to pick up the last of the new clothing drops I still need from the Halloween update, I’ve completely forgotten that The Whispering Tide was still going on, and that people still need to run the filth portals to unlock the next stage in the event.

Thus, Secret Monday last night didn’t really have a theme. It was a night of ticking off things on our to-do lists. First, getting in some Nightmare runs of Cat God, because some people still need weapon upgrades and his QL 10.1 drops are too good to pass up. Not to mention there’s always a chance at the Amethyst Mouser, which I don’t know if I’m lucky or not, but I’ve seen drop more than half a dozen times. Of course, now that TenTentacles has finally gotten his purple kitty, it won’t be as fun to taunt him with it anymore.

Next up was running Elite Ankh for guildies who still need to finish the achievement in order to hit up the Gatekeeper. It’s definitely good to get as many people as possible Nightmare-mode ready, even though I wept at the prospect of heading into that dungeon. I’ve made it no secret that it’s not my favorite, though I have to admit after having gone through the hell that is The Slaughterhouse and The Facility, it’s hard to hate the Ankh all that much anymore.

In any case, last night’s run was the best and least painless one I’ve ever experienced. Oh all right, I’ll admit it, it was a blast! A lot of that credit goes to Rowanblaze, who was on healing duty and did an amazing job taking care of me.

And finally, into the filth portal five brave adventurers went…which was not me, because I sat out to get some extra words in for my NaNoWriMo. From the wails of pain I heard from Teamspeak though, it seems the dev’s increasing of the difficulty on NM mode can most definitely be felt. And for all that pain and suffering, you get to earn yourself ONE WHOLE EXTRA event token! Thanks, Funcom, as ever we grovel at your feet in thanks for your benevolence and boons!

All snark aside, we were all over the place last night…but ended up getting a lot done.

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