There’s Always a First

Aaaaaaaaaaaaah...I had another post all set for today, but it’s just going to have to wait. I’ve had a first-time experience, not just in LotRO, but in MMOs in general. I didn’t ragequit, but I logged out pretty much disgusted. I consider myself a fairly patient person, and an optimistic gamer – I can find some value in pretty much any content I come across. Or, at least, I could.

The first part of this experience came two days ago, when I tried to finish the Water-wheels 3 man instance with two kinmates. The entire instance was going very well. I thought overall it was a great design, both in layout and in the mechanics of levers and gates, and freeing the water wheels of obstruction. Until the final encounter, it was shaping up to be among my favorite areas.

Then we faced Caerlûg. And the whole thing fell apart. Between the knockback throwing us into certain death beneath the pistons, the 1k damage hits, and the stun that kept us from pulling the lever that interupts Caerlûg’s healing cycle, it was like beating our heads against a stone wall. We got frustrated enough to call it a night.

Last night it was the Dark Delvings and Gurvand. Some of you are already groaning (those who have probably already run the instance). This barely started out well, and we never made it past the first boss fight. Between the insane knockback of the Void Eater, being pushed out of the fight within minutes (either by being knocked off the platform or being caught in the Glow Worm strands), the insane number of adds leading to complete lockdown on induction-based skills, and the ridiculously punishing debuff (either for being outside the “magic circle” or just plain “taking too long”), our group was fed up in short order. There’s a reason that Dark Delvings is the least-run instance in Moria – it’s just not fun. I pity the Guardians and Wardens  who need this instance for their class quest (I think).

Both of these, in my mind, represent bad design. For Water-wheels, the instance requires a specific combination  of classes (or nearly enough as to not make a difference) – Minstrel and Champion. The last slot is for the lucky player.  For the Dark Delvings, it’s because success seems to be entirely dependent on luck – if you’re lucky enough to avoid getting caught in the strands and triggering exponential adds, or you’re lucky enough to avoid getting knocked off the platform, or you’re lucky enough to have exactly the right classes, ad nauseum. Too much luck, not enough strategy or skill, or both.

Some people are probably thinking, “Boo-hoo. Many players have completed those instances successfully. You’re doing it wrong.” That may be; they may be “do-able”. But are they fun? Are we enjoying ourselves while running the instance? Content that is required for many players! This is why Turbine failed here; not because they made impossible content, but because they made content that is impossible to enjoy. When 6 level-capped players with decent gear drop group and collectively state, “I’m not coming back here until they patch this *%$#”, the developers are doing something wrong.

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9 responses to “There’s Always a First

  1. I feel your pain. The exact same thing happened to me the first time in those places. While I still feel Dark Delving is still the hardest 6-man in the game, a good portion of it is luck. The first boss is easy once you get the mechanics down. The second boss is 50% skill 50% luck, and Gurvand is very much so a “you need specific classes.” My best advice is to go with a few ppl who have done it before if you still want to get it done. And the wardens and guardian class quests are easy to get to and do. You really only have to kill the first boss for those two.

    Waterworks is still my favorite 3-man, and that is because of the eye-candy, design, and challenge. First time I ran it I felt the same as you. The boss is WAY tOO hard compared to the rest of it. Though after a few wipes, and then a few more, and then a few more you start to get the feel of it. First time I passed it was with a warden(me), captain and a lore-master. It wasn’t easy, but we squeaked it out in the end. Since then it really just takes a good explanation to those who haven’t done it and a good understanding of how aggro is managed with the boss. The last time I completed it was with a warden, hunter and lore-master. It was still a challenge but it is like you say doable.

    I recommend keeping at the waterworks. Try switching it up, grouping with ppl that have done it, it really is a great dynamic fight and it keeps you on your toes. I wouldn’t say you are doing wrong. It’s not an easy fight your first few times. The beauty of 3-mans is that is forces you to get better with your entire class, not just the specific roles. They make you better at the class as a whole, like when the 3-mans in Eregion did when they were introduced. Dark Delving can rot in the black abyss for all I care. Though that’s how it is supposed to be. Brutally hard.

  2. Yeah, those are both pretty rough fights – DD is notorious for being very unforgiving and “quirky” to be kind to the devs. I think those are by far the toughest (the other 3 man is up there too) boss fights in Moria, even for level 65 toons. Our recent run through DD (posted on my blog) was a little ugly as well but mainly as many of us hadn’t done it in a while.

    Both of these have lots of things going on, and as such are incredibly challenging as the slightest mistake or unluckiness can ripple through and cause all sorts of bad things. These fights really do test how well the group works together and how the individuals play their classes. Are there issues with them, yes, but they are harder level content that some folks really enjoy. While your group might not have enjoyed it, I can guarantee there are some who really enjoy trying to figure things out and solving the instance.

    As for the Waterworks groups, I’ve run this on my captain, minstrel, and warden with all sorts of diverse groups and while some are easier then others, it can be accomplished with a non “trinity” group. I think they’ve done a pretty good job in general with balancing the 3-mans as they all can be accomplished by just about any kind of group.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is do what you enjoy – if you don’t like DD and WW, don’t go there. If you really want that legendary skill for your guard or warden then yeah, you’ll need to work through it. But I imagine as the game progresses there will continue to be changes to the legendary skill acquisition system and those instances will be optional for those who like the challenge.

  3. Thanks for the feedback, and the encouragement! I think the thing that really got me was just a run of bad luck – two very difficult instances back-to-back that frustrated our groups to no end. There was no fun being had, and that’s the worst sin a dev can commit.

    I stand by my “patch it and I’ll go back”…for now. I could be persuaded I guess, to go back to DD, but it’s going to be a while. Waterwheels I am definitely trying again. What caught us there was the punishing difficulty curve. We were cruising along, not too easy, but we were doing fine – we had a good groove going between the three of us (Burglar – me, Guardian, and Rune Keeper), and then got to the end and…ouch. It’s like running into a stone wall at high speed; it just yanked the instance out from underneath us. Two quick wipes and we got real cautious. Two more and we were pretty demoralized.

    The problem is, I’m a completionist. I don’t need those instances (at least, not the final bosses) for class quests or anything. But I want them because I want to finish their quests, etc.

  4. Azz has a good point (I re-wrote my post like 6 times so I didn’t see his till now) in that there’s a general shock factor in the difficulty with these two instances. Things are pretty smooth for most of it but then there’s the wall that just kicks you right where it hurts. At least with DD the wall is pretty early, but depending on how you do WW, you might not hit it until the end which certainly is rough.

    And with a burg, guard, RK group – there’s very little ya’ll can’t do, that’s a SOLID group. Keep working the 3mans as that experience will really help in the 6mans as you’ll be able to carry a group soon enough.

  5. It’s funny because I did the WW 3-man with a couple of kin mates a couple of nights ago as well and had a similar experience. Thankfully the book quest does not require you to beat the final boss so it was not that big of a deal to me but we also wiped several times on the last boss and ultimately gave up. We had myself (65 Warden), a 65 Guardian, and a 65 minstrel and the best we did was the very first try we got him down to about 9,000 morale. I think we have the mechanics in general down for it but what we can’t quite figure is that normal aggro mechanics seem pretty much out the window. It seemed like no matter what me or the Guardian did he wanted to go after the minstrel and after he took him out it was just a matter of time before we were down as well.

    Also, I had a similar experience with DD. I, as a Warden, needed to go there for my class quest and the first try we wiped several times on the first boss and just could not do it. Tried it again with a different group several days later and we were able to atleast complete my class quest though we still could not take out the final boss. First boss was relatively easy the second time. I think the key to that is get a good Hunter and a good Champ and just burn him down as quickly as possible. Also, there is I think a bit of luck involved. We then completed my class quest and the second boss without too much difficulty. The last boss has this wicked damage reflect and we could not figure out when to hit him or not (those tiny icons are hard to tell what is what sometimes) but I think he would not be so difficult if your group can figure out when to hit him and when not to hit him. I will try this one and complete it someday as well as the WW 3-man.

  6. Oh yes, I wanted to add one thing as well. I had a similar experience of having an instance that just seemed too hard at first with Skumfil. I took a group there and it just went badly. Now that I have figured out how to do it it really is not that bad and is a relative breeze so I am hoping that DD and the boss of the WW instance will become that way too once I practice them and “learn” them better.

  7. Pingback: No Fun At All « Sandson's Organic Chickens

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