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The Lost Shores Grand Finale: A Survivor's Memoire

lost shores de event weekend karka culling bugs one time only

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#1 Majic

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 06:38 AM

Although there's certainly no shortage of strong opinions to be had about the Lost Shores Event in these fine forums, I figure I might as well share mine -- in the form of a long, drawn-out retrospective that I hope will capture the true spirit of the weekend for my fellow players who couldn't experience this grand, glorious, once-in-a-lifetime event, and want to know what they missed.

Wade into this loquacious, polemic word-storm at thy own peril...

The Phantom Menace

Posted Image
Fig. 1: A massive battle, not being seen.

In the end, the greatest enemy was culling.

The battles were epic in the sense that there were massive numbers of players, as well as several total wipes caused by sudden spawns and those "bowling ball" attacks by the champions and veterans. These attacks often literally came out of nowhere, because they usually started far enough away that players couldn't see them coming due to culling. So it was basically the luck of the draw: sudden, unavoidable death without warning. I have many, many screenshots of the resulting carnage and piles of blue/black skull icons on the map.

And when I look at them, it reminds me that despite the presence of hundreds of players, you couldn't see most of them. They are almost all pictures featuring maybe a dozen or two players in the foreground, and giant karka in the background standing around on a barren plain with no one near them, because the people fighting them can't be seen.

This was a great opportunity for players who haven't experienced WvW yet to intimately understand what people have been complaining about. Fighting invisible monsters, monsters becoming visible next to you after invisibly attacking you, looking around wondering where the zerg went when the zerg is, in fact, still standing all around you, etc.

Vast, terrific battles were fought at Southsun Cove this day. Alas that no one could witness how vast they actually were.

Perhaps they should have named the meta-event "The Secret War".

Shell Shock

Posted Image
Fig. 2: How to locate a Lost Shores event.

The karka are tough. Very tough. And they have those nifty new shaders to let you know their shell is taking damage, with a hazy, unspoken implication that when their health bar resets, it's not because it reset due to a bug (which is normally what that means), but because their shell has been "broken", and now you're actually hurting the giant, delicious crab monster inside.

Unfortunately, extra tough doesn't mean extra fun, and for everyone who started at 12:00PM on the overflow server I was on, it was a long, drawn-out two-hour test of endurance. Combat consisted of trying, and usually failing, to get tag credit on monsters that took absurd amounts of time to kill. This was between being instantly downed by giant exoskeletal bowling balls rolling in from off camera or poison fields the size of football fields. It was like the land was covered by DE end-bosses, all of which took just as long as any other major DE boss, but with no reward for killing any one of them.

The rest of the combat experience was reminiscent of "tunnel farming" at the Cursed Shore at the height of "bot season". By the time you could get a skill off -- a process that could take up to twenty seconds or more in the worst cases -- the smaller mobs were usually already dead. I'm glad I took my Engineer, because at least turrets don't lag -- once you can get them to spawn, anyway -- and I was able to make myself at least marginally useful by keeping my medkit equipped, spamming drop heals and running around rezzing people, which was a full-time job for a lot of us.

In the end, the living envied the dead, and on the grim, barren landscape of Southsun Cove, surrounded by invisible monsters and hidden danger, death was our only faithful companion.

The Toughest Job You'll Ever Hate

Posted Image
Fig. 3: A relaxing way to spend an idle two hours.

After a series of difficult, slow, confusing, relatively unrewarding DEs that gave the usual XP/Karma/pittance that could be picked up in five minutes on Orr, the chest at the end was a pleasant surprise, and the loot was pretty darn cool. And it only took two hours of extremely tedious and repetitive, lag-plagued, invisible monster combat to get there.

As always, the concept of this weekend was grand and glorious. I'm sure it looked great on paper, and I can see what they were shooting for. I like that ArenaNet aims high. It's something I truly respect and admire.

But also, as always, the vision was clouded by hard reality. The truth is that all too often, what was supposed to be "epic" in theory was "tedious" in fact. Throughout the second hour, I found myself yawning more and more, spending more time on screenshots. Running around sightseeing while massive battles went on, and finding the best hiding spots to go AFK for bio breaks and snacks.

Epic? Sure. An epic slog that felt more like trench warfare than a heroic mission. At the end, as we filed out, I could swear I heard one of my comrades singing "Over There".

Johnny got his gun.

Dust In The Wind

Posted Image
Fig. 4: The most memorable event of the day.

It's sad to think the talented people of ArenaNet put so much effort into content that is now gone forever. Although I'll admit I'm frankly not all that sorry to see the more tedious content disappear forever -- in fact, surprisingly relieved -- it still feels like a loss.

It's like a Buddhist sand painting: intricate, complex and painstakingly crafted, only to be briefly appreciated before being swept clear and ultimately forgotten. It would feel unbearably tragic if it weren't for the fact that in the end, when the explosives went off and dropped the Ancient Karka we'd been beating on for the past two hours into the traditional pool of molten lava, I was kind of hoping those same explosives would cause the entire island to sink beneath the waves, never to be seen or spoken of again.

I appreciate that ArenaNet wants to bring in new content with a bang, in a way that changes the world, and I think that's super. But I would strongly prefer that they put more effort into quality assurance and persistent content that can be enjoyed by both current players who can't reschedule their lives around GW2 and future players, and invest less on grand spectacles that are, more often than not, spectacular disasters.

Thanks for the memories, but all I really wanted was a good time.

#2 Shayne Hawke

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 06:56 AM

View PostMajic, on 19 November 2012 - 06:38 AM, said:

Shell Shock

Posted Image
Fig. 2: How to locate a Lost Shores event.

ha.

I'll be more interested in what they do with the area after the event than anything I experienced during it.

#3 ToySoldier

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 07:07 AM

Majic, joo rock.  :lol:   PCGamer etc should hire someone like you.

#4 phani_kaushik

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 07:09 AM

I'm usually totally against whining & complaining posts. My posts history clearly shows it (many might consider me a fanboy or watever). But I like the way you structured it and I feel and share your feelings for the event. I did miss the grand finale and the chest and loot etc as it took place at 3am my time and we, humans, gotta sleep, you know!

I did the first phase and the first fight in LA itself was a nightmare with all new conditions thrown at you by Karka and their virtual invisibility with massive amount of casualties lying all around you, after thieves in WvW, I found my new enemies that I love to hate, or maybe it was the event itself with the culling issues and lag in skill response. My guardian grabs his GS and tries to leap onto the nearest Karka assaulting a fellow player, and well, he waits for sometime, not sure why. He never waits for an assault, not this long unless he's calculating the risks. In this case it seemed entirely different. I thought my mouse is acting up or maybe my notebook is crashing. My poor guardian isn't aware of all of these technicalities. Atlast he finally makes the jump after like 10 seconds and THERE! The enemy is dead already! One kill for monthly gone.

Finally he manages to finish the event and heads over to Caledon Forest. He sees a few Young Karka in a distance, he goes on attacking them with his staff and "Invulnerable" pops up all the time. When he gets near they're dead already (monthlies gone again).
Then he moves over to Kessex Hills. He starts hearing different sounds of fire storms and striking swords but nothing in vicinity. A second later 6 dead Karkas near him. Surprised and equally frustrated, he thinks the best solution is to attack this enemy of stealth by randomly hitting the air with his staff. Nothing yet except a few kills. He hates his luck at lack of good AoE attacks with these new enemies after slaying lots of enemies in the mists.

After a few roaming here and there, he eventually ends up infront of Noll, or Mr. Sleepy, rather. He refused to get up for some reason. My guardian felt jealous of this stranger for the excessive rest he's been getting. My fellow adventurers decided we wait for 5 mins before talking to him so he might understand our plea. We jumped around him, bowed to him, danced on his head, a few damsels fell in love with him and sat with him looking him deep in the eye. But nothing moved him. Again disappointed, my guardian leaves the area and swore to have nothing to do with Karka ever again while he's alive.

I understand running events in live environment is different from test environment and things bug out, but well, that's been my experience with the event and it is what it is!

Edited by phani_kaushik, 19 November 2012 - 08:10 AM.


#5 Zippor

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 07:10 AM

The event was too long, but otherwise pretty good. Only problem I had was with my framerate (kind of lucky there), so killing and advancing wasn't too bad since I didn't lag otherwise. Sweet loots and nice fights, I'll take more of things like this but hopefully on a lot smaller scale.

#6 Busho

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 08:06 AM

A very well written post :)

The event was pretty good, the only problem I had with the event itself is the tuning of some parts of the event that made the event significatly longer (Reinforcements parts specifically). But they made up for it when we had to plant explosives, put boulders in the geysers and detonate those gas bombs. The rewards were quite satisfactory as well. I sympathize with those players that dc-ed during the event and were not able to login but fortunately Anet has announced that they will receive their rewards as soon as they implement a fix.

However I think they have to realise that they have a much bigger problems with the game than the bugs they are constantly patching. Although there is nothing wrong with doing that, I think they should prioritise and put more efforts in the core systems of the game to prevent issues with culling (which has been severly damaging experience in WvW and now also in PvE/massive events) and severe lag however exclusive those things are.

#7 ShadowsRequiem

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 08:11 AM

It was a lot of fun but like Busho said the reinforcements part kinda dragged on quite a while and made the event get a little boring but luckily that was mixed into other events. One of the funniest things I have ever seen is almost a whole zone wiping to the invisible vet karkas bombing the hell out of everything in the hive. The end chest was probably the best rewards I have seen for participating in an online event in a game, I was sad to get a lvl 76 exo when most others got 2 lvl 80 exos but heck its free afterall.

#8 ToySoldier

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 08:19 AM

Gave the thread 5 stars because this is the kind of article I would like to read in PCGamers, GameSpy etc.  :lol: If any of their crew is browsing this forum,.. take note.  rofl.

#9 Lor Ryt

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 08:32 AM

first of all,

congratulations for the post, i enjoyed it immensely.

for me, the worst was simply that anet hasn't realised the following, which i am not getting tired (yet) to repeat:

if you pommel an single enemy for over 2 minutes, it is enough. adding more minutes to it doesn't make it any more interesting or fun

. ok, i get it, normal mobs are relatively easily killed, veteran ones harder, champion ones ... good luck if you want to solo these ones.

at least the new Fractals are better, mainly because they do not take that long.




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