Trash Collection Issues in Runic Descent

Crap, crap, crap, crap, crap, crap, crap…

-When your healer is saying this, time for a health potion

Just another Saturday night in Meridian.

There is always at least one out there…

After a couple more weeks off, we were able to assemble and take another poke at Runic Descent.

Last time around was something of a reconnaissance in force, with four of us venturing into the instance just to try it out.  Predictably, death was a common occurrence during that run.

This time around, with a full crew, things were bound to be better, right?  Or would irony show its hand?

  • Gizalia level 39 mage
  • Zahihawass level 39 cleric
  • Earlthecat level 39 warrior
  • Jollyreaper level 39 mage
  • Hillmar level 43 cleric (mentored to 38)

In a bit of a goof, I stopped doing anything with Hillmar for fear of getting too far ahead in levels, only to figure out that there is something of an awkward zone when it comes to mentoring.  The minimum number of levels you can mentor down is five, so if I had just played him a little more rather than holding off, I would have been able to hit the same level as the rest of the group.  Instead I was in at the lowest recommended level for the instance.

Did that make a difference?  See the quote at the top.

I did consider swapping in Solyndro, my mage, who was level 45 by that point.  I bought him another role and went with the provided healing spec.  But that was all too new to try live in the game on an instance night.  So we formed up to get on our way with the usual suspects.

By the healer… oh, I get to know her

More after the cut.

This line intentionally left nonsensical.

After having done the ride to Runic Descent last time around, we felt we could skip the travel and just use the dungeon finder.

Five for Runic Descent Please

Once unspent soul points were spent… the dungeon finder won’t let you in with unspent points… off we went.

Back at the top of the descent

There, those of us who did not pick up the original quests last time.. Jolly was absent and mistakes were made… we were able to start our roll down the hill.

Right away, in the first trash pull, I noticed that I was having some problems keeping up with healing.  Granted, we seemed to be doing things the hard way, no crowd control, just grab everybody in a group and AOE.  And Earl was able to hold aggro, but he was losing hit points faster than I was able to replace them.  So I started hitting him with a heal over time early, which caused aggro problems, which got me dead all of three fights into the instance.

We got to the spigot-mortar fountain and managed to get that quest objective done while only losing one of us.  Last time around we died quite a bit just trying to figure out what was going on, then carried on down the hill towards the first boss, Rictus.

And while we had people die, and even a full wipe, on trash on the way to him, Rictus himself we managed to take down on the first go.  Zahi, in his support role, put up some healing to help me, while I pretty much chain cast my big heal, healing invocation, on Earl, along with my group heal when we all got hit, and we were able to power through and bring him down.

Battle with Rictus

That went much better than our attempt last time around, when we ended up just bypassing him.

Then it was onward down the hill some more.  I think I pulled aggro with another early heal and died again along the way.  But we made it to the second quest point, which was the lasers.

We managed to do the lasers right the first time before.  This time we made up for it by dying horribly a few times.

Another victim of coherent light

Last time, Earl went left, I went right, and Zahi went up the middle and hit the container and we were all good.  This time I went left, Earl went right, and Jolly went for the container and we were all dead.  I hadn’t realized, previously, that the laser pretty much kills you in two hits.  So after one hit you had better get out of the way.  I managed to get hit twice on all three of our attempts, but on the third try we unlocked the spawned mob.  We were then able to regroup and take him down without a problem.

We started trying to get more serious, as the trash deaths were starting to mount.  I maxed out and had to leave the instance and visit a healer before we were done for the night.  Meanwhile, Gizalia became very good at her feign death skill, as she noted the survival rate once the healer than the tank was down was close to nil.

Part of getting serious included marking targets.  Since we last rolled, Trion had a patch that gave us raid marking icons along with the numbers that were there before.  I am not sure why.  Was that a big deal for WoW people, not having a diamond?  Did anybody leave over a numbers vs. icons debate?

Anyway, there are icons.  Some of them make complete sense, at least within the context of Rift.

No sheep in Rift, squirrels

Others… um… not so much.

Death to the smiley!

We kept on down the hill until we made it to the area around the second boss, Wormwood, where the healer died yet again to trash pulls.

Physician, heal thyself once in a while, eh?

We got ourselves back together and considered Wormwood.

Wormwood awaits

This was our last fight our last time around.  Plus dying on so much trash made us cautious.  And yet, once we piled into the fight and figured out his trick, everything went smoothly.  Healing was no big deal.  Wormwood went down.

If Wormwood falls in the forest…

And then it was on to more trash, where I died horribly again.

Actually, what ended up being the last group of four trash mobs gave us a the worst time in the instance.  Earl was trying to line-of-sight pull them around a corner.  The first time he went behind a tree and broke line of sight with me, and died while I was trying to run over to where I could see and heal him.  Then I hit him with a heal too early.  The we changed first targets when it became clear that one mob ran really fast to Earl, while the others took their time.

Eventually we brought them down, but not before at least four cycles of resses and/or returns from feign death.

Once they were down, we realized we were facing the final boss, Warden Falidor, which was something of a surprise.  Having been looking at the map, it seemed like we had a ways yet to got.

Our final position on the map

Of course, we were only doing the normal version of the instance.  The expert version has more content beyond the warden.

Anyway, there he was, waiting for us, so we went right after him.  He went down in a fight so quick that  I did not even get a picture, just the auto-picture of  the achievement and the loot.

Somebody was quick on the loot button

So we took our traditional end of instance group picture.

At the end of Runic Descent

The gate that goes on to the expert content is behind us in that picture.

Another instance down and I think only four more to go until we have done them all in normal mode.  And by the time we knock those out, we will likely be facing the Storm Legion expansion.

We left the instance and spent a little time closing some rifts to build up planar charges.  We used them all up during the run on the guild damage resistance buff after each wipe.

Pretty clouds in the background

All in all, we did okay.  Certainly we need to work on basic mechanics of taking on multiple mobs.  Bosses were no big problem, but trash kept dragging us down.  I think we are just really rusty on that point, having taken most of the summer off from the game.

And I need to take a bit of time and check my healing spec.  I am not running the pre-defined healing spec but one I rolled on my own because I wanted certain abilities earlier than I would have otherwise gotten them.  That seemed to make a difference when Hillmar was in the 20s.  Now, near the end of the point climb, I need to make sure I didn’t miss anything key.  And I need to look up what people are using for a heal rotation.  “Just cast the big one” sort of works… mana is never an issue, and I get a serendipity buff every other cast that cuts a second off the wind up.  But I was losing the battle versus damage coming in on Earl, and I do not think it was all because I was mentored down to 38.

Now we just have to get to level 42 where we can face The Fall of Lantern Hook.

Or, maybe something else.  Earl and Zahi are scouting GuildWars 2, though I have heard actual dungeon content is crap.  There was a certain amount of nostalgia for WoW on coms due to there being a new expansion out.  And there is Torchlight II, though I think that might better serve as an off-night activity rather than a main focus.

So we shall see.

8 thoughts on “Trash Collection Issues in Runic Descent

  1. pkudude99

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Purifier should have more points than Sentinel. Work Purifier up to 33 points, then add in the Sentinel stuff after until you get to the 3x/3x setup. Personally, I prefer 33/33, but there are decent arguments for a 32/34, or a 34/32 as well, hence the “3x/3x” name.

    Restorative Flame is a better heal than Healing Invocation — it’s 10% cheaper mana cost per cast, heals for a larger amount, and you also get a shield on your tank in the amount of 60% of your spell power.

    Set up a Macro for Flashover + Latent Blaze and keep that buff on the tank at all times and yourself too, if possible. Some clerics say they keep it up on 3 people, but I find that requires more micromanagement than I like. Flashover forces it to crit if it fires off — it’s nearly a full heal when it crits, so it’s VERY useful in a “crap crap crap crap crap crap crap crap” situation” and can give you some much needed breathing room.

    Don’t forget to keep Surging Flames up on the tank and have your party stay near-ish to you. Free AE heals aren’t anything to sneeze at, after all. 35m range on it is for you to cast it, but it only heals party members within 15m of you, so that’s why they need to stay near you if they can.

    Healing Communion is still your main AE heal, but you should also have an “Oh Snap!” macro for it that ties Flashover + Touch The Light + HC together for an instant-cast critical on it. You have to hit the macro 3x for it to fire off, but that’s not a big deal once you’re used to it. Yes, it does mean that HC shows up on your bar 2x ;-)

    Going with this setup you have lots of good steady single-target healing from Restorative Flame, and lots of Emergency heals, both ST and AE, plus you can shield the tank and give him a 25% HP boost for the pull when the mob hasn’t yet been debuffed. I’ve tried many different healing builds, and I’ve not found anything better than this one.

    At 43 I’d have my points spent like this: Level 43 PuriSent

    At level 50 it looks like this: Level 50 33/33 PuriSent

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  2. bhagpuss

    Pretty sure you’d enjoy the heck out of GW2 as a soloist or in a duo with another interested party. For your instance group, not so much I reckon. TSW would suit you much better for that I would guess.

    Looking ahead, have you considered City of Steam as an interesting hybrid of MMO/Diablo/Torchlight? F2P and a ton of dungeons.

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  3. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Bhagpuss – I do not doubt that GW2 is a fine single player game, but that really doesn’t seem to be what I am looking for.

    To put it in terms of SynCaine’s post today, I am really more of a group 1 player. Or I think I am, in any case. I am an unreliable narrator in my own story.

    I want to find a world to settle down in with a group of friends. What I have read about GW2 so far doesn’t make it seem like the right sort of destination, especially with the dungeon situation.

    City of Steam? I got an invite a while back for alpha. Have they gone live yet?

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  4. bhagpuss

    City of Steam goes into beta in November. Supposed to launch this year. It’s an odd hybrid. It has a shared hub leading to instanced dungeons structure that reminds me of the original Guild Wars but it manages to have a very strong sense of being a world despite that. I think it benefits hugely from not only being derived from a tabletop RPG, but also having the writer of that system leading the development team.

    I don’t think it’s going to work as a full-time home for anyone who’s looking for that, but as a drop-in for enjoyable sessions of dungeon-bashing within a coherent and interesting setting it looks pretty impressive.

    I liked SynCaine’s two-group definition a lot, but I think there are considerably more than two definable groups sharing the MMO space. I tend to flit from one group to another like a hyperactive moth in a candle-lit cathedral.

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  5. SynCaine

    The Sewers experience would look like the greatest 5-man content of all time (Deadmines?) compared to you guys doing a dungeon in GW2. You would collectively blow your heads off after the first ‘pull’ (Anet fixed the whole ‘broken’ pull mechanic!)

    It would make for absolutely fantastic blogging.

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  6. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @SynCaine – Well, you know… if it is in the name of scientific research… and blogging….

    We’ll see what our two scouts say this weekend.

    @Bhagpuss – I realize that SynCaine’s model is simplified, and that it is not a binary situation, but a continuum between two poles. In our instance group, we clearly are spread across the dial. And even though I identify myself as being in group 1, those seeking a home, what I want out of it is clearly different than other people who fall into that slot. And I can flick around between titles myself. What category does the person who wants a home but cannot make up his mind belong in?

    But for the sake of a model used to discuss the issue, it is reasonable.

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