Waging WAR: The blame game

Greg Waller
G. Waller|09.18.10

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Waging WAR: The blame game

In this installment of Waging WAR, Greg flips the world all upside-down-like and examines the soft, warm underbelly of Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning. The PvE side. He holds a mirror to some of the questions he's found himself asking in bad situations involving mean, unforgiving bosses, and he shows us all how not to play The Blame Game. Oh, and HAPPY SECOND ANNIVERSARY, Warhammer Online!!! Ahem, we now return you to our regularly scheduled Waging WAR content.

Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning is primarily about the RvR. As such, we don't often discuss some of the things in the PvE instances throughout WAR that we've all experienced at least once (or at least most of us, anyway). Whether you're heading into Hunter's Vale in Tier 1, setting up for a boss in the Tomb of the Vulture Lord, or preparing for any number of instances in-between (I can name five major ones off the top of my head), we've all been there and done that. Things have inevitably gone south for all of us at least once. For some of us, things have gone south repeatedly, on the same boss, with the same group, in the same instance. Frustration and enmity start to set in, and people start wondering, "What is going on here?" What follows then is usually a series of questions tracing a certain pattern that we ask ourselves as we try to figure out what the problem is. I guess it is only human nature to enter into this type of internal dialogue when faced with problem solving in social situations.

Follow after the break to see what I'm talking about.

It must've been the healers. Or, at the very least, it was the support healer. I don't ever remember getting a spot heal. And I surely didn't see anyone else getting heals from him either. If he wasn't healing the DPS and CC, then he definitely wasn't healing the main healer when she was in trouble. I mean, he wasn't even using that one spell -- you know, the one that everyone else from his class uses. If he had used that spell, things would have gone much better. If that were the case, we probably would have gotten some spot healing, and the main healer wouldn't have been so distracted from healing the main tank. In fact, he probably wasn't healing at all. Although I didn't see it myself, I'll bet he was trying to damage those small adds instead of healing.

And if it wasn't the support healer, then it was surely the main healer. She must've been pouring on too much over-healing and causing more aggro than she needed to. Not only that, but she was way out of position. She was practically standing right on top of the adds when they spawned. It's no wonder the tank had so much trouble picking them up. With all that over-healing and bad positioning, I'm not surprised she was the first to go down every time. The tank followed shortly after every time too; I mean, that tank kissed dirt more times than a new couple on the third date would kiss each other.

Nah, it was definitely the tank. Not only did it take him too long to establish aggro with the main boss on the pull, but it was impossible to find anything in the mess when those adds came because everything and everyone else was moving around so much. If he had let go of his super-man fetish and simply let others pick up the adds rather than run around trying to pick everything up and tank it all, maybe the incoming DPS would have been more manageable between the two healers. I mean, with all that armor and mitigation, he should have been fine off in a corner somewhere battling the main boss for a little bit while everyone else cleaned up the room. Instead, he felt the need and responsibility to be the only person in the room to take damage, and he ended up biting off more than he could chew. That was the kind of pressure healers didn't need. Not only that, but all the commotion and movement made finding adds all that much more difficult for the DPSers and CCers to find and kill.

Then again, if the DPSers and CCers had done their jobs, the incoming damage on the tank and healers would not have been nearly what it was. I mean, first of all, they were jumping on the main boss way too early, making the tank struggle for aggro at the start of the fight. If they had held back just a few moments, things might have been smoother. They also let all those smaller, normal mobs swarm the healers, assuming they could heal through it, completely ignoring the idea that maybe the healers would have trouble with the push-back from all that melee damage they were taking. And they definitely weren't using their stuns and knockdowns properly. That one elite ranged add kept instagibbing the main healer every time. On top of everything, their DPS was dismal. The adds didn't die nearly as fast as they needed to. I swear I saw that one guy standing there auto-attacking.

If it wasn't the healers, tank, DPS or CC, then it was the instance. It was just broken. The adds had too many hit points. The boss was hitting too hard. The adds were hitting too hard. The server was lagging too much. The code was bugged. Et cetera, et cetera.

Isn't it funny how we can go through so much analysis of a PvE encounter and find ways to blame everyone and everything but ourselves? I can't say that I'm better than anyone else, because I've often found myself thinking some of these very same things. But if I had come around and focused on my own behaviour and mistakes, I'm certain many of my experiences in some of these situations would have gone better, in terms of not only my performance, but my relationship with the groups in those instances as well.

If you have comments or suggestions on how not to play the blame game, or a funny anecdote about a personal experience you've had with problematic PvE in WAR, share it in a comment below!
Every Saturday afternoon, Waging WAR hits the cover of Massively with the latest and greatest in all things Warhammer Online. From patch news to career reviews, Greg Waller writes about it all. Email comments and questions to greg@massively.com.
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