Tooth & Arrows: Glitches Galore AND Trolled?!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

We’ve been raiding fairly regularly now for the last couple of months. Since the first time we downed Deathwing, we’ve completed the raid every week, once.

Until this last week.

We had quite a bit of difficulty with the second half of the raid – a couple of wipes on Ultraxion, so many wipes on Warmaster Blackhorn that we decided to call the raid for the first day there without finishing it. On Saturday, we managed to get Blackhorn down, but not until after several MORE wipes. Then we proceeded to wipe repeatedly on Spine of Deathwing as well, until finally we hit on a winning combination of DPS and skill and took that down as well.

We know Madness of Deathwing very well at this point – in fact, every time we’ve taken it down, we’ve done it with me as the single tank for the encounter. This means most of our DPS have to be pulling at least 30,000 damage per second in order to kill the Mutated Corruption before it can impale me a second time (an unavoidable death). We haven’t had any issues with this, though we have cut it close.

This week, however, things started going a bit…cockeyed.

It started with a glitch we’ve had before, in which an enemy refuses to focus on me despite me throwing every taunt I’ve got at it (Growl AND Challenging Roar), and slamming it with every bit of damage I can muster. This causes the aggro to go everywhere, and the party wiped twice because of this glitch.

However, as I said, this is a glitch we’ve had before – if we keep “resetting the fight” by wiping the party, eventually the mechanic works properly again and I gain aggro immediately upon tossing my Growl at the enemy. And that was true – the third or fourth time through, it worked properly…and that was when we started to see the evidence that something was strange and different with this particular dungeon run – besides other things being a bit more difficult than they usually are all the way through.

We had most of our DPS ABOVE 30k damage per second. In fact, four out of five dps were doing over 40k.

So why weren’t we able to kill the Mutated Corruption before the Elementium Bolt came down? On ANY of the platforms? This wasn’t player error – everyone was focused on exactly what they were supposed to be focused on. Everyone was damaging everything they were supposed to. Throwing everything they had at each threat in succession – and no matter what we did, the corruption wouldn’t go down before that Bolt came UP. Now we’re all good players. We did what we were supposed to do.

Another common glitch wiped the party, though. During this last fight, each of the Aspects gives the party a buff to help them through the battle. Thrall is simultaneously the most useless and useFUL one – he gives you the ability to leap between the widely spaced platforms with a gust of wind at the right time to blow you across. The down side to this being that when Thrall’s buff fails, which it does occasionally (and it isn’t SUPPOSED to – that’s the glitch), the player effected by the glitch is dropped to their death…and they are NOT within reach of any battle rez in the game.

In a 10 man raid, every bit of DPS counts. Losing one player to a Thrall glitch means we are going to hit the Cataclysm timer on the last platform and the entire party will die. So during that run, though we did everything right, we still died, thanks to Thrall dropping our Warlock in a dramatic fashion as we lept toward the last platform.

It was at this point on the second day that we decided to call the Raid again. We had a glitched instance, obviously – if it wasn’t one glitch, it was another, and it wasn’t getting easier. Tempers were flaring, and the last thing you want is to snap at people because of a game. So we let it go and the raiding party broke up for the second time.

We got together again to try one last time – it hurt so bad to have the raid sitting there within fifteen minutes of completion and NOT completing it. So we got the group together AGAIN. Now all five of our DPS were pulling over 40k. We were failing to get the Mutated Corruption down before the second Impale. After the second time, we decided to go with the classic way for this to be performed – we dual tanked it. The idea being that each tank can take one Impale, and before a third goes up, the Corruption will be dead.

That worked, and we progressed. Still, though, that last platform was SO HARD. The corruption wasn’t down, the Bolt came out, forcing everyone to switch from the Corruption to the Bolt before it killed everyone. The Corruption was still up when Hemorage came down, but we got past THAT. And there we were, blasting everything we had at the Arm Tentacle, trying desperately to finish. The timer for Cataclysm – the party wiping mechanic that goes off if the Tentacle isn’t killed in a certain amount of time – was ticking down. We were all focused, we were good. We killed the tentacle with 3 seconds to spare on the timer.

The timer didn’t stop. Cataclysm went off anyway.

Mumble erupted with everyone shouting and cursing at the game – THAT glitch, after all we’d done, that was INTOLERABLE!! It was horrible! How could ANYONE be expected to get that thing down ANY faster?! We BEAT the timer and we STILL died?! Ok, that was it. We were done. The Raid broke up for the final time and we all slunk off, licking our respective wounds and growling about how unfair the game was being.

Later on, those of us in our Guild were talking about it. Forget the Cataclysm glitch – there was NO WAY with our DPS numbers that we shouldn’t have been able to single tank that fight. So why were the Corruptions staying alive so long? Why was everything so hard to kill?

A theory was hit upon, but none of us wanted to believe it…See, since Dragon Soul came out, the Raid has been “nerfed” (made easier) several times. At this moment, all of the enemies in the Raid both do 20% less damage over-all, AND have 20% less health than when the Raid was originally released. At the beginning of the Raid there is an NPC standing by that will allow you to “turn off” this nerf, and make the Raid as hard as it originally was – for those people who feel their guild is prepared for that challenge.

The trick is – ANY member of the party can talk to that NPC and “un-nerf” the Raid. There’s no warning that it’s been done. And right at the very beginning of our Raid, on Friday, we got a couple of jerks in the pick-up part of our group who hated on us for (of all things) using Mumble instead of Ventrillo (both are VOIP programs that allow all of us in the Raid to hear and talk to each other for ease of communication and a lack of a need to type anything). We have a paid-for Mumble server, thanks to a wonderful member of our Guild, so we use Mumble. The jerks insisted Vent was better and refused to use Mumble, then left the group.

The thing is – we were already inside the instance. Just inside the portal.

Right next to that NPC.

You see where I’m going with this, no doubt. The theory we came up with was that just before they left, one of the jerks talked to the NPC and un-nerfed the dungeon on purpose to troll us. There was, of course, no warning or notification that this had been done.

Of course, this was just a theory – but the extra 20% health would explain our inability to kill the Corruptions before the second Impale, as well as just how HARD everything kept hitting, with the extra 20% damage from everything. Lona sent in a trouble ticket about it, asking if there was any way we could check and find out if our group had been un-nerfed.

Several hours later, our theory became fact when a GM confirmed that our raid lock for the week was to an un-nerfed dungeon. On top of all the glitches, the game itself had been set to “hard mode”. No WONDER we hadn’t finished it!

Yes, we were angry at the jerks for having done it. No there was no way for the GM to find out who in the party did it, because it works as a party-wide thing. However, suddenly not finishing the dungeon seemed like almost more of an accomplishment than it normally would have.

We went through all of Dragon Soul, all the way up to the final boss, at it’s original difficulty – without even KNOWING it until we got to that point. Our Raid team has come a LONG way from where we were two months ago, barely knowing what we were doing.

SO yes, we were plagued with glitches, and ultimately the trolls won the day. Still…I’m very impressed with our performance. This week, we’ll take the whole thing down in it’s nerfed form in one day – no problem.

After all – now we know how much harder it COULD be.