Atherblade Retreat

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A group of my friends came with me last night to checkout the new dungeon “Atherblade Retreat” in Guild Wars 2. It was quite an adventure!

Did we randomly wander into SWTOR??

Did we randomly wander into SWTOR??

After fighting through an event where you need to kill waves of pirates you run upstairs to this area, which has a dancing holo. This room was pretty funny since all of us had/do play SWTOR.  Also the music in this room was a bit different than most of the dungeon. The music here sounded a lot like someone playing with the Unbreakable Choir Bell. It was a nice resting point to look around in the dungeon some.

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Fighting the Asuran Frizz was a ton of fun. The fight starts pretty normally with Frizz and a couple of adds. Then he goes into the tube in the middle of the room and the real fun starts. There are two golems who run around and you need to dps them down while avoiding the pink beams of electrical death. After those two are dead you get walls of pink electrical death and two more golems. Then lastly walls and beams, with another two golems.

Overall the fight wasn’t too rough. It took some time to get the rhythm of the last phase down though because the walls and beams rotate at different speeds. Moving the camera around to look down on us helped a lot, and we got better at keeping the golems away from the walls and beams (they get buffs when they hit the walls and beams).  I also had issues with sometimes not quite getting up to the top box on the stacks. Probably my giant Norn feet getting in the way again.

I didn’t think to get a screen of the mini jumping puzzle during the dungeon but we were all a bit disappointed in it.  Basically it is more of a bouncing puzzle than a jumping challenge. If you played Dragon Ball at all you were introduced to the stem vents which will propel you around. The mini jumping puzzle was basically bouncing from one vent to the next to get to the next area. Despite the reduced difficulty I still managed to miss the last jump and fall to my death (my giant Norn feet must have shrunk there).

Then finally we reach Mai Trin and her First Mate. At first we tried killing the First Mate first, but Mai Trin just rezed him right up so that was not a good tactic. The better plan was dpsing Horrik down to about half his life and then focusing on Mai Trin.

Being in melee with Mair Trin is scary.

Being in melee with Mair Trin is scary.

Mai Trin herself is a bit of a pain and I am not entirely sure her mechanics were working 100% correctly. She has stacks of shielding which reduce her damage taken and also with a certain amounts of stacks she gets immune to bleeds, stuns, and knockbacks. The only way to remove the stacks is to get her to stand in the lightening circles the First Mate shoots. Except she also teleports around and when you can’t stun or knock her into them… well it can get pretty interesting.

The part I think might have been working improperly is at the beginning of the fight, and after each cannon phase, she would start with either 10, 6, 2, or 0 stacks. The only real issue was when she would start with 10 stacks because she would be immune to everything. In those cases getting her into the lightening circles long enough to remove a stack or two took a fair amount of effort.

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There also were some issues with sometimes when Mai Trin teleported around, our target would automatically switch to the First Mate, which is why we left him at half health at the beginning instead of a lower percentage. Overall the fight is a lot of fun. The cannon phases are mostly just about paying attention and planning your movement and dodges appropriately.

Overall the whole dungeon was a ton of fun and I am looking forward to going back again 🙂

Dragon Bash Is Sort Of A Letdown

When the Dragon Bash event was first announced I was really excited to experience it and see all the new things Arenanet had come up with. I must admit after the weekend I am a bit disappointed. Don’t get me wrong the holographic dragon flying around Lion’s Arch is pretty cool, and the fireworks are pretty neat as well. My annoyance really centers around three specific things: the cost of the holographic dragon wings, moa races, and the Dragon Ball.

To earn the holographic wings through the festival you have to collect 100,000 candies. How do you get these candies? Well you can get 1 from every Dragon Piñata you break (which is the most anemic piñata I have ever heard of) or from Dragon Coffers which drop from mobs out in the world or from destroying the dragon holograms. Thankfully there are a variety of methods to gain these candies but you still only seem to get one candy per thing. Not to mention Dragon Coffers don’t always have candy in them. It just feels in the end the price for the wings is a bit high.

Moa Races are fun because it is pretty amusing to watch them run around and try to guess the right one. However, for me the annoyance is in the fact you need a certain number of wins to get the related achievement. In addition you are betting on the moas so if you want the achievement the Moa Races are basically a money sink. Thankfully you do get some money back if your moa gets second or third, but unless you are very lucky you will leave with a lighter purse.

My last complaint is the Dragon Ball, though the issue is only slightly an Arenanet issue and more of a player issue. The set-up of Dragon Ball is actually a really interesting one. You join a five person team to fight against another team. Everyone starts with just one ability but there are orbs around which will grant additional abilities. There are also other orbs which will return health and will power you up. In addition there are tunnels to run through and air jets which will shoot you all over the map. If everyone in a fight is playing, Dragon Ball is a ton of fun… If.

Over time players have started looking at MMOs with less of a “what can I do which will be fun” outlook and more of a “what’s the fastest way for me to get x achievement”. I personally don’t really get that style of play, for me I like to play games to have fun and achievements are just a dandy bonus, but it is valid for people to just have the goal of getting whatever achievement they want. The issue is many people I have come across in Dragon Ball queue in and then just stand there waiting for the match to end. They don’t attack anyone, or try to dodge or anything. They are just there to be fodder.

Now I agree with Arenanet making the requirement for the achievement be participation in matches instead of wins. If players had to win 20 matches we’d have a whole other can of worms on our hands. What they should have done was to allow people to queue up with other people for the fights. It probably would have made the queues longer but at least then you could be sure to have a team who will at least try to play, for those of us who actually like to do things in MMOs.

Aside from these things I am mostly happy with Dragon Bash, just a couple of tweaks could have made it an all around exciting event, instead of being mostly good with a few large downsides.