[GW] Poor Zone Variety

The Falls is an example of poor design in monster spawns, at least as they interact with the vanquisher game mechanic. If you were just passing through, having a zone of highly consistent and tightly themed enemies would be great. Needing to kill all 300+, I was nodding off at the 20th group of pop-up spiders.

Like Talus Chute, you get a bit of regionalization, but it is not as effective. Perhaps it is the uniformity of terrain or the low number of pathing options, but even having several different categories of enemies feels same-ish, particularly when you are killing several hundred of them. Any feeling of variety is weakened by the overlapping groups. If you mix trolls in with other enemies, there is no “troll area,” even if there is a troll-heavy or -exclusive area. The spiders do more of what I wanted the Talus Chute nightmares to do, only too much and too uniformly.

On a spawn design note, you have root behemoths with pop-up healers around them. That’s good. You have an obvious threat surrounded by hidden support, not severe enough to be a “gotcha” wipe but something to watch for, and it is consistent enough to reward basic pattern recognition. Root behemoths can spawn closely together and near other healer pop-ups so that you get many healers. That’s bad. If you approach it carefully, you can get the enemies 1 or 2 at a time and burn them down before the healers become annoying. If a pet, hero, or lag spike leads to having 5 healers clustered together, there is not enough damage there to make it threatening, just so much healing that you get bored hoping your heroes coordinate a damage spike. There is a command to focus fire on one target; sometimes you hit it and your heroes respond, “We will certainly take that suggestion under advisement, thank you.” There are direct counters to mass healing, beyond damage spikes, but you might not have brought one unless you read the wiki first. In a zone with existing tedium issues, a battle of attrition against healers in not to be encouraged.

You may or may not like the zone’s twisting paths. Vine bridges give an impression of 3-D, but remember that some things shoot through walls, and Z-axis issues mean that someone on the bridge can body-block you from crossing underneath.

Going back to the first paragraph, any annoyance you might have with the zone is compounded or alleviated by its distant location. There is one entrance to the zone, and that attached zone has no outpost, so you must zone multiple times just to reach this zone that is completely unneeded for the main quest line. Except for visiting for a few quests, this zone is just here for looking around or for vanquishing, and vanquishing highlights all its problems by forcing you through every single spawn.

: Zubon

5 thoughts on “[GW] Poor Zone Variety”

  1. There is a command to focus fire on one target; sometimes you hit it and your heroes respond, “We will certainly take that suggestion under advisement, thank you.”

    Possibly the truest words ever spoken of the GW hero AI.

  2. Strangely, The Falls were ingame at the release of Prophecies, long before Vanquishing was a mechanic (if I recall right). I’ve always thought it was originally going to have that Temple of Balthazar as a important shrine, much like Grenth’s temple in Lornar Pass or Lyssa’s ice cave at the far end of Mineral Springs, another basically-useless zone. I assumed Arenanet originally planned for the Shrines to be important but out-of-the-way, and later in development decided against it.

    That’s just guesses though, who knows.

  3. “And Z-axis issues mean that someone on the bridge can body-block you from crossing underneath.”

    I’ve never had that happen to me, nor ever attacked by melee that was on the other Z-side of a bridge (rarely go to The Falls, though, except for a skill-quest, since I can’t be arsed to farm Totem Axes off the Root Behemoths and or to vanquish areas that don’t give faction), even at that bridge in Ferndale with the Necromancer boss or the bridges during Fort Ranik.

  4. You can easily manage to get your heroes to spike when you want it. In the options, you can bind keys to “make hero X use skill y”.
    I bound just four skills to my numpad, and whenever I smash the numbers 1-4, a perfectly executed spike is the result. This way, it is possible to overpower most healers.

    Another possibility due to the enemies spawning close together would be the use of Panic or heavy AoE damage, either interrupting or outdamaging their heal.

  5. The Falls zone has been in since the beginning, but they have added things to it as time passed. Parts of GW Beyond and EotN, iirc, end up in the Falls. It’s also the only place to farm up the green Totem Axe, which was considered critical to 55HP builds before inscriptions were available.

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