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Valuing Failure

Vanessa Mythdust Posted:
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Failure. The word strikes fear into almost everyone. After all, not many people purposely set themselves up to fail. But here's the thing, can you really value success if at first you don't fail? Every game has a learning curve, and that means that you've probably suffered from a loss or setback at least once or twice. I know I sure have. However, looking back on it, each of my struggles made my eventual triumph that much sweeter. Here are 3 of my personal Wizard101 battles that I definitely didn't win easily. 

Not THAT dungeon again ...

As I'm sure most of you already know, I'm an avid derby racer. Anytime a tournament (Wizard101 Central Derby Tournament) was coming up, I'd tirelessly search the Wizard101 Wiki for the best pets available. For one particular tournament that was limited to first generation death pets, I set my sights on the Boss Banshee. Unfortunately for me, the Boss Banshee was only obtainable from one person ... Vladimir Darkflame. In case that name doesn't sound familiar, he's the very last boss in a Dragonspyre dungeon called The Labyrinth. I was no stranger to farming for items that I was after, but let me tell you, The Labyrinth was another beast entirely. The instance is one of the longest in the game and is quite the pain to farm, especially without a full team. Here's a quick rundown of everything you have to do in the dungeon:

  • Defeat Silver Sentinel and Collect Bridge Key
  • Defeat Zora Steelwielder
  • Defeat Andor Bristleback
  • Defeat Devora Shadowcrown
  • Defeat Property Master and Collect Cloak
  • Defeat Gallium Paladin and Collect Staff
  • Defeat Vladimir Darkflame

So in order to get my Boss Banshee, I would have to fight my way through six bosses before I could even go toe to toe with Vladimir himself. I would then have to repeat that process anytime Mr. Darkflame didn't give me what I wanted. Needless to say, running through that dungeon over and over again wasn't the most fun experience I've had. BUT ... I did end up receiving my Boss Banshee eventually and it felt amazing. I truly don't think I would have appreciated the pet nearly as much if I didn't fail to obtain it as many times as I did. It sure would have made things a lot easier if I had gotten it on my first go, but having "worked for it" gives me some level of satisfaction that's very fulfilling.

Oh, Those Pet Woes

Here's something many Wizard101 players are no stranger to - pet fails! Whether you're aiming for a damage pet, healing pet, buffing pet, or derby pet, getting the exact combination of talents that you're looking for can be a real challenge. In fact, I could probably count my "perfect" pets on one hand. I've went through hundreds (if not thousands) of failed combinations before I got them. Some came early in the process (teen), but others gave me false hope and failed at say epic or mega. Either way, my heart always sank. Fun fact: I've never trashed a pet. In my mind, there's always a chance that one of my fails could be useful in the future. Maybe it inherited a talent that someone might be after or it might qualify for a peculiar tournament with special rules. As a result, almost all of my houses are filled to the brim with failed pets. I even have a "Heckhound Fail Basement" where all of my failed heckhounds go. However, just like my Boss Banshee, there's something special about finally getting "the one." It's that moment when all your effort and hard work pays off. Those snacks and tears, they led to something. The pets that took me the longest to make are the pets that I'm most proud of. That must be worth something.

What Is Even Happening Right Now?

I love to cheat test bosses when they first come out. Exploring the unknown is exciting, and solving puzzles can be an interesting challenge. Also, I know any information that I find out can be utilized by others in the community to successfully navigate their battles. It's a win-win for everyone. Despite my eagerness and willingness though, cheat testing can be very confusing and even infuriating at some points. I remember when Darkmoor was first released to the test realm; some other Mercs and I were passing for 5 ... 10 ... 15 ... 20 rounds straight. It took us awhile to nail down exactly what was happening, when it was happening, and why it was happening. Most cheat testing sessions aren't complete in one go.

I'll revisit a boss 3-4 times before I feel super comfortable with the data that I gathered. However, gathering data is only the first step in the cheat testing process. Interpreting the data is usually the harder part. Sometimes I'll think a boss reacts one way to something and I'll revisit the same scenario later and find out that I was wrong. Repeat that 3-5 times and that will give you a good idea of how the process works. Prediction ---> Test ---> Fail ---> New Prediction. But when I finally identify a pattern that consistently seems to be correct, that's when I smile. Even though it might take me awhile to reach that point, it's necessary. If I don't test every possible option, then who knows what truly triggers a particular cheat. Plus, it's always good to be thorough. In this case, failure is an essential part of the procedure.

I know it's not an easy thing to do, but try not to look at all your failures as complete losses. Instead, focus on the process, rather than just the end result. If you do that, you'll feel like you're actually making progress vs. starting from square one. Your state of mind is everything - don't let YOU defeat yourself and what you hope to accomplish. 


Vanessa Mythdust