Letters From Tamriel

An epistolary gaming blog

Archive for the tag “dying”

Maelstrom Arena: and so it begins

@Zells - sepia stone - smallFor months I have been thinking that I wanted to try MA, but I kept putting it off until I was “ready”.

Last night I ran out of patience waiting on “ready”.  Said to myself: yeah, I’m half-asleep and should log off, my gear is mis-matched bits & pieces, and I’m not sure what’s even on my weapon bar right now, but let’s walk in and at least see the place.

The first round was a piece of cake, actually made me think I had a chance, and the second round (w/the Dwemer spinning blade traps, gah) was hilariously impossible w/the weapon bar set-up I had.  So much dying.  So much Daedra trash talk.  My understanding has been that building up a false sense of confidence before getting turned into paste is the quintessential Maelstrom Arena experience, so even though I didn’t get far, I feel like I was really there, y’ know?

Never feel like I know a dungeon until I’ve died there a dozen times (per boss, usually), so the learning process has begun! And in related news: I am really tired of my armor being a mess.  I think it’s time to try farming vCoA2 again.  No need to wish me luck; what could possibly go wrong? :p

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Quote of the Day

“Mortals smell better charred.”

-Ash Titan, vCoA2

Daedra got them some mad trash-talk skillz, I’ll give ’em that.

CoA2 was a pledge last Sunday, so I PUG’d it all afternoon and evening through the dungeon finder.  I killed Skoria a half-dozen times.  And yet I’m still wearing a Skoria hat with Training on it, and I did not get a single useful piece of Burning Spellweave gear, because the entire daedric population of the city was mocking me.

The last run cost me over 25 repair kits and almost four hours of my life, and no, we never did finish.  Did I mention two members of the group were in stage 4 vampirism?  In a fire dungeon, yeah.  Good times.  But that actually wasn’t the problem.

Learned a very DPS valuable lesson I can share, so it wasn’t a total wash.  I am currently doing ~20K, which is okay.  Not great, okay.  I keep driving that number up, but currently that’s where I am.  In a harder dungeon like vCoA2, where DPS is the key, that’s the bottom end of the effective range.

The raw DPS number isn’t the whole story, however.  Usually when you’re fighting a boss there’s some amount of evasion and messing with mechanics, so the number will go down, maybe waaaay down.  Knowing that vCoA2 is a tough run, I was wondering if I was pulling my own weight given the lower numbers I was seeing, so I started watching the percent of the group’s damage that I was doing.  And because I ran the same dungeon with a lot of different players, I got to see how that percentage plays out in real terms, comparatively.

In a balanced group, when the other 3 players are comparable to me in skill, I do 40-50% of the group’s overall damage.  That works out logically – together, the other DPS and I are doing 80-90% of the damage, leaving, at most, 10% each for the healer and tank.  That’s solid.  When my damage was in that range, the group got through.  Maybe not a cakewalk, but easy enough to still be fun, with minimal time wasted.

When grouped with players from my guild that I know are rock stars, my percent of the group damage fell to 25-30% – I just can’t (yet) pump out enough damage to keep up with them.  At that point, someone else is carrying the group and I’m… helping. 🙂  But as long as the dungeon is no harder that vCoA2, that’s fine.

Here’s the red flag, though: at my current DPS ability, if my percentage goes up much beyond 50%, it doesn’t mean I got Suddenly Awesome, it means the other DPS is weaker than I am.  If we’re in a dungeon where my DPS level is the bottom end of the acceptable range, that’s a recipe for disaster.

I’ve played ESO for almost two years, and I’ve never walked out on a group mid-dungeon before – I bring a hella lot of Stubborn to the table.  (Also, I was doing easier dungeons.)  But after we spent over an hour and a half on the Ash Titan, replacing two healers along the way, I finally told the group I could not pour any more time or repair kits into a mathematical improbability, wished them well, and ported out.

My friends have repeatedly told me that Stubborn does not solve all woes.  I’ve questioned that logic in the past, but maybe they’re on to something.  In the time I wasted beating my head against the wall with that group, I could have completed the dungeon 3-5 more times with other people.  So the next time I see that I’m doing 60% or more of the group damage, I’m going to stop and ask myself if I’m good enough to get the group through the dungeon.  I am not a quitter, but math is math.

In closing:

Damn you, Ash Titan!  ::shakes fist at sky::

And to Valkyn Skoria: I am still coming for you, buddy.  That light/divines hat will be mine, because that is a problem Stubborn can solve. :p

Quote of the Day

“(cursing redacted)”

“(cursing redacted)”

“(cursing redacted)”

-Zells, Tales from the City of Ash, special Multiple Party Wipe edition

Next time on Tales from the City of Ash: Will our heroic underdogs defy all mathematical odds, defeat the mighty Ash Titan, and move on to conquer Valkyn Skoria?  Is it possible to fully recover from the Sanity Point loss caused by this level of frustration?  And most importantly: does Zells get her light/divines Skoria hat?!  Stay tuned and find out!

Quote of the Day

Zells: Look, I don’t want to be Debbie Downer, but I know this dungeon, I’ve run it a half-dozen times today, and vCoA2 is a DPS race.  As the person doing 60+ percent of the boss damage, I’m telling you: we don’t have the firepower for this.  I don’t have the firepower for this.

Crown: But we were so close that time!

Zells: Dude.  He was still at 36% when we wiped.  That’s not ‘close’, that’s not even under a third.

Crown: But that was so much better!

God help us, it actually was better.  For a value of ‘better’ that still includes a total party wipe.  Or ten.

Quote of the Day

“Wait, hold on – you’re not only still on that same run in vCoA2, you’re still on the Ash Titan? It’s been over half an hour!” <audible snicker>
-Amused Bystander

Spoiler: It was actually way more than half an hour.

Shadows of the Hist upgrades

@Zells - sepia stone - smallIs there anything more certain than the phrase “Imma post more” followed by weeks of not posting?  It’s like a blog trope all on its own.

So the Shadows of the Hist went live on Aug 1 and there’s new dungeons.  I haven’t been to any of them; I actually don’t run group dungeons all that much, yet.  I used to in WoW, and I will in ESO, eventually.  But right now I’m mostly soloing, and the exciting part of this patch for me is all the new aesthetic options available.  I build “theme” characters with a specific look in mind, and I hate it when the clothes/hair don’t reflect the character.  Pretty much no matter how many hairstyles are available, I want more – I always end up putting new hair/clothing mods into the solo games.

So naturally I’m delighted about the Style Shop hair additions, and I think buying the pack with Crowns is not a bad option.  They also added the ability to dye costumes, and that’s super cool.  Never expected to see that; I figured they would always be static.  It made the costumes much less appealing to me, because a) of all possible costumes, only 1-2 would work for any particular character of mine, and b) that exact same costume is worn by a lot of characters.  My little noble Breton chef is simply beside herself every time there’s someone else in the bank wearing her dress.  Quelle horreur!  But honestly, that dress is everywhere, which makes it less interesting to me.  It isn’t “customization” if every tenth person is wearing it.

With the addition of costume dying, the ability to truly customize drastically increases.  I never used the Shrouded Armor or Thieves Guild leathers, b/c one is overwashed-red and the other is meh-brown.  But they are great-looking sets when dyed, full of interesting detail.

Related note: on the whole, I’m really impressed with the clothing in ESO.  I love that low level clothing is rough, cracked, full of seams, and doesn’t take dye well – the raw material itself is coarse – while the higher-level armor is smooth, detailed fabric with fine seams that dyes richly.  I like that the disguises and costumes can be worn over armor so it’s easy to appear to wear “clothes” in town without losing your armor buffs and protection.  (I don’t know how many times in Skyrim I’ve forgotten to change out of street clothes and got killed by  skeevers the second I walked out of town.)  And I really love the dye system itself, where colors are unlocked by achievements.  I’ve done a lot of questing the game specifically to get this or that color.

I finally got a character to vet level last week – Zellfire – and at the Champion 20 level there’s a Golden Saint costume reward.  It’s a great mesh, but I never would have worn it because the “gold” colors it comes in are weirdly bland.  I can dye it now, though, and in dark red, gold, and black, it looks stunning on Zellfire.  Since her backstory is that she’s part fire atronach, it’s wonderfully thematic.  And dyed black, Covenant blue, and silver, it looks fantastic on Nyx, too.  I’ve gone through and dyed each costume for each character I have, and now each of them have several great options that I can switch on a whim.

I know – I’m such a girl, right?  But look, if I’m going to spend literally hundreds of hours staring at a character, I want lots of attractive options I can easily switch out, because otherwise I’m visually bored.

600 words to say: COSTUME DYING, Y’ALL!  PRETTY!  What can I say – I’m easily amused.

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