Assault on the Arbor

Later today, we’ll get the latest of the Living Story updates, Twilight Assault, where a new evil has moved into a known Nightmare hideout…

Okay, so, I am something of a sylvari fangirl, as has been evident from before I even started this blog. They have been my very favorite race since they were first announced, and they remain so. When the Living Story began, I had been just waiting for us to get some sylvari story involved in it, and Scarlet became my favorite new character introduced essentially immediately. I had been hoping that she had been one of the missing Firstborn; sadly she is not, but her backstory is still immensely interesting.

Suffice to say, getting the chance to preview this patch had me very excited. Scarlet has decided to move into Twilight Arbor, making it her new base of operations, and Caithe and the Lionguard both want to track her down and root her out. This patch is going to follow in the footsteps of Tequatl Rising, in that it introduces massive, permanent changes to the game, and in particular the Twilight Arbor dungeon.

Party 1This patch introduces a new dungeon path to Twilight Arbor, but the number of explorable paths remains at three total. The Forward/Up path in TA has always been pretty widely regarded as bugged, if not completely broken (those spiders at the end…shudder), and Scarlet’s new path will be replacing F/U entirely. Scarlet’s path is intended for level 80, whereas the rest of TA’s explorable paths are still at level 55, so this required some change in the dungeon’s initial entrances, as obviously the previous method of picking which path you want to do would not work here. When you enter, you’ll encounter Caithe talking to a Lionguard, and you can talk to her and choose to either go after Scarlet, or take on the other dangers of the Arbor.

It’s worth noting that Caithe states that she has her own reasons for wanting to go after Scarlet. Caithe has always been a dark and secretive one, so that just makes me curious if there is history there between the two that hasn’t yet been revealed.

Deciding to track down Scarlet opens a path for you to follow, and shortly after entering it you are boosted back up to level 80. The initial areas are not so different from the usual Twilight Arbor dangers that we are all used to – volatile blossoms, and Nightmare Hounds, Husks, and Vines to fight. But things do change rather quickly, and it becomes apparent that something twisted is going on here.

Sometimes you see things like this.

Sometimes you see things like this.

As this dungeon path was worked on by the groups that did the Molten Facility and Aetherblade Retreat, there will be similarities between those two dungeons and this path. However, one thing I noticed fairly quickly is that there are more puzzle-like elements involved here that will require a lot more group coordination than either of those dungeons did…or that most dungeons in the game require, really. As someone who runs dungeons regularly, I am pleased by this. I like content that requires a fair amount of coordination (and the entire strategy doesn’t focus on a single broken skill, like Tequatl does). At the same time, it doesn’t look like it’s anything that will be terribly difficult; just things that will require people to communicate with each other and coordinate what they’re doing.

One such example of this was a room that contained a sort of maze of fire; through this maze you had to lead a pair of oozes to the opposite side to open the doors, while keeping them out of the fire and keeping them from getting killed by lava elementals. Both oozes needed to get to the end at about the same time, and they were also hostile enemies; AOE attacks could kill them, and they can do devastating attacks if you get too close to them. You also have to watch out for certain enemy types once you start finding Twisted Nightmares; certain ones will set off an alarm until they die, calling in more enemies. Leaving them alive for too long will quickly turn a fight from “we can do this” to “OH GOD WHAT’S HAPPENING WE’RE ALL DOOMED”.

"This job's easy. When Scarlet says to kill, you kill. When she says 'I'm bored', you hide."

“This job’s easy. When Scarlet says to kill, you kill. When she says ‘I’m bored’, you hide.”

We didn’t get to see much of the dungeon in the preview; it was just a taste of what things were going to be, and it only went to the first boss fight. This first boss fight, by the way, looks to be an immense amount of fun; you get to fight two interesting characters known as Sparki (an asura in a suit similar to the bosses at the end of Molten Facility) and Slick (a norn reminiscent of Mai Trin’s lackey at the end of Aetherblade Retreat). The fight itself is another that requires a fair amount of coordination between players; it reminds me with a less intense version of the Molten Facility end fight combined with the mechanics from the Ghost Eater fight in Ascalonian Catacombs.

WIthin the dungeon, of course, there are other new things. There are, for example, aetherized versions of the usual Twilight Arbor weapons, which have a blue glow and are a rare drop from enemies in this new path. There are also aether key pieces, which you can collect; five of them will combine into a key that can open chests found in Twilight Arbor. And, as ever, there are new sets of achievements to earn, along with new rewards to be gained from them – a backpiece and a mini are up for grabs this time around.

This sylvari-loving dungeon runner? Cannot wait to get her hands on this patch and be able to dive in and play through the new dungeon path. My interest has been piqued, and I’m looking forward to digging up more about Scarlet as well as learning this new path, as this one is here to stay!

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4 thoughts on “Assault on the Arbor

  1. Pingback: [GW2] Twilight Assault Preview Thoughts | Kill Ten Rats

  2. Pingback: This week in Guild Wars 2, 28 September - 4 October | GuildMag

  3. Question, for clarification; when you say that it goes from 50 to 80, does it auto-level you if you have a lower level character, or is it only for maxed characters? (I may suffer a bit… more than a bit… from alt-itis and haven’t an 80 yet, and the way that it was worded, I was unsure.)

    • It is designed for level 80, so it will not bump you up to there if you haven’t hit it already. When you enter TA you get down-leveled to 55 as per usual, and then put back at 80 once you start the new path.

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