06/12/2019

Raiding With Little Guidance

For the longest time, the #1 online resource to consult about raiding in SWTOR used to be Dulfy's website. From what I can surmise, she was a dedicated progression raider herself and would usually play through all the new content on the PTS, where she took screenshots and notes so that she could have a detailed guide ready and published the moment the content actually hit live.

However, in the latter half of 2017 she suddenly seemed to lose interest in operations, and after the first two encounters in Gods from the Machine the guides just stopped, which posed a bit of a challenge for raiders who were used to having them as a reference. I mentioned this when talking about my own guild's Gods progression at the time.

We eventually bumbled our way through via a mix of obscure written sources (our main reference for hardmode Scyva was from a Google doc written by a person with a French-sounding name) and orally related instructions from friends and guildies who had already managed to get their kill via some other means.

Cue the release of Onslaught! Dulfy seems to have given up guide-writing for MMOs entirely earlier in the year (not just raid guides), and while other fan sites like Vulkk and MMO Bits have picked up the slack in a lot of areas, raiders still feel a bit underserved to me in terms of helpful content. Xam Xam has actually started posting guides for the first few bosses of the new operation recently, but for my guild at least these still came kind of late, as we're up to the last boss on veteran mode now.


It's interesting because it's one thing to go into story mode "blind" for a bit of fun, but we never had any intentions to do hardmode progression "blindly" too. The first two encounters were easy enough to figure out on the go, but by the third one we were running into some trouble.

Fortunately it was word of mouth that saved us once again, as an acquaintance from another guild was able to give us a crucial tip that managed to turn things around. Still, we are back to running two progression teams at the moment and it's been interesting to see how each one's been doing things slightly differently, simply because there's no single source telling us what to do along every step of the way, so each group just experiments with certain things until they find a way that works best for them.

It's a different raiding experience than what I've been used to for a long time, but still fun. It gives you that odd feeling of being on the very edge of progression, among the first people to figure out how these fights work (though we're obviously not). And the operation itself has remained good fun so far; to me it really feels like Bioware hit about the right difficulty for a hardmode this time around.

We also keep discovering little bits and pieces that make us laugh, from new hardmode-only mechanics to little things that we just managed to miss previously. Did you know that in the room with the turrets before the Huntmaster, you can avoid being shot at by simply RP-walking past them? The AI wasn't kidding when she said that they were activated by motion sensors...

Now we just have to deal with the last boss, which like on story mode, is the one thing I'm not so sure I like. On story mode I criticised the sheer length of the fight as well as the imbalance in terms of what each group member has to do, while veteran mode seems to be extremely unforgiving in terms of group composition, which has most of my team gearing up some alts now because our usual mix of classes and specs is simply not viable. We shall see how that goes!

11 comments :

  1. I still haven't gotten around to the new op. Fallen Order and just being busy has made it hard. Hope to soon!

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    1. Well, in fairness there is no rush. With the way SWTOR does progression, it's not like it's going away or becoming obsolete any time soon. :)

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  2. The Dulfy story is interesting from what little I managed to piece together. I think she only started her website as something to do after she finished her studies and before she moved into paid employment. I believe she had no plans for it to last more than a short while but it took off and became so successful that she ended up doing it a lot longer than expected and even had a team of people working with/for her on the site.

    Then the next stage of her career (whatever that is - I have no idea what she does outside of gaming) took off and she dropped the website pretty much overnight to go back to her original plans outside of gaming. Maybe someone else can fil in the details or correct what's wrong with that summary.

    Given the quality of her guides and the speed with which she got them done I can only imagine she has a stellar career ahead of her in whatever it is she does. I don't imagine she has any plans to come back to gaming coverage...

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    1. Sounds legit. I wasn't always the biggest fan of the site itself - I'm not sure if she ever practised any comment moderation for example; the comment sections were certainly among the cessiest cess pits I've ever seen - but her sheer discipline in always getting the content out on time was certainly impressive. I agree that she's gotta be good at whatever she's doing now!

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    2. She was applying to medical school if I recall correctly. I can personally verify that it would leave no time for a MMO. :-)

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    3. Oh, yes! Our loss, but 🐚 sure be through into whatever she does. I'll agree we needed more moderation on the website comments, but I just stayed away for it and having even a guide for story options in kotfe is a sure sign of dedication.

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  3. It's an interesting situation to watch as a non-Ops person these days. I was surprised that there was such a vocal segment of the player population treating guides as being some sort of terrible spoiler. I have always felt that MMO players should support guide writers and want solid, available information for the player base. So often getting current information is difficult and the old information can be detrimentally wrong given expansion changes. While I am sympathetic to groups wanting to figure things out for themselves, there's a big difference between knowing what to do versus actually being able to do it in an Ops environment. :)

    I guess I was spoiled by Wow where everything is datamined and analyzed seven ways to Sunday.

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    1. Huh, I hadn't seen anyone complain about guides being spoilers.

      I remember finding the lack of information a bit of a struggle in SWTOR's early days, or more accurately in the months after the initial hype died when a lot of resources that had only been created in expectation of SWTOR becoming the next big thing shut down due to lack of interest/profitability. However, at this point I'm used to SWTOR's more limited number of fan sites, and the game's been in worse places in that regard than it is now.

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    2. I'm probably overstating it (oops), but that's how a number of folks came across. I remember hearing people on podcasts complaining about how guides and datamining was 'ruining' the game experience. That it was better to not know anything going into new content because that was the intended (one assumes the 'purest') way of enjoying things. It was a bit of a silly position as one can just ignore all of this stuff, but apparently the mere existence of these things was enough to degrade those folks experience. To be fair, this was in the days when datamining was the Greatest-Threat-To-Swtor. That seems to have faded as the visibility of datamining and the miners themselves has faded.

      When Bioware started making the PTS more available to the public which lead to the rise of the Swtor Theorycrafting Discord this time around I wondered if we'd get another round outraged indignation. I haven't seen that. The TC Discord seems to be very well liked and supported. I suspect the playerbase or, at least, that vocal minority, has changed. Having a good source on the game systems is too useful to want to trash. Also, with the sudden stop of Dulfy being the one-stop shop for all your Swtor needs it is a bit harder to get outraged by guides when you have to spend more time hunting them down.

      On the third hand, it could be that there are fewer Ops folks remaining. I'll leave my soapbox rant about the Ops group finder for another day. :)

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    3. Are you sure you aren't thinking of a WoW podcast? :D I know that game sure has problems with data miners spoiling everything all over the place. I've always found the SWTOR community to be very respectful about these things though.

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    4. Thinking about it, I suspect it was more confirmation bias than anything else. Coming from a mid-range progression guild in Wow I tend to favor datamining at a part of being prepared for new content. So I obviously would roll my eyes at people who (to me) over react to it. :chuckle: All this says certainly says something about me!

      As a side note, I wish we had some way of knowing how many folks were first time MMO players in Swtor, along with the ones that only play Swtor. I know I've heard many say one or both about themselves, but I don't know how large a part of the population they are. The only reason I mention this is that, as you well know, it is easier to discuss things when you can compare proposed features to good *and* bad implementations in other MMOs.

      Oh, in my little corner of Wow, we ban spoilers in the general channel of our Discord, but have an opt-in channel for spoiler discussion. That has worked out well for us. The spoiler channel has morphed over time from a Wow spoiler channel to a general spoiler channel. We even discussed the Mandalorian in there. :)

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