Over the weekend I played my first dungeon experience, Stormtalon’s Lair in Galeras.
It ended up taking 1 hour and 35 or so minutes, however at least 25 minutes of that was from two bouts of waiting while we found replacement players. After the first bad trash pull two players dropped. We also lost our first healer to a disconnect after the first boss.
My relative newness still can be an issue – the game doesn’t auto-queue you for replacements, the leader has to click a button. Also the start was so chaotic from my perspective, in part, because I had about three different calls come in from various NPCs asking me to do this or that all at the same time as trying to observe the group dynamics and the fight that was going on. It would be more sensible to ‘front-load’ any missions for the dungeon at the start rather than have them contextually be popping up while you’re hitting this monster or wandering near that object.
Beyond these initial hiccups the rest of the run was very enjoyable actually, it slightly surprised me I will admit. I was worried that the level of frantic activity in the dungeon would be too much for me – I certainly felt that with Tera’s dungeons as I leveled past the starter zones. One advantage Wildstar has over Tera though is the clearer telegraphing of effects – to some it may appear garish but the telegraphing system in small groups does appear to work well. Playing as DPS I had to avoid all the nasty red stuff but also keep myself in our healer’s effects, over the course of the dungeon I tried to learn the shapes I was seeing from Medic abilities so I could roughly position myself in the group to be an easier ‘healing target’.
We wiped a once or twice on each boss and maybe twice on bad trash pulls as we were progressing. It was all done with friendly, to the point explanations in chat and some chatter in between fights. The difficulty is certainly a notch up from what I’ve experienced so far in Final Fantasy 14, the closest in challenge was the last actually, Stone Vigil. Bear in mind that SV is the tenth leveling dungeon in FFXIV, whereas Stormtalon’s Lair is one of the first pair of dungeons in the game (ignoring the recently added Protostar Academy).
I haven’t found the combat as overwhelming or tiring as I did back in beta. It may in part be down to playing a class that seems right for me (Engineer). Since I’ve played so much Neverwinter in-between it may also be that I’m more used to action combat and the increased movement requirements. I’ll see what happens with future dungeons, I’d read that groups can be a bit of a nightmare with people dropping at the first wipe, so I’m fore-warned that things may not be all that smooth. But there are certainly good and patient players on the EU mega-server so I’ll remain hopeful I can get some more dungeon experiences as I level!