Spoiler warning: Your definition of what can be spoiled may or may not include guides that highlight battle tactics and what to look out for.
I didn’t actually think that it would be necessary to write a guide about the fight mechanics for this event.
Then I popped into several random overflows and read a couple blogs from those who play GW2 at a very infrequent, casual level and decided that my personal perspective was -definitely- being colored by my new habit of logging onto the TTS teamspeak, and joining the group of 100-200+ players there who try their best to cram into an overflow together, linked by voice chat, with the ability to hear and give directions and organize on the fly without having to lift fingers from the movement keys.
Objectively, if you log in, completely new to the event, without even the experience of having done the previous Marionette or Tequatl or Wurm fights (or fractals or dungeons, say), the complexity of the mechanics, so different from regular open world PvE, coupled with the utter chaos of having 50-150 players in the same spot, the encounter is probably going to be very confusing.
Let’s add on the possibility that one’s graphic settings might be set too high for your computer to handle such huge numbers of people in one spot. Folks who don’t regularly WvW or attend events where zergs congregate may suddenly be faced with choking CPUs. (I feel your pain. My FPS hovers around 20 or less, thanks to a cruddy CPU bottleneck, on lowest settings.)
That’s a pretty tough situation to try and figure out fight mechanics, on your own, on the fly.
And few people seem to be teaching in map chat just yet.
Maybe they think it’s obvious. Maybe they just can’t say anything because they can’t lift their fingers from their movement and dodge keys without dying.
Or rather, random tips and rambling because I haven’t figured out how comprehensive this needs to be.
At :55 every hour, three assault knights will spawn at their locations in Lion’s Arch. Blue, Green, and Red.
(Blue is Dynamic. Green is Synergetic. Red is Static. Remembering this may come in handy later on, but for now, let’s use the easy color coding.)
On the hour, they turn aggressive and players can attack.
The newest hotfix is discouraging player zerging behavior by ensuring only 50 players can damage a knight at any one time. Players must pick up the colored buff from the circles around the knight before they can do any damage to the knight.
Note the “Synergetic Calibration” number in the event UI.
This is the number of players that can still go to the event and pick up the buff.
If it is at 0, find another knight.
Reading their target bar tells you that they change modes.
In their first mode, they remove and reflect conditions. This means whatever conditions you do to it, it’s going to fly off the knight and ricochet onto other players or yourself.
PLEASE, before your next fight, take the time to read your weapon skills and figure out what weapons you have do conditions and which don’t, and consider using the appropriate ones.
Also press H and read your stats and see how much condition damage stat you have. The higher it is, the more careful you want to be at this point, because it’s going to make life difficult for folks around you. (And if they keel over dead, the knight is not going to go down within the time limit.)
At 75% health (and 25% health), they change modes to now become condition-sensitive.
See those two new icons? Mouse over them and they’ll tell you that it’s now in condition crash mode.
NOW is the time to switch weapons and let those conditions fly.
The more conditions that pile onto the knight, the higher the red shield buff icon goes, all the way to 50.
While I haven’t directly contrasted the damage numbers yet, I believe this increases the amount of damage that one can do to a knight. (So it appears anyhow, because it is possible to burn through the knight’s hp quite fast when it is in this mode, especially if folks switch to melee when they can and/or use consumables.)
The knight will alternate back to condition reflect mode once more at 50%, and then to condition crash again at 25%.
To make life more interesting, the knight has an Extraction attack which is a big AoE pull, into melee range, where it will then proceed to start beating up on people with knockdown and rather wide cleaving high damage attacks.
This should be DODGED.
Suggestions that have all worked for me, include:
- Once you see the big orange AoE circle, count to 3, then dodge.
- Once you see the big orange AoE circle, wait for it to disappear, then dodge. (Most reliable for me, personally.)
- Once you see the big orange AoE circle, wait for the knight to jump up into the air, and dodge. (Slightly iffy with my latency.)
- Or if you want to be fancy, you will note that the center of the circle is actually safe from the pull. If you’re at mid-range, you can dodge forward into the safe zone, chill out for a bit, and then dodge back out again before the knight starts doing massive melee damage for a while. (If you’re in melee range, you’re fine from the pull, just watch that health bar when the knight starts swinging its big hammer around.)
If you do get yanked, please hammer your dodge key and get out of melee range double quick. Use a stun break if you’re knocked down. The good news is that the crazy melee damage seems to have been tweaked down post-hotfix or more delayed, so one has more time to retreat.
It does seem possible to melee the knight at certain points (which I am still trying to figure out precisely when.) It seems safest to be at her back (facing those luscious buttocks), but note that there are points where the knight does hit for very high damage and it is best not to stick around at those times.
When all the knights are defeated, collect the three colored buffs that are on the ground to form the white prime buff, which will let you enter Scarlet’s Breachmaker via the convenient nearby portal.
Scarlet Phase 1 – Prime Hologram
There is a safe period of 5 minutes from the time the first Assault Knight dies. If you board the drill before this period is up, the fight will not have begun, there will be time to switch weapons, gear, traits, skills, whatever, or communicate and discuss tactics with the people around you.
If the gap between the first and last knight going down is longer than 5 minutes, chances are very likely that you’ll load right into a fight that has already begun. (And right into a laser AoE. Tough luck on that achievement.)
The fight actually ramps up quite slowly to get you used to the mechanics. (Which is all very well when playing it as intended, but less so when loading in mid-battle.)
Collect all three colors to create the white prime attunement buff that lets you do the maximum damage to the prime hologram.
Collecting at least one color will allow you to do -some- damage to the prime hologram, though if you’re going for the In Tune achievement, you need to match the color exactly.
Attacking with no attunement will not do any damage, and give you stacks of a counter. If it reaches 10, you get damaged and knocked down.
Don’t let it get to 10. (And if you’re going for the achievement, you can’t get this ever. Turn off auto-attack to prevent accidents.)
It is not possible to leave the platform and come back again, so do try to rez downed players whenever possible. If you are dead, all hope is not lost, even if all players ignore you, one of the named NPCs may come by and be your personal hero and get you back on your feet again.
The Prime Hologram will shoot prime laser AoE blasts which are cued by big rectangular orange AoE blocks, and then linger around as a patch of damage for a while.
It is possible to dodge/evade over these patches of damage, with only a small amount of damage, to collect the buffs. (Unless you’re going for the corresponding achievement, in which case, it is best to avoid all sources of damage from the Prime Hologram.)
It is also possible to run through the center, where the laser AoE does not reach, to get to the colored buffs.
However, be on the lookout for the -other- attack the Prime Hologram has.
Which is a circular AoE that does a Prime Laser Blast of some sort, right in the center, doing damage and radial knockback.
Sometimes, this orange circle doesn’t render for me, so I would advise people with similar problems to look out for the prime hologram’s animation tell before dashing through the center for that last yummy color.
-It rises up and begins floating off the ground.- Expect it to come down with a bang. Don’t be there during that time.
As the Prime Hologram loses health, the amount of laser blasts flying around will grow more numerous. The colored buff circles will be spaced in much more annoying fashion. Repulsive circular domes will be obstacles in your path and knock you around if you run into them without stability. Scarlet will come down from her platform and troll people by being an extra target (whose health bar seems rather impossible to scratch) and targeting a random person with a bomb icon and ticking AoE to get away from.
Basically, a lot more moving parts to keep track of, until it’s defeated.
Scarlet Phase 2 – Three Colored Holograms
The Prime Hologram will split up into three colored holograms: blue, green and red.
Blue is Dynamic. Green is Synergetic. Red is Static.
Each requires the corresponding color buff to be picked up to do damage to it.
Red is designed more for ranged, imo. (Though it is possible to melee, with interruptions.)
It shoots projectiles which create fire ground AoEs when they land. (I’m not 100% sure, but perhaps these can be reflected.)
It will also do a rolling ground shockwave and air clap that the Molten Berserker from the Molten Alliance uses. Jump/dodge the ground shockwave, and don’t jump into the air clap.
Green is designed more for melee, imo. (Though it is possible to range, with interruptions.)
From time to time, it will pop up the reflect shield that the Toxic Alliance krait nimross has, which will happily send all projectiles you fire straight back into you. (Or perhaps some poor bastard standing in front of you.)
Mid-range is impeded by the presence of the toxic spores which grow periodically and explode in an AoE when a player gets close.
To me, it’s best to dodge roll in, past the toxic spores, and position oneself so that one is not caught by any exploding circular AoEs, and then go nuts in melee range inside the reflect shield.
However, players still need to be alert as one player will occasionally be marked with a pulsing AoE that does damage to anyone else nearby. If this is you, don’t stand around near other players. Move away please.
Blue is made for condition damage people.
It has stacks of a condition shield, which requires conditions to be thrown on before the shield dissipates.
It has very high toughness, so power builds will be doing some tens or hundreds of damage to the hologram only. Still, every little bit helps to whittle away at it. Expect blue to take much longer to go down than the other two holograms and adjust accordingly.
(Condition damage users will probably want to prioritize blue first and get all those high condition damage stacks layered on it before the hoi polloi come in and ruin it with their hefty 0 condition damage and rampant mis-use of condition applying skills.)
Blue also does a wide cone attack. To avoid it more easily, it’s best to be in melee or mid-range, so that there’s less distance to roll before reaching safety.
It is best to defeat all holograms at the same time (or rather, within 30s-1min of each other) so that it goes straight into phase 3 and does not spawn additional smaller holograms.
Given sufficient time to recover, each defeated hologram will split into six micro-holograms. Mis-timing the simultaneous defeat can lead to significant nuisance factor as 18 small holograms mill around each other, needing the correct color buff to be damaged, and being very hard to tell apart beyond a colored indicator atop each one that can still be damaged.
A working strategy at the moment is for the zerg to all attack red until its health is low, then move on to green until its heath is low, then cycle around to blue to kill it. Once it is dead, the zerg splits to take down the remaining sliver of health red and green has.
(Alternate strategies can be to take down each color one at a time, so that the micro-holograms can be zerged down without too much mixing around, or in the worse case scenario, slowly whittling down 18 micro-holograms until they’re all dead. Obviously, these are more time-consuming and may risk exceeding the time limit.)
Scarlet Phase 3 – Ultraviolet Prime Hologram
The last phase is surprisingly easy for a decentralized zerg mind to handle.
Laser AoEs will divide up the platform into multiple small safe areas. The zerg naturally spreads out.
Small microprime holograms will spawn. All players will already have the white prime attunement buff.
The goal: Kill all the microprime holograms. This will steadily damage the big one. Three rounds of this are needed.
Microprime holograms shoot a small rectangular laser AoE. Defeated holograms will explode with a circular AoE. Don’t stand in any of the orange AoEs. Kill anything small and red-named near you.
Assuming you haven’t run out of time, that’s it! You’ve humbled Scarlet! Follow her into the end instance to finish her off.
OH, AND DON’T FORGET TO LOOT YOUR REWARD CHEST.
Which is between the middle where the big hologram was, and the door that Scarlet leaves into. A random person in one of my parties was -very- miffed that he didn’t see it before jumping right into the instance. No way back.
This is perhaps more rambling than usual, mostly because the mechanics seem very learnable via just being there and reading tooltips and going through the fight a few times, so I’m really not sure what is obvious or not obvious, and what should be stressed or not.
But if it helps someone who had information overload during the chaos, especially if it helps them enjoy the fight more as a result, then writing this would be worth it. :)