Last night facing The Nightmares Within update was rough. At first I gleefully skipped in to the toxic tower with Mrs. Ravious, the inside of which is a mini-zone akin to the Queen’s Pavilion. I crossed the threshold from the safe area and “wham” I was dropped like a sack of flour. Now wait a minute, I’m a celestial/berserker well necro… I don’t die easily. Yet there I was facing floor.
Guild Wars 1 players of yore have been comparing the inside of dark tower in Kessex Hills to open world versions of the famed Underworld and Fissure of Woe instances. They are tough. There are loads of elite enemies with all sorts of condition hate. There are mines that can kill any ‘zerk in a single hit. There are twists and turns, and there’s an environmental poison to make sure players don’t hole up. It is a nightmare.
My knee jerk reaction was frustration. It felt like a zerg was necessary for playing the content. However, this puzzle of a zone was simply too complex for a zerg used to such challenges as Scarlet’s Invasions or the graveyard run of Queen’s Pavilion. Nope, there were dead bodies everywhere. Once in a while I would get lucky with a zerg that had enough force and self-awareness (rez’ing) to bash through easily. Still, it was a challenge.
Now, I am reveling in the challenge. I have already decided to head back to a condimancer, especially since I am not doing Tequatl much anymore. I’ve been thinking of ways of duo-building with Mrs. Ravious’s ranger. It’s put a kind of thought worm in my head that doesn’t normally occur with the easier Living World launches.
Zubon notes the elegant ways ArenaNet brings players together, and there are also ways that players are pulled apart. Killing mobs and reviving allies would be the most direct. There are also little side chambers a player can waylay herself too for a much easier romp through a portion of the tower.
Even with a pretty easy guaranteed (?) rare from the tri-key chest at the top, I am not sure how long players will stick around past the achievements. I’m not even sure what players would. It is a difficult place to farm. I think a dedicated group really pushing for keys could likely make a good profit at it, but I’m not sure it would beat out the current mindless champ farm.
The final instance was challenging, but fun. The cinematic at the end was amazing, and it was a nice recap of Scarlet’s “jokes” so far. However, I do agree with one forum poster that Lead Writer Bobby Stein responded to. How does this fit in to the story at all? Scarlet creates another amalgamation. Then she leaves. At one point there was something said by the Nightmare Court which made it seem like there was an experiment, which worked, but if I recall, they also said Scarlet left before it happened? I am not sure.
This reminds me a lot of some sci-fi TV shows, like X-Files or Fringe, where there was a metaplot but each episode was not directly related to it. Still, the writers found ways in those 40 minutes to give some crumbs. I think the best way, like the scene I failed to describe and remember above, is to see the enemies talking to one another. In this case I am reminded of a Fringe episode where people could become wereporcupines. At the end of the episode we see that the wereporcupines are on a ship out at sea with many other Fringe entities. That was enough. In Guild Wars 2 it is not enough to just say “Scarlet wants the hybrid for something.” If ArenaNet does indeed have some master plan they need to start giving better cues, hints, and lies as to what it may be.
Anyway, fans posit that the next update is going to be Fractal based so we might get a break from Scarlet for a bit. I know many are really interested in learning about what truly happened at Thaumanova Reactor. I know I am, as sour grape tasting as it will be.