Each race’s starting zone has a capstone meta-event that ends the zone in a nice bang. Of the five, I have played every one but the asuran one. The sylvari starting zone finale, The Battle for Wychmire Swamp, is by far my favorite. It also provides a really good starting point for what to expect as far as open world “raid”-like content.
The meta-event kicks off unassumingly when the Nightmare Court (evil syvlari) attacks a small warden encampment, Falias Thorp, in the swamp. After the camp is defended, Gamarien pokes his head out and asks players to escort him as he checks for more Nightmare Court activity because he believes that some summoned husks are harbingers of a greater foe. The summoned husks are tree-like elementals clearly twisted by nightmare. Then players escort Gamarien in a loop around the swamp to eventually land near the center, where chaos begins and Gamarien flees. I would call these first two events, the defense event and the escort event, the prelude to the battle.
The swamp erupts with a large amount of husks, and four separate events spread out across the Wychmire Swamp area. Three of the events involve taking out huge blighted thorn structures surrounded by husks, and the fourth event involves killing a giant blighted grub with its entourage of smaller blighted grubs. Anybody near the Wychmire Swamp area will receive a clarion call that it is going down.
When these four events are finished, the Battle collapses into the center of the swamp as three avatars of blight emerge. The avatars of blight are basically giant summoned husks ready to bring the pain. They aren’t too hard. I’ve seen a few deaths, but since the avatars of blight don’t appear to have the special boss protection, they are very susceptible to crowd-control conditions. The enemy mortars that are up defending the area usually seem to be the things that kill off players. One time I did this an enterprising play managed to pull all three avatars together. The result was swift and brutal as area-of-effect (AoE) skills piled up on the giant husks in triple time.
Yet, this was not the end. A giant jungle wurm erupts in the middle of the blight. It is decreed that the abomination should be destroyed, and it is thus. The wurm has a basic AoE swipe attack, but I think that its poison dart rain, which drops poison clouds, that kills off most players. Having condition removal is definitely helpful in this fight. The wurm’s best trick is to fear the whole area sending players running back through the poison clouds they have so carefully avoided. Players have to watch for the occasional added blighted grub or husk (“adds”) too. I’ve heard that the giant wurm can heat husks to gain health too.
Overall, it is a fairly easy fight involving little reliance on other players. Seriously one or two good Samaritans watching adds, people downed, and mortars out of the whole event population is enough. The meta-events later on, such as Tequatl the Sunless, require a lot more players taking on roles. Still, I think that the Battle for Wychmire Swamp is an excellent introduction. The fights are easy enough, but it gets players moving.
I love the meta event at two points. When the four events drop, it is really interesting to see how the initial escort group splits up. By the end of that phase there always seems to be at least one or two more clumps of players moving about even if most of the initial escort group stays together. The second point is when the giant wurm erupts. Sometimes I have seen players stay clumped, and they will get punished. Other times I have seen the herd wrap itself around the wurm making its attacks much less effective. It is differences like these that keep me replaying the same events. Requires a bit of battlefield awareness though.
Right now I am in the middle of Brisban Wildlands, and it seems much calmer in terms of events. I have pushed past the excellent skritt mountain, and right now I am dealing with bandit outcamps and other oddities. I am looking forward to seeing more intense meta-events though. Meta-dragons, here I come.