GW2: Twilight Assault First Impressions

For a rusty Aetherblade base, it's really quite pretty...

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.

Significant ones.

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.

11 thoughts on “GW2: Twilight Assault First Impressions

  1. Slowly at first, but more rapidly of late, GW2 is turning into “that game I used to play.” A dungeon that is designed to challenge the weakest? Yeah, don’t think I have interest. I run with some pretty casual friends, and the last couple of dungeons they made didn’t go well.

    Don’t take this as a “they shouldn’t make that” — I have no problem with them making content that isn’t for me. Sadly, I’m not much into twitchy-reflex-kite-and-survive, and I’m not much into mass-zerg-huge-battles. I can do jumping puzzles, but I don’t quite understand the attraction. So most of the “living story” has been not terribly interesting.

    I really liked the hearts / events / personal story stuff, but that seems like a long time ago. Lore is great, pity there isn’t that much of it these days — giving us our own version of Harley Quinn instead of looking around at the story threads they left untouched doesn’t really excite me. Neither does having Rox wander aimlessly about the Tequatl AFKers.

    Good luck with your PuG lotteries? I should make a calendar event to check back in on the game in two weeks — maybe make that a recurring task…


  2. Love the dungeon. Love it, love it, love it. Not as fun as Aether, (gosh I ran that dungeon 3 times a day) but still very well made.

    I have the fortunes of running it with a circle of close friends though. I imagine this makes my experience a lot smoother.


  3. Jonathan sums up very neatly what has gone rotten in the heart of GW2. It has nothing to do with how well the dungeons, or the Tequatl event, are designed, nor how well they play at the “Elite” level. ANet could be designing the very best elite content in the MMO genre and implementing it flawlessly every second Tuesday and it would *still* be a betrayal of the ethos of the game they promoted for all those years before launch.

    On a practical rather than a philosophical level, I find it highly ironic that a dungeon that encourages exactly the kind of dungeonplay I most enjoy, and miss since it has gone so far out of fashion, has been added to a game least able to support it. I would absolutely love to PUG a dungeon that required pulling, splitting mobs, kiting and crowd control. I’d just like to do it in a game that actually gives players tools designed for that purpose, at a pace that rewards cool, calculated thought and preparation. I am fed up to the back teeth of doing everything everywhere at a dead run.

    None of this would matter much if hey were also adding more overland content that fits the original bill of sale: more Hearts, more scaling dynamic events, more vistas, more explorable maps. They aren’t and there’s no indication that they plan on doing so any time soon, or possibly ever.

    I still play GW2 a lot because the original parts are all very easy to play and very relaxing. I’m am critically aware, however, that my time there is going absolutely nowhere. It’s become the MMO version of twiddling my thumbs and staring into space, daydreaming.


    1. The new path is assuredly much more survivable if taken at a slow and cool, calculated pace.

      You shoulda seen the hilarity that ensued when my first PUG decided to try and run past the first spawn of vines.

      They were all “lol, we made it past them,” then everyone ran around like headless chickens when they found the way blocked and the vines all bumrushing us from behind.

      I -really- enjoy unskippable encounters. I love to kill everything. I just don’t know how many PUGs will have the patience for it, given shorter, quicker paths once the event furor is over.

      If you do like all the above you mention, you may want to give the new TA path a try. All that is pretty much required.

      The hair-pulling bit is trying to teach everyone such tactics that they may be unfamiliar with, and paying with repairs while they’re learning.

      I just randomed another PUG at the last boss, and despite a lengthy explanation of the mechanics, there was still one clueless individual massacring the mob that needed to be kited into the boss.

      Two or three party wipes later, I finally more or less traced who it was, and snapped “dude, you have to kill him NEAR the boss” and that finally got through to him.

      He said, “sorry, got it” and he did finally get it. Cue one more attempt where progress got exceedingly close to success than the prior tries, and then the final successful run.


    2. I think the problem is that different people have different opinion about what is the “core” of gw2. For me, hearts, vistas etc does not appeal to me as much as the teq fight. Yes GW2 is for casual gamers, however I believe the casual refers more to the “easy to jump into natural” such as easily obtainable near best gear etc, not about the type of content it has. Some causal gamers also like challenging content.

      I think ANET understands that there are different types of players in GW2 that have different taste, so that’s why their living story covers a wide range of content. Sure, some of the content don’t appeal to you, but it does not mean it’s a betrayal of the ethos of the game.


  4. I like the dungeon as well. I was surprised it wasn’t harder though, like at least on the level of AR, but I’m okay with the difficulty. It’s enough to keep me happy. I can see it being difficult for pugs right now given people are still learning the tactics, but I’m sure it will get better.

    I was also a bit surprised at how easy all the achievements were. It took me ONE run to finish the meta. Two more runs and all I have left is Scarlet’s secret room (we know where it is, we’re just not sure on the mechanic to get to it in time), one pirate chest (ran out of keys), not to step on the electric floor (will be completely doable in time if guildies take turn being the first person to get to the first pedestal) and then what I expect is a bugged achievement of killing the clockheart and Above and Beyond not counting.


  5. I think Jonathan and Bhagpuss summed up my feelings about this too. Yes, GW2 has a lot of casual content so it’s not bad to bring out heavier stuff for the LW once in awhile. However, what about the casuals who have already completed all the casual content? The best use of their time is simply spent playing a different game.

    Also, some awful head scratching decisions there. There’s a locked door where you *must* lead slimes to (two of them too, as to prevent solo runs). Why? The warrior can’t break it? The thief can’t unlock it? The engineer can’t dismantle it? The elementalist can’t send all the lava elementals to melt it? Nope! It’s to learn how to counter a boss move later on by using slimes who are somehow sexually attracted to you (I assume that’s the type since alert/food marker pheromone is more common/natural state) – because you know, his weakness isn’t magic, or bullets, or daggers and greatswords to the face. It’s slimes in heat.

    Not really into slime orgies so there’s another 2 weeks of GW I’ll be skipping. Maybe the Mad King will be able to pull me back though.


      1. Go right ahead. 🙂 I like my comments section full of input and debates.

        And walls of text are safe here! It’s the zero-content one liners I tend to cut because I’m not sure if they’re a bot or a real person.


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