Oct 292013

Delera's Graveyard during the Mabar event
Delera’s Graveyard during the Mabar event. Click to enlarge (it is wallpaper sized)

It took awhile to gain access, but we finally had, slaying uncountable numbers of evil minions and bringing the grisly trophies of their deaths to the master collector. But at last the doors were open; we streamed in.

A large group of us, our chatter filled with positional questions and statements – “How many are guarding the Southwest altar?” as we tried to distribute our defenses in optimal fashion. Exhortations and admonishments echoed through the massive battle arena. “No AoE spells”, we reminded each other, “Instant kills and nukes only”.

I did not bother myself with such, I am on Knicker, and I will face whatever comes with a pair of sharpened axes. Axes do not cause problems, they solve them.

Ten more minutes pass while we prepare. We’ve been at this for hours, accumulating trophies, and it appears that this one fight will be our only chance of the evening.

And then, at last! The fight is on. Knicker is immediately buffeted by lag; moving in stutter steps, but still moving. Eternity appears, and Knicker is able to close the distance to the mighty beast and swing away. Her attacks aren’t landing right, but some of them are landing. My Gamer Girls is making sounds of frustration.

The dragon disappears. I try to make my way back towards the altar but am having more and more difficulty moving. I think I am there – sometimes one snaps back and is not where they thought they were – but it seems I am near the altar as the second band of Umbral Gargoyles attack.

And that was the last movement of the encounter. I freeze in place. I am able to swing my axes, but am not registering any hits even though I am standing in the midst of the swarm. No misses either, just futile swings that I can see but have no effect.

Hoping that others are having more luck, I throw out Intimidates as often as my cooldown timer will let me and just keep swinging. I do get a hit, here and there, maybe one attack in ten? The other attacks never register.

And then it is over, an altar destroyed, we are ejected. My Gamer Girl was not able to throw even one Heal, her mana bar is still full minus buffs. Not one.

Lag 1, gamers 0

It appears that may be my last Eternity fight ever. Cordovan announced yesterday that Turbine was pulling the plug on Mabar this year, mentioning our “lag”-related concerns.*

* Cordovan put the quotes on “Lag”. When asked about it, he said it may not really be lag but may be something else. Okay, I get that, but this is a hair that does not need to be split, and in fact doing so only adds to the frustration. It looks like “lag” to us regardless of what Turbine’s internal nomenclature may be.

It cannot be coincidental that the forums have been flooded with furious Mabar rants. And bug reports. I must admit that my bug report was written angrily, during my peak frustration, and included some scathing comments. Including a call to avoid releasing future Mabar events if they cannot be run properly.

I did not intend to advocate canceling this year’s event early though. It is already here, the damage is done. And now, on top of the frustration of failing at the event, we only add the frustrations of those who were in the middle of their Mabar progress and will now be stranded. This is a “worst of all worlds” kind of choice.

But whatever, I certainly can’t say I will miss it.

I should be more accurate here. I will miss parts of it. The environmental changes for the festival (pumpkins everywhere) are charming. The festival items are still nice, and the new additions this year are nice too and very welcome. I like the extra people that log in during the festival and the way it makes the server feel more full. I love Delera’s Graveyard, it is so dark and creepy/moody. Very nicely done.

But I will not miss the lag, nor the way that it spills out of Mabar and into the rest of the game during the event.

Or as my Gamer Girl put it:

In most games, strategy is figuring out the boss and countering its abilities. What does the boss do? Mabar strategy becomes how do we avoid the game-breaking bugs?

There is a danger here though, a real danger, that we will never see the Mabar event again. Turbine seems unlikely to run it again in its current state, nor should they. But will they invest whatever it takes to fix it?

Now we are getting into the world of technical trade offs. Is it even possible to fix? And if it can be fixed, at what cost? Would they be willing to fix Mabar if it meant that one of next year’s updates had no content?

Or is it just easier to retire the whole thing, permanently? I hope not, we only have four events to begin with and Turbine forgot one of them this year altogether.

Replace the dragon fight with something else? Modify it to prevent casting the AoE spells that cause the lag (if indeed it is AoE spells at all)? Modify it to only allow in a party of 12?

I don’t know, but I hope they come up with something.

Crossing my fingers, and hoping for the best.

๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ™‚

  15 Responses to “Is This the End of Mabar?”

Comments (15)
  1. I’m wondering. Would it be too hard for Turbine/ the devs to run performance/ speed tests before publishing/ opening content that is likely to lag? I mean, it shouldn’t be too hard to write a script that simulates a realistic amount of users, and let it run for a day or two on a not live server or on localhost. If they did, they would have test data to work with, and they would catch these things before having an angry mob of users sending in angry bug reports/ tickets.

    The same goes for U19 content. The content, especially Storms horns have been extra laggy, and some raids they seem to never fix (ToD p2 for example).

  2. Altho i want some tomes, cant say im too dissapointed with it leaving early

    i dont do the slaying too much, just wanna join to fight dragon and get signet but seems like its either lag or not enought in instance in my runs so i failed more than completed ๐Ÿ™

    If they can sort it out, i wont complain as i know people like it but if they cant please keep it away, seems every week the gen forum has its first page full of the new rage lol

  3. My lag experience was identical to your own. It left me completely dejected last night and I couldn’t find the heart to go grinding. I’d really love to get those new augment gems but I see it is improbable.

    I’d be happy with “Mabar Lite.” They needn’t change the collectable types–they just don’t need to concentrate the focus in a special instance.

    Players go and kill undead–anywhere. Like Risia coins, they receive collectibles this way. Collectibles convert to motes and motes to items. I know that we have a bit of this available with a draught.

    Get rid of the dragon fight completely.

    Get rid of the Delera’s instance. It’s likely what screws things up since it’s a single instance within House J (unlike the Marketplace).

    Limit 1 tome and limit a certain number of items per account or character (and bind to account/character if needed). In short, take some lessons from Risia and Crystal Cove in how to work an event with a balance of server load. I’d rather let Mabar die than to see it again in its state.

  4. You know, I really do enjoy Mabar, but man does it stress me out. Not only is there the impending lag doom bubbling-up every time the doors open, but the way that the items are structured is painful.

    Not only are the items Bound to Character, but having to upgrade at each tier without the ability to purchase outright (like Crystal Cove items) makes the grind almost unbearable and insurmountable.
    I guess it really depends on your playstyle and whether you TR a lot; but IIRC, to build a full kit on one item it costs: 19,500 motes, 10 scales, 3 Fangs, and 3 Dusts.

    Obviously not all of your characters are going to need the aforementioned kit, as many probably already have some level of the items already. However, no matter how you slice it, it’s a lot of work if you need items on several characters.

    I am disappointed about it closing early, as I was pleasantly surprised by the lengthy time frame to begin with. All this being said, this has been most lucrative Mabar yet! I have scored 15 scales so far and have only lost out on 4 due to massive lag, and 1 due to not enough people in the chamber.

    Like some on the forums have speculated, the early departure may have something to do with an exploit (what, I have no idea), as would make more sense to just leave it in place until the initial run ends. I find it curious that after all the history we have with Turbine, they would cave-in to demands for them to end it. And why not allow it to last through the weekend…when more people can play and finish their items.

    Spooky thoughts ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. Recently I learnt that you don’t actually have to prepare all four altars in the allotted 10 minutes; I have anecdotal evidence suggesting you have about 30 minutes (+/- the first 10, I have no idea).

    So wait a random number of minutes offset after the 10 minute countdown, let everyone else have their instances … then prepare your altars, voilร  no lag, free loots, party time, and all that good stuff.

  6. I’m disappointed as well for Mabar being shut down early, but I understand completely. I’m not entirely sure what can be done to make the instance less laggy. I do enjoy the dragon fight when lag isn’t an issue. I myself have been pretty fortunate this go round. So far, I have only been in two failed attempts, one of those was because we didn’t have enough members in the group. However with that said I was running the dragon instance on a level 3 and a level 10 character.

    A fellow guildie of mine was running a dragon instance at the same time I was. He was on a level 12 character and I was on my level 3 character so we were in different instances but we were still partied up. My group had a successful completion but his group has plagued with crippling lag and it took him a and his entire instance a number of minutes to even get booted out of the instance after one of the altars was destroyed. He was highly disappointed as you can imagine.

    I do enjoy Mabar, I think the turn-ins are fun, the spectral dragon fight a good time (when it is lagging out), and the rewards really nice. Hopefully they can figure out a way to get it work.

  7. The thing is I don’t really get the complaints, this is on online MMO lag happens I’ve had way less issue with DDO lag (see sllim to none) during regular play than I ever did with Guild Wars or WoW and even during Mabar I;ve completed 6 dragon fights lag free (3 times 2 different chars 2 diff servers) and only had lag during the dragon fight once which rally didn’t matter as we had a total of 3 people in the instance, one of which ran around activating each altar despite us telling him to stop…sure we had lag but tis not why we lost.

    The only “lag” me and friends really experience is the initial log-in lag where you can’t move for a few seconds but that’s not actually lag…the loading screen should just stay up a bit longer. With normal lag once in a blue moon that lasts maybe a second or two and I play across 3 servers (Thelanis = Solo, Orien = Duo, Argo = Full Static Group & A Trio)

    I have experienced the “game-killing” lag people are talking about constantly like its so some sort of massive issue but it was performance lag as my PCs specs were below the min pre-reqs upgrading led to the above status.

    I’m not saying other peoples PCs or connections suck, I’m just saying theres many non-Turbine related things that could be causing these issues and frankly I think the devs are wasting too much time “fixing lag” instead of making new content, adjusting old content and QOL additions/changes.

    All I can say is thanks guys you ruined and possible killed Mabar, good job its not like my friends and I were looking forward to it or anything.

    Sidenote: The fact that people get so bent out of shape about the ladder bug as well cracks me up…learn to jump at ladders…boom ladder bug nullified…also the “loot crisis” I think the new loot is cool…please stop complaining about arbitrary things so the devs can actually see the good suggestions and legitimate complaint…Please and Thank you.

    • Ah yes, the infamous “it doesn’t bother me, it clearly isn’t a ‘real’ problem, you’re all just too whiny” argument.

      I’ve played WoW myself and never once experienced lag problems, so clearly you’re just blowing things out of proportion and my computer’s a veritable antique, so maybe the problem isn’t Blizzard, right?

      Same argument, turned around, and yet I bet with WoW you place the blame for the problem squarely with Blizzard where it belongs. See, unlike you, I don’t assume my experience is the norm, especially in the face of literally HUNDREDS of complaints lodged on the forums and thousands casually muttered in genchar every night during the event in-game.

      The fact of the matter is that Mabar has NEVER worked right and ALWAYS been a massive Charlie Foxtrot that Turbine needs to permanently fix or permanently replace.

      • Actually with WoW (or ANY online game) I just accepted it as a reality of playing a game online just like I do when I’m playing Mabar. I have FUN!! instead of whining about every minor little thing, that way I don’t drown out the actual coherent suggestions and legitimate issues.

        • Also to clarify I NEVER actually said it ISN’T Turbine’s fault I just said people shouldn’t automatically blame them and I think its a waste of the devs time to fix minor lag issues.

  8. Hmmmmm, I find two things to comment on. Yes, it is true that people tend to immediately place blame on game devs when such is not always the case, but when you can consistently run the rest of the game with no problems and the addition of a particular thing consistently causes LOTS of problems, you have a pretty good basis for blame. And two, I think you must be one of the lucky ones who isn’t affected by Mabar (and a hearty congratulations if you are); if you saw what others (myself included) experience as Mabar Lag, I doubt you’d classify it as a “minor” lag issue. That said, I think the idea of the Mabar festival is a good one and I rather enjoy it while I’m not being absolutely crippled by it (frame-by-frame fights ftw), but I support the decision to phase it out for the health of the game.

    P.S. My story beats Geoff’s; imagine going into the summoning chamber, then having your client crash immediately. After that, you try to boot up your client in the hopes of getting back in time only to have it spin its wheels for a while, then throw a no-connection-to-server error. After that, you start up the client again and you’re alone in the summoning chamber after everything is all over. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  9. Yes, waiting to prep the altars for 5-8 minutes AFTER the timer is up works like a charm. Unless you have extra helpful, but braindead players running around activating and mass invising the altars, even though everyone (who wants to avoid lag that is) SPECIFICALLY instructs to wait for 5-8 min after the instance is up. As well as no persistent AoE spells, etc.

    Also, when Cordovan said Mabar is closing early due to “lag”, he actually meant the ability to bypass the only one +5 tome per character restriction.
    That is All

What do you think?

%d bloggers like this: