Welcome to the first installment of Dethdlr’s Dungeon. This is my little place on EQ2Wire to post my commentary on EQ2. Unlike the news items, this is more for opinion based articles from my own perspective. For my first article here I’m going to tackle: How to figure out an encounter. I’m sure some of our readers know all of this information already but there’s probably a tidbit or two in there that may help someone out. Here goes…
So you’ve decided to try a zone that you’ve never done before. What’s the first thing you do? If you’re like a lot of people, you check around to see if there is a writeup on EQ2I, ZAM, or someplace else that tells you how to do the zone. But what if there is no writeup? Or what if the writeup doesn’t work for you the way it worked for the author? What then? How did the people who wrote the writeups figure out the encounters in the first place?
While playing EQ2, there have been numerous occasions where my group or raid came upon an encounter where the writeups were either non-existant, or simply didn’t work for us. Sometimes we simply didn’t have the gear we needed, sometimes we didn’t have the right classes, but other times we just didn’t have a strat that worked for us. In those situations, we start trying to figure out the encounter to find a good strat that works for us (for example, how to take down Dayakara in Ward of Elements with only 16k DPS). But how do you figure out a strat you say? Glad you asked….
Figuring out an encounter, what to look for
In order to figure out a good strategy for beating an encounter, you first have to figure out what’s actually going on. A lot of times this is trial and error. Pull the MOBs and see what happens. Adjust your approach based on what you see and try again. At this point you’re probably saying, “Thanks a lot Captain Obvious, tell me something I didn’t already know!” Fair point. I’ll give it a shot.
For a given encounter, their are a lot of things to look at that are potential clues. Keep an eye on the following:
Read the description of any buffs on the MOBs prior to pull as well as any added during the encounter. There are times when one MOB in an encounter may be immune to damage until another one dies or may throw a nasty AoE if it’s too close to another one, etc. Some MOBs may go into a different “stance” during the fight making them immune to certain attack types. Reading the buffs may tell you important things you need to know in order to beat the encounter.
Read any dialog that the MOB says before or during the fight. Sometimes the secret to beating an encounter is in the text that the MOBs say to you. Read this for any clues about the encounter. If the text says “SoAndSo says something in SeaSlug that you don’t understand”, go learn how to speak SeaSlug.
Read any text that flashes across your screen. There are different colored text that can flash across your screen when certain things occur or don’t occur during a fight. For example if you do something while hit with a certain curse, you could trigger a massive AoE. If you trigger it, Red text will flash across your screen letting you know you messed up. Read this text for clues on what to do and what not to do.
Examine any detrimental effects that are placed on anyone. In your detrimental effects window, right click the detrimental and click Examine. This pops up a window describing what the detrimental actually does. Some detrimentals cast AoEs on everyone around you but leave you virtually unharmed. Others lower your mitigation, etc. Knowing what the detrimental does may give you some insight on how to lessen its effects.
Watch for fears, stifles, roots, charms, etc. and get them cured ASAP. Don’t forget that mages can cure Arcane and can cure the healer if needed. Also don’t forget that Shift-R toggles walk/run and “Z” toggles crouch. If the MOB fears, you can hit Shirt-R, and Z and not go very far when feared.
Watch for mem-wipes. Sometimes, no matter how much hate the tank has, the MOB will periodically mem-wipe. This can be handled sometimes by having everyone stand right behind the MOB so that when the mem-wipe happens, the tank doesn’t have to chase the MOB to get it back. Sometimes the MOB will mem-wipe to a particular class or target a particular person. If that’s the case, make sure everyone is ready to run to the tank if they get aggro. We all have hate meters these days so keep an eye on them. Just remember that if the MOB is rooted in place, the hate meter will pretty much lie about who has aggro until the root breaks. If the mem-wipe happens at a particular time or health percentage each time, you may want to have everyone back off on DPS during those times so the tank can easily get aggro back.
Try moving the mobs around to see if anything different happens based on where the mobs are standing. For example, you’ll never beat Pawbuster if you fight him in place. Eventually, he has to be moved over the grate. Once he’s there, and at the right percentage of health, you’ll get text flashing across your screen telling you he scratched the grate. This is a clue that you’ve done something right. Sometimes the MOB needs to be pulled into a particular room for some reason. Don’t be afraid to try different things to see what works.
Try positioning yourself and the group/raid in different places. Sometimes you have to be on a certain island, or in a certain bubble in order to avoid something bad happening. There are also certain times when you may need to stay maxed range on the MoBs or “joust” in and out between AoEs. Try standing in front of, beside, and behind the MOBs. Some will do more damage behind them, others will do more in front. Look for anything in the zone that may make the fight easier based on positioning. Again, trial and error. Took us a while in Conservatory before we even considered standing IN FRONT of the dragon at the end but it turns out, that’s a pretty decent place to stand.
Look for clickable items. There are times where certain items must be clicked at specific times during the fight. Sometimes this will be an item in the room, other times it could be something brought in from another zone. Keep a lookout during the fight to see if anything changes and becomes clickable.
Try different damage types on the mob. Some MOBs are immune to particular damage types. Try several different kinds and analyze the results. Melee, Spell, Heat, Poison, Crushing, Slashing, Taunting, you name it, try it.
Watch for any visual cues the mob may give during the fight. Sometimes they will change weapons or a skeletal hand will come out of the floor periodically, etc. When this happens, it could be an indication that you’re supposed to do something different.
If there are adds, pay attention to what happens when they spawn and what they do. Sometimes you should kill the adds as fast as possible. Sometimes, you should leave them alone. Sometimes you need to keep them away from the named. Pay attention to what happens when you try different approaches and see which works best.
Pay attention to things that happen when the MOB reaches a certain percentage of health. Some MOBs start hitting harder the lower they get in health. Others spawn adds faster when they get lower in health. Sometimes you have to burn them to a certain percentage slowly saving all your big hits, then throw the kitchen sink at them for the last 15% or so. Other times, at certain percentages, things may spawn in the room that you have to click. Codexicon in Crucible is a good example of this. Every 20%, books and scrolls spawn on the floor that you have to click on and burn. If you don’t get them burned fast enough, you get hit with a big AoE. Lets say you get hit with the AoE at 80%. Slow your DPS so that your healer has time to get everyone healed back up to green before the MOB reaches 60%, otherwise if you get hit with it again, it may be a wipe. Your parse may not look as good from slowing down the DPS but most groups I’ve been in do a lot less DPS in the prone position.
After the fight, analyze the logs/parse:
Look through the logs from the encounter to see what you can learn. There are usually loads of useful information in the logs if you know what to look for.
Check resists. If your tank got one-shotted, look to see what type of damage it was that killed him/her. Then check his/her resists to see if there is anything you can do to improve the specific one needed. Same with any AoEs that you got hit with. It’s possible the tank was hit with a detrimental that lowered their mitigation or something of that manner. If so, make sure you get it cured ASAP on your next try.
Check for spell/combat arts used by the MOB that did major damage. Advanced Combat Tracker (ACT) can be used to analyze your logs and allows you to set up timers to show when the big AoEs are about to hit so you can joust them. (Note: How to use ACT is outside the scope of this article) If they’re hitting the whole group at particular intervals, that’s probably a fair candidate for a timer.
Check for things that are being reflected. It’s possible that you’re killing yourself because of a reflect. For example, early on, The Master in Crucible did a lot of reflects that some groups had to look out for (he’s been toned down considerably now). I wrote a trigger in ACT that would call out in my headset who threw what, if it was reflected. This allowed us to beat that encounter with a less than optimal group setup simply because we were no longer working against ourselves.
At least for me, and most of the people I group with, figuring out a new encounter can be some of the funnest times spent in game. Sometimes you’ll figure it out on the first pull. Sometimes it takes time and you die a lot. It’s a trial and error process. Don’t be afraid to try something you know won’t work just to prove or disprove a theory on what’s going on. Sometimes you can learn a lot from a wipe.
Just remember, if you’re having fun, that’s the most important part. Follow the tips listed above and you’ll be well on your way to figuring out anything new the game throws at you. At least those that you have the gear for that is. Charging in to Royal Palace of Erudin with six people wearing T7 mastercrafted gear, even with the best strat in the world is still more than likely going to end with oily stains on the floor where your group used to be.
See anything I missed? Let me know in the comments.
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