GW2: Sandy Dune Caves and Drydock Scratch

To call it merely a jumping puzzle does it a serious injustice.

Even if I feel like I should be in a jungle outfit to be Indiana Charr in this section.

Even if I feel like I should be in a jungle outfit to be Indiana Charr in this section.

What it is, is an entire cavern system that only happens to contain a jumping puzzle.

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GW2 does not shy away from the vertical. You know those deep and varied underwater places that are so awesome? This is the caves version.

I spent far more time squeeing over the vast variety of cave environments depicted so adeptly than worrying about jumping.

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I also spent an equally long time on the outdoor aboveground portions, taking grand panoramic screenshots of the Silverwastes from angles to die for.

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That vine!

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That view!

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That airship!

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That view and that airship!

(Yes, there were also plenty of impact craters.)

I’m glad that feedback from Not So Secret appears to have been taken to heart. Near the later stages, a skritt will helpfully rez you so that frustrated raging and having to restart right from the beginning due to one unlucky slip is not necessary.

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The gigantic thing is broken up into milestones, that essentially can save your progress over gameplay sessions, if you remain in the map. My first exploration took me through 3 milestones before I ran out of time and had to quit. I’d assumed I’d have to rerun the thing from the beginning, but no, when I logged back on, I still had the 3 milestone stacks, along with my coin buff.

The coin buff is an interesting exercise in self-chosen player difficulty mixed with a goldsink.

If you pay the NPC 1 gold, you get a buff that lasts for an hour that lets you use any handy skritt tunnels (conveniently placed near post-plummeting locations) to go back to the last milestone.

If you’re a more miserly individual, you can pay 1 silver to get a teleport to the second last milestone and 1 copper to the third last.

I started out paying a silver because I’m cheap, but near the end, because I was so captivated with exploring and iterating my way through the new stuff of each checkpoint, I coughed up the gold so as not to waste my own time.

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And yes, I did the entire thing sans Dulfy guide, because content like this is chicken soup for my mapping and exploration soul, with the reward of wonderous vistas and the satisfaction of forging your own path through.

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Even if it’s dark as hell.

(Though the last part was indeed slightly hair-pullingly frustrating from the many false trails/choices that landed you at the beginning of that checkpoint.)

What I didn’t really like was the randomness of the choice, with little indication of what the “right” tunnel to hop into was.

I got past that frustrating portion by calling on my infinite patience when it comes to being more bullheadedly stubborn a mapper than the designer. There’s only a finite number of paths they can create, right? Well, we are brute-forcing EVERY path to figure out where each leads!

So I hunkered down, resigned myself to restarting from the bottom many times, and systematically went down every damn skritt tunnel to see where it would go.

Maybe I was being stupid and missed an obvious clue, but I don’t believe there was any real indication of the ‘right’ path.

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Much shiny, though.

The good news was that I didn’t have to pull out the pencil and graph paper.

After being essentially forced to iterate from the start a dozen times over, simple visual memory was taking over and locking in landmarks to differentiate one section of the puzzle from another.

“Oh yeah, with these two ramps here, the correct tunnel is X. And the one over here with the bright yellow sand area and the two planks, do NOT go to Y or there will be a great gnashing of the teeth. Instead run over to Z, which is way over there, yes.”

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All in all, this seems to be the biggest slice of content that arrived in the Seeds of Truth patch, assuming one doesn’t cheapen it by just blindly following a guide. (Of course, if you hate stuff like this and just want the shiny at the end, then guide away to waste your time less.)

I forsee figuring out how to get all the Gold Lost Badges (a few of which I passed while doing the jumping puzzle, tauntingly placed out of reach) will take another hefty chunk of time, along with a hefty chunk of gold from waypoint fees from failed assumptions on where to climb, and simple failures to balance appropriately on the tip of a pin.

All good though. Finishing the jumping puzzle netted me 16 already. I expect another trip through the puzzle keeping the ctrl key down and eyes open might net a few more.

If one is really stuck, there is always googling for the solutions of other people. But until then, I’m enjoying the satisfaction of figuring it out on my own.

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(After all, this isn’t vanishing in two weeks, right?

What in the world are these skritt up to again? There's a lot of them... doesn't that mean they're alarmingly smart?

What in the world are these skritt up to again? There’s a lot of them… doesn’t that mean they’re alarmingly smart?

Right?

Has anyone noticed the little baby skritt doing a rain dance? And the upside down boats that are somehow still staying afloat? Do skritt get -magical- if there's enough of them?

Has anyone noticed the little baby skritt doing a rain dance? And the upside down boats that are somehow still staying afloat? Do skritt get -magical- if there’s enough of them? Or is it proximity to something else giving them magic?

Or maybe it might significantly change visually after a month… the whole structure should still be there, though.

Right? That whole byline about “Points of No Return” is just marketing speak… I hope.

Or maybe Mordremoth will wake, and we all know what happens when Elder Dragons move.)

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3 thoughts on “GW2: Sandy Dune Caves and Drydock Scratch

  1. Given that Skritt become more intelligent in larger numbers and that one of Mordremoth’s spheres of influence is the mind, the notion that Skritt somehow also become magical in groups is interesting. As far as I can tell, they appear to be engaged in their normal collection of shinies (which may indicate that there aren’t quite enough of them for a supermind) and living in caves. They’d make for an interesting “dark horse” in the current series of events, though.

    I’ll do this jumping puzzle without using a guide. Promise.

  2. bhagpuss says:

    The Skritt in the upside-down ship seemed to be talking in full, grammatical sentences. Well, some of them. I’m not sure that there’s any indication that when Skritt gain intelligence they also gain wisdom so a hyper-intelligent Skritt might still be mainly interested in increasing his shiny collection – he’d just have a better plan on how to do it.

    That upside-down ship is a pig for motion sickness sufferers, by the way. Mrs Bhagpuss had to lie down for half an hour after going through it and I felt slightly nauseous by the third room.

    I was very impressed with the new area. Whether its a jumping puzzle not seems less important than whether it feels like a proper addition to the world – a place – and it definitely does. It was fantastic to have a large new area with no aggressive mobs (indeed no mobs other than the Skritt) and no events. I could do with a lot more of that.

    Very much looking forward to exploring it in more detail whenever I get the time – a commodity very hard to come by right now.

  3. razoras says:

    There is a bit of a hint to which skritt tunnels toward the end are not good ones.

    The tunnels that are “bad” or at least not “forward” during the final milestone section are all marked with skritt shinies. Jugs, barrels, skulls, or other debris sitting nearby mean it’s probably bad.

    The only exception I came across was that one point where you have 3 holes sitting right next to eachother.

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