Tonight we’re looking at the story mode of first dungeon in Guild Wars 2, Ascalon Catacombs. It’s the first of eight dungeons in the game and the only one we’ve seen thusfar. It’s a level 30 dungeon, and has a lot of cool things for Guild Wars players. For those who never played the original, you start off in the kingdom of Ascalon, which was all beautiful. Then the Charr came through and destroyed everything in an event we call The Searing.
This time period in the game is the equivalent of “noob island” in a lot of games and is referred to as “Pre-Searing”. You meet a lot of different trainers in this area for the different professions and even go through the Catacombs themselves. You then venture off chasing one Charr while the rest come wreck your homeland. Thus began Guild Wars. Now, in Guild Wars 2, ArenaNet has brought the area back with some familiar faces.
In writing this post I’m mostly referencing the videos by Curse and the video by Mike B covering these. They essentially show the same thing, except that Mike B’s video has commentary, no wipes, and better playing all around (excepting for him rolling off the platform). If you’re going to watch one, watch Mike B’s. Let’s begin.
Throughout the dungeon you will fight predominantly ghosts. A long time ago, when the Charr were retaking Ascalon, the defeated King Adelbern used the power of his sword Magdaer to unleash the Foefire. All of the invading Charr were charred (no pun intended) to death and all of the humans, dead and alive, were turned into angry ghosts. The dead king is buried along with his sword in the Catacombs. The ghosts there stand guard. Eir Stegalkin, a norn, has gone in seeking the sword, and Rytlock Brimstone has brought you in to stop her.
Most of the trash fighting in the dungeon takes place in relatively narrow hallways and on bridges. There are some open room trash areas, as well as most of the boss fights are in open areas, but a lot of your fighting is going to take place in choke points. Most of the trash is spread out in the hallways beyond the size of most AoE, but there are a few really narrow bridges, AoE packs, and mass spawns of minions in bosses. There is also a lot of AoE against you in this dungeon, so plan your healing/support skills accordingly. Also, there are a lot of environmental weapon boulders throughout the dungeon.
Beginning of the Dungeon:
The actual dungeoneering part of the adventure comes all at the start before the bosses. Once the bosses are dead, you really just go through killing trash from boss to boss. You begin in a room with a lot of coffins and shut doors. You have to break open the coffins and kill the massive spawns of hatchlings that come out. Then, a ghost Captain comes to fight you. Once it’s dead, the doors open and you continue.
Further down the path to the first boss, you will come up a flight of stairs to a room that is literally filled with spike traps. On the other side of the traps, in a corner, is a mini-boss Captain. You essentially just have to buff up and just let one person run forward and take the brunt of the damage from the traps. When you get to the Captain, she will shoot arrows that knock you back (into the traps) or do an AoE point-blank ground slam that will knock you back (into the traps). Kill her and your problems are solved.
After this you run into a Legend of Zelda style pressure switch that controls a door. Grab one of the many boulders nearby and drop one on the switch. Beware, as the next room is one of the harder parts of the dungeons. The walls are lined with little gargoyle head looking devices that spit AoE fire at you. You have to run around and take them out. Use dodging as much as you can but don’t go running through the room or you’ll get yourself into a lot of trouble (guy in the Curse video does this). After this, you get to the first boss.
Boss: Champion Ascalonian Lieutenant
This isn’t a big enough boss to be named, but it’s big enough to get its own section. After some dialogue, you go up to search for the sword. You find the Lieutenant there waiting to fight you and drive you away. No real major mechanics to deal with, just a LOT of his friends show up to party with their fists and weapons. Take them all out, loot, and move on. After a short bit you get to the next boss.
Boss: Master Ranger Nente
For a little trivia, Master Ranger Nente was the Pre-Searing trainer for rangers that first taught them how to tame a pet. He stood off in the middle of the woods and handed out quests to go tame panthers.
In Guild Wars 2, he’s now a boss. He alternates between two phases (he appears to do both phases twice, so I would assume they switch every 25%). The room you fight him in has a stairwell that runs up to a ledge that wraps around half of the area, with a gap (and significant drop) separating you from a platform you can’t jump to. In the first phase, he stands on the platform and shoots you, so make sure you can bring some ranged combat unlike the guy in the Curse video. After a bit, he jumps over to the ledge, summons some little adds, and fights you melee style. Nothing major, just keep hitting him and he dies.
Loot the chest and it’s on to the next one.
Boss: Kasha Blackblood
More trivia: in Pre-Searing, Kasha Blackblood was a necromancer trainer who taught young necromancers the way of Blood Magic. She actually sent players into the Catacombs to put an end to some miscreants doing whatever miscreants do.
This time around, she’s a boss in a dungeon. This fights really simple. She doesn’t do much other than summon a bunch of little minions. Kill them quickly or she will start stealing health from them, making a short fight much longer than it needs to be.
Grab the shinies and head on.
Boss: Ralena and Vassar - The Lovers
Trivia: Ralena and Vassar were trainers in Pre-Searing for elementalists and mesmers, respectively. She taught elementalists to use air magic to zap a golem and then rub it in another trainer’s face. He sent mesmers off to go kill a high level Skale using an anti-caster hex that revolves on killing it before it kills you. Lots of good it did them.
Now they’re back with a vengeance. Literally. This is probably the most difficult of the boss fights simply due to the mechanics. She, true to form, zaps your party with lightning. He creates illusions. If they’re near each other they gain extra abilities. Ralena will start knocking down melee and Vassar will start reflecting projectiles. Sounds easy, right? Just get their agro and move away? Not quite, they’re both ranged. According to Elisabeth Cardy in the GuildCast episode on the beta, you can knock them back, including by throwing boulders at them, so that you can get them apart. You could probably also just divvy up your party ranged on her and melee on him. From the videos I don’t think there’s a real need to worry about killing them together, just get them down as best you can.
Once you get them down there’s only one more to go.
Boss: King Adelbern
In Pre-Searing, you never had real interaction with the king, but you could see him in Ascalon City. You only had much to do with him in two quests after The Searing, but spent a lot of time with his son, Prince Rurik.
This fight is also another straight-forward fight. Nothing overly complicated, he just puts out a lot of AoE damage and makes you use your dodge. He occasionally pulls players in to him. He also spams Foefire in various places in the room. See where the two work together? Do your best to roll out of the areas and get out quickly once he pulls you and it’s an easy kill. Drop him, loot the chest, and you’ve won the day.
There are also bonus events in the dungeon — little things that happen as you’re doing your adventurer thing. As far as I can tell, it looked like it was pretty hard to miss them (if possible at all) from the two videos. In one, you have to blow up a Graveling burrow and kill the Gravelings. In the other, you kill a Cave Troll. Quick, easy bonus loot.
Ascalon Catacombs is pretty large for a first dungeon. It’s also got some fairly complicated mechanics for a first dungeon. Most games don’t begin to pick up mechanics like this for a good ways into their content. ANet has also said that it will only get more interesting and complicated for here. Who’s excited? I know I am!
Jon Peters, one of the devs, wrote a post on the ArenaNet blog today detailing the attributes and traits system. He explains how each mechanic work, lists most of them out, and gives some insight on how they got to it. Read the full article here. I’ll give a quick overview of them.
Attributes are to what other MMORPGs refer to as strength, dexterity, agility, spell power, etc. They do things like increase your damage, your crits, your heals, etc. Unlike many MMORPGs where you get points to spend directly on your stats, you gain points in these based on your traits.
Traits replace the stat points and talent points many other MMORPGs have. You get 70 total points to spend on your character’s traits. Every character has five traits they can spread these points into, up to 30 points per. Every point in a trait increases the two attributes associated with it. Additionally, you earn extra bonuses after 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 points spend in any trait. At 5, 15, and 25 you gain an automatic passive bonus, called a minor trait. At 10, 20, and 30 you gain a major trait that you select that provides another bonus.
That’s just the quick version, but for more detail read the official blog post, linked above.
Courtesy to Gamebreaker TV.
Apparently, a Reddit user found a video from a German site where a fan has images of a “trading post”, or auction house. Things it apparently has:
Item search with sorting by price, supply, demand, and track frequency.
Match lowest seller button.
This is absolutely huge and a vast improvement on the economy from GW1 where selling items means standing around in the city for an hour (or a day, or a week) trying to sell your wares like a ten-cent hooker on the corner.
Full article + video from GBTV: link
Also, don’t forget to check out GuildCast every Thursday at 6 PDT/PST.
So, really not sure how I forgot to post this before the weekend, but Mike Ferguson answered many questions on the ANet blog as well as in a Reddit Q&A Session in regards to the much-hyped WvW.
Rather than tell you about it, I’ll let you read them yourself. If, like me, you read a response here or there and don’t really like it, read the reasoning after the initial response! So many of these make much more sense and become really cool once you get why they’re doing it!
ANet blog addressing WvW: link
Reddit Session Responses (Courtesy of Gamebreaker TV!): link
First off, Massively put out today that beta sign-ups peaked over 4,000 sign-ups per minute. For those of you that are mathematically challenged, that’s more than 65 people signing up reach second.
Secondly, ANet tweeted today that the next beta event will be in late March. Stop spamming the refresh button on your email page, you’ve got a while to wait. For the record, there are two weekends this could refer to. March 23-25 is probably (IMO) the more likely of the two, but it could always be March 30-April 1. Look for a good prank (like cancelling development, immediate release date, etc.) on April Fool’s Day. ANet are a bunch of trolls.
Thirdly, Massively informed us today from an NCSoft press release that the testing “will provide players with an opportunity to experience its deep RPG game elements, epic World v. World battles and inviting social gameplay while helping the team load test the servers.” What does this mean for us? It means people that play heavily PvE or balanced are probably (speculating here, folks) going to have better chances of getting in, because PvP-oriented players are less likely to go for all of the RPG elements and they’re gearing dub v dub towards PvE players. It also means that there will be a LOT of invites going out for them to load test their servers.
Keep in mind that there will be more events after this, and if you don’t get in to this one you still are already signed up and have a shot at getting in to the rest of them.
Tonight on GuildCast, ArenaNet developers Jonathan Sharp and Mike Zadorojny and community manager Martin Kerstein confirmed that ANet is indeed working on underwater PvP maps. Up until this point, they’ve said they would have underwater areas of maps and underwater combat, but it’s only been a speculation that there will be underwater maps. When asked by Gary Gannon, Jonathan Sharp confirmed that they’re confident enough in their underwater combat system that they’re trying to push under water PvP maps.
Also in the interview tonight, Gary asked about “official forums” for GW2, a hot topic among GW2 enthusiasts, to which Martin responded, “that is something I can neither confirm nor deny.” Let’s be serious, if they weren’t going to do it, they’d have said so. They’re going to do it.
Hey! Glad you enjoy it! Do me a huge favor and share it around with your friends so I can get some views.
I’m currently in Frostborn Raiders [RAID] in GW, but I’m going to be getting some of my old WoW friends into GW2 and re-starting my original GW guild when GW2 launches. Probably just a bit of a social guild, but might get into some PvP/dungeons/whatever we do.
This weekend was the first major closed beta event with the press for Guild Wars 2! What does that mean? It means we have now gotten to see a lot of the game for the first time, including all sorts of skills, cities, areas, and even a new dungeon! I’m going to use much of this information to start going through it all tomorrow in a series of blogs to jump start this project.
To start, however, here are relevant links involving the event:
ArenaNet’s blog entry announcing the start of the event.
GW2 Guru’s forum thread with external links to most available content, including videos and articles. I personally like the videos from Mike B a.k.a. Fony, Curse (owns Guru), and Yogscast.
ArenaNet’s blog entry clarifying things from the beta and announcing a few changes as a result.
I will be doing my absolute best to cover as much as I can from a gamer’s point of view, so to begin with tomorrow… I don’t know I’ll figure that out when tomorrow comes.
Been wanting to do this for a while, so welcome to Yoshi’s Guild Wars 2 Hub, a blog specifically about Guild Wars 2. GW2 is an MMORPG on the way this year from ArenaNet, makers of Guild Wars (1). With this weekend having been the first closed beta with the press and MASSIVE amounts of information flooding the community this week, I figured this is the best time.
I will assume to begin with that no one reading this post is clueless about GW2 and ANet’s general goals, boasts, and hype. All of the business about being “different” and those dynamic events, lack of endgame, epic-level PvP, etc. are things you can read from your average post somewhere. Instead, I will focus on looking at things within GW2. I’ll repost lots of news from other sites, look at information in various videos, etc. As information about skills and other bits of game info come out, I’ll look at them here and go over them.
To begin with, here’s my perspective as a gamer and as I analyze these games: I started playing MMORPGs with a well-known, frequently-mocked game called RuneScape, by Jagex. It’s a pretty low-tech game made by a couple guys on one of their private computers, written in Java. Sometime after I started playing (like, well after I’d started playing) they upgraded to “RuneScape 2”, or the current version of RuneScape, in 3d but with less clear graphics. The game’s changed a lot, but it’s still filled with a lot of things you can do, especially non-combat related. It’s a free-to-play with an optional subscription that opens more skills, the remaining 80% of the world, tons of mini-games, etc. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone nowadays, but it was a cool place to start.
Sometime after I played that, the same friend who introduced me to RuneScape introduced me to Diablo II, a more hack-and-slash RPG. It’s a popular game that’s still being played extensively after almost 12 years. It was the first game I was introduced to with real-time combat where things you do affect things then rather than on a server-side clock. It was the first time I played a game with the concept of a “build”, or set of skills/talents/other points that separated your character from others. Heck, it was the first time I played a game with the concept of “classes”.
Even later after this, that same friend got me into Guild Wars. The game had only just come out when he showed me, and I was blown away. I immediately fell in love with the art style, the play style, and especially their version of “builds”. I got into a guild, became a PvPer and did GvG several times a day mostly from then until the first expasion, Factions, came out. Our guild was ranked as high as in the 60s, back before the game was much of what it is today. Nowadays, they have titles, observer modes, and all of these other things. Back then, they just had a ranking system. I’ve since played off-and-on, and have now become a PvEer, and altoholic.
Sometime after Factions was released, I stopped playing GW and another friend got me into World of Warcraft (I then got the other friend into WoW). Like everyone else, I was hooked. There’s a reason it’s become the standard among MMORPGs. Much like GW, it was also very different back then. But, it was still a cool game. I never really liked WoW’s PvP system after having played GW (GW was originally billed as a PvP game, afterall), but I did enjoy dungeons, leveling, and raiding. I’ve quite and restarted WoW probably more times than any other game, including GW. I did a little bit of raiding in the original and first expasion, a fair bit in the second expansion, and most of my raiding in the current expansion. During my last stint, I even co-led a raiding guild.
Throughout my life, between these games, I’ve also played other minor MMORPGs like Maple Story (ew, I blame my cousin for getting me into that), Silk Road Online (a girl I knew in high school is responsible for this one), Dungeons & Dragons Online: Eberron Unlimited (a surprisingly good game from a company I’d never heard of), and I think a few more that I don’t actually remember. On top of this, I’ve always been an avid Nintendo fan and have played most major titles from that company.
I don’t have as much experience as someone like Mike B a.k.a. Fony in various games, but I do have a fair bit of experience as a gamer. It is this experience that I will bring as I look at the various aspects of GW2 in this blog. Much of the information I use will be coming from ArenaNet, Guild Wars 2 Wiki, Guild Wars 2 Guru, Gamebreaker TV, or Massively. Naturally, all information will be credited where appropriate.