Runnyeye: If You Can’t Beat ‘Em…

Posted: June 20, 2008 by Kendricke in Everquest 2
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I was able to spend some time this week running through the new high level Runnyeye instance, “Runnyeye: The Gathering”.  Even though I keep hearing comments from some players that the dungeon is “too hard” or “too exclusive”, I can’t help but think that some of those critics may be missing a very large point.

First, this dungeon is not exclusive – at least not in any traditional sense of the word.  Anyone can get to this dungeon (it’s a level 80+ dungeon sitting in the middle of a level 30-40 zone).  You don’t need high end raid gear to run this dungeon and in fact, it’s entirely possible to run this dungeon without such gear (hint:  groups are already doing this).  Even if you can’t clear the entire dungeon, the first couple of named all but fall over and die within 20 seconds of so much as seeing a player.

Any “exclusivity” is with the dungeon’s ability to skill/gear check.  You can’t just load up on crafted gear and put together any random group of tank/healer/four damage dealers and expect to run the dungeon within a couple of hours.  Even in an ideal group with decent gear, the vast majority of players will still need to pay attention through most every fight, which is a complete turnaround from such dungeons as Crypt of Agony or Vaults of Eternal Sleep.

To be fair, I’m not personally finding there to be that much difficulty in Runnyeye II so far.  Last night, three guildmates and I grabbed a pickup tank and healer and ran the dungeon through in under 2 hours.  With a guild group used to working together, we should be able to blow through the dungeon easily within 90 minutes, and probably closer to an hour.

However, for those players who feel those numbers are simply unrealistic, the dungeon itself has a 3 day timer which gives even the most casual of groups plenty of time to play, take a break, log back in the next night and go again for an hour or so, take a break, and then log in on a third night to finish it off.  You simply won’t find that many group dungeons within Everquest II that allow for 72 hours of attempts.

What’s really and truly different within this dungeon though isn’t the hit points or damage per second that the players are dealing with.  It’s the fact that the encounters themselves have some scripting involved.  In many ways, this is the closest many casual players will get to Tier 8 raiding.  In many ways, Runnyeye II can be seen as the first “raid zone” of the Kunark era.  Guilds that can’t handle Protector’s Realm but who were able to pick up Fabled Epics should look at Runnyeye II as a zone to hone their raid discipline one group at a time.

I think this is the reason you hear so many raiders discussing how easy the zone is while many non-raiding players are decrying the difficulty and pointing to a lack of raid gear as the excuse.

I’d argue that raid gear doesn’t break this dungeon.  Raid experience does.

It’s interesting, because for years I’ve heard arguments from non-raiders (and some raiders) who indicate that raiding isn’t harder than grouping – that raiding doesn’t make better players, only better followers.   Yet, last night as we blew through the instance, I took stock of the reasons we were destroying the goblins by the boatload while other players are getting stopped clean by the first few named.

The obvious answer, at least to me, isn’t the gear.  It’s the fact that raiding gives experience into breaking the “code” revolving around certain encounters.  As raiders – even relatively casual raiders – my guildmates and I are very used to working with each other.  Our communications during the encounters last night reflected this.  Our macros were built around raiding, and came in just as handy during the encounters last night.  Our adornment and achievement builds are based around raiding, and it showed last night.

You don’t need raid gear to succeed in Runnyeye II, though it admittedly will help.  What you need is a raiding mindset.  You need to have the ability to keep from getting into tight situations in the first place, and when you do you need the experience not to panic.  If a wipe occurs, raiders simply revive and get rebuffed – while many non-raiders still take deaths more personally than perhaps they should.  A lot of raiders look for ways to avoid fear, position pulls, and avoid area of effect attacks.  Most raiders look for ways to learn from mistakes quickly, and adapt on the fly.

Do these statements mean that non-raiders do not do these things as well?  No, it does not.  However, the very act of raiding requires a skillset that includes these different abilities and thinking processes.  Most general solo or group content simply does not.

So, if you’re failing at Runnyeye II, try to step back and look at the actual reasons why.  Try to approach the dungeon as a raider might.  Assess your own gear.  Take a long hard look at the group composition you’re choosing.  Take the time to make sure your tank is up to the task.  Make sure you have enough support classes present.  Run a parser.  Watch your logs.  Use voicechat and communications macros.  Accept wipes.  Keep moving.  Keep watching. Keep learning.

When in doubt, ask.  Ask others if they know the “strats”.  Look around and try to research the dungeon a bit.  Don’t look for scapegoats to blame – try to find solutions, instead.

Do these things, and you’ll be dropping the High Shaman before you know it.  Do not, and you’ll likely frustrate yourself by convincing yourself that, once again, the raiders are to blame…

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Comments
  1. Pantheros says:

    I think this is a fair interpretation of this zone. It is a fun, group friendly zone, but yes, you do need some discipline or you will do nothing but feed the mender and his family with the procedes you might collect.

    I, like you, don’t think that a group needs to be “fabled out” to do this zone. Heck, a good portion of my current equipment comes from faction vendors, quest rewards, collection rewards or (until quite recently) crafters. Yes, I do have some fabled raid gear, yes, I have my fabled epic weapon. Do I think that I would have suffered that much more if I didn’t have these fabled raid pieces, and had all quested equipment, no, I don’t think it would have made too huge of a difference.

    For as I did have all of my current equipment, I was, as a ranger, using recovered arrows throughout the whole zone, even the final named (though I may have used a few real ones, as I did run out during the fight). And if you are up on your basic arrow mechanics, you know that recovered arrows have a -5% hit chance, and no damage bonuses.

    Still, there may be some that might think that their equipment is “not quite good enough”. To those, I would suggest you take a good look at the various temporary adornments and potions that can help you hit harder, hit more or critically hit more often. They may make more of a difference than that extra two crits off of that raid helm…

  2. Illuminator says:

    Kendricke, what you write here is something I’ve been pondering a lot lately. On test we demolished the zone the first time through, and killed the epic named on the second attempt after our tank pinpointed the NPC with the 90K nuke.

    I think if EQ2 requires an external utility like ACT to conquer raids or other instances, that is not a good thing for the game in general, regardless of how well-versed I and my guildmates are with it.

  3. Kendricke says:

    I agree with that, Illuminator. I pointed that out in an article I wrote earlier this year as well.

    That said, I really don’t think this zone requires “raid gear”. It does, however, seem to require a bit of a raiding mentality.

  4. Rijacki says:

    On a lot of the encounters where people insist ACT and voice chat is -needed-, I have actually been in groups without either and been successful. It’s -harder- without external tools, but not impossible. For those used to the tools, though, it does seem impossible without them, and for those without the tools, it provides a handy excuse.

    Yeah, for all the begging on the boards for more complex and challenging group content, when it is delivered, there are nothing but complaints about how hard it is… until it’s nerfed, of course.

  5. stargrace says:

    I agree completely about the raider mindset. I’ve run RE 2.0 twice now, both times I had no enchanter in the group, 2 healers, a shadowknight tank, a bard (dirge both times) and melee (scouts). We wiped twice on the first time through on the final named (only deaths) and once on the second time through, tanking the epic and all the adds all at once.

    The key to the encounters had nothing to do with the gear anyone was wearing.

    It did have to do with communication, and knowing your group, and knowing your class. Ie: The only thing you need to be able to do to handle the last encounter is cure. Instantly. With all the dots clear of the MT we had no issues at all. DPS down the adds and just cure cure cure. It went smooth as could be.

    I was only level 79, warden, and in treasured gear (I know, don’t I suck).

    I see the comments people posted on forums about how the zone is too difficult. I think we needed something difficult though, and how often does a zone end up getting nerfed anyhow. Just look at Unrest. That zone used to be really hard. It was complicated and took forever to run it. Then you run it a few more times. A few more. More. And suddenly we’re sleep walking through it.

  6. Loredena says:

    Based entirely on what I’m reading (I’m not 80) I’ll go so far as to suggest it isn’t a raid mentality issue – – it’s a ‘not a pickup group’ issue. Back in EQ, my non-raiding group of friends consistently went into zones we were ‘too low’ for or ‘undergeared’ for, and tore them up (and at a time when we had no external aids — no vent, so parsers, nada). How? We had leveled together, as a group, from level 5. We knew our roles, we knew everyone else’s role, and we knew exactly what we could expect everyone to be doing regardless of the situation. I think casual players who rely entirely on PUGs will continue to find RE difficult, but guild groups from even the most casual guilds should start putting it together after a few runs as they learn who should be doing what, when.

  7. Laldail says:

    “We knew our roles, we knew everyone else’s role, and we knew exactly what we could expect everyone to be doing regardless of the situation.”

    That, in a nutshell, is “raid mentality” to a large degree. I think you and Kendricke are essentially saying the same thing with different wording.

  8. foozlesprite says:

    My guild and I raids often, we use Vent, have nice gear, and have cleared VP, so we certainly know how to focus on a fight. Yet even with a full group of us, all with mythicals and on Vent, knowing the fights, we still have trouble with the last two nameds in here. I think what this is, is the zone has a lot of critical luck based moments. I cleared it the first night I went in there, but haven’t been able to since.

    I’m not really complaining, it’s nice to have a group zone that’s a challenge. However I’ve been asked to solo heal for this zone (as a DPS specced fury) twice now, and let me tell you, it’s no fun at all. We made it up to Slamhammer twice and past him once with me solo healing. But the other night, even with me and a mystic healing the zone, we had trouble on Slamhammer and couldn’t even kill the last boss, whereas we could with ease the first night in. It just seems like the difficulty of this zone is bouncing around a lot even with the same capable group, which is the part of it that’s no fun for me!

    Oh, and it’s sad that the best caster DPS gear in there can’t be worn by furies 😦 I’m going in there night after night to help my guildies, wiping repeatedly to the epic, and there’s not really anything in there that interests me that I can wear. Plus I haven’t seen a master in there yet, which was a big selling point of the zone in the previews.

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