Although many of us flagged for the new raid on the first night, some of us did not, and it wasn’t until Friday that we had at least six people together who all had the time and characters to try the raid.
Only six of us, so we’d be short-manning. And no, that is not a short joke*.
* Whether or not something is a short joke becomes more important when playing in an all-Halfling guild
Regardless of our height and numbers, soon we were gathered in the new raid, buffing and looking about. It is quite devilish in there, no doubt. I guess the programmers had more developed devils to work with than they did demons. Or maybe they just like the devils better. But for whatever reason, there we are again, back in the land of Horned Devils and Pit Fiends and Orthons.
Familiar faces, familiar sound effects. But in very unfamiliar context.
Details to follow. Spoiler-free details, so I guess really they are not really details at all.
A rare headless Pushmepullyou Owlbear
I intended to take lots of screenshots, but no, too busy, too intense. In the end there was only one, taken while buffing, and even that only due to the fact that the two owlbears were standing inside each other in a way that struck me as funny. So no images. Which is probably good as it is hard to have non-spoilery images.
But enough intro. Into the raid! As soon as one advances one is in combat; it was hairy, quickly, but nothing we couldn’t handle. We had a good mix; a fighter, two rogues, a healer and two casters. The fighter was able to intimidate and hold the bulk of the bad guys while the casters built up a combat zone of area-of-effect damage and crowd controls (we call it “making soup” for reasons that I don’t even really remember) that made it easy for the rogues to pick off the bad guys at will.
That isn’t a spoiler, right? Every raid has a combat. Surprise! This one does too.
So there we are, feeling pretty good about ourselves for handling the first melee, when we encounter the second obstacle. Oh ouch, didn’t expect that! No spoilers but I can tell you it hurt! But worse, nearly as soon as we encounter the second obstacle we also encounter a lag storm. A bad one, no one can move. It takes a few minutes but we are all killed. We give up and recall/release.
But that’s okay, losing to lag sucks but we did learn something, and our Warlock and rogues have gotten ideas regarding how to deal with the second encounter. We re-gather at the raid, reset, re-enter, re-buff. We re-fight the first fight, much more efficiently this time since we expect it, and then rather easily roll up the second obstacle as well.
Immediately, another layer of obstacles. I love that about this raid! Figure out one thing and you are immediately in another! This time it is more of a trappy thingie than anything else, not actually a trap but definitely trap-ish. People try to time it, we get split up, soon we are all soulstones again.
Fail 2, and it didn’t even require any lag.
But no worries, we expected it to be like this. In fact, we specifically avoided putting our short slots up for PUGs because we want to figure it out for ourselves, even though we all know from past experience just how painful that can be.*
* At this point we all break out our worst ever figuring-things-out horror stories. For me, it was the time I ran the Crucible on the night it was released. No one had any idea how to do it, they didn’t preview content back then. It took us seven-and-a-half hours to figure it out. Yes, crazy, especially since it was a work night, but really it was not crazy it was crazy fun. Seven-and-a-half hours!
Back in, and this time I have a plan for the trappy thing. And it works! except … oops, there is an unexpected combat too and … oh. Soulstones. Again.
Release, reset, rebuff, re-fight, re-defeat the second obstacle, then the trappy thing, we did it! Yay us! We are through the trappy thing! But now the raid begins for real. And we have no idea how to handle it. Fighting everywhere, raid objectives everywhere, all occurring on multiple levels at the same time.
Wait, did we achieve one of the objectives? We aren’t sure. Either we succeeded or we failed and we cannot tell. The objective went away, but did it ascend in glory? Or just have an interesting failure graphic? We don’t know. Meanwhile there is another one over here, and another over there, and … too split up. Many, many bad guys, all orange-named or worse, and we can’t succeed fighting them one-on-one. We need soup. And a plan. Without that … soulstones. Again.
No worries. Release, re-buff, re-fight, re-defeat the second obstacle, head into the trappy section, ready to fight, but ouch! Yikes! That is much worse that last time. We are soulstones again, in the trappy thing, which we thought we knew how to beat. Maybe there is some random variation we need to factor in? Maybe we lagged a little? It seems like there is a little bit of lag in this raid going on most of the time, makes it hard to tell whether any one occurrence is lag or a video artifact or whatever. But it is easy to tell that we are all dead. Again.
That one sucked because we didn’t learn anything new. We just died. Ah well, nothing for it but to release, reset, re-buff, re-fight, and re-defeat again. This time we handle the trappy thing better, although we didn’t do anything differently. /shrug/ more to figure out there I guess. But regardless, we are through it and back into the raid proper.
This time we have an idea about the raid objectives, but we still aren’t sure if we actually succeeded at it. Did we? There was that animation again, is it good? Is it bad? We have no idea. The number of objectives left to achieve changed, but no one is sure whether that is good or bad either. Hmmm maybe if we pay closer attention at the next objective? We do find another raid objective, but we are doing something else wrong and letting too many bad guys stay alive. Something expires – a timer? A counter? We think probably a counter, but either way we are ejected back into Amrath.
That time we learned a lot but we are not sure how to apply the lessons. There aren’t enough of us to split up, but the raid design seems to want us to do that. Really we are not sure what to do differently on the next attempt. It would help so much if we could tell whether we were doing good or bad on the first objective.
Nothing for it but to re-do everything again. And so, yet again, we are back inside.
Except this time we are hit with another major lag storm. No one can move. Some people cannot even get all the way loaded into the zone. Nothing. We wait, ten minutes, no improvement.
And that is that. By now it has become late, we are tired, and the lag has worn us down. We call it a night.
But not a bad night. Yes there was lag. Yes we failed. A lot. But we learned a lot too! All on our own. No wiki, no relying on others, just us versus the raid.
A crazy fun night.
I can’t wait to try again.
🙂 😀 🙂