Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Planning beyond the plan.

Sometimes success can be overwhelming. But that does not mean that forethought should not be put into what happens after a win. This doesn't mean just knowing who gets what lots, or how many points an item should be worth, but it can also mean, what you plan on doing after a win, in places like Dynamis. Here is my example, last week, amid everything that was going on I managed to squeeze in a nice Dynamis-Qufim run. Now, this is not an attempt to bash my Dynamis LS, because the run up to the boss was near flawless. Each pull was done accurately and effectively, and each necessary sub-boss was taken down quickly with little to no death. Even the boss was handled perfectly, with the only death being me ^.^/ because I did 5 Tachi: Gekkos in a row and the boss didn't like it too much, hammering me with a 1600~ Power Attack. 5 Weapon skills! Do you know how many Weapons skills that is? 5! (Inside joke). Anyway, the problem was not getting to the boss, or killing the boss with absolute efficiency, it was what happened after the boss that was the major problem. Now, in their own defense, the puller for that day said they were having a bad day, but importantly that is not what I am talking about either. The problem was that we had no plan for what to do AFTER the boss was dead. We didn't really have an idea for what route to take through the zone, or even what sets of mobs that we wanted to kill for the drops we were interested in. And that lack of forethought lead to this: I called it the Qufim problem, because most specifically in Dynamis-Qufim after you get the win you are close to stuck on where to go and what to fight, trapped by Snolls and Weapons. But that doesn't mean that we should lose our head and just pull anything. There was a distinct lack of coordination on everyone's part when we first started fighting those Weapons, and eventually we were fighting on top of where they wander about so a wipe to 20 something Weapons was near inevitable. So I believe that the leaders of the LS should have an idea of what we want to pull after the boss is down. The reason this is the "Qufim problem" is because these issues don't occur in other zones because the area is much more open after the boss is killed, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't know what we want to pull after the boss is dead. In fact, in older CoP Dynamis runs the leaders had indicated the initial mobs that would be pulled after the boss was killed. This allows the puller to know what to pull and especially if they have to clear a path to where we are heading, then they will know what to pull and where to pull it to prevent wipes and the such.

As for my day yesterday, well, it was pretty standard. We did another Apollyon, some OK AF +1 items but nothing worth screenshotting, and only 3 coins per person. I would like to do another Omega soon, but we had some people not show up yesterday so the plan was put on hold. After that was Nyzul Island, still having a bit of trouble, as we just can't get a good combo of levels to make it far enough to level up. We should have won all three runs, but only ended up winning one run because one time I moved us up a floor when we didn't have enough time for it when we should have exited, and the other time, we wanted to give the last level a try to move on to a new save point but it was kill all enemies or something like that so we couldn't get it done in time. Ah, well, try again another day.

Thats it for today, Wyred is working on a neat project for FFXI bloggers. I don't know if he wants it mentioned yet, but its pretty neat and I am pretty excited to see what he does with it.


Ailee said...

5 Weaponskills!

Anonymous said...

obsidian truely does suck :(

Ringthree said...

I never said Obsidian sucked, in fact the opposite, I just said they need post-boss planning for CoP dynamis.

Anonymous said...

We have a very specific reason we don't announce what we're pulling after the boss is dead in the CoP zones prior to entering.

If a PLD or WHM or whatever is aware that we aren't going to go after the mobs that drop an item they want, they simply don't go to the run. It's a general mentality of members in any dynamis shell. They have nothing they want from the zone, they don't show up. You can look at attendance/drops records for members to see it plain as day.

Look here for the reference to the drop chart:


That chart is something relatively easy to find. If we say in the notes that we're not going for efts, urganites, or cockatrice and crabs, we're going to end up having a number of BLMs and PLDs that say "meh...i'll go do something else."

Do we like being put in that position? No. Our main goal is to do what we need to to get as many mobs dead as possible during a run to increase our chances at drops. :)

Another minor reason we don't annouce it is:

Generally speaking, Valkurm and Qufim are the two zones where we can effectively "feed" all the jobs that have drops available w/o having to run all over the zone. There's not a specific need to plan what we're going to kill since there's really only two categories of drop items.

We can kill snolls and weapons right there in front of Fei'yin and appease both groups. We can pull sabotenders and manticores in front of the outpost in Valkurm and again, appease both groups.

There's usually plenty of time after a boss dies to wipe out both of these sections of mobs in this zone. We can go back for krakens or go back for diremites. We could pull Hippogryphs or we could pull sheep. It doesn't take a lot of forethought for either of these things. The decision for which direction to go after that initial set is up to the puller. Sometimes they'll ask the crowd, other times they'll just give a direction to run and start heading that way.

Buburimu is the biggest challenge since there are several groupings of mobs. It's almost impossible to put a path together that will essentially give everyone of those groups a shot at dropping something.

The puller for that Qufim run was having a bad day. She's apologized for it a number of times already. One thing to note about some of the pulls in Qufim (yes I know the camp proximity to the weapons wasn't the best in the world) is that with the nightmare weapons in particular, you don't know if it's going to come by itself, spawn one mob or spawn 3. You do have to be extra careful in pulling these. With the snolls, you know how many are going to be chasing you when you pull them.

Anyway, that's the logic. We feel it just feeds the 'me-first' mentality if we announce what we're killing ahead of time and, for the most part, we're going to appease everyone by killing something that drops what they want anyways.


iceblazek said...

Oo wow

Omoikitte said...

I never really got the feeling that Ring was saying you should announce it to the linkshell at large before the run starts. I have a similar problem with Versus. You can't really announce what gods your going to spawn pre-event unless you KNOW your going for Kirin or Byakko otherwise people will pick and chose which events to attend or not. This is not just prevelant in Dynamis ls. More often than not it damages the smaller linkshells where every member counts, such as sky linkshells.

I was also on this run, and it wasn't so much that there is a general strategy post-boss as a general milling around. Which resulted in other non-leader members starting to try and control the run in an effort to give some direction. If the leaders are having a bad day, or a designated puller, they should defer to someone else at least. For sure you had more than 1 leader there. Its the same tactic I use in sky. Not everyone can be 100% all the time, but you shouldn't sacrifice the integrity of the run on an off day, it slurs yourself, the leadership and the linkshell unfairly. After all that is what the pearl sac holders are for is it not?

I never even got the impression they had some over all designated plan either. It was just a mess, and it got worse rather than better. Having a pre-set plan that is known to only the leaders is a perfectly viable option to getting around the issue of unreliable members, and considering the general comments directed at the CoP zones having ANYTHING drop at all, rather than trying to appease one specific group seems to make people feel like they have achieved something rather than just wasted 5k exp on what at face value comes across as a brawl.

Asking the membership base what they want to do seems alright and a nice gesture but ultimately tends to be futile, half the linkshell won't respond and you probably wish the other half hadn't so you waste valuable time dithering after a successful kill, and when you already have such limited time in CoP zones, that doesn't appear to be a greatly effective use of time.

Doing the same thing over and over will only get you so far, but when it really doesn't feel like your getting anywhere, all that ends up happening invariably is a linkshell who are running by rote rather than because of any desire to be there. Go for easy points and a small amount of time. Throwing in the variation from time to time will at least spark interest, you could already sense the interest in this particular run when something different other than weapons was pulled. Even when it caused another wipe, the fact that items dropped just re-invigorated the run completely.

There are always those who are going to complain and moan what ever you do ultimately, it just feels like you need a little more focus in the leadership, and a little less paper-pants camp bonhomie to give these runs a better reputation and less of an assumption that all your going for is 2 points and a lot of death.

I guess its all in the balance. And arguing that this is a big linkshell really doesn't hold water. It doesn't matter if you have 64 members or 36, the same basic principles need to be applied. Why don't you pull that house in Windurst? Well you KNOW its going to kill you, so you do something else. Considering the drop rate is pretty naff in the CoP zones, it doesn't really seem that much of a big deal to look at other mobs and see what happens, rather than consistently killing the same ones over and over simply because once upon a time you saw X drop. You don't do that in the main city zones. You set your path, the course is plotted and for the most part wipes are caused by inattention from the member base at large over puller errors.

Obsidian does extremely well at the Pre-CoP zones consistently. Where as the CoP runs I have been on do not really inspire me to want to go again. I usually sign up simply because its a short run that I can attend before my Versus commitments kick in, but its certainly with a lot less enthusiasm than the outer cities that people abandon once they get what they want. The Wins for CoP apparently are hit and miss, but from my experience the runs I have attended have all had extremely smooth and well handled wins, which is great. Maybe chance, fluke or skill, or more likely a combination of all three. Its after the kill where everything goes down the pan and you start to wonder exactly why your there. Not a good way to feel about something you should want to succeed at.

Anonymous said...

Few notes:

- Droprates in all zones are the same. Reason CoP seems like it has shitty droprates are A) It's shorter and B) We spend time focusing on getting the extensions and boss dead rather than the mobs themselves. Fewer kills = fewer drops in any zone.

- I wasn't at the particular Qufim run in question. I can't give an opinion on what the shell was feeling at the time other than what people tell me after the run was done.

- The preplanning you're speaking of is done by leadership. Particularly with Buburimu. Prior to a run, whoever's been assigned to pull the run will ask the previous puller what they pulled and try to mix it up for the next run.

Qufim and Valkurm (since we don't have to kill the huge variety of mobs that we do in Buburimu) are pretty cut and dry.

1. Kill boss
2. Kill weapons/snolls or sabotenders/manticores.
3. Move to different group of mobs
4. ????
5. Pray for drops profit.

Doesn't take a lot of preplanning to do this since there aren't truly that many options. From what I gather about that particular run, most of the issues centered around pulling. Bad day, lack of experience, whatever anyone wants to point the finger of responsibility at is their choice. The person ultimately responsible has owned it. Other sackholders at the run owned it too.

Sloppy runs are gonna happen from time to time and best thing to do is to just analyze them and move on (like we're doing here). No shell is immune to it. Look at Ashira's blog to see that UL wipes in Qufim at times or speak to some members of starcoma to learn the same.

When planning out these runs, we simply try to put in the best method for killing the most mobs we can. In Qufim particularly, Snolls and Weapons are right there when we get done with the boss. We could pull diremites, but why? Snolls or weapons are in the same group (haven't looked to see which one and don't know off the top of my head) and are easier to deal with.

On top of that, there's not really much of a path we can go to w/o killing some snolls or some weapons or an entire horde of quadav. Diremites behind us (those suck), goblins in front of fei-yin. Quadavs blocking the path to other things South(?) of the weapons and weapons blocking the path to the krakens.

In your Windurst example, yeah we know which houses kill us (SMN house sucks) depending on the number of people we have in the zone and the same applies to Qufim :P

- Variety: We're aware variety spices these runs up. That's a primary reason for us changing paths (aside from that stupid RDM NM that's never nice to us...) in Xarc, going after the tombstones and the hydra extension in glacier, changing the path in windurst and developing that new way to farm Jeuno after the boss is dead. (I didn't have a hand in that last one, credit for that goes to the sacks that were at the run thinking on the fly.)

Variety is also a reason we started using 2 pullers. We had too much downtime. Too many people standing around doing nothing at one point. Most of the time, the only alliance that knows what's coming is the BLM alliance since the pullers are usually in there. The only thing that's certain from the memberbase standpoint (and we want it like this) is the more people we have in the zone, the more we're going to bring at once. Dynamis got boring for a lot of people due to there only being 2-3 mobs up at once...not enough going on to keep them awake or interested. So...the way I looked at it was if you're standing around doing nothing, there's not enough for people do to. If there's not enough for people to do, then we're not pulling enough at once or fast enough. I had to change my pulling mentality for this to work though.

This will sound bad, but try to understand the actual motives behind it rather than just reading the words. When I pull, I am literally trying to MPK the shell. Sometimes I succeed, most of the time I don't. The motives are to push our limits and keep getting better. This really only applies to the near full runs, I don't do this during CoP or smaller runs.

Eight-ten months ago, this shell would not have been able to handle going around the right side of Dynamis-Windurst. Now we do it regularly because all the pullers we use have confidence that our crew can handle the larger pulls. (Aside from the random Astral Flow or Mijin Gakure that derails us at times...).

The other regular pullers have taken up the same philosophy of trying to bring a little more than we believe that particular group can handle. It keeps everyone active, it keeps everyone generally focused/not bored and also lends itself to the fact that more kills = more drops in most cases. If we leave a zone knowing we killed everything in it and drops still sucked, it doesn't sting as much because we know we did everything we could.

Whoops, I wrote too much.

Qtipus' wall o' text skills go up .4.

Anyway, please understand we do take a lot of things into consideration prior to doing any zone. Some zones just don't have a method to really avoid going by rote at the onset. Qufim is one of them. Again, I wasn't at the run, I don't know everything that transpired, but I do know the puller at the time feels like shit for the performance and was trying to follow the general Qufim blueprint we have. Could she have deferred to another sackholder? Probably. Which one I'm not sure since I haven't looked up which ones were there. We all have bad days though and, while opinions are appreciated it, give us a little more credit for forethought. :)


Anonymous said...

One other note I forgot to mention:

After the boss is dead in any zone, people generally don't keep up the same intensity. It's another one of those human nature things. "We already got win...who cares if we clear the entire zone." This is a large reason the enthusiasm you speak of disappears after the boss is dead. By and large, we've always had a direction to go after a boss is dead, it's whether or not the shell's performance continues to maintain itself as the run progresses. :)