ZAM gets an early look at the new content coming to Guild Wars 2 tomorrow. Highlight: Challenging Dungeon!
Tomorrow Sky Pirates will invade Tyria in the next content release in Guild Wars 2. Players first saw the Aetherblade pirates after the sabotage during the Effigy Ceremony in Lion’s Arch. With this content patch players will be taking the fight to the Aertherblades in an all-new dungeon.
The entrance to the new dungeon, Aetherblade Retreat, is located in Lion’s Arch behind an illusionary wall, hidden behind the waterfall near the Diverse Ledges waypoint. The Aetherblade Retreat is an Aetherblade base where Captain Mai was tracked. Mai, as players might remember, was the culprit behind the Effigy Ceremony and players join Inspector Ellen Kiel in an effort to capture the criminal.
Being a base for the pirates, players will find themselves fighting through many Aetherblades throughout the dungeon. These new pirates are not pushovers, as ArenaNet has designed many of their skills to work in conjunction with some skills from the other pirates. For example, one pirate has an attack that punishes players who are standing skill while another pirate knocks players down to keep them from moving.
This is part of a new direction ArenaNet is trying, to make difficult and challenging content that isn’t just dodging a high damage attack. If the press early look at the dungeon was anything to go by, this dungeon is going to be kicking many players’ backsides.
The dungeon will not only have challenging mobs that players need to defeat, but interesting mechanics that players will need to learn. Much like the Molten Weapon Facilities that players faced during the Flame and Frost content, these new mechanics will be introduced to players before they have to fight the bosses that use them as part of their rotation.
The first mechanic player will face are the energy walls. They are not walls in that they will stop players from moving as if running into a normal wall, but a wall of energy that will electrocute anyone standing in the wall. Players learn this mechanic from walls that alternate on and off that players need to move past to progress down the path.
The first boss is an Asura from the Inquest; after a short fight clearing the mobs within the room, the Asura will lock himself in a control room in the center of the room. What does the control room control? Energy walls that slowly rotate around the circular room. The first energy wall is fairly short giving players a few options: keep running in front of the wall, climb boxes to stand above the wall, use teleport skills to blink to the other side of oncoming walls or jump over the short wall. (Warning: this jump evade does not appear to be as forgiving as the similar jump evade players faced in the Flame and Frost dungeon.)
Players finish each wave of the boss fight by killing the Inquest Golems activated at the start of the wave. Be warned, while the energy walls will hurt players they will buff the Golems. After the first wave is defeated, players face the second wave which now includes a slow moving energy wall that reaches from floor to ceiling removing the crates and jumping tactics from players.
It doesn’t stop there as the third wave will have both the slow moving tall wall and the faster moving short wall. That’s right, two walls that move at different speeds that players need to avoid while killing the golems.
The third wave is the end of the boss fight. Players will not actually need to fight and defeat the Asuran boss, but he does meet an untimely end after the third wave is finished. Players should keep an eye on the Asura in the middle of the room at the end as his death is quick.
The next mechanic that players face is the cannonballs. This is introduced in a mini-boss fight where players are holding out against waves of Aetherblades as cannonballs crash down on them. Avoid the cannonballs and kill the Aetherblades. Easier said than done.
The final boss is the combined effort of Captain Mai and First Mate Horrik. Mai starts each phase of the boss fight with stacks of a special shield. Each of these stacks reduces the damage she takes by 10%. So when she has 10 or more stacks you are not going to do any damage to her. You take the shield down by getting her to stand in one of Horrik’s special attacks. Horrik is a big dude with a cannon that shoots cannonballs at you. Occasionally he will shoot an electric attack which is what removes the shield from Mai.
At every 25% damage done to Mai (so at 75%, 50% and 25% health) both Mai and Horrik will leave the boss room as Aetherblades start pummeling the room with cannonballs. The lower Mai’s health the more cannonballs will rain down.
Killing Horrik first will just cause Mai to revive him, so unlike the Flame and Frost dungeon there won’t be much of a choice on which to kill first. After Mai is dealt with Horrik gets a new buff: Frenzy. Every attack that Horrik hits with will cause him to attack faster, so try not to get hit.