GW2: Heart of Thorns Day 2 Impressions

I’m gonna take a page from Bhagpuss and use disconnected bullet points, because it’s impossible to organize one’s thoughts and still have as much time as possible to play GW2 before all my day off time is used up and I have to get back to the workaday grind again.

  • Found the Falls in GW2! Had a serious lore gasm! Was running around telling everybody in the vicinity (ok, just one guy who would listen) that OMG it looks exactly like the Falls in GW1
Guild Wars 2 Falls

The Falls in Guild Wars 2

As proof, I submit exhibit A, your honor, a screenshot taken during my personal Wayfarer’s Reverie way back in 2012.

fallspanorama

Even the tree on top of the three waterfalls is there, and the color of that sun…

  • Day 2 was essentially sample-lots-of-meta-events day.

hot10

I logged in to hear on Teamspeak that TTS NA was planning a trial run of the Dragon’s Stand meta-event.

Dragon’s Stand?! Wtf is that, was my first reaction. Turns out, it’s the very last fourth zone on the map. Which I have obviously not even been to yet. (Nor did I touch the third zone until late tonight.)

Fortunately, all those Teleport to Friend items from the third birthday present ended up proving themselves handy. We were advised to just grab one of those consumables, party up with a guildie and teleport to friend directly over, skipping through a great deal of unattractive running past Mordrem and dinosaurs.

Damn, the meta event is like Vinewrath, Triple Trouble (and possibly Marionette too) on steroids. You know all those people wishing madly that the devs would split up the zerg and have different groups running through different channels doing their own things and contributing to the overall map goal? Yep. Dragon’s Stand has it in spades.

My group had the south/east-most one, a whole set of chained events moving through various tunnels and corridors, involving in turn a fair amount of group splitting because we had to escort NPCs, prevent really nasty bosses from wrecking said NPC’s faces, and so on.

It ended in what is suspected to be a penultimate challenge before the real boss Boss – one chamber for each split zerg that required even further splitting to take down three objects simultaneously, and eventually I suspect, a small group will split off to keep the legendary champion causing chaos in the chamber from doing that. (Our first attempt pretty much had said champion wreaking serious havoc on one of the groups who was trying to take down said object.)

Said legendary champion has an invulnerability shield, which is only taken down when all three objects are destroyed.

Oh. And all three legendary champions have to be killed simultaneously.

Hahahahahahahaha… Talk about a serious coordination challenge.

I’m looking forward to further attempts though. This is going to be pretty meaty content for large-scale organized groups, something I was a little worried we were moving away from with impending raids.

I’m super keen for the day when everyone has learned roughly what to do and has all the masteries needed, and we get to see super-organized parties and groups and squads splitting up in perfect synchronisation to do their jobs and slide through the encounters smoothly.

The one criticism that I’m hearing so far is that some of these pre-events can take upwards of an hour or two to get through before the main event, so to speak. That’s quite a bit of time that not everyone may have to spare.

Not sure, maybe things will speed up as people figure out how to split up groups so that things don’t scale insanely and learn how to do each event efficiently. Waiting for NPC escorts to move though, tends to put a finite limit on the pacing. Swiftness can only make ’em run that fast.

hot11

This Wyvern Patriarch encounter in Verdant Brink was nuts. A really good kind of nuts.

I didn’t manage to finish this one yet, as I was peacefully soloing my way through Maguuma masteries and decided to be an iconoclast and actually DEFEND one of the rally points during the night meta-event of Verdant Brink.

I know, I know, how dare I not act like 95% of the other players and be constitutionally incapable of staying in one place for a couple minutes for an event to start.

I basically defended for 20 minutes or so, leaving the rally point vicinity only to try and run Pact Supplies into the rally point to build it up and/or try and escort a nearby Pact Soldier carrying supplies in.

Eventually the choppers arrived to take folks to the canopy… where this guy was waiting at my particular rally point – Shrouded Ruins.

(There are apparently champion encounters for each rally point. Haven’t seen all of them. There’s a Legendary Wyvern that nearly everyone sees, as it’s on top of the central Pact Encampment waypoint.)

I was plinking away at it solo for a while, observing its attacks (mostly a really nasty cone AoE painted on the ground if you got close, and a projectile one that left a circular burning AoE on the ground if you stayed at range.)

A second guy turned up, he of the minion master kind, and we were tackling him for a while as a duo, when I looked at the time limit we had for remaining night time and the state of this legendary wyvern patriarch’s health bar and decided we kinda really needed a few more reinforcements.

So I called out on map chat for help and provided directions on how to get to said boss, and we managed to attract 3-4 more players with that…

…it was enough to take him down to 75% of his health, whereupon he cheerfully showed us his next phase.

He coated the entire rocky platform with burning flame, forcing us to jump off the platform and glide around, using updrafts to get back. On a lower level below, some adolescent wyverns popped up, that could be attacked, and there were wyvern eggs that had to be picked up.

The idea was that you had to jump off the platform, glide to said cavern, grab a wyvern egg, jump off and into an updraft, and be lifted over the wyvern patriarch, whereupon you would toss the wyvern egg at him to break his shield. Literally dive-bombing with gliders.

It was ridiculously fun. Only about 1-2 of us managed to figure out what to do (or had the requisite masteries) but we nearly got all of his shield off before we ran out of time. But that was a really good kind of nuts. Can’t wait to eventually find a group that can actually do it in sync. Would be hilarious, methinks.

hot12

Another Verdant Brink champion fight of the very satisfying kind.

This particular one felt satisfying because it was just five PUGs, we were essentially strangers who had never met each other before, just happened to be defending the same rally point together, and we went up the chopper to see these two frog champions.

Someone had apparently done this fight before, and he took the time to type out some quick advice – mostly of the “this is a pretty hard fight” “someone with masteries needs to hop up the mushrooms to prevent one frog from healing in a fountain” “both need to die near simultaneously, so keep them low on health but don’t kill” variety.

Basically felt like a Vassar and Ralena sort of fight, two champions acting in tandem, one big fat Nuhoch frog doing stompy stuff and the thinner frog doing stealthy snipery stuff.

Both frogs’ bars had some words along the lines of “buffs/heals each other when in range” so I decided that it would probably be best to try and keep them separated as much as possible.

Turns out I have a rather crazy capacity to attract aggro with my scepter/torch (there’s some rumor that it’s the number of hits that might play an effect, and definitely I can output a really alarming amount of hits between smite, scepter auto and torch spamming, all critting in zerker so probably fairly good damage too), so I decided to just focus fire the big Nuhoch guy and pull him away to one side while the other four were duking it out with sniper frog guy.

I really really like fighting Nuhoch. They’re really big and kinda slow, so their tells are obvious enough for me to see, read and respond. It’s really satisfying to see him get ready to leap, and then roll away to the side just as the orange circle appears under me and he comes leaping over or belly flopping.

The other four got their frog to low (whereupon he promptly vanished, heading for the fountain presumably) and I saw them come over to mess around with Nuhoch guy. One guy ran off after the sniper frog in the fountain with mushrooms, and I decided to join him since I had the bouncing mushroom mastery, and the other three looked like they could manage the Nuhoch.

We hopped all the way up to the fountain, where we found thin sniper frog bathing and healing at an ungodly rate in the fountain, and I unleashed all the crowd control I had at my disposal in an attempt to interrupt him before he got to full.

(Fortunately, a little before this, I had swapped to Signet of Power (knockdown on activate) and Hammer of Wisdom (knockdown on command) while in Auric Basin because there were just way too many angry dinosaurs that needed breakbar damage. Add on an immobilize for DoT and I can normally juust take down a non-scaled breakbar while soloing,  and do a sizeable chunk or at least -contribute- to most breakbars in a group – assuming non insane scaling.)

Sniper frog had a tidy sliver of breakbar left, and luckily the other guy jumped the frog and did some manner of thiefy or revenant thing to him which took out the last bit of breakbar. That shorted out his healing, and he returned to the ground having healed up only half his health or so.

(Presumably if there were one or two people already stationed up there waiting for him, they could have returned him to the ground faster. We had to improvise, pretty much.)

The three on the ground had smacked the Nuhoch dead in the meantime, so it was just a matter of clean up on the other guy.

Before you knew it, a Froglicker achievement was had, and everyone was high-fiving each other for being awesome.

Impromptu five man fight. Really neat.

hot13

Then there’s encounters of the not-so-neat kind.

Hahaha, the Legendary Wyvern…

I was a little spoiled. Besides the beta fights of this wyvern, where after much say chat coaxing, I managed to get enough revenants to hit one skill on their weapons in sync to net the wyvern -once-, my first fight of this guy on the live servers was with a TTS group where a considerable number of people actually know what an interrupt/crowd control is, and someone was yelling “break bar break bar” over Teamspeak every time the green bar showed up, so about halfway into the fight, the group had more or less managed to keep it relatively grounded (but still cutting it a bit close, because not everyone had specifically specced for it, I don’t think.)

In subsequent PUG maps where I just pop my head in, because I’m grinding masteries and the choppers show up… well, you can forget any hope of grounding this fellow, because the horde of 40-50 people are pewpewing uncontrollably at it and probably thinking that the wyvern sweeps are unavoidable, and the break bar is scaled up to the point of 2-3 people being unable to compensate for the lack of everyone else’s cc contribution.

I have more or less resigned myself to lots and lots of puke green lines of death in a PUG wyvern fight for now. I suppose eventually everyone will learn, but urgh, it’s painful right now.

There was one rather funny fight where I tried to type break bar instructions into say chat, and an Anet guy was there in the same fight, and he said ‘cc’ when the green bar came up… and both of us watched the entire group promptly fail to even take it down 75% of the way, because apparently no one was a) reading say chat, b) had cc on the bar and/or c) couldn’t get out of combat to switch.

After which, I crashed out of that map – one of the few times I haven’t minded an out of memory error – and logged back into another wyvern fight. Whose map group also equally failed to take down the break bar, but it was at least really low on health compared to the other map so the pain was minimized somewhat.

The latest technical problems seem to be said out-of-memory crashes.

I haven’t seen hide nor hair of them since I swapped to Windows 7 and 16GB of RAM in the new computer, but somehow they are back in the last few patches of GW2 – possibly a combination of some memory leaks, the amount of time I’m spending in-game and the number of different player models I keep bumping into while doing group content and it being forced to render all of them.

I’ve had to crank down graphics settings a bit – rumor mill suggests something to do with anti-aliasing, as well as lowering visible player models. I knocked off some shadows while I was there. Less crashing now, but still somewhat unpredictable.

hot14

The last meta-event attempted was in Auric Basin, with the Octovines.

This is another rather intricate affair, with some really lengthy pre-event chains that have different groups splitting up to all four cardinal directions to help light up some pylons for extra magic armor.

The jury’s still out on whether these chains are necessary, or no, but for the first few attempts, I think the whole group wanted to maximize our chances. (Also, getting more people mastery xp and more of the map explored couldn’t hurt.)

It ends up in the city proper with four different groups performing different mechanics to weaken a shield and kill the Octovines. Simultaneously, mind you.

There’s some role differentiation. People with specific masteries can dress up in glowy armored suits and perform a tank/control/support role, doing their best to push some traps away from the main group and keep some big nasty dinosaurs stunned/controlled/out of the way.

The main group has to do their thing bombing down the Octovine shield with said different mechanics.

A particularly nice touch that we discovered was that there are interconnecting corridors within the city, so one group can run to another side’s aid if theirs is done and another side is having a bit of trouble.

I suspect the meta-event also rewards partial success, if only some Octovines go down. It’s just that no one had figured out where all the loot chests were located prior to this.

Celebratory group picture at the successful end.

Celebratory group picture at the successful end. (Note the cranked down player models on the periphery, had to lower settings since I initially crashed on first contact with a big group of players at one side.)

hot16

  • In other news, the solo story continues…

(It’s pretty hard trying to find a screenshot absent of spoilers, but I think this one is ok. Hey, it shows that it’s not ALL green jungle out there.)

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7 thoughts on “GW2: Heart of Thorns Day 2 Impressions

  1. bhagpuss says:

    I was up in the canopy today looking at the view when I noticed the Legendary Wyvern being baited by what looked like fifty players on some kind of metal plate below me. I’d heard of the fight but never seen it so I glided down and joined in.

    Seemed reasonably easy I thought. MOstly we kept him grounded but the Wyvern did shake free and fly off a few times to do his strafing run. At times, especially towards the end, there was a lot of burning goo on the platform and lot of people went down but they mostly got revived quickly. Progress was steady and the result never looked in doubt.

    Obviously I did it for the fun of it not the rewards but the rewards seemed paltry for a supposed big event. It was quick, though.

    I was in the city in Tangled Depths when the Octovine was going on yesterday but I never found out what or where the action was. It failed anyway.

    Not found my way into Dragon’s Stand yet. I hear you need a Mastery to get there (apart from the method you used of course) so could take a while if that’s true.

    Having a lot of fun so far!

    • Andy F says:

      Dunno about needing a mastery to get there – I only have gliding and mushroom bouncing and I got in, and I don’t think either of those were required (though obviously convenient at times).

      There is at least one place where you definitely need some kind of poison immunity thing before you can go, but some of the events there can be done without it if you pull the mobs out of the dangerous bit,

  2. karzaner says:

    My question is, is it worth $50? Or should I wait a while to get it. This is the first impressions I’ve seen of it.

    • Jeromai says:

      Depends on what you’re hoping to get out of an expansion, imo.

      Lots more things to do in GW2, including story, new zones to explore, map meta events, group content, etc.? Then yes.

      Or if you want to keep current on the story and any further updates/changes to said story, because I presume we will have plot movement in future updates a la Living World.

      However, if you feel like you’ve already got your hands full with the present content and don’t see yourself even finishing the personal story (or reaching level 80) yet, then possibly not.

      It basically functions as extra endgame content, in my opinion anyway.

  3. j3w3l says:

    I get the feeling, fropm what your saying about these meta events is that they are kind of prepping people for the raids. It’s all about group, and small group coordination, being aware of mechanics and then execution. I ge tthe previous zones had that as well but often enough they were more, be aware of one thing then zerg.

    What are the smaller event chains like – are there many of them. How long do they take.

    • Jeromai says:

      It depends on the map. Most of them are chained to lead up to the big meta event, but as many people are on non-organised maps, they’re done in a fairly loose and haphazard fashion as people wander across them.

      Generally speaking, things seem to be on an overall 2 hour-ish rotation cycle. In Verdant Brink, for example, daytime lasts (don’t quote me, I haven’t memorized it) probably something like 1h 20mins, and night time lasts 40min.

      In daytime, events are more spread out, each little section of the map has a little contained story centered around airship rescue (nobles in one place, the pact in another, meeting frog people in another section,etc.) and fighting off Mordrem.

      At night, everything is intended to collapse back to a central rally point camp in each section, plus some secondary rally points – where you’d send groups to, if you were trying for organisation. Events become defend events and bring supplies to rally points in a manner quite similar to Silverwastes, except you can actually pick up the supplies and go yourself, if the NPCs are too annoying. 😉

      In the next map, Auric Basin, there are event chains in all four cardinal directions leading up to summoning suits of armor for the big meta event. Again, many people do this in a loose haphazard fashion atm, unless an organised group comes in and decides, ok, we’re pushing for maximum bonus armors.

      At each two hour mark or so, the big meta to defend the golden city begins, and so on.

      I think they did quite a good job on making the pre-events feel less tied/chained to the big meta event, a little more Dry Top-ish, as opposed to a very focused Silverwastes forts/military action.

  4. […] some varying degrees of impressions about HoT – I know that Jeromai and Bhagpuss appear to be enjoying it more than they thought they would. I’m very happy for […]

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