This newest update has made it so there’s so many things on my mind, and so many things I’ve wanted to write about, both good and bad. I’ve put off writing anything for a few days so I could let things settle in my mind, sift through all the stuff, and figure out where to start.
Well, the most recent patch has given me a good thing to focus on, but first I’ll go over a few other things. I’ll do my best to avoid spoilers, but as the patch has been out for some time now, I’m not going to be as careful with that as I would have if I’d been writing two days ago.
The miasma has been pushed out of Lion’s Arch and to sea by the wind, so now it’s safe (relatively) to enter LA, and it can be accessed at any time now. There’s still plenty of fighting going on, including several new champion events that happen around the map. Escort quests are gone, but defense and miasma events still are around. The biggest one, though, is the Assault Knights. This is how you get to Scarlet; defeat her three Knights that spawn every hour, use those attunements to access her ship, the Breachmaker, and then you get the fight Scarlet.
Once you succeed at that fight, you get a story instance, where you face down Scarlet herself one last time, and are rewarded with a cutscene. Which…oops. Whatever it was that Scarlet had planned…I’m not sure this was exactly what she was trying to do, but we just woke up something we probably shouldn’t have.
So, I do have to say, a lot of this update I really, really like. I like the actual fight mechanics, though there’s some bad parts there (which I’ll get t0). I love the instance (KAS AND JORY ARE SO DAMN CUTE YOU GUYS. As is Kas going full-out badass. Ahhhh I adore those two!). And that cutscene…wow. Not all questions have been answered yet, and more have been created. The maintenance patch on the 18th will have a bit more story just to wrap things up a bit more. Tuesday morning I happened to log on just as the patch hit and was able to fight the Knights and go against Scarlet the very first time doing so was possible, and it was truly an awesome and epic fight.
All that said. I’ve done the events a few times since the patch went live. The very easiest time I had of it was that first time Tuesday morning. When no one really knew what they were doing because it was brand new and no one had done it yet. When we just sort of figured things out by trying and seeing what happened. Every attempt since then has not gone nearly as smooth as that very first one, between failed attempts and coming in with only a few seconds left on the timer.
Here’s the big difference, though: Tuesday morning when we did the events, people were split up throughout LA, with fairly even numbers at the different Knights. It worked great. They didn’t scale too much, people figured out the phases pretty quickly as well as using the buffs, and other than one point where the blue knight healed up nearly to full (which we later realized was due to the group of Twisted Menders that spawns near there), it went great. We had plenty of time left. Same for the battle on the Breachmaker – we know now that we could have made it much easier on ourselves, but it still went well and we came in well under the timer.
Zerging is something that happens a lot in games. Just throw bodies at it until you beat it down through sheer numbers. You see it a lot in GW2 – meta events, WvW, the champ farming trains. People quickly decided to zerg the LA events. These events are not made to be zerged, as the update late last night shows. Throwing 150 bodies at a Knight just causes it to scale up ridiculously, and then you have to spend the time to run to the next one, and by the time you defeat them, you’ve spent more time than if you’d just had 40-50 people at each Knight.
The hologram fight is one where zerging actively punishes you and makes the encounter so much harder than it should be. After you get Scarlet’s Prime Hologram down to a certain level of health, it splits into three smaller ones, and you have to use the appropriate attunement to damage them. If you kill them one at a time, each holo splits into six smaller ones that are easier to kill but again require the right attunement. When you have 18 of those things running around, it makes things difficult because actually hitting what you’re targeting will be basically impossible unless you melee with single-target damage. Your AOEs will max out before you hit what you wanted to. And so on. It’s chaos.
BUT. If you kill all three within 30 seconds of each other? They don’t split. That’s an entire phase of the fight skipped and a good several minutes you can effectively add to the timer because you don’t have to deal with that mess. And in a small area where you can easily run from one to another, it’s not like coordinating that would even be difficult. If you see that one is at 10% and another is at 30%? Just stop attacking the first and go help at the second. Save the heavy damage and Time Warp for spiking them down to zero at once.
And despite knowing this exists, people still insist on zerging the holos down one at a time! Knowing that they are making the encounter take longer and making it more difficult.
Last night ANet added a bug fix that included making it so only 50 people can hold a color attunement at a time during the Knights encounter, making it so on larger populated servers people have to split up instead of just zerging them one at a time. As I don’t like that style of fighting things, I am totally okay with this. I am glad for this, because as I’ve said, the “kill one, run to the next, rinse, repeat” attempts I’ve done at this have been failures or near-failures.
People, of course, are complaining about it. “This rules out small servers who only have 50 people on at once because splitting won’t work and they have to zerg it!” If you have small numbers like that, zerg your happy little hearts out. No one’s stopping you. It’s stopping 150 people at once on one Knight. “But this forces events to fail because there’ll be X at blue, X at red, and Y at green!” Just say something in map chat! Say “Hey we have only Y people here, can some come help?” and balance the numbers. Simple. There’s time between when the Knights descend and when the fight actually starts – there’s time to coordinate and to get numbers situated.
It’s really no different from the Twisted Marionette, where you had to have even numbers split between the five lanes. If you didn’t, you would fail on the platforms because there wouldn’t be enough people to kill the champion Wardens. And yet once people got the hang of it, it went fine. It required a bit smarter play than a lot of previous content (outside of dungeons), but it wasn’t undoable by any means. The Knights and Holos are the same – split up evenly, watch out for red circles, and dodge, with the added mechanic of the three attunements and, for the Knights, watching to see if they’re reflecting conditions or not.
There are still bugs in this release – they’ve done a number of bug patches since Tuesday – but personally, my main frustration with it has come less from bugs and more from other players. Less zerging, more thinking, please!