Spell Naming Redux

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary, Itemization

As expected, the “Spell Naming Convention” thread is getting a lot of attention.

Currently,  Summoner (Conjuror / Necromancer) pets have distinctive names. I can see where folks are coming from when they say that having just one name for all of them would be a step backwards.

Also, some of the spell names are pretty good through the tiers. If only the less imaginative spells were renamed that would make more sense.

Finally, there have been folks suggesting either an Adjective system where all the spells have the same name, but a new adjective is added to the front or back of the spell name for each tier. Others have suggested that each tier has a prefix for all spells.

I have no problem with certain spells like the aforementioned Shadow Leap and Ice Comet just using the same name and having roman numerals after them. I would say go through the spells unless there are really good names for all the tiers, to go with the roman numerals.

Hopefully the EQ2 database is set up in such a way that this whole process only requires changing these spell names in 2-3 places: In the effects on 2, 4, 6, and 7 set bonuses on Fabled armor, on the spells/CAs themselves, and in the TS recipe books.

Spell Naming

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary, Itemization

I admit it. I can sometimes be pretty nostalgic.

I grew up on Final Fantasy II for the SNES (which was actually Final Fantasy IV in Japan). I loved the game. The storyline, the gameplay. I was really excited when Final Fantasy III came out (actually Final Fantasy VI in Japan), and I made it about halfway through and then things came up in life. But I really enjoyed the Final Fantasy series.

Years later, I bought a Playstation (the original) on the strength of Castlevania Symphony of the Night and Final Fantasy VII. I didn’t get very far in FF7 (I didn’t connect with the teeny-bopper whiny characters in FF7 as much as I did with the adult characters in FF4 and to a lesser extent in FF6). I beat Castlevania with 200.6% completed not once but twice. ;)

So it was interesting that last week that before I headed out to L.A. to attend to the 20th Anniversary Quantum Leap convention (link, and my blog), I grabbed a Nintendo DS Lite, the new Castlevania, and Final Fantasy IV which I have read about several times over the last year. I’m about 10 hours into Final Fantasy IV and loving it just as much as I did 15 years ago. Maybe it’s nostalgia, or maybe the story does hold up that well after all this time. The CGI cutscenes, occasional voiceover, and 3d-ificiation of all the graphics certainly can’t hurt. Also, the more faithful, less watered-down translation and less censorship of certain story points is much appreciated.

So what does this have to do with EQ2?

When I started playing EQ2, I was somewhat annoyed at how spells got completely different names at each tier. The ranger stealthed backstab attack for instance has 6 different names: Shadow Leap, Shadow Lunge, Crippling Blade, Dire Blade, Ranger’s Blade, and Kunark Blade. The complexity of spell upgrades has led to folks having to consult Wiki every time they buy a spell.

Final Fantasy, as any fan of the series knows, gives each spell just one name. Then each upgrade gets a roman numeral after it. In the case of the ranger stealthed backstab above, it would be Shadow Leap, Shadow Leap II, Shadow Leap III, Shadow Leap IV, Shadow Leap V, and Shadow Leap VI. So I got very used to having Blizzard, Blizzard II, or Cure, Cure II, etc. from playing the FF games.

At this point, EQ2 devs are looking at going to the idea of each spell having one name, and then tier upgrades add a roman numeral afterwards.

I can certainly understand why this issue is coming up now. No doubt they are starting to tackle the level 81-90 spell upgrades and are dreading yet another tier of tedious  variations on the existing spell names, some of which already have 6 variations already.

I am coming out in support of the idea of renaming EQ2 spells to have just one proper name for each spell, and then roman numerals afterwards.

I am sure there are some out there who will say this is a dumbing down of the game, but I have always felt that the spell naming conventions in EQ2 were a little awkward. And some of the spell names in Tier 71-80 certainly reeked of desparation. How many Level 70-80 spells had Kunark in the name of the spell itself? Not to mention more and more spells having the same name in one class at one tier, as that of another class at another tier. Very expensive mistakes have been made buying masters for the wrong class/tier this way.

Agree? Disagree? Toss your opinion into the ring here:

Spell Naming Conventions (on EQ2 forums)

My Duty

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary, Game Updates & Maintenance, Grouping, Raiding

It seems it is my duty after each Live Update to report those bugs which managed to slip through. It’s not a job I enjoy, but someone’s gotta do it.

Here’s what to watch for:

  • Warden Mythical/Epic proc is feeding power to the target instead of the Warden. Hire an extra illy or switch weapons until the hotfix.
  • Druid AA “Tortoise Shell” AoE blocker spell is now broken as of LU51. No word on a fix. [discussion]
  • The x4 Raid zone (Munzok’s) did not go live. No word as to why, only to expect an explanation later. Possibly because so few people were flagged to be able to test it? (must have been flagged for and cleared the x2 raid zone) [link]
  • The Autofollow Changes seem to be causing a lot of problems for certain people. The person following seems to randomly run off cliffs, run in circles, swim or run in a triangular pattern, etc.. In other words pathing like a mob rather than following the player. [link]
  • The Access Quest series for the x2 raid zone the Ward of Elements is screwy. This is due to the fact that you must spawn several Elemental Lords, but the 4th pillar in each room needed to spawn the Lord cannot be clicked except by someone who is on step 3 of one of the Cleansing the Elements quests. You can do Cleansing the Elements, More Cleansing the Elements, and Final Cleansing of the Elements once per day, then you are done and are thus unable to click the pillar and proceed on the Access Quest.
  • You can group with someone who has not completed the 3 Cleansing quests and is on the Lord step, or you can do what a lot of bastards out there are doing and hanging out in the rooms and when the Lord spawns, stealing it because you A) have no clue how to spawn it and B) think it is random or on a timer.
  • Wizard Spell Storming Tempest gets permanently locked out and cannot be reused until dying/zoning. [discussion]
  • The Cleric shadows AA ability Sacrifice has been rendered almost completely useless. It now takes 95% of the cleric’s health (which can no longer be mitigated) regardless of how much or little health the tank has.  Any cleric with 5% health for more than .012 seconds during a raid is probably going to die. So why was this change made? Here’s the thread that started it all. [Discussion]
  • There are some comments about the Solo Shard Quest. You inhabit the body of another being and have to use its abilities and spells. I guess they did this so they could design a quest that can be done by any class. Also apparently if you go Linkdead, you can be completely trapped, unable to Evac, Zone, or use Teleport Pads. If this happens to you, you can try to /camp or intentionally go Linkdead again by disconnecting your Internet connection. — thanks brammator
  • The Tinkered Banker in Steamfont is just an NPC. There isn’t a recipe to make one. Boo hiss. [discussion]
  • Automated Hammers in Deep Forge now only spawn when you pull the Doomsmith. I guess this was once again done to try to prevent folks from sharing cleared/mentored instances. [comments]

Raid Trophies

It’s not a bug, but I’m sure some folks would like to check out the new Raid Trophies you can decorate your guild hall with. You need the head or other appropriate body part of the mob, which is a drop off the mob, plus a tradeskiller-made pedestal.

Don’t miss The Brasse’s map of the new x2 zone The Ward of Elements.

March 17th Producer’s Letter

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary

After the deafening silence of the last 3 weeks with regards to the Fighter Revamp and the state of GU51 in general, we’ve got a response on March 17 from none other than Bruce Ferguson, Producer of EQ2. Read it Here.

The changes made with the initial release of the fighter revamp (on the Test server) need to be removed.  However, rather than just roll back your characters to when we first introduced the changes on Test back in January; we’re going to need to split out the consolidated spells, which will reset them to Adept 1.

For our Test Copy server, we’re going to need to wipe the entire character database, which will likely take several days.

For all of our players, this means that we’ll be reinitiating the adjustments to tank balance from a fresh point.  The difference is going to be in how we go about planning and communicating the changes, because we want, and need, to know what you think.

Our plan is to start an open dialogue with you, our players, and to get your feedback every step of the way. This will mean more time in between updates, but we think that it’s worth it to get you more involved in the direction of the game.  We hope that you agree.

We realize we haven’t been stellar at consistent communication in the past, but consider this a big step towards this goal.

We are also looking at incentives to get more of you playing on the Test server, for further feedback.  We truly believe that if we can get more of you testing and contributing your feedback, we will know more about what you all want, what you all believe is best for the game.

We want this to be a collaborative effort between SOE and its players. When we get the details of the Test server incentives worked out, we’ll be announcing it on the forums and on EQ2players.  We’ll also be announcing the plan for improving our communication and creating an open two-way dialogue with you as soon as we’ve worked out all of the details.

This is a very refreshing and surprising communication. It tells me that the Ivory Tower approach to the fighter revamp has cost SoE a lot and tarnished the praise they had been receiving from casual to hardcore groupers and raiders about how The Shadow Odyssey addressed a lot of their needs including Shadowknights and Berserkers becoming desireable tank classes and the introduction . I feel that the raid progression of TSO will be even better with the forthcoming x2 and x4 raid zone.

If there is one truly frustrating issue in all this, we don’t know when the Lavastorm Revamp of GU51 will go to the Live servers. I know I have been very excited about the x2 raid zone and other quests to help gain AA points.

We’ll keep you informed as soon as we know when GU51 is going live (and I have 99% confirmation that it will go live separate from the fighter revamp).

Research Assistants! — for those hard-to-find Masters

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary, Itemization

Originally posted by Kirstie at EQ2 Forums:

We have some exciting new features in the works for EQII! One of the first we’ll be talking about is Research Assistants.

These hardworking researchers will help you acquire upgrades to your spells and combat arts while you’re off adventuring in the deepest darkest dungeon or asleep in your own warm cozy bed. Even though they’re hardworking, they’re not a speedy service and they are limited in how much they’ll help you. Because this kind of research is complicated, they’ll only be able to work on one spell or combat art for one character per server.

All research requires a base amount of information to work with. In the case of the Research Assistants, this manifests in that they require you to have the previous tier of the spell being upgraded before they can begin work for you. So, in order to research that Master I, you’ll need to first know the Adept III version, though it doesn’t matter whether that Adept III version came from researching or from your friendly neighborhood sage, jeweler or alchemist. The time required to research a spell increase will vary based on the level and tier of the spell. A level 20 Adept I may only take an hour, while a level 80 master will likely take a month or longer.

We’re still working out the details of how these assistants will work in Norrath and we want to hear your feedback. Do you have a preference on how these researchers would look or how you interact with them?

There have been many requests over the last couple of years for SoE to provide a way for people to acquire hard-to-find masters such as level 53-58 masters which do not get upgraded beyond that level. Rangers have a level 53 buff which does not get upgraded for instance.

I think it’s a good idea. If you have characters on 3 different servers, then you can have ONE character per server researching a spell upgrade.

Considering the time investment (2-5 weeks) for ONE spell, this meets a need that many people have been begging for. There are level 50′s Masters that do not get upgraded. Also, Illusionist and Conjuror master pet spells routinely go for 200-300 plat.

This allows people to choose WHICH spell they want to upgrade rather than having to continue grinding old dungeons or old raid zones to get a master which might or might not be on various loot tables.

I think most people WILL NOT use them to get Adept I’s but I suppose ubercasual players who only play once in a while and don’t want to drop the 4 plat on a silicate loam might upgrade 1 spell a month this way.

I think this is a good idea.

Personally, I would also like to see a device that strips the NO TRADE tag off ONE item per month.

How Aeralik is going to Single-handledly “fix” EQ2.

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary

I saw the most terrifying quote today from the mechanics developer of EQ2, Aeralik.

this is the first part of trying to get people back into their core roles so to speak.  Tanks take the brunt of it now but we realize other classes are doing high damage when they shouldn’t be while some others don’t have the utility to match their role.  Some may even pick up new roles down the line.  So while we are currently tweaking the fighters we do have things in mind for the others albeit probably not as dramatic as the fighters( at least I hope not ).

I would respond to it, but I cannot think of better words than some of the quotes from other players in that thread:

Maroger said:

Is this rewriting of the game some form of job security? I really don’t see the point in overhauling a 4+ year old game that everyone but you seems to be happy playing. And the fact that you do not bother to answer question of why buff mergers, why nerfs to spells merely indicate that you honestly have no real justification for what you are doing. What you have just written seems like a job security description than a meaningful effort to improve the game.

Aeralik’s statement is truly scary. I cannot understand how he convinced some producer that what he was doing was the right thing and that he even knew what he was doing. Management should step in and stop him if they want to have a game with paying customer left when he is finished.

UntilitSleeps wrote:

Only when the last class is changed, the last decent raid loot is nerfed and the last bit of challenge is gone from that game you will realize that no playerbase = no money.

You are on your best way to destroying a game lots of people enjoy. I bet enchanters, bards, clerics and shamans can’t wait to be “balanced” by you.

The quoted statement makes me want to QUIT INSTANTLY.

STOP DESTROYING YOUR OLD GAME YOU NEVER ADVERTISED
BY PISSING OFF THE CUSTOMERS YOU HAVE LEFT.

Of course if there is one thing I can guarantee, Assassin DPS will not go down one point. :)

Push Button Tanking?

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary, Game Updates & Maintenance

You’ve probably heard a lot about the tanking changes which were put on hiatus. The cancelled Game Update #51 – Lucan’s Art of War was split into a couple of hotfixes and the fighter revamp got put on hold.

Currently, fighters hold agro through a combination of taunts, hate transfers from Assassins, Coercers, etc., and by putting out superior DPS. In the current situation Shadowknights are putting out more DPS in multi-target fights than some “DPS” classes.

The intention of this well-intentioned fighter revamp is for fighters to be able to hold agro in a fight entirely by taunting and taunt-based attacks. The theory is a fighter should be able to hold agro against classes doing 3-5 times as much damage entirely through taunting.

The issue with this is that taunting is not very exciting. And spam taunting defeats the current mechanism of timing autoattacks. It is well known that a substantial percentage of fighter and scout damage comes not from casting Combat Arts, but the gaps between your Combat Arts when “auto attacks” go off. Those occasional swings, whacks, or arrow volleys can account for 40-50% of your DPS if timed properly.

As proof of just how boring tanking might be under these expected changes, steelbadger has created a single Macro entitled “Tank” which, when pressed repeatedly during a battle, generates more hate and holds agro better than the most masterfully played combat.

macroyx1
Tank Macro

To quote Dasein:

Tanking in its current form is like chess –
the proposed changes reduce tanking to tic-tac-toe.

The response from EQ2 Dev Rothgar was startling:

I’m already seeing people do similar macros and this can’t be good for server performance, spamming it with so many commands in a short period of time.

If the trend moves more towards this type of play style we will be forced to limit the number of spells and command steps you can add to a macro.

Talk about treating the symptom and ignoring the disease!

From EQ2 Forums.

Sony donates 4 years of Raw Server Logs to Science Foundation

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary

ArsTechnica.com is reporting that 60 Terabytes of Raw Server Logs from the EverQuest II universe captured over the last 4 years have been provided to a collaborative group of academic researchers — including psychologists to epidemiologists — at a number of institutions.

Dmitri Williams introduced the project and described how researchers have been approaching various game developers over the years. He paraphrased the conversation with Sony as:

“What do you collect?”
“Well, everything—what do you want?”
“Can we have it all?”
“Sure.”

The end result is a log that includes four years of data for over 400,000 players that took part in the game, which was followed up with demographic surveys of the users.

The team can now track how individual customers dropping out of the game influenced others who they typically played or interacted with.

Gender turned out to be a negative influence on interactions: even after their low numbers were taken into account, female players avoided interacting with each other. Older women turned out to be some of the most committed players but significantly under-reported the amount of time they spent in the game by three hours per week

Time zones had some influence; players in the same time zone were 1.25 times more likely to partner than players even one time zone apart. But distance had a much larger effect; players within 10 kilometers of each other were five times more likely to interact.

For the most part, the companies that the researchers have approached either haven’t been interested in sharing their logs or the logs themselves don’t contain the sort of data that would make for fruitful research.

The Lavastorm Revamp

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary, Game Updates & Maintenance

As I predicted, the Lavastorm revamp will take a page from the Everfrost revamp last fall. As posted by timetravelling here:

Travel around lavastorm will be MUCH MUCH easier. We’ve added more teleporters as well as travel mount paths.

None of the old content is slated to be removed, some of the mobs will see slight tweaks and might be moved around a bit, but we don’t plan to actually remove any quests or content.

The level 80 content is actually in brand new areas we’re adding to the island, none of the old areas are being overwritten.

Lots of new quests, both in the 45-55 range and at 80.

I know some purists will be upset but Lavastorm is 3 years old now. Most folks run through it just for quest updates, not because they want to explore the zone. This is great news that there will be questlines there for level 50-55 as this is one of the holes in EQ2 content right now.

I hope the mounts being added aren’t too “easy mode”, but additional teleporters will be great. You still have to get to these locations to get the teleporter update. And yay for more 80 content since a lot of folks are hitting a brick wall at ~165 AAs.

12 New Armor Appearances and x2 Raid

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Art, Appearance, Housing, Commentary, Raiding

From timetravelling‘s post here:

The x2 (new raid zone) is going to be balanced specifically for people who do Not have mythicals. Our aim is that once you get some good TSO gear, such as the tier2 legendary set, you’ll be able to clear–or at least begin clearing–this zone. Mythicals should not be required for any stage of the instance.

In fact, I created a brand new buffbot for test-copy so that we can put intrepid testers into legendary-ish gear and test the zone that way, sans-mythical.

And, when I said new armor appearances, I didn’t mean recolors. That’s not a new appearance, that’s a re-color. These are New Appearances with a plate, chain, leather And cloth version. =)

This is certainly some awesome news. Looks like EQ2 developers bit the bullet with the cancelled skeletal revamp and have created 12 new armor appearances, covering plate, chain, leather, and cloth. Because of all the difference races in the game, this means that this armor had to be created 12 times and then substantially tweaked or even re-created many many times to line up and look good on the different races.

I’m really looking forward to seeing these new GU51 Armor appearances. The existing armor appearances are starting to run out of steam. ;)

It is unknown just what Void Shard armor sets will be added in GU51, but I would guess some will have these new appearances.

And I’m dying to jump into this new x2 raid zone which will have 9 bosses, some of whom drop void shards. My guild Shadow of Sun Tzu is starting to progress in Kunark and TSO raids and this will be a great training ground for us. Can’t wait!!

Fighter Ravamp Postponed

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary

Selected quotes from EQ2 Forums:

Last summer, at Fan Faire, we discussed making some changes to the Fighter classes, in order to bring them back in line with our original vision, where all fighters manage their own aggro, instead of relying on other group members to channel them some hate.

We released the first part of these changes last year, and placed the second group of them out on our Test Server several weeks ago. The response has been tremendous, on both sides of the coin.

The whole team has been taking feedback from you, both from our in-game /feedback function, as well as the posts in our forums, and even information posted in other forums.

We’re going to postpone releasing these changes to the live servers, while we continue to evaluate the feedback that you are giving us. We truly appreciate all of the data that you provide, and most particularly from those who have joined the excellent folks on the Test server in running through these changes, both on their own, and in conjunction with the devs. In fact, if you play a fighter class now, and haven’t been on the Test Server to experience these changes yourself, we’d certainly encourage you to do so, as your informed opinions are very valuable to us. Once we’re more comfortable with releasing the second part of the fighter revamp, which will include the Hate Meter, we’ll certainly let you know, but in the meantime, please keep play-testing, and continue to give us your thoughts.

Bruce A. Ferguson
Senior Producer, EverQuest II

Venril Sathir

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary, Raiding

UPDATE: I have stricken out all parts of the strategy which are no longer applicable as of July 14th hotfix.

Venril Sathir, leader of the Sathirians, will challenge us in ways we have not had to deal with before. Venril Sathir is not a DPS fight. Venril Sathir does not hit very hard or require a lot of healing. Venril is just a totally different kind of fight than most of us have ever had to deal with before. What Venril Sathir does is require intense concentration by each and every player on what is going on with your player and other players.

Venril Sathir starts monitoring the power (mana) of every person in the raid. If one person’s power goes too high or too low, he kills the raid. If someone fails to cure the noxious effect, the raid will usually die. Someone who possesses a Mystmyrian Soul Cube (from Tairiza the Spider) will be on statue duty, clicking the statue repeatedly to prevent epic adds from coming.

If you think you can go into the Venril Sathir fight and do your usual healing or DPS or tanking then you are in for a rude awakening.

To say that the VS fight is frustrating is an understatement. The group coordination and individual attention required for this fight is intense. A useful quote I’ve seen:

Venril Sathir, more than any other mob, will shape your raid force into what you will need for the fights to come.

Every time one person makes a mistake, your name will flash up in red letters at the top of the screen indicating that YOU caused the raid to fail. After 10-15 times of the same person’s name coming up, frustration will build. This fight will test us as a raid force, and will test our friendship. I believe we will pass this test.

No “How to Kill Venril Sathir” strategy guide will be perfect for us as a guild. As we learned with the Tairiza fight, none of the existing strategy guides worked 100% for us, so we had to adjust it until we found something that did work. I do not believe that it was dumb luck or a fluke chance that we defeated her.

Here I present the credible information about Venril Sathir I have found so far:

During the Entire Fight

  • During the fight, VS will try to summon statues to help him. 1 or 2 people will be assigned to click 2 statues to prevent these adds from coming. These people need to have a Mystmyrian Soulcube from Tairiza the Widow Mistress. Graphics may need to be turned up to be able to see when the statues light up.
  • At various times during the fight, the statue clicker will be able to click the statue. It is very important that this not happen at the same time that VS reaches 90% health. This means that we may need to hold off DPS at 91-92% until the statue can be clicked, then burn him down to 88%. It will be helpful to have the statue clicker announce when he is clicking the statue so this timing can be determined.
  • Every 38 seconds or so, VS will cast Toxic Infusion, a Noxious AoE. Each member of the raid is expected to cure this effect themselves using potions within 6 seconds. Otherwise, a subsequent curse — Fatalisis – will either kill that person (bad) or leave that person with very low power and health (much worse!).
  • There is an 8% chance that anyone doing damage to VS will get Feared for 2-3 seconds. It may be helpful for folks to stop DPS for the 5 seconds prior to him casting Toxic Infusion.
  • VS will randomly AoE Stun the 14 players closest to him. Fighter/scout DPS should be in front, mage DPS forming a second row, and healers at Max Range.One of the healers outside of the MT group needs to target the MT healer and be ready to Trauma Cure them so that the MT healer can then group Trauma Cure.
  • VS will randomly reflect your spells back onto the group. Due to the importance of curing the Noxious effects, it is strongly advised that no noxious/poison damage be done to VS. If he reflects these on the raid, then Nox cure potions may not be reusable quick enough.
  • At 65% health, Venril will emote about “Finishing the Fight”. One of the raid members who has the Mistmyrian Soulcubefrom Tairiza must use it on VS within 5 seconds.

From 60% Until He’s Dead

  • Once Venril Sathir reaches 60% Health, the difficulty of the fight increases exponentially. Venril will begin to watch the power consumption of everyone in the raid. It is up to every member of the raid to watch their power consumption — do not depend upon illusionists or coercers, they will NOT be generating power as usual.
  • The following conditions apply when Venril Sathir is under 60% health:
  • If any member of the raid allows their power to drop below 20%, VS will spawn adds that wipe the raid.
  • If any member of the raid lets their power go over 65% they they will get zapped for a health and power drain, leaving them near death and without power. If the raid force cannot get them healed and power up to 30% quickly, the raid will wipe.
  • Every 45 seconds, VS will cast Mana Sacrifice on 2 members of the raid. All spells then require 300% power to cast. If you are in the middle of casting a spell, STOP. You can add a macro to your hotbar with the command /cancel_spellcast for this purpose. If necessary, use a mana potion, hearts, shards, etc. to regen power.
  • Every 45 seconds, VS will cast a Power Boost on 2 members of the raid. VS will feed approximately 1% power every 2 seconds for 10-12 seconds. Toggle Sprint on and off to use up this additional power.
  • Every member of the raid should try to keep their power at around 50%. Stop casting if you are below 50%, cast if you are above 50%.
  • VS will occasionally strike the tank with Hateful Concussion. This is a hit for approx 20% health and 20% power.
  • If someone dies in the raid, STAY DEAD. Unless someone in the raid force is able to resurrect you with 40% power (priest AA or Tinkered item), when you resurrect, your low power will wipe the raid.

Further Notes

  • Priests and Mages should remove any gear with Displacement/Dispersion effects.
  • Priests should not do ANY damage to Venril Sathir. Priests should focus on curing and healing.
  • Cancel all Run Speed buffs. This includes Spirit of Wolf, Pathfinding, Selos, etc. Once everyone is in position, they should press “C” to Crouch.
  • If the raid is going to wipe, let EVERYONE die. Don’t use Feign Death and don’t have priests/necros Resurrect. Revive all at the same time. This is supposed to resolve an issue with statues spawning at 90%.
  • Avoid Heroic Opportunities. Mages have a Heroic Opportunity which has a substantial power boost.
  • 1-2 people in the raid who are running ACT should install the Mana Sacrifice plugin and be watching for it, and announce it when it is on a member of the raid force.
  • Every member of the raid will probably want to move their Detrimental Effects window from its location in the lower right corner to the upper left, so that they can easily glance at their health, power, and detrimental effects (Mana Sacrifice, Toxic Infusion).
  • Every member of the raid may also want to set up a separate hotbar just for the VS fight with SPRINT, MANA POTIONS, NOX CURE, and emotes for “MANA SACRIFICE on FELDON”, “FELDON is under 40% power, PLEASE FEED!”.
  • It may be necessary for someone to be watching everyone’s power and calling out members below 40%.
  • It may be desirable for the statue clicker to be outside the raid. This way thee status of their power (mana) does not matter.

Fairness

  • If there is one thing I can make clear about this fight. There are very few raid forces who desire to fight Venril Sathir — even ones that are considered “hardcore”. For being the 4th kill in the Kunark Progression of 19 bosses, most guilds consider VS to be one of the most annoying, frustrating, challenging of them all. We should have a great sense of accomplishment when we defeat Venril.
  • The easiest way to stay at exactly 50% power is for raid members to stand in one place, enable Auto Attack, toggle Sprint if they get Mana Sacrifice, click Nox Cure, and otherwise just stand there, not casting any combat arts or spells. I realize this makes the VS fight about as much fun as Tradeskilling, but Venril Sathir is not a fun fight, it is a test of individual ability to follow a script and the requests of your fellow raid members. Venril Sathir is not a DPS fight or a Heal fight. Most of your time will be spent watching the Detrimental Effects window.
  • Venril Sathir announces in red letters at the top of the screen who, in his eyes, “failed” the encounter. This can be extremely frustrating and cause people to point fingers. It would be easy to blame other players, but if everyone is trying their hardest then that is all we can ask for. This fight can come down to the luck of the draw. Sometimes he will fail to do his worst effects. It is these times when we must take fortune and run with it.
  • I can imagine that after dying a few times, some people will be tempted to start calling people out or sending people “helpful” private tells asking them to “quit screwing up”. However this is NOT the job of individual raid members. This will just create resentment as that person probably already feels guilty or frustrated enough. I think as a raid force we will have to set a policy that only raid leaders can send individual messages to members pointing out what wrong, making suggestions, etc.
  • Winning this fight is NOT WORTH IT if people quit the guild or game over it!!!
  • One of the least fair aspects of this fight is that it harshly penalizes players on a slow Internet connection or who experience unexpected lag (response delay) spikes. These folks may need to sit out the fight unless they require it for a mythical update.
  • As I mentioned above, some raid guilds resort to only bringing a smaller subset of the guild, perhaps as few as 12 players, to reduce the chances of failure. This may seem unfair to leave people behind after we have worked so hard to get their epics and have dedicated themselves to this raid force, but getting 12 people to click all the right buttons at all the right times is exponentially easier than getting 24 people to do the same.
  • A point worth making… Only Monk, Fury, Mystic, Troubadour, Ranger, Coercer, and Conjuror must kill Venril Sathir for their Mythical update. And only 1 person in the raid must have killed Venril Sathir to lead us into the Chamber of Decay (to kill Leviathan and get flagged to enter Veeshan’s Peak).

Fail Conditions

Venril Sathir is known as a fight with a lot of “fail conditions”. If any of these occur, the entire raid will wipe and the fight must be started over.

  • If the person on “statue duty” fails to click the statues in time.
  • If VS reaches 90% health while the statues are clickable.
  • If VS reaches 65% health and we forget to use the Mistmyrian Soulcube.
  • If a member of the raid fails to cure Toxic Infusion, gets Fatalisis and does not die.
  • If a member of the raid lets their power drop below 20% (while VS is <60%).
  • If a member of the raid lets their power exceed 67& (while VS is <60%).
  • If a member of the raid uses too much power while under Mana Sacrifice (while VS is <60%).
  • If a member of the raid gains too much power while under Power Poost (while VS is <60%).
  • If the tank gets hit by Hateful Concussion (and fails to resist) draining them for 12%-22% power instantly.

Sources

The EQ2 Forum post Venril Sathir – unfair roadblock for some classes was vitally important to the creation of this document. The basic details come from EQ2 Wiki.

What’s the Shard of the Day?

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary, Game Updates & Maintenance

Kander slipped an interesting comment into the raging TSO Stinks topic:

FYI: Stay tuned for the Shard of the Day solo quest, with some additional solo content. Cannot say more, but keep your eyes peeled for GU52.

The current plan is that it will take a time investment similar to that of running an entire instance.

So there you have it folks, while people have found a variety of more or less legitimate ways (which not everyone else approved of)  to load up on Void Shards, now there is going to be an official way to get 1 shard a day.

.

It’s an interesting discussion to be sure.

  • Fabled armor and Master spells were always designed and intended for Raiding.
  • Legendary armor and Adept III spells were always designed and intended for Grouping.
  • Treasured/Mastercrafted armor and Adept I/Apprentice IV spells were always designed and intended for Soloing.

Kunark started adding some Legendary-in-name-only as quest rewards. Kunark also added one Fabled reward for a quest series that could be trioed (A Fistful of Metal/A Few Coins More/An Ugly Bounty).

So the question of the day is: Is SoE painting themselves into a corner by making Legendary armor the new “solo” spec? What if in GU52 or the next expansion, you’re just expected to have Legendary armor even to survive doing solo quests?

It makes you wonder what form the new Solo content being added to Lavastorm will take.

Time will tell…

The GU51 Fighter Rebalance — Better than a Sharp Stick in the Eye?

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary, Game Updates & Maintenance

The complaints about GU51 are rolling in. Even the biggest fanboys who usually cannot find fault with any of the EQ2 team’s well-intentioned changes are not happy with what seems to most to be a rushed, massive change to something that has taken 4 years to develop in its current form.

The issue that many are bringing up is not only have fighter stances and taunts been changed dramatically, but most Hate transfer from Swashies, Assassin, Coercers, Rangers, and most other classes have been reduced dramatically or eliminated.

It would probably have been wiser to make all the taunt changes first, and then start dialing down the hate transfer until folks start crying uncle.

UPDATE: Aeralik has responded to the widespread criticism of GU51 with a lengthy post in the Developer’s forum. There are 251 responses to the thread. 3 of them are from fanbois who don’t even have a tank character. The rest are entirely negative (or Aeralik’s mentioning of various piecemeal fixes to concerns). Folks, this thing is NOT READY!

[View Topic]

Fighting about the Fighter Rebalance

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary, Game Updates & Maintenance

The fighter rebalance in GU51 is coming, whether we want it or not. There is a lot of “The Sky is Falling” responses about it both Pro and Con.

Here are some useful quotes:

Originally posted by Aeralik:
Prior to this change, tanks relied heavily on hate transfers and hate gain/hate reduction while dpsing to gain aggro. Now the emphasis is more on the tank achieving this with their abilities…

Originally posted by Flaye:
NOBODY should be getting a “set it & forget it” hate transfer, if we’re ALL supposed to be playing more intelligently, paying more attention, & working to help our tanks hold aggro.

Originally posted by Kordran:
Once GU51 hits, the only parse for tanks (particularly plate tanks) that will matter is TPS, threat-per-second. That’s it. They’re going to be there to hold aggro and control the encounter, and that’s it. The era of offensive tanking and high DPS is coming to a close with this update; if you’re a fighter who wants to parse high, then you’re going to have to be in your offensive stance, and that means you’re going to be near the bottom of the threat list for the mob. Ironically, in offensive stance, fighters now have some of the best detaunts in the game (e.g.: Rescue will shed something like 12K hate and lower your threat position by 4). Although they’ve otherwise been nerfed heavily, the only plate tank I can think of that could really “stance dance” effectively is the Paladin, because Holy Ground + Restitution gives them the snap aggro that would be needed to (nearly) instantly put them back at the top of the hate list.

And, as another poster pointed out, in this new paradigm, tank auto-attack damage — which used to be significant, and a critical part of generating enough hate through DPS — is now a small minority of the overall threat generation. The great bulk of their threat is going to be generated through taunts and CAs which generate additional threat, not through the damage itself. Abilities which are going to be important for tanks will no longer revolve around damage output, but in things like increasing the base threat of taunts and the percentage chance for taunts to critical. I imagine we’ll also start seeing tank gear, either new or revamped, which has additional threat bonuses tied to it, instead of increases in double attacks or critical hits (e.g.: +2 to base threat, +3 to critical threat, +50 threat, etc.)

Originally posted by Kordran:
A tank will be a tank because of the damage they can take and the threat they generate, not the damage that they inflict. That’s not to say a fighter class can’t take a DPS role, they can. But it will be in offensive stance, and in that stance they have no real chance to hold aggro against any T1 DPS class because not only are their taunts turned into detaunts, many of their CAs will have a detaunt component to them (e.g.: high damage attacks with threat reducers tied to them, somewhat like scouts).

With GU51, a fighter can either be a meatshield or T2 DPS. They can’t be both.

GU51: Fighter Rebalance Part II — Coming to Test

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary, Game Updates & Maintenance

According to Kirstie, Game Update #51 will be coming to the Test Servers on or around January 7th. [link]

What should we expect in GU51? Here are some quotes from Aeralik:

The focus of part 2 is looking at the different ways players gain ( or lose ) hate and putting more emphasis on player responsibility. You will likely see the numbers scale up on taunts a lot and hopefully fighters will start to look more at their threat per second while tanking and less so on the raw dps output we see now.

With the changes offensive and defensive stances become more meaningful. You will want to use offensive stance if you are in a dps mode and switch to defensive stance when you expect to tank. We are also combining some of the fighter self buffs so that they are used in the correct combinations they were meant to be used rather than say a guardian running offensive stance while still having the bonuses of hold the line up.

The offensive stance is your dps oriented stance and improves damage but at the cost of hate gain and threat while defensive stances lower dps but increase your hate generation and threat. Also, with the changes everyone will have a new blue aoe taunt tied to one of the blue aoe lines.

The gu51 changes are going to make you choose a stance based on what you expect to be doing. If you want to be high on the hate list so you can pick up aggro quickly then using defensive stance and riding just below 100% on the threat meter is probably better than using offensive stance. Offensive stance is more for soloing or plowing through trash when you know you won’t be tanking.

The reductions in the new stances are pretty minor. It never made sense to keep reducing them linearly which in some cases made lower level stances better. Besides in a raid or group situation someone should be debuffing defense anyways which helps to make sure everyone hits better including the tank.

Thanks to CriticalOverload for catching all of those quotes and putting them in one place.

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