I expected fierce responses to yesterday's article about Drinal and the issues raiders have been facing in Harrow's End. I wrote about issues that players have faced since the expansion launched, with a focus on the issues that still seem to exist based on player reports in the two Drinal threads I linked on the EQ2 forums. It was absolutely my intention to push some buttons and try to get some traction on fixing the Boss of the Chains of Eternity expansion. As to whether I went too far, that will be up to the reader.
Let's get some clarifications out of the way...
Patch Kills Are Not New
In past Game Updates and Expansions, raid targets have been added that were quite simply unkillable due to design choices. Only after various patches were certain mobs even possible to ATTEMPT. And in the past, we often did not hear any word or announcement that our feedback was being heard; the only confirmation was a patch.
What people have latched onto in this situation is the tit-for-tat between designers and players on the EQ2 forums that have caused hard feelings on both sides and a serious breakdown in communication.
Tricky Treasure Chests
After reading the article, combined with the comic, the impression may have been given that there is still a 50-50 chance that you will not receive Loot for defeating Drinal. This has not been the case for a little over one month. Also, I've heard from at least one guild that during the time when Drinal's treasure chest was misbehaving, GMs went out of their way to make sure that players were awarded loot for successful kills. Still, chasing down a GM through Petitions can be a hassle.
Ignoring Scripts: Burning Through It
According to at least one another raid guild who spoke on condition of anonymity, a few of the issues described in yesterday's article, such as Drinal resetting at 14% and the stacking curses are attributable to burning through the fight while ignoring adds and other conditions such as the Souldrains. Drinal was never intended to be turn-and-burn easy so this may be a factor.
This is perhaps the biggest hair-pulling aspect of Harrow's End, and one that devs have been haunted and frustrated by.
Terrogaunt posted last week:
We have had the worst luck trying to find the cause of this crash. Fortunately, I did happen fix the part in code that was actually crashing when it happened, so that code should get to Live soon. It's just one of those bugs you can never reproduce, I guess.
and Gninja posted:
The zone crash issue is getting addressed by the code team as it required a build. I have already gotten the design side of the fix live but for it to fully go away both sides of the fix need to be there. We are working on getting it live asap.
A fix for the Zone Crashing in Harrow's End is slated for tomorrow morning (Wednesday, February 20th).
Drinal Going Forward and Yes, Devs Still Raid!
Gninja has also commented on the current state of affairs and his dedication to get the fight working properly:
Just a bit of clarification. The hate changing mechanic on Drinal is NOT a hate shuffle like Bastion or Oligar. It is a position drop on his target only. This may in some cases cause Drinal to drop to a pet but it only affects the one tank. Yes, this can currently happen to the tank that is about to get the Transfiguration buff. The player that gets the transfiguration buff also gets a large amount of added hate given to them that is added to combat arts so it should be relatively easy to get aggro fairly quickly providing you are doing more than just hitting positional snaps and praying. The failure condition of this effect also does not kill the tank that failed so it does not cause a full wipe if the tank can get aggro back quickly thereafter.
I know this is a sore subject with a large group of the raiding community and I have been holding off posting too much because it just seems to get folks posting more angry posts. Right now we are focused on getting the crash taken care of because its the largest problem currently. Once its on live and verified taken care of we can move on to some of the annoying factors of the fight but the fixes will not be rushed in as we don't want to break anything else with rushed fixes to annoyances.
For the record... Yes, I have fought the fight on live and yes, I see some of the frustrations being called out here. I very much want to remove some of the luck factors of the fight as it currently is.
Having met Carlos (Gninja), Ken (Terrogaunt), and so many other devs at SOE Live and having insightful and inspiring conversations with them, it is not easy for me to write these type of articles. In this case, there was a breaking point, and I passed it. But I'm also going to give developers the chance to make it right.