I was subtly reminded by Iaksones that I haven't talked about raiding for a while. And that while I promised raiding as a recurrent topic some time ago! I suppose I'm really too chaotic to post on a regular schedule. I will, however, keep posting some raiding news from time to time.
Lately, my kinship has been into Saruman T2 and I've been in there with them almost every time. We even skipped some locks (well, did them quickly on T1 to get them over with) to be able to spend more time on Saruman. Which can turn out well or less well for a takedown, as I've learned in the past.
In a previous kinship, a long time ago, we had only Gortheron T2 left to complete before the Rise of Isengard would dawn. We spent months doing nothing else. I once expressed concerns to a friend who was in the officer team. Are we not overstretching ourselves? Will people keep enjoying themselves? "How so?" was her reply. "We have to do it, and I want that (server first-only) title."
In the end, we stopped making progress. We were close to making it. Close, but not close enough. New approaches were dismissed, as the leadership was convinced we were on the right road. We kept trying and trying, but eventually a negative atmosphere emerged. We just didn't get any further. I think it was that people didn't really believe they could do it anymore. As some of the negativity was directed at my boyfriend and I, we thought it better to leave and join the kinship I'm currently in.
With our experience of the fight, combined with an enthusiastic group, we came up with a totally different strategy and bested Gortheron T2 Challenge only a few weeks later. It was an amazing experience. What I learned from it was this:
- Be open-minded. Progress works best if everyone feels free to share their ideas and are listened at. Try them all. There's no shame in trying a bad strategy, because it will teach you what works and what doesn't. Don't be afraid to discuss and improve yourself.
- Don't get stuck. But if you do, don't do what we did. Take a break, work on something else for a while and return fresh. You're playing LotRO for fun, after all, not to feel demotivated.
So far for all the seriousness. How are we doing on Saruman? To be honest, it's been great. Of course there's a lot of dying, but any serious raider should have a high dying tolerance. I can enjoy nothing more than working towards a takedown like this. I love getting to know a fight so well that I know exactly which mechanic gets introduced in which phase. I love the discussions on how to improve on the kinship forums. I love knowing exactly what to do when and what to prioritize. When I'm on Saruman T2, I'm 100% lore-master.
Last night, we broke our record of amount of Sarumans downed during the last phase. We also achieved something else that might be even more important, and that was total control over the first four phases. We could do them in a relaxed atmosphere and play "I see something and it starts with a D..." (forgot how the game is called in English). It's only the last phase that requires all our attention. I've been having so much fun, I can barely wait for our next try.
My computer, meanwhile, has been having less fun doing Saruman. Environmental shifts such as acid above (and frost in particular) are too much for my graphics card to handle and cause gigantic lag, even on the "very low" graphics setting. I could cope with it on the first phases, but it gets so bad when we get to the ten Sarumans that I had to resort to claiming my boyfriend's gaming laptop. It took some time to set up the plugins and to get used to playing on such a small screen, but I got it working. And now I can even take nice screenshots while raiding! Only when pulling power of course, I don't want to wipe the group...
I do think the environmental shifts are a great idea. In addition to their dangers, they also make the fight visually challenging. The clear winner is definitely the shadow shift, which turns everything black!
Can you find the 1. guardian's shield; 2. main Saruman; 3. minstrel; 4. lore-master; 5. captain banners; 6. champion; 7. raven and 8. burglar? Tip: click on the image for a larger version.