Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A bitter taste

I'm currently very disappointed with the Molten server.  I switched to it from Spermik expecting high quality, open and scripted instances, and professional support.  I expected these things because the Molten site encourages visitors to look forward to them.  But the reality is, so far, leaving a bitter taste in my mouth.

Here is why.

I am now level 77 and I have, at this point, entered four different dungeons on Frostwolf.  Leveling is fast, so I haven't taken the time to savor more dungeons yet, which is something I intended to do with an alt.  Keep in mind that at Spermik, I had obtained the Classic Dungeonmaster and the Outland Dungeonmaster achievements, and was close to soloing Outland Dungeon Hero.  All of these dungeons were open and properly scripted.  I say this to point out that I know these dungeons fairly well and what to expect.  I'm not someone who just ran into instances that were totally foreign to me and is about to rant because I sucked at them.

Zul'Farrak was the first dungeon I entered on Frostwolf.  I completed it twice and there were no issues, so I won't linger there.

The following three dungeons, however, were nothing short of disastrous.

The Nexus
I like The Nexus.  It was the first ever Northrend dungeon I entered on my first character and I had a good time.  It had its own, unique flavor and I liked that the bosses kept me on my toes.  Molten's Nexus bosses, however, only kept me frustrated.

The first thing I noticed was that Keristrasza wasn't there.  Okay then, that's weird.  Maybe he's bugged and they're working on him, I thought.  Let's go tackle this dungeon.

Not there? Fine! I'll just dance on your platform!
The group and I made our way to Ormorok the Tree-Shaper, without much trouble.  I did notice a Spermik-like bug, however.  The small, Crystalline Frayers wouldn't die when attacked - rather, they would disappear at low health and a new untargetable Frayer would spawn and attack.  This caused some combat bug issues but we made it to the boss and started getting ready to engage.

By the time we were past the first spell reflect, I suddenly noticed that my girlfriend, our Restoration Druid, was getting hit - but I didn't see anything around her.  But it got worse.  Soon, her Tree of Life looked like it had begun a crazy, twitching dance, being hit by what could only have been dozens of invisible mobs, her health rapidly depleting.  In fact, we wiped.

We were all a little surprised and decided to try again.  We hoped this was just an exceptional, one-time thing.  But it happened again and we wiped for the second time.  So, we decided to skip that boss and we went all the way to Grand Magus Telestra.

We wiped at 50% when she split herself.  Aside from my girlfriend and I, the group was a PuG composed of three Paladins that had never done Nexus before, so this was expected.  We made our way back, and we were distraught when we saw Telestra standing in the middle of her room, accompanied by her three copies.

We gave up and disbanded.  Nothing more to do there, the instance was obviously plagued with bugs, and persevering wouldn't lead to much.

Magisters' Terrace
Yesterday, two guildies were going to do Magisters' Terrace normal-mode as DPS and asked me to be the final damage-dealer.  I said sure.  I like dungeons.  Our group was composed as such: a level 76 Paladin tank, a 75 Discipline Priest, a 72 Blood/Unholy Death Knight, a 70 Retribution Paladin, and myself, a 76 Boomkin.  Not a bad group for a simple MT normal.

Unfortunately, we encountered issues right from the start.  Gripy, the DK and one of the guildies, had his ghoul out and it somehow went through the platform we were on, aggroing Priestess Delrissa and her guardians below.  We managed to kill them all as they came up to us, except for one which stayed down there and kept us flagged in combat.

Gripy ended up dying and our Priest left the instance to get rid of the attack bug and resurrect him, because I didn't want to waste my Rebirth in case it would be needed later.  When he tried to reenter, he was teleported to Dalaran.  And so were the rest of us when we tried ourselves.  In fact, the only way not to be sent to Dalaran was by having Gripy release.

We reformed the group outside the dungeon and tried again.  We got to Selin Fireheart's room and we wiped.  At first we weren't sure why, because we were all killed very quickly, and we ended up assuming that we had somehow accidentally pulled the boss.  As it turns out when we wiped again later, even after having taken the time to be careful with our pull, it was the trash that had been one-shotting us.

So we left, and tried another dungeon.

The Violet Hold
I'd never been in The Violet Hold before, because it was still being scripted at Spermik.  But I did my research and I got the gist of it.  We start a script, and random bosses and mobs get thrown at us, until we finish with Cyanigosa.  Pretty straightforward, and actually sounded kind of fun.

On Molten, not so.  We were given three waves of trash, followed by Cyanigosa herself.  We killed her, and she didn't even use any special abilities.  It was a mere tank and spank.  After that, there was no way to encounter any other boss.

We decided we were done for the night.  This was truly disappointing.

Bring it on! Or not..
Poor service
This morning, I went to the Support/Q&A forums at the Molten site and started a thread titled "What works?"  I made a polite, well-written post addressing the problems I just described (though more concisely, of course), and asked what to expect from the server.  What works?  Are level 80 raids fully functional and scripted?  I made sure the tone of my post was neutral, pointing out that I was not criticizing the server but rather asking well-grounded questions as a member of the community.  Finally, I said thanks for reading and for the responses I was hoping to receive.

Five minutes later, my thread was deleted.  Gone.  Not moved to a more appropriate section, not locked, but quite brutally erased.

Now that pissed me off.  Why would they do that?  Did they fear someone might read my thread and be discouraged from playing on their server?  It made me wonder how many threads I missed because they were deleted for addressing similar things.

The fact that a moderator read my post and decided to delete it instead of replying to it hurt me personally.  Suddenly, this server is giving me a new, sour feeling - dishonesty.

I now cannot trust Molten.  They have led me to expect great quality, but I have so far been deceived, and that my formal address was squashed rather than heard was reminiscent of tyrannic regimes (extreme comparison, I realize, but you get my point).

What can I do now?  If level 80 content does not improve, I doubt I will want to stay at Molten much longer.

A few weeks later
As it turns out, Molten's core was a Mangos/custom hybrid.  At first, I had believed they had a totally custom emulator, but as I now understand it, MoltenEmu is just a hybrid implemented to provide more stability.  The content itself was Mangos-based.

However, and fortunately, the Molten developpers have created a new core, a Trinity/Molten hybrid.  Trinity, a Mangos branch-off, is well known for its content, being far less bugged than Mangos itself.

Today, there are still some bugs to be worked out, but things are looking a lot nicer. From what I can tell, all dungeons are now working properly.  /cheer

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