[GW2] The Ebb and Flow of Tequatl

I was in Disney World when Tequatl hit.  It was interesting to see the race for world first from an out-of-game, and by the time I returned on Friday the meta had mostly solidified around the updated world boss fight. Across the weekend I felt I had a pretty good look at the event and the community surrounding it.

Stacking The Main Event

Tequatl of old required little thought. There was no danger of being near the dragon. In fact with the additional enemies roaming the exterior marshes it was more dangerous away from the dragon. There was a laser few people cared about, and I guess some turrets or something. Outside of a few fears there was not much to do besides press #1 and watch the nightly news before a rare popped out of Tequatl’s right arm. Some things have changed, and some remain the same.

The event now requires significant coordination. At least three groups have to be fighting the dragon. One group of six have the most difficult job of firing the turrets.  Another group, preferably around 20, is split between the two groups of turrets to defend them from attacking enemies. The final group, the zerg, is one again on Tequatl’s right arm, but at least this time not without consequence.

Getting back to the turrets, their job is to keep Tequatl’s invulnerability timer down and to keep the zerg buffed with poison cleanses and attack speed increases. It’s a fun job, but this manning a turret is also one of the keys to winning or losing the fight.  Get someone less skilled on a turret, and it’s not going to be a good time. The small group defending the turrets usually don’t have too difficult a job, from what I have seen. Kite, heal, and damage is the usual of the day for them.

The zerg’s current strategy, in my opinion, is just a face palm: Stack. It seems like a good strategy, and with all the skills and builds built around maximizing the stack I congratulate the community on getting back as close to old Tequatl as possible. Stack on the right arm and DPS (damage-per-second) the crap out of Tequatl. The stack allows for most efficient reflective barriers against poison attacks, and it allows the best coverage for the turrets to buff as many people as possible. And with Guild Wars 2 active combat it feels silly to just stand there holing up as much as possible.

15-minute Fish Heads

The main reason for the stack is that players now only have 15 minutes to beat down Tequatl. The finesse of dodging shockwaves and taking out tendrils is a waste of time. It’s another layer of difficulty, which I feel has constrained the community. The stack is one possibly self-imposed constraint. I can just imagine the fight developed to have all these poison fields around the battlefield, Tequatl’s fingers throwing players around, and Tequatl’s stomps requiring player movement… so what do players do – move as little as possible.

It feels silly, but then without the stack I cannot imagine how it was expected to get Tequatl’s life down in 15 minutes. If players were more mobile they would lose DPS. For me, it’s a head scratcher. Did the developers want a stack (DPS vs. time limit) or did they want a mobile battlefield (mechanics of the fight)? I honestly am not sure.

I know in response to at least DPS, the community is also making use of consumables like Fire Elemental Powder, which for a silver and some change, summons a fire elemental to fight by your side. All the non-pet classes now have pet DPS, and rangers can of course summon one too for double the fun. I completely understand how potions that increase undead damage could have been designed in to the fight, but all the weird consumables seem to make a mess of things, once again. The other technique is to use elementalist summoned weapons having a handy bug that ignores uptime. Apparently the summoned weapons have ungodly DPS on world bosses. (Too much of a tangent for this post, but world bosses ignore crits and most condition damage, which destroys 2 of the 3 offensive prongs elsewhere in the game. Condition users and crit monsters seek adventure elsewhere.)

When I am in a good group, the fight is an amazing experience. As much as I hate the stack, it can be fun during Tequatl’s stun phase to completely unload on the dazed dragon. Good groups have a lot of clever ways to shave off time. For example at each quarter of Tequatl’s life, he flies off and players have to defend three different batteries to load up the laser. If a solid defense is built, players should be leaving the batteries around 10 seconds to stack up for Tequatl’s stun phase. A poor defense will require that players stay until the end and miss critical seconds of the stun phase. For me, this is how the differences between winning and losing should be made.

The best I’ve beaten Tequatl is with 2:30+ minutes remaining. The most exciting times though were taking him down in that final minute where all cards are thrown on the table. It is a really fun fight, but it requires a lot of the community. It can also leave really poor experiences where no one gets organized and everybody is way out of their depth.  It just creates a wasted and unrewarding time.

Scales and Rewards

If a player beats Tequatl once per daily reset, the rewards are magniflorious. The player gets 4 account bound shaky chests tied to each quarter of Tequatl’s life taken in addition to a character-bound dragon chest at the edge of the beach. After that it basically becomes unrewarding to try and win again. Obviously daily failures will net something because the quarter-life chests are nicely rewarding, but as they are once-per-day a player will only get each quarter-life chest the first time that day they got Tequatl to that quarter of life.

Compared to the nicely rewarding Scarlet Invasions (even when failed), keeping a community around Tequatl after that first daily win is difficult. Consider that around server reset time the server’s A-Team are bullying for Tequatl. It’s an exclusive event because of zone population caps, and then after a try or two Tequatl gets destroyed. The A-Team is mostly done. There are better ways to spend one’s time in the game since the bulk of the daily chests are completed.

Time and time again I’ve seen the community rise up to the B-team challenge whether in creating a new guild (TEQ) or simply having a second-strong commander who does an amazing job. Still, before this update Colin said there would be “every-time” rewards, which make more sense for content that is so difficult.

Time and Tide

A community built up a long time ago around the dragon hour way before it was even rewarding to do so. I expect the same from ArenaNet. I also expect changes will come to Tequatl. This was ArenaNet’s first try at open-world raid content. There are a few bugs. I do not imagine the flock of embers assault to stay around as Teq-meta. I expect like usual they will respond.

For me, I am having fun. It’s a different way to play Guild Wars 2 both in the Tequatl instance and in the 1.5 hour wait where I am incredibly productive around the household. Yesterday I easily managed to smoke a pork butt, clean the house for guests, manage the kids, and enjoy a Tequatl raid every now and then throughout a nice Sunday. It was a nice flow compared to the constant Scarlet invasions that happened a month ago.

–Ravious

14 thoughts on “[GW2] The Ebb and Flow of Tequatl

  1. Kemwer

    I really hope they give groups better tools to setup the event. Having to fight overflows before the event is a pain, and just leads to a lot of name calling of people supposedly being AFK.

    Maybe it’s time to introduce some raid tools. The game already has ways to instance parts of the world for groups (as used in Persona Stories), so maybe it would be interesting to allow some way for commanders to move their entire group to an instance/overflow, with tools like a Ready Check to make sure no one is AFK before the fight, and the ability to remove individual players from their groups.

    I’m not sure if these suggestions would introduce other problems, I’m just throwing ideas on the wall to see what sticks, but I think something like that is necessary if more content this challenging will be added to the game in the future.

  2. Flakfizer

    I would love to have the kind of fun you describe but Arenanet’s server technology is just not up to the job. Because it requires so many people and so much organisation it’s announced server wide. That means a relative few get into the main instance. The rest are stuck in overflow and can’t even join guildies because the ‘world is full’.

    Having the fight rest on 6 people on turrets is insane design. If it was instanced it would be great but at the moment a few idiots, AFK’ers or trolls can ruin everybody’s attempt.

    1. Ravious Post author

      On paper I agree. However, only 1-2x have I had horrible turrets. Usually what happens is someone monitors a turret user, and I’ve seen many times players ask to take over in a polite or professional manner. I’ve not yet seen a fight where a turret was being griefed. Usually a hosting guild will snag the turrets well before a griefer would want to waste time.

      The other thing is communities are finding ways around the drill to server from overflow. The guild [Teq] exists solely in overflows, and I know on Reddit right now one of the bigger servers is hosting Teq at a random, secret underpop server every time. All that’s requred is you to participate in VOIP with that guild. Have your guild make use of overflows, not the other way around. Be proactive!

      Still I agree, ArenaNet needs to be considering all this hard.

      1. Jeromai

        Ok people, you heard it here at Kill Ten Rats. Sanctum of Rall does not have horrible turret users! Please go guest there instead of Tarnished Coast! :P

  3. Jeromai

    I think the folks blaming AFKers have the wrong target. -Why- are there AFKers in the first place?

    Because people cannot predict when exactly Tequatl will spawn, there is no way to schedule anything besides hang out and wait.

    (And walk off to do other things around the house. Or collapse atop one’s keyboard because one has been at Teq for 10+ hours. All of which produce AFK bodies if Teq spawns too suddenly.)

    If it were more like the centaur chain, or the Temple of Balthazar chain or Taidha Covington, there would at least be a way for players to summon the event for an organized go at it, and keep everyone active and entertained in the process.

    Plus the current demand is causing overflows, which induces people to cram in and save themselves a spot, while leaving those stuck on overflows not having such a great time of it. And when demand fades off, that health bar is going to be an issue to take down too…

  4. bhagpuss

    Much though I am personally enjoying this event, I have not seen and do not expect to see Teq killed. Yak’s Bend is not a slouch server when it comes to these things and we have had him down a couple or three times, but the plain fact is that the vast, VAST majority of players on YB, just like on most servers, will never see a Teq kill under the current set-up. I suspect that players on the most populated servers, which are also those with the best organized guilds, will have a very different impression of the whole thing than those lower down the tiers.

    Also, the idea that those servers that can’t do it for themselves should be hiring or begging a mercenary guild to come kill it for them is disturbing and that’s putting it mildly. How does something like that get to be seen as acceptable behavior?

    The design of whole Teq event makes a total mockery of the ethos of inclusiveness upon which GW2 claimed to be built, but then there’s really no point getting upset about it. That ship sailed long ago.

  5. Jawn

    I am not enjoying this event at all and it is incredibly poorly designed. It does not fit in at all with the ethos of the rest of Guild Wars 2. GW2 had one of the nicer MMO communities I’ve seen and this event basically turns everyone against each other. Presumably, if you have a super-coordinated community using a bunch of consumables, that have totally revamped their entire trait and gear setup, and are using VOIP, he’s killable and people are excited and nice to one another. The rest of the time this is not the case, in my experience. The repeated failure just turns the community on itself.

    I have yet to see a kill. I’ve only heard of one kill on my server and that was with 100+ guests from another server leading the way. I am not joining a specific guild just to kill one over-tuned boss. As a relatively casual GW2 player, I don’t even know where I’d look to find such a thing or how I’d find out about it if I hadn’t just read this post.

    It seems patently ridiculous to expect this level of coordination for a public event world boss. If they really felt the need to add this type of content, they should have locked it away inside a guild challenge somewhere or added a new boss. Revamping a boss with so many expectations and habits built around him to be this different is just asking for anger and disappointment.

    All that said, I’m done with him. I expect him to be ignored by my server or eventually nerfed. If, against all odds, he isn’t changed and my server begins to kill him regularly, I might try him out again. Otherwise, I’m done. I have the living world achievements complete and I can always do the Tequatl specifc ones later.

  6. Mekhios

    The Tequatl redesign is the worst content ArenaNet has added to the game to date and if this is the future of open world bosses in GW2 I feel a large portion of the playerbase will simply stop playing the game.

    Two reasons:

    1. Adding turrets as a necessity to win the fight. Absolute disaster as any random can jump into them and do absolutely nothing.

    2. The mechanics of the new fight do not lend themselves to random players jumping in.

    At this time unless you are part of a very organised guild and are willing to camp for hours at a time there is absolutely no point in attending the Tequatl fight. There are no loot drops if the boss has not been downed. I can not fathom why anyone would camp a boss for 6 hours with nothing to show for it.

    ArenaNet was trumpeting the fact that Guild Wars 2 would represent the new paradigm of all inclusive content that leaves no one behind. Yet they seem to be finding the urge to return to old school MMO design irresistible hence we get a mess like the new Tequatl fight.

    Sadly this will be yet another part of the game that is mostly left to rot as eventually no one will bother with it (especially after Boss Week finishes).

  7. Vulturion

    I didn’t see Tequatl slain, though not for lack of trying – for the first few days.

    Not really my cup of tea (my comfort zone is content for 1-2 players), but I do respect the effort to develop something very new for the game. ^_^

    However; can anyone possibly foresee Tequatl having any staying power once the next update lands & the server announcements disappear?

    There maybe a brief ‘golden age’ for big guilds when others have lost interest and they can have the main instances to themselves, but even that will surely pass when a new activity/farm becomes the centre of attention – hard to envision any role for an 80+ (++) player event beyond that.

    Ascended weapons are a billion-to-one drop from every chest & champ, so it’s not like there’s anything special about the Tequatl lottery aside from the initial prestige fun people have been enjoying this past week.

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  9. Delsea

    The new Teq is now the source of all of my most negative Guild Wars 2 experiences. I have taken every measure available to me, including plenty of research and practice, voice chat, guesting, preparing others, making trays of food, et cetera.

    My options now are to give up or try for a Pyrrhic victory.

  10. Pendan

    I think the biggest problem with the event overall is the first 25% is the longest and hardest. I attended the event on 5 different days to get the daily for the boss week achievement. Never saw the dragon lose even 10% health. That means 0 shaky chest rewards. Why would I ever want to go back?

    My recommendation for a nerf would be to remove all the undead help attacking the turrets in the first quarter of life. Then everyone can concentrate on getting the dragon’s health down so the first quarter life reward is given and you can see the first battery defense and dragon stun.

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