GW2: Unexpected Fractal run

We have been recruiting some friends into GW2 recently to increase the numbers online in our friends & family guild. Last night we had the magic five online at the same time so the discussion turned to dungeons. Problem was that our levels were widely spread apart – lowest was 17 and the highest 80 (and only one at 80 for that matter). For the launch-era dungeons that would be that, since you are automatically down-leveled but being under is a deal-breaker.

Thankfully the newer dungeons such as the Wintersday festival and Fractal of the Mists are for anyone from level 1 to level 80. So Fractal of the Mists offers us an always-available dungeon option for pretty much any group of characters. Collectively we’ve not done many dungeons at all so far in the game. With the new any-level-goes dungeons we can just give it a go with any mix of characters; a major bonus for small guilds!

The first fractal we got randomly was a bust, some sort of city invasion. We died so much and so quickly that we needed repairs soon and had to abandon the instance, since not everyone had repair canisters on them.

Great balls of fire!

Great balls of fire!

The second fractal was a grawl one. It also had a rather fun Indiana Jones reference. This proved a challenge for a short while. Traditional tactics, such as reviving characters flattened by a flaming boulder, were getting us nowhere since the characters doing the reviving were then being flattened as well. In the end ‘wiping’ the whole group was the easiest tactic, if anyone failed a run then everyone needed to die so we could try again (we did try some remote res skills but they didn’t seem to work). I can see this causing no end of moaning and arguments in a PUG group! Anyway we did fine after a couple of false starts and then we progressed to the main activity of the instance, Grawl Shaman slaying!

gw344

This was an interesting fight, I volunteered to run around finding rocks to throw at the Big Bad Shaman. He had a shield to smash down using said projectiles. Also there was a timer element as the purple-chained captives near the edge of the pit would all be pushed off by lesser shamans unless the rest of the group could protect them.

because all dungeons need a 'jumpy puzzle' bit...

because all dungeons need a ‘jumpy puzzle’ bit…

A couple of attempts and we had the tactics nicely down. Next up was the jumpy bit, though very kindly ArenaNet included a means for anyone falling to get back up – some slope or rock formation to jump up. Nothing worse than delaying a dungeon run while you desperately try and work out how to get back to the group after a failed jump!

Field effects are your friend

Field effects are your friend

After jumping for a bit we got to the same Big Bad Shaman, now with added purple. This fight was a fun one, if mechanically much simpler than the last stage. It took some time to slay him, but slay him we did . The chest appeared and we got our ‘phat lewt’, and were prompted for the next Fractal – we are supposed to chain several together, but time was against us, so one was the limit for this session.

All in all I was very happy with our group performance, it was nice to see the group-dynamic developing. Also we moved past some harder points by discussing abilities and adapting our skill builds accordingly – the ability to swap in and out skills between fights makes for a very interesting dynamic compared with most MMOs.

We haven’t done any earlier dungeons as a team yet, so we may have to go back and visit them when everyone has the minimum level. But Fractals represents, at least for now, a very welcome group activity that seems a nice length time-wise.

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