My friends and family guild managed to field enough players online for a fractals dungeon run last night. Going in we knew it’d be tough as only two of the party were at level cap (the asura mesmer and elementalist duo of old). We were joined by a level 58 ranger, and a warrior and elementalist both around level 20.
In doing our trio of fractals (we never even tried doing three in a row before), we started in Aquatic Ruins. Generally this one was pretty easy. There were a fair amount of character deaths while in the ‘dolphin mode’ section, this being our first run through, but we managed as a team to keep everyone up and together and made it through to the end boss fight.
This was a ‘tank and spank’ fight, very simple but it took a very long time to kill the giant jellyfish. There were tons of adds, little jellyfish, as well which can get frustrating when tanking isn’t really possible. Despite the length of the fight I didn’t find this anywhere near as annoying as I imagined it to be when I’d read about the fractal. I gather there’s an alternative to the ‘dolphin mode’ section that sounds a lot tougher though.
Moving on to the second fractal we got the Urban Battlegrounds. This place is *nasty*. The first section, just getting through the gate into the city, is a nightmare if you haven’t read the tactics in advance. The last time we tried this (on our first ever fractals run) we failed miserably.
This time I called for a time out while I read tactics. Even so it was a long slow slog to get the gatekeeper and gate down. Once inside we progressed much better up until the final fight. We wiped for the first time on this final fight and of course the boss soldier’s health reset to full. So we threw ourselves at him again and triumphed on attempt two after some frantic battling.
By now one character was practically in underwear due to armour damage, but there are no repair options in fractals, except the store-bought repair canister. As level 80s our characters have a couple each that randomly dropped from black lion chests, but our lower level companions lacked this convenience. So onwards we pressed to the third and final fractal.
The Snowblind fractal is a pretty interesting setting. Set in the frozen mountains, there is a biting unnatural cold that causes you continuous stacking frost damage, if that is you aren’t near a decent sized fire. So as you progress through the first half you have to light bonfires to keep the party warm. After a frantic fight with Svanir cultists you break through an ice-barrier and fight a giant ice elemental. That part is *really* annoying. The stacking frost damage debuff mechanic still is in effect at this point, and the elemental knocks everyone down repeatedly and you are trying desperately to relight bonfires to remove the frost damage debuff. It’s much easier to just ‘focus fire’ the elemental down here honestly, especially as its health does not reset on a wipe! We did a lot of wiping until we realised that the sensible tactics of keeping a fire lit was a waste of time, mindlessly attacking the creature works much better. <sigh>
By this point we were getting fatigued and in need of a break, but at least the cold debuff was ended so we grimly pushed on to the end fight. We were nearly at the 2 hours mark of the whole trio of fractals. The final fight with the Svanir shaman was hellish put simply. It just went on, and on, and on. We never wiped here, but each of us went down so many times to the spiraling spread of red circles – they cover such a large distance it is hard to dodge out of them. He teleports to an unreachable shelf every so often to blast the area with cold which only prolongs the fight more. By this point three of us were effectively naked due to gear damage so our groups damage output was no doubt severly reduced. We did triumph though and after the three fractals all had pockets stuffed with blue and green items.
As the others level, or if they play higher level characters it would be an easier experience I suppose. I am very happy for fractals being in game just because the scaling gives us *something* to do together. But the drawn out, grindy end boss fights are just annoying. We’ll actually probably not bother doing trios again, we don’t much care about raising the ‘fractal level’ anyway, so we can do one or two and just get the loot from the end.