Dethdlr’s Dungeon: EQ2′s Endgame Downfall – Critical Mitigation

Written by Dethdlr on . Posted in Dethdlr's Dungeon

Editor’s Note: A week ago, Dethdlr sent me a draft of an article that he had the intention of posting to EQ2Wire at some point in the future. It hasn’t been polished or edited. But in light of today’s announcement, it’s timely and provides an interesting contrast to my article.

For many years in EQ2, I was a casual raider.  What I mean by that is, I would primarily run group zones with guild mates but from time to time I would join a pickup raid or tag along when another guild needed to fill some raid slots.  Several times, when filling those empty raid slots for other guilds, myself and some of my guild mates were asked if we would be interested in coming along on a regular basis.  In one of those cases, I even worked my way up to being one of the raid leaders even though I was in a different guild.

The reason myself and some of my guild mates were able to do this is because we like being good at our characters.  We try to get whichever upgrades we can from instances, quests, faction merchants, etc.  We make sure all our spells/CAs are Expert or above.  We make sure our items are adorned.  We try to come up with the best AA spec we can and consult with each other to try and be as good a player as possible.

When we were asked along on raids, quite often we would out-parse a lot of the regular raiders.  Back when I was playing my Assassin, I had two other raiding assassins sending me in-game mail messages asking for advice on how to up their DPS since I had soundly trounced them on the parse from group 4 (traditionally the “leftover” group).

Then came Sentinel’s Fate and Critical Mitigation.  With the introduction of Crit Mit, a barrier was put in place for raiding.  Now, in front of every raid zone, there was a sign that said “You must have at least this much Crit Mit to ride this ride.”   I tagged along on a  raid or two a few months before Destiny of Velious came out.  If I didn’t get hit, I was either first or second on the parse.  But because I didn’t have the right Crit Mit, if I *did* get hit, I was pretty much one-shotted.  Not fun.

With Destiny of Velious, they made it even worse.  Not only do you have to have the right Crit Mit to keep from dying, you also had to have the right Crit Chance to make sure you can live up to your full potential.

It used to be that the reason you didn’t take a non-raider along on a raid was because they didn’t know what they were doing, couldn’t play their class well, or couldn’t do the DPS or healing job that a raider could.  Now, those things don’t matter if you don’t have the Crit Mit or Crit Chance for the zone.  It doesn’t matter how good you are at your class, if you don’t have the Crit Mit or Crit Chance, you’re useless.

Lets take two assassins.

The first one, an average player in raid gear.  The second one, an exceptional player in instance gear.  Take them both and put them up against a training dummy and the second one beats the first one on the parse.  Take them both and put them in certain raid zones and the first one will wipe the walls with the second one.  Why?  The second one is the better player.

On an equal playing field, the second one can out DPS the first one even though they are wearing worse gear.  But move them into a raid zone and those two little stats, crit mit and crit chance, will take that exceptional player and make them look like an amateur.  Why?  What did this add to the game?  Nothing.  Some unimaginative developer/designer a few years ago decided that further segregating the raiders from the rest was a good idea for some reason.  Either that or they didn’t even consider the implications on non-raiders which is even worse.

Before Sentinel’s Fate, you would see people looking in channels for certain classes when they needed to fill empty slots in their raids.  Now, those same messages come with a crit mit requirement that few instance runners can meet.  It really is a shame.

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Comments (15)

  • badcat

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    OK I can speak to this situation very well. I had actually left EQ2 to go play LOTRO, and dis so for a couple of years. Lotro introduced radiance gear (their version of crit mit). For a year folks complained and complained about it, you had to have it to raid. It put in place an artificial gate. Lotro has now pulled radiance out, thus putting it back in game player skill, instead of gear skill.

    Crit mit in EQ2 is the same thing, it puts the skill on the gear. I will say this all day long you can hang raid gear on an average toon and it will do great things, you can hang raid gear on somebody who does not understand their class, they will fail despite having the best gear in game.

    Still this puts an artificial gate in place. You should not need crit mit to do certain zones. SOE already pulled crit mit out of the instances and overland zones.

    Great gear comes from raiding and doing your part, we don’t need to insert an artificial gate on raiding. It hinders progress.

    Reply

  • Meylana

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    I guess I fundamentally don’t understand why CM is being/has been held as THE restriction for pick up players to raid (since that seems to be what this article is about). CC/CM “requirements” for pick ups, which are almost exclusively EM x4 or x2s, are typically used to measure a players skill and dedication, indicative of previous raid experience. If I KNOW someone to be a good player, but they’re lower on CM, it’s not a huge deal. And I know I’m not the only one who does or thinks this. All the time in chat channels, pick up raids ask for usually inflated CC/CM requirements. Upon being called out for inflated requirements, the player will usually respond, “I just want to weed out the noobs.”

    If you have solid healers and at least some intelligence, an undergeared player can complete raids for which their CM is too low. CC is another story entirely because if you’re not critting, you’re pretty much useless as ANY class.

    If CM is removed because it is acting as a barrier for pick up raiders, either because of actual zone CM requirements or just “social elitism,” a new stat will be tracked to judge players quantitatively on their skill (seeming like it’s going to be HP). So for more casual players, I doubt this will have much of an impact on getting into raids unless you have superior skill with horrible gear (the exception, not the rule). For long time raiders, it acts as a slap in the face for those who spent time working up a relatively easy stat to chase and appears to do little to nothing to help with the rampant bugs blocking further HM progression.

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  • Techno

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    I don’t understand the viewpoint of this article. It’s not like crit mit is some huge and difficult thing to get, you go into the zones, do them a few times to get gear from them, these let you have enough crit mit to do the next tier. Its how mmo’s work. When you do progression mobs you adorn all crit mit so that you can kill new things, and after you walk around in their gear you don’t need that anymore, it’s not some impossible dream. Plenty of people have been doing it for a long time now, and any player that was “skilled enough” only had to put in a bit of time to gear up. You’re claiming there is some untapped market of highly skilled players that just can’t seem to acquire the holy crit mit items. There is some subset of amazing players that only want to play every once in a while, that far outclass the players that play all of the time. Thats some sort of joke. It’s more likely that there are a lot of free to play players that don’t understand how critmit even works, that are crying they want to raid too, or casual players that don’t want to do any work for raid gear, which they only need if they want to raid.

    The worst part about this change is that its done in the worst way possible. If they did this in the next set of content, by removing mob crit bonus, such that players would naturally shed crit mit gear, it would make a much smoother transition then pulling it mid progression. They’ve proven themselves incapable of making large changes with forethought, and we can easily bet on this change leaving huge gear and progression inconsistencies on the current raid content.

    Also, going forward, without a crit mit progression treadmill, they’re going to need to either replace it with a similar stat based wall such as mitigations or resists, increase the level caps, which they won’t, or release content fast enough that it isn’t insanely boring. None of that is going to happen, so I can’t wait to watch this trainwreck.

    Reply

  • Wanyen

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    “For long time raiders, it acts as a slap in the face for those who spent time working up a relatively easy stat to chase and appears to do little to nothing to help with the rampant bugs blocking further HM progression.”

    That’s part of the problem. Movement of players, not particular specific players, from raiding to non-raiding and vice versa is filled with hurdles that are unncessary and in fact detrimental.

    If you skip or miss an expansion as a raider, the raid gear you worked so hard for is completely useless, even for grouping it is marginal to not so great. Compare raid gear of SF with even entry level Thurg gear; now skip back an expansion, compare TSO raid gear with Thurg. If you don’t see a problem, then do not continue reading. If the problem looks like the Thurg gear is too good, and raid gear from SF needs to fatten up, then please, do not continue reading. It is not about any particular ‘set’ or series of gear. And its not about a single, particular stat. Crit mit as a concept is neat and kind of makes sense.. as implemented though, and distributed, kind of blows. It is a general principal of item design and progression that is failing…

    On the other side, in current content, a non-raider will require an expansion worth of ‘progression’ to be in adequtae shape to join a raid team. Exceptions? Yes, but only if there is extrordinary help/hand-holding by others.. not something an individual can really accomplish on their own, or in even a small consistent group in a reasonable period of time and within more reasonable terms of effort.

    The only thing that will save raiding is fluid movement of players. This means ‘tier’ to ‘tier’ item stats can not be so clearly an upgrade in every manner possible. Items should be slightly more ambiguious about their overeall strength, but hopefully in the long run better gear would come from harder content. But perhaps not, depending on a specific players stat goals. The steps between have to be small.

    If you want to find better players, then make the issue about making it easier to find those with skill, an ability to learn, listen, react, and adapt; and not about a displayed, quantitied gear stat. The joy from raiding should be measured by the achievements, the timeliness of those achievements, and method of achievement; not by any formula that involves CC, CM, HP, or whatever stat you choose for the raid force. Those gear stats should only be secondary, side-effect of raiding, not the minimum means to raid.

    Should a ‘tier 1′ dps in full raid gear be more than four times as effective as a ‘tier 1′ dps in the best group gear on average? At specific moments, I might look in the direction of agreement, but not for the duration. Understandably, you wouldnt bother with the group player for a valuable spot on the raid, until you ‘geared them up’. That is part of what is fundamentally broken.

    If it takes clearly distinctive gear to tell what’s worth putting on and whats not, or to make raiding worthwhile, then I think you are part of the problem. Raiding should in general be it’s own reward.. the gear should merely be a bonus.

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  • Sole

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    Heya folks,

    In my opinion as a “Non-Raider”. I think this change is nonsense, why? Because for a Raiding Zone, Crit Mitigation is giving the Raiders more option to be unique and concetrate to be better. SoE error was to Add Crit Mitigation to Heroic Dungeons, this was the biggest error SoE ever Made. They should have done instead Like TSO was, Crit Mitigation only based on Raid Instaces.

    This error leads to the “situation” that for Heroic Instances anyone and ther grandmother are searching only raiders for Heroic zones. At the beginning of DoV self the easiest DoV zones was based on Raidgear. The following change with get rid of Crit Mitigation from a few Instances improved it slightly. But in the End, HighEnd Nonraid Content Like drunder was nearly Impossible for a non raider. They try it to resolve this to much fokus on raider..but they failed it again.

    Now they remove it with the same Purpose i think, they will balance it for all…so now they are no needs for raidgear anymore for Heroic Contents. But its too late now, Casuals are gone a long time ago, many after DoV launches.. a few waitet 3-4 months and see the game is not changed..all belongs to raider. In the End this change is senseless because. Crit Mitigation belongs to Raid Instaces Only and this change wont helps Casual anymore because they leaved EQ2 a long time ago(most casuals, a few are here sure).

    Im Sorry about my grammatic, its not my native language and after scool i never used it really. Hope you can understand what i Mean.

    Sole

    Reply

  • Dethdlr

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    Unfortunately, as Feldon said, this “article” wasn’t a fully fleshed out article, it was an idea for an article.

    The basis of this came from my personal experience in sentinels fate on my assassin. I raided during KoS, EoF, and through the middle of RoK but just haven’t had the time to do it full time since SF came out. But I did enjoy tagging along on raids occasionally during RoK. My focus then moved from raids to group instances. My guild’s progression became working through the group instances instead of the raid zones. If you’re a raider, you may not believe that us instance folk actually have our own progression in the group zones but it’s true. And once we have the gear from the higher group zones, the lower ones become trivial just like they probably are from launch to the raiders (at least they were when I raided).

    During SF, I had the opportunity to tag along on a Vigilant x2 raid. I was quite proud of myself because, as usual, even lumped in with regular raiders with better gear than I had, I was regularly at the top of the parse. Unless there were any AoEs. If there were any AoEs, I was toast. I’d get one shotted every time because I didn’t have the crit mit that the rest of the raiders had.

    What kind of sense does that make? My skill at playing my character allowed me to out parse players in better gear than I had on the same class. But because I didn’t have the crit mit gear from raiding, I’d go splat.

    I’m all for progression. I like it. What I don’t like though is having a single stat determine whether or not you can take down the content. Back when Ward of Elements came out, my guild worked our way through it getting the upgrades and making it further and further through it and finally clearing it at least once a week. But there was a time where we fought Diggs for almost half an hour with no power regen classes in the raid (out power regen didn’t show up that day). We actually ran him out of power. It took all of us doing everything we could to finally take him out. It took thinking outside the box and coming up with a strat that worked for us with our limited gear. It took working with ACT, creating triggers, timers, etc. But we were able to pull it off.

    But if Diggs had had a crit mit requirement, one AoE and we would have all been taking a dirt nap. That’s the problem.

    Crit mit and mob crit avoidance don’t have anything at all to do with skill. Overcoming power drains takes skill (even if that means proper group/raid setup). Overcoming dps checks takes skill (in knowing how to dps the best you can for your class). Overcoming scripts that make you go somewhere or do something when something happens requires skill. Doing raid zones over and over to get the crit mit gear and adorning it with crit mit adornments doesn’t take any skill. It just takes time.

    I liked the days when I could tag along with a raid guild and out parse their best players because I was better at playing my character than they were. I spend hours and hours with ACT to work out the best casting order to maximize my dps. But with crit mit, that doesn’t matter because I dps a lot less while laying dead on the floor because an AoE killed me due to lack of crit mit. And with critical avoidance, that doesn’t matter because youe average player in raid gear will crit 100% of the time but I won’t so they’ll out dps me (well, not always).

    It didn’t used to be the case that if you joined a raid guild and put in enough time, you’d be able to out parse any non raider while in a raid zone. But that’s what it’s become. Because of those two stats, the divide between raiders and non-raiders is bigger than it has ever been IMO.

    Even in group zones, when I look at the parse these days and someone is low, I look at their crit percent. If it’s low, that means I have no idea how good they are at their character. I only know that they need better gear with a higher crit chance. Unless they’re doing lower dps because they’re dying to AoEs (drunder zones), in which case I ask them what their crit mit is at.

    It’s just silly.

    Reply

  • Eschia

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    I used to consider myself a casual organized raider, due to the fact I raided 3 nights a week, 3 hours each. This was up until DoV when the guild went on hiatus, for unrelated reasons. Up until that point the game focused on player skill rather then “gotta catch’em all, crit mit”. For a while I continued to play solo because that’s about all I could get into. I’ve never seen the inside of the new raid zones. Wish I could… Perhaps after crit mit goes back into the cellar it came from, I might be able to. Since then I’ve been hopping back and forth from all the old MMOs I used to play before EQ2 launched, like anarchy online, and asheron’s call. Goes to show, if you make a game become too much of a chore keeping up, people leave or at least go on long vacations hoping when they come back things will be better.

    Reply

  • Luminata

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    I know it isn’t a polished article but wanted to correct an error, crit mit was introduced with TSO, not SF.

    Reply

  • Dethdlr

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    @Luminata: Ya got me. What you see in this article is a stream of consciousnesses message sent to Feldon about an idea about an article when we were talking about something related. Even so, crit mit may have been added in TSO, but it was no where near as significant a stat as it has been since SF.

    Reply

  • Daalilama

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    Polished or not spot on assessment Dethdlr

    Reply

  • camelotcrusade

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    Nice to see some well-thought out comments instead of just the usual grumping. Good article and quality comments, thanks to all for participating.

    While I generally agree that CM did more harm than good to heroic content, it did give me and my group of friends – who only stick to heroic content – a clear sense of the path to raiding. From focus gear to CM, we truly felt like we were getting a taste of what it was like to be “them” as SF raid mechanics trickled into heroic gear. We never ended up raiding – it’s just not our thing – but it was the first time I can remember actually talking about the x2 since it just didnt’ seem as intimidating or unknown as before.

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  • Elunihea

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    Well to add my 2 cents not that it matters much im from the old bazaar now freeport server have a guild thats a non raiding guild yet back in the old days was 1 of the only guilds to have done all the city writ raids then we would help other guilds fill slots in there raid force well when dov came out it was like we were lost and not used much anymore it always had to do with CM and CC was always the reason(s) we were told then after freeport/zaar merge there was more pugs bike rack time as i called them cause of cm and cc again then an alliance was formed on the server maybe 10 lil guilds got together and started tring hard to see what we could do then another hard core raider along with a friend or 2 from a great guild came along and said you know if everyone is willing to spend the time and deaths this is possible those 3 guys took and made a raid force out of normal players who wanted to see end game hard core raiding and its happening we are moving up on the progession board a PUG as it was set up in the beginning is now doing things that many say we couldnt and still cant see how we are doing it not all have the high cm or cc yet not all have the gear that is called for yet we are doing it yes cm and cc makes it easier to servive and do damage yet with the right mind and right strats anything is possible when you look at our raid force alot are still below the 200cm and some still are just now in rygor gear so some battles take forever to do yet it can be done as to the revamp of cm it would make it easier to show that anything is possible yet again its the player when it all comes to the end even the highest cm with the worest player still shows a bad player the best player in the lowest cm still shows a great player thats my 2 cents

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  • Eschia

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    I know people say crit mit was added in TSO, I won’t doubt it for a minute, but I personally never noticed it was even in the game till DoV lol. It might have been on some of my SF raid gear I just didn’t notice it. Goes to show how much it exploded in DoV from such a background stat to being the end all be all of the game.

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  • Snowdarc

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    That may well be the longest sentence ever Elunihea =)
    But you did make some nice points.Personally,I think removing CM isnt a bad idea,but at the same time they’ll just make something else a req,so why bother? It’s just going to go from “Raid seeking whatever,please have 600000 crit mit” to “Raid seeking whatever,please have 100000 hp”
    I’m exaggerating of course,but that’s all it will be.

    Reply

  • Bishoh

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    The need for CM currently is frankly ridiculous. I am a regular raider with a mix of hard mode and easy mode gear. All my armor adorns are with CM and/or CC just so that I able to cope with the next raid target. Hard-mode gear in itself should be adequate upgrade to cope with next target. Having to nerf the gear as well is depressing. Also the channel calls for various instances are all about CM requirements, which does make it harder for any new player to get started and geared. A down-grade of CM would have been adequate, removing altogether leaves me wondering whether the entire game mechanic is going to be botched for sometime. So my point is, each gear upgrade should help in progression to more challenging targets. Leave adorns to the discretion, skill and knowledge of the players.

    Reply

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