I like it.
I really do.
I’m also rather torn because it’s set at a level that is distinctly -not- inclusive.
But let me backtrack, hopefully without too huge spoilers since it’s only the first day:
I like Twilight Assault for its design.
First off, it’s a lavishly big place, full of beautiful scenery and even a few vignettes where you encounter mobs that aren’t just standing around waiting to kill you.
There are even a few secret locations to be found.
I really enjoy that they step up the mechanics bit by bit. Something you learn how to do in the previous room, is used in the next encounter against a boss.
And on and on, one foreshadowing another, until you reach the final boss, where pretty much everything you’ve learned previously can and may need to be applied.
The storytelling and pacing is excellent in this dungeon. There are some very enjoyable cutscenes, with faint hints of to-be-learned-later secrets.
And if/when you defeat the final boss, the ending cutscene builds in excitement and the whole thing launches into a bonus seqeuence rather reminiscent of the Molten Facility epilogue – except there’s a bit more meaning and additional optional challenge to this one.
The only thing I wonder about is: who am I going to do this with?
This dungeon challenges primarily your understanding of its mechanics and how well you execute the strategies your group devises, and it secondarily challenges your gear (somewhat.)
I’ve PUG’ed this twice – while the first did very well and was enjoyable (through umpteen wipes and one member quitting and being replaced), the second did not go so well and eventually decided to give up at the final boss (through umpteen wipes.)
The main difference between the first and the second is truly what I would term player “skill.”
How quickly each player learns the mechanics, how clearly they communicate this to the rest of the team, how each adapts and responds and changes gear or traits accordingly, how adeptly each player can move and dodge and manage aggro appropriately, and finally how well they work together and coordinate together, splitting up as necessary.
The most important thing in this dungeon that players must know is how to kite. Or lure. Or pull. Whatever terminology is being used. And detarget so as not to autoattack any mob to death anyplace they want at anytime they feel like.
Secondarily, it would be good if they knew how to recognize when it is appropriate to stack or corner pull and valid scenery locations for such, how to prioritize targets of major importance first rather than attack the first thing that target nearest hit, and how to get behind a mob to avoid frontal cone damage.
Oh, and not stand in red circles.
Almost by definition, a number of players that show up in a PUG will fail this criteria.
I do hope that they learn and that this dungeon teaches them. But I honestly don’t want to be the one attempting to teach them this for three hours every run while under fire.
This is a dungeon that does challenge your weakest link.
If your weakest link is busy autoattacking mobs that should not be killed, is off dying regularly and forcing people to stop and rez them, does not know how to recognize when it is their turn to lead a mob somewhere or indeed -how- to lead a mob somewhere in a timely fashion, there are going to be issues.
I do hope that as time goes by, that people will learn, or at least through heavy natural selection, that the people choosing to attempt this dungeon will be the ones who can manage it more or less.
The good news is that if you get a decent group, the Living Story achievements can be completed in fairly short order.
I’m done with all of them, in fact, and have another backpack I don’t know what to do with. It’s a pretty neat-looking steampunk bronze and green thing, I just don’t have any characters with that color scheme.
This means the two week deadline is not going to be as stressful as certain other dungeon update fortnights.
However, the Twilight Assault dungeon achievements are a whole different kettle of fish.
I assume that they’re more or less permanent, along with the new path, and some may indeed take a while to accomplish. The key to some of the harder ones is probably a super-coordinated group.
And I do like that they’ve put the very desirable miniature as a guaranteed reward for completing them, rather than forcing a whole bunch of reruns that are never going to let you see a miniature firestorm or a monocle. *cough*
Days like this, one wishes one had a regular (and good) dungeon venturing party.
I suppose it’s back to a mix of guilded and random PUG lotteries for me.