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 🙂

Stress Test Time!

This week’s Wildstar Wednesday revealed they are close to doing their first stress test. We don’t currently know when this will happen but everyone invited for the weekend will receive an invite a few days before so they can download and patch the game before the stress test starts.

There was also the following tidbit:

Everyone that gets an invite into the Stress Test and makes a good faith attempt to log into the game during the test will be guaranteed an invite into a future (much more stable) Closed Beta test as a thank you. I need your help in breaking the server, and we want to invite you back to play when I’m not trying to do mean things to the hardware. So help us break everything as many times as possible this weekend, and we’ll make it up to you with a real beta invite in the future.

Basically if you want into the beta and get invited to this stress test… Don’t blow it off! If everything goes to plan, the stress test weekend will be a REALLY bad weekend for playing but will give them a ton of useful information to get ready for launch (oh please oh please let there be a game that doesn’t have severe server issues at launch).

One curiosity, in general you do not see stress tests until much further along in closed betas (we are only about a month into this folks). There are a couple of ways to interpret this. Either we are much closer to launch than any of us thought; or they are being super proactive. Personally I hope it’s the second option and they make the most of the time they have.

Here is a link to the full article for anyone interested, there is also some interesting info about what exactly a live producer does.
http://www.wildstar-online.com/en/news/wildstar_wednesday_beta_stress_test.php

Neverwinter Open Beta

Neverwinter announced today they will be doing their final closed beta weekend April 12th -14th. During this weekend we will finally get a chance to tryout all four professions (Leadership, Mailsmithing, Platesmithing, and Leatherworking). If you played during Beta Weekend Three you will be able to pick-up your characters where you left it and continue your adventure. You will be able to level up to level 50, and there have been many improvements based on the feedback they received from beta weekend three.

In addition to announcing their fourth closed beta, Neverwinter also announced that open beta will start on April 30th. All characters from closed beta will be wiped before open beta. They have also confirmed there will be no wipe of characters between open beta and the game launch.

Also as expected they are continuing to push their founders packs by offering the Hero of the North purchasers 5 days of early access to the open beta. People who have purchased the Guardian of Neverwinter Pack will receive 3 days of early access.

My speculation is also the Drow race is supposed to be held for 60 days after the game’s start. I am now thinking since they are doing a “Soft Launch” the Drow will be available based on the start of Open Beta and we’ll see them on or around June 28th.