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T4 Sunqua PuG woes, any design changes that can help?

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I tend to put T4+recs on a daily basis, usually after reset. While one of the most beautifully designed fractals, Sunqua Peak seems to be universally disliked in pugs because of a combination of reasons:

  • In comparison to other T4's, Sunqua combines a long stage before the boss with a long boss fight.
  • Even 3 years after the release of the fractal, usually half of the group doesn't understand the Tidal Bargain mechanic or is unable to handle it right.
    Failing this mechanic is highly punishing to the group.
  • The boss is constantly moving around, even when you break the break bar in time. This makes builds with AOE heals, AOE DPS far less effective.
  • The boss fight has a flurry of no-no zones and spread mechanics, making it hard to stack for buffs and revive a downed player.
  • The punishing Tidal Bargain mechanic is right at the end of the boss fight, making failing it more punishing in time played as you need to redo all stages of the boss fight.
  • Players tend to leave after a failure. This actually is a good choice because a group that does not handle Tidal Bargain well the first run tends to fail again the second one. But one leaving usually leads to the rest leaving which means the progress in the path towards the boss has been a waste of time to all.
  • The relative long wait between the completion of the fractal and the delivery of the reward chests gives an opportunity to trolls to trigger the "leave instance" dialog. Which looks too similar to the "instance completed" dialog.


Besides obvious solutions like: Git gud, Don't pug, Play with guild, Play T1 instead of T4, Require killproof, I would love to see some changes here to make it a more enjoyable experience with random T4 pugs:

  • Move the water phase with the Tidal Bargain mechanic to the beginning of the boss fight. When players fail, there is less progress lost and players can quickly try again without having to do the other phases all over again first.
  • Make the fractal a bit shorter in play time duration so it is more in line with the other fractals. Both the pre-events and the boss fight.
  • Maybe the game needs to make the Tidal Bargain effect easier to understand to players.
  • Allow for more opportunity for players to revive a downed ally without being immediately punished by spread mechanics and no-no zones.
  • Allow for players who mostly attack or heal via AOEs to do so a bit more effective.
  • Allow for a bit more time between spread mechanics to stack buffs and heals.

Just one or two of these points would improve the experience in it's total and bring it's difficulty level more in line with the rest of the T4 fractals.

What are your experiences with pugging this fractal at T4? Do you like it as it is? Or would you prefer certain changes?

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1 hour ago, SoftFootpaws.9134 said:

i think one major change that would help in all regards is to allow her to be stunned both on the sides and in the middle. i always found it a bit confusing why you have to chose one or the other, and it basically serves no purpose but to reduce melee dps uptime.

You can already do this or do you mean one after the other?

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The problem lies in the dilemma of hard needing the meta to succeed or better: The need for a heavy heal class. Back in the days even standard groups didn't play with a heal class.

But, while I'm also playing with a distinct healer either in pugs or with friends I notice the same things over and over again:
People don't play or don't know boss mechanics or patterns by heart.

I'm leaving really good CM groups aside as their playstyle cannot be compared to a daily T4 pug. The daily T4 pug relies on a decent to "I know my stuff" healer outhealing a lot of incoming damage sources the other 4 players could easily avoid without losing dps. They even do less damaging although beating the encounters mindlessly but that's another thing we could discuss for hours in this forum.
Besides that players don't know their classes. For example swamp: The easiest way to bring wisps back is to use a portal. You are blessed if we use our White Mantles. If there isn't a portal the next easy thing you can do is swap your utilities to get swiftness, stun break, condition remove or whatever. 99% of the player base is not doing that often resulting in failures and "Sorry, I couldn't do anything." How do I know about that? Man, I ran a lot with ppl streaming their stuff for <20 viewers on Twitch or watching friends in Discord live streams. The dps built is strong on running wisps back - I tell you. Better don't change or use anything of your class that could help to make the distance.

The problem of Sunqua with that background is - while I also agree it's too long for shabby standard pugs - the constant pressure and the movement in the final encounter. Lots of them are unable to cope and don't memorize patterns. When I was introduced into 99 CM, my buddies wanted to head for the achievement of not dying for me first try (they already had it) but I was stating that I want to learn this fractal CM, getting the routine done and then after a couple of days we could go for it. So, we just played and after less than 10 daily runs I got the achievement without even trying (besides not using gg on purpose before 2nd phase).
The solution for me was: Learning what she is doing. What is the pattern? Where can I position myself safely and also anticipating the incoming damage to decide if I will go downstate and when to heal and outgoing damage to know when she is safe for phasing (ofc right before 66% and 33% - a no brainer).

If you don't learn this you will always have a hard time in pugs in which the healer is decent or maybe worse. A good healer can change things for pugs, no question but a bad healer will worsen it for you if you are bad (It's still your fault wiping, so I don't blame the healers).
That leads me to Tidal Bargain:  A bad healer presses buttons, will heal a bit and then it's pure luck if the others are smart or not enough to do the right things. A good healer will know that the pressure is coming and will be prepared for that. And if things go south he will use his power heals to save the day. 
Overall it's still amazing that pugs die there in normal mode with very low pressure compared to the CM. In the end it is what it is - a l2p issue of pug players. 

Do I have a solution to that? No, I have one but I wish I would have more. Bringing Tidal Bargain in the first 25% of the fight could change a bit but I doubt it because even yesterday the group I was joining only made it once to that phase while two were dead way before. 
Overall I am against making things easier because T4s already are exactly that: They are easy! And like the LFG says: A "daily". For lots of T4 players fractals are routine. Something they have learned and it's also possible to learn Sunqua. 
My solution: Become a very good healer and play that role in your group. It's the easiest way to carry random people.

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There is actually not that much movement in normal mode. Pugs just move way too much. Once to side and then to mid. Spread circles are tiny and you can stack on boss and max melee it. No need to run to narnia.

The other problem is that t4 turned into what t2 was some years ago. People are extremely reliant on healers and do extremely low dps or even play troll builds like death magic minion master necro or hammer revenant.

Another problem is that tidal bargain only starts being threatening in t4. You can completely ignore it in t2 and t1 because you lose stacks faster than you gain them. In t3 you can almost ignore it. So now these players are encountering the mechanic for the first time in t4. Of course nobody knows how to deal with it.

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you need to start watching cutscenes when the boss actually reaches the tidal bargain mechanic after 33%

cm groups struggle with it as well if they dont make the dps check btw

also theres some instability combination that will freeze you in place with 80% hp or something LMAO its a terrible mechanic

everything else is fine

Edited by Incurve Giidis.7829
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