Straight Shooter: Reloaded

Straight Shooter: Reloaded

Yesterday I jumped into the second dungeon I’ve ever attempted at-level on my Healslinger, and when I say jump, I mean to say that I was quite literally in the middle of a double front-tuck vault when the “Match Has Been Found” confirmation dialog box appeared on my screen. I was once again pleasantly surprised by the speed with which I was matched with a group for the Ruins of Kel Voreth; the 19 second estimate displayed in the Group Finder tool was off in my favor by about 18 seconds.

Our group this time ‘round didn’t have nearly as much trouble as our Stormtalon’s Lair group did. We wiped perhaps six or seven times total in “KV” versus ten wipes in “STL.” It was myself and three other Spellslingers being led about by an Engineer tank who had clearly made the rounds several times previously. The mechanics of the fights were explained as necessary; otherwise, players were left to their own devices in figuring out how to deal with the various telegraphs, attack animations, and interruptible cast bar displays. This resulted in my death more than once, but in my defense I plead Murphy’s Law of Gaming Thermodynamics which states that players get worse under pressure.

Since my last dungeon run I’ve removed three healing addons that are no longer functionally necessary or even useful. I’ve replaced my clunky “aura” addon with a lightweight one and spent around an hour last night positioning off-cooldown ability icons – grouped by damage, control, evasion, and support – around my character in such a way that I can see them peripherally without occluding the battlefield. It’s a superior personal approach to ability management that has worked fantastically for me in any game that supports it.

With that bit of mental micromanagement squared away, the challenge was then to combine the mechanical requirements of each encounter as relayed via the abovementioned visual indicators with the necessity of executing under pressure. Imagine that your screen is filled with an unobtrusive number of ability icons and that you are tasked with sprinting and dodging through an obtrusive number of painful circular projectiles in the midst of which an injured, moving party member must be healed using an aimed, narrow-coned, channeled ability. For reference, here is your playing field (bullet hell begins at 1:42):

Theoretically simple, practically demanding – that is, until you’ve greased the groove of the mechanics and are able to respond with greater aplomb.

Shortly thereafter I found that I had Taken a Level in Badass which qualified me to talk to the person who would agree to allow me to join a group adventure called War of the Wilds in which players are tasked with capturing a series of objectives (totems) from rivals prior to destroying the opposing team’s main totem. Said opponents are of the trivial and might-actually-kill-you variety. Our group was again led about by an experienced tank who chatted away gamely while we blasted everything in sight and ended up achieving a Gold Medal for our efforts.

Our pixel prize was justified at the group level, I reckon, despite the fact that I did not have to do much active healing and despite the fact that there was one death when the damage dealers were situated in distant locations and I was running from one critically injured compatriot to the other based on the tank’s communications. I did have to aim my healing abilities in every case, for there are no single-targeted heals. This was the primary reason that I uninstalled most of the healing addons I was using and began exclusively tracking the positioning of friendly overhead nameplates. Having had the opportunity to enjoy this style of play at length, the “press button, receive damage” model of manually targeted abilities seems, in hindsight, rather crude and obsolescent.

It’s about time I started using the Tab key for more interesting things, anyhow.

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