Monday, November 5, 2007

The Good, the Bad, and the Inconsistent

= The Good =

After playing my priest all day Saturday (now at 33 -- woo!), I decided to take my hunter out for a spin on Sunday. To take full advantage of the huge amount of double experience I'd racked up, my cat and I wandered to the Alterac Ruins to kill elite ogres and finish the last quests in the chain The Crown of Will. My mission was to find and kill Mug'thol inside a building with tight corridors, teeming with ogres. The layout of the building made it a tad challenging, because often you didn't know how many you were pulling until you actually walked in the room and they leapt upon you, but was fun and I was doing fine, even taking on several mobs.

Then, I got a whisper... "You have all the heads?" Heads? What heads? Was I in the LFG for Uldaman, because I'd considered trying to get a pug together for that? No, I wasn't in the LFG channel and there was no Uldaman quest involving heads. Then, a Tauren hunter appeared from around the corner with his cat. Oh! That's right... the quest before this one involved collecting the heads of a few other baddies in the area. I whispered back and said I'd done that one, but that I'd be happy to help him with it, so we partied up and headed upstairs for Mug'thol.

We did pretty well together, killing our way up to the third floor where Mug'thol was. The Tauren drew aggro a few times and he died twice, but seemed to take it well. We cleared the two mobs in front of Mug'thol without drawing him, and then sicced our pets on the big guy. No problem.

The Tauren asked if any of his kills were in this building, and they weren't, but I remembered where the others were, so we marched north, stopping in buildings to collect the heads that he needed. I then agreed to help him go back in and kill Mug'thol so he could complete the quest, too. All in all, a good time, with good banter, and mostly clean pulls. I added him to my friend list, and will look for him again for group quests, I'm sure.

= The Bad =

Of course I had to run into at least one jerkface over the weekend. After turning in Mug'thol's head in Tarren Mill and then the Crown of Will in the Undercity, I added myself to the LFG list for Uldaman. While I was still clearing out my inventory from the last quests, I got an invite to a group. "u want 4 ulda?"

I think I'll spare you the play by play on grouping with this guy. The summary:

1) When we still needed one more for the group, he asked me specifically to advertise this in the trade channel since I was in a city. The trade channel?! I suggested he advertise in LookingForGroup instead. General is one thing, but the trade channel? That is so annoying.

2) He is one of those people that just cannot stay put. While everyone else is sitting, drinking, rebuffing, and waiting for the leader to mark the next pull, he is wandering off way up ahead. He was a rogue, so he was often sneaking around invisible right next to the next set of mobs. He did a few accidental pulls this way when nobody was ready. Again, very annoying.

3) In one part of the instance, rather than clear all the mobs in the area before summoning the boss (as the leader asked us to do), he just walked right up and summoned it. The leader of the group was like, "oh well, I guess we're done here... you just ruined the instance." I thought this was a bit dramatic (though never having done Ulda, I had no idea whether it was true), but the rogue said, "no just pull the boss." Turns out we'd cleared enough that we could just pull the boss, so it did turn out fine. After that, for the next 10 minutes we got to hear from the rogue, "so did i ruin it? huh?" over and over.

4) A strong iron lockbox fell at one point, and we all rolled greed except for the the rogue who rolled last: Need. "Mistake," he said. So, all this and a ninja, too. Brilliant. At about 5 o'clock this morning, when I was lying in bed wondering if I'd remembered to change the time on my alarm clock, I was thinking about this again, and I realized that if you are a loot ninja, particularly a rogue, this is the ideal drop to make your "accidental" need roll, because presumeably, you can just unlock it and whatever is inside will not be bound to you. I know he could unlock these, too, because earlier, when I won the roll on a lockbox, he said to me, "I unlock 4 u." I said no thanks, that I'd take care of it later. Sounds like I made the right decision.

5) At the end of the instance, he was complaining his head off about how much it was going to cost to repair his armor. (I whispered to the leader that maybe whatever was in the lockbox he ninja'd would cover it.)

Anyway, this guy is on Do-Not-Party List now. What an ass.

= The Inconsistent =

So, this would be our entire Ulda party, myself included. I mentioned before that I was nervous about my role as a hunter in instances, and someone putting me in charge of trapping something since I hadn't practiced it much yet. When the leader explained the marks he was going to use and the kill order, he said, "blue square = freeze trap." Hoo boy, I thought. Here we go. When he marked our first big pull and I saw that blue square, I felt a jolt of adrenaline, but I was pretty sure I knew what to do. I laid the trap and selected the mob, and waited for the tank to run in before shooting the square to lure him to me.

The leader wanted the moon sheeped, the star sapped, and the square trapped. The kill order was skull, x, star, square, and then moon. Charge! *insert Benny Hill music* I shot the square, but someone (I'll just assume it was our rogue friend) drew him away and he was diverted. The tank was getting a huge beatdown from the skull, the x, and the star. I sent my pet into assist the tank and resumed trying to draw the square. Then I saw the moon chasing the mage, and they ran right at me and into my trap. Wow... it was a complete and total mess. We managed to kill everything and stay alive, but this did not bode well...

The second pull, same general theme. We seemed to be completely failing at crowd control, as the sheep and square kept getting hit before or while they were trapped. I whispered an apology to the leader, and mentioned the problem of folks breaking the trap, and he reminded the whole group that they should be wary of what they were hitting, and to be careful not to break the cc traps and spells. The following pull went much better, but then the one after was as bad as the first. As we got deeper into the instance, we were terribly inconsistent and did not seem to improve from pull to pull. There was just no telling what was going to happen. We wiped at least three times before getting to the final rooms.

I did get some successful trapping done in there, but I admit a few bonehead maneuvers where I accidently broke my own trap. By the end, I was pretty comfortable with what I was supposed to do, but had to improvise many times when the trap got broken or resisted. In one terrible pull, both the trap and the polymorph spell were resisted, and everybody died except me and the rogue. (I thought for sure we were going to die, too, because the rogue kept messing around in stealth mode near our next set of mobs while the others were still running back from the graveyard. Argh.) As we approached the final boss, it was pretty clear we were not going to be able to complete the instance. Two wipes in a row in the room after the one where the stone statues come alive one by one, and we decided to call it a wash. Our crowd control skills weren't strong enough, our DPS wasn't high enough, our healer (a non-holy specced paladin) couldn't keep everybody healed because we were all taking too much damage, and our tank wasn't holding aggro. Alas. I did level in there though... that was nice. (45!)

It was fun to try a new instance, and one where the pulls were quite challenging. I'm frustrated that we didn't seem to improve over the course of the instance though, like as a group, we weren't learning anything about how to do these pulls better as we went along. In the cases where things did go better after a wipe, it was only because there were fewer mobs, since we managed to knock off a few in the previous battle. I look forward to trying Uldaman again if I can get a group together, hopefully with a more consistent performance from myself as a trapper and the group as a whole.

4 comments:

loronar said...

I've done many instances where rogues would be the first to get the mob angry, and yes, I agree that they tend not to stay put. I'm not sure why, but I guess the benefit of stealth can make one cocky. I completely bypassed Badlands and never did Uldaman while leveling, so I can't say much.

However, try Zul'Farrak sometime. I'd be interested in seeing what you think about (trapping in) outdoor instances.

Kestrel said...

I wonder why the group leader didn't insist on a reroll for the lockbox the rogue rolled Need on. Even if he opened it, everyone in the group should have been able to see what was in there.

As for having the rogue open your lockbox--shouldn't be a problem: Have him open the trade window, the put it in the "this item will not be traded" square at the bottom.

I guess I really need to try to PUG sometime...but I'm afraid. Really.

Janine said...

That's frustrating when the group doesn't improve. At least you got good practice in on trapping and no manslaughter charges! Although I hear judges are lenient if its a wayward rogue...something about 'justifiable'...

Ess said...

@loronar

I'll bet the rogue guy displays that hyperactivity no matter what toon he's playing. I've seen others like that as well... they're constantly running around in circles on the zeppelins and boats, like they're overcaffeinated. It's kind of funny to watch, but very annoying when they run ahead in the instance...

I'd heard that lots of folks don't like Ulda, so I was surprised at how quickly I was able to get a group together. I have picked up the Zul'Farrak quests, and will give it a whirl this weekend if I can get a group together. Thanks!

@kestrel

I wish I'd thought to suggest the reroll myself, but I was so flustered from all the bad pulls and broken traps that it didn't even occur to me. I wonder if our leader was feeling similarly out of it. (I do wish someone had thought of it.)

After getting tradehacked back in D2, I'm still leery of any trade transactions like what you described if it's with someone I don't know. I know it's supposed to be safe, but.... Folks in my guild happily open all our lockboxes for us, so I'm content to use them instead of a total stranger (particularly one that already exhibits questionable behavior).

PUGs -- scary, but great fodder for blog entries. If you're at a loss for something to write about, get on that LFG channel... :)

@janine

Heh... and I normally don't have such violent feelings!

It was good practice. Some have compared the battles against the endgame bosses to an elaborate dance, and everyone in the party needs to know/learn the steps. In this case, it was like nobody was paying attention to the choreographer or watching themselves (or each other) in the mirrors. A mess!