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The Infernal One (Soa) Discussion

Toasterbox's Avatar

01.17.2012 , 12:57 PM | #1
I want to discuss in this thread are design problems and issues involved in the final phase of the Soa encounter in Eternity Vault. After slamming our heads against phase three for a solid two hours last night with my eight-man operation team, quite a few ideas sprang to mind. The structure of this post will be to list the design problems I feel should be addressed, to offer constructive feedback, and to foster a healthy discussion about this boss fight's particular encounter design. So, in the famous words of Harry S. Plinkett, Let's begin, shall we?

Pylon Smash!

There are a few threads already floating around in this forum regarding this topic, so I'll keep it short and sweet. First, the pylon mechanic is great in concept. The entire raid feels a strong sense of tension when Soa becomes vulnerable to attack, and it gives the tank a basic positioning challenge to overcome. Here's where it falls apart: the tank is not given the information to perform his job correctly. The boss model is too large for the tank to have clear knowledge that there is either a pylon in the air, or its location. In addition, the location where the pylon crashes into the ground is not clearly defined before it falls, forcing an element of guesswork to come into play.

The consequences of these stumbling blocks are numerous. Since this is the one mechanic that will allow an operations team to complete the encounter, should it fail to be performed properly all blame for the group's failure will be saddled onto one person. In addition, since the tank cannot get the information to prevent further failures from occuring, he becomes frustrated and is less likely to return for the next night of operations.
I propose the following two solutions to make this mechanic easier to understand and execute: Shrink Soa and have the pylon project an accurate texture onto the floor of the room to indicate where it's going to land. This takes a lot of the guess work and clunkiness out of the encounter, and provides a smoother experience for a role that is quite often underpopulated in this genre.

Part 2: Mind Traps! or "He's in my head, Charles!"

This fight mechanic needs to be either scrapped or reworked entirely for phase three. It presents a "time out" mechanic in an environment in which one already exists. Combined with his "whip you around the room for twenty seconds" ability, it also opens the door for a snowballing cascade failure that begins right as phase three starts. What do I mean by that? Well, in an encounter being fought by eight people, having two damage dealers sidelined by his whip and mind trap ability at or near the phase start instantly diminishes your raid DPS by 40%. With the rate mind traps spawn on normal mode you can easily extrapolate how that's going to effect how your operation group will be doing for the rest of the encounter as mind traps stack up again and again. But the problem with mind traps is far larger than it just being a hard disable.

When a player is chosen to be sucked into a mind trap he is, through no fault of his own, essentially being told by the game that he needs to sit in a room, rely on his teammates to break him free, given nothing to contribute to the fight, and blindfolded to the action outside of the mind trap. Do any of these things sound fun? They shouldn't. The mob that spawns inside the trap dies from breathing on it, and conveys to the player no information whatsoever about its purpose or what killing it contributes to the fight.
And this is to say nothing about the bugs one encounters with the mind traps themselves: an invisible mind trap with 2M HP floats around inside the chamber, traps spawn on top of each other, and are able to imprison a player during Soa's vulnerability period. All of these present less of a challenge than they do an arbitrary obstacle that coarsens the experience.

Since mechanics exist that a player can "fail" on personally in this fight e.g. to be standing in a lighting orb or a crashing pillar, an arbitrary punishment in which the player is given absolutely nothing of value to accomplish is unnessecary.
But if mind traps must remain in the game, here are my proposed changes to make them a more "fun" mechanic.

A) Allow a player to "sacrifice" him or herself to the trap, introducing an element of selection that isn't randomly based. That player is still imprisoned, requires the help of teammates to break free, and can't enter a trap again in rapid succession, but allows the raid an element of control over a relatively unfun mechanic.

B) Beef up the projection inside the Mind Trap to be more than a pinata. Reward the player by either freeing her, buffing her movement speed/damage after liberation, or even allowing her to pierce Soa's shield outside of his vulnerability phase.

These are what I think are the largest problems, although not the only problems, with the Soa encounter. What I ask you, dear reader, is what your thoughts are for these mechanics. Are they fine as they are? Do any of these changes make sense, or do you have better ideas for how to address these problems? I look forward to seeing your responses.

AsinineTangent's Avatar

01.17.2012 , 01:20 PM | #2
A very simple fix for the pillar positioning would be to, yeah, make the pillars cast some sort of shadow or effect on the ground.

I land them pretty much 100% at this point but there was certainly some stumbling while I learned how to use the camera to double and triple check if I was in the right spot.

However, I don't really have any problems with mind traps as a mechanic personally. I think it encourages you to bring a balanced party since you can't really rely on certain people to pull you along. I would like to see something that prevents one person from being mind trapped or whirlwinded in succession though.

jinreeko's Avatar

01.17.2012 , 01:24 PM | #3
inb4 "l2p nub"

at an entry level, which some of our raiders are still in blues/oranges, soa does definitely provide a steep challenge. You could argue that the double-disable of mindtrap/bounce forces the raid to be "on their toes" and have the flexibility that a well-functioning raid team should have. As a healer, it's quite a pain in the dick when I go to brain room in the last 6% and the other healer gets bounced around, because damage can get silly, especially if the tank eats falling pillar.

The encounter could use some tweaking, if only for the "this doesn't matter so why is it there" method of the add that hits like a daisy and has less hp than a red-headed stepchild. I feel like this add was either supposed to have more health or hurt soa or something. I have no idea. Maybe it's just a loan from Nightmare Mode where the brain room add actually hurts or has to be killed to make soa vulnerable.

The fight atm feels a little disjointed, but I think the crux of the strangeness just comes from that brain room. Not saying it's broken, because it's killable and it works, but some mechanics change making it less wonky would be awesome

Centerpin's Avatar

01.17.2012 , 01:28 PM | #4
If you think the Pylon and the Mind Traps are an issue than wait till you get to HM then you'll add the lighting balls to the list.

Pylon is hardly an issue, our tank gets it 100% of the time. Mind Traps aren't a huge issue until you get two of them up at the same time. Which we only had happen on HM because of dps switching priority's to boss.
Centerpin GM of Reign
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AsinineTangent's Avatar

01.17.2012 , 01:31 PM | #5
Have your OT kite ball lightning. Works really well as long as you can cover the lost DPS.

Ed: Actually, any person with ranged attacks could do this, really.

jinreeko's Avatar

01.17.2012 , 01:33 PM | #6
whoops doublepost

Toasterbox's Avatar

01.17.2012 , 01:42 PM | #7
Quote: Originally Posted by Centerpin View Post
Pylon is hardly an issue, our tank gets it 100% of the time. Mind Traps aren't a huge issue until you get two of them up at the same time. Which we only had happen on HM because of dps switching priority's to boss.
I agree that there is definately a curve that develops when the tank gets used to working around the limitations for spotting and positioning. And I am looking forward to giving it a jab on Nightmare mode soon. I suppose that the point I wanted to get through a bit more clearly was that there are clunky elements that should be smoothed out. I'm not sure if saying "It's the final boss of the first raid" is a cop out or an excuse on my part for wanting to see a change toward the easier/more accessible, but I can't help but think it.

Also, from a nightmare mode raider perspective, what are your thoughts on Mind Traps as a mechanic for the trapee? Does it not matter since your ops group is balanced, skilled, and geared enough to destroy them quickly, or would you rather see something else in place for the victim of the trap to contribute to the fight?

I'm more interested in the design philosophy approach to the fight than the execution, but I guess they are one in the same, eh? Anyway, I want to hear more of your thoughts.

Vesperr's Avatar

01.17.2012 , 02:39 PM | #8
My only problem with Soa is that after he dies the guy in the mind trap cant get the loot. He has to exit area, run all the way back suicide drop down and be battle-rezzed (or stealth rezzed by rogue) because everyone is in combat. If there were 2 people in the mind traps or someone got bug with ressurect (where they get ported to the start), then it gets real fun with 15min CD on a stealth rez.
I used to be a ballcarrier until I got Leg Shot in the knee.
I cant post if my playtime is over? What The Fckk?!

dego-harmonium's Avatar

01.17.2012 , 03:00 PM | #9
I have seen the pylons fail to drop the shield several times as well, when the pilon basically lands on his head, its such a important mechanic to the fight since you really cannot afford to miss any so some sort of targeting aid may would be a nice addition it could be something as small as a tiny shadow would be all the tank really needs, most importantly the have to fix the issue where SOA poof's if the tank is mind trapped, we have a assasin taunt him when this happens now which helps but he still poof's the odd time. I think a nice mechanic would be possibly to have either having to kill the mob inside or be broken free, which i think may be the intent as well, why else put that mob in there,but cause say you have one dps's being tossed, the other in a trap it can really set you back a ton of dps
Arterial <Lethal Dose Fifty>

Artacks's Avatar

01.17.2012 , 03:14 PM | #10
If you are double jumping shelves, you need to wait. Skipping any pylon will cause the shield to bug.

We've tested this theory extensively, and unless its been luck 100% of the time, this seems to be the fix.