Enough is Enough: Chains of Eternity Raids Broken For 3 Months

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary, Raiding

Enough is enough. It has been three full months since the launch of the Chains of Eternity expansion and the bosses of the expansion are hopelessly broken.

During the Chains of Eternity beta, there were warning signs that something was seriously amiss. On one hand, the Skyshrine and Chains of Eternity raiding ended up being so easy that the top 10-15 guilds per server had cleared nearly ALL the content within 48-72 hours of release. On the other hand, Drinal launched essentially unkillable. Not challenging. Not difficult. Broken.

In an attempt to contrast between the great raid encounters in past EQ2 expansions and the relatively uninspired ones in more recent content,  Arabel (slippery on the forums and leader of Equilibrium of Antonia Bayle server) posted a virtual Raid Design Manifesto. It is unknown if EQ2′s current raid designers absorbed any of its wisdom.

It’s not as if attempts haven’t been made to remedy these issues. There have been nearly a dozen patches all touting fixes and tweaks, yet the core issues with the fight remain.

While I do give credit to Gninja on the EQ2 team for engaging players in the two threads (Drinal Raid Feedback and Is Drinal Coming Back?), the end result has been scarcely better than the radio silence we used to endure.

As of today:

  • Drinal is fought in two stages: Stage 1 is fought standing on a stationary elevator (lift). At 50% health, Drinal stoneskins. Stage 2 is fought in Drinal’s tower after the elevator has risen to the top. Raid fights that require an elevator are a serious problem because of how easy it is for players to fall through elevators in EQ2 in case of even minor lag.
  • Drinal’s Stage 1 and Stage 2 scripts often bug out, causing uncurable curses, nox, etc. to get “stuck”, making the fight impossible.
  • Drinal’s elevator has even been known to start falling again towards the end of the fight, making him unkillable.
  • Tanks get a detrimental called Transfiguration. If the tank loses agro, then all fighters die. This is a challenging but survivable test, except that Drinal memwipes often, even when a player has Transfiguration. This is an impossible-to-workaround failure.
  • When he resets, Drinal (x4) can still crash the entire Harrow’s End zone for all players on a server. This problem was identified at launch.
  • Exhaustive Souldrain, another detrimental, is not showing in some players’ Detrimental window, making it impossible to mitigate its effects.
  • Drinal is still putting a second incurable curse on some players during phase 2 of his fight, despite the fact he’s not supposed to.
  • Players are unable to even see Drinal, despite switching alternate models on and off.
  • At 50% health, when Drinal stoneskins and the elevator starts moving, he DOES NOT drop all the detrimentals he has on players, causing serious problems if Transfiguration or Souldrain are in effect.

Keep in mind these problems exist after 7 weeks of raid guilds having these problems AND only a 50-50 chance of getting loot. Then he was removed from the game for 2 weeks for “exhaustive testing”, and now that he’s back, still has all these problems. Seriously?

And the issues aren’t isolated to Drinal:

  • Fitzpitzle (x4) can be one-shotted and respawned, allowing multiple bites at the loot apple. I have personally seen this.
  • Harrow’s End (heroic) zone is completely unnavigable as the teleporter from Olgar’s room to Drinal is broken.
  • Serious lag spikes in Harrow’s End (raid) on Drinal, Fitzpitzle, etc. causing the zone to crash and roll back for ALL players on a server.

Game Update 65.5?

We are now one week away from the launch of a mini Game Update which will be introducing two new raid zones. These new zones aren’t even on Beta, yet here we are in mid-February and the expansion’s launch zones are still seriously bugged. It’s no wonder that Raid guilds are questioning their sanity at continuing to beta test SOE’s raid content on live servers.

It would be one thing if SOE were pushing the envelope with elaborate, interesting, challenging, by-the-seat-of-your-pants encounters like Roehn Theer and most of the Underfoot Depths. But most of the encounters in Skyshrine and Chains of Eternity have been more ponderous than provocative, more average than awesome.

Norrath’s Funniest Home Videos

There has to be some humor in all this, and the funniest video (NOTE: Language!) to come out of all this (Arabel has posted several) is one showing Drinal’s elevator starting to go back down at 14%. You can’t make this stuff up.

Conclusions

What should we conclude from this? Is EQ2 on too aggressive a release schedule? Are enough resources being dedicated to creating heroic and raid content? Writing a fun, challenging raid that avoids the common pitfalls is like threading a needle. Maybe time should be allotted for EQ2 devs to join raid guilds so designers can see and understand these issues first hand, rather than having to takes player’s words for it (or not).

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Comments (25)

  • Buffrat

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    The new raid zones have been tested by a few guilds, to my knowledge.

    Reply

  • Buffrat

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    And also, the uncurable curse at the top is part of the bubble script. The two curses was us getting a second curable curse while still on the bottom half.

    Reply

  • Benj

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    I haven’t played the raid zone yet, but I’ve never seen any bugs in the Heroic version.

    Reply

  • Kinya

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    Good read Feldon. You forgot to add also Enraged Imp from Altar x4 as its script is not working so it is simply tank and spank,not to mention Fitzpiztle is resetting during the fight…

    I am scared what we can experience in few days when we will get “GU65,5″. It is 3 months from release of CoE and mobs are still not working, so what can happen in a week?

    Reply

  • tarb

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    I hope you copy/paste this on the EQ2 forums. Even if they ignore it this should remind them of their half assedness.

    Reply

  • Pheep

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    Ugh, last week Thurs my raiding guild had the Fitz problem for the first time: every time he ran off he’d reset, we’d crash, get rolled back, start over.

    This is odd for us because since release we’d not have problems with Fitz resetting. From what we could figure with talking to other raiders that night, if you burn him too fast, he’ll reset and crash/roll you back. We’re a casual raid force, but we’ve been gearing up and have been working on improving our dps. I guess all this time of being a bit low on dps yet still able to take Fitz out with steadiness was enough to not trigger this bug. Yay us, lol.

    All of this talk on Drinal, I’m actually a bit twitchy to even try him.

    Reply

  • Arabel

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    It’s frustrating because what can you really say at this point? It’s all been said before. The horse rotted long ago

    Reply

    • Feldon

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      The horse rotted long ago

      And ended up in meat pies.

      Reply

  • Feldon

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    Added a Conclusions section.

    Reply

  • Anaogi

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    You forgot to add also Enraged Imp from Altar x4 as its script is not working

    Given the unmitigated disaster said script was when it was working, you’ll excuse me if I don’t consider that anything but an ‘improvement’.

    Reply

  • Zizzu

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    And people still play this game?

    Reply

  • Betony

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    Yep. People still play this game. Some people don’t get into raiding.

    Reply

  • Silzin

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    I would love to argue with you and dispute you on each of these points, but i think you hit it right on the head Feldon. I hope that the dev team looks at this and knows that it was not posted in spite or anger. but i believe you thought through this very much and mean everything you said in this.

    Reply

  • Kinya

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    “Given the unmitigated disaster said script was when it was working, you’ll excuse me if I don’t consider that anything but an ‘improvement’.”

    Still Enraged Imp is not working as it was intended, which means another broken encounter. And yes, I would prefer devs don’t try to repair it as now we get easy loot :D

    Reply

  • Dedith

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    Our raid force has run into the Fitz-reset and dealt with the pre-nerf enraged imp (/love the easy loot, but it is way too easy now.) Both have made for some very frustrated nights.

    Reply

  • Kruzzen

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    We have given up on Drinal multiple times for the zone crash bug. It happens especially if someone revives during the fight. Crashes everything. really sucks.

    Reply

  • Tron Baby

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    The Drinal encounter is a real nightmare. As a tank, I have to stand up there and take 500k hits every 10-15 seconds with no cast bar or detriment effect visible. Complete with the disappearing act and random resets, its just ridiculous. I honestly just wish for a tank and spank on that guy at this point… if they cant fix the encounter, simplify it like they did to the Enraged Imp.

    Reply

  • Blacktop

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    What about the big groups of soul things on top floor at the water elevator? they clip through walls and floors and are always awkward to tank, its just messy

    this all come to quality over quantity i my opinion. just keep releasing new constant and don’t think of the consequence. just look at Wurmbone’s End update, i think that update is to little to late. that update should be released a week or two after the expansion came out not months after.

    but than again.. people are screaming for more content everyday and we consume more of it and faster then ever b4. i grind myself up from 92 to 95 in a hour or two and i complained about the annoying long solo quest too. so how can the dev team keep up on our demand?

    Reply

  • zerigo

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    I believe what causes Fitz to reset is pulling him before the non-hostile version reaches the Fitz that your fighting. So it better to wait 15 seconds before pulling the next phase, and let him run to himself.

    Did the vocal minority just get a little bit louder? Way to go Feldon.

    Reply

  • Twyxx

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    but than again.. people are screaming for more content everyday and we consume more of it and faster then ever b4. i grind myself up from 92 to 95 in a hour or two and i complained about the annoying long solo quest too. so how can the dev team keep up on our demand?

    well, they could make the content challenging to start.

    Reply

  • Tuscan

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    You are touting many problems with what seem to be limited or skewed facts. Transfiguration is not impossible-to-workaround failure; it’s not even really a bug, it’s just not always easy. The elevator fail is from jumping like most elevators, not from minor lag as I have major lag and don’t fall through the lift. The zone crash after a wipe is a recent bug, not from launch. I never saw it happen before they took Drinal out of the game for a while. I have never noticed the elevator falling towards the end of the fight, and I do this encounter regularly. Maybe I’ve been very lucky to have not seen much of what you write here.

    There are definitely bugs in the encounter, but this article reads like many unreliable or exaggerated facts are being used to further some agenda.

    For those that can’t see him sometimes: Toggle Soga models after the fight starts. That seems to work every time for me.

    Reply

  • badcat

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    Fitspitszle and Drinal are still broken, We got past fits, but drinal crashed the entire raid once, then several individuals one at a time were kicked to character select during the fight. The zone is a mess once you get to Drinal. You loose half your dps how are you supposed to fight him with half your dps at character select.

    Reply

  • Catharz

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    We (a casual guild) killed The Enraged Imp several times before it became totally spank and tank. Now that mob is just laughable.

    There’s also a number of encounters that always give ‘Flawless’ even when people die during the fight.

    We haven’t experienced the reported issues with Drinal, but also haven’t got him below about 20% (yet). And I’m definitely not saying that because we don’t experience them, they don’t exist.

    I know what the solution is, but it’d be suicide to do it this late in the game. Basically, the dev’s need to have automated tests for their code. TDD and BDD should be the standard, especially in MMOs where the rules are so easy to define ahead of time. But I know for a fact that they tried the agile approach and failed (although, I’m not sure why it failed). Unfortunately, refactoring the code for EQ2 (so you could unit test it) at this stage could potentially take years. And that’s provided good tools exist to be able to do so.

    The fact that they aren’t using a test first approach is abundantly clear by the number of regressions that keep creeping back into EQ2.

    Reply

  • Lunastaria

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    Lol at the earlier comment, yes there are a lot of us who aren’t raiding and almost never run into any bugs ) I had a blast doing Erollisi’s Day world event… and I’ve been on this game since shortly after release )

    Reply

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