Posts Tagged ‘Raiding’

Cleared New Operations in 8-Man Story Mode!

Temple of Sacrifice Revan

After a few weeks of working on it, my operations team has finally cleared Temple of Sacrifice (ToS) in 8-man story mode! We cleared The Ravagers operation our first day trying it, but for a while we were stuck for a couple days on Sword Squadron (the walkers, second boss in ToS) and then a few operation sessions later we were able to clear the Underlurker (third boss in Tos).  The last two bosses in ToS were fairly easy. We one-shot the Commanders (fourth boss), and we beat the final boss after failing the door boss (Filmadeus was outside and one of our tanks insta-died), and me “experimenting” with cleansing a grenade off. Nope. I killed half our group when I cleansed that grenade in the middle of everyone! I ended up dying on the second phase of our winning pull, so I laid dying while my operations team beat the boss. It looked very cool, so I hope I will survive next week when we do this boss again!

We did not try these operations at all in closed beta. Also, we took a week break for the holidays, so I think we did fine in our operation progression since we only raid twice a week for a few hours! I’m excited to try hard mode tomorrow in both of the operations, which I anticipate will bring us to the edge of frustration and possible rage quitting!

Overall I really like the new operations! It’s refreshing to work on something new after more than a year of Dread Fortress and Dread Palace, and I’m excited to see the more difficult mechanics that hard mode (and later Nightmare!) will bring.

Have you tried out the new operations so far? How do you like them? Let me know in the comments or tweet me @Heather_PLS!

Hitting The Climax

I mentioned the other day that I had a new raid schedule, and this also came along with being in a new raid team in my guild. Last night we beat the Dread Council in Dread Palace Hard Mode after working on it for a couple nights. I thought we did fantastically, because most of us did not know the fight and we downed it within about two hours of trying over a couple raid nights.

For those that do not do progression raiding or work on defeating operation bosses, let me tell you—it feels really good when you eventually beat the boss. However, when you’re working on something for so long, getting so close but succeeding, it gets really frustrating! On one of our pulls, the last one of the night on Sunday, we were SO close. I was seriously physically getting hot and breaking a sweat and feeling really nervous, and then we died on the last phase of the fight. It was very anticlimactic and disappointing.

Thankfully last night we finally beat the boss, and it was such a relief to finally have cleared hard mode content. We can legitimately work exclusively on Nightmare operations from now on, so I feel like a top-tier carebear!  However, I think we may still need to go into hard mode operations for gear optimization purposes, but that’s easy to do.

Nightmare Progression: Becoming a Top-Tier Carebear

care bear

I’m not sure if I’ve given the impression that I’m a top-tier Nightmare progression raider, but I am actually not. I happily play hard-mode operations, but my raid group is not so cutting edge to clear Nightmare. I also never PuG into any raid groups other than with the guild, so my progress currently is equal to that of the guild. The reason I don’t try to PuG is because I’m afraid of getting rejected. There’s still a lot of hate out there for PvE Assassin DPS.

However, my guild is forming another raid group specifically for Nightmare operations. We’re supposed to respond if we want to be considered as long as we have 180 rating and higher gear. I haven’t responded. And yes, my guildmaster gets these blog posts sent to his e-mail, so hi Film!

My first “excuse” for not inquiring about a spot was that I still have one 168 set-piece armoring. I guess I could just fudge my way through that, drop the 4-piece bonus and replace it with a 180 armoring. I also still have one Underworld Relic of Boundless Ages, which I’ve been trying to replace, but alas, I need the mats for the Dread Forged Relic of Focused Retribution.

My next feeling was guilt. My guildies wouldn’t work so hard to make sure the Deception Assassin had the best PvE gear if I wasn’t going to use it. My next thought after that was that of self-doubt and fear. I didn’t want to be a disappointment if I didn’t put out the DPS numbers needed for NiM, and gosh darn it I really, really like the Deception skill tree.

Am I taking this too seriously? I realize that skill trees are not the same and are made for different purposes, but I really don’t want to suck it up and play Madness, which is going to be buffed next week in Game Update 2.8. I’m very stubborn in that I want to play exactly how I want to play. I don’t know if I would be just as effective playing a skill tree that I know than to stumble through a skill tree that is supposed to parse higher DPS numbers.

Another impression that I’ve had about Nightmare progression is that everyone just gets mad and yells at each other for hours upon hours, and it’s quite the oppressive environment. This probably will not be the case in my guild, but what if the hardcore, oppressive environment is what is needed to push through the Nightmare content?

With everything set aside, I would still like to be a top-tier carebear (who happens to dabble in PvP). I should probably let Film know that I would like to do it. As Yoda says, “Do or do not. There is no try.”

Bloody Dread Master Tyrans

Bloody Dread Master Tyrans

Currently in my guild, we shifted from 16-man raid groups to splitting into smaller. 8-man raid groups. Last night my team worked on Dread Palace Hard-Mode. We one-shot Dread Master Bestia, however the second boss in the operation Dread Master Tyrans, was giving us a bit of trouble. This was also my first time going into Dread Palace after update 2.7 since I was in Boston last week.

First of all, we had a Nightmare mechanic bug (and NiM DP is not even out yet!) leaking in. During the Simplifications, you cannot just run away from the square like you would normally do. Instead, you must drop to the lower level and teleport back up with the pyramid in the middle. Bioware, can you fix this please? I guess the positive aspect of this situation is that when NiM DP does get released, we’ll be a little more prepared for this fight. We got the hang of this eventually, making sure that everyone was healed up before dropping down, and hopefully without an Affliction debuff.

Another thing that was kind of buggy was that one of the squares in the front, left part of the room did not appear or respawn after we wiped. I wish I had taken a screenshot, but it happened pretty much every time we came in.

Unfortunately, we did not beat Tyrans, but we made some pretty good progress. I have yet to get an achievement for beating HM Tyrans, so I hope we can nail it tomorrow.

Also, about 30 minutes before raid time ended, this happened right before we pulled:

Me: [holding nose] Oh my God I have a bloody nose!

Film: Tilt your head back!

Columbiaa: Go get one of your tampons, cut it in half, and stick it up your nose.

Drios: Yeah, a tampon works.

Me: Uhh my nose is too small to fit a tampon!

Raid team: WHAT KIND OF TAMPONS DO YOU HAVE??

Me: Okay, well, I can’t DPS with my left hand holding my nose, so I’ll be right back.

Me: [goes to the bathroom and sticks a tampon up nose]

Me: Okay, my tampons are actually not that big.

And so we continued to raid with a tampon holding my bloody nose because there was no wasting time when we were so close to victory! At least the bloody nose didn’t last very long.

How dedicated are you to raiding? What is the most ridiculous thing you have done to continue playing a video game?

Image above courtesy of riddlemetom.tumblr.com.

ALT-aholics Anonymous

The first step of being an alt-aholic is to admit the truth of what you are! You are an ALT addict, and it’s affecting everyone around you! You spend so much of your time and credits creating, leveling, and playing all of your ALTs. When do you give it a break? When can you break the addiction??

I wrote that first part jokingly, but I actually wanted to discuss the positives and negatives of having many ALTs that you spend your time/credits/patience on. I wanted to clarify that while I do have many characters, I do not play them or gear them out as I would my main. I would rather focus as much effort as possible on the main toon. However, I have recently been leveling some of my other toons just for a tiny bit more flexibility in raids. Also, Dianah is almost maxed out in gear until we get our new tier, which is coming up soon anyway.

Benefits and Drawbacks

A lot of this is from being a PVE player, mostly from a raiding perspective. However, here are my thoughts regarding certain perks that come with having multiple awesome ALTs!

You can be the crafting king/queen!

Positive:

I’ve seen a few of my guildies logging on and off all the time on their characters because they are crafters. They probably earn a lot of credits and also help stock our guild bank as well. They are also very self-sufficient and can support themselves, and don’t need to depend on the GTN or guild bank as much as others do.

Negative:

Until we get a shared legacy cargo hold, such as in the upcoming Galactic Strongholds Digital Expansion, this sounds like a pain. I’m not a crafter. I’d rather be doing something else, and I simply don’t spend enough credits to care about earning that much. I will gladly buy something from the GTN if I really need it (ex: MK-9 Augmentation Kits, color dyes), but if the guild can provide it, then I really don’t have to…

Ultimate flexibility in gameplay.

Positive:

In my guild we have a rank called “Masochist,” which is basically a person that plays multiple types of characters extremely proficiently, and will switch over at any time when needed. He or she is also very knowledgeable and must be geared for the highest-level fights on all characters/specs.

Having multiple, geared ALTs with different purposes (heal, tank, ranged-DPS, melee DPS) allows you to be flexible in raids when your team needs you. Additionally, multiple ALTs means you can have separate toons specifically for different reasons, such as a PvP toon, GSF toon, sweatshop companion (crafting) toon, etc.

Negative:

It is very time consuming to level and gear out multiple characters, as well as knowing your role, class, and skill tree like the back of your hand. Alternatively, it takes a lot of time/credits to build your way up to an awesome ship or in ranked PvP also. It would be nice if I was also an awesome healer, but I would rather spend my time/money/effort going for perfection on my main toon. It’s like having only one child! You may also run into the issue of quantity over quality. How good could your main be if you weren’t spending resources (time/money) on your ALT?

So much stuff to do all the time!

Positive:

You’ll never be bored. You’ll always be available and not locked on an operation. You always have something to do because it truly takes a lot to completely max out a character.

Negative:

Ain’t nobody got time for that! I work 40 hours a week, I raid at least 3 times a week for almost 3 hours each session, and I play a lot more hours in addition to that. I have to sleep, eat, do multiple girly salon-type activities, blog, work out, and put effort in my outside-of-game relationships. When I play, I want to make the biggest impact possible on my character. My main toon deserves the best! I just don’t have the time to give to a lot of characters unfortunately.

Real Examples from Despair

Sometimes there’s a really good reason to have a lot of characters. Here are some great examples from my guild, Despair.

Sleeth has different characters so that he can play GSF in incognito mode. He’s one of, if not the best GSF player on the Harbinger server (click here to see Despair’s GSF April Fool’s joke), and would like to play without being swarmed! Since he is also one of our crafters, his companions are additionally forever in the sweatshop.

Drios has 16 characters, one of every advanced class. As an officer and raid leader, this is incredibly helpful, as he knows the abilities of everyone’s toons to make better decisions on raiding assignments.

Ben plays his main toon for raids, but he has a couple toons specifically dedicated for PvP. This is important especially because he has a method for saving warzone commendations, in which he must trade in the PvP weapons purchased every 2 hours. This would not be feasible if he did this on his raiding toon. You can hear more about this method on Episode 128 of OotiniCast. In total I think he 19 characters total.

Conclusion

It is totally okay to have multiple toons. I think you should try not to burn yourself out trying to get all of your characters to the highest level of raiding gear or ranked PvP. Like these guys mentioned above, they have a lot of characters, but not all 20 of them are at *gear perfection* I imagine. You should try to reach some sort of work/school/life/gaming balance.

What’s your ALT story? Is everyone geared like your main? Do your different characters have different purposes?

Despair Raid Night: The Nightmare PuG

We had a great raid night in Despair yesterday. Over 30 people were logged in during raid time, with a few that weren’t leveled high enough to go into an operation. Two 16-man groups were formed with two PuGs in mine. Tuesdays are usually are days where we do our weekly comms runs on Story Mode, so we cleared Dread Fortress and Dread Palace. This is also a good day to gear your ALT, because usually no one needs any of the gear that drops. My team one-shotted every boss! I’m so proud.

There was one negative thing about last night though. One of the PuGs was really bossy and demanding, even as we were clearing through everything like nothing. It was so very annoying, and they even had the nerve to whisper me about how I shouldn’t play an Assassin DPS and that I should tank instead. Somehow, they weren’t bothering the lesser geared (he was in PvP gear actually) Assassin DPS about this, so it felt a bit personal.

They also asked me my parse number, which is rude, kind of like asking me what my bra size is. I told them anyway, but I have not parsed in a while simply because I don’t need to base my success on a number I get from beating a dummy. Real results are downing bosses. I’m very good at what I do otherwise I wouldn’t be able to get through HM bosses, so this person just pissed me off.

They pissed off everyone else too, including the other PuG who I remarked got “sassy” with them. Why bother being a control freak when you’re in an amazing raid group? If I was a PuG in a raid that was one-shotting everything, I would be so grateful. I wouldn’t be wasting my time typing (instead of playing! Hello???) instructions to a raid group that already knows what they are doing.

Anyway, tonight we are running 16-man Hard Mode, probably Dread Fortress. I may also “flashpoint my face off” tonight or tomorrow to complete the weekly.

Despair raids are on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights, and also any time someone feels like putting a group together. We usually get our Classic Operations weekly done also on a non-official raiding time.

Why are PUGs so Frustrating?

This past weekend I decided to run some operations on one of our off-raiding days. I decided extra Ultimate Commendations won’t hurt for my up and coming Mercenary. I have hardly pugged anything since joining Despair (Click here to read my post about my pugging days), but I had gotten along that whole time before pugging operations… We had a few guild members, but the group was primarily PUGs. The first PUG group I was in was pretty good, because they were mostly of the same guild, but the second group was awful.

I realized that pugging was pretty much the worst time-waster ever. You have to find the group, hope the people you bring in are good, and then hope everyone does everything right with directions in chat without forcing them to get into voice comms.

Why is it that many PUGs seem to think they know everything, yet make so many mistakes? I’m not saying that all PUGs are bad, but a lot of them are! Also, all the PUGs all get mad at one another because it’s everyone else’s fault but their own.

No dependability, no accountability, no reliability, no TRUST. I feel that I can trust my guildies to do the right thing or at least be open to listen and learn. I was not a happy camper Saturday night, even after some patient explanations on what to do and what not to do in a story mode ops. SERIOUSLY. It was a damn Dread Palace STORY MODE.

On the bright side, I pulled out my super awesome guild recruitment skillz with one of the good PUGs, and now we have a new core raiding member! Welcome to the team, Asajjia. (Hopefully he’s still there when I log in tonight, haha.)

If you primarily PUG raids, have you ever tried being in a guild that regularly runs raids? Or vice versa, are you in a guild that regularly raids now after only ever pugging groups? (Ahem Indirion.)

How to Effectively Use Parse Data for Raiding

During our raid night yesterday, we worked on Dread Palace hard-mode progression. It went pretty well, and if you ignore the fact that it was a little inquisitor-heavy, the team was pretty balanced with two different healer classes (Operative & Sorcerer), two different tank classes (Assassin & Powertech), and 50% melee (Assassin & Marauder) and 50% range DPS (Mercenary & Sorcerer). I encourage raiders to put together balanced teams, because you are able to utilize a wider range of abilities. For example, if you took a team of Snipers with you to hard-mode Nefra, not being able to cleanse themselves… well that would probably suck.

Assassins Do It From Behind

On the Bestia fight, my assignment was to kill the tentacles that popped up. Sure, I can kill tentacles. The only issue with a Deception Assassin aggro-ing and beating down a tentacle face-to-face is that it eliminates the ability to use Maul, which is my highest DPS ability. If you are not familiar with Maul, for Deception Assassins, it can only be used from the back or side of your target. Darkness (tank) Assassins can spec to use this move from the front as well. So the issue here was that I was DPSing tentacles, but missing a vital part of my rotation. I thought the tentacles were going down much slower than if I were to be able to use Maul, and my force was suffering as well. Personally, I just hate being handicapped in the way that I’m forced to try and hit things from behind all the time…

No One Listens to Women

So I suggested, why don’t we switch Mallgus (the Marauder) and me (the Assassin) so that I could constantly Maul the monsters/larvae/Bestia from behind, and he could quickly Ravage (or whatever Marauders do) the hell out of the tentacle from the front? We had already run this fight a few times with everyone knowing their assignments, so we didn’t make an official switch. Also, the tentacle job is for “the lowest member of the DPS totem” because there is not an immediate rush to get them down. Sigh. Unfortunately, our raid time ended, so we couldn’t try different strategies.

Parse Data Homework, LOL

After raid, this week’s assignment was to turn in our parse homework (I love making jokes like this because our guild leader is a teacher). Our guild leader wanted to form the best HM progression team as possible, so the ticket to being on the team was being able to have a certain DPS number while parsing the Training Dummy. I actually don’t normally ever practice on the dummy, because I don’t want to be faced with any unfortunate truths about my class and spec. And because I definitely know my rotation. But! I was pleasantly surprised. Shockingly, my parse was almost the same as Mallgus (within less than 100 points). So you know what happened?

They said I couldn’t complain about being handicapped, because clearly I’m capable. We also know that it makes a huge difference to leave out an essential move in a rotation (Maul), because for the short time Mallgus was beating on the tentacle, it went down pretty quick. So logically, using the parse data that we obtained and the results of the boss fight, we can say for strategic purposes: If an Assassin and a Marauder parsed similarly, they should also be able to DPS similarly during a raid fight unless a DPS is assigned to do something which requires fighting an enemy face-to-face, in which a Marauder would be a better choice than an Assassin.

Wow, that should be written into SWTOR raid law or something. Basically my point is that even seasoned raiders (sounds like salty football players) aren’t always perfect, and that although you can mess around in easier operations, you really must focus on mechanics and strategy on the harder bosses.