GW2: Light Up The Darkness

The more things change...

5 years (shy of 1 week) to the date, I defeated Liadri the Concealing Darkness for the first time.

2018liadri2

(Still the same mini, but I might have consumed a teensy bit of bloodstone dust in the interim…)

There are orange circles now in the arena; and the ceiling dome has gone.

The power creep is tangible – where I used to be in exotic berserker gear and called it a day, ascended zerker is now my standard baseline; the burst damage I can output as a raid-built dragonhunter who knows how to use food and utility now is likely 3 to 4 times higher than whatever I was using back then.

I’d like to think that my ability to analyze and solve for a GW2 combat situation has gotten a hair more refined. Am I too slow? Is it because I am always crippled? What condi cleanse do I have for that? Unsoweiter.

I actually know that I can count off and dodge for an invulnerability frame now (even if the execution still requires practice to refine), and can stand relatively unfazed in a sea of orange ready to dodge at the proper timing for my latency, so that the invulnerability kicks in as the shadow orbs shower down.

Even the stress of gearing for a specific encounter has been muted somewhat, by owning both a legendary light and heavy armor set, and not a few ascended pieces across 25 or so alts.

Not completely gone, because inventory management is still hell, but if I want to waste an hour or two to rummage around and/or spend a few currencies here and there, I can probably put together something if I’m desperate enough.

But between my usually played characters and classes, there’s probably something that will work already.

We cruised through the first three tiers in a day, killing two birds with one stone by taking the On Fire gambit and finishing both Gauntlet Contender (defeat 12 bosses) and Gauntlet Favorite (defeat 12 bosses with one gambit) achievements at the same time.

My hoarding habit came in handy, because I found nearly two stacks of really old Queen’s Gauntlet tickets in the bank – all 250 + 231 of them ready for the using. I threw the full stack into the newfangled shared inventory slot to make my life easier.

Oh, there were a few speedbumps here and there. I’d forget how a particular boss worked (thanks, Suriel!) and experiment a little here and Google for an old guide there.

I’d realize my dragonhunter wasn’t going to be the best for a particular achievement (kill one Subject 7 ooze without touching the other oozes? When I pretty much do AoE in all directions? Yea, not happening) and swap to another character. Something I also vaguely remember doing in the mists of time. Usually on the necro. Same old, same old, except more powerful.

Revisiting basic 3-orb Liadri took another day, mostly because I wanted to plan ahead a little, plotting out various build options after reviewing some old guides and videos.

It was surprisingly painless on the whole, maybe taking some 8 tickets or thereabouts to recall the old patterns of where to stand (thank goodness I blogged about it). It was a lot easier to deal with the shadowfall with the orange circles and overall calmer confidence in my capability to handle it (plus willingness to eat +dodge food.)

And once three orbs were thrown into Liadri’s face, dragonhunter spike damage with spear, trap, scepter and torch is almost unfair.

Turai Ossa took another couple of days. His fight patently favors the fast and mobile tanky/healing build types with preferably lots of blocks/evades/invulns as the goal is to avoid or withstand his ludicrously hard hitting stunning attacks in some way until he divests himself of first his shield, and then his sword… by flinging them at you in extremely painful fashion. After which, you must break his bar with crowd control and then proceed to damage and defeat him.

I own practically zero tanky/healing builds, nor am I terribly practiced with fast and mobile classes. A mirage is apparently near perfect to deal with him, and I don’t even know how to play base mesmer well, let alone chronomancers or mirages. *shudders*

There was a fair bit of build experimentation, courtesy of legendary armor and a bit of scheming. I gave it a shot with a tanky/healing block-laden guardian – except I’m not really practiced with that aspect of the class, and I rather did not realize at the beginning that Turai was supposed to be broken after he flings his shield and sword.

I tried a healing/barriering scourge, with not that much success as well – others succeeded by being very adept at necromancer mobility skills, but I was essentially flailing around with unfamiliar non-muscle-memory skill sequences.

Ultimately, what worked for me was going back to a familiar class – warrior. I put a bit of Soldier gear on, switched my traits based on watching a video of someone who did it with a warrior, and while watching said video, it -finally- clicked that I needed to break Turai before he was open to being damaged.

A few more trial-and-error attempts later, learning a bit more at each go, Turai was defeated (by a hair, I was kinda downed at the last, but we’ll take it. Fear the warrior Rock.) Kingslayer get.

And now we were back to that old bugaboo – 8 orb Liadri.

In 2013, my framerate was 12, on a good day. Maybe dropping to 6, if the Boss Blitz zerg went under me. I surrendered.

In 2014, my system apparently could manage 20+, but I wasn’t mentally ready for it then.

“Maybe next year,” I said, but next year never came. No festival in 2015. Or 2016. Or 2017.

It’s 2018, and the Queen’s Gauntlet is finally back.

My upgraded graphics card and system manages 50 FPS. (My ping has increased to 280ms -with- a VPN, but hey, you can’t win ’em all.)

It was time.

30+ tickets were thrown into the meat grinder, along with the first build I’d determined I’d give a go. A tanky necromancer with parasitic contagion and blood magic, with spectral grasp pull and spectral walk for speed, maybe some minions to distract Liadri, a shroud bar for extra health reservoir.

It wasn’t horrible. I’d get about 4-5 orbs in before things started to fall apart.

Picking up orbs felt really slow with my ping, while I was locked in combat courtesy of the minions and while the standard sigil of geomancy on my weapons kept trying to proc unnecessarily each pickup.

I just could not figure out how to use spectral grasp in a reliable fashion to pull 2-3 minions into the light – the whole reason for the pull to begin with. It’d pull one if I was lucky, leaving the rest nearby to contend with, while locked in a pickup animation. If unlucky, I might pull all three into me, with only one turning into a light orb and the other two inches away from blowing me up.

I ended up swapping it for the blinding well, which was somewhat helpful, in that I could put it down, blinding the visions as they popped and cleared the arena to make life easier. And somewhat not helpful, in that there were then less visions that could be used as light orbs.

The problem I encountered was that the necromancer was still somewhat slow, especially when crippled, with limited escapes besides two dodges.

In theory, I could clear the crippled condition; in practice, there were so many things on my mind, including not dying, trying to position self for visions to turn into light orbs, trying to pick up orbs without dying, trying to remember just how many damn orbs I’d thrown, trying to remember to renew conditions on everything in order for parasitic contagion to kick in and help prevent me from dying, while running around at half health and almost dying, that I’d run around with crippled and THEN die to some mistake or another.

All that chill and crippled on the visions were probably also not helping the speed at which they were approaching the light pools to be converted into light orbs.

Adding a little salt to the wound, my latency meant that the visions’ movement could get a little de-synced and unpredictable. They’d look to be a feet away, but then suddenly, you’d be downed and booted out of the arena. (In one memorable instance, I was watching a vision walk straight on at me into a light patch, except it managed to pop and kill me first before hitting the light patch. What the-? I don’t even…)

To make things laughable, nearer the end part of the 30-something spammed tickets, I was getting kicked out of the arena with “Event Success” and no achievement.

Apparently, as I started losing track of orb throwing and just trying my darnest to survive, the necromancer’s conditions while autoattacking were whittling down Liadri’s health faster than I could hurl 8 orbs safely at her. (With goodness knows how many missed opportunities I just had to walk away from, because I’d die if I tried to pick up that orb at that point in time.)

With another 100 more goes at it, I might have made it work, but it wasn’t quite working out as I’d hoped… so I went to plan B earlier than intended.

What I needed was something that would clear conditions fairly automatically, have more than two dodges, and keep the visions controlled enough to be harmless while I walked in and out to pick up the light orb with not the greatest latency.

Without any experience worth speaking of on a mesmer (ie. clones, mirage evades and pulls), that meant a daredevil.

P/D, apparently, was the way to go, said one 8 orb Liadri video.

Lovely.

Of course, it’s the ONE armor weight I don’t yet have legendary armor for. (It’s so fugly.)

The video I watched said berserker was fine. Another Reddit thread I read said they managed it in marauder. I wasn’t quite sure because I’m really pretty bad on a thief too – just a tide more experienced on it than a mesmer.

P/D, if you look at the pistol, also strikes me more as a condition damage weapon?

I rummaged around in GW2efficiency to look at my available medium armor sets on all my characters – no marauder unless I wanted to buy one wholesale with magnetite shards, plenty of berserker…. oh wait, what’s this? A Trailblazer set?

Toughness, Condition Damage, Expertise, Vitality.

I’d been using the set as part of a WvW roaming pistol thief experiment once upon an age, before repurposing the thief as a berserker deadeye for more lethality.

This seemed pretty good to try. Not much tankier a thief could get while still doing -some- damage. I could practice with this for safety and getting the hang of the build, and if I ended up running out of time to kill Liadri, then I’d switch in pieces of berserker or viper.

I started with the traits and skills as shown in the video, decided that I wasn’t really putting the precision signet to any real use after a few attempts, and swapped it to scorpion wire for a pull.

Man, P/D daredevil felt so good. Three dodges. One pull. Cloak-and-dagger on a vision to stealth for four seconds – juuust enough time to run in and snatch a light orb from under the visions’ noses, if I didn’t screw up. One teleport when alive, one teleport when downed. Vigor and decent amount of healing. Some thieves’ guild allies every now and then to keep Liadri tangled up while you busied yourself hurling light orbs at her.

The one problem? I was still losing track of just how many orbs I’d thrown.

3 orbs had an obvious counter and tell – there’s a buff for each and she starts moving at you after three. Each orb after that apparently adds a stack of vulnerability. So in theory, you want 5 vulnerability stacks, then you kill her.

In practice, goodness knows how many other skills add vulnerability, you’re detargeting her every now and then to deal with the cosmic rifts or stealthing off visions, and you’re still trying not to die from everything that could kill you in the arena. (Even if a daredevil has a lot of tools to manage this, it still needs managing.)

So it actually came as a surprise amidst all the dodging and throwing and stealthing and throwing and dodging some more, when I got chucked out of the arena and a 32,500 AP chest opened up in my face.

Eh? Wha? Huh?

20188orbchievo

Oh.

2018lightupdarkness

OHHHH.

It’s really rare in a game that I feel strongly about anything – even a Dhuum kill left me feeling mostly tired/relieved/”Ok, that’s done” rather than triumphant – but the abiding sense of satisfaction that washed over me is hard to put into words.

Five years.

I couldn’t do it then. Between my lack of tools and lack of requisite knowledge.

And now it’s done.

It feels… good.

Completionism sated. Achievement get.

Apparently, between all the pistol autoattacks layering conditions on her and the thieves I’d been chucking at Liadri, they took care of the killing portion and I’d managed to hurl 8 orbs without even realizing that I could be defeating her already.

That was pretty good yet unintentional timing on the AP chest though. It was an extra rewarding surprise.

Stress over, that albatross hanging around my neck is gone. A bit more cleanup on some leftover achievements, then maybe I’ll mess around with the other new champions for fun in the leftover festival time.

GW2: Queen’s Gauntlet – Liadri the Concealing Darkness

allthatforapatchofblack

If you ask me, all that shows is not how l33t someone is, but how goddamn pigheadedly stubborn and willing to throw money and time at the problem they are.

I think I wore holes in the floor with all that respawning and running back. Little tip: It's pretty fun to wait for a random person to have their turn, rez them, then have yours. Hopefully they reciprocate and you can avoid the run back.
I think I wore holes in the floor with all that respawning and running back. Little tip: It’s pretty fun to wait for a random person to have their turn, rez them, then talk to the ringmaster. Hopefully they reciprocate and you can avoid the run back. Three people also work and you can queue up beforehand for that.

I basically bought two stacks of watchwork off the TP and dedicated a holiday afternoon to banging my head against the boss until something stuck. I’m a little slow on the uptake and learning, so it took possibly 100+ tries. On the bright side, I now have basic Liadri phase 1 to a science and will be happy to share what I’ve been doing with you.

I’d like to thank my P/D condition thief for being the guinea pig, having 25% speed, swiftness on dodge, extra endurance recovery and stealth to pause the action some aided quite a bit in the learning process, but I kept running into the issue of not doing enough damage on phase 2 before dying. I’m just not as instinctively familiar with the class and skills and I think it shows.

Anyway, you’re not hear to listen to me blather on…

Phase 1 – How to Move On to the Next Phase As Efficiently As Possible

liadri-1

1) Move to the left of the first white patch

Your point of view will look something like this.
Your point of view will look something like this.

If you are lucky, the shadowy orb will spawn near here (it’s random and it pulling is the only thing that can screw up this strat, try again) and you can smash it with a hit. A targeted ranged attack can be obstructed, so use an AoE or a melee weapon. I used dagger 1 for the thief, and staff 1 for the guardian.

The idea is you want to start the Vision of Mortality clone approaching the light patch.

2) Do not get comfortable, Liadri’s AoE is about to fall down on your head. Dodge forwards towards the clone approaching you.

liadri-2

It’ll feel a bit scary but you should still have some distance from the clone. Let the AoE shower down behind you.

3) Then dodge backward into the same place you just left. Because AoE is now about to hit where you were standing.

All this time, the clone should be advancing toward you in a fairly straight line and should be about to run into the light patch.

The idea of the dodging is to evade past all the damage-over-time walking on the light patch does to you (as well as get out of the AoE shower.)

4) Pick up the first crystal. Swing towards the white patch, keeping Liadri on your left. Throw crystal at her.

liadri-4

This gives you a little distance from the clone behind you, enough time to grab the crystal and throw it at her without getting pwned by its touch.

5) You then want to head leftwards of the white patch. Give it a fairly wide berth for now.

Why? Because this is about to fall on your head if you stand too close to it.

liadri-5

6) Now you can move to the edge of the dome, behind the white patch, to lure the clone over. (There will be one on your left and right as well.)

liadri-6

This will be the time that tall characters and charr will rage about the camera angles. It really sucks in this position.

I’ve also encountered a cage or two where the white patch is damn close to the wall and you have to stand in it for a while. (Ouchies.) At least, I think it is the cage. I thought it was being on a charr at first, but I now suspect the cage. I’d switch cages, personally.

Just hold your ground and wait for the first clone to get into the patch, if your health isn’t too horrible.

You could also sorta kinda juke to the left and right of the patch and hope for a clone to get in, but the more deviations, the more chances something is going to go horribly wrong.

7) Grab crystal. Run towards Liadri, aiming to get past her a little. Be prepared to dodge forwards if/when AoE appears under you.

liadri-7

Because stuff will shower down as you are doing this, first here:

liadri-7b

Then here:

liadri-7c

8) Being in the safe spot gives you time to swing your camera back to look at Liadri and fling the second crystal at her.

You also want to look out for the orb at this point because it respawns around this time – when you’re about to throw the crystal and may screw you up with a pull. If you’re lucky, it will appear right with you, and you can throw the crystal, then whack it as you go past.

9) From safe spot, arc and approach the third patch but STOP just before you get there.

Because AoE is just about to cover the white patch area.

liadri-9

(Ignore the player and the position of the clones in this picture, his movement deviated from how I like to do it and they’re all a little out of position as result.)

10) Once the AoE clears, you should have free range to stand in the appropriate place to kite the next clone into the third patch.

liadri-10

(Same issue with the screenshot, the clones can be a lot closer to the patch by this point. The basic idea is the AoE is not falling where you will be messing around with the patch.

11) Grab third crystal. Move/dodge away from clones. Fling at Liadri and begin phase 2.

Ok, so I’m glossing over the tricky bit. The other clones will be very close at this point too and may cause death to the unwary. A thief can shadow refuge (or a shorter stealth if you like living on the edge) and halt all clones long enough to grab safely then be off. Other non-stealthy people may just have to eyeball it and see if you can grab and dodge before a clone gets too close.

If you miss, like I sometimes do, stumbling out of F pickup range, there is NO time to go back and try again. The crystal may also despawn by the time you putz around avoiding clones then re-approaching it. Abandon crystal and move to the next patch and try again. You’re on your own at that point. 🙂

Phase 2 – Where I Can Provide You The Theory But The Actual Doing May Cause Hair Loss from Frustration and Rage

So, yeah, once she eats three crystals, her invulnerable shield falls off, she’ll pause for a slight moment then begin a spin of some kind. After that, she’s after your ass and will be leaping toward you to attack with her whip, she applies cripple and weakness, and all the while the clones will still be after your hiney, and the shadow orbs will also be spawning to pull you and fuck up any nice pattern you try to fall into.

If there’s a pattern of orb spawning, I need to watch a lot more people attempt it to figure it out. So far it’s just been utter chaos for me.

I can, however, show you the pattern of the two AoE showers.

liadri-phase2a

My best suggestion, which isn’t much at this point, is to use the white patch as a cue that it’s probably a safe spot to start with. Probably. I mean, there’s a 50% chance of being right regardless, eh? And dodge if it isn’t. (Have dodge food on.)

liadri-phase2n

They alternate like so. So the THEORY seems to be that you want to move in either an anti-clockwise or clockwise pattern, step by step as the AoE shower alternates too.

Which will generally help you to sorta kinda kite all of them in a circle, but doesn’t really help you on a bad orb pull. Stability only goes so far, y’know. And the clones may/will get in the way of you ranging down Liadri too. And she’s busy getting in your face at the same time. Yeah, good luck.

I can make one further suggestion, which is to try to use the hexagonal grid as a system of landmarking where the heck you’re running. (It just occurred to me watching people and thinking.)

cage-zoning

There’s the center hexagon in red. There’s the inner hexagon ring in blue. The ranger I was watching was doing a fairly good job kiting in the outer hexagon ring in green.

The furthest unmarked ring near the cage edge is probably too far to run around in time, but hey, if you can make it work, by all means.

I personally found it easier in the blue ring, or at the boundary of the blue/green area, because slow guardian is slow. Even with retreat and save yourselves and dodge food. But the caveat is that they all get in your face because they have less distance to run too and it is very scary, very chaotic and very very hard! *rages*

If you’re better at balancing aiming one’s camera at Liadri, and aiming forward in time to get to the next safe spot, you may find phase 2 easier than me. I will cheerfully bow to a better player. (Plz lemme know ur tips for 8 orb Liadri. Thx.)

I honestly still don’t really know how I lucked into a success. Just persistence, really. Set her on fire with F1. Hit her with scepter in berserk gear. Try to immob, which gives vulnerability. Space out shouts for swiftness and condition clear (cripples, youch.) Save smite for the orb if I actually saw it spawn amidst the chaos.

Traits were generally the same as the one I used for the candidate trials, except I moved 10 from Zeal into Honor for Pure of Voice and switched out Powerful Blades since no sword. Staff and scepter/focus. I just popped in Signet Mastery to make Signet of Resolve recharge at 32 seconds, because I like emergency burst heals. Others may find the Shelter block more handy.

Radiance 30: VI – Blind Exposure, II – Signet Mastery, XI – Right Hand Strength

Honor 30: II – Superior Aria, VIII – Empowering Might, XI – Pure of Voice

Virtues 10: I – Unscathed Contender

All shouts – Retreat, Stand Your Ground, Save Yourselves.

Renewed focus is a good emergency invulnerable panic button if you’re caught in an AoE shower, but frankly, I can never get to it in time because I was too busy and confused trying to dodge already. Working on getting better.

Apologies for no first-person perspective screenshots, but I realized it was screwing up my rhythm and my toaster (and me) would probably die if I tried to FRAPS it.

Credit goes to Myrkridian, whose thief video of handling Liadri gave me the initial inspiration for continuing to plod away at her for umpteen times and eventually develop a method for handling phase 1 without needing to time dodges with pinpoint precision.

Of course, this is not the only way to attempt Liadri, but just sharing the results of literally nigh unto 100 tickets spent in repeated attempts. Because I am a slow kitten and too n00b to do it in like the first try or even a mere seventeen attempts. But hey, if I can do it with lots of persistence, you can too!

Best of luck to everyone attempting her!

GW2: Queen’s Gauntlet – Punishing vs Difficult

I’m sure everyone has already seen the Extra Credits’ video “When Difficult is Fun” that creates a distinction between games that are difficult and games that are punishing.

(In case you haven’t, I embed it here for your reference.)

We will be using “punishing” and “difficult” in that context in today’s discussion of the Queen’s Gauntlet activity that is part of the Queen’s Jubilee update.

Difficult Aspects

(Good, if you like that sort of thing)

  • Each boss has a mechanic or gimmick that is consistent and generally plays fair, so defeating them is mostly a matter of picking the right traits/build/gear/profession and playing the encounter long enough to learn their patterns. (One may, however, argue regarding the possibility of players not being able to afford the correct conjunction of characters and the secondary requirement of having sufficient arcade/action reflexes for certain fights. But I suppose for optional challenging content, such are the boundaries that are already laid out.)
  • Some of the bosses’ attacks are well-telegraphed. (Halmi Hammerfell, the first hammer boss, has a very clear hammer windup and frontal cleave, Dead Eye’s laser shot is decent if a zerg isn’t under you.)
  • The bosses are generally quite well-arranged to ramp up steadily in difficulty (tier 1 is fairly doable, tier 2 is more moderately taxing, etc. T3’s last boss spikes upward pretty hard though.)

Punishing Aspects

(Not so good, even if you masochistically persist past them)

  • Each iterative try is gated by a decent chunk of time – by the run back from a waypoint if someone isn’t standing by to rez you (cue money sink, don’t forget repairs), by waiting for one of six cages to be freed up, by needing to farm the group zerg event for tickets.
  • One shot kills for making a mistake – either tactically misreading the mechanics or just not being physically adept enough – lead promptly to the above repeated time-waster.
  • A few bosses are not sufficiently well-explained in their tips – leading to either trial and error or out-of-game reading to learn their mechanics. (I’m thinking of Salazan and Liandri in specific. “Lethal fire circle” produces an instinctual response to dodge out of dangerous looking circles, much like the rest of the game has taught us. This produces the feeling of a dev busy trolling players when one finally realizes that one does not, in fact, have to dodge out of the ring, in order to survive. As for Liadri, well, talk about ridiculously complex and requiring someone to spell it out in point form out-of-game.)
  • Some of the bosses’ attacks are NOT well-telegraphed, possibly due to small model size and/or camera angles in the dome. (Suriel the Blazing Light? She’s a female human, holding a book most of the time. How the hell are you supposed to see her Solar Flare attack? Someone told me she makes a cross with her hands or something. I’m at 1200 range, how the fuck would I be able to see that? I just used her pausing and staying still as a cue, mixed with lots of guesswork. As for Liadri’s AoE, it is obvious it is made to exactly blend in with the floor grating. Trololol, I think a dev would be saying.)
Seriously, look. The woman's less than an inch tall on my screen. How to see her animation?
Seriously, look. The woman’s less than an inch tall on my screen. How to clearly see her animation? While circling like a madman and trying to kite her into a hard-to-see dark patch and doing one’s best to not die. With 13k hp. I ended up hogging the patch more often than not and just being all heal-y guardian over the damage.
  • The zerg below can produce lag, visual culling or significant drops in framerates – which make reading animations and dodging in time extra-challenging, particularly to those with higher latency or playing on toasters.
With FPS like this, who needs enemies? It's probably a miracle I've gotten as far as I have,.
With FPS like this, who needs enemies? It’s probably a miracle I’ve gotten as far as I have.

Ambivalent but Interesting Enough to Note Aspects

  • The time limit creates an interesting juxtaposition between trying to balance survivability and damage. It serves to ensure the wait time for each individual encounter is not too long. But it would be much better if the time limit were actually clearly ticking down somewhere in the UI, similar to the Aetherblade instance, so players have a better sense of how long they have.

(And really, no one gives a shit if you fall down from the cage or not, no one in the zerg frankly gives a fuck, there’s a hundred and one dead guys dying arbitrarily from the “anti-zerg” mechanics, there’s so much visual chaos and culling going on, and everyone is really looking at the right side of their screen watching the loot to pour in to care about some stranger dying.)

  • Enabling spectators also leads to a curious juxtaposition of interests, On one hand, it could give rise to a small friendly community of players exchanging tips, sharing frustrations, cheering each other on and helping each other rez. I’ve seen one or two guilded parties occupy an arena this way, enjoying a group outing even if only one person is fighting at a time. On the other hand, for introverted soloists, some may not care for being spectated or find it embarrassing. Plus for self-centered loner types, they really don’t give a fuck either about some other guy’s fight, good or bad, they just want to find an -empty- arena to try -their- personal fight again ASAP.
  • That quick update development time? Yep, there’s a few bugs.
This cage had oozes that didn't go away. Liadri + oozes providing AoE healing = difficulty that breaks any measuring scale you use. Wasted ticket there. (Well, I had to try to see if the oozes would hit her. They didn't.) This guy is now finding out that the first boss with oozes ain't so fun either, I suppose.
This cage had oozes that didn’t go away. Liadri + oozes providing AoE healing = difficulty that breaks any measuring scale you use. Wasted ticket there. (Well, I had to try to see if the oozes would hit her. They didn’t.)
This guy is now finding out that the first boss with oozes ain’t so fun either, I suppose.

Personally, I don’t mind a hard fight or repeated tries at it. I appreciate that this has been sectioned off into its own minigame tab for achievements, which at least puts it into a different category in my mind, though this would be much nicer as permanent content so that one could come back to it at leisure, without worrying about queues or not being good enough or equipped enough at this point in time.

I’m not fond of the “farm this first in order to do what you really want” delaying mechanic, but because the group activity is so mindlessly rewarding, I am willing to forgive it.

In a sense, it serves to enforce a change of pace so that things do not get too frustrating. (But lowering iteration times would also minimize frustration and reduce the punishing aspect, while maintaining the difficulty of a solo fight as a challenge.)

I do wish however that the fights were instanced, I can’t shake the sense that I’m fighting at an extreme disadvantage between my toaster computer’s specs, my high latency due to geographic locations, plus throwing in a WvW-sized zerg arbitrarily underneath me at times. I barely break 20 FPS at the best of times, and have hovered around 10-12 at peak hours – which made attempts rather costly and eventually resulted in me just zerging and saving tickets for tries at more friendly off-peak timings.

I don’t know if I’m going to manage all the Queen’s Gauntlet achievements, but I’m still generally quite calm about the whole affair.

I think it helps that this was introduced at the start, meaning four weeks to work on it, rather than two. In a month, I find it realistic enough a goal to level and gear a specific character to 80 if one was really determined on getting through this, whereas two weeks would be a hectic rush. A number of people have also managed to conquer the last boss in a day or two, so it seems there will be sufficient time to spread specific gearing and trait strategies around.

And there have been hints that it is likely to return, possibly on a yearly basis – so it does not seem like this will be arbitrarily forever out of reach if not achieved this go around, which really helps the OCD.

Full disclosure: I’m currently still stuck on Liadri. Nearly all the bosses were done with a berserker guardian.

Except the penultimate boss of the Norn and Chomper, which gave me a majorly hard time on the guardian, which led to a rage-spending moment of buying my new level 80 necromancer (yes, in the past five days before patch, that’s another personal goal that got done, whee) shiny berserker gear, haphazardly traiting for life-leeching high damage minions and brute forcing my way past that encounter.

I would like to return with a later post with tips, but we’ll see. The framerate lag and necessity of farming tickets makes repeat tries for screenshots and the task of learning the encounter well enough to provide suggestions extremely challenging. I might just settle for copycatting a better player and lucking into achieving stuff once – which already sounds difficult enough to me.