You ask most people what makes a successful raid, they’ll probably tell you things like, good heals, no deaths, smooth completion, lucky loot drops. Without thinking about it too much, I may have answered the same way. So why, after tonight’s completed Shroud, with only 1 death, good heals and decent loot, do I feel like that was my Worst Shroud Ever? It’s because I’ve been spoiled. Yup, spoiled rotten. Beware: Wall of Text to follow, and no Feel Good Ending. This is a whine-fest par excellence. Don’t read if you’re in a good mood 😉
Ask Evennote, or Billy, or Valk. We’ve been in some downright atrocious Thirteenth Eclipses. I’ve seen outright wipes in Parts 3, 4, and 5. I’ve made mistakes with killing stoned Barbazu. I’ve run out of missiles on my Ranger in Pt 4. I’ve seen 4 rounds of generals in Part 2. But guess what: None of those runs had what it took to qualify for the title of Worst Shroud. And the defining factor was the people.
And that’s where I’ve been spoiled. Maybe it’s the crew of Monty’s, or maybe it’s Thelanis in general. Maybe I’ve just been lucky with my choice of online compadres. Whatever the reason, it seems that I’ve had the privilege of grouping with a top notch tier of players. All it took was one hero saving a wipe. One good leader giving good direction. Heck, even just a light hearted attitude in the face of imminent failure was enough to have me walk away happy. So with that in mind, check out this Shroud run:
I join as the 10th in, finish my ship buffs, and head to Meridia. Hmm, only one blue dot at the gate. I check the LFM again and see that the rest of the party is already in. Okay, nothing out of the ordinary there; I step in. I can hear buffs as I zone in, and the first buffs I see on my bar are Rage and Haste. Hmm, usually those are last, and there’s still 2 spots open… Well, maybe they HAD a full party but it thinned before I got there. I’m a bit … on my toes … but still not too much to worry about. We shortly get our last 2 spots filled, and the leader and his few guildies start the dialogue and jump through the portal. K, now I’m concerned. I have no gh, jump, or resists, and there are 2 members not even in the quest.
One of our group mentions this fact, and the leader responds with bravado. Apparently he’s been running this raid since he was level 13. This is only Normal and we’ll be fine. His guildies take up the song, bragging about the size of their swords, their hp, their TRs, their kill counts… I’m tempted to kill my audio ‘cuz my stomach is starting to turn over, but I’m more of a team player than that, so i just grin and carry on. You’d think at this point that these guys would kick the hell outta Pt 1, but since there were only maybe 6 of us following the ‘Thelanis Way’ portal order, and the other 6 were split up and bashing their own separate portals, it took much longer than I’d ever thought possible. Tempers started to flare, both in the ‘braggers’ guild people and in the rest of us puggers. I’m not one to rage in-quest, but I did say while shrining, ‘Longest Pt 1 ever. I guess you’re not fans of sticking together, eh?’ … Crickets…
I finish shrining, loot my chests, and head to the altar, to find that buffs are half done, and there are 3 dots in Pt 2. What a shock. The leader had a good plan. Repeated on vox AND in chat. I let a shred of hope bloom, right up until we got an Earth Ellie instead of Fire, and one of the Braggers lost his mind. Apparently in all his hundreds of Shrouds he’s run, he’s never had a run without a Fire Ellie. He couldn’t or wouldn’t believe that Pt 2 Generals were random, so he spent all of Pt 2 wandering the map trying to find the Fire. Ok, by this point my blossom of hope has withered on the vine. I’m expecting a wipe any second, and we came THIS close to it, too. We prepped fine and quickly, decent communication. But for some reason, once all were at a tick of health, the leader kept telling us to NOT kill. Go here, help there, who’s on Crystal, … it’s like he forgot everything he told us. Couldn’t see on the map that our sorc was already on the Crystal, didn’t believe that all were prepped… I dunno. He lost his mind too I guess. I didn’t have any of the Generals’ aggro, so I had a chance to look at them all and saw all were prepped. I think our monk saw the same thing, cuz he and I dropped the Earth Ellie despite the leader’s protests. To my horror, the rest of the party started running to the Crystal! All of them, Braggers and pugs alike. All but me and the monk. Oh Panic, Oh Snap. The two of us take off after the stampede and by some miracle manage to kill them before they get to center, and again, by some miracle, the sorc takes down the Crystal before any of the now-way-too-close ghosts respawn. So, no wipe, a save. I should be happy, but I’m just mostly in shock. And, you guessed it, half the party is in the Puzzles before the other half is done shrining/looting. Buffs? right, whatever.
Part 3: Two people needed help with their puzzle. Cuir has no knock/pick so I ignored that and ran water. Or waterS I should say… Well, no real surprise there; I often end up running more than my share of water, but still, it adds to my mood. And, yup, you guessed it, before the last fountain is cleansed the looting begins. **Sigh**
Part 4 went beautifully. Harry died within the first minute of Round 2. No complaints. Had a bit of a laugh when our Braggers guild Fighter died from staying in the blades despite being told to run.
Part 5. The leader wants us to save the Gnoll. Ummmm, the Gnoll??? He casts BB and dispels buffs… WHY the Gnoll??? So of course that causes no end of problems for our tank, and I had to remind our healer to get his ass out of the pool and keep him healed not once, not twice, but three effing times! And before all our blue bars have half their sp back the leader calls for the takedown. My neck is like, LITERALLY getting sore from shaking it and my eyes are in danger of sticking in the rolled up position. The Gnoll falls, and I’m thinking, “Oh, finally. Now at least it’ll be over one way or the other. No more chances for stupidity now.” But there WAS one more chance. We had to drag Harry kicking and screaming off the stairs, and when we finally did, we brought him way too far, and right into the already spinning blades. It’s not rocket science. Pretty standard procedure where to park him for his beating. But I guess I should have expected one last play from the moron club. And then one MORE moron play after he fell, too. Leader asks if anyone is leaving. Gives a warning for a 10 second countdown, and then over vox says, “10, 9, 3-2-1”. So of course the 2 people wanting to drop got out, but not in time to leave party. Double burned.
So, that’s it. Completion, 1 death, good loot, but ABSOLUTE CRAP for an experience. Now maybe on Argonessen or Khyber this kind of thing is par for the course. But I’ve just not seen very many bad PUGs in T-land. Call me spoiled, but I’ll be avoiding the PUG scene for a little while.