So, yesterday me and some guildies finally completed the story mode of Ascalonian Catacombs. Or perhaps I should say I finally completed it since the others already did that on Friday. I am getting ahead of myself though so let me just give a forewarn about a few details about this post: I am making it purposefully vague as to not spoil things for anyone who didn't do the story mode of Ascalonian Catacombs yet. Also, the lack of screenshots is because the dumb guy here forgot about it in the middle of everything. I am specially sad about it because I wanted a screenshot of our group (aka "Team Green") once we beat the dungeon. I also forgot to take screenshots of the Lovers for Siadina of Trippin Tyria as she requested in one of our talks in her comments section. Apologies for that, Siadina! If it makes anything better, the Lovers' fight is pretty cool as well as their dialogue but their appearance isn't that big of a deal.
Ok. About the dungeon... Our first attempt on it was about over a week ago. We got to the halfway point of it but had to stop since it was late and people had to go to work early the next day. As much as I hate to admit it that was probably for the best. Our group at the time just weren't ready for it. Both in terms of character build, gear and actual group tactics. So we broke up with the intention of working on those parts and give it a try again in the weekend. Well, those were our intentions anyway. The others dealt with the two first issues without problems but as far as everything else we just didn't do it since my sleeping pattern got messed up really bad. That means I was sleeping during some very odd times while being awake in some even odder times. It is not unusual for that to happen to me and when that happens it is a pain to get it back to something resembling normalcy. It also affected my mood too, with a start of depression. With all that going on I just wasn't able to get a group together again to give it a try. It also didn't allow me to be present when they went for it on Friday and actually succeeded.
Yesterday though I had set my mind in getting a dungeon run going on with our guild. My plan was to give a try to Cadeceus Manor since we had enough people at the required level plus I thought it would be too early to try getting another run at Ascalonian Catacombs since people already did it on Friday. That plan got changed first, then scrapped later. The reason for that is because another guildie really wanted to do something together with the guild but his highest character was level 30 (the minimum level for Ascalonian Catacombs. Cadeceus Manor being a level 40ish dungeon). The other interested parties agreed to give it a try though with the intention to do Cadeceus Manor after it if we still had time and energy. Turned out we didn't plus one of the members who were going to Cadeceus Manor end up having some hardware issues, having to call it an early night. So Ascalonian Catacombs was the only dungeon we did.
Our group consisted of an engineer (yours truly), an elementalist and three rangers. The funny thing is that when we got together we found out we were all wearing green thus we quickly dubbed our group as "Team Green". Not the most imaginative names, true, but it was better than my suggestions of "Team Lettuce" or "Team Cabbage".
Anyway, this time everything went much better. The first half of the dungeon was much smoother. Mobs were dying fast, traps were getting dealt with just as quickly and there was never that sensation of being a headless chicken trying to figure out what was going on, like in our fist attempt. The second half started a little more rougher due to some misuse of knock back skills that end up knocking back some of the mobs to other mobs thus getting ourselves overwhelmed. Still we managed and once the knocking back stopped things went back to be relatively smooth.
Some of the boss fights were slightly rougher, specially the last one. Still we did pretty well in all of them too. I liked also how each of those fights had their own tricks but without ever feeling unfair. There was always enough visual cues, as well as some NPC dialogue, that you could always know what was going on or what you could do to make things easier. This way when any of us died we knew exactly why it happened and what to look for when we revived.
Another interesting thing is how the last fight seems to have been changed from the dungeon run that part of the group did on Friday. Apparently on that run there were guardian healers, maybe different attacks too. I am not sure as it didn't occur to me to ask for details. All I know is our run yesterday there was only the boss himself and he hit, like one our members described, "like a truck full of bricks being driven by a giant hitting the pad with a shoe leaden with pure metal". Perhaps someone who has been in both runs could clarify that point in the comment sections? *hint, hint*
In any case, I had a blast with that dungeon run. Yes, I died a lot. Probably the one who died the most of the whole group. But it was still fun. I loved the whole story of the dungeon as we progressed through it. So much, in fact, that I could do it a hundred times and I would still enjoy it. It was also fun because despite it being relatively short it was also pretty intense. There was no fight where I felt I could just sleep through it. All fights, be it against regular mobs or the boss fights, required my full attention to get through it.
I also felt like we worked more as a team this time. Yes, there wasn't much in the way of going through elaborate plans that went into the tiniest detail for the boss fights. Yet I still felt we had a much stronger teamwork going on this time. The only way I can explain it is that it was more the kind of teamwork born out of unspoken words, of trust in one's skills, your companions abilities and that they will be watching your back as much as you will be watching theirs. A pretty vague explanation though it is one that I think a lot of the Guild Wars 2 players can understand or relate to.
To finish things of, the requisite tips that every "I did Ascalonian Catacombs" post seems to come with:
- Designate one of your group members to put target marks on the mobs. You can do that by pressing Ctrl + Click on a mob. This will put a huge target mark on top of the chosen mob and others can just target it by pressing the T key. This way it is easy for your party to focus fire on the same mob.
- Probably the best order to take down the mobs is: Rangers first, then elementalists as they are the most dangerous. After that it is a bit more flexible. But I think it necromancers and monks are the most dangerous after those two with mesmers and warriors being on the bottom of the danger list.
- Try to always take the fights to a more open space so your group can scatter and move around more freely thus avoiding the mobs AoEs or dodging their attacks.
- Don't rush ahead. Just take things slowly so you can see what kind of mobs is ahead of you so your group is prepared to fight.
- If you die, revive then run back to the fight. There should be enough free way points there that it shouldn't be an issue.
Next dungeon on my list: Cadeceus Manor! I even already scribbled my name on the door already....