By some definitions of it anyway.
I’m a perfectionist. A real solo to me means flawless victory, no deaths, one straight run, utilizing skills and wits and reflexes to defeat one’s enemy.
This is not it.
Nor is this for the faint of heart. There were many deaths. Quite a bit of repairing that ended up totaling about 20 odd silver. One brief popping out of the instance to go find a trading post for more food buffs, praying the stuff wouldn’t reset.
Inclusive, this is not. I suspect that you’d have to tweak your build, use food buffs, and have a good understanding of what your profession can do.
Nor do I know if all professions can achieve this. But I suspect they can, because I’ve seen a video of a warrior that has done it, and I was 75% of the time being ranged on a guardian, so I’m going to guess that other ranged classes probably have a significant damage advantage over me.
The basic idea I got from watching the video is that one just needs to do sufficient damage fast enough to take out at least one mob in the spawn, before dying, if you must. By being sheer pigheadedly stubborn and whittling them down one at a time, repairing up from the friendly repair guy inside the Molten Weapons Facility, you will eventually get through the whole place and “solo” it.
Of course, there’s plenty of room for a lot more clever finesse than the above tactic, but that seemed to be the baseline.
Question is: Could my guardian do enough damage?
I figured I’d just have to test it out. Hammer is kind of a slow control weapon though, if safer from the protection symbol it throws up.
I considered greatsword, as that seems to be a favored weapon for guardians who like to do damage. My personal issue with greatswords is that I just don’t seem very good or familiar with it, and that I tend to take way too much damage from using it – walk into a whole bunch of mobs, pull and spin, and somehow half my hp disappears even as I’m doing a ton of damage to them. Still, it was going to be an option, and I did have one.
I needed a better ranged weapon. Staff is right out. Confession time: I’ve been using yellow scepter/focus rares before this idea struck me – I just keep ’em around for the once in a blue moon times I wander into a dungeon and need to switch out to range. Since I don’t run dungeons on a regular basis, I got no tokens. Fortunately, WvW is now another alternative, so I pulled out some badges of honor from the bank and bought berserker scepter/focus exotics. I chucked on a superior sigil of accuracy for 5% extra crit chance and a superior sigil of blood for a chance to lifesteal on crit (mostly because I’m broke, and I was building up to the idea below.)
I don’t own a berserker set of armor, else I might have tested it to see just how much damage is possible. Working with what I had, that’s Knight’s armor (exotics go without saying) and Berserker trinkets of mixed exotic/ascended quality. That gives decent toughness, power, precision and crit chance/crit damage.
The vague idea I had was to up my damage via crit and crit damage, while using lifesteal on crit food – which seemed like it would do a bit more extra damage to whatever I was hitting, plus give me back some health. (Extra sources of healing always sound nice to guardians.) To give myself the best chance of success, it was going to be the expensive Omnomberry Pies at 66% chance to lifesteal on crit.
I’m running 0/0/30/20/20 – nothing shocking on the guardian. I switched out Glacial Heart for Retributive Armor at first, since I wasn’t using a hammer, but switched back midway when I decided to go hammer again. And jumped between Master of Consecrations (when using a consecration) and Unscathed Contender (for lack of any other ideas on how to up damage). Other traits were Purity, Altruistic Healing (yay, cookie cutter), Superior Aria, Two-Handed Mastery, and Absolute Resolution.
With that, it was dungeon time.
1) Molten Alliance Ambush
Jumped in with greatsword, and shortly after went, Ow ow ow, because I apparently suck at using one properly. And because the Molten Brawler popped up. I think I did take out one guy. Then I ran away.
You’ll find that tactic comes up a lot. Cowardice is the better part of valour and all that – running far away to break aggro and/or maybe pull one guy away from everything else to take down.
Then I went ranged to plink them down one by one, while letting the NPCs get in the way and die over and over.
It sounds nicer than it is. There were one or two deaths in here while experimenting with the best tactic to deal with them.
2) Drill Tunnel
Greatsword took out the mobs just fine here. Though the picture above shows the problem I ran into, if you can’t kill stuff fast enough. I think it’s a mechanism to make sure you can’t skip these mobs and run past.They flood out and rush you themselves.
I really hate embers. Especially embers in the tunnel. While still getting beat on by devourers. I dunno, maybe I just don’t know how to use a greatsword properly.
Anyway, when you lose aggro (or die), this is what happens to all the loose mobs in the tunnel. They all collect at the entrance looking threatening and intimidating. My berserk approach fortunately controlled the population some, and there was a period of pulling with scepter, backing off and trying to get only one mob over, kiting it around while hitting it with scepter, and closing in to melee whenever it looked safe. You can get the NPCs to help somewhat too, revive them if they’re within reach.
3) The Random Hall of Champions
I was terrified that it was going to be the Champion Ember. I honestly don’t know if I can take that one down, even now.
It was the Ooze.
Cue another learning and death period of experimentation, trying to pull them into the tunnel and failing, getting pulled instead and squished by a big blob of ooze. It was pretty ugly for a while.
The thing I really enjoy about a solo challenge though, is that it forces you to improve and think things through and you have the leisure time to do it. (As contrasted with a group when everyone just dives in and flails away.)
I eventually hit on attacking at range in the hall, and suddenly observed what the ooze attacks look like at long range. They have two, one simple boomerang and a triangular shotgun-like boomerang. If these hit you, you get pulled in. It’s pretty easy to avoid at really long range. (Maybe ranged classes are busy laughing at me for not figuring this out earlier. You know melee people, they don’t see shit but the big weapon they’re thwapping the mob’s head in with.)
And they turned out to be also -projectile- attacks. (Ding! Bright happy guardian lightbulb goes off!)
Enter wall of reflection, and spirit shield for the shield of absorption to make my fail dodging life easier. (And lemme tell you, the reflected four-prong triangular attack does -sick- damage onto the oozes.) Alternating between those and concentrating on survival during the downtime = successfully sceptering down the oozes one by one.
4) Weapons Test
Went back to hammer from greatsword here for Banish. I love Protector golf.
Wall of reflection (to block shamans while killing core in peace), Stand Your Ground and Hallowed Ground for stability laziness. Went without a hitch.
5) Supercooled Rooms
Not hitchless. Involved a lot of experimenting, a lot of pulling back away from the debuff, trying to figure out the best timing of wall of reflection, hold the line and stand your ground for best survival chances, alternating between melee and ranged, screaming at brawler/gunner simultaneous tag teams, being forced by self-preservation to really observe the brawler’s animations and learn how the fuck to jump/dodge its shockwave and ditto with the gunner’s attacks.
My only suggestions from very painful learning are to pull slowly, back around corners to LOS if yer gonna melee, and if you see the tag team, go ranged, backpedal like hell and take down the brawler first, gunner’s projectiles are easier to dodge at really long range.
I’m sure some of the deaths were from me being stubborn and wanting to figure out if I could kite/move in melee more efficiently. May have improved a bit, may have not. Ranging them down is, I believe, the much safer option.
6) The Prisoners
You think it’s lengthy when you’re in a group? Trust me, it’s much worse solo.
The NPCs will help you over-aggro everything. Maybe it was a bad decision to be in knight’s armor, because that promptly dragged attention to me. Lots of running away and leaving the bookahs to die. Some dying. Lots of pulling. Lots of experimentation with utility skills – and eventually ended up with wall of reflection and spirit shield again to soak some of the projectile pain. Very lengthy training process forcing me to get better dealing with brawlers and gunners. Lots of using corners and running around scenery and trying to figure out when it was safe to go in with melee to speed things up. Lots of reeling back going ‘ow ow ow fuck ow’ and trying to heal it up.
Then to add insult to injury, the prisoners will bum rush the protectors and swarm it to the point where you can’t launch it properly out of the fire shield. Or you’re staring at them in the distance, knowing you can’t go down there in melee because that’s going to aggro a shitton of other stuff, so you just have to autoattack with scepter and wait endless moments for the shield to fall.
On the bright side, as you accumulate more and more prisoners, they form a very nice meatshield vanguard of minions – who will even rez each other. I figure this will make proper ranged professions with good damage very happy.
7) Berserker and Firestorm
This challenged the shit out of me.
My original plan was to take down berserker first, leaving the much simpler firestorm (so I thought) for later.
So I kited berserker around, and when firestorm enraged, shit became fucking real. Those fire circles hurt if you accidentally stumble into them, and when you’re trying to dodge/jump berserker’s shockwaves at the same time, accidents happen.
I worked on getting the enrage stacks off as I just had no confidence I could keep dodging the super-intense versions of both of them for an extended period of time. Berserker kept getting in the way of my slow ass scepter orbs. Run around some more, dodge all the things, heal like mad and throw on swiftness whenever.
I came real close to berserker going down twice, near 15% of its health left, then I landed in an enraged firestorm’s multiple circles of fire the first time, and got knocked off the platform by berserker the second time.
I leave out the other multiple attempts where I didn’t quite get that close. It wasn’t at all frickin’ easy to kite when you’re the only one and berserker keeps shadowstepping to you.
My last omnomberry pie wore off and I had to step out to go get more.
Eventually, getting tired, fingers cramping, I decided to change plans and targets and see if firestorm was easier to take down. What was really killing me was the enraged firestorm circles, which hurt like hell, and make the whole place a major hazardous minefield to avoid (while still trying to jump/dodge away from berserker’s shockwaves.)
He stays more stationary too, so smite was easier to land on him, though berserker kept getting in the way as usual.
Turns out the enraged berserker gets some manner of interrupts and chain knockdown/backs. Luckily, Save Yourselves is a stun break, so it was easy to save that for the times he caught me, use it, and dodge the hell out of the way. (And at least if I dodged into a fire circle now, it wasn’t OW OW FUCK OW SHIT type of painful.)
Got the firestorm down on the first try.
Enraged berserker turned out to be quite easy and methodical to handle. And no, I didn’t crawl between his legs. What would be the point of soloing MWF if I did that?
By now, I was super familiar with how to read the berserker’s animations. When he jumps up, ground shockwave coming. Dodge forwards, or jump forwards. When he claps his hands, air shockwave, do nothing.
I just kited him around on the outer edge of the platform, handling the lesser shockwaves as appropriate. When his flame circle came up, just double dodge and ran the fuck away in the exact opposite direction to the other edge.
He helpfully walks out of his fire circle toward you, while getting hit by your ranged attacks, then shadowsteps the rest of the distance to you. Bang down smite, and begin kiting again.
I even dodged a flame circle or two because I felt like living dangerously.
Pop went the berserker. And popped open the chest, I did.
No jetpack, of course. But at least it wasn’t a food recipe. I think I would have cried if that happened.
I don’t think I need to cover the epilogue. It was just fetch and carry.
Though I did try out the other path that I would normally never use in a group. (For fear of missing a jump and falling horribly into lava and looking more of a fool than I am.)
The whole thing took 5 hours from start to finish. I -was- taking my time, resting and AFK in places, taking screenshots and being experimental with tactics though. Someone more focused on speed, with more damage and better with their combat reflexes would probably get done faster.
I highly doubt that it would match a group’s pace of an hour and under, so it’s no threat to farming.
In fact, it kind of reminds me fondly of those solo adventures in GW1 trekking slowly around the Underworld and the Fissure of Woe or banging one’s head in the Domains of Anguish, just without any controllable heroes. It’ll never match a group, but it’s a hard challenge for a soloist.
It’s a pity that it’s only sticking around for a limited time. Because it makes me count my hours and want to farm it endlessly in a group instead, whereas if it were here for longer, there’s more leeway to take one’s time on it.
So for the antisocials who refuse to group, if you are hardcore enough, you might indeed sorta kinda get through the Molten Weapons Facility by yourself. Given sufficient time and the ability to not freak out at multiple deaths and a scary repair bill.
The important thing is persistence, observation of mobs, learning from what went wrong, and knowing your skills/builds/profession pretty well.
I leave you with this hilarity from the FIRST time I tried to solo it, two days ago, and decided it was impossible.
I was wrong. It can be done.
Not in a timely fashion.
But it’s not impossible.
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