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.
🙂 😀 🙂