Now what?

Before Book 8 went live, I kept pushing my kin mates to take a stab at 16th hall or Dark Delving to see about getting me the 5th piece of radiance I so desperately needed to fight the watcher. I felt like I would miss out on exploring the new raid with the kin if I didn’t. I was worried they would do it until it was boring and I would be left behind.

Eventually, I did get that 5th piece of radiance armor on my Runekeeper, as well as two +15 pieces of radiance armor. But I haven’t seen the new raid yet. My kinship just doesn’t have enough radiance or confidence to attempt the new raid. We all still need the +20 radiance pieces from the watcher before attempting the new raid. Each week we to the watcher to spend three hours getting wiped.

The tactics we use are the same as those that have been posted and seen on youtube. The characters who go to the Watcher raid are all decked out with the rare drops from the instances and radiance armor. We all have the best food, potions, traits, tokens and scrolls. These are some of the most skilled players I’ve ever played with in any game. Yet every time we try it, some people die half-way through the fight and everything falls apart.

I wanted to get to the new content so badly, but I don’t think my kinship will ever see it. Now what?

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Suzina

Suzina is a 27 year old who usally plays the same MMOs as her husband. Games played: UO, EQ2, FFXI, SWG, LOTRO.

23 thoughts on “Now what?”

  1. You could just decide you are very unlucky and will have to wait on more gear.

    Or

    Admit that you and your kin aren’t as good as you assumed. MMO’s seem to confuse people as to what being skilled means. Now wait for nerfs or just someone being able to accurately identify the problem.

  2. Sometimes it helps to have someone sit out from the fight and simply watch what is going on. Now I don’t know the exacts of the fight but it’s normally good for either a stealther, spare tank or a healer to simply sit on the edge and watch the fight unfold.

    From there they can point out what they thought went wrong, along with facts. When they place these facts you have to be careful they don’t upset people but simply use them as the beginnings to finding the problem.

    So you want to look for things such as who died when and from what exactly. Find out who was assigned to healing them/group and question in regards. Do they have a problem keeping up with things? Too much to handle in terms of healing targets? Were they busy not getting killed and so need help on that group when factor A appears? Were they healing themselves as opposed to someone else (because one of the many golden rules of raiding is you, as a healer, never heal yourself before everyone else is healed, because as long as every healer is doing that the healing cycle has less chance of being interrupted and people will die less).

    It’s also useful for noting when an ability of the boss was activated, if someone did in fact run somewhere they weren’t meant to. Were they too slow getting to that place or simply sleeping? Not moving at all even? Again someone spotting on the outside will (hopefully) see this.

    Perfecting raid tactics on a fight you feel you should win requires the balls to stand up and question. Don’t question aggressively and don’t be an asshat, but if something is going wrong but your overall plan is right, then someone is doing something wrong. Maybe not on purpose, maybe not intentionally due to other things, but people simply aren’t prone to admitting their mistakes, especially where e-peen is involved, and thus the structure of the plan needs to change sometimes to accommodate those players.

    No two guilds should have the exact same tactics nor should any guild feel ashamed to change their tactics for a fight. Just players and guild need to have the guts to confront the issues, speak politely and civil and discuss the best course of action.

    It’ll make you stronger in the long run, especially through rough patches like this, if you have a system in place to analyze the fights in question you struggle with.

  3. Or you could do what lots of us have already done – let your subscription lapse and do something else until Turbine pull their collective head out and realize what an incredibly bone-headed idea radiance-gating is.

  4. You don’t need gear from the Watcher to enter the new raid. You do need the pieces from both the 16th Hall and the Dark Delvings however in order to hit the 70 radiance target.

    One tip, it is possible to beat the boss from the 16th Hall or Dark Delvings and then swap in a different player to collect the radiance coin. Just don’t open the chest until that new person has ran through the instance to where you are.

    It’s probably a bit of a grey area, but with the current difficulty of the Gurvand fight, and the fact that there are so few options for getting radiance in that slot, I reckon it’s fair game if your Kinship can field a group that can regularly beat the fight.

    Alternatively, you could simply wait a little while until Turbine rework the radiance requirements to make things more accessible:

    http://my.lotro.com/orion/2009/07/24/day-2-a-tale-of-a-design/

  5. Well, me and my kinship have killed the watcher once and once only, back in the day when it was version 1.0 and could be brought to heel with ranged combat (remember: not working as intended). Ever since version 2.0 that fight’s been one big wipefest for us, even with the latest Book 8 “nerfs” to certain in-combat timers. Same situation as yours, very well equipped, experienced and capable people.

    It’s not only that everyone in that raid needs to be 100% (well, 98% after Book 8) accurate about movement, placement, timing and use of skills. Everyone needs to be lucky, too. Wrong randomly chosen character dangling from those wretched tentacles at the wrong time, things start going south pretty quickly. Small things amount to too much in a very short time.

    Even if you have in-game accuracy and luck nailed down, there’s the issue of network and/or graphics lag for individual players. People reported still fighting the Filikul dreadturtle even when it was dead for 10 seconds. People reported the watcher being still submerged even after it surfaced for the majority of us. Some of that can be mitigated by playing on very low graphics settings, but apparently not everything.

    As for the new Dar Nabugud 12-man raid, I understand that there is a new 3-piece armour set to be found in the new 3- and 6-man instances. It’s got 75 (70 rounded down) radiance, which should nominally be sufficient for the new raid. You “just” need to run those instances at least 3 x 12 times in some hard mode or other, and your’re all set up. Um, yeah…

  6. @cat5e

    You’ve described my experience exactly. They have also beat the watcher only once, just before it went 2.0. They attempted it every week while I was getting my two characters up to 60 and getting them geared out during book 7, and still nothing.

    We’ll go in, and the tank might dangle *way* on the far side of the watcher. It’ll be a wipe. The next attempt, someone else critical might dangle for too long before being freed with a fellowship maneuver. Someone could lose connection. The next fight, the watcher might crit after becoming enraged and take out one of the Minis.

    By the time we get one tentacle killed and dps the other down to 10k, the other tentacle might be coming up just seconds later. Two or three seconds of DPS the watcher between tentacle spawns just isn’t’ fast enough. In a fight that stretches out for ages, it’s only a matter of time before something goes wrong and we have to start over.

  7. 1.) You don’t FM to kill the strangling, that’s a waste of FM. ALL DPS must kill stranglings, first priority.

    2.) FM’s can be used on a tentacle to prevent the respawn of the other tentacle by a burglar, buying 5 minutes of watcher DPS time if you have a good burg.

    3.) Ranged strat still works on watcher 3.0, and is more forgiving than the guardian melee strat, esp if you do #2.

    to cat5e: you run the two 3-man instances 4x each for +15 rad pieces, and the 6-man 7x. You easily get +100k ixp per 3-man run, which take 45 minutes.

    4.) Has your kin been farming Nornuan? Most of my kin (part raiders part casual) have 1st/2nd agers from there, and that’s a substantial 10% DPS boost for all ranged/melee classes.

  8. Hm, we’ve been following the strategies we’ve seen on youtube pretty closely… but if it’s true that FM a healing tentacle grants an entire 5 minutes of time before the other one spawns, then that’s a massive amount of time to DPS the watcher. That would be fantastic news.

    Delaying the respawn by even one minute would give us an entire minute to DPS the watcher each round.

    There were times we would do all blue FM on the healing tentacles when the mini’s were out of power…. but I don’t recall having a lot of time to DPS the watcher… but maybe the moment when we used the FM wasn’t correct. Is there a particular time you have to do the FM to prevent the other’s re-spawn? Or is an all blue/green FM while we’re holding the tentacle at near death sufficient?

  9. Ugh…DD. Only managed to get the coin cause I had pals in a big-time kin who didn’t happen to have a captain handy at the moment. And to think I had 2 other 60s besides him. ;_;

  10. Yeah… we wiped on the last boss of DD in a kin group for a few hours last week. We got him down to about 8k on one run. Then he bugged and acted like we had turned on the lights, although we hadn’t. We might even be able to beat him sometime… but we certainly can’t farm him. That place was a nightmare of bugs annoyance, luck, and difficulty.

  11. Agreed with Pardoz. I didn’t want to start hating the game so I just bailed out for a while. Given the current state of the game I’m going to wait until the books are more or less completely out of Moria before giving it another shot. Mirkwood should be interesting but if they decide to gate the content with another rep grind I’ll probably give my account to someone in my kin and call it a lost cause.

    They broke the heck out of DD, not that it wasn’t buggy before.

    If they’d make the 3-man instances a little more valuable (as opposed to simply being gateways for more radiance) and drop the rad requirement for DN down a little I’d sign back up just to give DN a fair chance.

  12. I read this thread with fascination and amazement. How did we get from fantasy characters exploring fantasy worlds to synchronized micromanagement in just ten years?

    It’s no wonder there are so many complaints that MMOs don’t have the magic they once did.

    It’s one thing to have to kill a particular enemy to get a key to open a door. It’s one thing to require magical items to protect you from specific abilities of certain enemies. It’s entirely another thing to prescribe that these things can only be done in one specific way, let alone when that way requires learning and countering a pre-written script.

    That isn’t adventuring; it’s a management training course.

  13. I think Bhagpuss has hit pretty close to home, and it’s unfortunate that this is the case. Regardless, LotRO does still manage to capture some of the magic of fantasy roleplaying for me so I’m willing to stick it out and hope Turbine wisens up a bit.

    If there’s any MMO that I want to see flourish and expand upon its world, it definitely has to be LotRO.

  14. @Bhagpuss, raids as dance-step puzzles also = lose, IMHO. The thought of beating the Watcher is a nice pipe dream. The actuality of going through what Suz is going through (my kin would likely experience nearly the same thing) is horrifying.

  15. Props to Bhagpuss.

    Even when we had VM(1.0) more or less on farm status the most fun I ever had in there were impromptu fishing tournament while we waited for people to make pots and tokens.

  16. Well, hold on a second. We’re starting to sound like the infamous four Yorkshire gentlemen.

    I don’t agree with such hard gating myself, but I’m not looking back and finding things rose colored either. It’s not that the LOTRO end game is the first thing that came with hard gating, particular requirements (soft or hard) and/or one definite path of progression and advancement.

    I don’t think the genre as a whole lost or gained anything. Or rather, it did, but it balances out. We look back and see “the magic”, but we forget (myself included) all the strings it had attached.

    Come on now, the “must have (x) to do/access (y)” has been in adventure games and later on in MMOs since forever. It’s particularly stinging now because of the amount of time it might take to “have (x)” but it’s not that we’re getting dicked out of nowhere here. It’s always been there.

  17. Hard gating has been even in faerie tales since time immemorial. The hero can’t slay the beast terrorizing the kingdom until he first does 3 quests, each one involving fighting other beasts, in order to gain the magic item he needs. In the end the final beast is almost anti climactic and not even the point of the story.

    In a single player RPG we’d call it great storytelling. In an MMO we can’t stand it.

    I wonder why that is? Is it because we want to get to “the good stuff”? In that case I think part of the problem is in MMOs lately, the destination is what’s important. While in all those stories the quests and hurdles were more important than the end. So maybe the way it’s done in an MMO they seem more like stumbling stones and annoyances?

    Or is it because we can’t play with our friends due to the gating? I know phasing in WoW, which I thought was cool, now annoys me to no end, because I can’t help my friends who play more casually and slower than me, the very people who need help.

    Gating via gear seems to solve some issues, like gear that only helps you to defeat the big baddie and is useless otherwise can help to keep players challenged and improving while not making them overpower everyone else in other parts of the game.

    I’ve been reading The Diamond Age, and in this book a girl has an interactive book that is basically a sophisticated single player RPG, she had to spend over a decade on a quest, but before doing one part she had to do all these other prerequisites, without any site to look up how to solve the puzzles. God would any of us stand for that? I think playing videogames has given me ADD sometimes. :)

  18. Julian brings up a good point, it’s not as if gating is a completely new fad that MMO devs cooked up to keep us grinding.

    I’m reminded of one of my earliest video game “rpg” experiences, being one of the Zelda titles on Ye Olde School GameBoy. The entire game was gating (trading items to one character for an item another character wanted, etc etc).

    My current beef with LotRO comes down to the simple fact that gaining said items to reach the gated content just isn’t fun. When the game starts to feel like a chore I’m out. I love the game and the potential it has, I just don’t like the direction it’s gone in the last few updates.

    Let X be the payout of the gated content (be it fun or loot) and Y be the amount of time, effort and possible frustration to achieve the keys to the gate. If X is the new raid and Y is getting yet more radiance gear, X is less than Y. Perhaps I’ve been in the game too long but I know I’m not the only one that feels this way.

    Bottom line, it’s not the concept that has me worn out, it’s the content presented within the concept.

  19. Julian’s quite right that this isn’t anything new to the genre – there are lots of MMOs I don’t play that include this kind of hamster-wheeling; that’s why I don’t play any of them (or one of the reasons). The issue at hand isn’t what MMOs, as a whole, have gained or lost, but what LotRO, in particular, has lost by adopting this mechanic.

  20. It’s a problem with many facets, but I think the main one we’re having is not with the gating in itself, but that we’re generally feeling that the risk/reward or cost/reward ratios are slightly off, and this is something all of us gamers have an internal meter for.

    I don’t mean to single out anyone in particular, but Bhagpuss’ comments above talk about “the magic”, and while I don’t dispute for a second that some games are and have been more “magical” than others, and some games just “click” where others never do, I do kinda dispute how we’re defining the concept of “magic”.

    I know how he meant it, and I’ve said so myself many times as well, but over the years I’ve come to find out that in most cases when we talk about “magic” it’s simply an euphemism for “That game had more or less as much crap to put up with as any other, but for any reasons I didn’t mind, or I had the free time back then not to mind”.

    And I do mean well, this is not a slight about anyone at all, but it’s the reality of things. All of us have gotten older, we’ve got quite a few games under our belt and I’m not gonna say we’ve grown cynical (some of us have, though) but the fact is that we have much less free time and much less propensity to put up with game crap like this.

    Numbers that don’t exist but I’d love to see: The age breakdown between players who complain about this gating versus those who don’t. I’d gamble the young ones are not complaining because they have the free time and a more “blank” mind slate to get to that magic. We on the other hand, really don’t. I’d imagine to the younger ones, or to those whom LOTRO might be their first MMO, this gating is par for the course, that’s how the game is and is yet another element to go through happily.

    What we see as aggravation, with just a small adjustment of perspective, can be seen as challenge.

    Take Star Wars, for instance. I love the original trilogy, but like many others I couldn’t grok the new prequels. Of course I look back at the original trilogy and I -know- the acting really isn’t all that, I see the shaky plot, the bad lines, all that, but I’m willing to forgive it because that’s where my “magic” is. Those movies were magical to me when I saw them. Now there are kids finding their magic in the prequels, and for the love of Cthulhu, I just can’t. They’re fine movies, but they don’t do anything for me. Not like the originals did.

    Maybe “magic” is a generational thing, and different generations of gamers will find their own magic on different things. I can already see it with my 7-year old: He is starting to put up with some game crap that I wouldn’t. I’ve seen all the carrots at the end of all the sticks he’s being given, but he hasn’t yet. His treadmills and grinds are a challenge to him, and he happily goes through with them because it’s new and he’s finding his magic. Me? With one look I can gauge my cost/reward meter and find out what’s worth it or not, guided by my experience. I don’t put myself through a quarter of what he goes through, not because I don’t have his free time (which is true) but because I already know there’s no “magic” there and is not worth it to me.

    “Magic” is something as subjective as art, and a constantly moving target.

  21. Julian’s last post hits the nail on the head for me, several times over.

    Final Fantasy VII still holds a special little place in my heart. It was probably the first of a long line of games to steal days, weeks and eventually months from my life. I can put in a copy, start from scratch and that “magic” is still as good as it was the first time.

    My 12 year old cousin’s “review” of FF7 puts Julian’s point in perspective. Quote: “This is boring and the people look like crap. Is this a kids game?”

    Perhaps I am too old, too bitter and too cynical for this generations games.

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