(Il)Logical Progression

Random Musings by the Truly Random

Yes, Raiding is Fun! (I’ve Missed It)

For once, raiding is back to providing what it’s supposed to.  Fun.

Friday and Saturday were set up for our motley group of MOX newbies (We’re actually going to become MOX Emerald, as Sapphire is their 16-man superior group – yes, I should have guessed that Moxboss (the guild leader) also knows that Sapphires are the best Mox) to run Hardmode Explosive Conflict (EC/Denova), and those nights were pretty rough.  Due to changes in who showed up for raid again, we didn’t make the goals I had hoped to reach – One night, three bosses in a reasonable time.  We did manage two bosses on Friday, and cleaned up the rest on Saturday, defeating Hardmode EC for the first time.  I’d say that it was something to be excited about, but the fights just aren’t all that interesting in EC, and are brutal for coordination between tanks and healers.  For DPS, a lot of it is pew-pew, but there are a few “stand in the circle and you die” moments, but for the most part, it’s just stand and shoot.  I did a decent job in there, and I know I have to go back to gear up for now, but if the loot drops were the same between them, I’d take Eternity Vault over EC any day.  We did have a decent raid leader, and our tanks and heals did a fine job in there.  It just took a few times on the final boss to get everyone to execute and follow through to defeat Kephess – and they did.  Grats to MOX Emerald.

But it wasn’t a fun run, overall.  The trash in EC is plentiful and can be pretty time-consuming.  Crowd Control on the trash is necessary, which adds to the amount of time it takes, and while it means that we don’t just blow through from boss to boss, after the third or fourth time doing it all, it does get a bit stale.

Sunday, however, was a different story.

Sunday was a group of MOX raiders, mostly random people who I’ve raided with only once or twice, deciding it was worth it to run a Story Mode Terror From Beyond (TFB) raid.  It was later in the evening, and people were already feeling a bit loose and chatty, and in the end it turned out to be a great run, even though we didn’t finish the entire raid.

Pulls, pulls, pulls!  We couldn’t get our heads straight on trash pulls.  Where EC was run very rigidly in dealing with trash mobs, we really screwed the pooch on a few pulls in TFB, especially the first ones.   It wasn’t just one pull – it was a chain of pulls where we’d struggle to down a set of mobs and OOPS!  the next set added to the first ones.  Utter chaos, using every skill we could to try to stay alive and kill as many as we could, and then the next set and then the next… I think we ended up with four or five pulls happening, where there should have only been one…

And we survived!  One tank and both healers survived, and even the healers were DPS-ing the mobs down at the end.  People were cheering and laughing at the sheer insanity of it, and having a great time, tossing light-hearted blame around, shaking their heads in utter amazement as another group of mobs added to the pile, and it was absolutely fantastic.  Nobody was upset.  Everyone was laughing.  It was what raiding should be.

I haven’t had that in a very long time from raiding.  The very last time I can think of where everyone was that excited at a raid and win was back in Wrath of the Lich King on World of Warcraft, when our group after months of beating our heads against the encounter finally defeated Arthas to finish the endboss of the expansion.  Hooting and hollering, everyone just enjoying the cutscene, not worried at all about the loot, wanting to show off their Kingslayer titles.  It was a terrific feeling.

And it’s a feeling I hope to have again.  For now, Sunday night, MOX Random, TFB trash…  That’ll do.

We also managed to get some gear for some people, mats for the guild, and downed two bosses, both of which are very fun fights.  That we didn’t end up finishing the entire raid – who cares?  It was more fun than I’ve had on raids where we did finish TFB.

Thanks to everyone who was there to make it a fun run – we need to seriously “OOPS!” it up again like that sometime.

My 2 yen,

Akiosama

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October 29, 2012 Posted by | Memories of Xendor, Raiding, Star Wars - The Old Republic | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Trouble with Raiding…

Sometimes I just curse my luck.

Last Friday, my new guild, Memories of Xendor (or MOX), put together a 8-man Hardmode Denova run for those of us who were on and not part of their regular teams.  They’re a World-class guild, having gotten the World 3rd completion of Hardmode Terror from Beyond, and their progression teams are sharp and dedicated.  I believe our team is going to be a regular raiding team at some point, and while we’re probably not going to be a progression team – I don’t think that most of us who are regular on this new team (which I’m hoping will be MOX Sapphire – since any Magic player who’s been studying the game seriously knows that the Sapphire is the best Mox) will be able to dedicate serious progression time to the game the way it would need to be done – we are shooting for having a reliable, regular raid team.

Given that MOX Sapphire is in its infancy, we’re a pretty motley crew of participants, most of whom still need to finish getting our top-tier gear.  Still, while we have some great players in there, we’re struggling – Hardmode Denova has not yet been completed, and we’ve only run very limited Story Mode (normal) Terror from Beyond.  And there are some things about resuming regular raiding, especially since I’m not raid leading at this time, that are frustrating.

I believe some of this stuff will work itself out soon, but it’s been a while since I was just a raider and not a leader and what has been given up by not taking up the torch for this new group is becoming evident.  Further, just raiding regularly has shown me some frustrations that I hadn’t thought about in some time.

Back to Friday – we ran Denova with a pretty ragtag group, including one person who had nearly no experience with group content.  We get in and things seem to look like we’re going to have a smooth start, but one tank-swap mishap late in the fight and we wipe, with Toth and Zorn nearly dead.  And that was the best attempt we had, up until we had to swap out one of the healers when one of our starting healers had to leave, and then we managed to complete the fight.  I think it took us about two hours to finish that first boss.

And the fun didn’t stop there, we proceeded to have a comedy of errors on the next boss encounter – Firebrand and Stormcaller – and we did not get them down.  Tanking errors, mechanical errors, equipment errors (lag/disconnects), and such filled our attempts.  Not once did we actually meet the enrage timers, so whether DPS was an issue or not wasn’t even apparent.  Our healers were the sharpest aspect of this fight, and other than trouble getting under the shields during the Defensive phase, I don’t think they made any serious errors.  Wipe after wipe, we continued at this for two more hours, until we called the raid due to time, with nothing to show but repair bills for the fight.

Saturday ended up being Story Mode Terror from Beyond, since we had a completely different set of people on, and I actually was asked to heal it, given the lack of guild healers on at the time we started.  I think I healed it ok, though I had a couple of sticky spots, which my partner, Cronoan, was able to cover.  The majority of our wipes were not healing related and I think that gave me some relief, though I seriously need to work on my healing.  In any case, no Hardmode Denova on Saturday.

Sunday came around, and the group decided to resume Denova, except they decide on a time when I can’t be there.  Not a huge issue – I felt a bit miffed that I couldn’t be there, but that’s just how it was.  I don’t think I would have thought much about it, if it weren’t for the results.

They downed the damn second boss despite some serious errors, in two attempts.

It turns out they had to swap out a couple players for that run.  One of those new players apparently had made some pretty bad mistakes, but our healer, Cronoan, managed to pull him out of the fire through excellent healing and timely reactions (Extrication), and they defeated Firebrand and Stormcaller in two attempts.

Two attempts, with a DPS botching up somewhat badly.

It’s just bad luck, I know – I did my part on Friday for two hours, but the encounter went undefeated until the next attempts that I wasn’t part of.  But it’s the fact that despite the botches, that the aforementioned DPS player was rewarded for two attempts’ worth of effort that I didn’t get for two hours of effort that is frustrating.  I felt I did my role well on Friday for that fight, and the person who didn’t on Sunday walked away with the rewards.

It’s one of those frustrating things about being a raider, rather than a leader, that you can be left out of attempts because you’re not automatically at every raid.  Further, it’s about collective success – the group did better as a whole on Sunday than they did on Friday – and that can be frustrating, if you’re only there for the night when the group is a bit more off.  On Friday, our group brought their “B” game, even if there were some “A” games mixed in, but on Sunday they brought their “A” game, despite a “C” player in the group.

It sucks, and yeah, I’m a little frustrated about it.  It’s part and parcel, though, of being three time zones away from the majority of players.

Hopefully, this week’s raiding will be better.  Our raid leader is going to seriously gearcheck people before we run, which should help.  The majority of our group was there for Sunday, so they know they can get through at least the first three fights.  And people in our group did get some gear from Sunday’s successes, which should help this week’s run.

I hope everyone brings their “A” game this week.  I know I try to every week, and I know others do too, and I would like to see us getting the results that reward the “A” game.  We definitely should be making progress every week, not getting stuck on the boss we downed the week before.

So, the goal for this week?  Three bosses for Friday’s raid.  Toth and Zorn (in an hour tops), Firebrand and Stormcaller (in two attempts?) and the Minesweeper boss (which I have yet to do on Hardmode).  We should be able to get those down in one session with as much experience as we have on the first two encounters.

I won’t be satisfied with less.

Should I be?

My 2 yen,

Akiosama

October 22, 2012 Posted by | General Musings, Memories of Xendor, Star Wars - The Old Republic | , , , , | Leave a comment