Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Are You Prepared?

Today (tomorrow in the UK) the last part of the looking for raid version of throne of thunder is due to be released.  Are you prepared?

If the past can teach us anything we can only guess that this last part could very well be the biggest nightmare that random content has ever seen.  A bigger nightmare than the fabled 6 hour runs of deadmines that first week of cataclysm while trying to find a group that could do, well, anything right.  A bigger nightmare than the maze that ate the majority of the player base that we first experienced two weeks ago and it still eats people that have done it a few times because even if it is more visible now most people just don't get it.

There is something to be said about difficulty.  While it is fun to be challenged I doubt there are few that would enjoy being challenged in a situation they do not feel like they can win.  Random content makes people feel like they do not have any control.  They do not choose who they play with and they can not effectively teach people that do not wish to learn.

One of my guild mates that told me about that 6 hour deadmines run explained in gory details how they failed as a group here, there and everywhere.  He explained about going through a revolving door of damage dealers while trying to find some that could meet the minimum requirement that was needed to down ripclaw.  Spending 10 minutes per pull to assign CC only to have the damage dealers screw it up because one would CC before another and pull and wipe, of course this was when CC still pulled.  And then there was my run of deadmines.

My run was a guild run.  We did not wipe on any bosses.  The run still took a fair deal of time because of the length of the dungeon, the amount of trash and the fact none of us were over geared enough to just blow through things.  But we had the one thing that random my guild mate ran did not.  Communication.

We were most likely not better players.  I am sure out of the over 18 people he said came in and out of his run there were people of equal or more skill than the ones I had in my group but without a quick way to communicate, and text is not ever a decent way to do so, they failed were we succeeded.

Same for the newest horror story, the maze.  Even with a group willing to learn it takes some time.  Even typing it out seems like you are speaking greek to some people.  They just do not get it and that is the reason it usually takes a few tries.

Random content needs to have abilities that can be explained in one line.  Saying stack for rampage is excellent LFR design.  Simple, one line, easy to understand.  Saying to wait for the beam, look to which side the fog starts and run to that side, then look for the hole in the fog and run through it but be careful not to over run or you will run into the wall, but be quick enough so the eye beam does not catch up is not.  It is just too much to type, it is too much to explain, it is too much to comprehend for someone that has never seen it, or is just not that good, and then add to the fact it was amazingly hard to see meant you had everything that should never, ever, in a million years, be in a LFR. 

Long explanations, hard to understand, and very dependent on the computer system and visual abilities of the player base was about the biggest failure ever added to random content.  While myself, and many others, nailed it by the 2rd attempt, it is still unfair that others were forced to wipe that first time we did not know what we were doing, even if we did read it, watched the video and were prepared.

This newest adventure is horrible misjudgements of design should teach something to blizzard I have been saying since the beginning.  Do not add anything that needs quick and clear communication in random content.

Do runs with guild?  Awesome.  Do runs with pugs?  Nightmare.

When the math is that simple you can only say that the one missing factor between the two is communication.  Remove the need for it in random content.

So what should be expected when we log in today (or tomorrow) and try the newest version of the LFR?  Your guess is as good as mine but I will tell you one thing for sure.  The more communication that is needed, the harder it will be for random players.

Blizzard needs to learn to remove anything that requires communication or long explanations.  Once they learn that then random content can be fun.  No need to nerf, you can even buff, just remove the need for communication.

So are you prepared?

I am.  I am ready for more nightmares because I have completely lost faith in blizzards ability to create decent content meant for random player groups.


  1. I got to Dorumu with my guild on Sunday. I was amazed at the difference. I was expecting endless wipes with no sign that he would ever go down. I thought the maze would kill us/some of us everytime. Instead we had maybe a half dozen attempts, best got him to 30%. People didn't even take any damage from the maze let alone die to it. I have never seen such a marked difference.

    I haven't been LFR this week as I haven't had time. I got a new job and haven't fit it in. Still the only boss that gives me upgrades is Primordus. So I'm missing 3x boss rep and one chance for loot. That's not good but I can live with that.

    I have reset day (tomorrow) off so I'll likely go wing 3 and 4 if I can stomach it. Like you I'm expecting it to be bad. Seriously can't wait till we clear the whole place and I never have to set foot in LFR again.

    Congrats on your rogue daggers and good luck in LFR

    1. That is one of the good things about the LFR. For real raiders, the ones that move slower at least and had not been there yet, they can use the LFR as training so when they get to the real fight they know how to do it. I am sure the endless wipes everyone had in the LFR is why you did not have much of a problem on normal.

      Congrats on the new job. Work is good, we like work. :)

  2. Reading the strats and watching the vids now... I probably won't do it tonight though.

    1. It was not bad at all really. The only problem is leaving it up to people themselves to split up on the last boss. If the group picks it up fast it will be easy, if not, it will be hard.

      Part 3 was 10 times harder than anything in part 4. So not as much reason to fear.

  3. Last wing isn't a nightmare tactics-wise , only lei shen might require coordination , and few wipes to tanks getting knocked off the platform.Contrary to this I predicted that durumu will be a wipefest in lfr like garalon or even worst , when we did it on normal.

    1. The last wing was a breeze compared to the previous one. And like you said, splitting up for the last boss was the only thing that was a real issue and we only wiped to people not splitting up the first time.

  4. First time we did Deadmines it was 4 guildies. Hunter, paladin healer, dk dps and I (paladin tank). I think the 5th one was a random mage. We loved it. It became our favorite dungeon from Cataclysm. The nightmare part was the most fun we've had in ages.
    Deadmines only became a problem when Zulroics were introduced. And that's because the new people that were doing older dungeons had no idea what to do. More experienced players were sticking to Zuls, except, you know, they offered satchels and that was tempting for me. So ye, the issue was mostly that you could not get someone who understood how to do Prototype thingie. That was it. Yes, no matter how I'd try to explain not to come to the boss and to take care of adds, I couldn't get it across. So when I'd be put in a Deadmines run I'd ask at the start if anyone is capable of doing Prototype.

    Anyway, it's Iron Qon, Consorts and Lei Shen. Looking at them, they shouldn't prove much of an issue, can't think of wipe mechanics like Durumu's beam. Maybe winds on Quet'zal. Lightning Whip at Lei Shen sort of. Maybe even Fusion Slash for tanks. They should prove pretty clean I guess.

    1. I had to do the prototype as ranged a few times because the melee in the group just could not get a hang of it.

      The tank yelled at the melee because it could not do the prototype and because of that the top DPS (me) had to and then he kept dying because it was not running out.

      Not sure why people could not get it. If anything when I was melee I loved doing it, it was the easy job. lol

      It was pretty clean. The only issue is getting people to understand they need to go to all four corners to stop adds. There were some people that just did not get it. First attempt I was the only one on my area. Needless to say I died, quickly, and we wiped shortly after.

      They got it however. That took 3 wipes which compared to the last part, was a cake walk. One shot the first 2 bosses without anyone really telling any strats at all.

  5. Did the fourth wing yesterday in LFR, was definitely easier than the third. Three wipes (totally fine with me, the third wing definitely teached a lesson :-)). Even had one drop!

    An off-topic question: I finally got a taste for pet battles (so slow, I know). I don't have any level 25 pets yet, only 3 level 10-11. The leveling process is not terribly fast to say the least. I wondered if it would be faster if instead of trying to level all three pets, I'd concentrate on leveling just one of them and simply captured throw-away pets of appropriate levels to help as I go. Could work? (I understand that when I have a couple of level 25 pets, leveling others will become much easier, I just have to get there first.)

  6. Did it last night.

    First boss went fine.
    Hit enrage on second boss but still killed them. Probably need to use the spirit buffs better.
    Lei Shen was a bit messy. It actually has mechanics that matter. The fight is way too busy graphically, which kills frame rates and confuses people. Had some slide shows a couple of times and I have a good computer and graphics card. Took us 5 pulls to get him down.

  7. Decided in the interest of experimentation (for SCIENCE!) to queue for the new wing last night... as has been my first-time-in trend lately, I zoned in to the last boss...

    They were at 2 stacks when I got there, we were at 8 stacks when we finally got the kill.

    They'd put markers on the floor for each quadrant and split the groups up between them, with the 5th group filling in as necessary to cover deaths, etc.

    No one thing seemed to cause the bulk of the deaths but one tank was dying quite a bit (and not sure why, one attempt after he died the other tank soloed for a few minutes before we finally called a wipe, so it doesn't seem that any mechanics are a one-shot). Adds were spawning when they shouldn't have been and we'd just occasionally lose people to mechanics.

    Not sure what went better in our kill attempt (well, aside from a 40% buff apparently being the necessary number) but had an almost clean kill... one dps down, plus the tank again.

    I don't care if it's the last fight of the tier, that fight shouldn't have gone into LFR with that many mechanics. I mean, hell, half the stuff has to be avoided and the other half has to be stood in (avoid the blue swirlie zones, avoid the big white contact area for the thunder hammer or whatever, stand in the bluey-white swirlies, stack up for blue bouncing arrow, stack up for enlarged toon, spread out otherwise) and I'm not even sure what happens on the platforms I wasn't on. I picked up the bare minimum to survive pretty quickly but there are just way too many variables in that fight for LFR. I could see it being fun with a dedicated group, though.

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  9. I know this probably has nothing to do with this post, but have you been getting invited to raid groups for www.pvpbank.com? How can one be invited to a raid group without being groups in the first place? If bliazzard is allowing anyone to make raid groups with toons without the player knowing anything about it, SHAME ON THEM!

    For the last 2 days, I am finding myself invited to a f'n'ing raid that I had no knowledge of for a chinese gold farmer. And what gets me is some of the players have accepted the invite!

    So when in the same hill did Blizzard start letting individual players invite anyone whether they are known or not, on playing the game or not to a f'n'ing raid group.

    I'm in a guild. My own and I don't invite myself to anything.

    1. Yeah I've had calendar invites for that, I just clicked remove and forgot about it.

      Anyone can invite anyone to a calendar event. You don't have to know them, just input their character name.

      As for how they are getting the names I would assume it's off some site where you can list people on your realm, there are dozens of those.

      I don't know what the point of it is but then spammers have never seemed logical to me. I don't understand why they send spam email as why would anyone respond? I don't understand cold callers on the phone because again why would they get a response? Always seems like a pointless waste of their time to me but they must do it for some reason.

    2. Spammers only do it because they get enough of a response to make it worthwhile. I blame the folks who actually respond as much as the spammers themselves, frankly, there's really no excuse at this point.

      Regarding the calendar issue, I put in a ticket about this, asking if there was a way to block those requests or report the senders (I mostly put in the ticket to report the sender name). Turns out the issue happened due to a minor calendar bug that they're fixing but in the meantime you can right-click the event and report from that menu, so I've done that since on all other toons it's happened to. Note that pvpbank.com puts in invitations all the way to Dec '13 so you'll have a few to remove.

      Blizz also provided me with this macro that can be used in-game to remove them, totally understood if nobody wants to run a macro from an Anon but it's here if anyone wants to save a few seconds, just create a new macro with this code and the necessary adjustment mentioned below:

      /run for i=0,99 do for y=1,31 do t,_,_,_,_,_,_,_,_,iB =CalendarGetDayEvent(i,y,1) if iB=="" or t=="TITLE" then CalendarContextInviteRemove(i,y,1) end end end

      *Important: Replace TITLE in the script above, with the name of the spam event*

    3. Ugh - full justification messed with the formatting, if it doesn't work as-is just remove extra spaces as required. Or just manually right-click and remove the entries. :)

    4. hi and thanks Tait and Ananomoose. Yes, I got a response too, but no where as detailed a response as what you got. And thanks for the macro (it's a good one folks! same as what was sent to me - see I trust ya Anon - I've seen your writing style here a lot of times :D ). And thank you for explaining what title is - my response, again, wasn't as detail. Thanks again folks. :D some of the non-grumpiest folks comes to grumpys.

      I wrote a song about it. Like to hear it? Here it go!

      "logged onto to grumpys blog the other day. Saw him in little gnome girl clothes... Ahhhhahaha...Thank you very much!".

  10. OK so I did LFR last wing. Yeh that was fun. Ish. Two wipes on last boss. We actually disabled bouncing balls first round because people couldn't comprehend sitting in the swirlies. Can you believe that people were stacking on top of the disabled quarter (second round) and the 'raid leader' was yelling that there need to be more people there?!

    All in all, I remembered why I don't LFR. It's not the wipes that bother me, it's silly offtanks. Had some druid at Iron Qon who kept taunting because... I don't know? Is it my fault Iron Qon is a solo tank boss? I let him take the boss just to see what he wants to do and he pulled him on top of the tornadoes, raid screaming at him as to why he's tanking him there... I'll never understand why some people have such desire to show that they're the tank that they lose the capacity to think straight.

    1. I had the opposite experience last night in one of the more hilarious runs I've had recently... was healing on my druid, a toon I don't play often, doing first half of MV. Of the two tanks, one was pretty well geared, the other wasn't... enough gear, but didn't sneak in by much. I decided to focus my healing on him due to the gear which turned out to be an even better idea than I realized.

      The other tank, a DK, despite being in blood spec (I checked) and blood presence, didn't actually tank... well, anything. Trash, bosses, etc. The iffy gear tank tanked EVERYTHING. Turns out everything in there, right up to the third boss, can be solo tanked in LFR, including the second boss. Mechanics were just ignored.

      Third boss, I was curious about what would happen when the first tank got pulled into the shadow world. When it happened, the non-tank tank then got aggro... and proceeded to turn and run around the outside of the ring with the boss chasing him in full flight. Literally turned his back and ran. Man, I laughed... can't recall ever seeing a queued, specced, presenced tank who was scared to get hit by something before, especially one with some decent gear who HAD to know better. Right? Despite a few WTFs in raid chat most of us just laughed rather than getting pissed off... it's not like we were going to wipe.

      I think I'd rather have a grabby tank like yours, though. :)